Council decides to stick with PeopleService

Ryan Miller has been named the Operations Manager for PeopleService in Humboldt, succeeding A.J. Flurry, who has taken a job with the Humboldt County Development Association. Humboldt Independent photo.

By Kent Thompson
The Humboldt City Council reviewed a proposed five-year renewal of the maintenance and management agreement with PeopleService of Omaha, NE for the operations and maintenance of the city’s water and wastewater facilities on Monday.
“We are not saying we are not happy with PeopleService performance for the city, but we are just doing due diligence to look at all options and see if there is a better alternative for the city,” Humboldt City Administrator Travis Goedken said of the contract review.
Under the agreement the city agrees to pay a base amount of $79,531 per year. If actual expenditures exceed the base amount, PeopleService agrees to provide invoice data for the amount of actual expenditures. The agreement will be adjusted on an annual basis by the Consumer Price Index for all urban consumers (CPI-U). That figure is expected to be 2.0 to 2.3 percent this coming year.
“It’s not out of line,” Goedken said.


Cassie Smith focuses on helping others

Cassie Smith is in her eighth year teaching at Humboldt High School. Humboldt Independent photo by Phil Monson.

By Phil Monson
Cassie Smith wears many hats these days and that’s fine with the 13-year teacher, now in her eighth year at Humboldt High School.
A learning behaviors and disabilities instructor, Smith is the mentor/coordinator for the Humboldt and Twin Rivers School Districts Teacher Leadership program, which has been in place for six years.
“I lead monthly meetings for all of our new staff. The state requires all first and second-year teachers to attend mentor meetings,” Smith said. “We are learning strategies about classroom management, working with parents, assessments and the curriculum.”
“I was actually on the committee that established our very first grant application submitted to the state. We have made adjustments to our TLC program over the last six years. We have updated things based on teacher input and how we think things are changing in the district. Our needs are changing in how we better help students,” Smith said.


Input sought on community survey for new superintendent search

The search for a new superintendent to lead the Humboldt Community School District includes gathering input from district patrons.

In addition to focus group meetings slated to take place March 3-4, input is being sought through an electronic survey for people to contribute who cannot make the times work. Survey is located on the opening page of the school district's website. It can also be reached at:

A community focus group meeting will take place from 6-7 p.m. at the high school media center. Other group meetings will take place throughout the first week of March. Applications for the position will close on March 14.

The Humboldt and Twin Rivers Board will present its top 10 finalists at a closed meeting on March 9. The four finalists will be interviewed over two days, March 17-18.

The District hopes to have a new superintendent signed on March 20.


Board approves contracts, talks drugs

Students in Andrea Paterson's pre-school at Mease Elementary made Valentine's boxes as a classroom project on Friday, Feb. 14. Humboldt Independent photo by Phil Monson.

The Humboldt Board of Education met Monday, Feb. 17 and approved a contract with interim superintendent of schools, Mike Sherwood of Webster City. He will be employed on an as-needed basis for the next 4.5 months, at a rate of pay of $500 per day. One non-action information item the board spent considerable time discussing was district policy on drug use and possession. Board President Tate Satern asked administrators to look at policy in other districts and consider possible changes in Humboldt’s policy.
“I’ve spent a substantial amount of time looking at policies from different districts on how they handle this issue. I think we can all agree that drugs pose a very significant disruption to the educational process,” Satern said. “That being said, our current policy – I have a number of questions for the administrators. Some of my observations are that I think we can do better.”


Harklaus purchase Hanisch LTD

Hanisch Ltd. has been sold to Vision Machining after being purchased by Jeff and Tonya Harklau. Former owners Tom Diesburg and Bob Eckberg (left) are pictured with Jeff Harklau and Josh Harklau. Humboldt Independent photo.

A longtime Humboldt manufacturer has new owners. Hanisch Ltd. was recently sold and is now known as Vision Machining.
Jeff and Tonya Harklau purchased the business from Bob and Bernie Eckberg and Tom and Lisa Diesburg.
Vision Machining is a contract machine shop specializing in CNC turned and milled parts. The company was founded in 1965 by Dale Hanisch. The facility, located at 1310 8th Avenue North, was a bowling alley in its early years. In 2004, the Eckbergs purchased the company from Hanisch and later the Diesburgs became partners.


Local man is picked for small business role

Former PeopleService Operations Manager AJ Flurey has donned a new role with the city, that of Small Business Development Specialist. He will be available Monday-Friday at his office at Humboldt City Hall. Humboldt Independent photo.

When looking for a small business development specialist, why not start with a person who has his own small business?
That was the question Humboldt County Development Association (HCDA) Director Alissa O’Connor and Humboldt City Administrator Travis Goedken posed to themselves when it was decided that the HCDA should move forward with a full-time small business development person.
That person will be Andrew “AJ” Flurey. He is well known in the community, having grown up in Humboldt, graduating from high school here in 2008, starting work with PeopleService in 2015 and starting his own small business, Professional Septic Services in 2016.
For the past 2.5 years, AJ has served as the lead operator for the company which oversees water and wastewater treatment, plant and tower operations on a contractual basis for the city of Humboldt.


Sherwood tabbed interim superintendent

Mike Sherwood, a former superintendent of schools for Webster City, will begin duties as Humboldt's interim superintendent on Saturday, Feb. 15. GC-B Superintendent Jeff Herzberg had been filling in on a temporary basis from Jan. 21-Feb. 14.

By Phil Monson
Mike Sherwood of Webster City has been hired as interim superintendent of the Humboldt Community School District.
Sherwood, who retired two years ago as superintendent of the Webster City School District, will begin his duties in Humboldt on Feb. 15 and finish out the school year on June 30, 2020.
The hiring of Sherwood came during a special meeting of the Humboldt School Board on Feb. 7. The board voted unanimously to approve Sherwood’s hiring. All members were present for the meeting.
“The board has been working very diligently for the last week and a half to find an exceptional individual. I’m very pleased to announce Mike Sherwood, former superintendent of Webster City, has agreed to be our interim superintendent,” Humboldt board president Tate Satern said.


Humboldt Independent captures INA awards

Kent Thompson (left) and Phil Monson were honored at the Iowa Newspaper Association’s Better Newspaper Contest last Friday night in Des Moines. Thompson won an award for Coverage of Business and Monson for Best Sports Section. Humboldt Independent photo.

The Humboldt Independent Newspaper was honored with a pair of awards at the Better Newspaper Contest sponsored by the Iowa Newspaper Association.
Competing against newspapers across the state of Iowa, the Humboldt Independent earned a second place award for Best Sports Section. The award was accepted at a banquet in Des Moines on Friday night by Humboldt Independent Sports Editor Phil Monson. Judges looked at three separate issues of the Independent’s sports section.
The Humboldt Independent also received a third place award in the Coverage of Business category. The award was accepted by Humboldt Independent Editor Kent Thompson.


Father and son team take over redemption center

Michael Brightly (left) and his father, Mike, are in business together at M & M Redemption Center located on Highway 169 in Humboldt. Humboldt Independent photo by Jeff Gargano.

A father and son team have taken over the can and bottle redemption center in Humboldt.
Mike Brightly and his son, Michael, have owned and operated M & M Redemption Center on Highway 169 in Humboldt since Dec. 1. They took over for Rick Wilkinson after he retired from the business.
Located just north of Pasquale’s, M & M Redemption Center is open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. and Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
“Business has been excellent with a decent amount of people coming in. It’s going pretty smoothly,” Mike said.
As long as a bottle or can has a deposit on it they will take it. They pay four cents each for redeemable cans and bottles. They take liquor bottles but do not pay for them. Instead they have the liquor bottles recycled.
Read more about the M & M business enterprise in this week's Humboldt Independent.


BREAKING NEWS: Williams gets life for Lu Verne shooting

Family members of Jessica Weishaar (left) grieved her loss during victim impact statements Friday in Kossuth County District Court during the plea and sentencing hearing for Valentino Williams (right) of Coalville. Williams pleaded guilty to murdering Weishaar during a bank robbery attempt at the Security State Bank in Lu Verne in early December. He was sentenced to life in prison without parole.

A Coralville man was sentenced to life in prison without parole Friday morning in Kossuth County District Court after changing his plea in the shooting death of Jessica Weishaar, 43, of Algona.
Weishaar was employed by the Security State Bank in Algona and was the substitute teller on duty at the bank’s branch office in Lu Verne the morning of Wednesday, Dec. 4, 2019.
Around 8:30 a.m. that morning, Valentino Williams, 36, of Coralville arrived at the bank, robbed the bank of cash and shot Weishaar outside the bank three times. She died at the scene from her wounds.
Witnesses reported that a black SUV driven by a black male involved in the shooting headed east out of Lu Verne. Law enforcement authorities in neighboring towns reported several reports of a dark colored SUV or Crossover vehicle traveling east away from Lu Verne.

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