Home News KLEM News for Wednesday, April 17

KLEM News for Wednesday, April 17

The Le Mars city council passed proposed water and sewer rate increases to first reading Tuesday. These increases are to be used to cover increased costs of water and sewer plant improvements.
The proposal for water rates will increase the minimum charge from 14.33 per month to 24 dollars per month by the year 2027. The higher rates will pay for installation of a reverse osmosis system in the city water treatment plant.
The Proposal for sewer rates will increase the minimum charge to 12.21 per month in July, and increase the rate each year to 26.46 per month in 2029. The rates will pay for an industrial pre-treatment facility and sewer plant expansions, including their operation and maintenance.
Three readings are required for passage of these amendments..



Development in Le Mars will affect future growth of the Le Mars Community School District. Superintendent Dr Steven Webner says their facilities consultant considered Le Mars’ Vision 2045 Plan in their study.


The school board considered several options for their elementary facilities, ranging from renovation to replacement. Dr Webner says this also included where to locate a new elementary building, should the board decider to do so..


A committee made up of 50 people from all walks of life is going over the facilities reports, and the board’s direction concerning Le Mars School District facilities. They’ve met once with the Board, and will meet later this week.


The community input committee will bring recommendations to the school board later this spring.


A few of the legislators who aren’t seeking reelection say it’s time to raise the pay for those who’ll be serving in the Iowa General Assembly next year. The salary for state legislators is 25-thousand dollars and it hasn’t been raised for 18 years. Republican Representative Phil Thompson of Boone, who’s 33 years old, says after six years in the legislature he’s leaving because he and his wife are expecting a baby and he needs to start earning more money. Sixty-four-year-old Representative Brian Best, a Republican from Glidden, is not seeking reelection after 10 years in the Iowa House and Best says only a small portion of Iowans can afford to serve if the salary’s just 25-thousand dollars a year. The six lawmakers who have leadership roles in the House and Senate are paid more — a salary of more than 37-thousand dollars a year. Most legislators get more than 17-thousand dollars in expense payments each year as well to cover things like mileage and renting hotel rooms or apartments in Des Moines during the legislative session.


The Iowa legislature has voted to create a program that would offer state tax credits and sales tax rebates for businesses that are making a more than one BILLION dollar capital investment in Iowa. (t’s called the “Major Economic Growth Attractions” or “MEGA” program. The local community has to approve the development, which has to cover over 250 acres. A maximum of two projects can be approved and they must in advanced manufacturing, bio-sciences or research. The bill’s final version says a foreign business that gets incentives from this MEGA program cannot be located in the six countries considered to be adversaries of the United States.



Severe weather struck Plymouth County Tuesday.  A Tornado Warning was issued for southwest Plymouth and adjacent counties around 1-30 p.m.  The storm moved north-northeast into western Plymouth County.  At 1:59 p.m., a tornado was sighted near Brunsville, and at 2:11, two miles north of Struble. A tornado was also sighted at Sioux Center, in Sioux County, around 2:29 p.m. Storms also struck Plymouth County earlier Tuesday morning, mostly producing heavy rain.  Between 7 and 7;15 a.m., there was 2.66 inches of rain reported at Remsen, and 2.35 inches of rain at Le Mars.  In the afternoon, Merrill reported 2.25 inches of rain.  The morning storm caused a lightning strike at the KLEM transmitter site.  Our broadcast signal was on and off during the day, as engineers worked to repair the damage.


The Le Mars city council today passed a motion to authorize the sale of Park Place Estates, an assisted living facility operated for 25 years by Floyd Valley Healthcare. The motion sets a public hearing to finalize the sale for May 7. Floyd Valley Healthcare requested the sale earlier this month. They are partnering with Accura Health Care, a firm which operates assisted living facilities in four states, including 21 in Iowa. After the hearing, the council voted unanimously for the authorization to sell Park Place Estates.  After a public hearing May 7, the council will vote to make the sale final.



The Plymouth County Board of Supervisors Tuesday approved a contract for a bridge replacement project near Remsen.  Dixon Construction of Correctionville had the lowest of three bids at 617-thousand dollars, and were awarded the contract for construction. The engineers estimate is 803-thousand.  The construction site is on Shamrock Ave. north of C16.  The old bridge there will be removed, and a 120 by 30 foot concrete slab bridge will be built.  The contractor must start the project by mid-July, and be finished by mid-October.

This is one of four local bridge projects to take place in Plymouth County this construction season.



An assessment of school buildings in the Le Mars Community School District has led the school board to concentrate on improvements to the district’s three elementary schools.  Superintendent Dr. Steven Webner says two of the three buildings, Clark and Franklin, need extensive upgrades.


The board also considered options for those buildings.


A community input team is sifting through the building assessments and what to do about them.  They will make recommendations to the board to help them a final decision on school building improvements.



The Sioux County Sheriff’s Office is asking for the public’s help in their investigation of a motor vehicle accident that occurred late Monday night on K18, five miles west of Rock Valley, IA.

16 year old Wyatt Timmer, of Alcester, SD, said he was driving north on K18 when  an unknown make or model pickup traveling southbound on K18 entered his lane, causing him to swerve. Timmer lost control of his vehicle, entered ta ditch and came to rest in a farm field; the other vehicle did not stop at the scene and continued driving southbound.  Timmer was transported by the Rock Valley Ambulance to Hegg Health Center for treatment of minor injuries.

The unknown vehicle is described as a white GM pickup with brighter headlights. Anyone with information of the unknown vehicle is asked to contact the Sioux County Sheriff’s Office.  The sheriff’s office was assisted by the Rock Valley Police Department, Rock Valley Fire Department and Rock Valley Ambulance.



The Iowa Senate has sent the governor a bill to set up state regulations for traffic cameras that generate tickets for speeding. Cities and counties will have to get a traffic camera permit from the Iowa Department of Transportation. Municipalities will have to supply information to justify the speed limit in the area where a camera is placed, along with data about the number and severity of traffic accidents in the area. The fines from traffic camera tickets must be used on law enforcement budgets, plus tickets may only be issued to vehicles caught going at least 10 miles over the speed limit. Legislators have been debating whether to ban or regulate traffic cameras since 2011 and this is the first time the House and Senate have agreed on a plan.



The legislature has passed a bill requiring motorists in Iowa to yield not just to pedestrians in crosswalks, but to bicyclists, skateboarders and people on scooters or in wheelchairs. It expands current state law, which says drivers face criminal charges if they injure or kill a pedestrian in a crosswalk. Representative Jon Dunwell of Newton says it’s important to protect others using a crosswalk to navigate traffic. The bill is headed to the governor’s desk. It passed the House at the end of February on an 84 to eight vote and the Senate approved it unanimously last week. The neighboring states of Nebraska, Minnesota and Illinois have similar laws.