Home News KLEM News for Friday, March 22

KLEM News for Friday, March 22

The Iowa House has narrowly passed a package to hike teacher pay, increase general state support for schools AND keep Area Education Agencies as the main provider of experts who assist schools with special education needs for students.
District 3 State Representative Tom Jeneary of Le Mars, explained the priorities in the House bill


Not all the House Republicans supported the bill, including Rep. Jeneary


Jeneary says there should be no rush to decide on A.E.A. reforms.


The House at first passed separate bills on AEA reforms, teacher pay, and allowable school budget growth.  The three were combined into a single bill, and was sent on to the Senate.


Iowa House District 3 Representative Tom Jeneary of Le Mars has formally announced his intent to run for re-election. Jeneary’s district includes northern Plymouth County and Southern Sioux County. Jeneary is seeking his fourth term in the Iowa House. He was first elected in 2018. He now serves as chair of the House Natural Resources committee. He also serves on the Health and Human Services, the Veterans Affairs committees. He’s also on the Health and Human Resources budget subcommittee. Jeneary lives in Le Mars with his wife Pam. They have two children and four grandchildren.


The numbers from February show a slight drop in the state’s unemployment rate. This is Iowa Workforce Development spokesman Jesse Dougherty.


The number of people in the labor force did drop around 39-hundred for February.


He says employers reported 11-thousand new jobs in February.


There have been some recent layoffs announced, including around 13-hundred workers at the Tyson plant in Perry. Dougherty says the impact of the Perry layoffs won’t be know for awhile as they are set for June. He says the Perry layoffs and others are a concern, but he says they are not believe to be a negative overall indicator.


The U-S unemployment rate increased to three-point-nine percent (3.9%) in February.



The City of Le Mars plans to sell property in the city industrial park.  Lots are being created in Le mars Industrial Park 4th Addition.  Infrastructure for these lots will be completed in September.  Le Mars Business Initiative Corporation seeks to market and sell these seven lots.  LBIC proposes the purchase of 29 acres in the Industrial Park, 4th Addition, at a cost of just over two million dollars, or 70-thousand dollars per acre.  The lots will be paid for as they are sold.  A public hearing on this agreement will take place April 2.



This month two milestones were reached for a pair of law officers in Plymouth County.  At Tuesday’s city council meeting, Le Mars Police Chief Kevin Vande Vegte introduced a new member of the force.  Daniel Calzabillas is from Hudson, Iowa.  He began his duties in Le Mars earlier this month.  This month also marked the retirement of a long-time Plymouth County Sheriffs Officer.  Sheriff’s Lieutenant Scott Dorhout retired last week after 30 years in law enforcement, 27 of those with the Plymouth County Sheriffs Department.  He has also served in the Iowa National Guard, retiring after 32 years of service there.  Dorhout recently appeared before the county Board of Supervisors to express his  thanks for his position with county law enforcement



The Iowa House has narrowly passed a package to hike teacher pay, increase general state support for schools AND keep Area Education Agencies as the main provider of experts who assist schools with special education needs for students.

Republican Representative Skyler Wheeler of Hull, the bill’s floor manager, has a daughter who’s been diagnosed with autism and he also emphasized the importance of paraeducators and keeping A-E-As directly involved in special education services.


House Democratic Leader Jennifer Konfrst says adjustments in the package appear to be concessions to Governor Kim Reynolds. who called for a major overhaul of A-E-As in January.


Democrats argued the package falls far short of the state financial support schools need. A few weeks ago, the House took separate votes on general state aid for schools and on teacher pay. The package that cleared the House Thursday night includes the governor’s call for raise salaries for beginning teachers to 50-thousand dollars, plus money to raise the pay of veteran teachers and hourly staff. In a written statement, Governor Reynolds said the House plan paves a path forward to further strengthen Iowa’s education system in meaningful ways. Senate Majority Leader Jack Whitver said Senate Republicans will discuss the House package next week and he looks forward to a resolution on education funding, raising starting teacher pay and A-E-A reform.



A report by the State Ombudsman’s Office found that some county jails were not following Iowa law by taking money directly out of inmate commissary accounts for medical care. Ombudsman Bernardo Granwehr says Iowa law requires jails to go through the courts to recoup these co-pays. Granwehr says this practice violates the prisoner’s due process rights and they are calling for the Department of Corrections to make a change. He says they’ve had a constructive dialogue with the department. The Ombudsman has attempted to bring jails in O’Brien, Wapello, and Scott counties into compliance with state law.



An Iowa agriculture official who works in Washington D-C is urging members of Congress to get moving on the creation of a new Farm Bill. Matt Wohlman is senior director of state and industry affairs for the farmer-owned cooperative Land O’ Lakes, which is focused on the dairy industry. Wohlman says the 2018 Farm Bill has been good for farmers and rural communities, but some tweaks are needed, like with farm safety net programs. The Farm Bill expired last September and Congress extended it until this fall. There’s much partisan bickering that’s led to an impasse on the Farm Bill over issues like the limiting of climate funding and social safety net programs.



The state’s unemployment rate dipped slightly in February to two-point-nine percent — down from three percent in January. Iowa Workforce Development spokesman Jesse Dougherty (Door-uh-tee). says around 39-hundred people did leave the workforce last month. He says the vast majority of those who left were 16 to 24, and most of them left for school or taking classes, Dougherty says employers reported 11-thousand new jobs in February.



The commute could be dicey this morning across parts of northern Iowa, as forecasters say the region may get snow along a coating of ice. Meteorologist Craig Cogil, at the National Weather Service, says a Winter Weather Advisory is posted for cities including Mason City, Waterloo, Dubuque and Decorah, where one to six inches of snow is possible. Another, larger weather system is forecast to arrive on Sunday that could bring more precipitation to much of the state. Cogil says that second storm system is shaping up to be “vigorous.” Some forecast models indicate the snowfall in segments of northern Iowa could be as much as six inches in that second storm, but Cogil says it’s not clear yet if the rain/snow line will be in Iowa or Minnesota.