Home News KLEM News for Friday, April 5

KLEM News for Friday, April 5


The Le Mars city council this week took several steps concerning a new residential development in the city.  Overlook Developments LLC is planning an apartment/townhouse development in the former Erdmanville area.  The council approved the vacation of a portion of 6th Street NW, to make way for the development of four parcels of property, called the Overlook Addition.  The council also approved the final plat for the development.  It will include construction of 92 apartments, and 8 townhomes.  Overlook also requested the council submit application for the Workforce Tax Incentive Program through the Iowa Development Authority.  The city will provide a local match to their program through a 100% exemption of taxes on increased assessed value for the first seven years on these residences.  The tax exemption would total 1.29 million dollars over seven years.  The total investment in the Overlook development is 16 million dollars.



Le Mars Police are warning residents about a telephone scam.  A post on the police Facebook page says a resident was called by someone identifying himself as a Le Mars Police officer. The scammer claimed a family member was involved in an accident near Walmart, and asked for money.  Police never ask for money over the telephone.  They urge residents that, if faced with this scam, they should hang up.


Iowa lawmakers may create a grant program to help recruit attorneys to practice in rural areas of the state.  State Representative Tom Jeneary of Le Mars says it’s difficult to find court-appointed attorneys to practice in rural areas.


Under the bill, any attorney who has up to ten years of experience is eligible for this fund.


Rep. Jeneary says the bill is intended to expand the number of public defenders available to take on indigent clients.


There just aren’t many public defenders or attorneys to take on indigent cases in rural Iowa.


The Rural Attorney Recruitment fund would be modeled after a program in South Dakota that’s now providing incentives to 13 attorneys in rural areas.  A bill that’s won approval in a House committee would create a Rural Attorney Recruitment Fund to provided 90% of tuition at University of Iowa Law School.


The Plymouth County Pork Producers today are distributing 300 pounds of pork to food pantries throughout the county. Chris Bohnenkamp says this is part of the Iowa Pork in the Pantry program. Each year, the Iowa Pork Producers Association purchases one thousand dollars of pork in each Iowa county, for distribution to local food pantries. The Plymouth County distribution is going to food pantries at Sunnybrook Hope Center and Rejoice Church in Le Mars… Mid-Sioux Opportunity and Christ Lutheran Chruch in Remsen, and the Dwelling in Kingsley. Bohnenkamp says the Plymouth County Pork Producers also make their own donations. This is their third distribution since Thanksgiving



Construction projects at Dordt University in Sioux Center have begun.  Dordt plans to build a new dining commons and expand the B.J. Haan Auditorium. This week, construction fencing was placed between the Campus Center and the B.J. Haan Auditorium, where initial utilities work will begin.

Fred Verwoerd, vice president of operations at Dordt, says foundation work will begin soon. It will be confined to the area between the Campus Center and the BJ Haan Auditorium until after commencement. Shortly after commencement, the parking area east of the Auditorium will be fenced off in preparation for work on a recital hall.

A new dining commons will connect the Campus Center and the Auditorium. The new dining are will hold some 400 people for meal service and will be open to students for more hours per day than the current commons allows. The new dining commons will also include an outdoor patio space.

The new recital hall / band room, will provide space where musicians and others will be able to learn, practice, and perform for small audiences. This new space would seat up to 250.

Both projects are to be completed in 2025.


Iowa Workforce Development is now using what’s called the I-D-me (ID.me) identity verification system for unemployment claims. I-W-D executive director Beth Townsend says it’s a modern system that helps you prove that you are who you say you are, so they know the money is going to the person who’s legitimately making the claims. She says you can do it online through the I-D-me app, you can do it through a video chat appointment with an I-D-me staff person, or you can bring it into the American Job Center, and staff there can verify your identity. Townsend says anytime you are dealing with paying a benefit there are going to be people who try to take advantage of it, and this bolsters their efforts to prevent that fraud. Townsend says 96 percent of the people who have used it so far have successfully verified their identity.


A state senator has a plan that would give the governor authority to appoint the majority of members on commissions that nominate Iowans to be district court judges. Republican Senator Julian Garrett of Indianola says the process is already politicized and he’s trying to fix it. He’d have the governor appoint six of the 11 members on each of the district court nominating panels. Iowa governors appoint judges from lists of nominees submitted by these commissions and critics say Garrett’s plan would give the governor more influence over the judicial branch. Garrett’s proposal also removes the judges from each of the district court nominating commissions. A lobbyist for the Iowa State Bar Association says the local district judges provide valuable insight about how the lawyers applying to be judges act when they’re in the courtroom.



It’s been seven years since a total solar eclipse darkened parts of the Midwest, and although Monday’s event won’t be a total eclipse in Iowa, it will be significant for most of the state. Chemistry and Planetary Sciences Professor Channon Visscher,  at Dordt University in Sioux Center, says you will definitely notice something’s happening. In northwest Iowa, the sun will be about 75-percent covered, while it’ll be more like 90-percent in southeast Iowa. Visscher says you’ll need eye protection, like certified solar glasses or welding glass. To see the full eclispe, you’d need to travel somewhere between Texas and Maine — the nearest point is southern Illinois and southeast Missouri.



The legislature has approved new rules for how Iowa landlords handle requests from renters who ask to have an emotional support animal or a service animal in their unit. Senator Scott Webster of Bettendorf says it aligns Iowa law more closely with federal regulations.


Representative Jacob Bossman of Sioux City says the bill provides common sense guidelines for what kind of documents landlords can request from tenants who ask to have a service or support animal in their rental. The bill also outlines when landlords may reject requests due to safety or financial concerns.


ntative Josh Turek of Council Bluffs says there’s a need for more regulation on emotional support animals, because service animals are a lifeline for many individuals with a disability.


The bill would let landlords ask for documentation from a health care provider if a tenant’s need for an assistance animal is not readily apparent. The bill won unanimous approval in the House and Senate and it’s now headed to the governor for review.



Iowa Workforce Development executive director Beth Townsend says they are continuing to meet with workers at the Tyson plant in Perry as the June closing date approaches.


She says they have now also opened a transitional office.


Tyson says it has offered workers a chance to take jobs at other facilities. Townsend says the may or may not be an option for employees.


She says there are many job openings in those areas.


There are approximately 13-hundred Tyson workers that will be impacted when the plant closes at the end of June. There are other ancillary businesses that are also expected to layoff workers in connection with the closing.