Dear Citizens of Belle Plaine:
Hang in there everyone, spring is kind of here!
This is the way a normal April newsletter is to start and then I talk about getting sand off the streets, discussing a contract with mosquito control, what changes we are making to snow removal, and all the great pancake breakfasts going on in the community plus the great spring things like golf meets, track meets, the Red Carpet night, Prom, and eventually graduation and the start of summer season headed to the Old Fashion Fourth of July Celebration.
Well it is not a normal April newsletter and as everyone knows, we are in the battle of our lifetime as a nation and as a world with a modern pandemic. As mayor I always worry about city problems that we might face such as storm damage, tornado, flooding, failure of our water system or sewer plant, major fire in the river bottom, and with a nuclear power plant in the county some other issues that have been discussed at emergency management meetings. I have always felt that as a community and as a county we are prepared to handle those difficult times.
Never did i ever think of a pandemic as being the monster we would face as a community and as a nation. This was not the problem that really had crossed my mind. I also grew up as a three-year-old who had his mother quarantined in the University of Iowa Hospital with polio so I do have a vague memory about dangerous diseases. I also remember those painful polio shots before we got the oral vaccine and I remember some of the later vaccines we have had for various flu shots; but I guess we rely so much on science that we did not see this coming to be caught with an illness that we had no medicine to cure it or a vaccine to take.
Obviously, I am not an expert on serious epidemic type situations but I do have enough faith in our federal, state, regional, and local leaders that we will be able to get thru this tough time. We need everyone to cooperate and pointing fingers at past mistakes or what others label as mistakes will not solve the current issues. In that area we are trying to keep up to date on all current federal and state issued declarations. We also are working closely with Benton Development Group, Belle Plaine Community Development Corp, and our City Administrator Steve Beck to provide updates on everything but especially on the programs that can provide everything from unemployment checks to small business loans and grants to any other information our businesses and citizens need to know.
My best advice to all Belle Plaine citizens right now is stay home and social distance from your neighbors and others.
Feel free to use our parks for walking, running, jogging and to bike and walk around town but we do not want to see groups gathering. If the order comes from the state to shelter in place, then we will be asking citizens to follow the recommended state regulations.
Also, to all our public service workers, including but not limited to medical personal, ambulance staff, police, fire, city workers, food service folks both at mini-marts, grocery stores, senior dining folks, those who are feeding our students, delivery drivers, and anyone who takes care of the public or who services the public i am so proud of all of you and so thankful for all you do both in Belle Plaine and all across the state & nation. We will get thru this.
Remember hope has not been canceled and we are a nation of survivors and doers!
This is the time to lean on your family, friends, and your faith.
If you have questions or have some type of issue, please feel free to call city hall. We can direct you to the correct authorities.
I would also like to note from the city council and following recommendations from the state utilities board at this time we will not be charging a late fee on your local city utility bill and we will not be shutting anyone’s water off. You are still responsible for the normal costs but until this C-19 emergency is over we will be more lenient with our billing. If you have run into a severe economic hardship and are having a hard time meeting expenses please call city hall and work out a payment plan with our staff. As a city we fully intend to work with all our residents to get through this time period.
The federal government has a good website that will connect you to several other websites at coronavirus.gov. Check it out.
Best thing you can do right now is to stay home and social distance from others. If you feel sick then stay at home and call your doctor before you take off to their office. They all have a procedure to follow.
My last story of this newsletter. I decided I better look for a thermometer. When I moved here from my apartment in Keota after I retired from teaching, I was sure I brought a thermometer. In my house things are located where I put them and other items are still in the same place my parents kept them. At first, I could not find where my new thermometer was at so I looked in the hutch where my mother would have kept hers. Found it, only the case holding the thermometer said Klink’s Drug Store on it. You have to be a Belle Plaine baby boomer or older to remember going to Klink’s Drug Store. Eventually I found my more modern thermometer but I have not tested both of them against each other. By the way, I had no temperature and it was taken with the new one!
Also, congratulations to DA (Donnie Anderson) on his 50th year of teaching, I know you have never experienced a year like this before!
As Always “Go Plainsmen.” Remember it is up to all of us to make Belle Plaine the best hometown in Iowa! (Mayor Dave Fish- April 2020)