November 28, 2023

Supervisors break tie vote from election

Union County Board of Supervisors broke a three-way tie Monday for the fourth position on the county’s agricultural extension council by drawing Meredith Wulf’s name.

She was one of three write-in candidates for the county on the Nov. 8 ballot. Voters were to pick four people, but there were only three formal candidates; Alexis Baker, Donna Allen and Shiloh Gennaro. Others who were written in were Lisa Brown and David Mixdorf. Wulf, Brown and Mixdorf each received the same number of write in votes forcing the drawing of a name.

Gennaro was the only incumbent among the three formal candidates.

Union County Auditor Sandy Hysell, whose office oversees elections, said there were no problems Tuesday with the election.

“Everything went smooth,” she told the supervisors.

Supervisors canvassed the election. Supervisor-elect Dennis Hopkins will replace Ron Riley in January. Riley did not run for another term.

In other supervisor news...

Clarke County Engineer Christian Boehmer, who is acting as Union County’s engineer told supervisors Alliant Energy is still designing the proposed solar-power project for east of Creston. Boehmer said Alliant officials are expecting the county to have additional agreements for the project.

Alliant sponsored a public hearing about the work in September in Creston.

Construction is expected to begin in late 2023 or spring 2024. Alliant has acquired 307 acres east of Creston’s Osage Street, but plan on having just 76 acres dedicated to the solar power and battery.

The solar power is designed to generate up to 50 megawatts. The solar power can be used in thousands of homes. The battery will have a capacity of 25 megawatts.

Alliant is still researching what solar panels to use. The panels will be able to absorb sun direct from the sun and rays reflected off the ground. Panels will be about 8 x4 feet and will tilt as the sun moves during the day. Panels will be installed on steel piles driven at least 8 feet into the ground. About 25,000 steel piles are expected to be used.

The project has a lifespan of 30 to 50 years. Alliant will remove all the solar-power and battery items and return the land to the condition directed by the landowner.

During construction, the land will be fenced but allow small wildlife to pass through fence and deer over the fence.

Supervisor Rick Friday asked Boehmer if there is any interest to making a portion of Osage Street a hard-surfaced road because of its popularity and enusing dust creation. Boehmer said it is a priority, but did not know when that could happen. Union County is planning on spending tax revenue from the wind turbines to make road and bridge improvements in the northwest section beginning next year.

John Van Nostrand


An Iowa native, John's newspaper career has mostly been in small-town weeklies from the Rocky Mountains to the Mississippi River. He first stint in Creston was from 2002 to 2005.