Home News KLEM News for Monday, June 17

KLEM News for Monday, June 17


The Le Mars Community School Board approved renewal of an equipment maintenance insurance agreement for the next school year. The district is in the second year of a three-year agreement with Gallagher REMI Insurance. The plan covers maintenance costs for equipment used in the district. The district last year received 200-thousand dollars in reimbursements from 210-thousand dollars in claims. The annual fee for the next year of coverage is 252-thousand dollars, up 14-thousand from the current year. In the past year, the district had an 83% usage rate. Under the company’s formula, any usage rate above 80% would trigger an increase in rates.



The Le Mars Community School Board approved the purchase of a new transportation and emergency radio system. The current system has gaps in coverage, where, at times, bus drivers cannot be reached, creating a safety hazard. Sometimes radio signals could not penetrate inside buildings in the district. The district took three bids. Under the contract approved with Tri State Communications, the company will purchase radio equipment and will operate a transmitter off a tower near Brunsville. The school district will rent the equipment and tower space. There is an annual tower rental 36-hundred dollars per year.



There were two northwest Iowa fatalities Friday.  An Orange City man died after crashing his car early Friday morning near Sgt. Bluff. 24 year old Donovan Burrell of Orange City was speeding on Old Lake Port Road around 3 am.  A Woodbury County deputy attempted a pull over the vehicle.  The Iowa State Patrol says Burrell lost control of his car, criss-crossed both lanes of travel and struck a shed.  The patrol says Burrell was not wearing a seat belt. Excessive speed, alcohol and or drugs and erratic driving were all contributing factors to the crash.  Burrell was taken by Sgt. Bluff Fire Rescue to Unitypoint St.Luke’s where he was pronounced deceased from his injuries.


There was a fatal accident in Rock Rapids, in Lyon County Friday.  The Iowa State Patrol says a head-on collision occurred along the 1900 block of U.S. Highway 75 around 4:30 p.m.  A northbound vehicle driven by 48 year old Joni Wulf of Rock Rapids was driving left of the center line.  A southbound car driven by 29 year old Megan Klapperich of Orange City swerved to avoid contact, but the two vehicles collided in the northbound lane.  Wulf died in the crash.  Klapperich was taken by helicopter to Avera Hospital in Sioux Falls.  The Lyon County Sheriffs Office, Rock Rapids Fire Department, Lyon County EMS, and the Iowa Department of Transportation assisted at the scene.



The Iowa Department of Agriculture and the U-S-D-A says two more cases of Avian Influenza have been confirmed in dairy herds in Northwest Iowa. One case is in a Plymouth County and the other is in a Sioux County dairy. There are now a total of five dairy herd cases in the state. Dairy cows are able to recover from the disease, and the Ag Department says the bird flu is destroyed when milk is pasteurized.


TREE-KILLING INSECT IS INFESTING MORE TREES IN WESTERN IOWA Western Iowa seeing more widespread cases of trees becoming infested with the emerald ash borer. The first case was discovered in Woodbury County last year and that’s where Lindsay Meylor works as a horticulture educator with the I-S-U Extension and Outreach. Meylor says her office is now fielding frequent calls from people, wondering how to save their trees. If the tree is already in decline, she recommends taking it down and planting a different type. Meylor says insecticide is best applied before any signs of damage, and treatment — which can cost hundreds of dollars per application — will have to continue throughout the life of the tree. The insect can kill a tree within two years. The pest first appeared in eastern Iowa in 2010 and has since been detected in 98 of Iowa’s 99 counties, all but Emmett in northwest Iowa.



The president of the Iowa State Association of Counties says county officials are hoping the state legislature makes changes in the 2023 law that capped property tax assessments. Barry Anderson, a Republican from Greenville, is a member of the Clay County Board of Supervisors.


Under the law, county officials must abide by limits on the general property tax levy as well as the levy for rural services.


Officials in about a dozen counties say their county’s share of money from the state’s Road Use Tax Fund is being reduced because of the new property tax calculations. Anderson says he hopes discussions with state lawmakers can be less adversarial, so changes can be made in 2025.


Anderson made his comments during a recent episode of “Iowa Press” on Iowa P-B-S. The 2023 state law says if the total assessed value of property in a county grows by more than three percent, some of the excess revenue must be used to reduce that county’s main property tax levy. In 2024, lawmakers reduced the required property tax cut in counties where growth in property tax assessments was under six percent.



Iowa Democratic Party leaders say hard work and message discipline will yield results for the party in November’s election. Iowa Democratic Party chair Rita Hart kicked off the party’s 2024 state convention this weekend by saying there’s a long, hard haul ahead. All six members of Iowa’s current congressional delegation are Republicans and Republicans have large majorities in the Iowa House and Senate. House Democratic Leader Jennifer Konfrst says Iowans are concerned about public education and abortion — and Democratic candidates need to focus on those two key issues.