The following is a capsule of south Lee County news for Friday from Radio Keokuk’s Colin Magnesun
BY COLIN MAGNESUN
RADIO KEOKUK News Director
KEOKUK – The Keokuk RAGBRAI organizing committees are ready to welcome the first wave of RAGBRAI visitors this weekend. RAGBRAI participants from all over the country will make their way to Keokuk on Friday to meet up with charter companies and fellow riders before heading to Council Bluffs Saturday, where this year’s ride is set to begin on Sunday.
Well over a thousand parking passes have been purchased by riders who will leave their cars in secured long term parking locations, designated all over Keokuk. In addition to selling out area hotels, several hundred riders will camp near the Keokuk RAGBRAI Headquarters located near Hoerner YMCA and Keokuk High School. Residents can expect temporary road closures in that area on Saturday morning, as charter buses load, and should avoid the area if possible.
The Keokuk RAGBRAI organizing committees are still seeking volunteers for next Saturday the 27th. Help is needed directing foot, vehicular, and bicycle traffic throughout town, manning parking lots and information centers, taking photos at the dip site, and cheering on thousands of riders from all over the world! The three primary volunteer locations will be at Rand Park, Victory Park, and the Headquarters (located near Hoerner YMCA and Keokuk High School). Various shifts are available on Saturday July 27th and anyone interested in volunteering can fill out the online form at keokukragbrai.com/volunteer or call the Chamber of Commerce at 524-5055 or United Way at 524-4504.
Sinclair to speak with Lee County Republicans
Another politician will be visiting Lee County this weekend but it is different in that it’s an Iowa elected official and they aren’t here to campaign for the 2020 elections. Iowa State Senate Majority Whip, Amy Sinclair will be featured speaker at the Annual Lee County Republican Banquet/Fundraiser on Saturday, July 20, at the Elks Club on Avenue H in Fort Madison. Other elected officials plus Republican National Committee members, Steve Scheffler and Tamara Scott, will be in attendance.
Senator Amy Sinclair was elected Whip in March of 2018 and has had a wide array of experiences prior to serving in the Iowa Senate.
Senator Sinclair currently serves as a state senator for Iowa’s 14th District, which includes all of Clarke, Decatur, Wayne, and Lucas counties with most of Marion County and the southeast quarter of Jasper County. She has lived, worked, and raised her family in Wayne County for more than 25 years. Dinner will be prepared by the Elks Club and the Doors open at 5:00 P.M. A fundraising auction will conclude the evening. Tickets for the Republican Banquet at the Fort Madison Elks are $30 and are still available by calling 319-372-2559 or 309-337-5164.
$1 barge to cost Keokuk more than $400K
The Keokuk City Council held their regular twice monthly meeting Thursday and for the first-time ever the meeting was conducted at the Keokuk School District Learning Center located behind the Middle School. The meeting began with public input and several residents brought their grievances to the council. Resident John Morris requested the city visit the firework ordinance and said he would like to hold his own private show on land he owns near the Elks Club using consumer grade fireworks several days after the 4th of July. City Administrator Cole O’Donnell notified Morris there are special events permits available for consumer grade fireworks outside of the holiday time slots in which fireworks are legal. Mike Greenslaugh spoke to the board about the fact that during the 4th of July festival at Rand Park there were a number of adults smoking in the vicinity of the playground and he felt there should be a no smoking zone. O’Donnell stated the city council would have to look and see if there is a tobacco free ordinance in city parks if there isn’t they could take it up.
The biggest item on the council agenda was a resolution to accept a bid for the demolition and salvage of the former Rhythm City Barge that is located on the Keokuk riverfront. The City acquired the barge in late summer of 2017 from the city of Davenport for $1 but paid nearly 200 thousand dollars to have the barge transported downriver to Keokuk. An inspection of the barge early this spring showed it had a hole in the hull and would require roughly 10 million dollars in repairs to become a feasible attraction. Thursday, the council accepted the lower of two bids received, from Bricker excavating of Quincy to scrap the barge at a price of $210,000 to the city. Council members were surprised to find out there wouldn’t be less cost due to salvage rights but O’donnell explained that much of the barge will have to go to the landfill and scrap metal prices are low currently. The cost in total thus far on the barge comes in at roughly $400,000 but there is also expected to be more coming as an asbestos survey and potential removal needs to be performed yet.