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Fiery mayoral forum highlights candidate differences Hansen, Bookout clash on city issues By Jamee A. Pierson Newton Daily News Newton Mayor Mike Hansen and opponent Ron Bookout participated in a fiery back and forth Thursday during a candidate forum at city hall.

It was standing room only as the two discussed several topics including the Dangerous and Dilapidated (D&D) program, housing needs and allegations of waste, fraud and abuse within the city. Bookout made the assertion of fraud running rampant within the city to which Hansen fired back at Bookout to provide specific instances the candidate was aware of. “Mr. Bookout you ought to be ashamed of yourself,” Hansen said.

Bookout also raised concerns about how much city employees are paid, specifically the Newton Public Library Director position, saying the pay scale of $90,000 per year is “kind of excessive.” “If someone can justify why the librarian should get that much, it is beyond me and the citizens of Newton,” Bookout said. NPL Director Nicole Lindstrom said after the MAYORAL | 8A

Jamee A. Pierson/Daily News Several heated exchanges took place between mayoral candidates Mike Hansen and Ron Bookout on different opinions about how to lead the city during the mayoral forum on Thursday at city hall.

Council candidates ‘Unacceptable working conditions’ in county annex talk city issues at forum By Jamee A. Pierson Newton Daily News

Jamee A. Pierson/Daily News The Jasper County Board of Health meets for a regular meeting in the lunchroom of the Jasper County Annex building. As the largest room available to the health department, it shows one of the space needs for the department.

By Jamee A. Pierson and Abigail Pelzer Newton Daily News Even if the Jasper County Supervisors decide to fix the county annex building’s foundation and address potentially hazardous mold findings, Margot Voshell said the basement of the annex building still isn’t the appropriate location for Jasper County Public Health. Voshell, who serves as the chairwoman of the health board, said she hasn’t heard from any of the three county super-

visors since the Newton Daily News published the findings of a county-commissioned mold report that revealed black mold in the public health department’s office and a recommendation for professional mold remediation. “What we would really like to do is have a dialogue with them,” Voshell said. “We hope they have the same goals as we do which is to have our county address unmet health needs.” During an August board of supervisors meeting Voshell voiced

AT-LARGE | 3A

BUILDING DILEMMA

Public health board chair pushes for new location, dialogue with supervisors

Although five candidates find themselves vying for the at-large Newton City Council seat, it was a candidate forum on Thursday resonated with a message of overall agreement on city issues. Garfield Berndt III, Evelyn George, Lance C. Hawley, Matthew Holmes and Russell Terlouw took the stage following the mayoral forum for their own question and answer session in council chambers at city hall. A variety of questions were asked by the crowd including why the candidates want to be on council, city spending and investments, the Dangerous and Dilapidated program and issues concerning attracting businesses to the community. In what Berndt said would probably be the easiest question of the night, the answers to why the candidates want to be on city council, all had a similar tone.

Korean War-era Veterans Association grows in Jasper County

One in a series of articles exploring the Jasper County Annex Building the concerns of the public health board after an engineering firm released a report detailing issues with building’s exterior foundation, window wells and handicap accessibility. “It has been made perfectly clear the basement of the annex building is not acceptable, it is not an acceptable space for people to work,” Voshell said. “People have said

By Kayla Singletary Newton Daily News

they are not going to go down there and ... to have my team who are responsible for working in those conditions, it is not acceptable.” Beyond the annex building’s woes, in the nearly two years since public health moved to the building, it’s become evident the space doesn’t allow the department to

As the Jasper County Korean War-era Veterans Association has increased its membership over the last three years, it has grown to be larger than the state’s group. Local veterans have found fellowship through the organization and have grown to talk about the “forgotten war.” Members and their families are set to meet for a veterans dinner at 5:45 p.m. Monday featuring a message and music. The organization was formed in January 2015 by local veteran Marvin Morris and Jasper County veterans advocate Doug Bishop. Bishop said there are a large number of Korean War-era veterans, per capita, living in the county.

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VETERANS | 8A

Candidate Q&A: George for At-Large council seat This is one of nine candidate profiles to be featured before the upcoming Nov. 7 city election in Newton. Evelyn George is one of five candidates running for the at-large city council seat. Name: Evelyn George Employment: Iowa Farm Bureau Hometown: Sumner, Iowa Years of Newton residency: More than 30 years What do you feel is the most important issue New-

ton will be facing during your term on the city council? Newton must continue working to attract new families and George diversify our tax base. Construction of new housing and a new school are critical to attracting new residents. Local

company expansions and new companies choosing to locate in Newton add to our tax base and bring new jobs and residents. We can’t think our work is done. State funding to cities is expected to be lower, so we must continue looking for ways to add revenue and be cost-effective in providing desired services to our residents. Public-private partnerships and collaboration are keys to success. What do you think has

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neighborhoods. And the “Get to Know Newton” marketing campaign has been an effective way to share this positive message inside and outside our community. What role do you think the city can and should play in economic development? What more/less should the city be doing for economic development? In best practices, the city’s

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WHERE IT’S AT Astrograph......................5B Calendar..........................5A Classifieds......................4B

been the biggest achievement for the city of Newton in the last four years and what do you think has been the biggest struggle? Going from hand-wringing to taking action to move the community forward has been challenging — but so rewarding. It’s exciting to see progress throughout the city — from dilapidated buildings going down to dirt moving and new construction going up. There’s renewed pride in

Comics & Puzzles...........6A Dear Abby........................6A Local Sports......................1B

Obituaries.......................5A Opinion............................4A State News......................7A

Week In Review

Top headlines this week / 7A

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Volume No. 116 No. 114 2 sections 18 pages

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