Home News KLEM News for Thursday, July 11

KLEM News for Thursday, July 11


The Le Mars Community School District Board has approved a resolution ordering a special eleciton on the issuance of 49.9 million dollars in General Obligation Bonds to build a new Pre-K through 5th elementary school. The Board, at their meeting this week, also approved a resolution supporting the issuance of 27 million dollars in Revenue Bonds toward the school project.
Board President Aaron Tolzin presented petitions bearing over 800 signatures requesting the election. These were twice the required number of valid signatures for the petition. Board members said they were thankful for the community response to a survey on school facilities which helped shape the facilities proposal. Survey’s were sent to every residence in the district. 34% of the surveys were completed and returned to the district office.
A special election will be held November 5, seeking approval for the issuance of the General Obligation Bonds.
A public hearing was held concerning the issuance of revenue bonds. The 27 million dollars in 1 cent sales tax proceeds will be used to offset a property tax increase needed to pay off the General Obligation bonds. The survey completed by district residents indicated they could commit to a property tax increase of up to $2.42 per thousand to pay off the G.O. bonds.
There will be more information on the special election in the weeks ahead.



Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds today outlined a response to help communities recover from tornado and flood damages.
At a press conference this morning, the governor said the most immediate need in the storm damaged areas is housing.


McKenzie Snow, Director of the Iowa Department of Education, says one of the immediate concerns is getting damaged schools ready for students in less than two months.


Snow says they are considering temporary locations for the schools.

The governor outlined several programs designed to help Iowans rebuild and recover. This includes an interest rate buydown program to help farm families afford repairs. Another program is based on hurricane recovery efforts used in Florida and Louisiana, where afftected families were put up in hotels, or recreation vehicles or modular homes. Governor Reynolds says they are going to implement short-term and long-term housing programs.



Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds visited Rock Valley Wednesday, her third in that community since the flood in late June.

Reynolds says housing is the main concern in Rock Valley and other flood-stricken communities.  She says she will address that and other flood-related issues at a press conference this morning.


Reynolds was encouraged by signs of progress seen in Rock Valley


The Governor says each time she comes to Rock Valley, she’s finding and addressing additional issues that arise.

Reynolds later visited Spencer and Sioux Rapids.

City Economic Development Director David Miller compiled an assessment of city infrastructure and services.  As of yesterday, 540 Rock Valley homes have been impacted by floods, 60-to 120 are considered a total loss or could be unreparable.  54 have been determined unsafe to enter, and 124 homes are considered safe to enter after repairs are made.  Other concerns are the two schools in the city; retail businesses 60% of the city’s retail and commercial businesses affected by the flood are non-operational;

Crews are working to restore sewer and water services; and basic city services have been crippled by a loss of maintenance buildings, shops, equipment, and service vehicles such as garbage trucks and snow removal equipment.



A Dickinson County Jury has found Kyle Lou Ricke guilty in the shooting death of Algona Police Officer Kevin Cram in September of 2023. The jury received the case around 10:30 A-M and deliberated for roughly an hour before returning the verdict. The trial began Monday with jury selection, there was testimony on Tuesday and closing arguments Wednesday. The defense didn’t dispute that Ricke shot Officer Cram, but claimed the act was not premeditated, and did not call any witnesses. The prosecution said Ricke executed Cram, who came to arrest Ricke for a misdemeanor charge of harassment from Palo (pal-oh) Alto County. The trial was moved from Kossuth county due to concerns about finding an impartial jury due to pre-trial publicity. A sentencing date will be set later. The mandatory sentence for first-degree murder in Iowa is life in prison without parole.



The director of the Iowa D-O-T gave the state Transportation Commission an update on flood recovery efforts during their meeting this week.

They also worked on getting flooded roadways back open. D-O-T Chief Engineer Tony Gustafson says at the height of the flooding there were 49 highway closures.  He says there were three highways still closed as of Tuesday. They include U-S 18 west of Spencer.


He says they are still working on a culvert that was blown out on U-S 75.

In some cases, floodwater kept people away from some courthouses, so they couldn’t renew driver’s licenses.  DOT helped set up temporary space to process license renewals.

DOT also help out with inspected flooded buildings.



After 14 years of legal wrangling, plans for a 30 MILLION dollar regional airport between Pella and Oskaloosa are officially paused. Radio Iowa’s O. Kay Henderson reports.


Orange City, Sioux Center and Sioux County made a similar agreement in 2004 for a regional airport, but it did not generate the same amount of push back as the project in Mahaska County did. The Sioux County Regional Airport is located near U-S Highway 75, in southern Sioux County, and opened in November of 2018.



Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley is calling out what he says are glaring failures in the Biden administration’s Unaccompanied Children Program. Under that effort, Grassley says the Department of Health and Human Services is to take children who arrive at the U-S border without their parents and place them with trusted sponsors. Grassley says H-H-S whistleblowers claim the sponsors aren’t being properly vetted, meaning “innocent kids have been sent to potential criminals, abusers and traffickers.” Grassley, a Republican, says the program’s failings are of “great concern.”



The State Racing and Gaming Commission fined the Tippico sports book five-thousand dollars for allowing an illegal bet on in the Super Bowl. They issued a second fine of 15-thousand dollars for allowing a bet on how many points Caitlin Clark would have in an N-C-A-A tournament game. Both type of bets are not allowed by Iowa law. Tippico spokesman Brian Schroeder says they made adjustments to put a warning in the system, but they were ignored. The Prairie Meadows Casino was fined 45-thousand dollars for two violations. One violation involved an 18-year-old male who got onto the gambling floor. Prairie Meadows security director Jake Hedgecock says the teen had been turned away twice and after checking their license plate camera, they found he had come back and gotten in. There was a second violation when an 18-year-old female was allowed onto the gaming floor with an adult and played a slot machine. The casino payed a 40-thousand dollars for the two underage violations and was fined another five-thousand dollars for being one day late in updating the list of self-banned gamblers.



The Iowa State Fair starts in 30 days — on August 8th. Iowa State Fair C-E-O Jeremy Parsons says there’s been a renewed focus on what he calls “creature comforts” for this year’s fairgoers. The number of paved handicapped accessible parking spaces has doubled, there are more shade structures and the fair spent 100-thousand dollars to place more picnic tables and benches around the fairgrounds. Some restrooms have been remodeled and there are more water bottle filling stations on the fairgrounds. The price of admission to this year’s State Fair is the same as last year and Parsons says that’s an achievement since inflation is a factor in any business, including the State Fair.