mask used to cover a person's mouth and nose

Clay County Board of Supervisors approves face covering regulation

The Clay County Board of Supervisors approved by a 3-2 vote a regulation that requires people to wear face coverings when in public and unable to stay six feet from others and when in certain indoor public settings. The regulation applies to all townships and incorporated cities in Clay County. However, those municipalities can opt out by approving ordinances of their own. The regulation will go into effect following publication in the Spencer Daily Reporter. It contains no penalty for violations.

Spencer City Council Chambers sign

City Council meeting notes: September 9, 2020

The Spencer City Council discussed the following topics Tuesday at its regular meeting. 

Planning director interviews begin

The city has started the interview process for its open planning director position. City Manager Amanda Mack told the council that interviews will finish Friday. Applicants will be reviewed next week to determine a recommendation to the council. City to purchase two new police cars for $69,885

The City of Spencer will purchase two 2021 Ford Utility Police Interceptors for the Spencer Police Department from Don Pierson Ford for $69,885. 

City council members approved the purchase as part of the consent agenda at Tuesday’s meeting. The vote for the consent agenda was 7-0.

Spencer Signal circle and tower logo behind text: COVID-19 Community Updates spencersignal.com/covid19

Assisted living facility resident is Clay County’s 2nd COVID-19 death

A resident of Riverview Terrace Assisted Living in Spencer died August 20 after contracting COVID-19, becoming Clay County’s second death attributed to the novel coronavirus. Marjorie Ann Dalen, 89, contracted the disease and “passed suddenly,” according to an obituary on Warner Funeral Home’s website. Clay County earlier this month had a notable rise in confirmed cases, at least some of which are connected to Riverview Terrace. The Signal reported on August 12 that multiple cases among residents and staff had been confirmed at the facility. Riverview Terrace officials have acknowledged the outbreak but are not providing specific information about confirmed cases to the public due to tenant privacy laws.

Spencer Signal circle and tower logo behind text: COVID-19 Community Updates spencersignal.com/covid19

7 COVID-19 cases linked to assisted living facility in Spencer

Update: Riverview Terrace Assisted Living issued a press release on August 13 confirming that it has experienced an outbreak of COVID-19. The full press release is below, followed by the original article. Press release (August 13):

Riverview Terrace Assisted Living, a division of St. Luke Homes & Services, is reporting an outbreak of Covid-19. Representatives of Riverview Terrace, Spencer, has notified immediate family members, tenants and staff, but due to tenant privacy laws, officials are unable to share any further specific information about the confirmed cases.

Image of coronavirus and text "tracking Clay County COVID-19 data"

Tracking COVID-19 in Clay County and neighboring counties

The Spencer Signal is tracking the spread of COVID-19 in Clay County and neighboring counties. Below are updated graphs for Clay, Buena Vista, Dickinson, O’Brien and Palo Alto Counties showing new confirmed COVID-19 cases per day and the seven-day average number of new cases. var divElement = document.getElementById(‘viz1593809897180’); var vizElement = divElement.getElementsByTagName(‘object’)[0]; if ( divElement.offsetWidth > 800 ) { vizElement.style.width=’100%’;vizElement.style.height=(divElement.offsetWidth*0.75)+’px’;} else if ( divElement.offsetWidth > 500 ) { vizElement.style.width=’100%’;vizElement.style.height=(divElement.offsetWidth*0.75)+’px’;} else { vizElement.style.width=’100%’;vizElement.style.height=’750px’;} var scriptElement = document.createElement(‘script’); scriptElement.src = ‘https://public.tableau.com/javascripts/api/viz_v1.js’; vizElement.parentNode.insertBefore(scriptElement, vizElement);

New cases of confirmed COVID-19 for each day are represented on the left y-axis. The seven-day average of new cases is represented on the right y-axis. The seven-day average is the average number of new cases for that day and the previous six days.

Spencer Schools S shield logo

Spencer Schools releases draft of Return to Learn Plan

The draft of the Return to Learn Plan for the Spencer Community School District that was released earlier this week describes three ways the district could return to school next month. Spencer Schools are scheduled to begin classes on August 24 for grades 9-12 and August 25 for grades K-8. How classes look when students are asked to begin, though, comes down to the Return to Learn Plan. The plan, as its introduction describes, “is intended to assist staff, students and families in providing direction and clarification for the return to learning in the fall.” The plan, an effort to create a safe environment as the COVID-19 pandemic continues, provides descriptions of roles and responsibilities for “stakeholders” based on three possible scenarios for how school classes may look: in-person, completely remote or online learning, or a hybrid model of the two.

Mainstreet Market cancelled for 2020

The 2020 season for Mainstreet Market has been cancelled. Originally set to be five Thursday nights this summer beginning July 16, the Mainstreet Market had already been scaled back to only three nights. 

Following the cancellation of the Clay County Fair the Spencer Alliance for a Creative Economy (SPACE) Board decided to cancel the remain three nights, Spencer Main Street Executive Director Nancy Naeve told the Signal.  

In its place, SPACE will offer two events at Arts on Grand. On August 6 and August 13 artists will be selling items, with five artists selling at a time. 

The hope is that it will be easier to social distance. 

On August 6, The Iowa Project Brewing Company will have drinks available. Guests are asked to enter Arts on Grand through the back door and exit out the front.  

Spencer City Council Chambers sign

Robinson says Clay County, Spencer residents have taken COVID-19 seriously

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 Signal circle and tower logo behind text: COVID-19 Community Updates spencersignal.com/covid19

Clay County records first COVID-19 death

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.

These are the Spencer and Clay County businesses and organizations that received PPP loans

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.