Area News Stories


LOCAL NEWS

LEGISLATIVE FORUM TO BE HELD TUESDAY EVENING

KBOE Radio, in cooperation with the Oskaloosa Herald, CRI, and Osky News will be holding a legislative candidates forum for house district 80 candidates. House district 80 encompasses eastern Mahaska county as well as all of Monroe county, Northwest Wapello county, and all of Appanoose county. 

Incumbent Republican Legislator Larry Sheets of Moravia along with Democrat Challenger Deb Ballatak of Albia and Independent Challenger Jared Godby of Moravia have all been invited to attend.

The event will begin at 7 pm and will be held at the ISU Extension Office on North I street in Oskaloosa.
Candidates will receive questions from a moderator. In addition, questions from the public will be taken.


CITY COUNCIL APPROVES DOG PARK SITE PLAN

It was business as usual for the Oskaloosa City Council Monday evening. The council met in regular session with Mayor Dave Krutzfeldt presiding. 

Among the items for the council’s consideration was the approval of a site plan for the Oskaloosa dog park project. The plan previously was considered by the Oskaloosa Planning and Zoning Commission and approved with the following stipulations: provide five directional signs to the dog park, provide two directional signs to restrooms from the dog park, provide a total of four benches for the park (two for each section), provide a total of four dog waste stations (two for each section), provide ADA accessibility to the dog park with ADA signage. Project coordinator RD Keep was on hand at the meeting Monday to answer questions for the council. 

During discussion, Keep noted that the board directing the project wishes to delay the ADA portion of the project until no later than July 1, 2015. He said they are requesting this so they can secure more funding for the project. After little discussion, the council approved the site plan with the stipulations attached as well as a delay of the ADA accessibility until 2015 on a 7-0 vote.

In other action, the council:

• Approved a resolution levying special assessment against private property for weed cutting violations on a 7-0 vote

• Received a report from MCDG director Andrew Jensen on the state of the local economy

• Approved the first reading of an ordinance amending Oskaloosa municipal code relating to permit connection charges on a 7-0 vote

The next meeting of the Oskaloosa City Council will be on November 3rd at 6 pm in the city council chambers.


SUPERVISORS HEAR ROAD REPAIRS REPORT

The Mahaska County Board of Supervisors met in regular session this morning. Among the items on the agenda included a variety of secondary roads items as well as two closed sessions.

The board heard a report from County Engineer Dave Shannahan on the current secondary roads construction projects. Shannahan reported that his crews are currently working on 295th street near Galeston Avenue. Shannhan said the crews are working on repairing an old bridge. He said that the bridge should be opened up within a few weeks.

Shannahan also reported that a road project near Taintor has been delayed. Crews hope to start on that project is spring of next year. The project has been delayed by the contractor due to summer rains tying up the contractor.

The board also held a closed session to discussing an IT Coordinator hiring recommendation. After the closed session, the board voted 3-0 to authorize supervisor Doland to negotiate a contract with the unnamed candidate.

The board then went into closed session to discuss litigation with RUSS (Regional Utility Support System). The board has been in ongoing litigation with RUSS for several months now. After the closed session, the board voted 3-0 to pay FY 201 membership fees without penalty and to reappoint Supervisor Vander Molen to the RUSS board.

In other action, the board:

·         Approved the 1st quarter recorder’s office report.

·         Received a report from MCDG director Andrew Jensen on the state of the local economy

·         Approved the targeted case management cost report for FY 2014

The next meeting of the Mahaska County Board of Supervisors will be on November 3rd at 9 am in the 3rd Floor Conference Room.


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

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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
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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

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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

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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
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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

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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

MIDTERMS-EARLY VOTING

Parties jockeying for early vote in Iowa, Florida

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — More than 2.3 million voters have already cast ballots for the November midterm elections, and both Republicans and Democrats are claiming the early voting numbers work to their advantage.

Florida continues to dominate early returns, with more than 891,000 votes cast by late last week. A contentious governor's race tops the ballot in that state.

Registered Republicans have cast almost half of the early votes. Republicans say their lead proves momentum for Gov. Rick Scott, who trails Democratic challenger Charlie Crist in many polls.

In Iowa, where a Senate race will help determine which party controls the chamber in January, Democrats hold a narrow lead out of almost 200,000 ballots cast.

But Republicans say they're making a more concerted early voting effort than in past elections.


AMEREN-POWER LINES

Judge to rule against Ameren in power line case

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — A judge says he plans to rule against a subsidiary of Ameren Corp. in a legal fight over whether it needs state permission to build a high-voltage power line across northern Missouri.

Cole County Circuit Judge Dan Green said Monday that he's inclined to reject Ameren's request for a declaration that the Missouri Public Service Commission has no authority over the power line.

Ameren Transmission Co. of Illinois wants to build a roughly 100-mile power line across Missouri from the Iowa to Illinois borders. It's part of a 480-mile transmission line from Ottumwa, Iowa, to western Indiana.

Earlier Monday, Green allowed landowners opposed to the power line to join the legal fight. Ameren hasn't chosen an exact route yet, but the landowners fear it could use eminent domain against them.


GOVERNOR-FUNDRAISING

Branstad winning cash race against Hatch

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Republican Gov. Terry Branstad continues to hold a massive cash advantage over Democratic challenger Jack Hatch going into the final days of the race.

Campaign finance reports filed with the state Monday show that Branstad raised $1.3 million between July 15 and Oct. 14 and had $1.3 million left in cash. Hatch raised nearly $880,000 and had about $280,000 on hand. Hatch and his wife have loaned $140,000 to his campaign.

Hatch stopped airing television advertising in late September. Spokesman John Hedgecoth said the campaign would run ads again before Election Day, but did not offer details on when.

Branstad, 67, has held a sizable lead throughout the race, with far more money and support than the 64-year-old Hatch.


BIOTECH CORN-LAWSUIT

Appeals court revives Syngenta, Bunge GMO lawsuit

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — A federal appeals court has given agricultural chemical maker Syngenta Seeds hope that it may be able to proceed with a lawsuit against grain storage and transportation company Bunge North America for refusing to accept one of Syngenta's genetically modified corn varieties.

Syngenta sued Bunge in 2011 claiming Bunge illegally refused to buy Syngenta's Viptera corn from farmers that year. Viptera is genetically modified to control pests.

China was importing large amounts of grain from Bunge but has strict rules against GMO grain. Bunge declined to buy Viptera, which Syntenta says damaged its business and reputation.

In 2012 federal Judge Mark Bennett dismissed Syngenta's lawsuit but on Monday the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled one of Syngenta's claims in the case could have merit and should be reconsidered.


SIOUX CITY STREETS

Street switch comes before Sioux City council

SIOUX CITY, Iowa (AP) — Sioux City officials are continuing to examine whether to switch three downtown streets from one-way to two-way.

The City Council planned Monday to discuss a report about plans for the change to Fifth, Sixth and Douglas streets.

Public Works Director Jade Dundas says the change would improve traffic flow in the downtown area and help businesses.

The Sioux City Journal reports the report will be outlined to the council but no action is scheduled.


MARSH EDUCATION CENTER

Davenport marsh education center to expand space

DAVENPORT, Iowa (AP) — The Nahant Marsh Education Center in Davenport is expanding with more square footage for classrooms and other spaces.

The Quad-City Times reports the center is at a former contaminated marsh cleaned up more than a decade ago. From the late 1960s until the 1990s, Nahant Marsh was used for skeet and trap shooting by a sportsmen's club. It led to the contamination of the marsh with lead shot that was cleaned up in 1999 under the Environmental Protection Agency's Superfund program for $2 million.

The marsh is near the junction of Iowa Highway 22 and Interstate 280. It's home to more than 150 species of birds, as well as plants fish, reptiles, insects and mammals.

The education center's 1,600-square-foot expansion includes a large classroom, more bathrooms and storage space. Work is expected to finish in April.


UNSOLVED KILLING-DUBUQUE

Iowa teen's death still unsolved 2 years later

DUBUQUE, Iowa (AP) — Dubuque police say they have few leads in the shooting death of a teen two years ago, citing a lack of cooperation from witnesses.

The Dubuque Telegraph Herald reports 15-year-old Marlon T. Barber Jr. was fatally shot in downtown Dubuque while he and his friends walked away from a party before midnight.

He was taken to a hospital where he was able to provide police some clues about the alleged shooter before dying from his injuries.

Dubuque Police Department Lt. Scott Baxter says the investigation into Barber's shooting has come to a standstill. He says police believe they have identified all of the people involved in the shooting. But he says that they and others who have some knowledge about the crime have been "relatively uncooperative."

Baxter says the department is still treating the investigation as active and ongoing.


DAVENPORT BRIDGE-OPEN

Centennial Bridge in Davenport opens to traffic

DAVENPORT, Iowa (AP) — A key Davenport bridge that crosses the Mississippi, linking Davenport and Rock Island, Illinois, has finally reopened.

The Quad-City Times reports the Centennial Bridge closed for repairs in August and was supposed to reopen within 35 days. Earlier this month, an engineer with the Illinois Department of Transportation said the bridge need more work than expected. The delay in the bridge's opening took about six weeks.

Jan Tappa and her husband Cliff own a steak house restaurant in Davenport. She says many of their regular customers came from the Illinois Quad-Cities. Cliff Tappa said business declined while the bridge was out of service.

But the Quad-Cities Convention & Visitors Bureau says the bridge closure was "more of an inconvenience than anything" and that it didn't impact tourism.


AGRICULTURE RESEARCH GRANTS

3 Iowa companies receive USDA ag research grants

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Three Iowa companies have received U.S. Department of Agriculture grants for research projects officials hope will lead to new technologies that advance agriculture.

Small Business Innovation Grants were awarded to Harrisvaccines in Ames, which has recently developed a new vaccine for a pig virus; Agren Inc. in Carroll, a consultant that helps farmers deal with environmental issues; and Diamond V Mills in Cedar Rapids, which develops animal food.

Each company receives more than $99,000.

The USDA says the grant program was created to stimulate technological innovations in the private sector and to strengthen the role of federal research and development in support of small businesses.

More than $18 million in grants were announced Monday by the USDA's National Institute of Food and Agriculture.


BRANSTAD-QUALITY OF LIFE

Branstad offers quality of life plan

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Gov. Terry Branstad says he wants to make sure Iowa has great parks and cultural offerings for residents.

The incumbent Republican governor, who is running for a sixth non-consecutive term, released a plan Monday he says would better organize the state's recreation and cultural resources. He calls it a quality of life effort.

Under the plan, the state would create an oversight board to coordinate the Department of Cultural Affairs, the Economic Development Authority, the Department of Natural Resources and the Department of Transportation. That board would oversee quality of life efforts, as well as come up with a long-term plan for new investments.

Branstad would also set up a new fund to pay for such projects, using existing state dollars and private money.