Home News KLEM News for Friday, September 8

KLEM News for Friday, September 8


The sentence of a former Plymouth County Sheriff’s Deputy has been overturned, and a new trial ordered. . District Judge Steven Andreason ordered Thursday that judgement against 44 year old Aaron Leusink be set aside. Last September, Leusink appealed his conviction and 40-year prison sentence for 11 counts, including felony burglary and misconduct. He claimed his attorney provided a substandard defense. Judge Andreason ruled that Leusink’s attorney failed to inform him that a guilty plea to one of the felony counts would make him ineligible for parole.  In his order, Judge Andreason released Leusink from the custody of the Department of Corrections, to the custody of the Plymouth County Sheriff. Bond has been set at 30-thousand dollars. Leusink will then appear before a magistrate, and a pretrial conference will be scheduled.  An investigation of Leusink by the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation in September of 2020 led to his arrest.



One of the longest paving projects of the summer in Plymouth County has been reopened to traffic. The Plymouth County Road Department says five miles of County Road K22, between Iowa Highway 3 and C44 is finished. During construction, detour routes encircled the construction zone. Those barriers have now been removed. The project started in late April.



There are three microsurfacing projects which take place in Plymouth County next week.  County Engineer Tom Rohe says the projects include C12, four miles north and four miles south of Remsen, and 3 miles of C38, east of US Highway 75.  Microsurfacing is a sealing process where a thin coat of asphalt is laid on the roadway.  It’s a durable material which extends the life of the roadway, and costs less than the typical asphalt surface. Rohe says a Minnesota firm has bid 628-thousand dollars for the work.  The microsurfacing should be done next week.



A Le Mars Community High School Senior is the Founder and President of an organization that will sponsor young people, enabling them to attend dance classes who otherwise wouldn’t have this opportunity.  Emma DeRuyter says her own dance experience gave her the idea to start “A Chance to Dance.”

The organization is taking cash donations along with donations of lightly used leotards and dance shoes.  “A Chance to Dance” will fund student tuition, costumes, dance pictures, and recital fees. “A Chance to Dance Le Mars” Facebook page gives donation information and details of a t-shirt fundraiser through Get Branded 360.

Emma DeRuyter has participated in dance and gymnastics since she was 3 years old, competing in dance for 9 years and gymnastics for 7 years.  She has also taught dance and gymnastics at the Turn Around studio.



Siouxland Habitat for Humanity’s ReStore truck is in Le Mars for two more day, coinciding with Le Mars Fall Clean-up. It’s accepting donations at a location across from Red’s Printing at the former Bomgaars location.  Hours today are 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., and Saturday, from 8 a.m. to noon.  The collection will not accept Automotive items, paint, shag carpet, or mattresses.   All Appliances and Lawn and Garden Equipment must be clean and in 100% working order.  Sales made at ReStore help fund future Habitat home builds.



The harvest season will likely start in northern Iowa within a week to ten days, according to Angie Rieck Hinz (REEK HINES), a field agronomist at Iowa State University Extension and Outreach. With the hot temperatures, low humidity and windy conditions we’ve had lately, she says the crops matured much more quickly than expected, and those dry conditions may lead to a much greater risk during the harvest.

As farmers prepare for the big job ahead, Rieck Hinz says they’d be wise to make a checklist, one that includes fire safety.

At least seven Iowa counties have active burn bans in place due to continued drought conditions: Buchanan, Delaware, Fayette, Greene, Grundy, Hancock and Worth.



Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley is joining several Senate colleagues in asking the U-S Department of Education to determine how much money adversarial foreign governments are donating to American schools, including some in Iowa. Grassley says espionage by foreign actors is a “constant threat,” including trying to inject propaganda into our schools. He says the Chinese Communist Party shouldn’t be able to influence American education and he says they know Cedar Rapids Schools received money from China between 2011 to 2019. Grassley, a Republican, says there’s also evidence the Chinese have pumped money into the University of Iowa through what’s called the Confucius Institute. He says the U-S must “thwart efforts by authoritarian regimes to peddle propaganda in our schools” as well as other threats to national security. Iowa’s other U-S Senator Joni Ernst is among the 18 senators who signed the letter requesting the nationwide audit.


Nearly 70 people have weighed in during a public hearing about a
proposal to streamline state licensing and either consolidate or eliminate about 100 state boards and commissions. Peter Hird of the
Iowa Federation of Labor says the plan eliminates input from regular citizens who are often experts in their field and pretty soon only those who can afford lobbyists will have a voice in state government. West Virginia University economics professor Edwin Timmons told the panel considering the changes that Iowa requires a license or certification for too many professions and it limits job opportunities for low income Iowans. The review committee considering the changes has until September 30th to submit its report to the governor.