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N. Warren Town and County News
Norwalk, Iowa
March 11, 2010     N. Warren Town and County News
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March 11, 2010

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OFFICIAL NEWSPAPER FOR AND NORWALK COMMUNITY SCHOOL DISTRICT Warren Town. and County WS Daylight Savings Time Begins Sunday, March 14. Set your clock ahead one houri Vol. 41 No. 42 Norwalk, Iowa 50211 USPS No. 395-120 Phone 981-0406 Thursday, March 11,2010 .... notes from Dr. Denny Wulf Superintendent of Norwalk Schools Superintendent&apos;s Update Feb 24 Future Snowdays: There are as many ways to deal with the snowdays this year as there are school districts in Iowa. As you might imagine, there is no single plan which successfully addresses the needs of everyone. But we do have some overriding constraints which must be addressed. Due to our construction projects, Norwalk must finish on June 8 to be completed for next year. Since we have made up three days alread3 our current last day is June 8. So, we are within our timelines. We hope that our makeup plan caused as little disruption to staff and families as possible. However, if we encoun- ter another snowday, we will add 30 minutes to 11 days, toward the end of the year. Hopefully, this strat- egy will not be necessary. Keep your fingers crossed. See our website for more details. Construction Projects Move Ahead Plans for the auditorium, stadium relocation and ten- nis courts are making great progress. This is a huge undertaking for our construction partners, but they are aggressively pursing the best solutions for Norwalk. At the heart of this opportunity is the penny sales tax. The legislative approval of the statewide penny sales tax changed the construction plans of many districts across Iowa, including Norwalk. Plans that were more than twenty years awa3 suddenly became possible within a few years. The statewide penny produced a huge wind- fall for straggling schools, including Norwalk. Specifi- cally, the narrow focus of the statewide penny sent a clear message from the Iowa legislature. The legisla- ture intended Iowa schools to address their facility chal- lenges. At the time, the following quotes are clear indi- cators of the legislative intent (both Democrat and Re- publican): House Minority Leader Christopher Rants, R-Sioux City, was the lead sponsor of the 1998 bill and is arguably the lead opponent of the current one. He said "Democrats who con- trol the governor's office and both houses of the Legislature will inevitably use the tax for general spending. "It's a money grab, " Rants said. Rep. WendL a retired school administrator, has heard that critique before and said it's untrue. He said he would ". ..... lead the charge against the bill if he thought the money was going to anything other than school construc- tion .......... '" Additionally, Rep. Chambers said he and the other Repub- lican co-sponsors have agreed that they will "all vote against the bill if it is revised to be used for general spend- ing." -Sioux City Journal, Jan. 24, 2008 So, both sides of the aisle clearly intended the penny sales tax for school construction. However, the souring economic situation over the past year began to worry legal experts. Iowa school districts were advised by the Iowa Association of School Boards to encumber as much of the money as possible, or risk losing the money. The preservation of the penny sales tax for school construc- tion uses has become a top priority this year in the School Board Association's dealings with the legislature. Sub- sequent discussions with Norwalk School District legal counsel from the Ahlers firm, reiterated the concern. You may hear this threat called "scooping the penny". Scooping the penny means diverting it from the in- tended uses for schools. Despite hearing "promises" from legislators that the .: =.,..::,, ..... Concluded p.8 Task Force File Charges Officers of the Mid Iowa Drug Task Force unit and the DEA Task Force arrested three people on drug charges. February 25, Barton Hammond, 47, Hartford, and Jason Hammond, 35, Hartford, were charged with manu- facturing of methamphet- amine and on February 26, Alicia Rife, 27, Creston, was charged with posses- sion of methamphetamine with intent to deliver and failure to have drug tax stamp, as well as an out- standing warrant for fail- ure to appear; All three are being held in the Warren County Jail. Group toSew Blankets For Haiti Donnis Blake is orga- nizing a group to meet Sat- urdays, March 13 and 27, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Fel- lowship Community Church, to sew blankets for Haiti. Those participat- ing are to bring their sew- ing machines. All of the supplies for the project will be provided. Blake advises anyone who can "sew a straight line" can help. If you can- not sew all day, even two or three hours will help. In addition to the supplies, she will provide lunch. She does request an RSVP to 981-4307 so she knows how much to prepare. Linn Grove Monthly Meal Members of Linn Grove United Methodist Church, 7483 50th, Prole, will host their "free-will offering" dinner Thursdav, March 11, from 5 to 7 p.m. at the church. Meals can be dine- in or carry out. The menu is lasagna, bread, salad, dessert and beverage. There is no cost, but a free-will offering will Norwalk City Adminis- trator Mark Miller has been given the following information from Bloomburg BusinessWeek for Wednesday, Feb. 24, 2010. The news article which listed the Best Af- fordable Suburbs in America for 2010 included Norwalk, Iowa as one of the top communities. This recognition is a validation of the many things that Norwalk has done in this decade and the tail end of the 90% Miller said. Published information about Norwalk included the town's population of 7,959, median family in- come as $79,106; median home price of $136,250 and with an unemploy- ment rate of 6.6%. The vio- lent crime index was 11. In defining "Afford- able", BusinessWeek said, "We looked for places on the outskirts of cities that were no more expensive than 80% to 125% of the metro area's median home price," said Bert Sperling, founder and president of Sperling's BestPlaces, based in Portland, OR, and co-author of Best Places to Raise Your Family: The Top 100 Affordable Communities in the U.S. "We didn't want to exclude ones where you could pay a little more and have an ex- ceptional experience. We also didn't want places that were truly expensive." BusinessWeek further stated that "Norwalk has a country club and a pri- vate lake, as well as public facilities, such as two golf courses, parks, tennis courts and swimming pools. A mix of 15roperties can be found in the Lake- wood neighborhood and new developments such as Ridge-Echo Valley, Legacy and Orchard Hills." Miller noted that this information could help bring some commercial industry to the Norwalk area. "The success of Norwalk in spearheading the relocated Iowa 5 CITY REPORT By Mark Miller, City Administrator Norwalk up more than we ever envisioned, we are truly accessible," he said. "Businesses such as LaQuercia, Shoppes at Legacy, the Norwalk Clinic, the many new and good restaurants, the new retail stores and expansion of existing [usinesses have been preceded by gold residential building, even in these times. These suc- cess stories with Tax Incre- ment Financing and Tax Abatement have turned the community around." Norwalk has been a participant in the Waste Water Reclamation Au- thority and that long-term planning and implementa- tion prov.ides a sanitary sewer infrastructure that will accommodate the con- tinued growth that Norwalk seeks. The partnerships by the City with Norwalk Cham- ber, Norwalk Schools, Des Moines Partnership, War- ren County Economic De- velopment and the Purple Heart Highway Collabora- tiveare bearing fruit as Norwalk is no longer an unknown commoditv. Miller added, "Plus, it is just time that Norwalk gets recognition for its ef- forts to attract business and people. It is cool, time to toot our own horn and feel good about our suc- cesses and our future." I NORWALK POLICE CHIEF 1 Ed Kuhl Recently Bloomberg BusinessWeek announced Norwalk, Iowa as the best place in the State of Iowa for families to move to. One of the factors that was consid- ered was the violent crime index for each community. I would first like to thank our community for their sup- port and your officers for their accomplishments. On Board Informatics studied all of the suburbs nationwide within 25 miles of the largest populated city in each state. "Lower than average crime rates" was one of the fac- tors considered as well as, good schools, commute times, affordable housing, the local economy and the cost of living. There were 51 cities selected and of those Norwalk had a lower crime rate than 40 of them, with only 10 having less. We were number 11 in this national ranking. If this were a sports team we would have a parade. We are so very proud of our community. Our town is where we live, where we shop, where our friends are, where we go to church and our children go to school. We have long known what we have here and today that has been recognized. We should celebrate this in the coming days and resolve to move even further up that list. project has opened be accepted.. ...... , " ...o ,,. [..-:;. ;.. :. : :.<o.v Th.a.nk.y0. u again for. your Support. " ' " , ' "i ................ T I "--rTi00MIIT00I00IIII00IlI,TU!I]IN 'h