Area News Stories
CITY COUNCIL DISCUSSES NO PARKING ZONES
The establishment of various no parking zones took center stage Monday evening December 2nd as the Oskaloosa City Council met in regular session. Mayor Dave Krutzfeldt presided over the two hour long meeting Monday evening.
The no parking zone that attracted the most attention was whether or not to approve the 1st reading of a no parking zone on the west side of North 9th Street from A Ave East to C Ave East. During a public hearing, several residents rose to speak against the no parking zone. The residents expressed concerns that they would be losing on street parking with the added no parking zone. During discussion, City Councilors acknowledged that there could be a loss of on street parking, however they stated that the current situation of allowing parking on both sides of the street made the street to narrow to drive on thus making it more dangerous. In the end, the council unanimously approved the first reading of the establishment of the no parking zone.
The council also unanimously approved an ordinance establishing a no parking zone along the south side of E ave east from North 11th Street to North 12th street. The council also unanimously approve the first reading of an ordinance to remove a no parking zone on the north side of third ave east from South 7th Street to South 11th street.
In other action, the city council:
· Approved on a 5-2 vote with City Councilors Aaron VerSteeg and Jason Van Zetten voting No, a motion approving pay request number 4 in the amount of approximately $14,000 and accepting the certification of substantial work completion for the South 7th Street pavement rehabilitation project. During discussion, VerSteeg and Van Zetten expressed concerns over the workmanship of some aspects of the pay request.
· Approved on a 4-3 vote, with councilors Doug Yates, Tom Walling, and Scottie Moore voting No, the second reading of an ordinance removing the North and South bound approaches of the four way intersection at South 7th Street and 5th Ave East.
· Unanimously approved a resolution approving the application by overland property development for enterprise zone benefits with the state of Iowa. City Manager Michael Schrock reported during discussion on this item that additional work with the developer and future action items for the city council would be likely as the housing projects moves forward.
The next meeting of the Oskaloosa City Council will be held on December 16th at 6:00 pm in the City Council chambers.
2013 YOUNG AMBASSADORS CROWNED
Street Young Ambassador Contest winners were announced in a gala event at
the Penn Central Mall Monday evening.
participants’ ages three through kindergarten of the Young Ambassadors
Contest were introduced by Master of Ceremonies, Charlie Comfort of
of $2,118.86 was collected from the contest. This year, proceeds
will go toward a donation to Eddyville Child Care, with the balance to
defray costs of the Main Street Lighted Christmas Parade. Those
participating in addition are Aracelli Pilcher, Freya Smith, Alexander
Fuller, Drake Pinegar, Liam Thomas, Chloe Fenton, Bailey McKinney, Karlyn
Scott, Gabriella Stropes, Braxton Lewis, Henry Bru, Heston Bru, Kaiden
Parker, Jaley Krusemark, Imara Colbert, Kolby Williams and Jace Goodman.
provided for all children were donated from local merchants which included
Mahaska Drug, Dr. Tom Bowie, HyVee, Gardner Collier Jewelry, Book Vault ,
Debbie’s Merle Norman, KBOE Radio, Swims Sports and Engraving, Brown’s
Shoe Fit, Oskaloosa
participants are invited to help spread the magic of Christmas by riding
on the Clow Train in the Lighted Christmas Parade “Candy Cane
SUPERVISORS DISCUSS MENTAL HEALTH REORGANIZATION
The Board of Supervisors met in a routine meeting Monday morning at 9:00 A.M. on the third floor of the Mahaska County Courthouse. The meeting time was 50 minutes.
The Supervisor’s first approved the agenda for the meeting, approved the bills from November, and also approved November 18th minutes.
The Supervisor’s next approved the removal of Amber McQueen from the maintenance payroll, and then approved the addition of Anita Golden to the payroll.
The Supervisor’s then discussed a solid waste 28E agreement and appointments. They also discussed and reviews property values, and what buildings could be fixed for insurance coverage.
To end the meeting the
supervisor’s heard from Julie Bak yet again about Mental Health
Regionalization. Julie let the
board know that
SPAHR SENTENCED IN DISTRICT COURT
Bruce Spahr was sentenced Tuesday morning in Mahaska County District Court. Spahr had previously been convicted by a jury on August 30 of one count of Sexual Abuse in the 2nd Degree. In Tuesday's proceedings, an emotional victim number one read a victim impact statement to the court and to Spahr.
Spahr also read a statement in which he maintained his innocence and repeatedly denied abusing any of the alleged victims in the case.
After statements from Spahr and Victim 1 had been read, Judge Joel Yates handed down his sentence to Spahr. Judge Yates sentenced Spahr to 25 years in prison, with parole eligibility beginning after he has served 70% of the prison sentence. In addition, Spahr will be required to register for life as a sex offender upon his release from prison.
Prior to the sentencing, the court held a hearing on Spahr's motion for a new trial and motion for arrest in judgment. In his argument for a motion in arrest of judgment, Spahr's attorney Ken Duker stated that the prosecuting attorneys had presented evidence "outside the statute of limitation." Duker argued that the remedy for this was an immediate dismissal of count 1, of which Spahr had been found guilty by a jury in August. The state briefly rebutted Duker's argument by referring to a prior court filing in which they resisted Duker's motion. After arguments, Judge Yates denied the motion in arrest of judgment.
The defense also argued a motion for a new trial. During his arguments, attorney Ken Duker stated that the jury had not been properly instructed on how to use specific evidence admitted by the defense. Duker also argued that the guilty verdict on one count and not guilty verdict on the other three counts contradicted the evidence in the case and showed a "compromise verdict" by the jury. The state again rebutted the defense's arguments by referring to their prior resistance to Spahr's motion for a new trial. After arguments, Judge Yates denied the motion for a new trial.
At the end of Tuesday's proceedings, Spahr's Attorney Ken Duker informed the press that he will be filing a notice of intent to appeal the case.
WATER BOARD APPROVES 20% INCREASE IN GENERAL MANAGER SALARY
The Oskaloosa Water Board took formal action Monday evening on whether or not to increase the salary of the general manager. After a forty minute closed session meeting, the Water Board voted 3-0 to increase Water Department manager Chad Coon’s salary from roughly $65,000 to $81,000. Prior to the vote on the salary increase, Water Department Board of Trustees Chairman Pete Settemi read a statement explaining the Board’s move behind the $16,000 salary increase.
“We have been and are currently under compensating our general manager,” Settemi stated. He also stated that the reason for the salary increase was within the Board’s objective to “retain the best employees.”
Monday evening’s move by the Water Department came after multiple meetings regarding the issue of Water Department General Manager Chad Coon’s annual salary. During the summer months, the Water Board directed Coon to collect data on the salary of various Water Department manager’s from area communities. After receiving and compiling the data, the board began to discuss the General Manager’s annual salary. After multiple meetings and closed session discussions on the matter, the board repeatedly tabled a formal vote on the matter until last night (Monday evening).
Coon’s salary increase will be effective January 1st.
SCHOOL BOARD DISCUSSES STUDENT PROGRESS DATA
Student achievement and how to improve education in the Oskaloosa schools was the main topic as school board members met in special session Monday. Discussion of Iowa Core, Schools in Need of Assistance and how the district responds was presented in various forms.
Board president Carl Drost asked each member of the board to discuss the sessions they attended when the Iowa School Board Association held its annual convention last week. Neal Hadden, Shelly Herr and Shawn Moyer mentioned information they obtained while listening to presentations from Clinton Community Schools and Carlisle regarding its Response to Intervention programs. Oskaloosa instituted the program this school year. Hadden said the Clinton district is using a top down approach because they wanted to ensure their graduates were prepared to go out into the world.
Herr cited Carlisle’s summer reading program in which there is a 3-to-1 student-teacher ratio. She said the program was paid utilizing funds for being a school in need of assistance. Shawn Moyer also cited the Carlisle program and suggested it is a school the board may wish to visit.
Charlie Comfort served as the district’s delegate to the assembly. He said much of his work was putting together the legislative platform. The platform came from priorities cited by the state’s districts.
Superintendent Russ Reiter gave a presentation with comments from curriculum director Dr. Mary Cooksley explaining Iowa Core and the schools and district in need of assistance constructs. While No Child Left Behind is a national initiative, the requirements are governed by the state board of education. Both told the board the bottom line is that by 2014, 100 percent of the students must be proficient. Moyer asked what it meant to be proficient. They said it was different for the various curriculums. There is no set number and the base changes with assessments.
Reiter explained that Title I funding for the district runs between $480,000 and $500,000, but that the district spends more than that each year. Oskaloosa Elementary is a Title I school while the high school and middle schools are not.
In addressing the frustration apparent from board members, faculty, staff and the community, Reiter said, “No excuses, we have to do a better job.”
Herr and other members of the board said the reason Iowa has not been able to receive a waiver from the Federal government is because of its lack of an adequate plan to evaluate teachers. Reiter said it puts teachers on the firing line and Iowa has not been willing to go that direction as yet. He said about 11 other states have also not received the waiver.
The final agenda item was discussion of board goals. Several items of information were given to members to consider. These included past board goals, suggested goals for the individuals on the board, information based on the presentations at the past board meetings and input from other sources. The board will continue to discuss the goals to develop a list to be formalized at later meetings.
The board will meet in regular session on Tuesday December 10 at 7 p.m.