Supervisors approve hiring of Allamakee County's first female deputy sheriff

by Bob Beach

After reviewing future road projects with Allamakee County Engineer Brian Ridenour during its regular meeting Tuesday, July 1, the Allamakee County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously to reject the only bid received for the paving of Prairie Drive west of Waukon. Though Ridenour had previously recommended accepting the bid for the project, he told the Board that in light of recent flood damage, there are too many "ifs" to go forward with the project, even though it will likely be more expensive to undertake the project later, noting that it ties in well with the current paving of West Ridge Drive. He said that rejecting the bid of nearly $1 million will leave more money available to complete other projects and to repair recent damage caused by heavy rains and flooding.
The Board also met with Allamakee County Sheriff Clark Mellick, who introduced McKenzie Sebastian of Postville and asked for the Board's approval to appoint her as a Deputy Sheriff. The Board unanimously approved the appointment and Mellick noted that Sebastian is the first female Deputy Sheriff in Allamakee County. The Board also approved the hiring of Waukon Police Officer Alyssa Petersburg as a transport officer.
The Board also held a public hearing regarding a request by Randy and Patricia Troendle to rezone property just west of Lansing from commercial to residential. Allamakee County Zoning Administrator Tom Blake told the Board that the Planning and Zoning Commission had reviewed the request and recommended approval. Hearing no comments from the public, the Board closed the public hearing and then approved the first reading of an ordinance to make the requested change to the zoning map, waived the second and third readings and passed the ordinance.
In another zoning-related matter, the Board set Tuesday, July 15 at 10 a.m. as the date and time for a public hearing on a request to rezone property off Waterville Road from agricultural to commercial by Launee Halvorson to allow for the construction of a rental storage facility.
The Board also met with Peggy Murray of Iowa Works (formerly known as Iowa Workforce Development), who gave a presentation regarding the Skilled Iowa Initiative, highlighting the National Career Readiness Certificate (NCRC). Murray explained that the NCRC is issued by ACT and is composed of three assessments - locating information, reading for information and applied mathematics. Following standardized tests, workers are issued a credential certifying their readiness to enter the workforce. Murrary told the Board that communities in which a certain percentage of the workforce has received the NCRC and a certain percentage of businesses recognize the NCRC qualify for designation as "Skilled Iowa Communities." In addition, Murray said that the Skilled Iowa program includes internships, a career-readiness curriculum and business services. The Board agreed to sign a letter of support for the NCRC and the Skilled Iowa program.
In other business, the Board set July 29 at 9:30 a.m. as the date and time for a public hearing regarding an amendment to the County's fiscal year 2015 budget to reflect the $750,000 to be borrowed on behalf of the member townships of the Waukon Area Fire Protection District and a Community Development Block Grant for the construction of a wellness facility at TASC. The Board also re-appointed Don Thran to the Lansing Public Library Board and Elaine Eadie to the Compensation Board as the Auditor's representative. The Board also signed a resolution for the destruction of noxious weeds.