Home News KLEM News for Monday, December 18

KLEM News for Monday, December 18

Northwest Iowa farmland values dropped in 2023, according to the annual Iowa State University survey. The average value of an acre of farmland was down less than a percent, at 14,753 dollars. The northwest section was the only one of nine with a drop in value, but the average price was still higher than any other reporting district in Iowa. Sioux County had the highest per acre value, averaging just over 16,500 dollars. That was nearly the same as the 2022 survey rate. It was also the highest rate in the state. Plymouth County farmland value went up according to the survey, to 15,214 an acre, up 250 dollars from 2022. The three positive impacts affecting farmland values were limited land supply, strong yields, and a combination of cash on hand and credit availability. Negative factors in the survey included Interest rate hikes, falling commodity price,s and higher input costs.



Two Republican congressmen appeared in Iowa last weekend to support two GOP presidential candidates. They also brought along complaints about the U-S House and federal spending. Kentucky Congressman Thomas Massie campaigned with Florida Governor Ron DeSantis. Massie talked about forcing members of the U-S House to vote in person, in March of 2020. This delayed passage of a two TRILLION dollar pandemic relief package. Massie says then-president Trump threatened him by phone — and he mimicked Trump’s voice as he recounted the conversation. Florida Congressman Matt Gaetz stumped for Trump in Cedar Rapids on Friday. Gaetz helped oust Kevin McCarthy as Speaker of the House. He complained about the budget process the new speaker is pursuing. Gaetz thinks it’s crazy for congress to vote on the entire budget of the United States of America all at once.



Emergency Medical Services in Plymouth County face the same challenges that a lot of agencies and businesses do, increased costs, and manpower shortages.  County EMS Chairman Mike Wise reported to the Board of Supervisors last week, and asked for an increase in their budget support.


Wise says EMS has several funding streams, including the Board of Supervisors


Plymouth County EMS is facing challenges, chief among them finding and training volunteers.


Wise says EMS helps volunteers with their training, and the squads continue to operate effectively.


Plymouth County EMS serves Le Mars, Merrill, Akron, Hinton, Remsen, and Kingsley.



The Sioux County Sheriffs Office arrested an Alvord man Friday, in connection with a fatal accident that occurred near Rock Valley July 30th.  Kaleb DeBey, age 21, was arrested after a joint investigation of the Iowa State Patrol and the Sioux County Sheriff’s Office. DeBey was charged with Homicide by Vehicle, Operating while Intoxicated, Homicide by Vehicle and Reckless Driving.  On July 30th, DeBey failed to negotiate a curve on 300th Street, lost control, entered a ditch, struck a culvert, and became airborne.  A passenger, Halee Bliek, 35 of Rock Valley was ejected from the vehicle, and became trapped beneath it.  She was pronounced deceased as a result of the accident.  The investigation revealed that DeBey operated the vehicle in a reckless manner and under the influence, causing the death of the passenger in the vehicle.



During the annual State Agricultural Convention, held December 10, 2024 in conjunction with the Association of Iowa Fairs Conference, elections were held for positions on the Iowa State Fair Board of Directors.

County fair delegates represent six geographic districts in Iowa. Each district elects two board members to serve two-year staggered terms on the Iowa State Fair Board. Darwin Gaudian of Primghar was re-elected in the northwest Iowa District.  He was also re-elected the Board President for 2024.  The other northwest Iowa representative is VerDon Schmidt of Everly.

Also on the board are representatives of the Iowa Governor, Secretary of Agriculture, and the president of Iowa State University.



The number of complaints about government services have declined in Iowa this year, reversing a two year trend. State Ombudsman Bernardo Granwehr says the COVID pandemic contributed to a surge in complaints, most from the corrections area. Many of the complaints from inmates revolved around health related issues and conditions of confinement. Granwehr says some of the complaints were justified, but for many they advised the person making the complaint to first go through any grievance process. Outside of that, Granwehr says there were concerns raised about the Health and Human Services Department He says families of Medicaid members were concerned they didn’t get enough information that the estate of the person covered would have to repay those fees to the state when they died. Granwehr says that information is placed in the enrollment notices and letters, so that people make an informed decision prior to signing up for those benefits.



The drop in temperatures can lead to an increase in stolen cars, as people leave them unlocked and running. Sioux City Police Officer Valerie Rose says they had four cars stolen last Thursday. She says it can happen any time of the day.

Officer Rose says you can avoid the temptation for thieves by not giving them something to steal.


Rose says car thefts always increase this time of year because there are more vehicles left running and unattended.

A couple of donations will allow the Iowa Department of Natural Resources to build out a wildlife tracking system across the state. D-N-R Avian Ecologist, Anna Buckardt Thomas, says the system called Motus is a series of antennae stations and tracking tags that emit a radio signal. There are currently 18 stations in Iowa and the 120-thousand dollars in donations will allow them to expand that by 20 stations to create a corridor from east to west across the center of the state and also along the Mississippi and Missouri Rivers. She says the stations all over the western hemisphere and Iowa provide a variety of information that the D-N-R can review. The information is also available to the public at the website motus.org..