February 19 news

WORTHINGTON – The Nobles County Commissioners on Tuesday approved the Farmer’s Room in the Government Center as an Emergency Operations Center, and training room, stating it was the right place for an EOC despite a room already prepared and outfitted just two blocks up the road at the new Worthington Fire Hall. Having the room in a basement and in the same building where county employees would already be was crucial, they said, in an emergency. The commissioners approved a basic spending plan for just over $15,000 to add wireless access, flat screens, a sound system and a rack to house all of the control equipment.

Commissioner Bob Demuth acknowledged that other entities may not initially agree with the decision to designate the Farmer’s Room as the EOC, but said he hoped they would change their minds.

More will be added after the basics are installed, and according to Emergency Management Director Joyce Jacobs, the room and equipment would be used for training presentations and exercises.

Public Works Director Stephen Schnieder spoke with commissioners about replacement of a bridge on Nobles County State Aid Highway 1 north of Brewster, stating work on the bridge hinges on what happens during the upcoming legislative session and the bonding bill. Schnieder said he would like to use pre-cast box culverts to replace the bridge, which would cost $300,000 more, but last longer. The work would also go quicker, he said.

If the state comes through with bonding money, construction could begin as early as September. Without bonding, replacement would get pushed back into 2015.
The commissioners also voted to support a resolution stating counties should be allowed to publish legal notices on their own websites, instead of having to pay the high fees associated with publishing the notices in newspapers.

WORTHINGTON – Despite a presentation from Worthington High School Principal Paul Karelis, who said the number of students going into the band and choir programs will increase significantly next year, the District 518 School Board failed to approve a motion that would have allowed expansion of the band room and the possible addition of an office area and a second floor over a current storage area during Tuesday’s school board meeting. According to board member Joel Lorenz, the short-term fix would not last long. He also expressed concern about approving a project of that magnitude before the operation levy passes.

According to Superintendent John Landgaard, the addition, which would have been in the $2.5 million range, would not have cost taxpayers additional money.

Also addressed during the meeting were the missed days of school due to weather. The board approved that the two days of school missed will be utilized as teacher workshop days. If students miss another day of school, they will have to schedule make-up time, according to Landgaard.

WORTHINGTON – Worthington Public Utilities has received 15 phone calls of customers without water due to freezing pipes in the last couple of weeks, according to Manager Scott Hain. He told the Water and Light Board this week the prolonged cold has caused issues from the main to the customer premises in areas that are uninsulated.

While other communities have asked residents to keep the water running, the drought has caused Hain some concern. Customers who have had frozen service lines have been asked to leave water running. Their bills will be adjusted accordingly. Hain believes the freezing pipe issue will get worse before it gets better.

SPIRIT LAKE, Iowa - Two fires in separate robotic welder exhaust systems at Polaris Industries kept Spirit Lake firefighters on the run Monday evening. Fire Chief Pat Daly says the first call came in around 8:20 p.m. Firefighters were called back to the plant around 10 p.m. Daly says employees had extinguished the fires by the time firefighters arrived and that there was little or no damage.

No injuries were reported.

SPIRIT LAKE, Iowa - The city of Spirit Lake didn't have to look far for its next City Administrator. Meeting in special session Tuesday, the council voted unanimously to accept the retirement resignation of Mark Stevens and approved the appointment of Greg Owens to the position. Owens previously served as Assistant City Attorney. He'll continue to represent the city on legal matters, as the positions of City Administrator and City Attorney are now being combined.

Stevens’ retirement will be effective April 25. He plans to operate a consulting business servicing cities, counties and other entities on matters related to public administration.

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Emergency

Emergency operations center is indeed a big help fo the community!- Paul Kadri

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