Home News KLEM News for Tuesday, May 30

KLEM News for Tuesday, May 30

Abnormally dry conditions continue plague western Iowa, particularly northwest Iowa. U-S-D-A meteorologist Brad Rippey says these conditions are likely to persist in Iowa through the summer.

The most recent U-S-D-A Drought Monitor indicates 57 percent of Iowa is either abnormally dry or is experiencing some level of drought.

Areas of severe or extreme drought stretches through four northwest Iowa counties –  including Woodbury and Monona Counties, and three counties in southeast Iowa.

The definition of “exceptional” drought that’s happening in northwest and southeast Iowa is something that is experienced once every 20 to 50 years according to Rippey. He is not expecting Iowa to have the kind of decades long drought that California has experienced, though.


Governor Kim Reynolds has signed a bill into law that will let teenagers work longer hours in Iowa and be paid to work in some jobs that are off limits to minors today.

The law, which takes effect July 1st, will let 14 and 15 year olds work later at night. Sixteen and 17 year olds will be able to serve alcohol in a restaurant, if their parent gives permission. Teenagers are still barred from logging, mining and other dangerous work, like on the slaughter line in a meatpacking plant. But if they’re supervised by an adult at an approved work site, teens will be able to do light assembly work, use power tools and work in industrial laundries and meat freezers.

Critics say Reynolds and Republican lawmakers are trying to solve the state’s workforce shortage with child labor and they say some parts of the law will conflict with federal regulations. House Democratic Leader Jennifer Konfrst says letting 14 and 15 year olds work six hours a day — until 9 p.m. during the school year — is the wrong move.

One element of the new law calls for a study of whether teenagers should be allowed to drive to and from work. Teenagers can get school permits now to drive to and from school and school activities. The bill originally called for letting minors with a driving permit commute to work as well. The governor backs that change. The new law removes the requirement that businesses have to get a state permit to hire minors.



The Christian Needs Center announced late last week that they are closing later this year.  They will no longer be accepting any donations of any kind.  The closing date will be determined as they liquidate their inventory and their building.  The Christian Needs Center has been in Le Mars for 35 years.  They provided people in need with food and clothing.  Their management expressed thanks for the support they have received from the Le Mars community.  They cited several organizations which provide similar services in Le Mars, including the Siouxland Food Bank, the Sunnybrook Hope Center, the Helping Hands Thrift Store and The Table Food Pantry at Rejoice Church.



Two people were injured Monday when a single-engine airplane crashed in Lyon County.  The Sheriffs Office reports the plane crashed near the runway of the Larchwood Airport around 1-30 p.m.  The two occupants were in the airplane.  One was taken by ground ambulance to Sanford Sioux Falls with minor injuries.  The other was airlifted to Sanford Sioux Falls with serious but not life-threatening injuries.  The crash is under investigation, and more details will be released later.



Three more clinics in rural Iowa are being reclassified as “Federally Qualified Health Centers” — making them eligible for higher government reimbursement rates when treating Medicare and Medicaid patients. The Spencer Hospital operates clinics in Hartley, Milford and Sioux Rapids. The hospital’s board of trustees has voted to rebrand the clinics as “Access Health” and convert them to Federally Qualified Health Centers, also known as Community Health Centers. The move is expected to save the hospital 200-thousand dollars annually. Not only will the three northwest Iowa clinics get higher reimbursement rates for treating patients enrolled in Medicare and Medicaid, there are federal grants available as well. The program, created in 1990, is meant to ensure health care services are available for uninsured and underserved residents in urban and rural areas. Government records indicate there are 86 Community Health Centers in Iowa. Officials expect to complete the process of converting the clinics in Hartley, Milford and Sioux Rapids to Community Health Centers in August.



The two Republican presidential candidates who are leading in the polls will be in Iowa this week. Florida Senator Ron DeSantis will speak tonight (Tuesday) in central Iowa, then campaign in other cities on Wednesday. Former President Donald Trump will be in Iowa Thursday for an early morning appearance in Urbandale and a meeting with evangelical pastors. On Saturday, Iowa Senator Joni Ernst will host her annual “Roast and Ride” fundraiser at the Iowa State Fairgrounds and several presidential candidates will speak at the event.



The population of the eastern Iowa community of Tiffin jumped 11 percent last year — making it Iowa’s fastest growing town. Tiffin is about a 15 minute drive from Iowa City. The latest estimates from the U-S Census Bureau indicate Tiffin’s population topped 58-hundred last July. The population of the Des Moines suburb of Waukee grew 10 percent from mid-2021 to July of last year. Population growth in Des Moines was one-point-two percent. Sioux Falls, South Dakota was the only other Midwest metro that saw higher growth. The U-S Census Bureau estimates Cedar Rapids, Waterloo, Davenport, Council Bluffs and Sioux City have all lost population since the 2020 Census — while Iowa City and Ankeny saw populaton growth. In general, the U.S. Census found population decline in small towns in the Midwest and the overall population of the Midwest dropped one percent.



Wednesday is the first day low income Iowa parents may apply for state-funded accounts to cover a child’s private school expenses. The New York based company hired to run the program will check Iowa income tax returns to verify eligibility. Odyssey C-E-O Joseph Connor says if a parent did not file a tax return, they’ll be asked to upload some other evidence of their income. The governor and most Republicans in the legislature voted this spring to make about 76-hundred dollars available to low income parents who enroll their child in a private K-through-12 school. Odyssey, the company managing the program, will first make tuition payments directly to private schools. If money’s left over, it must be used on approved expenses like books, software or tutoring available through Odyssey’s website. Applications for the state-funded Education Savings Accounts must be filed online. In the program’s first year, the money may be used for private school students in a household at or below 300 percent of the federal poverty line. That’s about 90-thousand dollars for a family of four. In three years, all parents — regardless of income — can seek the state money to cover private school expenses, however private schools are not required to accept students.