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Ward 1 vacancy attracts two candidates

Hood and Lehmkuhl want to serve

December 20, 2017
Amy H. Peterson - Staff Writer ( , Estherville News

The Estherville City Council heard from two applicants for Ward 1 council member at Monday night's meeting.

Cindy Hood, who was defeated this month by 97 votes in the runoff election for mayor of Estherville, told the council she loves Estherville.

She said in a letter of interest that she frequently attends city council meetings and serves on the Planning and Zoning Committee.

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"I love Estherville," Hood said.

Hood noted her years of experience in problem solving, labor and human resources, and working under stressful conditions as an air traffic controller. Hood said she has invested time into the community as a volunteer.

"I'm very happy to be here," Hood said.

Shannon Lehmkuhl noted his upcoming retirement after 21 years in the National Guard.

"I'm not a yes man," Lehmkuhl informed the council.

Lehmkuhl noted his love and passion for this area.

"I have no qualms telling people how it is, if it's what's right for the community," Lehmkuhl said.

Lehmkuhl said if there is waste, fraud and abuse in city government, he would make it a priority to "take care of that."

The council will decide on, appoint, and swear in the next council member for Ward 1 at its next meeting, Tuesday, Jan. 2. The seat became open when the current holder, Brandon Carlin, elected to run for the at-large seat vacated by retiring councilman Larry Anderson.

In other business, the council reviewed its goal setting report from its meeting Dec. 6. Jeff Schott of the Institute of Public Affairs from the University of Iowa facilitated the meeting. The City set five new priority projects, programs and initiatives.

1.Review the annexation plan and approach property owners about voluntary annexation;

2.(tie) Campground at Riverside and develop small lot industrial park;

4.Identify the city's next industrial park, or two, and how to fund it;

5.Change architectural standards for commercial buildings to reflect what is being approved.

City officials discussed numerous issues, concerns, trends and opportunities that would potentially affect future city services, policies, finances and operations.

One of these was in the area of public safety, with a seeming increase in crime and lack of consequences.

At its regular meeting Monday night, the council also passed an amendment to Title I, Chapter 1, Article 1 of the city code concerning standard penalty. A state law taking effect Jan. 1, 2018 changes the way the city is reimbursed for the cost of public defenders for certain criminal violations.

Citizens accused of city code violations included on a certain list shall be subject to a fine of up to $625 and, in the discretion of an arresting officer, possibly arrested and sentenced to up to 30 days.

These violations include: willful injury, disorderly conduct/disorderly house, nuisance party, indecent exposure, interference with official acts, carrying weapons, public consumption or public intoxication, keeping a dangerous animal, and license required for peddlers' permits.

City administrator Penny Clayton said, "This was on the recommendation of the chief."

Police chief Brent Shatto said, "We have to have recourse for violations."

The Estherville News will include further information about what this means for accused citizens in Estherville in an early January edition of the newspaper.

The city also approved the resolution authorizing the sale of real estate, the 800 block of Eighth Ave. N. to Avera Holy Family Hospital for $5,200.

Roy Gage spoke in favor of the proposal during the public forum.

"I don't think this closure is in any way the end of the world," Gage said.

Gage stated, "Avera invests in us," meaning citizens in Estherville. Gage said another hospital system with a location in Albert Lea, Minn., removed acute care and maternity care from that hospital, causing maternity patients to travel 30 miles for care.

"I don't think it's time to quibble," Gage said.

The next meeting of the Estherville City Council will be Tuesday, Jan. 2 at 5 p.m., likely returning to the city council chambers of city hall.



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