Home News KLEM News for Thursday, March 21

KLEM News for Thursday, March 21


A proposed settlement of a lawsuit by the National Association of Realtors with home sellers clarifying sale details has drawn a lot of attention. The President of the Iowa Association of Realtors, Shaner Magalhaes, says there has always been a required disclosure for the seller, and the settlement would now require one for the buyer.


Another issue in the settlement is the practice of the agents for the seller and buyer sharing the commission on a sale. Magalhaes says that this is done to bring in more potential buyers, and some reports have wrongly said that the practice will go away.


Magalhaes says the settlement will not lead to a cap on the amount of commission for realtors.


Magalhaes (Mah-gahl-yeyenz) says this covers anyone who is licensed to sell a home, not just those are part of the Realtors Association. He says an update to Iowa’s real estate law to clarify these issues has passed the Iowa House and Senate, and is waiting for the governor’s signature. Magalhaes says clearing up these issues is a good thing.


He says it is likely the N-A-R settlement will be approved and completed by July.



The Le Mars city council has set a public hearing for next month concerning a request for vacating a street in the Erdmanville section of the city. Bob Smith of Overlook Apartments, LLC, explained to the city council his request to vacate 6th Street northwest in order to make way for an apartment complex in Erdmanville.  City Economic Development Director Mark Gaul told the council that Overlook plans to build two apartment complexes, townhomes, a pet park and a playground for young children on the site.  Smith says they expect to close on the property in September, and begin a 14-month, two-phase construction project beginning late this fall.  The city planning and zoning commission has recommended approval to vacate 6th Street northwest, from 4th to 5th Avenue northwest.  The council scheduled a public hearing for April 2 at 12 pm on the vacation request.



The Le Mars city council adopted a resolution approving the final step of the Floyd Valley Hospital Project – closing a loan agreement with the US Department of Agriculture to pay for the project.  The council authorized the issuance and payment of 8.3 million dollars in Taxable Hospital Revenue Bonds.



A single vehicle accident in O’Brien County Wednesday morning caused the death of the teenage driver.  The Iowa State Patrol says a car driven by 16 year old Joshua Cruz Salzillo of Hartley was driving east on 300th Street, north of Hartley, when the vehicle left the road and struck a creek embankment.  The driver was not wearing a seat belt and suffered a fatal injury. The accident occurred around 8-30 Wednesday morning.



Emerald Ash Borer is a small beatle which digs into the bark of ash trees and, over time, cuts off nutrients to the tree, killing the tree usually within three years of infestation.  Mike Kintner, entomologist with the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship says they are hard to detect.  When you find them, it’s too late for your tree.


First detected in Iowa in 2010, Emerald ash borer has spread to every county across the state.  Kintner says it can’t be stopped.


Iowa communities have their own ways of dealing with infestations.


Some communities have been systematically removing ash trees.


Kintner, describes how you can know your ash trees are infested….


From there, you should act quickly


Kintner has some ideas on how to replace the ash trees you remove


Kintner was one of the speakers at the Le Mars Chamber Ag Committee’s Agribusiness luncheon Tuesday.

City Administrator Jason Vacura told the city council this week that 370 ash trees were identified in Le Mars parks.  As of Monday, all but 50 have been removed.  Those 50 will remain until next year.  The city is also working on a replanting program.



Three people are safe after escaping from a house fire in Alcester, South Dakota Sunday night.  A neighbor is being praised as a hero for alerting the residents inside the home who were still unaware of the blaze.  All three were all able to evacuate the home safely with no injuries.  Union County firefighters worked into early Monday morning to extinguish the fire.  The cause of the fire is still under investigation with the help of the South Dakota State Fire Marshal.



Iowa cities would have to get Iowa D-O-T approval for speed cameras placed along highways and interstates under a bill that’s been introduced in the Iowa House. The D-O-T rolled out this policy over a decade ago, but in 2014 the Iowa Supreme Court ruled the agency didn’t have authority to regulate traffic cameras. This bill would change that and require cities to submit yearly reports to the D-O-T showing speed camers are in spots along highways and interstates that are at high risk for crashes or unsafe for police to make in-person traffic stops. The bill — an alternative to a BAN on traffic cameras — would not give the Iowa D-O-T authority to regulate traffic cameras that issue tickets for vehicles caught speeding or running red lights on city streets.



Republicans on a Senate committee are advancing a proposed amendment to the Iowa Constitution that would make a single-rate “flat tax” the only legal kind of state income tax. The proposal cleared the Senate Ways and Means Committee with yes votes from the 11 Republicans on the panel, while the six Democrats on the committee voted no. Colorado, Illinois, Michigan, Pennsylvania are the only states that have a flat income tax requirement in their state constitutions. Under current state law, Iowa’s individual income tax is scheduled to shrink to a flat rate of three-point-nine percent by January of 2026. Governor Reynolds has said her long term goal to eliminate the state income tax by January 1st of 2027.