Cedar Rapids Gazette (Newspaper) - April 22, 2004, Cedar Rapids, Iowa
By Sky Eilers
IOWA CITY — Consolidating emergency dispatch services in Johnson County would have a high rate of success, but integrating fire department services would be more difficult.
Both conclusions were drawn last night by a panel of city leaders during a public meeting held by the League of Women Voters of Johnson County.
The meeting was organized as a public forum to discuss specific issues and potential roadblocks for Johnson County cities working together for public service.
“Most things that could be consolidated have political ramifications,” said panel member and Iowa City Mayor Ernie Lehman.
“Emergency dispatch service seems to be the least politically charged and has a very good chance for success,” he said.
Unifying fire department services was seen as more difficult by Coralville City Council member Henry Her-wig, who was a volunteer firefighter for 24 years.
“Each department has its own personality,” Herwig said. “I think it would be difficult to find a common denominator to bring everybody to the table.”
League of Women’s member Ann Bovbjerg asked,
Davenport student faces discipline for pellet gun at school
DAVENPORT (AP) — A 16-year-old high school student is facing disciplinary action after bringing a pellet gun to school on the fifth anniversary of the Columbine shootings.
A school bus driver reported seeing a student with a gun inside a car in the parking lot at Davenport West High School shortly after school Tuesday afternoon. Several police officers responded to the area.
Detective Bill Thomas disarmed the teenager and took him into custody.
Police released the boy to his mother.
The school district said the teenager has been suspended pending further disciplinary action.
“What will be the impact on citizens in terms of services and what will we pay?”
North Liberty City Manager Brian James responded
that adequate service shouldn’t be discarded for the sake of consolidation only, especially if the integration brings higher cost.
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doned trailer on 258th Street near Delhi.
Lothridge is in the Delaware County Jail under $45,825 bond, facing four Class D felony charges of possession of precursors with intent to manufacture a controlled substance, the Delaware County Sheriffs Office said.
Delhi Police Chief David Weatherwax alerted the Sheriffs Office to a strong odor of ether coming from the area.
A search of the trailer turned up quantities of ether, ammonia, lithium and pseudoephedrine.
Deputy arrests suspect after short foot chase
ATKINS — Zachary C. Denny, 27, lost a short foot race with a deputy, so now he is in the Benton County Jail.
Denny, who does not have a
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Iowa County voters weigh bond issue for a new jail
Staffing, closing costs key concerns with century-old facility
By Steve Meyer
MARENGO — Iowa County voters will head to polls on Tuesday to decide a $3.7 million bond issue for a new jail and law enforcement center.
Replacement of the county’s century-old jail has been a topic for several years. Interest in a new facility began to heat up again in 2003 when the state required the county to hire four jailers to keep the jail open.
According to Jeffrey Heil, Public Financial Analyst for Ruan Securities in Des Moines, the bond issue will cost Iowa County taxpayers about 40 cents per thousand dollars of property valuation per year over the 20-year term of the bond note.
On a $100,000 home that amounts to $17.82 in taxes per year. On a 160-acre farm with an average corn suitability rating of 55 the cost in taxes comes to $43.20 per year.
The annual payment would be around $310,000 at an interest rate that fluctuates around the 4 percent mark, according to Heil.
lf the current Iowa County Jail is closed, it is estimated the costs to taxpayers for transporting and housing prisoners elsewhere will come to $700,000 per year and will cost nearly a dollar more per thousand dollars of property valuation in taxes every year.
Iowa County property owner Virgil Head has taken issue with the new jail.
Steve Meyer/News correspondent
Iowa County voters will decide next week on a bond issue to replace the county’s jail (back right). A house was added on in the 1930s for a sheriffs residence. The house has offices for the sheriff and deputies along with the county’s 911 dispatch center.
Polls open at 7 a.m. next Tuesday and close at 8 p.m. Here are the precinct polling places:
■ Dayton and English I (includes Millersburg): Millersburg City Hall
■ English ll (includes North English): North English City Hall
■ Fillmore, Greene (includes Parnell): Parnell City Halt
■ Honey Creek. Marengo Rural, Washington: Marengo Fire Station
“I don’t think we have the correct information at this point to make a decision on this,” Head said. “I think we need to think about doing things differently than we have in the past. We have a lot of people in our jail that don’t belong there; they need some other kind of help. I would like to try for a smaller jail and try to keep less people in it.”
Iowa County Sheriff James Slockett defends figures on the project that are part of
■ Hartford ll (includes Victor), Lincoln: Victor Public Library
■ Hartford I (includes Ladora), Sumner: Ladora City Hall
■ Hilton, Iowa: Hilton Township Hall
■ Lenox: Middle Amana fire Station
■ Marengo City: Marengo Fire
■ Pilot, Troy, York, Williamsburg
City: Williamsburg fire Station.
“I stand by the figures,” Slockett said. “He’s been against everything that’s been done in this county and the city of Marengo.”
The county has purchased residential property north of the jail and courthouse as a potential jail site.
The new facility would have a sheriffs office, work release area, booking area, exercise area for inmates, a 911 center and a 28-bed jail expandable to 40 beds.
Ex-church treasurer accused of $2,500 theft
BELLE PLAINE — Lori L. Wheeler, 34, of Belle Plaine, has been charged with second-degree theft in the misappropriation of funds at Christ United Methodist Church in Belle Plaine where she had been treasurer.
The charge stems from a $2,500 check written on a church account without authorization to TKL Trucking in Belle Plaine, a business owned by Wheeler and her husband, Tim. The check was written July 25, 2003, and deposited into a checking account held by TKL Trucking, according to Belle Plaine police officer Kristopher Hudson.
Second-degree theft is a Class D felony punishable by up to five years in prison and a fine of $5,000.
Hudson said the church filed a complaint after having its books audited. Wheeler has not been employed by the church since November 2003.
Wheeler turned herself in April 13 and was released on her own recognizance. She will make an initial court appearance in May.
The Rev. David Crow of Christ United Methodist Church said the church has no comment on the situation.
Shellsburg man arrested in meth bust near Delhi
DELHI — Ronald Lothridge, 33, of Shellsburg, was arrested Tuesday for allegedly operating a meth lab in an aban-
more specific address than Linn County, was arrested after he tried to flee from Benton County Deputy Chris Rider on 33rd Avenue near Atkins.
The deputy had grown suspicious of the vehicle Denny was driving Monday night and discovered the license plate did not match it.
When stopped, Denny allegedly gave Rider a false name and false birth date. Then Denny fled into a nearby field where Rider caught him.
Denny is being held on charges of driving while barred and revoked, having a suspended license and interference with official acts. His bond is $9,816.
Gazette, news services
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Johnson County emergency-service integration has hurdles