Area News Stories
SUPERVISORS CONSIDER COMMUNITY SERVICES DIRECTOR APPLICANTS
It was a routine meeting for the Mahaska County Board of Supervisors Monday morning. The supervisors quickly dispensed with their agenda in less than 40 minutes. The first item up for approval was a public hearing on a setback ordinance. County Sanitarian Eric Dursky briefly spoke during the public hearing asking for clarification on the ordinance.
The Supervisors next heard the sanitarian report from Dursky.
The next item was the MCARD report. MCARD director Deann DeGroot briefly touched on some of the activities of MCARD, including a booth at the Southern Iowa Fair and the upcoming Mahaska Young Professionals BBQ.
The supervisors next approved the quarterly reports for the Sheriff, Veterans Affairs, Recorder, and Treasurer departments.
The board also voted unanimously to approve an amendment to the CCMS 28E agreement.
Supervisor Mark Doland also gave an update at the end of the meeting on the hiring of a community services director. Doland said that applications had been received from 14 persons and that the applications would be whittled down to three or four by the end of today. A subcommittee was formed to review the applications. An interview committee was also formed to conduct interviews with the final handful of candidates for the job.
The next regular meeting of the Mahaska County Board of Supervisors will be on August 4th at 9:00 am in the 3rd floor conference room of the Mahaska County Courthouse.
FORMER OSKY RESIDENT CHARGED WITH SEX ABUSE
Charges of Sexual Abuse in the 2nd Degree have been filed against an Iowa City man. According to a complaint and affidavit filed in Mahaska County District Court, 23 year old Brandon Myers is accused of unlawfully engaging in a sex act with a child under the age of 12. It is alleged that between 2008 and 2011 he abused a child aged four to seven at the time of the offense while he lived in Oskaloosa.
CITY COUNCIL DISCUSSES EMERALD ASH BORER
The Oskaloosa City Council heard a report on the projected effects of the Emerald Ash Borer as well as approved a variety of pay requests at their regular meeting Monday evening.
Dylan Mulfsinger, city management analyst, gave a detailed report on what the anticipated effect the City of Oskaloosa will experience relating to Emerald Ash Borer. Mulfsinger started off by noting that nine counties in Iowa have confirmed cases of EAB. As a result, Mulfsinger said that an Ash tree quarantine has been in effect since February. According to Mulfsinger, there's at least 135 ash trees in the City of Oskaloosa.
To deal with EAB, the city will take a three step approach; removal of ash trees, replanting of trees, and updating the city code.
Mulfsinger said that the city will begin to evaluate all the Ash trees that are in the city right of way, ranking them from best to worst. From there, the city will begin to remove the worst ash trees from the right of way. The city hopes to remove 15 trees this year, and then gradually increase that number dependent on if and when EAB arrives in Oskaloosa and Mahaska County. The cost for removal of one tree is estimated to be between $800 and $1200.
After removal of trees, the city will work with the landowner to replace the tree that has been removed. Mulfsinger said that homeowners who have a tree removed can request a new one and city staff will work with them to find the best tree species to replace the removed ash tree.
The city will also begin to update the city's tree code to avoid situations the city has been in with outbreaks of tree diseases such as EAB and Dutch Elm Disease.
Mulfsinger said that the total projected costs of removing ash trees in Oskaloosa will be $175,000, however that will be spread out over several years.
In other action, the city council:
Unanimously approved a variety of pay requests relating to four different construction projects in Oskaloosa.
Unanimously approved a resolution to authorize the execution of an agreement for building inspection services with Safe Building. The agreement is due to a current vacancy in the building inspector position.
The next meeting of the Oskaloosa City Council will be on July 21st at 6:00 pm in the City Council Chambers.
SUPERVISORS DISCUSS NEW ASSISTANT COUNTY ATTORNEY
The Mahaska County Board of Supervisors met Monday morning and quickly moved through a laundry list of items on a packed agenda. The first item for the Supervisors consideration was a public hearing related to an assessment of Wind Energy Conversion property. Comments were received by two people, including Andrew Jansen, the Executive Director of the Mahaska Economic Development Group. After the brief public hearing, Supervisor Chairman Mike Vander Molen announced that an ordinance relating to the matter will be brought up for Supervisor approval in August.
The board next discussed the hiring of a new assistant county attorney. Current Assistant County Attorney Amy Zenor took the floor during this time and asked the board for their formal approval to move forward with hiring a new assistant county attorney. Zenor noted that she is running unopposed for Mahaska County Attorney. The new assistant county attorney would begin around September 1st and would be trained by current county Attorney Charles Stream until after the November election. Stream indicated that his office budget would be able to handle the added salary for the couple of months it is necessary. The Supervisors ultimately gave approval for the hiring process to being for a new assistant county attorney.
In other action, the board unanimously:
The next meeting of the Mahaska County Board of Supervisors will be on July 21st at 9:00 am in the 3rd floor conference room of the Mahaska County Courthouse.
YMCA ANNOUNCES CLOSURE OF POOL
The Mahaska County YMCA has announced the closing of their pool and a temporary partnership with the City of Oskaloosa to use the Edmundson pool until further notice.
“The decision to close was not an easy one,” said Dawn Collins, Executive Director for the Mahaska County YMCA. “We have many members who rely on the pool for their health as well as for recreation. Unfortunately, significant repairs are necessary and we don’t want to jeopardize our members’ safety or the capital investment which is necessary. We have tried for five weeks to stay open as best we can, and it is no longer feasible.”
The YMCA is in the process of obtaining estimates for needed repairs. Once those estimates are received, a repair plan and timeline can be determined as well as a date for pool reopening and normal operation.
The YMCA and the City of Oskaloosa have collaborated to identify alternate options for YMCA aquatics users. Until the Y’s pool is once again operational, Y members will use the Edmundson Pool for swim lessons, water aerobics and lap swim, primarily in the mornings when the city’s pool is traditionally closed, but also with limited evening options. A new YMCA aquatics schedule has been released and is available on the YMCA web site or at the YMCA.
“We are very grateful to have the support of the City of Oskaloosa in accommodating this situation for our community,” said Collins. “It takes partnerships to ensure a good quality-of-life for our community, and we are blessed to have a strong collaborative community.”
NOMINATION PAPERS FOR COUNTY OFFICES AVAILABLE
Candidate Nomination Papers for the November 4,
2014 General election are available at the Mahaska County Auditor’s Office
for the following offices:
APPLICATIONS BEING ACCEPTED FOR OPERATION BACKPACK
United Way of Mahaska County is partnering again with SIEDA and the Salvation Army to make sure students have the tools they need to succeed. Operation Backpack provides backpacks and school supplies to students in need in Mahaska County.
EXPANDED CHILD CARE OPPORTUNITIES AT THE YMCA
Oskaloosa, Iowa – The Mahaska County YMCA is expanding its opportunities for Child Watch and drop-in child care programs over the summer. Access to child care is important for parents looking to increase their physical activity levels. If successful, these programs may continue into next school year.
WATER BOARD APPROVES CONTRACT WITH GENERAL MANAGER
The Oskaloosa Water Board formally approved the adoption of a contract for General Manager Chad Coon, in a special meeting Friday evening. The board voted 3-0 to adopt a five year contract with Coon with a salary of $81,000. There was no adjustment to Coon's salary. Coon previously did not have a contract as General Manager.
FIRE DEPARTMENT REMINDS RESIDENTS OF STORM SIREN PROCEDURES
The Oskaloosa Fire Department wants remind everyone that we are entering warm weather months and severe weather season.
Weather permitting, the storm sirens in Oskaloosa are tested at 2pm on the first Monday of each month from April through September.
The outdoor storm warning sirens will be activated if the national weather service has issued a tornado warning for Mahaska County and the tornado is headed in a direction that would likely affect the city of Oskaloosa. Also, if a trained storm spotter indicates to the 911 center that a severe thunderstorm contains damaging winds and or hail, the sirens can be activated.
Gov. Branstad praises veteran support program
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Gov. Terry Branstad says military veterans are finding jobs in Iowa.
Branstad said Monday that 23 veterans have gotten jobs through the Home Base Iowa program, which he signed into law this year. The program is designed to make it easier for veterans to transition into civilian jobs in the state.
Under Home Base Iowa, federal retirement pay is exempted from state income taxes and it makes it easier to obtain licenses for civilian jobs based on military training. In addition, businesses may grant a preference in hiring and promotion of veterans and some spouses.
There will be a job fair for veterans on Thursday in Davenport. At least 35 employers are expected to attend.