Home News KLEM News for Friday, May 10

KLEM News for Friday, May 10


More of Iowa is emerging from drought conditions.  The latest drought monitor report from the Iowa Department of Natural Resources shows all of northwest and north central Iowa at normal conditions, and all five drought regions in Iowa have seen improvement in soil moisture.   Parts of northeast and east central Iowa are in the worst drought condition, but soil moisture levels are improving there, too.  No extreme drought exists anywhere in Iowa.



Over 300-thousand dollars in budget transfers were approved by the Le Mars city council for the current budget year. One-third of the transfers covered police wages and benefits, some through American Rescue Plan funds. Other transfers covered the purchase of a support vehicle for Le Mars Fire Rescue, Tree removal, and playground equipment and supplies.



Second reading of amendments to Le Mars water and sewer rate ordinances was approved this week.  The city is increasing the rates in order to fund improvements and expansion of the city’s water and sewer plants.  Water rates will increase in each of the next four years, and yearly increases in sewer rates over the next six years.

Under this plan, minimum water rates will increase from 14.33 cents per thousand gallons to 24 dollars by the year 2027.  Minimum sewer rates will increase from the current 9.36 per month to 26.46 in 2029.  Three readings are required before the new rates go into effect.



Orange City Christian School’s society voted last night to approve a revised expansion plan.  The plan includes two phases.  The first includes remodeling parts of current space, in order to create new resource rooms and offices.  This phase will begin immediately, at a cost of 300-thousand dollars.  The second phase includes construction of new classrooms, including a science lab, and a new gymnasium, all covering 30-thousand square feet.  Total cost of the plan, including furnishings and contingencies, is estimated between 9.3 to 11.4 million dollars.  This phase would begin once cash and pledges reach 75% of the project cost.  Fundraising on this project has already begun.  With 3.7 to 5.2 million needed to start the project.



It’s commencement day on two northwest campuses today.  Dordt University will hold two commencements today.  Undergraduates will receive their diplomas at a ceremony starting at 9:30 a.m.  A Master’s Commencement and Hooding Ceremony will take place at 2 p.m.  Both will be held at the BJ Haan Auditorium in Sioux Center.

Spring Commencement at NCC in Sheldon takes place at 9-30 this morning for Health Programs, and at 1-30 this afternoon for all other programs.



Iowa Congressman Randy Feenstra is sponsoring a bill to require Medicare to cover over-the-phone telehealth services for another year.  That coverage was set to expire on December 31st of this year.

During the pandemic, Medicare began covering patient appointments conducted via video link and over the phone. Feenstra says many rural residents have no way to make a video connection. He cites a Federal Communications Commission report which found 45 million Americans cannot get broadband with high enough speeds capable of streaming video.


The U-S House Ways and Means Committee unanimously approved the bill this week.



Two scientist who played key roles in creating a world seed vault are the winners of the 2024 World Food Prize. World Food Prize Foundation president, Terry Branstad, Thursday announced Geoffrey Hawtin of Great Britain and Cary Fowler of the United States as the winners.


During the ceremony at the U-S State Department, Branstad says they conserved more than six-thousand varieties of crops and culturally important plants.


The Norway facility is often referred to as the “Doomsday Vault,” and holds one-point-two-five million seed samples in an underground facility in the Arctic Circle.


Hawtin is the founding director and executive board member at the Global Crop Diversity Trust. Fowler is currently the U-S Special Envoy for Global Food Security. The World Food Prize was created by Cresco, Iowa native Norman Borlaug, who received the 1970 Nobel Peace Prize for his work that contributed to increases in agricultural outputs which was termed the Green Revolution. The two will received the World Food Prize at an event at the Iowa State Capitol building in October.



The U.S. Department of Justice and civil rights groups have filed  lawsuits seeking to block enforcement of an Iowa law that would let state officials arrest and deport immigrants who are in Iowa after previously being deported or denied entry to the country. The law is scheduled to take effect July 1st. Governor Kim Reynolds says the law is necessary because President Biden has failed to secure the southern border. The head of the U-S Justice Department’s Civil Division says Iowa cannot disregard the U-S Constitution and Supreme Court precedent which puts the federal government in charge of immigration policy.