Home News KLEM News for Wednesday, May 22

KLEM News for Wednesday, May 22


The Le Mars City council approved an amendment to the current city budget to reflect 14.6 million in additional expenses.
Joe Mohning, City Finance and HR Director outlined a list of areas in the city budget that saw spending increases. These include several street projects, and additional maintenance during a relatively mild winter.
There were also increased costs brought on by Brownfield assessments, and the hire of an additional employee at the public library.
Capitol Projects showed the largest increase in expenditures. They include a new fire ladder truck, PlyWood Trail and Erdmanville expenses, industrial park expansions, the water works project, and land purchases for sewer plant expansion.
Mohning said some of the work was unforeseen, such as the Brownfield assessments, and milder winter weather allowed for more work to be done than anticipated.



Wells Enterprises Tuesday announced the investment of one million dollars in the Le Mars Area Childcare Center.

A check for that amount was presented to Richard Ziettlow, President of the Le Mars Community Daycare Board, by Adam Baumgartner, Vice President for Corporate Communications at Wells.


Ziettlow says two years ago, a task force was formed to address the shortage of daycare in the area.


They formed a non-profit organization, and began to address the daycare issue. By the end of last year, they bought the Building Blocks Daycare on the corner of 12th and 6th SW.

At the same time, there began a fundraising campaign for the daycare.


The new daycare contracted the Crittenton Center in Sioux City to provide programming for the daycare.  This is Christina Eggink-Postma, VP of Communications at the Crittenton Center.


Hope to reach capacity soon.


Adam Baumgartner says Wells understood the need for expanded daycare services in Le Mars, but the community concept was the best way to address it.


The Wells investment brings the daycare board closer to reaching their fundraising goal of 3 million dollars.  This brings the total to 2.6 million.  The fund is used for purchasing the daycare building, remodeling and furnishings, and additional land for future expansion.



Smithco, an industry leader in the manufacture of side dump trailers, is celebrating its 30th anniversary today.

CEO Scott Lovell says side dump trailers was not a new idea when the company was founded.


That something different was found far from northwest Iowa.


It took a few years for the side dump trailer to expand in the market.


Lovell describes what made side dump trailers attractive to contractors.


Smithco manufactures different kinds of side dump trailers to accommodate different applications.


Smithco trailers are sold widely


Lovell says the firm has, over 3 decades, gained by far the largest share of the trailer manufacturing market.
Short term issues current interest rates and inflation. Lovell says as a result, they’ve gotten more creative with financing their trailers

Long term issues are finding qualified employees…


While there are uncertainties in the future, Lovell is confident in the potential for growth at Smithco


The firm currently operates out of a 70-thousand square foot facility along US Highway 75.

The company was founded by Craig Smith in 1994.  In 2019, the company was sold to Christiansen Farms of Sleepy Eye, Minnesota.



Lifeskills Training Center in Le Mars has a new CEO and a new building to house their programs.
Jessica La Fleuer is the new CEO.  She has been on the job for a couple of weeks at Lifeskills. The organization recently purchased the former Plumbing Supply building on Second Avenue NE, north of the county emergency management agency. Lifeskills purchased the building because they are running out of room for new programs at their current facility, located next door to the Fareway Grocery on 1st Avenue NE. Lifeskills is a non-profit training center for persons with disabilities.



The U.S. Attorney’s Office in Sioux City says a Le Mars man pled guilty last week in federal court to meth and firearms charges.  48 year old Timothy Mullally admitted that he and others distributed more than two kilograms of methamphetamine. In August and September of 2022, he distributed more than 800 grams of pure meth to an individual cooperating with law enforcement.  Law enforcement and the US Postal Service intercepted a three-pound package of meth sent to Mullally’s house.  A search warrant of Mullally’s properties led to the seizure of cash and two firearms.  Mullally admitted to being a meth user, which prohibits him possessing firearms.  He faces a mandatory minimum sentence of ten years in prison, and a ten million dollars fine for the meth conviction.  He faces a possible maximum sentence of 15 years in prison and a 250-thousand dollars fine for the firearms charge.  A presentence investigation has been ordered by US District Court Chief Judge Leonard Strand.  The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Shawn S. Wehde and was investigated by Tri-State Drug Task Force based in Sioux City, Iowa, that consists of law enforcement personnel from the Drug Enforcement Administration, Sioux City, Iowa.



Primary ballots from Sioux County indicate several local races of note.
There are three Board of Supervisors seats up for election. In district 1, the largest Supervisor District which covers an area from Hawarden to Alton, three people week election in the Republican Primary, including incumbent John Degen of rural Hawarden. Challengers include Mark Pottebaum of Alton and Stanley Hoekstra.

There’s also a race for County Auditor. Incumbent Joe Van Tol was appointed to the position in 2023, after Ryan Doktor stepped down to take a job in the private sector. Doktor is now running for election to his old job.

Two Supervisors are seeking nomination to the board, without competition. Dan Altena of Sioux Center in District 3 and Craig Hoftyzer in District 5 are both incumbents. County Sheriff Jamie Van Voorst is also on the primary ballot, running unopposed for another term.

There is one Democrat listed in the Sioux County primary election. Emma Bouza of Hawarden seeks the nomination to run for Iowa House, District 3. That seat is currently held by Republican Tom Jeneary of Le Mars. Republican incumbent Skyler Wheeler of Hull seeks the nomination in House District 4. He’s running unopposed.



The latest U-S-D-A crop and weather report shows 78 percent of Iowa’s 2024 corn crop was planted by Sunday. However, corn planting remains eight days behind last year and four days behind average. Sixty-one percent of the soybean crop is now in the ground, compared to 39 percent the week before. Soybean planting is one week behind last year and two days behind normal. Topsoil moisture is now 93 percent adequate or surplus compared to 79 percent the prior week.