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Week in Review

Newton man charged with
involuntary manslaughter

Nearly three years after a 25-year-old Kellogg woman died of an apparent drug overdose, a Newton man is charged with involuntary manslaughter in connection with her death.

Ross R. Wadzinski, 30, recently confessed to Newton police that when Samantha Raper couldn’t inject Oxycodone tablets herself, he did it because she asked him to.

The incident happened Jan. 17, 2015. Police were called to 730 W. 12th St. S. At that time, Wadzinski told police he had been using narcotics with Raper but she had bought and injected the pills herself.

Urban renewal area, TIF OK’d for Fairmeadows North

Newton City Council approved an urban renewal area and a Tax Increment Financing district at the Fairmeadows North subdivision expansion Monday and set a public hearing to move forward with the same designation at the Cardinal Ridge development.

The urban renewal area and TIF district at Fairmeadows North will be used to pay for infrastructure costs and the expansion of the housing subdivision. The expansion consists of seven acres divided into 23 lots located east of Agnes Patterson Park.

The city approved about $900,000 in infrastructure costs for Fairmeadows North with a little more than half or $575,000 of that expected to be recovered through lot sales. The remaining costs will come from the creation of the TIF district.

Mayor Hansen clinches third term

Newton Mayor Mike Hansen will serve his third term after handily earning more than 70 percent of the votes Tuesday in the city election.

His opponent Ron Bookout had 426 votes to Hansen’s 1,067, according to uncertified election tallies released by the Jasper County Auditor’s Office.

Evelyn George will now represent the city in the at-large council position. George, who currently serves in Ward 2, received 813 votes to triumph over her fellow candidates Garfield Berndt III at 280 votes, Russell Terlouw at 179 votes, Matthew Holmes at 123 votes and Lance C. Hawley at 77 votes.

Also elected to city council is incumbent Steve Mullan for Ward 4 and Dean Stonner will join the council for his first term serving Ward 2. Mullan received 390 votes while Stonner garnered 353 votes.

$2.5 million allotted for city improvements

More than $2.5 million in General Obligation Loans will be used to continue city improvements and essential work in Newton, according to city officials. City council approved loans for the North Central Urban Renewal Area and Speedway/Prairie Fire Urban Renewal Area following a public hearing on Monday.

The largest portion of funds goes to the Hotel Maytag loan agreement. It is not to exceed $1.18 million and will be used to support the Hotel Maytag redevelopment project.

An allotment not to exceed $980,000 for an Urban Renewal loan agreement will be used to fund improvements to the DMACC Newton campus, improvements at the Newton Public Library and grants for development of second story housing in the downtown area.

halted in Newton

A drug task force halted a Newton heroin distribution operation after six heroin overdoses were reported in the city within the last week.

Six Jasper County residents face charges following the execution of a search warrant by the Mid-Iowa Narcotics Enforcement Task Force’s east division along with local law enforcement on Tuesday at 715 W. Fourth St. N. Officers discovered heroin, methamphetamine, cocaine, prescription pills and drug paraphernalia at the home.

Jasper County Lt. Aaron Groves, who serves on the MINE Task Force, said a “bad batch” of heroin was being dealt and used in Newton, which caused the overdoses. Groves said those people were treated with Narcan, a prescription medicine used to block the effects of opioids.

Baxter elects new mayor after 12 years

On the eve of Baxter’s 12-year mayor Stephen Smith’s retirement, residents elected a new chief administrator Tuesday. Baxter Hometown Pride committee chairperson won the seat in this week’s city election with 64.2 percent of the overall vote, defeating Baxter City Council member Steve Wright by 74 votes.

Popenhagen, who received 165 votes, announced her mayoral candidacy on her campaign’s Facebook page back in February. Since moving into town in 2013, the mother of two set up an in-home daycare, leads the town’s Hometown Pride committee, is president of the Baxter Wellness Center, the chairperson for the Baxter Adult Recreation Program, member of the Baxter Fun Day Committee and a key contributor to the Baxter Summit Planning Committee.

New trio to serve Monroe

The Monroe City Council will have three new members in January, following results from Tuesday’s city election where a trio of women candidates took the evening.

Heartland AEA Special Education Consultant Jennifer St. Peter, legal assistant Sarah McCray and Realtor Andrea Steenhoek all won seats in the contest.

St. Peter had 24.86 percent of the vote, with 221 ballots cast in her favor. Steenhoek had 197 votes or 22.16 and McCray had 192 or 21.6 percent.

Alleger retains
PC mayoral seat

Prairie City Mayor Chad Alleger defeated challenger and city councilman Lyle Burkett in Tuesday night’s city elections, winning a third term to the office.

Alleger collected 72.4 percent of the vote with 273 ballots cast in his favor. According to unofficial results reported Tuesday night by the Jasper County Auditor’s Office, Burkett received 27.32 percent or 103 votes. In 2015, Alleger won his first challenge from Burkett with 58.77 percent of the vote.

In a phone interview after the results were announced Tuesday, Alleger said he is encouraged by the new city council makeup, city races also decided Tuesday.

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