Supervisors approve third reading and adopt ordinance regarding burials on private property, approve proclamation for Northeast Iowa Tobacco Awareness Week

Supervisors sign Northeast Iowa Tobacco Awareness Week Proclamation... The Allamakee County Board of Supervisors proclaimed November 14-20 as Northeast Iowa Tobacco Awareness Week at its Monday, October 11 regular meeting. In attendance to discuss and witness that proclamation was Helping Services for Youth and Families Tobacco Prevention Specialist Ashley Havenstrite (pictured in front row of photo above), with Allamakee County Board of Supervisors members Larry Schellhammer, Mark Reiser and Dan Byrnes also pictured, left to right, in the back row of the photo above. Standard photo by Joe Moses.

by Joe Moses

The Allamakee County Board of Supervisors met in regular session Monday, October 11 to address a full agenda of items including the Tobacco Awareness Week Proclamation, the Third Reading and Adoption of Ordinance LX Regulating the Burial of Human Remains Outside of Cemeteries and the approval of Secondary Roads Department transfers.

During Public Comment, Jack Knight of rural Waukon discussed the new bridge on Smithfield Drive. Knight said that the soil surrounding the project has been seeded down and that improvements in that area will allow easier access for canoes. Knight advised that the improved design of the bridge and surrounding area, including ditches, will allow better water flow during heavy rains or flood conditions.

Supervisor Dan Byrnes provided an update relating to the Driftless Half Marathon, Relay and 5K that took place Saturday, October 9 near and in Lansing. Byrnes provided participation numbers for the event, indicating that there were 132 half marathon finishers, 11 relay teams finished and 72 5K finishers were reported for the event with participants from as far away as Des Moines and Wisconsin. Board Chairperson Larry Schellhammer said that next year’s event will be the 5th Annual Driftless Half Marathon. Byrnes commended organizer Amanda Hess and the Driftless Half Marathon Committee for their work in planning the event and the assistance provided by the Harpers Ferry and Lansing EMS Departments, Lansing Police Department and Allamakee County Sheriff’s Department.

Tobacco Prevention Specialist Ashley Havenstrite of Helping Services for Youth & Families addressed the next matter relating to the Northeast Iowa Tobacco Awareness Week Proclamation. Havenstrite provided tobacco use statistics indicating that tobacco is still the leading preventable cause of death in the United States with tobacco use being harmful to both users and non-users. Second-hand and third-hand smoke was discussed by Havenstrite, who noted that 38 percent of children ages three to 11 are exposed to second-hand smoke each year, with 41,000 individuals dying each year from second-hand smoke in the United States.

Havenstrite provided an overview of the most recent data from the 2018 Iowa Youth Survey, noting that 22 percent of 11th graders in Allamakee County had reported e-cigarette use in the past 30 days, an increase from six percent as reported in 2016. Havenstrite provided a recommendation that November 14-20, 2021 will be recognized as Northeast Iowa Tobacco Awareness Week in Allamakee County. She discussed goals indicating that work with area employers is taking place relating to free cessation support for employees, to include Quitline Iowa. Havenstrite further discussed goals relating to nicotine free policies in the county and that there is a focus on the My Life My Quit smoking cessation program.

Supervisor Mark Reiser, Schellhammer, Byrnes and Havenstrite discussed trends relating to vaping with Havenstrite advising that vaping has continued at a consistent level, not showing an increase or decrease in the last few years. The Supervisors approved November 14-20 of this year as Northeast Iowa Tobacco Awareness Week.

The Third Reading of Ordinance LX Regulating the Burial of Human Remains Outside of Cemeteries within Allamakee County was approved by the Supervisors. Allamakee County Zoning Administrator Stephanie Runkle advised that she has not received any further public comment following the second reading of the ordinance. The Supervisors approved the adoption of Ordinance LX with Runkle advising that newspaper publication is the final step in this process for the ordinance to go into effect.

The Supervisors moved into the consideration of warrants to be voided, with Allamakee County Auditor Denise Beyer noting that two warrants issued in the previous fiscal-year will need to be voided. This matter relates to checks issued for work not yet performed relating to the painting of the Red Schoolhouse located at the Allamakee County Fairgrounds in Waukon. Beyer said that this work has been delayed with the associated initial payment to be voided. The Supervisors approved voiding these warrants as presented.

The Quarterly report from Allamakee County Planning and Zoning was accepted and placed on file. The Supervisors reviewed Secondary Roads Department transfers including $77,296.12 from the General Fund and $846,472.75 from Rural Basic, which were then approved.

Under Department Head/COVID-19 updates, Allamakee County Emergency Management Coordinator Corey Snitker discussed that the current Public Health Disaster Proclamation signed by Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds will expire Sunday, October 17. Snitker said that Veterans Memorial Hospital has continued to disseminate COVID-19 information and recommendations to the public, noting publication in the newspaper.

Snitker also provided a recap of the Driftless Half Marathon, Relay and 5K that took place Saturday, October 9. Snitker and Byrnes discussed foggy conditions early that morning which subsided prior to the event’s start time, with good weather conditions in place for the remainder of the day. Snitker advised that he will be out of the office Tuesday through Friday this week while attending the Iowa Homeland Security and Emergency Management Conference in Ankeny. He also discussed upcoming meetings including the County Courthouse Security Meeting and Safety Meeting.

Snitker advised that a countywide tabletop exercise covering a hazardous materials related incident is being tentatively scheduled for Tuesday, November 16. He said that security camera information will be provided by a company this week. Snitker clarified that if a decision is made to move forward with security cameras in the County Courthouse, the matter will be put out to competitive bidding for the equipment and installation. Snitker also discussed the weather forecast for this week before finishing his update.

Prior to adjournment, Beyer noted that Hacker, Nelson & Co. is finishing work relating to the Fiscal-Year 2021 (FY21) audit, spending just a few hours in the Auditor’s Office last Friday completing audit related field work. Beyer said that the audit process has gone well. She advised that ballots for the November 2 City Council/School Board elections have been received with absentee voting in person and by mail to begin Wednesday, October 13 and that poll worker training will begin soon. Beyer noted that the Monday, October 18 Board of Supervisors meeting will be held at Robey Memorial Library in Waukon and that due to the location away from the County Courthouse, Zoom web-conferencing will not be available for those who wish to attend the meeting remotely. Beyer briefly discussed the process for cities to reprecinct their voting wards.