Home News KLEM News for Thursday, June 8

KLEM News for Thursday, June 8

The 35th Annual World Pork Expo is in its second day at the Iowa State Fairgrounds in Des Moines. Plymouth County Pork Producer Bill Tentinger says he goes to the Expo every year to learn new things…

He also gets to rub shoulders with fellow pork producers.

It’s a time to step back and enjoy life with people from the same business
Tentinger says there is great interest in this year’s World Pork Expo

But Tentinger says the mood of the producers at the Expo was cautious.

Pork producers are facing a unique economic climate, in that all segments of the pork industry are in a downturn.


The Iowa Department of Natural Resources has confirmed that the presence of emerald ash borer has been confirmed in Plymouth County. An area tree service alerted the DNR of an ash tree in Remsen with symptoms of infestation. Emerald Ash Borer was first detected in North America in Michigan in 2002, and in Iowa in 2010. This Asian pest has now been detected in 36 states. Only two Iowa counties, Emmet and Palo Alto, have not had a confirmed case. The insect larvae tunnel beneath the bark of ash trees, cutting off the tree’s ability to transport water and nutrients. This damage typically kills an ash tree within two to four years.



The state is launching a website designed to inform Iowans about new and emerging drugs and other products, both legal and illegal, many of which can be deadly. Dale Woolery, director of the Iowa Office of Drug Control Policy, says this type of online educational resource about drugs is urgently needed.

Woolery says the information will be very useful to people in the health care industry, prevention and treatment, and law enforcement arenas.

One featured drug is Xylazine (ZY-lah-zeen), an animal tranquilizer. It’s not new to Iowa veterinarians, but the drug is now being added by traffickers to illicit opioid products and he says it can lead to addiction — or death. The list of substances covered on the website includes vaping, fentanyl, and highly-potent marijuana products. There are also sections for cough and cold medications, counterfeit pills, and mushrooms or psilocybins (SIL-oh-CY-bins).



Former Iowa Congresswoman Cindy Axne is now a member of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s senior staff. Axne is the U-S-D-A’s Senior Advisor for Rural Engagement, Delivery and Prosperity. Axne, a Democrat from West Des Moines, served two terms in the U.S. House of Representatives. Last November, she lost her campaign for reelection in Iowa’s third congressional district to Republican Zach Nunn of Bondurant. Axne served on the U.S. House Agriculture Committee for four years and co-chaired the Congressional Rural Caucus. Axne had worked in state government for nine years, serving three different governors, including Tom Vilsack who is now the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture.



Drivers License services in Plymouth County are now available three days a week.  The Driver’s License office will open on Tuesdays from 8-30 to 4-30.  The office is also open Wednesdays and Thursdays at the same hours.  The Tuesday hours are for obtaining or renewing drivers licenses, identification cards, updating to REAL ID, permit tests and other knowledge tests.  These services are walk-in – no appointment is necessary.  The office is located in the Annex next to the Courthouse.  If you have questions about Drivers Licenses, go to the Iowa DOT website at www.iowadot.gov, or contact the Plymouth County Driver’s License office during their business hours at 546-1663.



The Le Mars city council may take up the issue of backyard chickens – or not.  A Le Mars resident, Katie Lochner, asked that the council allow her to raise her flock, which is in the backyard at her home near Cleveland Park.  Lochner says she grew up with backyard chickens, and would like to pass along that experience to her children.  She currently  has a flock of 10 chickens, two geese, two ducks, and a turkey. She based her move on a model city ordinance. Code Enforcement Officer Luke Bernhardt says the LeMars code prohibits keeping livestock within the city limits.  Since this request came during the public input portion of the council meeting, no action could be taken.  The city council would have to change the ordinance if they want to grant the request.



Two more Republicans are entering the presidential race Wednesday. Former Vice President Mike Pence released a video Wednesday morning  announcing his candidacy. Pence held an in-person campaign kick off in Ankeny over the noon hour. Pence explained why at Senator Joni Ernst’s weekend fundraiser. He said Iowa is the place that we shape principled conservative leadership. Iowa’s the place that’s shaped the standard bearer of this party. North Dakota Governor Doug Burgum announced his race for the G-O-P nomination on Twitter. He’s scheduled to campaign in Iowa today. Burgum earned a fortune in the tech industry, selling his software company to Microsoft in 2002.



U-S Senate leaders are calling for three briefings on artificial intelligence this summer — including one briefing that’s classified — and Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley says he’s told his scheduler to put him down for all three briefings. Grassley says he’s “concerned” about A-I and all of the applications it may have, including its uses in the military and how America’s adversaries may be using it.

Grassley, a Republican, says he wants to educate himself further on the topic of A-I, learning about its benefits and risks. A-I is working its way into all sorts of industries, from communications to education to manufacturing, and some critics fear it will end up eliminating a significant number of jobs.

In a letter calling for the briefings, Senate leaders say they need to “deepen our expertise in this pressing topic,” adding that “A-I is already changing our world, and…will have a profound impact on everything from our national security to our classrooms to our workforce, including potentially significant job displacement.”



Iowa Senator Joni Ernst says the recent deal to raise the nation’s borrowing limit wasn’t perfect, but it was acceptable to enough Republicans and Democrats to avert a federal government default. President Biden said months ago he would not negotiate on raising the so-called debt ceiling, but the bill he signed last week includes spending reforms. Ernst and the rest of  Iowa’s congressional delegation voted for it. The deal removes work requirements for veterans and homeless adults who receive what are commonly called food stamps, but more older adults between the ages of 50 and 54 who do not have children will be required to work or be training for a new job. Ernst says that’s a big, huge win for Republicans.