By Amy H. Peterson
The Emmet County courthouse is limiting public access as of Tuesday, March 17, 2020. The Emmet County supervisors at its regular meeting stated courthouse and county facilities will remain open during the public health disaster emergency Governor Kim Reynolds declared as of noon Tuesday. The state of emergency is set to last until April 16.
The supervisors encourage the public to contact the respective county offices by telephone to conduct business until further notice. Many transactions can be conducted on the phone or online, while other requirements are postponed or suspended for now.
Governor Reynolds’ proclamation states that the two-year licenses issued to drivers age 72 and over, which expire within 60 days of the proclamation, will have their expiration suspended.
Vehicle registration, registration cards, license plates expiring within 60 days of the proclamation will also have their expiration extended until after the end of the state of emergency.
Vehicle transfers, which require the new owner to obtain new plates within 45 days will also have that expiration extended until the state of emergency is over.
Property taxes and vehicle registrations can be completed online, and payments can be made in the county’s dropbox, county auditor Amy Sathoff said.
The city of Estherville made a similar request to limit in-person traffic to city hall.
City administrator Penny Clayton released a statement stating utility customers are asked to pay their bills online, over the phone, or place the payment by check or money order in the drop box on the south (Central Ave.) side of the city hall building.
“We are hoping that the public limits all non-essential visits to our utility office and administrative offices. This offers extra protection to visitors and staff,” Clayton said.
Wallingford city hall is also closed until further notice.
If there was an event on your agenda that involves more than a few people, chances are it is cancelled or has moved to a virtual, phone-in status.
The Emmet County Nature Center Banquet scheduled for this Saturday, March 21 is cancelled.
The United Methodist Men’s pancake dinner scheduled for Thursday and the Estherville Community Dinner scheduled for Monday, March 23 at the VFW are cancelled. The United Methodist Church is going to stream its worship services on Facebook Live and will continue having worship on Mediacom Channel 3 and KILR Radio Sunday mornings at 9:30 a.m.
Churches around the area have cancelled in-person church events, including Christian Education, worship times, and social gatherings. St. Patrick’s Catholic Church religious education classes are cancelled until September.
Upper Des Moines Opportunity announced Tuesday that all the UDMO Outreach offices will operate under normal office hours at this time. Applications will be taken online or through phone appointments. Food pantries will be done curbside pickup/ prepackaged meals. Clients should call ahead before coming in for any reason and for those with current appointments, call to verify and possibly complete any tasks by telephone. Anyone with symptoms of COVID-19 should stay home and call the local office to make an individual plan for receiving services.
The April 4 ACT Test at Iowa Lakes Community College has been cancelled. Those who are registered may log into their accounts to change to the June or July testing dates. The ACT will expand testing sites for those dates in the near future.
School at Estherville Lincoln Central school district is cancelled for four weeks, at which time the situation will be reassessed. The school district is offering free breakfast and lunch for pickup between 9 a.m. and 11 a.m. Monday-Friday at three locations: ELC circle drive by the middle school entrance; Thoreson Park Pavilion, entering by Good Sam onto North 15th Street, and the concession stand at the former city pool in Riverside Park.
The PAT organization at Demoney Elementary has cancelled the spring geranium fundraiser. Sellers should refund money for flowers purchased to the buyers.
The Emmet County Animal Shelter will be closed to visitors until further notice. Applications will still be accepted, and meet and greets for approved applicants will continue by appointment only.