Coronavirus head

Supervisors to hold special meeting Friday

The Warren County Board of Supervisors will hold a special meeting Friday, April 3, at 9 a.m., to consider an infectious disease action plan. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the meeting will be held via Zoom. The meeting ID is 399 965 279. A recording of the meeting also will be available on the county's web site.

Kids no longer required to be present as policy changes on grab and go meals

A change in policy by the federal government is allowing schools to hand meals for children to adults, without the children being present, said Ron Lorenz, assistant superintendent of Indianola Public Schools.

"We are now allowing adults to pick up meals on behalf of their children," he said. Adults may be asked "which school does your child attend" and "what are their names" to confirm the adults are getting the meals for students.

Earlier, federal guidelines required children to be present to get the grab-and-go meals the district is providing at Emerson, Whittier and Wilder elementaries, along with Weinman Insurance in Indianola.

Indianola Community School District will offer meals only to children who show up at its grab-

APRIL 1 — Trinity offers new look at Palm Sunday

Palm Sunday will have a different look in Indianola this Sunday.

Palm branch to decorate coloring

Decorate a palm branch for Palm Sunday. You can download this PDF and print it and decorate it yourself..

 
"Many of our churches have enjoyed the tradition of having waving palm branches and a processional as part of our worship services," said David Endriss, minister at Trinity United Presbyterian Church. "Obviously, that is not going to happen this year."
 
Instead, there will be a car parade at 12:01, following the tolling of the church bell calling the community to prayer, said Endriss. Those who want to participate can pull up in the large parking lot on the east side of Trinity’s sanctuary.  The parade will head north on Howard, turn west on Iowa and return heading south on Buxton.

All churches are invited to participate. While real palm branches may be hard to come by, Endriss offered a paper palm that children can color or decorate and then wave from the open windows of the car. 

Justice Center groundbreaking postponed
 
The groundbreaking for the new Warren County Justice Center has been postponed under further notice, due to restrictions on mass gatherings. The event had been set for Tuesday, March 31. The change was announced in an email from Megan Andrew, assistant to the board of supervisors.
 
MARCH 25 — Project Graduation can and bottle recycling trailer closed
 
The can and bottle recycling drop off location next to Arby's, run by supporters of IHS Project Graduation, is CLOSED based on concerns of COVID-19.  Organizers are requesting that individuals do not leave any donated cans or bottles at the site until further notice.

Indianola students must be present to receive grab-and-go meals, says state food bureau

Indianola Community School District will offer meals only to children who show up at its grab-and-go meal sites beginning Wednesday, said assistant superintendent Ron Lorenz.

The district has been allowing people to pick up meals for multiple children after Governor Kim Reynolds recommended only one person leave the house for errands, he said. But the Department of Education, Bureau of Food and Nutrition, which ensures schools are complying with the federal hot lunch program requirements, notified the school that children must be present to receive a meal.

While the district has asked for clarification between that rule and the governor’s direction, he said, in the meantime, “we’re going to give meals only to kids who are present on site.”

The district is offering meals, usually including a cold meat sandwich, a fruit or vegetable and a milk, at four locations, including Emerson, Whittier and Wilder elementaries, along with Weinman Insurance in Indianola. Meals are available to children between the ages of 3 and 18.

MARCH 24 — Warren County Board of Supervisors to meet Wednesday on COVID-19 emergency declaration

The Warren County Board of Supervisors will meet Wednesday at 9 a.m. to discuss an emergency declaration regarding the COVID-19 pandemic. They also will discuss potentially extending the closure of Warren County facilities. The board had agreed March 16 the closure is now in effect through March 31.

You can join the meeting through Zoom by clicking https://zoom.us/j/970267265. Meeting ID: 970 267 265

MARCH 23 — Absentee ballot period extended for June primary

Secretary of State Paul Pate is extending the absentee voting period to 40 days for Iowans who choose to vote by mail in the June primary. He is also encouraging Iowans to cast ballots by mail, in response to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. This change will allow voters more time to send their ballots and provide county auditors a longer window for processing.

“The safety of voters takes precedence, and by encouraging Iowans to vote absentee, we can reduce the risk of community spread of COVID-19,” Secretary Pate said. “We still plan on having polls open on June 2 for voters who prefer to cast ballots in-person, but this effort will help reduce the risk of infecting others.”

Curbside voting, as always, is an option for Iowans with disabilities and those who might have difficulty entering a polling place. This option will also be available in the June primary to voters who are in the high-risk population for the coronavirus. 

The absentee voting period for mailed ballots in the June primary will begin on April 23. Iowans can request an absentee ballot from their county auditor now. For more information, visit VoterReady.Iowa.gov.

The Secretary of State has the authority to extend the absentee voting period during a disaster under the provisions of Iowa Code section 47.1.

MARCH 23 —Four sites to offer lunch as food service begins

The Indianola Community School District will provide “grab-and-go” lunch service for district students age 3-18 beginning March 23, 2020.

Sack lunches will be provided on a daily basis, Monday through Friday, for the duration of the current school closure. Lunches will be available from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at Emerson Elementary, Whittier Elementary and Weinman Insurance from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., and from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Laura Ingalls Wilder Elementary school.

  • Emerson Elementary (1109 E Euclid Ave): bus will be located in the bus pickup/dropoff area located near the front door of the building
  • Whittier Elementary (1306 W Salem Ave): bus will be located in the bus pickup/dropoff area located near the kitchen door
  • Laura Ingalls Wilder Elementary (2303 W Euclid Ave): bus will be located in the bus pickup/dropoff area located near the kitchen door
  • Weinman Insurance (311 E 2nd Ave): bus will be located in the Northeast corner of the parking lot

Lunches will be distributed, one per child, from school busses parked in designated areas. They are not intended to be consumed on-site. The lunches will consist of meat and cheese sandwiches, fruit, fresh vegetables and small cartons of milk.

MARCH 20 — Governor's order now allows carry out liquor

Governor Kim Reynolds announced a new emergency declaration Friday, including provisions to cancel evictions and allowing some restaurants to carry out, deliver or sell alcohol in a drive through environment. Here are the key points of her announcement.

  • Temporarily suspends collection of property taxes and penalties and interest
  • Temporarily suspends some evictions under the Iowa Uniform Residential Landlord and Tenant Act or the Manufactured Home Communities or Mobile Home Parks Residential Landlord and Tenant Act in certain circumstances
  • Extends expiration deadline for a permit to carry and a permit to acquire a firearm and additional measures
  • Permits the sale of carry-out, delivery, drive-thru of alcohol for unopened bottles of alcohol for bars and restaurants and suspends some fees
  • Permits public meetings or hearings by electronic means to improve the functions of government while maintaining social distancing practices
  • Suspends certain regulations to ease the transportation of agricultural supplies and commodities, food, medical supplies, cleaning products, and other household goods on all highways in Iowa
  • The proclamation also allows related state agencies to implement the state’s public health emergency plan

MARCH 19 — Schools to provide lunches beginning March 23

The Indianola CSD will provide “grab-and-go” lunch service for district students age 3-18 beginning March 23, 2020. Sack lunches will be provided on a daily basis, Monday through Friday, for the duration of the current school closure.

The lunches will be available from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at Emerson and Whittier Elementary schools, and from 11:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. at Laura Ingalls Wilder Elementary school.

The approved sites were chosen because of their familiarity to community members and proximity to high need areas. Each of these sites offers large parking areas that enable us to avoid city streets and high traffic areas. Meals will be prepared at Laura Ingalls Wilder Elementary School and transported to the satellite sites.

These meals will be distributed, one per child, from school busses parked in designated areas. They are not intended to be consumed on-site. The lunches will consist of meat and cheese sandwiches, fruit, fresh vegetables and small cartons of milk.

The Transportation Department will provide five school busses, a van and drivers to transport meals from L.I. Wilder to each of the satellite distribution sites. Meals will be served out of the busses under the direction of a trained food service employee. The van driver will transport meals from sites with surplus meals to those which run low. Meals will be stored in coolers throughout the distribution process, so that excess meals may be handed out the following day.

All employees serving lunches will adhere to appropriate sanitation and health practices. As part of their pre-trip inspection process, drivers will be asked to wash their hands and have their temperatures taken and logged. Employees who have temperatures in excess of 100 degrees or exhibit other symptoms (e.g., coughing, shortness of breath) will not be allowed to serve or remain on site. Food servers and drivers will be required to wear hairnets (or clean caps).

MARCH 18 — Extension closes, Simpson graduation postponed

Simpson College is closing its dorms and postponing graduation and HIRTA bus drivers will no longer be able to help passengers get from their door onto the bus.

Those are a few of the many changes that continue to flow through Indianola, Iowa and the country Wednesday as the first week of life in a pandemic hits the midpoint.

HIRTA continues to operate, said Jodene DeVault with Warren County Health Services, but will not be allowed to leave their vehicles. Passengers will need another caretaker to help them get to the bus. People who are sick particularly with fever or respiratory illness, will not be allowed to ride the bus and drivers with similar illnesses will not be able to drive.

“It will be very for those drivers to stay in their seats, but that’s what they’re being told to do,” she said.

DeVault added that she has had some questions from people asking whether hair salons need to close. While the governor’s declaration doesn’t address salons, she said, some are choosing to close on their own.

“I don’t know how you cut hair at a 6-foot distance,” she said.

Simpson College announced in a letter on its web page Wednesday that it will close all college owned housing effective March 31.

“The choice of a deadline almost two weeks away is to allow our students time to move their belongings and make arrangements for housing,” said the update from interim president Bob Lane. The note said the college is working on a partial room and board refund for students leaving campus housing.

Students can remain on campus if they have housing insecurity or a precarious living situation, a college related reason that requires them to be on campus, lack reliable internet for coursework, issues with travel or personal or family health related issues that make it dangerous to return home.

The note also states that all campus events and on-campus student activities for spring have been cancelled and limited hours will be implemented for select buildings on campus.

Lane said on Tuesday that graduation will be postponed to a later date, still to be determined.

“I want to assure you that we are committed to providing an opportunity for the class to celebrate,” he said.

Warren County Extension is closing its office until further notice, according to county chair Amy Tlach. Staff will work remotely to respond to community needs via email and phone. Anyone who needs to pick up materials can schedule a time with staff for pickup. Also, Tlach said, the Iowa Concern Hotline is a resource that Iowans can access at 1-800-447-1985 24 hours a day, seven days a week at no charge. The hotline provides access to stress counselors and an attorney for legal education, as well as information on and referrals on a variety of topics, according to their web site.

OTHER UPDATES 

As COVID-19, the virus that causes coronavirus, and its impact spreads, we will keep you up to date on cancellations and changes around the area, both by indicating cancelled events in the calendar and by listing changes in a rolling story on the web site.

CANCELLATIONS/CHANGES ANNOUNCED MARCH 17

Dollar General — Indianola's Dollar General will continue to open at 8 a.m., but is asking shoppers to reserve the first hour for senior citizens and vulnerable people.

Trees speaker — The Indianola Community Tree Committee and Indianola Parks and Recreation Department speaker on Tuesday, March 24, has been cancelled

CANCELLATIONS/CHANGES ANNOUNCED MARCH 16

Sports Page and Brick House Tavern — will be closed Tuesday only due to the large crowds that often accompany St. Patrick's Day in conjunction with the coronavirus crisis.

Simpson Guild — Style with a Twist, set for Friday, April, 3, is cancelled.
 
Lions Club meat raffle — The Noon Lions' Ninetieth Anniversary celebration and Meat Raffle has been moved from Saturday, March 21 to Saturday June 6.
 
The times and locations will remain the same as previously advertised: 5:30 pm St. Thomas Aquinas Pastoral Center, 210 Route 63 Hwy, Indianola. There are still some tickets available for $13, which includes a buffet from Pizza Ranch. Please call Tom Charlton at 563-299-9451 for tickets or more information.  

Simpson College — Simpson College will move to all online instruction for the remainder of the Spring 2020 semester. No decision has yet been made on May Term classes. More information is coming on adjustments for staff.

Warren County Extension — Cover Crop Field Day on March 17 has been postponed indefinitely, according to Cortney Garrington of Warren County Extension. Garrington said Extension will post future opportunities for this event as soon as we are able to do so.

CANCELLATIONS/CHANGES ANNOUNCED MARCH 14-15

Iowa Legislature — The Iowa Legislation is adjourned for 30 days.

American Legion Post 165 — Please note that Commander Sully has canceled the Biscuits and Gravy Breakfast for Saturday March 21 due to the Pandemic Corona virus (COV-19) situation. Since this virus is spread by person to person contact and cases are much more severe in the elderly and individuals who are immunologically compromised and/or have other underlying health issues, this cancellation is both responsible and necessary.

Indianola Rotary — noon and evening meetings cancelled through March. The board will consider whether to hold April meetings at a later date.

Simpson College — Simpson is now posting daily updates to https://simpson.edu/covid19. Uupdates will be posted by noon each day.

(1) comment

Cheryl 7

Regarding that students must be present decision for students to get the free lunch meals will cause children with parents at work to have to go in cars with friends or relatives to get meals. This could cause virus spread or children to be hungry. What about children who are ill with anything needing to load up in the car to get a meal? Please rethink this. The few who steal meals by taking more than they should, is not a good reason to let people be exposed or children to be hungry. Let’s please follow the governor’s rule this time.

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