The Spencer Public Library reopened to patrons this week. However, there are now new restrictions in place that library visitors must follow:
· The public must make an appointment to enter. · Only 10 visitors will be allowed in the building at any one time. · A temperature check and masks are required to enter. Please practice social distancing.
Anyone watching Monday’s Spencer City Council meeting online or in person would have noticed a couple of social distancing-inspired seating changes. Council members and city staff were more spread out, with each of the council members sitting at individual tables. Mayor Kevin Robinson, city staff and Ward 1 City Councilman Tom Nelson also wore masks inside during the meeting. “We’re trying to spread out,” Robinson said during the meeting. “We’re trying to keep everybody safe and that’s why you’ll see people spread out all over the council room here tonight.”
At the end of the meeting, Robinson closed by praising the community on how it has handled COVID-19.
Spencer’s getting a new piece of equipment for its annual mosquito battle. On Monday, the Spencer City Council approved the purchase of a London Foggers Model 18-20/GPS Mosquito Sprayer for $15,940. The purchase was identified in this year’s capital improvement plan, but only for $14,500. The rest of the money will be covered through the public works equipment reserve. According to an agenda memo, because the project is over budget, a budget amendment will likely be needed.
Two people were transported to Spencer Hospital Thursday night after the vehicle the pickup truck they were in entered a ditch and rolled on U.S. 71. The Clay County Sheriff’s Office reported deputies were dispatched to the 4600 mile of U.S. 71 at 7:17 p.m. Thursday. Deputies determined Rosa Guadiana Escalmilla, 27, of Storm Lake, was driving a 2005 Dodge Dakota south when she lost control of the truck due to too much weight in the truck bed. The pickup lost traction, entered the east ditch, rolled and landed on its tires facing northwest. Escamilla and a passenger were evaluated and transported to the hospital with suspected head and neck injuries.
U.S. Sen. Joni Ernst visited Spencer on Tuesday, making stops at Grand Avenue Community Outreach and The Iowa Project Brewing Company. During her visit, Ernst praised the outreach (GACO) for its approach to helping people in the community. “You do want to make sure you are finding solutions and an avenue for someone if they can’t find what they need here, finding it somewhere else or giving them advice on where they can go to get assistance,” Ernst said. “That’s exactly what you have developed here in your own community. It’s basically a one-stop shop for the folks that need it the most.”
The Spencer City Council discussed the following items at its regular meeting on Monday. Planned Unit Residential Development, development ordinances clear final filings
The Spencer City Council approved, 7-0, the third and final filings of two separate ordinances, one amending parts of the city code pertaining to Planned Unit Residential Developments (PURDs) and the other pertaining to subdivision definitions. Both ordinances seek to make city code less restrictive for future housing developments. Mayor Kevin Robinson thanked city staff and others involved in the effort to get the code changed. “This is a culmination of about a year-long process of cleaning up planning development, those kinds of things,” he said.
Spencer’s new city hall needs new rooftop air conditioning units and ductwork for the building’s second floor.
On Monday, the Spencer City Council approved, with a 7-0 vote, the purchase of four units and the ductwork from Hanson’s Plumbing and Heating for $28,200. It’s not clear what happened to the current units, City Manager Amanda Mack told the council, but all need to be replaced. “I don’t think we’ve come to any resolution other than it was an electrical event,” Mack said. Those AC units were working when the city took over the building. Mack said Northwest Bank, the building’s previous owner before the city purchased the building and began renovations, has said the units were working when the sale closed.
One person from Clay County has died due to COVID-19, according to data updated Wednesday by the Iowa Department of Public Health. This is the county’s first reported death during the pandemic. No other information about the individual is available. As of Wednesday afternoon, Clay County has 141 confirmed cases of COVID-19, according to the Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH). IDPH provides a breakdown of cases by age group.
A total of 523 Clay County businesses and organizations received Paycheck Protection Program loans that they indicated would help retain 4,476 jobs, according to data from the U.S. Small Business Administration. The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) and U.S. Treasury Department released the data on Monday for loans made under the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). The Signal has gathered data on the 523 PPP loan recipients in Spencer and throughout Clay County. That data is below. You can also view the data here.
The Clay County Fair, now postponed until 2021, would have been at risk of not living up to its reputation as “The World’s Greatest County Fair” had it been held this year. That realization, combined with fairgoer, staff, volunteer and vendor safety issues during the COVID-19 pandemic, eventually led fair officials to decide it was best to not hold a Clay County Fair in 2020. The decision was officially announced Thursday. At a press conference Thursday, Clay County Fair CEO and Manager Jeremy Parson said the 2020 fair, were it to happen, simply would not have been recognizable. “It just would have not been the same,” he said.