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Former Parkview nursing home eyed as veterans center

WATERLOO — The former Parkview Gardens Care Center is being eyed to provide transitional housing and other services to military veterans.

Americans for Independent Living, a nonprofit agency focused on serving veterans, has purchased the former nursing home at 310 Upland Drive and is now seeking a special permit for the project.

AFIL purchased the building from Care Initiatives for $25,000 in May. The 67-bed nursing home, built in 1966, was shuttered in 2013 when Care Initiatives opened a new facility on Heath Street near UnityPoint/Allen Hospital.

“Strictly what I want to do is help with the veteran population in the community and surrounding communities,” said Tim Combs, executive director of AFIL, which also operates a home for veterans on East Ninth Street.

The city’s Planning, Programming and Zoning Commission took no action on the special permit Tuesday after members and several neighbors had questions about what else might be locating in the building.

AFIL wants to turn one of the five building wings into 16 efficiency apartments to serve as transitional housing for homeless veterans. A second wing would serve as a veterans resource center, including meeting rooms, a computer lab, library and other services to help veterans with job searches and other needs.

The agency was planning to use the remaining three wings for Nobility Healthcare, an Arizona-based behavioral services agency, to provide inpatient drug, alcohol and mental health treatment.

The health services raised concerns from neighbors.

“I applaud what he’s doing for our veterans and I’m very appreciative,” said Mark Johnson, who lives nearby. “If we just had veterans in that facility, that would be great. We would love that and everybody in the neighborhood would embrace it.”

But Johnson said the idea of having inpatient drug abuse and psychiatric patients raised security concerns.

“We’re scared for the neighborhood,” he said. “We’re scared for the people that live around there. And me, personally, I’m scared for the veterans that are going to be housed there.”

Neighbor Keith Smith offered similar sentiments.

“We saw it sit empty for 4 1/2 years,” he said. “We’d love to see it turned into 100 percent for homeless veterans.

“I think the whole neighborhood would be thrilled with that,” Smith added. “But when you start talking about alcohol and drug rehab, I think everybody is concerned.”

Combs said his intent was to have the drug and alcohol abuse treatment provided strictly for veterans but conceded he needed to do more work to shore up the details of those services before the measure returns for a commission vote.

Combs said he also plans to host an open house for neighbors once those details are in place.

Software glitch could affect Waterloo water bills

WATERLOO — Waterloo Water Works officials are asking customers to review their bills following a software malfunction that could lead to inaccurate statements.

Customers should review their third quarter statement and contact the Water Works billing department if there is a concern with the charges.

The glitch affected five residential routes across the city and generally included parts of the Audubon Park Neighborhood, areas along West Fourth Street through downtown, and neighborhoods surrounding Cunningham Elementary and southwest of Broadway Street.

It is estimated less than 10 percent of customers in these routes experienced inaccurate readings. A portion of impacted customers would have received an incorrect low billing amount in the second quarter resulting in a higher billing amount in the third quarter to make up any difference.

The Water Works will work with customers in these routes to make arrangements to make repayment manageable.

Those with questions or concerns should call the Waterloo Water Works billing department at 232-6280 and follow prompt number six.

“The Waterloo Water Works apologizes for confusion arising from this software error,” said Water Works General Manager Matt Mahler. “We want to be sure our customers understand all the charges on their water bills. Please don’t hesitate to contact us with questions.”

Waterloo Water Works is located at 325 Sycamore St. Office hours are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Decorah council looks to allow beekeeping in city limits


DECORAH — The first reading of an ordinance that would allow beekeeping in the city has been approved by the Decorah City Council.

Decorah resident Rick Brown recently met with the council Public Safety Committee and requested the city’s code be changed to allow for the hobby of beekeeping.

City Manager Chad Bird said the amendment strikes bees as a “bothersome animal” from city code and adds a new administrative section to regulate the keeping of honey bees.

The council unanimously approved the first reading of the code amendment, and council member Steve Luse suggested the second and third readings be waived. Three readings are required before an ordinance change can be considered for adoption.

However, council member Gary Rustad said he would like to hold another reading of the amendment, “because of parents who may have kids who are allergic to bee stings. Let’s give them another opportunity to come before the council. They may have health concerns,” he said.

The second reading on the issue is scheduled for the council’s Monday meeting.

Waterloo airport will host Food Bank displays

WATERLOO — The Northeast Iowa Food Bank and Waterloo Regional Airport will partner this holiday season to raise awareness about hunger.

Holiday travelers in November and December will notice displays at the airport’s terminal building sharing facts about hunger and reminders about giving during the holiday season. “While the relationship between the Northeast Iowa Food Bank and the Waterloo Regional Airport may be an unconventional one, it is certainly a strong one,” said Barbara Prather, executive director of the Northeast Iowa Food Bank.

“Over 46,000 Northeast Iowans struggle with food insecurity, and awareness is heightened during the holiday season,” she added. “We are extremely grateful for the Waterloo Regional Airport’s efforts to help raise awareness and close the meal gap by 2025.”

“Community partnerships are an important aspect of who we are,” said Keith Kaspari, director of aviation at the airport. “Hunger is a serious issue in Northeast Iowa, and raising awareness among holiday travelers is a wonderful opportunity for us to make a difference.”

Nov. 15, 2017

Q: If you bail someone out of jail is this money ever returned to you?

A: An explanation from Black’s Law Dictionary: “You are not going to be able to get your money back until after either the defendant has been acquitted or the charge(s) against them have been dropped. In the event that the individual is found guilty, your bail money will go towards the court fees. Unfortunately, if this happens you will not be able to get your money back.” If he or she has charges dropped or is found not guilty, “if you were able to pay the court directly, you should have no trouble receiving a refund for the amount you paid. However, if you decided to, or had to, use a bail bondman, chances are pretty good that you only paid anywhere from 10 to 20 percent of the total bail amount. This amount is considered the bondsman’s fee and you will not get any of your money back.”

Q: Regarding the movie “American Sniper”: What happened to the person who killed Chris Kyle?

A: Kyle and a friend, Chad Littlefield, were shot and killed by Marine Corps veteran Eddie Routh in 2013. Routh, who had been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress and schizophrenia, was found guilty of the murders in 2015 and is serving life without parole in a Texas prison.

Q: What is the date of the next celebration for Relay for Life for cancer survivors they host yearly?

A: The next Black Hawk County Relay for Life will be June 15 at Hawkeye Community College.

Q: What is the definition of socially disadvantage as related to The Courier’s Business of the Year award?

A: We are following the Small Business Administration definition: Under federal law, socially disadvantaged individuals are those who have been subjected to racial or ethnic prejudice or cultural bias within American society because of their identification as members of groups without regard to their individual qualities.

Q: I just saw “Guardians of the Galaxy Part II.” Kurt Russell, 66, had a two-minute part. How did they make him look like he was in his 20s?

A: Evidently it was both good makeup and movie magic. According to a recent Washington Post piece, “It involved two actors, some deft makeup and the cutting-edge ability to build a composite face.”

Q: Is the Iowa Lottery going to offer another $100,000 game?

A: According to lottery officials, “The lotto game called ‘Iowa’s $100,000 Cash Game’ ended in January 2014, and the Iowa Lottery has since offered other lotto games that also cost $1 per play. The newest $1 game will begin sales on Sunday. Called Lotto America, it has a throwback name to the first multi-state lotto game that became known for big jackpots in the United States. Players in today’s version of Lotto America will choose five numbers from a pool of 52 and another number, called the Star Ball, from a pool of 10 Players who match all six numbers selected in a drawing will win the game’s jackpot. The first Lotto America drawing will be on Wednesday, Nov. 15.”