January 18, 2021

Duckworth: Take TestIowa assessment

Union County Emergency Management urges Union County residents to take the COVID-19 assessment

Decatur County is now the only county in Iowa with no cases of COVID-19. Union County Emergency Management Director Jo Duckworth said Decatur and Ringgold counties remained with no cases as of Monday morning during the Union County Board of Supervisors meeting. Later that day, Ringgold’s first official case was announced.

The contact follow-up for Union County’s second case of COVID-19, which was identified Friday afternoon has been done, Duckworth said. — The original second case was removed from Union County’s count by the state after it was determined the person did not reside in the county.

Duckworth said only 503 Union County residents have completed the assessment on the TestIowa website.

“That is a fairly low number,” Duckworth said, “If you look at Madison County, they’ve had over 3,000.”

Duckworth urges residents to complete the survey to determine if they need to be tested for the novel coronavirus. The survey is available at www.testiowa.com and asks for personal information for identification and contact purposes along with health questions regarding symptoms and possible exposure to COVID-19.

She also reported the county can still use more homemade masks. The groups that had been making them have made thousands of masks. Some of the masks given to the hospital need to be replaced as they sometimes do not stand up to the rigorous laundering process needed.

Friday said the supervisors needed to remember these groups.

“I know there’s a lot of them, so it’s a big ‘thank you,’ “ Friday said. “They are putting a lot of effort in.”

The supervisors also asked for a report on the emergency radio system. Duckworth informed them the current estimated date for the system to go live is July 1. The final tower, which is near the intersection of highways 169 and 34, has arrived and is being installed.

Wind turbines

The debate over wind turbines in Union County continues. Several Union, Adair and Madison county residents appeared at the supervisor meeting to request a moratorium on wind turbines in Union County — capping the number allowed at the 34 already in progress.

Union County resident Francine Ide spearheaded the campaign citing health concerns from the noise — both audible and inaudible — and the lights. She listed some of those concerns as thickening of the arteries of the heart and epilepsy triggers. Ide said she was “bringing the voices of Union County” since the COVID-19 restrictions prohibited them from all coming in person. She brought approximately 30 videos of Union County residents who are against the installation of more turbines and a petition with 658 signatures, the majority of which are from Union County and the surrounding areas.

“You as supervisors are called to protect and preserve the rights, our privileges, the property ... the county and its residents and to preserve and improve the peace, safety, health, welfare, comfort and convenience of our residents,” Ide said. “Are we doing that?”

Possible contribution

Supervisor chair Rick Friday said Matt Ott of MidAmerican Energy approached him to ask where a contribution from MidAmerican Energy would have the most impact in the area where the Southern Hills wind turbine project is being built.

Ott had questioned if a food bank in Union County or some of its parks might be the right place for a donation. He did not give a dollar amount.

Supervisor Ron Riley suggested expanding or improving the walking trails in the northern part of Union County might make a good project. Three and 12 Mile lakes are near the area as well. After a call to Ott where ideas were discussed, the supervisors decided to speak to several entities to determine if there is an ongoing project in one of these areas or a specific need.