WORTHINGTON – The Nobles County Commissioners on Tuesday authorized Steve Johnson of Vetter Johnson Architects to move forward with the redesign for the stairs at the Nobles County Government Center before sending the project out to bid.
The process will involve adding plexiglass to the inner stairwells, covering the stair treads, peeling up some tiles in the lobby, adding a moisture barrier or insulation in some areas and shirring in others. While Johnson had no inkling of an estimate on the job, according to board chair Marv Zylstra, “it looks spendy.”
The authorization for the project came just a few items down the agenda past the approval of a motion to have the fencing in front of the government center powder-coated, at an estimated $10,000. County Administrator Tom Johnson said the fence is rusting in spots and broken in others. The fence will be removed and repaired, sand-blasted, powder-coated and baked at a cost of $300 to $350 per section.
Commissioner Matt Widboom pointed out that would be a perfect time to re-evaluate the landscaping around the building.
The cost of beautifying the fence and grounds, the commissioners decided, could be moved into the 2015 budget. They opted to work out the details at a later date.
The commissioners voted to spend approximately $1,500 boarding up two tax-forfeited properties in the city of Ellsworth, hoping to keep critters and people out over the winter before the buildings can be demolished or sold. The two Ellsworth properties have belonged to Nobles County since June of 2012. Nobles County Auditor-Treasurer Beth Van Hove said there are currently 23 tax-forfeited properties on the books. She is currently working her way through the many stepped process so some of the properties can be auctioned off.
WORTHINGTON – The papers are signed and it is official – after working as the Worthington City Administrator since 2008, Craig Clark is leaving for a position in Austin. He turned in his resignation with the city of Worthington first thing Tuesday morning, and later admitted it was bittersweet.
You look forward and you look back, too, he said, adding that there have been a lot of good things in Worthington. There will be differences in his new city – no golf course or liquor store to oversee, but a library under the city’s control and a population that is about double that of Worthington’s.
For the next few weeks, Clark will be focused on business as usual in some respects, but he’ll also be thinking about packaging everything off for handing it off to someone else – taking care of loose ends, bringing small projects to a conclusion, and summing up the larger projects for whoever steps into the position.
While it will be up to the council to make decisions on how that position is filled, Clark said he will be there to provide advice and information as they need it.
While there are new challenges he anticipates in Austin, Clark admit there are a few things he will miss not being a part of in Worthington, such as the growth of the commercial park on I-90 and Hwy 59, and the mall redevelopment. Both are projects he has worked to move forward and wishes he could see to completion.
Of Worthington in general, Clark said he has never seen a harder working community, which has always impressed him. He thanked the mayor, the council, and the staff and said he appreciated being part of the team.
WORTHINGTON – Worthington City Administrator Craig Clark officially handed in his resignation Tuesday, which means the city will now begin the search for someone to fill the position. According to Worthington Mayor Alan Oberloh, the first step is to meet as a council and decide whether they whire a firm or advertise the position.
Oberloh said Clark has kept them filled in on his negotiations with the city of Austin since he began speaking with them, just as he did the other two times he was a finalist for a different position, once with the city of West St. Paul and once with a city in Illinois.
The council has not discussed what they would do in the event Clark was hired, Oberloh said, because there was no reason to be reacting to something they had no control over. Typically, he said, they city has used a firm to assist them in the search to fill this type of position, because they have better contacts across the United States.
There is a strong possibility, Oberloh said, that an interim administrator will be brought in, because hiring someone to run the city isn’t something you do overnight.
Clark will be in Worthington until mid-November. He starts as the Austin City Administrator Dec. 8.
WORTHINGTON – A mobile home at the Sungold Heights Trailer Park was completely destroyed by fire Tuesday morning, killing a family’s pet dog.
The Worthington Fire Department was paged at approximately 8:20 a.m. to the mobile home park at 1328 Spring Avenue, trailer 49. According to Worthington Fire Chief Rick von Holdt, orange fire was rolling out a bedroom window when he arrived at the scene. He tried to open a door, but quickly closed it to keep the fire contained to one end. The blaze quickly engulfed the back half of the trailer.
Firefighters were able to to keep the fire contained to the back of the trailer, but von Holdt said items in the front portion were smoke damaged and melted beyond saving.
The owner of the mobile home, a single parent, was not home at the time, having left to take his two children to school, von Holdt reported.
The fire originated in a back bedroom from a space heater that was sitting too close to bedding. The American Red Cross has been called in to assist the family.
SHELDON, Iowa – The man who wants Iowa Governor Terry Branstad’s job is going to be in northwest Iowa on Wednesday.
Jack Hatch, the Democratic candidate for the Iowa Governor’s chair will be in Garner, Estherville, Rock Rapids, Sheldon, Sioux Center, and Le Mars.
At 8 a.m., Hatch will be at Matt’s Place in Garner. Then it’s on to Estherville for an appearance at the Estherville Public Library at 11 a.m.. At 1:15 p.m., Hatch will be in Rock Rapids for an appearance at Shari’s Kitchen and Catering. Then at 2:45 p.m., Hatch will meet with the public at the Prairie Queen Bakery in Sheldon. From there it’s on to an appearance in Sioux Center at the Fruited Plain at 4 p.m.. Finally, he’ll host a meet and greet in Le Mars that evening.
Jack Hatch is a State Senator from Des Moines who chairs the Health and Human Services Appropriations Committee. He’s served 22 years in the Iowa Legislature, in both the House and Senate. He also managed Senator Harkin’s statewide operations for three years. A nationally-recognized legislative expert in health care, he chaired the President’s advisory group of state legislators as the Affordable Care Act was drafted.