Area News Stories


LOCAL NEWS

ROSE HILL RESIDENT CHARGED WITH MISAPPROPRIATING FUNDS

A former state employee has been charged in relation to an audit showing the alleged misappropriation of nearly $280,000. Jessica Strasser turned herself into state authorities at the Mahaska County Jail on Wednesday. She was booked into the jail and is being held on $25,000 bond.

According to trial information filed in Mahaska County District Court, Strasser is being charged with Theft in the First Degree and Ongoing Criminal Conduct. The theft charge is a Class C Felony while ongoing criminal conduct is a Class B felony.

An arraignment date has not been set.

On October 1st, the Auditor of State released a special audit on the operations of the Mahaska County Soil and Water Conservation District. The audit had been requested by officials with the Iowa Department of Agriculture due to concerns over the financial operations of the district.

The audit reported detailed what was identified as nearly $280,000 in improper disbursements and un-deposited collections. Disbursements included over $240,000 of cash withdrawn from the districts account. During the audit, it was found that Jessica Strasser’s name was on the many of the receipts for cash withdrawal. Strasser resigned as District Secretary on August 9th, one day after being suspended by the district.

The investigation was conducted by the Oskaloosa Police Department and the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation. 

A criminal charge is merely an accusation, and the defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.


PLANNING AND ZONING COMMISSION CONSIDERS DOG PARK PLANS

The proposed Oskaloosa Dog Park was dealt a setback as site plans for the park were tabled Monday evening 10/13 at a regular meeting of the Oskaloosa Planning and Commission. Proposals for the dog park call for it to be built on nearly 1.5 acres of land just south of the Edmundson swimming pool.

RD Keep, a planning and zoning commissioner who is also heading up the project, took the floor during Monday’s meeting to address concerns related to the project. One major concern expressed by commissioners was the proposed fence height for the dog park. According to site plans submitted, the park would be cordoned off into a section for large dogs and a section for small dogs. A four foot tall fence would also be placed around the park. Concerns were expressed that four feet would be too small of a fence for a dog park. Keep stated in response to these concerns that based on research done through the American Kennel Association as well as other communities with dog parks that four feet would be suitable for a fence height. He also mentioned that communities such as Iowa City and Ottumwa only have four foot high fences at their respective dog parks.

Commission members also discussed a request from the dog park committee to waive stipulations of rest rooms and drinking fountains being installed in the dog park. Keep stated that the waiver is being requested because it is not cost feasible for the committee to install restrooms and drinking fountains. He noted that a restroom installation alone could cost over $10,000. Keep also indicated that if required to put in the restrooms and water fountains, the committee would drop the project. The commission ultimately voted 6-0, with keep abstaining, to table the item. Commissioner Andrew Jansen said tabling the item would better allow commissioners as well as committee members to address their concerns with city staff. A special meeting will be called in the coming days to vote on the site plan.

In other action, the commission approve an alley vacation request at 1002 North 2nd Street. During discussion, no concerns were raised by commissioners and no members of the public spoke against the alley vacate request.

The commission also elected a new chair and vice chair. Current Commissioner Holden Barnhart was elected as Chair while new commissioner Pam Blomgren was elected Vice Chair.


WATER DEPARTMENT TO CONDUCT BI-ANNUAL FIRE HYDRANT FLUSHING

The Oskaloosa Water Department will be conducting our bi-annual hydrant flushing beginning Monday October 13, 2014. This will last approximately two weeks. You may notice low pressure and cloudy or discolored water. The water, even though discolored, will remain safe to drink. Please refrain from washing laundry if you notice this change in your water, as staining is possible. The water should clear up as crews continue flushing. Our crews will be moving throughout various areas of town during this period. You can check out our Facebook page for daily updates on where the crews will be working that day to help you stay better informed. The Water Department would like to take the time to thank all of our customers in advance for being patient with us as we complete this task.


WATER DEPARTMENT ASKING FOR CUSTOMER FEEDBACK

The Oskaloosa Water Department is asking for public involvement on a survey they are conducting. The Water Department is currently looking into the option of using online bill payments for their customers and we would like feedback.

https://www.surveymonkey.com/ s.aspx?sm=2aNWiTHvq_ 2fnyiIchU4_2fpTg_3d_3d


CITY COUNCIL TO RECONSIDER FRANCHISE FEE INCREASE

The Oskaloosa City Council rehashed previous items are their regular city council meeting Monday night. The council rehashed the issues of franchise fees, more specifically in raising them. At the September 15 city council meeting, the council voted 3-4 on the third reading not to raise the city’s franchise fees. Councilors Moore, Van Zetten, Ver Steeg, and Walling had voted against raising the franchise fees at that meeting.

Since that meeting, Council member Scottie Moore indicated that she would like to have the item brought back for reconsideration. Mayor Dave Krutzfeldt also indicated the same. The item on Monday’s agenda was merely to begin the process of reconsidering the franchise fees. 

During discussion, councilor Aaron VerSteeg expressed concerns with the previously adopted revenue purpose statement pertaining to revenue from the franchise fees. Ver Steeg indicated he would like to have the term “economic development” removed the revenue purpose statement. City Manager Michael Schrock said that the revenue purpose statement would have to be reconsidered. Ultimately, the council voted 6-1 to reconsider raising the franchise fees. Councilor Jason Van Zetten voted against the item. As a result, at the next meeting, the city council will vote on scheduling a public hearing for November 3rd relating to raising the franchise fees. If that item passes, beginning on November 3rd, the council will have to pass three separate readings of the ordinance raising the franchise fees.

The council also voted to move forward with sidewalk improvements on Edmundson Drive. At the August 18 City council meeting, the council voted against a revised site plan for the Tuscany Village development which did not include a plan for sidewalks in front of the development. A council committee met on the matter and ultimately concluded that sidewalk improvements should be made. As a result, the council voted last night to approve a plan to place a sidewalk from the North Edge of the Tuscany Village sidewalks to the west entrance of the Edmundson Park. The estimated cost for the project will be around $13,000.

Prior to the regular meeting Monday, Mayor Dave Krutzfeldt swore in new police officer Branden Blanchard.

 Blanchard is a William Penn University graduate who hails from Missouri. Blanchard began his duties as a police officer in September. He previously served as the community services officer from November 2013 through September.
The next meeting of the Oskaloosa City Council will be on October 20th at 6 pm in the city council chambers.


SUPERVISORS CONSIDER ROOF REPAIRS

The Mahaska County Board of Supervisors met in regular session Monday morning. The board handled a variety of routine matters Monday morning for their first meeting of October. 

The board first accepted quarterly reports from the Auditor, Veteran’s Affairs, and Sheriff’s departments. The board next approved a 28E Agreement between the town of Beacon for sheriff patrol duties.

The board also further discussed roof repairs for the courthouse roof. Repairs for the roof have been discussed since April, when a severe thunderstorm caused wind damage to tiles on the roof. Recently, a roof evaluation was completed on the roof and supervisors began to look at bids for repairs. The board ultimately approved a contract with Tarracon for the roof repair project.

The next meeting of the Mahaska County Board of Supervisors will be on October 20th at 9 am in the 3rd floor conference room.


MAHASKA COUNTY STATE OF THE ECONOMY RELEASED; NEW PLANNING INITIATIVE LAUNCHED

The Mahaska Community Development Group (MCDG) recently released a new report that brings to light many interesting trends and startling facts about Mahaska County. The report, entitled State of the Local Economy: A Baseline Analysis of Mahaska County’s Economy in 2014, is intended to provide information on local economic conditions to area leaders, residents, development organizations, and other community groups. One of the interesting findings is that Mahaska County has performed relatively well when evaluated against other similar communities across the state. The State of the Local Economy report can be found at www.teammahaska.org.

“Mahaska County continues to perform well compared to peer communities,” stated MCDG Executive Director, Andrew Jensen. “Most micropolitan communities across Iowa have seen a slow to moderate decline in population, while Mahaska County continues to slowly increase. Additionally, the manufacturing sector in the county has performed exceedingly well over the past five years,” he added. “In fact, the manufacturing sector not only provides approximately one in four jobs in the county, but has outperformed the state and the nation when it comes to job growth.”

Jensen also recognized many areas where the county needs to improve, which includes addressing workforce issues, providing more quality housing, and expanding the retail sector. “One of the largest current issues for the county is workforce. Employers are having a difficult time trying to find and recruit high quality employees, and this will only become more acute as the more people reach retirement,” Jensen added. “We have the jobs, but with low unemployment in the county and an aging workforce this will only become more pronounced.” The report notes that developing more housing and expanding retail options are related to the workforce issues, as they are important factors in being able to recruit new employees.

Along with identifying areas for improvement through the report, MCDG has helped launch a new strategic planning initiative, the Mahaska Development Partners, intended to provide a renewed focus on economic development and community growth. The Mahaska Development Partners was formed by leaders from several local organizations with responsibility for economic development, including MCDG, Oskaloosa Area Chamber and Development Group (OACDG), Mahaska County Agricultural and Rural Development (MCARD), Main Street Oskaloosa, City of Oskaloosa, and Mahaska County.

“These organizations have worked closely together for many years, but the leaders took it upon themselves to craft a new vision and strategy for the community,” said MCDG Chair, Beth Danowsky. “Forming the Mahaska Development Partners was the first step toward developing and eventually implementing the vision and strategy.”

The Mahaska Development Partners have actually been meeting for several months putting together the process by which these different organizations can coordinate their activities while working toward a common vision for the community. Through the process thus far, the Mahaska Development Partners have established roles and responsibilities; identified each organization’s assets and needs; and discussed strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats to the community.

Community leaders have said that Mahaska County development organizations need to adapt their operational models to keep up with the quickening change of the world economy to which the local economy is increasingly intertwined. The outcome of this strategic planning process will be coordinated action plans for each development organization with a common vision for the community in mind.
“Armed with the quantitative data from the State of the Local Economy report, agreed upon priorities, and coordinated action plans, we’ll be able to conduct more targeted business recruitment and develop more tailored local incentive programs,” said Jensen.

Josh Buckingham, OACDG Chair and Main Street Oskaloosa President, added, “The timing of this strategic planning could not be better. This effort folds in nicely with the community branding and marketing effort led by Main Street with the assistance of the Roger Brooks International consulting team. We also have an opportunity to chart a new direction for the community with new leadership now onboard.” The new leadership Buckingham referred to includes the three new director appointments made within the last nine months: Andrew Jensen as MCDG Executive Director, Karen Hafner as Main Street Oskaloosa Director, and Valinn McReynolds as OACDG Director.

Along with these directors, MCARD Director, Deann DeGroot, has also been heavily involved in the planning process. “It is great to see leaders from these various organizations working closely together. I think the community is going to be well served by the outcomes, but the challenge will be implementation of the strategic plans.”

The next steps in this strategic planning process are to finalize community priorities and to develop the action plans based on those priorities. The community priorities, already in development, will be released in the coming weeks. To define the action plans, MCDG has contracted with the University of Northern Iowa’s (UNI) Institute for Decision Making (IDM) to facilitate the conversation. Drew Conrad, with UNI IDM, will be in Oskaloosa at the beginning of October and will work with MCDG through the end of the year.
“Having Drew Conrad assist us in the process will add a level of professionalism and an outside perspective that will ensure we develop solid plans,” stated Danowsky. “Drew is one of the best in the business and we’re glad to have him.” 

Once action plans are complete, the idea is to gather all of the boards for the Mahaska Development Partner organizations for a joint meeting where each organization will roll out its action plan. This will allow each board to understand what the other organizations are doing to push toward the common community vision. Then, as DeGroot stated, the challenge turns toward implementation, which will involve a host of actions each targeted toward the community priorities.


AUDIT REVEALS OVER $280,000 IN MISSING FUNDS FROM MAHASKA COUNTY SOIL AND WATER CONSERVATION DISTRICT

A special audit released by Auditor of State Mary Moisman has identified nearly $280,000 of improper disbursements and un-deposited collections at the Mahaska County Soil and Water Conservation District. 
According to the audit report, improper disbursements of over $242,000 include roughly $241,000 of cash withdrawn from the district on 135 occasions. The report says withdrawal amounts ranged from $62.08 to $4,600. 113 of 135 withdrawals listed the name of the former conservation district secretary, Jessica Strasser, the report says. Strasser resigned as the District Secretary on August 9th, 2013 after being suspended the day before.

The report identified over $37,000 of un-deposited collections which were redeemed for cash or cash withheld from checks being deposited. It cannot be determined if additional collections were not properly deposited because adequate records for receipts were not available, the report says.

Included in the report was a letter from Strasser in which Strasser says she takes responsibility for her actions.
The audit was requested by the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship due to concerns over the financial operations of the Mahaska County Soil and Water Conservation District. Officials became concerned in 2013 after Strasser stopped payment on a nearly $66,000 check for payment of the district’s share of a completed conservation project. Had had the payment not been stopped, it would have been returned due to insufficient funds.

A copy of the report has been filed with the Mahaska County Attorney’s office, the Attorney General’s office, the division of criminal investigation, and the US Department of Agriculture Officer of Inspector General. No criminal charges have been filed.


OSKALOOSA WOMAN CHARGED WITH NEGLECT OF DEPENDENT PERSON

Charges of neglect of a dependent person and OWI, 3rd offense have been filed against an Oskaloosa woman in regards to a weekend incident. 41 year old Julie Jones was arrested Friday evening, September 26, in Oskaloosa. 

According to court documents, around 5:30 pm Friday evening, a caller advised the Mahaska County 911 Center that a vehicle was swerving over Highway 63 and driving on the gravel shoulder. Officers eventually stopped the vehicle in Oskaloosa. During the traffic stop, officers state that they could smell the odor of alcohol on Jones’ breath. Court documents also indicated that during filed sobriety tests, Jones showed signs of intoxication. Documents also indicated that her BAC was tested to be over .080%. During the traffic stop, officers noted that Jones’ 11 year old son was in the front passenger seat of the vehicle.
OWI 3rd offense is a Class D Felony, while Neglect of a Dependent Person is a Class C Felony. Bond has been set at $5,000 cash on each count. 

A preliminary hearing has been set for October 7th.

As always, a criminal charge is an accusation and a defendant is presumed innocent unless proven guilty in a court of law.


THOMPSON APPOINTED MAHASKA COUNTY MAGISTRATE JUDGE

Amber Thompson was appointed Mahaska County attorney yesterday after a two hour meeting of the Mahaska County Magistrate Nominating Commission. The commission voted unanimously to appoint her to the position. Three candidates were interviewed; Amber Thompson of Sigourney, Diane Crookham-Johnson of Oskaloosa, and Misty White-Reinor of Pella. Each interview lasted for approximately 30 minutes.

During her interview, among other things, Thompson stated that she would like to improve courthouse security, more specifically in the Magistrate Courthouse Room. Thompson also said she believed she would be a good magistrate because she can see both sides of an arugment without any preconceived notions.

Thompson was sworn in Tuesday 9/23 at 9 AM. She will attend a class for newly appointed magistrate on October 2nd and 3rd. 

Current Magistrate Scott Campbell will retire on October 1st. He has held the position since 1996.


OSKALOOSA SCHOOL BOARD DISCUSSES ASSESSMENTS

Oskaloosa School Board members met in special session Tuesday to discuss the comprehensive assessment with consultant Tony VanderZyl. The board met for about 90 minutes asking several pointed questions in evaluating the data released this past spring.

VanderZyl reiterated the number one recommendation from the study team, “Create a sense of urgency to get better.” That recommendation is intended for board members, faculty, parents, staff and students. Iowa students have continued to slide in relationship to other states on assessments, a comment that has not been lost during the pre-evaluation process and the follow-up.

VanderZyl, who assists Iowa schools through the Iowa Association of School Boards, walked the board through questions posted by the members. 
“Three out of four students do not meet the standards,” said VanderZyl. “If your student is one of the three, you had better be mad.”

The tone of the evaluator stated that Oskaloosa is no different than other schools in Iowa in that they are not doing well on standardized tests. VanderZyl said the assessments we are using in Iowa are bad. They do not test the rigor of Iowa Core. He said the Iowa Core is great and if schools will actually teach to it, they will see improvement.

The need to look at alternative assessments instead of MAP and the Iowa Assessment was questioned. Board member Kraig Van Hulzen said, “If we want to challenge students then we have to give them a different assessment. But only of we want different results.”

VanderZyl said the use of the National Assessment would be a good possibility. It was noted by VanderZyl and Van Hulzen that the Iowa Assessment is required by legislation. VanderZyl warned what the board will see in immediate results because of the difference in how the skills are assessed. 

“Instead of 80 and 90 percent proficiency you will see 20-30 percent.”
Superintendent Russ Reiter said he knows he would take a hit with those results. VanderZyl said yes, but that the district would find out what the students are actually learning. The current assessments are basically “color the bubble” tests and do not test rigor. As noted in an earlier meeting this spring writing is not included in the Iowa Assessments or in the MAP testing.

Oskaloosa students have begun the annual fall MAP assessment this week. Testing of all students should be completed in the next two weeks. The board will continue to look at the data and work with teachers, staff and parents to move forward.

Prior to the work session, the board held a closed session for an employee evaluation. Following the closed session the board voted to terminate the employment of Patricia Gibbons for violating the school policy of smoking on school property. The vote was unanimous.


OSKALOOSA RIDES OFFERING FREE FRIDAY RIDES IN OCTOBER

Good news for those looking to get around town this October: Oskaloosa Rides is free of charge on Fridays next month.

Oskaloosa Rides, the new fixed-route bus service, began in July with a goal of meeting transportation needs. Hundreds of people in Oskaloosa don’t have regular access to a vehicle and can struggle to get to places offering healthcare, retail and human services.
Free Fridays is a way to make it even easier to use Oskaloosa Rides and gain the freedom that comes with increased mobility.

“We have a long way to go in making it common place in Oskaloosa,” says Amy Langdon, director of the United Way of Mahaska County and Oskaloosa Rides organizer. “Using public transportation is not something everyone’s 100% comfortable doing just yet. But we’re hoping with Free Fridays and different promotions, we’ll be able to show people just how easy it is to use Oskaloosa Rides.”

The first step is just getting people through the bus door. Langdon says once they trust it to be convenient and reliable, more people will use it to meet their transportation needs.
“It’s a one-hour loop all around Oskaloosa, so if you’re not quite comfortable taking it from point A to point B, why not take it for the whole route? You can get off where you got on and get to see all the possible locations the bus can take you,” Langdon says.
Oskaloosa Rides runs 9AM to 5:30PM on Mondays, Wednesdays and Friday. Kids and teens under 18 ride free; adults are $1. Monthly passes are available at Hy-Vee, Fareway, and Walmart for $15/month or $10 for people with disabilities, senior citizens and college students.

Free Fridays will run in all five Fridays in October.
For more information on Oskaloosa Rides, “Like” Oskaloosa Rides on Facebook, go to unitedwaymahaska.org/oskaloosa-rides-0 or call the United Way of Mahaska County at 641.673.6043.


MAHASKA COUNTY GENERAL ELECTION CANDIDATE LISTING

FEDERAL OFFICES
UNITED STATES SENATOR
(Vote for no more than one) 
JONI ERNST - REPUBLICAN PARTY
BRUCE BRALEY - DEMOCRAT PARTY
BOB QUAST - BOB QUAST FOR TERM LIMITS
RICK STEWART - INDEPENDENT PARTY
DOUGLAS BUTZIER - LIBERTARIAN PARTY
RUTH SMITH 
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UNITED STATES REPRESENTATIVE DISTRICT 2
(Vote for no more than one)
MARIANNETTE MILLER-MEEKS - REPUBLICAN PARTY
DAVE LOEBSACK - DEMOCRAT PARTY

=================================
STATE OFFICES
GOVERNOR / LT GOVERNOR
(Vote for no more than one team)
TERRY E. BRANSTAD / KIM REYNOLDS - REPUBLICAN PARTY
JACK HATCH / MONICA VERNON - DEMOCRAT PARTY 
JONATHAN R. NARCISSE / MICHAEL L. RICHARDS - IOWA PARTY
LEE DEAKINS HIEB / TIM WATSON - LIBERTARIAN PARTY
JIM HENNAGER / MARY MARGARET KRIEG - NEW INDEPENDENT PARTY IOWA

=================================
SECRETARY OF STATE
(Vote for no more than one)
PAUL D. PATE - REPUBLICAN PARTY
BRAD ANDERSON - DEMOCRAT PARTY
JAKE PORTER - LIBERTARIAN PARTY
SPENCER HIGHLAND - NEW INDEPENDENT PARTY IOWA

=================================
AUDITOR OF STATE
(Vote for no more than one)
MARY MOSIMAN - REPUBLICAN PARTY
JONATHAN NEIDERBACH - DEMOCRAT PARTY

=================================
TREASURER OF STATE
(Vote for no more than one)
SAM CLOVIS - REPUBLICAN PARTY
MICHAEL L. FITZGERALD - DEMOCRAT PARTY
KEITH A. LAUBE - LIBERTARIAN PARTY

==================================
SECRETARY OF AGRICULTURE
(Vote for no more than one)
BILL NORTHEY - REPUBLICAN PARTY
SHERRIE TAHA - DEMOCRAT PARTY
LEVI BENNING - NEW INDEPENDENT PARTY IOWA
===================================
ATTORNEY GENERAL
(Vote for no more than one)
ADAM GREGG - REPUBLICAN PARTY
TOM MILLER - DEMOCRAT PARTY
====================================
STATE REPRESENTATIVE DISTRICT 79
(Vote for no more than one)
GUY VANDER LINDEN - REPUBLICAN PARTY
NO CANDIDATE - DEMOCRAT PARTY
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STATE REPRESENTATIVE DISTRICT 80
(Vote for no more than one)
LARRY SHEETS - REPUBLICAN PARTY
DEB BALLALATAK - DEMOCRAT PARTY
JARED GODBY
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COUNTY OFFICES

BOARD OF SUPERVISORS (Vote for no more than two)
MARK DOLAND - REPUBLICAN PARTY
HENRY W. VAN WEELDEN - REPUBLICAN PARTY 
JEFF FOSTER - DEMOCRAT PARTY
=====================================
COUNTY TREASURER
(Vote for no more than one)
NO CANDIDATE - REPUBLICAN PARTY
SONE SCOTT - DEMOCRAT PARTY
====================================
COUNTY RECORDER
(Vote for no more than one)
DIANE UPTON CROOKHAM - REPUBLICAN PARTY
NO CANDIDATE - DEMOCRAT PARTY

=====================================
COUNTY ATTORNEY
(Vote for no more than one)
AMY ZENOR - REPUBLICAN PARTY
NO CANDIDATE - DEMOCRAT PARTY

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NONPARTISAN OFFICES 
TOWNSHIP TRUSTEES 
(Vote for no more than two)

TOWNSHIP CLERKS
(Vote for no more than one)

Adams Township 
Township Trustees Donald D. DeWitt
Vernon Gay

Township Clerk Carleton Meinders Jr. 

Black Oak Township 
Township Trustees Don De Heer
Melvin Uitermarkt

Township Clerk Norman Ver Ploeg


Cedar Township 
Township Trustees Loren Bolkema
Ron Reed

Township Clerk Jennifer Van Zante


East Des Moines Township 
Township Trustees Kevin De Ronde
Roger Rodwell

Township Clerk Linda De Ronde


Garfield Township 
Township Trustees Lyle Blom


Township Clerk No Candidate

Harrison Township 
Township Trustees Paul Fynaardt Charles Oldham

Township Clerk No Candidate


Jefferson Township 
Township Trustees Steven L. Parker
Greg Scott

Township Clerk Jayne Rozenboom


Lincoln Township 
Township Trustees Mike Overbergen
Jason Vos

Township Clerk Madonna Bowie


Madison Township 
Township Trustees Bert Bandstra
Jerry DeBruin

Township Clerk Jill DeBruin


Monroe Township 
Township Trustees 

Michael Sexton 
Kim Stek

Township Clerk Dennis Molyneux

Pleasant Grove Township 
Township Trustee Megan Shilling 

Township Clerk Eric Sanders

Prairie Township 
Township Trustees Laurel DeJong
Bernie Veenstra

Township Trustee
Unexpired Term Ending 2016 Robert Van Weelden

Township Clerk Phil Bloem


Richland Township 
Township Trustees Lawrence Roose
Mike Vander Hart

Township Clerk Helen Roose


Scott Township 
Township Trustees Larry Ancell


Township Clerk Mildred Wanders


Spring Creek Township 
Township Trustees Terry Boer
Tony Kunz 

Township Clerk Joan Heslinga Boer


Union Township 
Township Trustees Lile K. Stout
Leslie C. Zimmerman

Township Clerk Daniel J. Gruber


West Des Moines Township 
Township Trustees Dennis Antolik
Wayne Ver Steegh

Township Clerk Lois R. Harris


White Oak Township 
Township Trustees Carroll Hol


Township Clerk Vickie Cope

===============================================

COUNTY PUBLIC HOSPITAL TRUSTEES
(Vote for no more than three)
Mike Grim
Mary Sexton
Paul Swenson

COUNTY PUBLIC HOSPITAL TRUSTEES
Unexpired term ending 2016
(Vote for no more than one)
David Langkamp

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SOIL & WATER CONSERVATION DISTRICT COMMISSIONERS
(Vote for no more than two)
Cory McBurney
Carrie McCloud

=================================================
COUNTY AGRICULTURAL EXTENSION COUNCIL
(Vote for no more than five)
Michael Appleget
Sherrie Moore
Joy Prothero
Dave Ver Meer
Gary Verploegh
Mahaska County, Iowa
LYNNDANA SANITARY SEWER TRUSTEE
(Vote for no more than one)
Gary Staggs
==================================================
NEW SHARON CITY COUNCIL
Unexpired Term Ending 2015
(Vote for 1)
Terry Hudson
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JUDICIAL BALLOT

COURT OF APPEALS JUDGE - Christopher McDonald

COURT OF APPEALS JUDGE - Thomas N. Bower

DISTRICT COURT JUDGE DISTRICT 8A - Randy S. DeGeest

DISTRICT COURT JUDGE DISTRICT 8A - Daniel P. Wilson

ASSOCIATE JUDGE DISTRICT 8A - Rose Anne Mefford

==================================================
PUBLIC MEASURE QUESTIONS:

A
“SHALL THE CITY OF OSKALOOSA, IOWA, ISSUE ITS BONDS IN AN AMOUNT NOT EXCEEDING THE AMOUNT OF $3,195,000 FOR THE PURPOSE OF RECONSTRUCTING, ENLARGING, IMPROVING, EQUIPPING AND FURNISHING ITS FIRE STATION?”

YES
NO
====================================================
B

“SHOULD THE NEW SHARON LIBRARY BOARD OF TRUSTEES BE CHANGED FROM ELEVEN (11) MEMBERS TO FIVE (5) MEMBERS CONSISTING OF FOUR (4) RESIDENT MEMBERS AND ONE (1) NONRESIDENT MEMBER?”

YES
NO


STATE NEWS

SENATE-IOWA

Democrats try to tarnish Ernst's 'Iowa Nice' image

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — As time runs short in the competitive Iowa Senate race, Democrats are trying to tarnish the centerpiece of Republican Joni Ernst's successful Senate campaign — her appealing image as a down-to-earth farm girl.

In recent weeks, Democrats have promoted stories about a dispute Ernst's husband had with a house painter, construction contracts awarded to her father when she was Montgomery County Auditor and local political conflicts during her time in county office.

Ernst supporters say the attacks won't change their opinions. Ernst, a state lawmaker and lieutenant colonel in the Iowa National Guard, is running against Democratic Congressman Bruce Braley.

Recent polls have shown a close race. The candidates and outside groups are spending millions on television advertising and bringing in big-name surrogates to boost enthusiasm.


OFFICER-INVOLVED SHOOTING

Iowa officer-involved shooting under investigation

SWISHER, Iowa (AP) — Authorities say they're investigating an officer-involved shooting in eastern Iowa.

The state Department of Public Safety says deputies with the Johnson County Sheriff's Office responded Monday to a report of a suicidal man. They identified him as 32-year-old Bradley Wayne McNeese, who is accused of fleeing the area and leading authorities on a chase near the community of Swisher.

The pursuit later came to an end and McNeese was injured. He was sent to an Iowa City hospital. Information about his condition is not available.

Authorities say a preliminary investigation shows McNeese and an officer discharged their weapons. The investigation also shows McNeese was injured by a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

The deputy, whose name has not been released, is on paid administrative leave.


STABBING DEATH-DES MOINES

Police say woman fatally stabbed in Des Moines

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Police say a woman has been fatally stabbed at a Des Moines apartment building.

Sergeant Jason Halifax with the Des Moines Police Department says the woman was found wounded in the torso Wednesday afternoon in the office of an apartment building on the city's east side. She was taken to a local hospital, where she died.

The Des Moines Register reports a man has been detained for questioning. Police are also interviewing several witnesses.

Additional information about the circumstances of the stabbing has not been released.


WEATHER SERVICE-IOWA

Weather Service leader praises Iowa flood research

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) — The director of the National Weather Service says he's visiting the Iowa Flood Center to learn more about how its researchers are predicting and helping respond to flooding.

NWS Director Louis Uccellini said Wednesday the Iowa Flood Center at the University of Iowa is a "tremendous asset" that is helping fill gaps in the ability to predict impacts of floods on local communities.

He said the five-year-old center's work with local officials is "a very important learning experience" as the weather service tries to partner with communities to save lives and mitigate property damage.

Iowa Flood Center officials invited Uccellini to visit as they lobby to become a nationally designated and funded center for flood research. They say they're hoping to partner with the new National Water Center in Alabama.


WORLD FOOD PRIZE-EBOLA

African leaders: Ebola could lead to food crisis

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Agriculture ministers from West African nations at the center of the Ebola epidemic say only money and global coordination will keep the health care crisis from becoming a food emergency.

In Sierra Leone, where thousands are infected and more than 900 have died, 40 percent of the nation's farmers have abandoned their fields. Agriculture Minister Joseph Sam Sesay says annual economic growth of more than 11 percent has dropped to an expected 3 percent.

Liberia Agriculture Minister Florence Chenoweth says billions of dollars of outside agricultural investment is gone as farming has been decimated.

The officials spoke Wednesday at the World Food Prize Foundation annual meeting in Des Moines where government, academic, corporate, nonprofit agriculture and food experts gather to discuss issues of hunger and boosting agricultural productivity.


AMMONIA RELEASE

DNR: Ammonia enters tributary in southwest Iowa

VILLISCA, Iowa (AP) — An unknown amount of ammonia has entered a small unnamed tributary of the West Nodaway River in southwest Iowa.

The state Department of Natural Resources says the anhydrous ammonia was released from the United Farmers Mercantile Co-op in Villisca between Tuesday afternoon and Wednesday morning. It went into a city storm sewer before entering the tributary.

DNR officials detected high concentrations of ammonia throughout the tributary to the river, but no fish kill has been reported.

Co-op employees are pumping contaminated water out of the tributary. They are also pumping contaminated water from an on-site pit.

The case remains under investigation.


UPS DEATH-FINE

Court upholds $10,000 fine for UPS in Iowa death

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — An appeals court is upholding $10,000 in fines for safety violations by UPS that were linked to an employee's death at the Des Moines airport.

The Iowa Court of Appeals on Wednesday sided with a state board that found Atlanta, Georgia-based United Parcel Service Incorporated committed two violations of Iowa workplace safety law.

The case stems from the September 2010 death of employee Daniel Raber, who was run over by a truck while holding open the gate at a UPS airport facility. The driver was in training and worked for a company that contracted for UPS.

Iowa regulators investigated UPS after Raber's death, concluding that poor lighting and a lack of training put employees at risk. They gave UPS two $5,000 citations for violating its duty to provide safe conditions.