Home News KLEM News for Wednesday, June 12

KLEM News for Wednesday, June 12

A Le Mars man was arrested and jailed last night after an alleged assault and burglary, and a standoff with law enforcement.
The Plymouth County Sheriffs Office says 39 year old Chase Roy Kounkel was charged with four felonies: WIllfull Injury, casing serious injury; Domestic assault; 3rd degree Burglary; and 3rd offense possession of methamphetamine.
A Sheriffs office press release says they were called by a victim who was assault at a resident northwest of Brunsville. Deputies investigated, and learned that Kounkel had burglarized the victims home earlier in the day, and returned to the same residence early last evening. The victim was assaulted, causing serious injury. Shortly thereafter, A Le Mars police officer located the suspect’s vehicle at his home at 115 1st Ave NW in Le Mars. Le Mars Police and Sheriffs Deputies tried to contact the suspect, but Kounkel would not answer the door. The Tri-County Emergency Response Team was called in. Negotiators resolved the incident peacefully, and the suspect was arrested some two hours later, around 8:50 p.m. Kounkel was taken to Floyd Valley Healthcare to be medically evaluated. After his release from the hospital, Kounkel was taken to the Plymouth County Jail, and was booked on the charges. He’s held on 25-thousand dollars bond. The Plymouth County Sheriff’s Office was asisted by the Le Mars Police Department, Le Mars Fire Rescue, the Iowa State Patrol, and the Tri-county CERT.



The memory of a Hinton resident was honored this morning at the Drivers License Examiner’s office at the Plymouth County Courthouse Annex. John Sitzman died in 2019. What his family did not know at the time was that he had agreed when applying for a drivers license to become an organ donor. County Treasurer Shelly Sitzmann, who nominated John for the honor, said his death saved the lives of dozens of others. The Iowa Department of Transportation and the Iowa Donor Network began a program to promote organ donation when applying for a drivers license. Plaques are hung in DMV officer to honor local organ donors.
On hand at the plaque unveiling today were John Sitzmann’s sons, Triston and Payton, brothers Duane, Blaine and Ray, and sister Brenda Kolbeck.

Triston and Payton Sitzmann

John Sitzmann’s brothers and sister

County Treasurer Shelly Sitzmann her department staff




The Plymouth County Board of Supervisors approved the canvass of election returns from the primary elections of a week ago. In Supervisor District 2, Incumbent Mike Van Otterloo of Le Mars was the winner, as was Douglas Manley of Akron in District 5, County Auditor Stacey Feldman of Le Mars, and County Sheriff Jeff TeBrink of Westfield. These candidates for Plymouth County offices won Republican primaries.



Margaret Catton – Ice Cream Days Committee – 30 year celebration – starts this morning with a Chamber coffee at the Wells Ice Cream Parlor and Visitors Center.  This afternoon’s events kick off this afternoon with the Browns’, a car show, and live music.


A popular attraction – axe throwing – returns to Ice Cream Days – and the Kiwanis and Aktion Club hold an ice cream social and Municipal Band Concert at Foster Park.

More Ice Cream Days activities take place Thursday afternoon and evening.  Friday and Saturday feature events – and ice cream – all day through the weekend.



State Agriculture Secretary Mike Naig is asking the U-S-D-A to compensate dairy operations struck by bird flu. Naig says this is requested when there’s an animal disease outbreak that leads to the loss of livestock or production.


Modern dairy operations have all sorts of ways to monitor cows, including how much they eat and how much milk is produced daily. Naig says those sick cattle are then isolated from the rest of the herd.


Bird flu has been confirmed among cows at dairy operations in Sioux and O’Brien Counties. A team of U-S-D-A veterinarians is in Iowa this week, trying to determine what might be the connection among poultry and dairy operations that recently have been hit by bird flu.


Naig says it will hopefully identify how the virus is moving and help develop new biosecurity strategies for poultry and dairy operations. When bird flu was first confirmed at poultry farms and in backyard flocks nine years ago, testing was done in nearby poultry operations to try to contain the virus. Now, both dairy farms and poultry operations near a bird flu outbreak are included in testing protocols.


Kaisand briefed a state legislative committee at the Iowa Capitol Tuesday. The state vet says once bird flu has been confirmed in a dairy operation, workers are advised to wear protective gear, like face masks and public health officials ask the owner of the dairy to monitor the health of their employees.

While no cases of bird flu in humans have been reported in Iowa, three dairy workers in other states recently have been infected with the virus after working around sick cows.



A former biology professor who’s been a college administrator for over two decades will become president of Briar Cliff University in Sioux City in July. Matthew Draud has been the vice president of academic affairs at McMurray University in Abilene, Texas, since 2020.


Draud, one of four finalists for the job, says his interview was capped off by a dinner with students — and that’s what convinced him to take the job.


Briar Cliff’s website shows 941 students were enrolled at the school last fall. Draud says Briar Cliff, like every college and university in the country, is heading into the next academic year behind the eight ball due to the revamped and delayed federal financial aid application process.


Federal rules that go into effect later this year require colleges to show students and parents how much they’ll be paying for college and the financial outcomes they can expect to achieve after graduation. Briar Cliff was founded by the Sisters of Saint Francis and started as a women’s college in 1934. Men were admitted in 1965. Draud will be Briar Cliff’s 13th president when he takes over July 1st. The university’s 12th president resigned in January to become the chief financial officer at a small Catholic college in Kansas City, Kansas.



A Federal Appeals Court heard arguments Tuesday for lifting the injunction against a state law the prevents some books from being in school libraries, and prohibits curriculum about gender identity and sexual orientation through sixth grade. The state argues the law keeps sexually explicit books out of schools and inappropriate lessons out of school curriculums. The Iowa State Education Association teacher union is one of the groups that seeks to block the law, saying it is unconstitutional. I-S-E-A attorney, Christy Hickman, says it is too vague for schools and school boards to interpret, and the penalties for violating the law have made teachers hesitant to take action.