Wet Week in the Raccoon River Valley
It has been a wet week in the Raccoon River Valley.
According to the National Weather Service, Perry received 5.12 inches of rain this past week alone, for a total of more than 9.6 inches in June.
Jefferson received 4.78 inches of rain this week and more than 8 inches overall in June.
Guthrie Center had 3.35 inches of precipitation since last Friday, with 8.5 inches total in June.
All three local weather reporting areas received more than an inch of rain during the first couple days of July already. Normal monthly rainfall amounts range from 4.4 to 4.8 inches.
Perry City Council Meeting Recap
The Perry City Council met in special session Monday morning.
At the meeting, City Administrator Butch Niebuhr talked briefly about the 18th Street reconstruction project. MidAmerican Energy will have to move a gas line before Elder Construction is able to get started on the project. The goal is to have it done before school starts this fall. As for the Iowa Energy Bank lighting project, Niebuhr says there have been a few issues with lights at the airport though those will be replaced and fixed so they all work as expected.
Administrative Assistant and Interim Parks and Recreation Director Sven Peterson then reported that Jeff Lamoreox has accepted the director position. Peterson says he previously worked as Jefferson’s Parks and Recreation director for 10 years and is looking forward to getting back into the public sector after working in private businesses recently.
Finance officer Susie Moorhead then spoke briefly about the closing of the 2014 fiscal year. Overall she says the general fund balance will end up at about $65,000-$66,000. Overall she says things look good though she’s frustrated with the lack of money received for the Iowa Energy Bank project. She was hoping to have those loan monies in hand before they close out the fiscal year but instead the City is using other funds temporarily and will reimburse the fund once the loan is received.
City Council member Dr. Randy McCaulley then reported that the turkey vulture carcass that was hung near the water tower has fallen down and there are a handful of birds back in the area. Police Chief Vaughn will be asked if they can sacrifice another vulture to hang in hopes that it will continue to deter the birds from roosting in the area.
The Council then approved pay request number three for the Iowa Energy Bank lighting project in the amount of $39,717 to Voltmer Inc. for work completed through June 25th.
The City’s cemetery department was then authorized to sell a 1999 Bobcat Zero Turn Mower that no longer meets the needs of the City. Greene County Conservation Director Dan Towers has expressed interest in purchasing the equipment for $100.
Part time compliance officer Mike Ware’s appointment was then extended through December 31st of 2014, the previous contract ended on June 30th. Niebuhr reports that Ware has expressed interested in retiring before the end of the year.
Mayor Jay Pattee closed out the meeting by thanking City staff and the Council for their work in making the 2014 fiscal year a successful one. He says he has sat at the same table during some bad times and it’s nice to not have to worry about finances the way they have before.
Improvements Continue Along the Raccoon River Valley Trail
The Raccoon River Valley Trail has been popular for several years now, especially after the official opening of the north loop last summer but improvements to the nation’s longest paved loop trail are not stopping any time soon.
This past weekend’s inaugural BACooN Ride donated $5,000 to the Raccoon River Valley Trail Association to pave one of the gravel road crossings in Dallas County. Plans are to have all crossings in the county completed before the end of the year.
The Dallas County Conservation Board has also hired engineering firm Snyder and Associates to look into identifying the proper route for a 9 mile connector between the Raccoon River Valley Trail and the High Trestle Trail in Woodward.
Conservation Director Mike Wallace is also looking into grant monies to complete the project, which the trail association says is estimated at about $5 million.
Mayor Pattee Says Perry Has a Lot to Be Proud Of
Perry is known for a lot of different things for different people. Whether it’s the home of the Hotel Pattee, a stop along the Raccoon River Valley Trail or just a small town with a lot of diversity.
But Mayor Jay Pattee says Perry residents have a lot to be proud of, many things they probably don’t even realize.
“If you get up in the morning and eat an egg, the odds are that the breeder stock for that egg, no matter where you are in the entire world, started in Perry, Iowa. The eggs for the breeder stock, the hybrid, Highline chickens, and Highline produces 80 percent of the eggs in the world, they are brought to Perry, Iowa, they are hatched and they are shipped all over the world.”
Other Perry-born items included the majority of ham consumed in Japan, machinery that cuts the ground on farm equipment and caps on fire hydrants across the county.
“So we have a lot of things that come right out of Perry, Iowa. Those are important to our future, those are things that have happened over the last decade, those are turning the corner. And the amenities that we have with the reopened hotel, the beautiful recreational trail, those are what is going to interest even more of those businesses. So we’re seeing ourselves turn the corner as a cultural center, as downtown living, as an industrial provider for the area, and all of these things are why we’re really on the verge of turning a big corner in Perry.
Pattee says good things are happening and there continues to be a lot to be excited about in Perry, where the future is only getting brighter.
Senator Chapman Applauds Supreme Court’s Decision on Cell Phone Searches
Last week the United States Supreme Court unanimously ruled that law enforcement officers must have either consent or a warrant in order to be able to search a suspect’s cell phone.
During this last state legislative session District 10 Senator Jake Chapman of Adel introduced a bill protecting Iowan’s fourth amendment rights of unlawful search and seizure, in regards to the National Security Agency’s spying program. The bill failed to pass through this year, but Chapman hopes this national decision will help gain support for the measure during the next session.
“I think that if there’s probable cause they can get a warrant and then search the phone, or you can give them consent. Now if the Supreme Court has ruled that it is illegal to unlawfully search your cell phone, I would hope that the next step is that the Supreme Court would rule the NSA collecting nearly 200 million text messages daily, 30 percent of your phone calls without a warrant is also illegal” says Chapman.
Senator Chapman says his worry that allowing the government to have this sort of access could be a gateway to the elimination of other constitutional rights.
“I hear a lot of people saying ‘Well I’m not doing anything wrong, so I don’t care. It’s not a big deal to me, they can search my phone, they can look at what I’m looking at and all that’ and that’s fine but if we start allowing our government to deteriorate our constitutional rights, this time it’s our fourth amendment rights, tomorrow it might be our first amendment rights and two years from now it might be our second amendment rights. So I took and oath of office to uphold the constitution and that’s what I plan to do” adds Chapman.