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West Burlington Officials to Re-Bid Utilities Project

West Burlington Officials say that a mishandled bid process may have been the reason that a low project bid came in at almost twice the amount estimated by engineers. The five lots that the City of West Burlington carved out of the space formerly occupied by the Old Public Works Building have been sold with the promise that the City would install water and sewer systems on the property. Engineers with French, Reneker Associates of Fairfield originally came in at $34,500 for the project, but the low bid came in at $64,275. French, Reneker Associates Engineer Matt Walker told the West Burlington City Council that one of the reasons the bid came in so high is because the Council listed the bids for Water and Sewer Services separately, and the companies were taking into account having to work around other crews and included methods not originally in the engineer’s estimate. City Administrator Dan Giffords says that the City will re-bid the project. Continue Reading

Wastewater Discharge Monitored in Clinton

CLINTON, Iowa (AP) — Officials say a wastewater discharge in the eastern Iowa city of Clinton is reaching the main channel of the Mississippi River. The state Department of Natural Resources says the city began discharging about 2,000 gallons of untreated wastewater at about 12:30 p.m. Wednesday. The discharge continues about four hours later. It is unclear how much wastewater has discharged underground, but some if it is flowing directly to the main channel of the Mississippi River. The discharge happened during repair work on a pipe that’s used to move the wastewater. Continue Reading

West Burlington Appoints New Assistant Police Chief

West Burlington has a new Assistant Police Chief. Sergeant Shaun Ryan was promoted to the position during a Monday Night City Council Meeting. Police Chief Frank Newberry told the Council that Ryan has stepped up following the departure of Lt. Richard Hand, and has been going “Above and Beyond” in fulfilling his duties. Newberry said that even if they were to advertise outside of the department for the position, they wouldn’t find anyone more suited to the position than Ryan. Ryan has been with the department since 2001. Continue Reading

Obama Rejects Branstad’s Request for Bird Flu Disaster Declaration

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Governor Terry Branstad’s request for a federal disaster declaration to respond to the bird flu outbreak has been denied. The governor had sought a major disaster declaration from President Barack Obama for the four counties most impacted by the virus. In a letter from federal authorities dated Tuesday, the request was rejected. The letter said the damage was “not of such severity and magnitude” that it could not be handled by the state. The virus has infected more than 31.5 million birds in Iowa, mostly egg-laying chickens, making the state the hardest hit in the nation. Continue Reading

School Board Filing Date Closes July 20th

Anyone interested in running for school board in Des Moines County has until July 30th to file their paperwork at the Des Moines County Courthouse. Des Moines County Auditor Carol Copeland says that the filing period officially began on Monday. The election is September 8th. There are four positions up in the Burlington School Board. The positions of Tammy Darnall, Marlis Robberts, Mike Shinn, and Mike Warner are up for reelection. Continue Reading

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Burlington City Manager Gets 12% Raise

Burlington City Manager Jim Ferneau will officially be getting his 12% raise that the council had tentatively agreed to at a work session last week. But that move didn’t come without some controversy. City Councilman Jim Davidson expressed some concern about the size of the pay increase for Ferneau. “We can give him an 8% increase this year and a 5%-10% raise next year and we can be in the ball park of where we need to be.” Davidson said, “I just think it’s hard to justify with our community and our financial situation to go out and give someone a 12% raise.” Continue Reading

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Woman Dead Following Accident Near Donnellson

A woman is dead following a two-vehicle accident near Donnellson on Tuesday. An Iowa State Patrol Crash Report says that a woman, who’s name and age have not been released, was traveling south on US 218 when she moved to pass a semi-truck and returned to the right lane. Once in the right lane, she didn’t notice that the other semi-truck ahead of her was slowing down to turn. The woman’s vehicle slammed into the back of a semi-truck driven by 53 year old Steven Armstrong of Donnellson. The vehicle ended up underneath the semi trailer. Continue Reading

Emerald Ash Borer Moves Into Lee County

A highly destructive insect of ash trees has been confirmed in Fort Madison, bringing the number of confirmed counties in Iowa to twenty-six, making Lee County its latest victim. Emerald ash borer (EAB) is a small, metallic-green beetle that is responsible for killing tens of millions of ash trees in 25 states. Native to Asia, EAB was first discovered in the U.S. in Michigan in 2002 and Iowa in 2010. The larvae stage of this wood-boring insect burrow under the bark of ash trees, disrupting the flow of water and nutrients, ultimately causing the tree to die. EAB infested ash trees include thinning or dying branches in the top of a tree, evidence of woodpecker activity, S-shaped feeding galleries under dead or splitting bark, D-shaped exit holes, and water sprouts. Continue Reading

Justin Kester. Photo from the Iowa Department of Corrections

Prison Escapee Fought With Correctional Officers, Destroyed Property Before Escape

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) — An Iowa inmate repeatedly fought with correctional officers and destroyed property in the weeks before he managed to escape from a maximum-security prison. Prison records obtained by The Associated Press underscore the safety risk posed by convicted armed robber Justin Kestner, who escaped from the Iowa State Penitentiary early Sunday. Authorities say they’re fortunate Kestner was captured in Illinois without violence hours after his escape. The records show Kestner injured an officer June 12 by kicking him in the chest with both feet. And in April, Kestner destroyed many of his cell’s fixtures during an outburst in which he ended up being sprayed with chemical agents. Continue Reading