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Area development specialists surf the Web

By Staff | Apr 30, 2008

Jane Goeken, ISU Extension community specialist, discussed the Community Builder Web-based program with area economic development representatives at Tuesday’s Emmet County Board of Supervisors meeting. To Goeken’s left are Estherville Area Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Dusty Embree, Emmet County Community Foundation Executive Director Sue Nelson, and ISU Extension Director Holle Smith. EDN photo by Michael Tidemann

The Emmet County Board of Supervisors, along with area development and nonprofit directors, had a cyber view of economic development Tuesday.

Jane Goeken, Iowa State University Extension community specialist, reviewed ISU Extension’s Program Builder program which gives people working with economic development quick access to ISU Extension experts who can help with a verity of topics, including community design and visioning, economic development, leadership and organizational development, local government, public and private agencies, and elderhostels, among other topics. Program Builder is available at <www.extension.iastate.edu/programbuilder>.

According to Goeken, Program Builder is geared toward government agencies, nonprofits, and other economic development groups. Users can browse for providers other than ISU. Survey services are also available.

Program Builder services are quite varied. A targeted industrial development and research area includes such services as providing data on the impact of a highway bypass. There is also a retail trade analysis available for every county in Iowa.

Goeken said ISU Extension gets its data on child well-being, for example, from the Iowa Department of Human Services and the Iowa Department of Education.

In other business coming before the supervisors Tuesday, the board heard quarterly department reports and approved utility permits for Qwest for Section 31 of Center Township and west of Estherville. The board also approved a contract with Kamline Highway Marking to mark half the county roads at a cost of $50,731.84.

John Torbert, executive director of the Iowa Drainage District Association, presented his annual report to the board.

Torbert said the IDDA this year had legislation approved raising the maximum amount of county drainage projects from $15,000 to $20,000 before they have to be bid. Torbert said increased cost of pipe, a petroleum-based product, was a reason for the increase.

The association blocked legislation which would have required 100 percent approval of individuals in a watershed before a new drainage district could be formed.

Torbert said the association is assisting the Monona County Board of Trustees in contesting a proposed decree and fine that the Iowa Department of Natural Resources wishes to impose on the county. Torbert said Monona County hired a licensed and certified sprayer and that a fish kill resulted in the area; however, he said there was no proof that the spraying caused the kill.

Torbert also discussed the issue of nitrogen and phosphorous field runoff. He said filter strips and wetlands substantially reduce the concentration of both chemicals in public waterways.