OUR COMMUNITY COMMUNITY FOCUS APPANOOSE COUNT Y a special supplement to
Daily Ioweg ian
A supplement that focuses on the life of our community. Highlights local school districts, businesses, new industry, volunteer groups, community events, public safety, the local economy and more.
2014 Community Focus â€˘ Page 2
Circulation Manager Sandi Ellis
Classified Manager Sheila Selix
4 8 14 18
Managing Editor Michael Schaffer
Sports Editor Kyle Ocker
Lifestyle Editor Krystal Fowler
Account Executives Trista Barbaglia Melissa Haines Cyndee Knight
Layout & Design Amy Kroeger
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HCRSP picking up steam after 5 years Honey Creek State Park RRWA dedicates new facility Rathbun Rural Water Association
Appanoose County, destination wedding hub Bessie’s Barn
D.A.R.E. program returns after half a decade Drug Abuse Resistance Education
Fire Department’s calls rise again Centerville Fire Department AEDC retaining, creating jobs Tod Faris
BOB sets sight on Levee 2014 Betterment or Bust
What was your opinion in 2013? Daily Iowegian polls
The old and new City Hall-Museum Mayor of Plano, Richard Gorden
Enrollment growth leads to $3.5 million expansion Moravia School District
CHS recovers from fire, M-U brings tablets to classroom Centerville High Schools, Moulton Udell
2014 Community Focus • Page 3
in this issue
Business Manager Cindy Briggs
Publisher Becky Maxwell
HCRSP picking up steam after five years By Michael Schaffer Managing Editor
oney Creek Resort State Park has turned an operating profit the last three years since opening to the public in September of 2008, according to a state audit released in December of
2013. The resort's operating profit for the fiscal year 2011 was approximately $5,000. The operating profit for fiscal year 2012 was almost $200,000 and for fiscal year 2013 almost $250,000. In 2010, the Natural Resource Commission approved a one-year contract between the Iowa Department of Natural Resources and asset management firm, Capital Hotel Management, LLC, based out of Boston. CHM's job as asset manager is to manage the resort in a manner to control expenses, maximize revenues and "ensure the resort fulfills its mission of providing quality outdoor experiences in a resort setting," according to the state audit. Andy Woodrick, HCRSP general manager, said the first year the state paid the nearly $100,000 fee to CHM. Now, that fee is coming out of the resort's profit and loss statements, Woodrick said during an interview at the resort on Friday, Jan. 10. So, the resort's operating profits would have been more robust had the state continued to pay the asset manager's fee. "So the performance is a little better than even the audit implies just based on year-to-year comparisons of from when we opened," Woodrick said. HCRSP for the year ended June 30, 2012 paid CHM's base fee of $75,600. During the year ended June 30, 2013, HCRSP paid CHM's base fee of $85,230. Woodrick said the state four years ago brought in an outside consultant to look at ways to improve operations and make sure the management company was doing its job. "He was out here for two or three days and then reported back to the DNR and basically gave us a great review," Woodrick said. The management company and Woodrick's employer is Central Group Management, LLC, based out of St. Cloud, Minn., which was contracted on Jan. 28, 2008 by the DNR to run the resort. CGM for fiscal year 2013 was paid a flat management fee of $217,987 and an additional fee of $7,806. Woodrick acknowledged revenues were the most important factor and have increased though not as quickly as they would like to see. He said they try to run the resort as efficiently as possible. According to the December 2013 audit, HCRSP reported operating revenues of $6,066,364 and operating expenses of $5,830,398 for the year ending June 30, 2013.
Photo by Michael Schaffer/Daily Iowegian
Honey Creek Resort State Park's lobby inside the front entrance features this massive four-sided fire place that reaches all the way to the ceiling. 2014 Community Focus â€˘ Page 4
A look at the numbers from FY 2013 shows operating revenue from lodging of $3,335,090 was offset by $708,006 in operating expenses. Operating revenue from restaurant and banquet operations was $1,924,877 which was offset by $1,620,941 in operating expenses. Operating revenue from golf course operations was $623,080 which was offset by $666,183 in operating expenses. Operating revenue from the water park was $121,133 which was offset by $199,521 in operating expenses. Operating revenue from the gift shop was $62,184 which was offset by $49,960 in operating expenses. Operating expenses for general/administrative, sales/marketing and property operation/maintenance was $1,535,643, $653,831 and
$396,313 respectively. HCRSP's most costly operating expense is payroll with a total of $2,740,511 paid out in FY 2013. Since FY 2009, when HCRSP first started generating financial records, the resort's total operating revenues have almost doubled, going from $3,104,679 in FY 2009 to $6,066,364 in FY 2013. Helping to lead that surge was lodging, where operating revenues in FY 2009 was $1,314,958 that jumped up to $3,335,090 in FY 2013. Woodrick said the resort the past few years has increased its sales staff. And they try to cross-train employees, something Woodrick called essential to be successful. Woodrick throughout the interview brought up the resort's beauty and how many
who attended the Iowa Governor's Deer Hunt in January, some from as close as Des Moines, had never seen the resort but were amazed by it's grandeur. "I guess I would probably make the trip down here just to see it," Woodrick said. "It's a great thing we have here." HCRSP opened Sept. 18, 2008 to the general public as a destination resort. The resort consists of an 850-acre park that boasts a main lodge with 105 rooms, 28 deluxe cottages with 76 guest rooms, a restaurant and lounge, outside dining area, conference and banquet facility, pavilion, indoor water park with snack bar, 18-hole critically acclaimed golf course called The Preserve, RV park with full hook ups, 50 slip marina with a concrete boat launch,
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interpretive center and hiking, biking trails and paths. Woodrick took over as general manager at HCRSP in late 2009. Woodrick has been in the resort and hotel business since just out of college. Woodrick said he went into the industry because he wanted to travel and live in exotic places. He has worked at resorts and hotels all across the United States, from North Carolina to Idaho. He even worked on a tropical island. "I was ready to make a change and took a job in the islands, British Virgin Islands," Woodrick said, on Virgin Gorda. Next it was a job in Palm Springs and then a resort in northern Minnesota where Woodrick became the vice pres-
Photo by Michael Schaffer/Daily Iowegian
The lobby inside the main entrance to the lodge features a wide expanse of room and multiple seating. ident of Odyssey Development, which operates four resorts in northern Minnesota. "All great places," Woodrick said of the resorts he had worked for. "All great experiences." While working in Minnesota in the winter of 2008, a coworker of Woodrick told him about HCRSP and introduced him to a man named Bob Pace, the owner of Central Group Management, which operates HCRSP. Woodrick made his initial visit to HCRSP in September of 2009 during the day The PrePhoto by Michael Schaffer/Daily Iowegian serve golf course held an open house for local media. Decor inside HCRSP's lobby features an outdoor Woodrick said his initial reactheme, like these wooden duck decoys along the east tion to HCRSP then was
wall and several large, lacquered pieces of driftwood.
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"amazement." And that feeling hasn't changed, Woodrick said, as each time he comes over the hill to see the lodge sitting there. Going forward for the next five years, Woodrick said, they want to bring more consistency, improve the facility, make it better, more attractive and add amenities to make people want to come back more often. "We've identified what we need to do to make the property the best we can," Woodrick said. HCRSP offers the public naturalist programs free of charge throughout the year in order to teach visitors new skills and encourage the skills they already possess. They also offer
school programs including outreaches and field trips. Hannah Wiltamuth, a HCRSP naturalist, said the programs continue to grow and in 2013 they had more than 10,000 participants in programs like guided hikes, fishing, indoor skills, outdoor cooking classes and kayaking. "I'm really proud of our outreach programs we do so far," Woodrick said, like the resort's naturalists going to local schools to do presentations and the programs they offer at the resort. Woodrick said one of HCRSP's mission is to be a leader in green living. "Each year we look at how we can be more sustainable," Woodrick said. "We are one of the greenest properties, if not
the greenest, in the midwest. And we look at that and see how we can do it better." And that's not an idle boast, as the resort was named Iowa's greenest during a ceremony on Friday, June 8, 2012. The ceremony was the unveiling of the Desjardins Renewable Energy Project at the resort consisting of a 10 kW wind turbine, solar thermal heating panels for the resort's main lodge, solar electricity panels for five cottages, two solar-powered light poles and an educational kiosk. Woodrick and his wife Lily have two sons: Jackson, 4 and Alex, 15 months. "It's been great being married and being the general manager," Woodrick said.
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RRWA dedicates new facility By Michael Schaffer Managing Editor
athbun Regional Water Association dedicated its new water treatment facility and associated improvements Friday, Oct. 11, 2013. The dedication was attended by more than 110 ranging from Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad to Centerville Mayor Jan Spurgeon. Because of one improvement, RRWA can now draw water directly from Rathbun
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Lake. Before, the only water intake was from the Chariton River below the Rathbun Lake dam near the spillway. RRWA CEO John Glenn said drawing water directly from the lake means a big improvement in water quality over what they had before. "That gives us better quality of water, generally, and a more consistent quality," Glenn said, adding water drawn below the dam at times during flooding would be muddy and would force RRWA to change treatment plans but changes in lake water quality are very gradual so the facility is more consis-
tent. The nearly $40 million water treatment facility and distribution system improvements includes an approximately 60foot deep and 20-foot diameter Caisson-style intake that withdraws raw water from Rathbun Lake. The water intake pipe is 36 inches in diameter and extends more than 500 feet into the lake and four submersible pumps are located inside the Caisson portion of the intake. The Rathbun Lake intake has the capacity to supply 17.5 million gallons of raw water daily to RRWA's two water treatment plants.
The Caisson pump building is located at an elevation to protect it from high lake levels. Raw water from the lake travels to the water treatment plants through two, 24 inch diameter mains. The new water treatment facility has at least a 6 million gallon per day production capacity and the plant's design allows for daily production capacity of up to 9 million gallons daily. A new water tower No. 5 located west of Moravia has a 1 million gallon water storage capacity. It takes seven miles of 20 inch diameter mains to get
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2014 Community Focus • Page 8
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Rathbun Regional Water Association CEO John Glenn addresses the audience during the dedication of the new water treatment facility Friday, Oct. 11, 2013.
2014 Community Focus â€˘ Page 9
clean drinking water from the new treatment plant to the new tower. Glenn said economic development groups and the cities and towns that they serve now know they will have access to a larger, reliable water supply well into the future. "And I think that's really important," Glenn said. Glenn said Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad and Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds have made economic development one of their top priorities. Reynolds, who followed Glenn at the dedication ceremony, said the additional water supply is important to the area and will help spur economic development efforts. "And the efforts that you have Photo by Michael Schaffer/Daily Iowegian put into place with this facility A photo showing Rathbun Regional Water Association and parts of Rathbun Lake from really poises this area to encourage and create new economic the air. development to this area," Reynolds said. "This is great for this area of the state and for the areas and the communities that you serve." Reynolds introduced Gov. Branstad, who called the dedication a special occasion. "As you can see, good things are happening here in the state of Iowa," Gov. Branstad said. "It's great to be here and to celebrate the success of Rathbun Regional Water Association. This new expansion is very impressive and will be helpful to helping grow careers in the economy here in southeast Iowa with the additional access to a safe and reliable water supply for homes and businesses." Gov. Branstad said Rathbun Regional Water Association expansion is an opportunity for economic growth. Photo by Michael Schaffer/Daily Iowegian "So, we are very proud of what you're doing," Gov. The command center at the new Rathbun Regional Water Association facility. 2014 Community Focus â€˘ Page 10
2014 Community Focus â€˘ Page 11
Photo by Michael Schaffer/Daily Iowegian
The new water treatment facility, as seen from the east.
Photo by Michael Schaffer/Daily Iowegian
Pulsators located inside the new Rathbun Regional Water Association water treatment facility.
Photo by Michael Schaffer/Daily Iowegian
The building near Rathbun Lake that houses the 60-foot deep and 20-foot diameter Caisson-style intakes that draw raw water from Rathbun Lake. The water intake pipe is 36 inches in diameter and extends more than 500 feet into the lake and four submersible pumps are located inside the Caisson portion of the intake.
Branstad said. "And we're very excited about the capacity you now have to help grow this part of the state." Gov. Branstad congratulated RRWA for its long service to the state. RRWA was started in the 1960s by a bunch of farmers, he said. "So you all can be very proud of the history and the progress that you've made and we're proud to be with you to celebrate this new expansion. Congratulations, keep up the good work." Funding for RRWA's improvements that started in late 2006 came in part from United States Department of Agriculture Rural Development, the State Revolving Fund and RRWA reserve funds. RRWA is the largest rural water system in Iowa providing drinking water to 80,000 people in 50 communities in 18 southeast Iowa and northeast Missouri counties. Financing for the intake structure and pump power building came from the State Revolving Fund in the amount of $8 million and some grant money, Glenn said. The new treatment plant was built with a $20 million loan from the United States Department of Agriculture Rural Development. Rounding out the financing was $5 million RRWA had in reserve. Glenn said the increased capacity will make it easy for RRWA to meet customers needs, even when in a drought situation. While the improvements done so far are nearing $40 million, Glenn said, they still have work to do at the original water treatment plant which was built
2014 Community Focus â€˘ Page 12
in 1977. He said the original facility needs to be rehabilitated. Glenn said RRWA plans to move on to other projects now that the new improvements are finished. One project, Glenn talked about, was adding Bloomfield to the list of cities that get their water from RRWA. "I'm just really pleased to have this completed so we can move on to some other projects," Glenn said. Attending the dedication included several state politicians, several local politicians, several state agency representatives, several county politicians and representatives of the towns served by RRWA, representatives from area economic development organizations and contractors and vendors on the project and representatives of area water associations. "The new treatment plant and the other improvements are the result of Rathbun Regional Water Association Board of Directors and staff taking the steps to lead to future drinking water needs for rural areas and communities in southeast Iowa and northeast Missouri," Glenn said during the dedication ceremony. "These improvements now enable Rathbun Regional Water to supply more than 14 million gallons of water daily to customers, almost double our capacity before we made these improvements. This additional supply of drinking water is essential to Rathbun Regional Water Association to be able to support the continued economic and community development efforts across our service territory."
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Appanoose County, a destination wedding hub? By Krystal Fowler Lifestyle Editor
When residents of Appanoose County think about what draw's visitors to the area, most people probably wouldn't say weddings. In the past they would have been right, but today Appanoose County is becoming known as a wedding destination. With several venues opening in the last several years including Honey Creek Resort, Soap Creek Lodge and Bessie's Barn, people from all over Iowa and other states as well are helping to grow a thriving wedding business in the local economy. Bessie's Barn opened in 2012 and is owned by Nick and Kim Hindley. Located just five miles west of Centerville on Highway 2, the barn was built on property that
Kim's father bought in the 1990s. There is also a house on the property where the couple used to live in for several years. The barn in fact takes its name from the previous owner of the property, Bessie Felkner. Felkner lived in the home for decades before the Hindley’s and they said that they always referred to the house as Bessie's house when they lived there. When the time came to think of a name for the new addition, Bessie's Barn seemed like the obvious and only choice. "When we got ready to name this everybody was like, 'Well its got to be Bessie's,'" said Kim. "And most people who didn't now Bessie just think of a cow, so it kind of all just meshed together… however you want to look at it," said Kim. But before the barn was built and before it had a name, where did the idea come from? Originally it was to be used for their daughter's wedding. In 2011, Nick began designing the layout of the building. They
based the look of the barn on one they had seen on the Internet from the east coast, although Bessie's is much bigger. In fact the venue can comfortably host a wedding for up to 500 guests. According to the Hindley's an average wedding held there has 250-300 guests. Nick designed the building from the ground up with very little outside input. "The only thing really engineered was the trusses," said Nick. The barn is built almost completely from found and older materials. "We got most of it, probably 90 percent, from a gentlemen up in northern Iowa," said Kim. "He takes barns down and builds furniture from it… He just started bringing down truckloads at a time. There's probably parts of three barns here." They hosted their first wedding in the summer of 2012 but even then they didn't think Bessie's Barn would turn into
The interior of Bessie's Barn under construction in 2011. Parts of three separate old barns were used to construct the wedding venue west of Centerville.
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what it has, a thriving and growing business. That first year they ended up hosting eight weddings, from mostly local residents as word of mouth spread. "I guess in our head we thought we'd have eight or 10 weddings maybe a year and then we could use it in the winter time for other things," said Kim. "But then… we just kept getting call after call. So between that last summer wedding and Christmas I had booked almost all of last year...2013 was completely booked." Eventually Kim had to quit her part-time job nursing in order to manage the venue. Not only do she or Nick usually have to be on site throughout the weddings and receptions, they also have to do maintenance and upkeep on the buildings and grounds as well as showing the venue to potential clients throughout the year. Dates quickly fill up. Last year weddings were booked
almost every weekend through December and this year is no different. Beginning in February weddings are planned all the way through the end of December. "This year they start on Valentine's Day," said Kim. And the growth has largely been through word of mouth, with help from the Bessie's Barn Facebook page, a few sites that list the barn as a wedding venue and also through exposure by wedding photographers. Most of the clients who book weddings at Bessie's are not local. Many are from Des Moines, although there have been bookings from Kansas City, Mo. and Sioux City as well as from many other places throughout Iowa and Missouri. Weddings can book Bessie's for three days, Friday through
Photo by Krystal Fowler/Daily Iowegian
These stained glass windows came from a local church and are located at one end of Bessie's Barn. Owner Kim Hindley said it helps to give a slight church feel to wedding ceremonies if that is what the bride and groom want. A trellis is located in front of the windows and can be decorated for the ceremony.
2014 Community Focus â€˘ Page 15
Photo by Krystal Fowler/Daily Iowegian
Owners Kim and Nick Hindley near the front of Bessie's Barn. Behind them the venue can be seen. In front is a wagon that can be used as a display table during ceremonies and receptions.
Sunday for $3,500. The price includes the venue for the full three days to be used however the wedding party wants, including for the wedding, the reception and the rehearsal dinner. There are tables and chairs on site that can be used during the ceremony and the reception. The only extra cost is for linens. Sometimes weekends are booked for two different weddings, split between brides who want Friday weddings and Saturday weddings. "I guess Fridays in Des Moines… are not unheard of," said Kim. "We'll probably do a few more of those down the line."
Beyond the large indoor venue to hold weddings and receptions, the building also has dressing ares for the bride's and groom's parties as well as a fully functioning kitchen with dishes and cake stands that can be used. "People are allowed to either cook there own here or bring in a caterer," said Kim. "I would say maybe 25 or 30 percent actually end up cooking their own." There is also a bar that Nick helps man along with bartenders the Hindley’s hire for events. Weddings can choose to have a pay bar or can pay to provide drinks to their guests for free. Many choose to have a mixture. There are many other items included with the rental of the barn if the wedding party wants to use them, including
decorations, furniture, some lighting, a trellis and a speaker system. Overall the decorations and various pieces of art and furniture throughout the barn provide a rustic and fun theme that can be enhanced by more decorations or downplayed depending on what theme the wedding is going for. Weddings can also be held outside in two gazebos on the property. For each wedding held, getting food, transportation, decorations, music, photography, hair, makeup and all the other outside considerations in place before the big day can be stressful, but for those with no knowledge of the area and vendors they can work with, this can be an even more taxing process. Currently about 90 percent of weddings booked at Bessie's are from out of town.
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The Hindley’s help by recommending local vendors they know if the brides ask. One area where they are always in need is transportation and housing. They said wedding parties often book the local trolley, but they can't always get it. "We really could use a shuttle service," said Kim. With each wedding also bringing in several hundred people each weekend, hotel space can sometimes be an issue as well. Looking forward, the Hindley’s want to hire someone to manage the venue during weddings so they can free up their weekends once again. Currently, one if not both of them are present during each wedding. The couple is also planning several remodeling and expansion projects for Bessie’s. "We have a long to do list,"
said Kim. They want to add a playground and want to expand the kitchen, hopefully this year. They will also be adding a few decorations outside to add some more areas for photos. Moving forward they are also interested in expanding to host other types of events, banquets and parties. This past October the venue hosted a 10 year high school reunion for one of their daughters. "When we started we didn't really plan on this as a business… but it has turned into a business," said Nick. And business is still going strong. As far as bookings, the venue is already quickly filling up for 2015 and there are three people with requests in for 2016 dates, although Kim doesn't want to sign contracts that far out. And as word of mouth continues to spread they see no sign that the trend of Appanoose County becoming a destination wedding spot will end anytime soon.
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2014 Community Focus • Page 17
D.A.R.E. program returns after nearly a decade By Kyle Ocker Daily Iowegian
Fifth graders attending Centerville Community Schools have started taking D.A.R.E. again. The Centerville Police Department began offering the program this school year after a nearly decade of absence. The exact year the D.A.R.E. program ended was not immediately available. However, Daily Iowegian archives indicate that 2005 was the last year D.A.R.E. had been instructed. The school resource officer position was eliminated due to funding about a decade back, Centerville Police Chief Tom Demry said. It was cut when the grant that provided the funding for the officer had ran out. D.A.R.E. instruction then ceased as no other officers had been trained to provide D.A.R.E. classes. “We lost our school resource officer position for basically the same number of years [that we lost D.A.R.E.], and that was mainly due to funding because that was a grant deal,” Demry said. “So, we were able to secure our grant to put Officer Buckallew back in the school three years ago, now.” School Resource Officer Allen Buckallew instructs D.A.R.E. classes
on a class-by-class basis in the fifth grade. Buckallew meets with classes once per week, beginning after children returning from winter vacation. The instruction will last for around 10 weeks. At the end, a graduation ceremony will be held at Lakeview. The school resource officer was reintroduced to Centerville Schools for the 2010-11 school year from a three-year grant from the U.S. Department of Justice’s Office of Community Oriented Policing. The grant was awarded in 2009 and was for an amount over $173,000 to hire a police officer. The fund from the grant that paid for the SRO ran out after the 2012-13 school year, but the school resource officer position has remained thanks to an agreement between the city of Centerville and the Centerville Community School District to jointly pay for the resource officer position. While Buckallew has been the SRO for those three years, due to overbooked training sessions, he was unable to get the D.A.R.E. training until the start of this past school year. “Timing wise, this was as early as we could get him in, was this last year,” Demry said. “He went right after the start of the school year. We were finally able to get [into the training]. It was a two week class and it was free — that was a bonus.” After he received the training, Buckallew immediately began instruction with the fifth grade class in January. “He actually got it implemented pretty fast and the
school was right on board with it,” Demry said. “His plan — which he did — was to start it right after Christmas break.” According to the D.A.R.E. America website, at www.dare.org, the program was first founded by Los Angeles Police Chief Daryl Gates in cooperation with the Los Angeles Unified School District in 1983. The acronym D.A.R.E. stands for Drug Abuse Resistance Education. D.A.R.E. America’s mission statement is “teaching students good decision-making skills to help them lead safe and healthy lives.” Under the agreement for the school resource officer, the school pays for 75 percent of Buckallew’s wages and benefits while the city picks up the remaining 25 percent. As the school resource officer, Buckallew is assigned to the schools for every school day. He works out of an office at the Centerville High School campus, but frequents the other schools in the district daily or weekly as well. “The school was really good about setting him up [with an office],” Demry said. “They gave him a computer to use, they gave him office equipment — everything he needed the school took care of. So [the high school] is kind of his base. He tries to hit every school, every day, at least for a few minutes.” Buckallew also handles any crime that takes place in and around the schools. “He handles any and all crimes that take place in and around the schools too,” Demry
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said. “So, if it’s thefts or fights or dope or whatever, he takes care of all of that. Which is quite a bit actually. He also watches the morning and lunch traffic around the schools and that kind of stuff.” In addition to the reinstatement of the D.A.R.E. program with the continuation of the school resource officer, the Centerville Police Department has had changes in their vehicle fleet, plans to continue regular training for officers and increase training for dispatchers, as well as continuing their K-9 program despite the lone police dog’s seizure problems. Three cars were purchased in 2012 and three more were purchased in October of 2013. Those cars were used to replace four cars that were 13 years old and two others that were closing in on a decade of service. “To have a patrol car last 13 years is just unheard of, and it goes a lot to our maintenance and the officers take care of their cars and that kind of thing,” Demry said. “So our fleet, actually, is probably the best shape it’s ever been, at one time. It makes it a lot better to maintain and our vehicle repair budget — we’ll be a lot better on that.” Demry said the department’s policy allowing officers to be assigned their squad car so they can take it home at the end of their shifts has played a big part in the ability to use a car for several years. A “take-home policy” is a fairly common practice for law enforcement agencies around the country. Not all squad cars are
assigned to a single officer, however. Currently the department has two cars that are shared between multiple officers. “We decreased our fleet by one car, actually,” Demry said. “We have two cars that are shared by four people.” Demry said those two cars will rack up much more mileage than the cars that are assigned to a specific officer. He said the squad car assigned to him and the two shared cars were put into service at the same time. The two shared cars already have more than 1415,000 miles each while the vehicle assigned to Demry had traveled roughly 6,000 miles during the same period. “So, the cars that are shared obviously get a lot more use
and will have to be replaced a lot quicker than the ones that are assigned to an individual officer,” Demry said. As far as regular service cars, the oldest car the department uses is a 2008 Chevrolet Impala. The department’s regular patrol fleet is now entirely Chevrolet Impalas or Chevrolet Tahoes. Only one Ford Crown Victoria remains as an additional car that receives some light use for school and other events, but is not a regular patrol vehicle. Ford recently discontinued production of the Crown Victoria.Both the Impalas and Tahoes get better gas mileage than the Ford Crown Victorias did, according to information from Chevrolet and Ford. The Centerville Police Department still has an active
K-9 unit despite health issues with Boomer, the police department’s lone canine. Boomer has suffered some seizures as of late but remains in service with clearance and regular observation from a veterinarian. “We just got him under the watch of the veterinarian and so far he’s not under any medications or anything like that,” Demry said. “They say once you put them on meds, it pretty much takes them out of service. It’s kind of like Xanax, it wipes them out and they loose their drive.” Boomer is still effective in searching for drugs in the community, recently finding drugs at the high school before Christmas break, Demry said. The department has some
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new faces in the form of two new officers and a new dispatcher. The two officers replaced positions that had been vacated. The new dispatcher replaced Susan Hopkins who retired in 2013 after 32 years of service with the department. The two new officers are Angela Widmar and Bryan Baum. Widmar is Centerville’s first female police officer. The new dispatcher is Nicole Evans. The police department performed 4,421 business checks this year as a routine service they provide over night by checking for suspicious or out of the ordinary activity as well as open doors, broken windows, etc. “It’s something that we really started doing more of three or
community focus four years ago,” Demry said. “One thing that’s good about the night shift guys is, they know the town. They know what’s normal. They’ll go around and that’s kind of part of their normal routine.” Traffic stops were up slightly in 2013 from 2012. Arrests were down slightly from 968 in 2012 to 894 in 2013. The amount of calls remained comparable from year to year, with 6,404 calls for service being logged by dispatchers in 2013. Training will also be at the focus of the department this year. Demry said the
department regularly trains its officers, but the department will begin putting their dispatchers through more strenuous training. “We try to keep ourselves pretty current with our training,” Demry said. “We do a lot of training in house and we utilize a place called the Midwest Counter Drug Training Center, and they offer free training to law enforcement. So that’s one thing we really try to keep current on. “A new thing we’re doing now, we just started at the beginning of the year, is more updated and pretty more intense training for our dispatchers. That’s something that over the years they’ve not, maybe, received as much train-
ing as everybody else. So, they’re going to do more regular training. More stuff to keep them sharp, ready to go, in the event of an emergency.” Demry said he doesn’t believe most people realize what being a dispatcher entails. “I think a lot of people don’t realize, what all they do,” Demry said. “I think a lot of people just think they answer the phone and that’s it. And they don’t realize who all they talk to and how many phones they answer and that kind of thing.” The Centerville Police Department has also been one of the area law enforcement agencies assisting schools in transitioning their protocols for armed intruder response.
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At the start of January, the Centerville Police Department hosted a joint training day with approximately 140 staff members of the Centerville Community School District with area law enforcement. The training was on a nationally endorsed program that goes by the acronym ALICE — alert, lockdown, inform, counter and evacuate. Staff members, as previously reported in the Daily Iowegian, attended a sit-down instruction at the Simon Estes Auditorium on the morning of Jan. 6 before they received hands-on training that afternoon in their respective school buildings.
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Fire Department’s calls rise again By Kyle Ocker Daily Iowegian
or the second straight year, the calls the Centerville Fire Department responds to has increased. In March 2012, the fire department began responding to EMS calls to assist Mercy Ambulance in Centerville. In 2012, the fire department responded to 407 calls. In 2013, that number increased to 681 calls, as their fire calls increased as did their medical response calls. Last year was the first full year of the fire department responding to in-town medical calls with Mercy Ambulance. As quoted in 2013 edition of Community Focus, Centerville fire chief Mike Bogle began having his department respond to medical calls as an additional service he can provide to the public at no extra cost. In that story, Bogle said they were able to respond to the calls but they weren’t hands on until the ambulance crew arrived, unless there was a severe risk to life for the patient. He said Mercy was okay with the fire crews not having formalized EMT certifications, but that they were attempting to find a way to get funding to send firefighters through the EMT training.
During an interview for this Community Focus story, Bogle said that they have secured funding from Mercy to begin putting some of their firefighters through EMT training. The hospital is going to pay for some to go through the EMT training, probably either this winter or early spring,” Bogle said. Having EMT certifications won’t change anything in their response and Bogle said the fire department will not begin run-
has more pending calls than they do active ambulance crews. DeVoll said he and his partner was the only active ambulance crew in the town when they received a call of a person that had fallen and another call of a vehicle versus pedestrian accident. “We were the only [ambulance] in town,”DeVoll said. “My partner and I, we had to clear [the first] call before we could go to the other.
ning an ambulance unit. “Really nothing is going to change [in our response], other than when we get there we’re going to be completely trained,” Bogle said. “We’re not going to start running an ambulance or anything like that out of here. It’s basically a service I can offer to the public that’s not costing them anything.” Jeff DeVoll, an EMT for Mercy Ambulance, said the fire department’s practice of responding to medical calls has aided in several ways. A big help is when Mercy Ambulance
“As we were going back to the hospital, [the fire department] was already going to the second call. On a scene, for the lack of a better term, it’s chaos. And, for the fire department to be there, already on scene, taking control of that, putting things together — once we get done with the other call, we have a good idea of what we’re going to. They’re in communication so we know what we’re looking at before we get there.” As DeVoll and his partner were preparing to respond to the second call, he said the fire
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department had already arrived on the scene of the pedestrian accident and was able to alert them that they could run to the call without the use of lights and sirens. Normally, DeVoll said, they assume the worst on a call like that and would run lights and sirens when responding. “Anytime an emergency vehicle goes through town, to respond to a scene, it distracts other drivers,” DeVoll said. “So, by them telling us that we don’t have to run lights and sirens — that’s an asset in itself.” DeVoll said the fire department personnel help Mercy’s response and patient care in several ways, with fire crews assisting with everything from lifting, to driving an ambulance back to the hospital, to aiding with responding to different calls when the call load overcomes the amount of rigs available. “A lot of times we have a call where we need both paramedics in the back, while the fire department drives the ambulance,” DeVoll said. “Everything works a lot smoother.” DeVoll says they’ll also send the fire crew on scene to the ambulance to either retrieve medical supplies or get necessary supplies ready for when they move the patient into the ambulance for transport to the hospital, which helps get patients care faster. Now, DeVoll said he couldn’t imagine not having the fire department respond with them for medical calls. “I’ve been down here for three years,” DeVoll said. “My
experience has always been with the fire department. When I came on, they were gradually working into responding to all medical calls in city limits. I couldn’t imagine now going into a scenario where they didn’t respond.” Currently, all of the apparatus at the Centerville Fire Department is paid for in full. Bogle said they are evaluating what they may need in the future but don’t have immediate plans as far as trucks go. “We’re going to start doing some studying, and looking, and thinking, and evaluating what we need, what’s going to be the best bang for our buck, what will logistically and literally fit in the building, because we’re running out of door space,” Bogle said. “Nothing is going to happen,
as far as a new truck being backed in. I’d like to sit a little longer, I’d like to wait at least a year before we do anything.” “We’re doing okay,” Bogle continued. “We keep things together, that’s one of the beauties of having the full-time guys. A lot of our time is spent out there repairing and doing maintenance [to the vehicles].” The fire department is looking to replace some of their turnout gear that has gotten worn, some of which is also considered out of date by federal standards. “Twice a year, all of our coats have to be laundered and torn a part,” Bogle said. “They actually have a shelf life — they’re only supposed to be good for ten years of service. And, at over $1,500 to $1,600 a set, we can’t afford to do that [replace
them every 10 years].” Some of the department’s air packs have aged passed federal standards as well “I have applied for a grant for about $128,000 for all new air packs,” Bogle said. “Ours are pretty dated and federal regulations and things like that — by their standards they’re out of date. So, I’m hopeful that come spring, we’ll hear something.” Bogle said the fire department has worked well the city to compromise in a way that prevents the budget from overrunning but replaces as much gear as possible. “The city has been good to us as far as budgeting and working with that,” Bogle said. “We’ve … tried to find a happy medium on getting gear replaced like we’re supposed to
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by federal standards and not overrunning the budget.” “We’re in the process of replacing it in a little better time,” Bogle continued. “We’re keeping a close eye on it. And the volunteers are good to use their money and buying some stuff. They’re going to be applying for some grants here before long. They want to buy a new thermal imaging camera and they want to buy some new extrication equipment. So, the volunteers, they’ve got some money from the car show and some different things. They’re going to use the money they’ve got for some match grants, hopefully.” Bogle said the department has 22 volunteers along with the three full-time firefighters. The fire department continues their push for smoke detec-
community focus tors. There have been examples of people living in homes that had caught fire being able to escape thanks to a smoke detector. One fire last year occurred at home where the fire department had installed smoke detectors, allowing the occupants of the home to escape safely. Bogle said most of their smoke detectors come from the State Fire Marshall’s office. However, private citizens or businesses can donate smoke detectors for the CFD’s program by contacting the fire station for details. The fire department will install smoke detec-
tors, or change batteries on existing smoke detectors, free of charge for citizens. Those interested can contact the Centerville Fire Department at (641) 856-2314. Bogle said those that receive the smoke detector installations are not specific to one demographic or another. “It kind of bounces around, because we’ve got the ‘Adopt A Firefighter’ program — we really hit it hard in the schools too,” Bogle said. “So, we’ve had quite a few younger parents contact us and say, ‘Hey, my kid said you’d do this for us.’ I can’t say it’s one demographic over another, it’s pretty spread out.” For citizens, the smoke detectors, batteries and installation is all free. The department will also come install smoke detec-
tors at businesses, with the only difference being the business is asked to buy the smoke detectors. “We’ve done a couple of businesses too,” Bogle said. “We’ll go in and install them for them. We usually ask the business to buy their own, but we’ll come and install them for them.” Bogle said his department is now going to begin working more with Centerville building code enforcement. Centerville ordinances only require businesses applying for liquor licenses to go through a fire inspection. Now, Bogle is beginning to do fire inspections along with the building inspection George Johnson, of the Centerville code enforcement, already conducts. “In the next few years, we’re
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starting to work more with George Johnson of code enforcement,” Bogle said. “And we’re doing a lot more together on inspections as far as different businesses. We’re only required by city code to do businesses with liquor licenses. Now, legally we can go do anything. Traditionally, that’s all the fire department has ever done, is liquor licenses. Now, we’re starting to go more with the code official on buildings that don’t have a liquor license.” “There’s certain codes and things that people don’t realize they have to follow that can come back and bite them if they don’t check first,” Bogle added.
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AEDC creating, retaining jobs in Appanoose County By Michael Schaffer Managing Editor
he Appanoose Economic Development Corporation in Centerville since May of 2007 has created 103 new jobs and retained an additional 107 jobs in Appanoose County by loaning money to local businesses from two different funds. Tod Faris, hired to be AEDC's executive director in late November of 2008, said the first was a Revolving Loan Fund that started making loans of up to $50,000 in May of 2007. The first fund started out with $99,000 from the United States Department of Agriculture Rural Development and a local match of $105,000 that came from the Appanoose Industrial Corporation. The USDA gave AEDC three years to loan the $204,000, which they did and then some. AEDC lent $60,000 from May 2007 through 2008; $46,000 in 2009; $132,000 in 2010; $115,000 in 2011; $28,000 in 2012; and $48,200 in 2013. Money from the first loan fund was split; 48 percent of a loan was from the USDA and 52 percent was from the local match. The first fund that started out with $204,000 has grown due to repayment of principle and
interest to the point where that fund has loaned out $385,950. "That's why they call it revolving, because you're revolving that money," Faris said Monday, Jan. 27 by telephone. "That's why it is a success story in this type of lending. We haven't actually had one that we've had a loss." As of January of 2014, a total to 33 loans have been made to Appanoose County businesses, Faris said. Thirteen of the 33 loans have been paid in full and the others are being paid down monthly. The first RLF loan program created 92 new jobs and retained an additional 92 jobs since it first started making loans in May of 2007, Faris said. Local businesses deemed eligible by Faris and a four-person review committee that have taken advantage of the 5 percent interest rate loans include the Blue Bird restaurant, Crazy Big Randy's BBQ and Sharon at the Print Shop, Faris said.
"And we were able to lend her enough to get started," Faris said. "And then they've really flourished. It's worked out great for that family at that location." But Faris and AEDC wanted a larger pool of money from which to make loans, just in case the original loan fund program didn't have enough money for a company's request for a loan to either expand an existing business, relocate an established business here or start up an entirely new business altogether. Here's where Faris and the USDA teamed up once again in September of 2010 to participate in the Intermediary Relending Program. This new partnership brought $575,000 in financial assets to AEDC: USDA kicked in $500,000 and AIC offered $75,000. "So we thought it would be nice if we had a loan fund that we could lend $150,000," Faris said. "So that was the main goal
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of having that second fund." When AEDC makes an up to $150,000 loan with a fixed interest rate around 5 percent from this pool of cash, 85 percent is from the USDA and 15 percent is from the local match. Faris said a loan from this fund is more risky for AEDC because they have to pay the USDA back with 1 percent interest. "And so now, when we're doing that $100,000 loan, we're on the hook for it if it doesn't go well," Faris said. "And that's why I'm saying it's a little more risky. We have to be careful." In 2011, Faris and a four-person loan review committee, approved two loans out of the IRP for a total of $160,000. Repayments from the two loans has generated almost $80,000 more dollars, Faris said. "That leaves us a big chunk that we can turn right around and lend again," Faris said. "So it's still that revolving loan idea." Faris said the USDA has
given AEDC until June of 2014 to lend the entire pool of cash, which hasn't been done yet, and if the entire IRP fund is not completely lent out the USDA may take away the portion of the funds not lent out yet. Faris said he has talked to local businesses about borrowing from the IRP now instead of waiting. "I don't want to lose a dime of it," Faris said. "I want it all to stay here. I throughly believe we're going to have it all lent out in time. I really do." Faris said loans from the IRP have created 11 new jobs and retained an additional 15 more. According to the USDA Rural Development web site, the "IRP program is to alleviate poverty and increase economic activity and employment in rural communities. Under the IRP pro-
gram, loans are provided to local organizations (intermediaries like AEDC) for the establishment of revolving loan funds These revolving loan funds are used to assist with financing business and economic development activity to create or retain jobs in disadvantaged and remote communities." Eligible projects range from places of lodging to pollution control to startup costs to equipment purchases to land purchases to the acquisition, construction, conversion, enlargement or repair of a business. Faris said loans from both funds have leveraged nearly $3.8 million in capital improvements and funding for those businesses.
Tod Faris, AEDC executive director
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BOB sets sights on levee in 2014 By Krystal Fowler Lifestyle Editor
The local volunteer group known as BOB has kept expanding its agenda as they have grown throughout 2013 and now move into 2014. The group, composed of local volunteers, has been working steadily for the past two years on projects at the city park, the VFW Hall and the 18-80 Club, among others. In 2013 the group was able to finish renovations they were helping with at the 18-80 Club. The group helped install all new windows and worked with the Indian Hills building trades classes. According to Carla Wahl with the 18-
80 Club, they also installed all new lighting in the dining room. "You can stand by the window and if I was holding a candle before it would literally blow it clear out," said Wahl. "[Now] you can stand by that window and not feel the draft and have your hair blowing." Now the group has begun hosting Bingo games at the club each Saturday and so far the event has been a success. The doors open at 4:30 p.m. with Bingo starting at 6 p.m. and running until abut 9:30 p.m. "Bingo at the 18-80 Club has been going very well for us, with lots of community participation," said Mike Thomas from BOB. "All the labor is done by volunteers and much of the food has also been donated." "They've had humongous
crowds," said Wahl. "It's doing really well. It is turning out good." The proceeds raised each week go to different projects around town. "Each week we announce what the net proceeds will be used for," said Thomas. "The first three weeks it was used for levee beautification. Last week and this week all proceeds are going to the Appanoose County Health Department." The group also launched Planes, Trains and Automobiles in conjunction with the Fireman's Car Show in 2013. According to Thomas the group is once again planning to hold Planes, Trains and Automobiles in 2014. This year it will be held on Aug. 2 once again in conjunction with the Fireman's Car Show. "We will be coordinating
activities with the airport," said Thomas. "We are expecting even more rail cars this year, and the event proceeds will be used to fund repairs and improvements at the VFW Hall or the old CB&Q railroad depot." The day originally featured plane rides from the Centerville Airport out to Rathbun Lake as well as skydiving at the airport and rides on the train tracks in small rail cars leaving from Curwood for a round trip to Moulton along with the annual Fireman's Car Show on the Square. This year the group will also be combining with the well established Rathbun Lake celebration, Summer Bash. "We are planning to coordinate our efforts on this weekend to include the Summer Bash activities on Friday night," said Thomas. "They include a
Photo by Michael Schaffer/Daily Iowegian
Patrons approach a plane at Centerville Airport during the BOB organized Planes, Trains and Automobiles Aug. 3, 2013. 2014 Community Focus â€˘ Page 34
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Photo by Michael Schaffer/Daily Iowegian
A skydiver approaches the ground to land during the first Planes, Trains and Automobiles event set up by BOB in 2013. The group hopes to keep expanding the event this year. boat parade and fireworks show, I believe. We are exploring the idea of adding "Boats" to Planes, Trains, and Automobiles." Thomas said BOB is
still looking for even more local partners to set up their own events that weekend. "We are also hoping other groups and businesses will think of other activities or events... That same weekend,
for an even bigger draw to our community for this weekend," said Thomas. The groupâ€™s work on the VFW Hall will also continue. According to Thomas the VFW will get new curbing on the
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north side of the building this summer. Then the brick pavers on that side of the building will be reworked as well. There will also be some minor repairs to roof leaks completed. The group will also continue to focus on levee projects in the coming year. "Future projects on the levee include replanting the flower pots that were installed last year [and] continuing with the landscaping of the pocket park on the former Tent and Awning location," said Thomas. "We understand the Farmer's Market will be moved to the levee and look forward to working with them this summer." Thomas also highlighted changes and decoration efforts made by several levee businesses in the past year. "The Eagles have completed several upgrades and improvements to their building," said Thomas. "John Hubener and Ryan Stober have remodeled their buildings and of course Ryan Stober built a completely new building and moved his business. Centerville Body Shop has made great efforts to improve their landscaping and overall appearance of their property. Johnson's Furniture had a great Christmas display this year, as he has for many past years." The group is still excited about all the work they are doing in the community and continues to expand their volunteer base. BOB holds meetings each Tuesday at 7 p.m. at Centerville City Hall and anyone is welcome to attend and bring project ideas to the group's attention.
Centerville Community Betterment, Inc.
strives to provide quality care to individuals in our community including:
â€˘ Supervision of adults with disabilities 24/7 in each of V\YĂ„]LOVTLZ â€˘ Hourly services for adults in their homes assisting with personal goals â€˘ Hourly services to children along with their parents to enable them to achieve their developmental abilities â€˘ Clinical Therapy services And starting March 1, 2014 we will be opening a mental health stabilization program to provide safe supervision [VPUKP]PK\HSZPUHĂ„]LILKOVTL^P[OJHYLMVY individuals experiencing mental health issues. 7SLHZLJVU[HJ[[OL**)0UJVÉ‰JLMVYTVYLKL[HPSZH[ (641)437-1051.
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What was your opinion in 2013? By Michael Schaffer Managing Editor
n almost every Thursday's Daily Iowegian Opinion page a Question of the Week appeared. The non-scientific question gave readers an opportunity to express an opinion on some of the events in 2013. So, here is a recap of what Daily Iowegian readers had to say about local, state and national events in 2013. In February, the Boy Scouts of America
announced plans to abandoned their sexual orientation policy and allow gay and lesbian scout leaders. The Question of the Week received 111 responses: 44 said abandon the sexual orientation policy while 67 said do not abandon the sexual orientation policy. In March, the Question of the Week addressed federal tax and spending issues. The question was: "Does the country have a spending problem or should taxes on the wealthy be raised?" Well, 86 votes were cast for the country has a spending problem and 55 votes were cast for taxes on the wealthy should be raised. Also in March, reader
response to a question dealing with the criminal court system almost topped 300 votes. The question was: "Is the criminal court system in Appanoose County too lenient or are they handing out sentences that fit the crime?" For 225 of you, the answer was too lenient. Forty-two voted that sentences fit the crime and 15 said they were not sure. In April, there was a bill in the Iowa Legislature that would have given Iowans a choice when it comes to paying state income taxes â€” pay a 4.5 percent flat tax or stick with the current progressive tax system. Readers overwhelmingly
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supported the 4.5 percent flat tax idea as 76 votes were cast in favor as compared to only 25 votes cast not in favor. The first Question of the Week in May dealt with samesex marriage in Iowa and how, if any, has your view about it changed. On April 27, 2009 same-sex marriage certificates were first issued. After four years do you still feel the same way about it as you did then? One vote was cast indicating the person approved of it in 2009 but four years later disapproved of it. Seventeen votes were cast that said they were at first opposed but now approve. Otherwise, people's opinions
hadn't wavered in four years. Opposed to same sex marriage then and still today received 257 votes while approved then and still approve today received 129 votes. Edward Snowden, a former technical contractor for the National Security Agency and Central Intelligence Agency, made the news when he leaked details on American and British surveillance programs. Depending on whom you talk to, Snowden was a hero informing the public of intrusive surveillance or a traitor for theft of government property. Reader response to the July question topped more than 500 votes with hero barely in the lead. Hero received 261 votes, traitor received 224 votes and 38 voted for not sure.
The Iowegian in late July posed this question: Do you agree with the acquittal verdict the Florida jury reached in the George Zimmerman trial in the shooting death of Trayvon Martin? Yes received 133 votes, no received 45 votes and six were cast for not sure. A light-hearted question was asked in September. "How many pancakes do you like to eat at Pancake Day?" Well, the biggest vote getter was two pancakes with 37; the next was three pancakes with 22 votes; one pancake received 16 votes and four pancakes received 14 votes. A question related to Pancake Day was asked in late September. It dealt with lawn chairs. Are you fine with them being
placed on the Square several days in advance of the Pancake Day parade or are they an eyesore and should be taken to the dump? Lawn chairs on the Square days in advance of the Pancake Day parade makes it look like a mess received 128 votes while 81 said the chairs didn't present an issue. When it came to vote on the blame for the federal government shutdown readers were evenly divided. Readers who answered the October question said both Democrats and Republicans received 99 votes, just Republicans received 60 votes and just Democrats received 63 votes. When it comes to Thanksgiving Day dinner and where you might eat for that day 138 said
28 Years in Business
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they visit friends or family, 94 said they stay at home, nine go to a restaurant and five visit a local church. And for several readers, Christmas spending dropped from last year. The poll question was: "Do you plan to spend more, the same or less than you did last year for Christmas gift giving? Or nothing at all? Spend the same received the most votes with 40. That was followed closely by spend less with 38 votes, spend nothing received 15 votes and spend more received 13 votes.
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The old and new City Hall-Museum Richard Gorden Plano Mayor
lano is one of the smallest communities in Appanoose County. Plano was once a thriving business center but with the disappearance of coal mines and the railroad Plano is now just a quiet little town to live in. Plano has an active church, a post office and a beauty shop. In 2007, we installed a new public sewer system and built a new City
Hall-Museum. We are proud of our museum. It has much history in the form of pictures and stories of Plano and Johns Township. Many people have contributed to it with articles of interest. Many people have visited it from many states. In 2008 we constructed a large “Plano” sign along the highway. It is of the Historic Hills design. We have two new houses in the last couple years. We have a couple choice building lots for sale with sewer and water. Our council is made up of Nancy Jones, Rhonda Bland, Wendell Devore, Willa Dobbs and Emma Leopard. Margaret
Wells is our treasurer and MariWe invite you to come visit lyn Gorden is the clerk. our little town. Plano is located All of these people are interjust north of state Highway 2 ested in seeing that Plano is a on S70. nice, quiet place to live and are not afraid to roll up their sleeves and do the necessary work to make that possible. Being located close to Rathbun Lake makes Plano attractive to retirees wanting to settle down away from the big city way of life. We have also had some young families move in the last few years, and that is encouraging to have children again, and new babies being Submitted Photo born. It is good to see the The old Plano Museum. school bus go through town picking up children.
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Enrollment growth leads to $3.5 million expansion
By Kyle Ocker Daily Iowegian
ome big changes are either underway or beginning to take shape at a flourishing local school district in northern Appanoose County. The Moravia Community School District is one of 115 districts in the state of Iowa that have increased enrollment between 2008 and 2012, according to data from the Iowa Department of Education. It’s steadily increasing enrollment could wind up becoming record-setting numbers for the district in a few school years if patterns continue. Just for the 2013-14 school year, Moravia experienced a large spike in enrollment that has pushed them to over 400 students for the first time in the last 15 years, according to Moravia Community Schools superintendent Brad Breon. The elementary grades of the school have never had as many students as they hold now, with 240. Classrooms and wings of the current structure are packed with students, creating the need for a $3.5 million project to build a new gymnasium and middle school wing, for grades four to six, that voters approved in 2013. The new addition will
be funded through a $2.5 million bond that voters passed by a vote of 376-184 in a special election on April 2, 2013. That translates to 67 percent of voters approving the project, higher than the 60 percent required to pass a bond issue. It was the second time the construction project had come in front of voters. The first time was in September 2012, when the issue failed by a 217-222 vote. Breon said the main changes between the two public measures that voters saw were the difference in where the money came from to fund the project and also the location of the gymnasium. In 2012, the plan was to fund the entire project off of a $3.5 million bond. The vote would have also meant the gym would have been a standalone structure built on property nearby the school. Breon said the school district “listened to the community and drew back” after the first vote in 2012. The new plan that passed in April 2013 included a gym attached to the school at the northeast corner. How the project would be funded also changed, as the school only asked to bond $2.5 million while the other $1 million came from the school’s SAVE money, otherwise known as the onecent local option sales tax. Breon said the amount of money bonded to pay for the new additions and the location of said additions were two of three reasons why he felt the bond issue failed to pass on the first attempt. “We didn’t do it at a good time,” Breon said. “We did it in
the summer — you just can’t communicate with the kids and stuff. So, if I ever did a bond issue again, I would never do it in the summer.” Breon said once the ground thaws in the spring, construction should begin. It will be around a year before the project is completely finished. However, Breon said the classroom portion of the addition could be completed around Christmas break of the upcoming school year, meaning students could be using the new addition for the second half of the 2014-15 school year. The purpose of construction is to combat space issues created by a steady growth in enrollment, something not seen in over two thirds of the approximately 350 school districts in Iowa. “This is all due to enrollment growth,” Breon said. “We grew 35 kids this year, which for us is a lot. And that’s through open enrollment and [students living inside the district]. … Last year we had a positive of about nine or 10.” The positive nine or 10 students number refers to a comparison of the number of students a district gains from students open enrolling into the district from another school district, compared to the number of students who leave the district for other schools. “This year we had a net gain of 32,” Breon said. All but one class at Moravia is double sectioned. Breon pointed out that “the elementary [building] wasn’t built for double sections.” “We had to steal some rooms,” Breon continued. He said he had to move his
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office to make space for a classroom. Currently, Breon works out of the former elementary principal’s office in the elementary wing. During a tour of the building, Breon showed how classrooms were rearranged and repurposed to help fit the growing number of students in the elementary grades. The elementary library has been rearranged for three make shift instruction areas. However, with the new addition, that will soon change. Besides academics, practice and contest areas for athletics in junior high and high school became crammed with the enrollment increase as well as a growing interest in the school’s wrestling program. The new gym will seat approximately 800 fans, compared to the under 600 capacity of the current gym. “We just ran out of practice facilities,” Breon said. “The multipurpose room, and with the wrestling program growing, we just didn’t have any other place, so they had to share the [multipurpose] room with the junior high.” In addition to the new structures that will be completed by the 2015-16 school year on the Moravia campus, a new boiler system will be in place. The new boiler system will heat over half of the school. Electrical rewiring, at the urging of the school’s electrical provider, have also been made too. Moravia drew some statewide attention in 2012, when they announced to Iowa Governor Terry Branstad and Lieutenant Governor Kim Reynolds that they would begin implementing an RTI-modeled read-
ing program. RTI stands for response to intervention. “What that is, you focus on the core with all of your students,” Breon said. “It identifies those students who are struggling in certain areas, maybe vocabulary, maybe fluency, maybe comprehension. Then, we have a separate set of time for those students that need that special push. We push them in those areas for a while, then once we think they’re there we find another area [if there is another area].” The discussion for the reform of the reading program at Moravia began in 2011. It was presented in 2012 to Brandstad and Reynolds and put it into place for the 2012-13 school year. “What it really involves is A conceptual drawing of the middle school wing addition at Moravia. identifying students, and
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An artist rendering of the new gymnasium at Moravia. The project is expected to be finished by the 2015-16 school year. groups of students, who have specific deficiencies and then designing instruction to meet those needs and close the gap of rate of acceleration,” said Julie Sealine, Moravia’s reading specialist who was hired to oversee the program. Every classroom has 90 minutes of core and then 30 minutes of specific intervention. “We’re progress monitoring very closely to see if our intervention is working, and if it’s not, we’re making adjustments — there’s lots of different adjustments that you can make,” Sealine said. “There are materials and instructional routines that are specifically designed for areas of deficiency. So, we have chosen materi-
als and routines that are research-based, to meet those needs. So, if a student comes through with a decoding deficiency, there is pretty well a standard — this is the first option we’re going to try, this is the next option we’re going to try.” The new reading program has not only helped catch students with deficiencies while correcting them back up to standards, but has also allowed Moravia to better review their core reading curriculum. “We are now embarking on really improving and making sure that our core instruction is research-based and efficient,” Sealine said. “By identifying students, it has really identified areas of our core that also need substantial improvement.” For the upcoming school year, Moravia plans to go “oneon-one” with computers in their upper-level grades. One-
on-one refers to a practice where each student will receive a school-issued computer. Breon said the school just recently made the decision to use Chromebooks. The school board recently approved the purchase of the Chromebooks for the staff. Breon said they will receive training on the new equipment and students in grades 7-12 should be receiving their Chromebooks sometime next school year. “Our goal is to get these in the teacher’s hands really quick and do some in-service,” Breon said. “I don’t want to hand them out to the students until the staff is ready.” Breon said a few years down the line, Chromebooks could also be expanded to the fourth, fifth and sixth grades. As of now, Breon said he doesn’t think the one-on-one computer policy would expand to grades lower than the fourth grade.
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The Chromebooks will be used merely as a tool for educating students, Breon said. “I think the misconception with one-on-one is that it changes things around,” Breon said. “It doesn’t. It’s just a tool to help educate. To me, it doesn’t do the education — it’s just a tool. Instead of carrying notebooks around, maybe this is what we will be using.” The district is currently searching for programs that would allow for the management of grades, assignments, etc. — similar to programs like Blackboard that are used at schools and colleges around the nation, including Iowa State University in Ames or Denison Community Schools located in western Iowa. Breon said the tests such as the Iowa Assessments would also be given to students through the Chromebooks.
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2014 Community Focus • Page 45
CHS recovers from fire, M-U brings tablets to the classroom
By Krystal Fowler Lifestyle Editor
ony Ryan, superintendent of both the Centerville and Moulton-Udell School Districts, talked with the Iowegian about some of the changes going on in each district this year and some to the challenges both have been facing this year and will be facing next year Centerville had to deal with the unusual situation of a fire at the high school in early January. Centerville students missed school Friday, Jan. 10 after the fire in the teacher's workroom at the high school on Thursday, Jan. 9. The high school students also missed Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday of the next week while the school was being cleaned. Most of the damage was smoke damage since the fire was contained to the teacher's workroom. Carpets in the front office and the library still need to be replaced but that will probably take place on a three day weekend. The teacher's workroom also still needs to be refurbished as well. The room has been off limits to staff and students. Right now they are looking to also redesign the room to better meet technology needs. "At the time of the fire there was a small closet
Photo by Kyle Ocker/Daily Iowegian
The interior of the teacherâ€™s work room after the fire on Thursday, Jan. 8 at the Centerville High School. Fire damage was contained mostly to this single room but there was smoke damage throughout the entire building. with a lot of technology hardware within it that in 1917 was not designed for the technology purposes," said Ryan. The redesign may include making the closet larger to better address the needs of the technology components housed there. There was also major damage to the room. The floor has been torn up and will need
to be replaced. Ryan described it as a true remodeling job and said that the time line was "the sooner the better." Both the insurance company and the district would like to complete the project as quickly as possible. As for making up the missed days, a decision won't be made in the next week or two but at the end of winter the adminis-
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tration will be looking at the calendar and how many snow days have to be made up as they decide what to do. How many snow days need to be made up could have an impact. "Originally our main item of concern was getting the kids back into the educational setting," said Ryan. "At this point we are going to take a step
back, reflect on the missed days and we also have to take into consideration the big picture that we still have a lot of school year left, we've got a lot of winter left… so between now and the end of winter we're going to be wrestling with delays and closures because of those variables." Ryan said the transition for students and staff went very well and that the understanding of parents was greatly appreciated. "I just really appreciate the patience the parents and the community had with the fire," said Ryan. "That is never something you anticipate as a school leader. For how everybody adjusted so well during the events and the time period where the kids weren't in school, I am very, very pleased
with how the whole transition took place. The patience is appreciated." As far as upcoming changes to the districts, Ryan spoke about the new teacher leadership compensation program that will begin during the 20142015 school year. "Every district in the state within the next three years is going to have to change into meeting the guidelines of that new administrative code with the teacher leadership compensation system which will have teacher leaders, teacher mentors, teacher coaches… and a master teacher,” said Ryan. “So that will be one of the biggest changes we will be addressing in the near future." The state wants one-third of the school districts to transition to the new system each year
over the next three years. "Moulton-Udell as well as Centerville, we want to take a step back and watch that first phase go through, see what's working, see what isn't working and learn from those districts taking the lead role in that," said Ryan. Ryan said Moulton-Udell and Centerville are aiming to change over during year two of the phase in 2015-2016. As for changes during this school year, Centerville made two new curriculum purchases this year, in math and language arts at the elementary level. Ryan said the transition wasn't without its challenges, but that faculty, parents and students had been on board throughout the process. The new curriculum is in line with common core.
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The Centerville district also began to partially fund the resource officer position in the district after the grant that was previously funding the position ended. "Administratively we heard a very strong passion from the community, staff and board members for us to retain and support that position," said Ryan. "Practically as superintendent of schools, I want that position to stay as it is. I think its important that we have that resource officer that is able to connect with kids and is a resource for kids, staff, administration and parents. He does service the entire district. Its a benefit to our district having that position." Lakeview Elementary was also selected this year to be a pilot school in the Collabora-
Photo by Kyle Ocker/Daily Iowegian
Centerville High School students perform in “The Sound of Music” Nov. 1, 2013 in Simon Estes Auditorium. The auditorium received a new sound system after an extensive fundraising campaign. The system was first used during the 2013 Homecoming Pep Chapel in October of 2013.
tion For Kids initiative. C4K is an initiative being used to help gather data and refine the response to intervention philosophy, known as RTI, that will be rolled out to schools in the upcoming years. "The state is going to utilize the information from Lakeview with the new philosophical rollout of the RTI, the response to intervention philosophy and the
state's going to take the data from Lakeview as well as 10 percent of other school buildings in the state and utilize that data so they can research it and properly roll out the newest initiative to the other 90 percent of the school buildings using the data and the resources that school buildings like Lakeview provide for the state,” said Ryan. “So that's quite an honor in my opinion for the teachers, the kids, the district as a whole. The AEA continues… to praise Lakeview Elementary and the
staff on how well things are going." Changes at Moulton-Udell include a move toward more technology in the classroom. The district has decided to begin using Kunos in their school district to bring technology into the hands of their students. A Kuno is a tablet device, similar to an iPad, but it runs on the Android platform. According to Moulton-Udell principal Randy Alger a Kuno allows much more control of use by the district.
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"This type of system has a cloud, which is a web based way of storing information," said Alger. "This way the Kunos could be front loaded here at school off our servers… so when the kids went home it would already be loaded with the internet sites and places they could go," said Alger. Teachers received the Kunos in July and have been finding sites, videos and other items on the Internet to use in their lessons since then. The teachers then download the items into
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community focus the school's cloud storage and when they want students to be able to access the item, it will be available. Students began using the devices in February and will be able to hopefully begin taking the Kunos home in April. "It's an educational tool," said Alger. "A lot of times students can add apps… the Kuno will not. The Kuno will only be allowed to have apps that the administration and technology director allows it to have. But… we can program the Kuno to become regular and open. Our goal is to research that." The Kunos will be used in the 8-12 grade language arts classes and in 7th grade in all academic areas. Currently the school has about one Kuno for every two students in those grades. They hope to purchase more during this year
and another 60 or more in the next fiscal year. "Our goal is to have within a year or so to have them basically for fifth grade on up," said Alger. "And then for the elementary we're going to have more of a mobile lab of Kunos so they can get to use that also." One area that both districts will be looking at is the changing calendar requirements the state is imposing. Ryan said that Moulton-Udell and Centerville will both be considering their calendars for the upcoming school year. The state has changed the requirements of what counts for a full day. Currently if students are in school 5.5 hours, that counts as a completed day. Beginning on July 1 students will be required to complete 6 hours of instruction, excluding a 30 minute lunch. This will require schools to have students for a minimum of 6.5 hours a day to be considered a full day. Under the new system, a two hour delay or two hour early out would mean a day would not be counted as completed.
Schools can choose to keep a 180 day calendar, the number of days needed to be a full school year, or they may switch to a 1,080 hour calendar. Completing either requirement would count as a full school year, but schools must choose which system to use when submitting their calendars. Ryan said that currently the districts run under a day calendar and all staff contracts are written on a 180 day system. If the school stays with the 180 day calendar the change to the 6.5 hour day could cause more lost days due to winter weather since a two hour delay or early out would mean the day wasn't counted. As far as issues at the state level, funding continues to be a source of concern for the districts. "The state needs to figure out allowable growth," said Ryan. "What I mean by that, is the state reserves are the healthiest they have been in a long time. The state can easily, easily, easily afford four percent allowable growth. Realistically six percent they could handle. With the events that have taken place
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over the last five or six years in public education funding, I would be extremely disappointed if something is settled below four percent." According to Ryan the budget in Centerville right now is in a very sound position. The district currently has approximately $1.2 million in cash reserve. "That is basically a rainy day fund that allows us to keep up with our monthly pay roll without having to borrow money," said Ryan. "Our spending authority… is sound as well and healthy here in Centerville." Expenditures last year in the general fund were just over $13.1 million which Ryan said was a good position to be in for a district of Centerville's size. The goal is always to balance expenditures with revenue in the general fund while providing a well rounded, solid education foundation for Centerville's students, Ryan said. "Moulton-Udell's budgetary situation… the cash part of it is pretty sound," said Ryan. "The spending authority part of their budget, the board of education and administration is going to need to come up with some plans how to slow down some of… the decrease of the spending authority and they are well aware of it. The board of education is taking ownership and being proactive in addressing the needs." Looking at enrollment, Moulton-Udell had an increase of approximately eight students while Centerville had a drop of about 10 students. Ryan said predictions indicate that Centerville's enrollment should remain fairly steady in the future but he wasn't sure if Moulton-Udell would continue to see growth in the next year.
2014 Community Focus â€˘ Page 51
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The Daily Iowegian's 2014 edition of Community Focus, which published on February 26, 2014.