Opportunities linger at Maytag DMACC Campus
Things are humming again at the old Maytag headquarters in Newton. While plenty of space remains unfilled at the 472,000 square foot facility just two blocks from downtown Newton, organizers are confident they can continue to attract new businesses to the area.
Located on the northwest side of town, the former Maytag site is undergoing a renaissance thanks to a collaborative effort between the city of Newton and Des Moines Area Community College. The community college is working to attract new tenants to fill out Maytag’s former office space.
When Maytag, ne Whirlpool, pulled up stakes and left town, developer Reza Kargarzadeh bought the Maytag campus for $1. After maintaining the buildings for years, Kargarzadeh donated the buildings to DMACC.
The donation is worth about $9 million in real estate, structures, utilities and furniture and includes about 472,000 feet of office, industrial and residential space. Buildings 1, 2, 16, 17, 18, 20 and 50 joined the main DMACC building and the Career Academy as part of the college’s Newton presence.
Progress Industries job coaches help residents find employment
Debbie Schwarz won’t take no for an answer. For more than 25 years Schwarz, an employment consultant at Progress Industries in Newton, has been knocking on doors, introducing herself and working to find jobs for disabled Jasper County residents. An aggressive networker, Schwarz doesn’t hesitate to drop off her card and mention Progress Industries, she’s dedicated to finding the perfect fit for everyone on her caseload.
“Sometimes they won’t give us the time of day,” Schwarz said. “In this business you get to know people, you have to try everything.”
For years, Progress Industries operated an in-house workshop that served as the largest employer of intellectually challenged individuals, but that workshop closed last March after Progress Industries made the switch to a community-based service model. Now, Schwarz says, the focus is on helping the people she serves find jobs in the community, which gives them a greater sense of belonging.
“They want to be like everyone else,” Schwarz said. “They want to move into their own houses, buy a car or Christmas presents, make friends outside of Progress.”
McDonald's, Walmart and Park Centre in Newton are some of the biggest employers that Schwarz works with. Over the years, she’s worked hard to network with businesses to find out what their needs are and to demonstrate that her people can fulfill those needs.
Supervisors apologize for 'lack of communication'
The Jasper County Board of Supervisors apologized Tuesday for a “lack of communication” in the wake of a report which recommended professional mold remediation after an analysis found slightly elevated mold spores in the basement of the Jasper County Annex Building. The report, along with the annex building, was discussed at its regular board meeting on Tuesday.
“The buck stops here, I will take full blame for a lack of communication or if anybody feels like they were wronged, I had no other intention but making sure it was a safe place and with all of the information I was given, I had no reason to think differently,” supervisor chair Joe Brock said. “Communication works two ways and I apologize and we will take the responsibility for lack of communication.”
Brock said if they had to do the situation over again, it may be done differently, but he didn’t think “the board had not been in the habit of circulating every document that comes to the board of supervisors or auditor’s office.” He also said they are not in the practice of refusing anybody information.
“This is a lesson learned for the three of us for sure, if something like this pops up again you guys should know,” supervisor Doug Cupples said.
Polling site changes in effect for Election Day
Voters in the Newton city election are encouraged to check their polling place as locations have changed this year requiring residents to cast their votes in their respective wards.
Polls are open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesday with four polling location, one for each ward. The change will give voters a central location within the wards and will help keep lines to a minimum. The four locations are different from the school board election earlier this year and the general election in 2016.
Tina Mulgrew, deputy auditor in charge of elections, said signs will also be posted at locations where voting has previously taken place to direct voters to the correct polling place.
Voting locations are as follows: Ward 1: Park Centre, 500 First St. N.; Ward 2: St. Luke United Methodist Church, 501 E. 19th St N.; Ward 3: Jasper County Community Center, 2401 First Ave. E.; Ward 4: American Legion, 1101 W. Fourth St. S.
C-M Board approves $45K boiler repairs at Mingo Middle School
With the former Colfax-Mingo Middle School building in Mingo currently without heat, the district's school board decided to hold a special meeting Oct. 26 to determine how the district would like to proceed in preparing the building for the winter.
According to Verlengia, the old middle school building in Mingo received a substantial amount of water damage in the spring due to a failure of a float switch on a boiler fed water tank. The water has since been shut off. The boiler provided heating for the area of the facility that includes the gymnasium.
The board unanimously decided to move forward a repair the boiler at a cost of $45,000.
District officials said the lack of heating at the middle school could present some major long-term issues for the facility. In addition, many of the winter athletics programs that begin Nov. 1 use the middle school’s gym for practice and games.
Prairie City mayor, council candidates to participate in forum
The two candidates for Prairie City mayor and four hopefuls for the city council took to the stage Thursday night in a candidates forum at the Prairie City United Methodist Church.
Incumbent Mayor Chad Alleger, who is facing his second challenge from first-term councilman Lyle Burkett, answered questions ranging from government transparency to city building codes in front of a crowd roughly 75 citizens.
The four council candidates are all new to public office and are vying for three vacant council seats. One council candidate was unable to attend Thursday's event moderated by the Jasper County League of Women Voters and sponsored by Prairie City News.
PCM drama stages fall play 'Switching Principals' Nov. 10-12
The PCM drama department is almost ready to take its first curtain on "Switching Principals," written by Pat Cook.
The stage show presents a fast-paced farce full of unexpected plot twists, witty one-liners and endless surprises. Set in Marvin Gardens High School, the school staff, school board and students await the arrival of their new principal. Instead, two con artists named George and Madge sneak in and the staff quickly mistakes them for the new principal and secretary, respectively.
PCM English teacher Samantha Pohl said the fall play will feature a 25-student cast. Primarily set in the principal's office, this year's play will feature a simple set compared to years past.
Pohl said through this, the actors will be able to truly show off their chops and treat audiences to a fun-filled, high energy performance.