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Two candidates ask to be considered for Ward 2 vacancy

Monday night, the Newton City Council will consider two applicants for the now-vacant Ward 2 seat. Larry L. Johnson Sr. and Evelyn George both have applied to fill the seat once held by Mayor Mike Hansen.

Johnson is a retired USDA worker. He worked for the USDA for more than 36 years. While with the USDA, he was responsible for collecting data and made national markets reports. In those reports he supplied information such as transportation problems, supplies offered and purchases of meat.

He also served on a voluntary Board of Directors of USDA Federal Credit Union for nine years, which was responsible for deciding on interest and loan rates used by the Credit Union to serve members. He also served as President of the Warren Co. Corvette Club; he currently is its website manager. 

Johnson served in the United States Air Force from 1963-67. He graduated from Washington State University in 1973 with a degree in animal science.

Multiple efforts were made to contact Johnson, but he was unavailable for comment.

George moved to Newton in 1983. She left in 2004 due to a job loss. According to her city council bid statement, her heart was still in Newton. She said she believes her skills would be a good fit for Newton.

“Newton needs someone to step up,” she said.

Since returning to Newton, George served on the Maytag Bowl Project Committee. She also has participated in “Newton’s Future” Comprehensive Plan meetings, and taught a Jasper County Leadership Development class.

George and her husband have raised two kids in Newton, both of whom graduated from Newton Senior High School.

In other business Monday, the council will consider the purchase of a new snow removal truck and construction of a storage warehouse for the Newton Municipal Airport. The city would have to pay 10 percent of the total cost, with the remainder covered by the federal government.

“Aviation taxes pay for the majority,” airport manager Ethan Nasalroad said, adding he hopes the proposals are approved. “It’s city equipment. It helps the whole city.”

The estimated cost of the new truck is $158,000, of which the City of Newton will pay an estimated $15,800, while the federal cost would be an estimated $142,200. The estimated cost of the new storage building for the airport is $280,000, of which Newton’s estimated cost would be $28,000 and the federal government would pick up the remaining $252,000.

The reason why the equipment is in need of replacement is because the current snow removal equipment is outdated. In his recommendation to the council, City Administrator Bob Knabel wrote the existing truck is “inefficient and in frequent need of repairs.”

In order to have equipment, airports must have a place to store them. Currently, the equipment is stored in a aircraft hanger bay. While the current aircraft bay is up to standards, a proper storage place would allow the airport to have more space.

In other business, the council will go into closed session to discuss a contract proposal with the firefighters’ union. A second closed session has been placed on the agenda to review employee performance.

Matthew Shepard can be contacted at (641) 792-3121 ext. 425 or via email at

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