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Lee County

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Lee County plans to comply with an order from the Iowa Supreme Court that bans weapons from courtrooms or areas occupied by court employees. But the head of the county board said that should not be interpreted as a ban on weapons from all county buildings.

The man who was shot by a Lee County Sheriff's Deputy last month pleaded not guilty to the three criminal charges against him. Joshua Welborn of Fort Madison is accused of burglary, criminal mischief, and assault on a peace officer.

Iowa Economic Development Authority

The Lee County Economic Development Group is trying to identify the county's top locations for large-scale economic development projects. The goal is for a "shovel-ready" location or two to possibly be included in the state's Certified Sites program.

By Frode Ramone from Oslo, Norway - DSCF0673.jpg, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=46979581

A plan to put some teeth into Lee County's animal control ordinance will likely be scaled back before it comes up for a vote.

Lee County residents decided during Tuesday's special election that they want a new county attorney, but do not want to pay for a new home for the county health department.

Almost every Lee County employee will get a pay raise on July 1, 2017, despite the fact that the county’s proposed budget for the upcoming fiscal year is in the red by roughly $1.5-million.

Jason Parrott / TSPR

The Lee County Board is considering a proposal to spend $800,000 on its buildings over the next 18 months.  The county's maintenance department included $400,000 in its proposed budget for Fiscal Year 2018, which begins July 1, 2017. It also would like to spend an additional $400,000 to its FY17 budget.

Jason Parrott / TSPR

Lee County Attorney Mike Short submitted to the county his letter of resignation Tuesday morning. He said the time has come for him to retire.

Jason Parrott / TSPR

Voters told the Lee County Board in November to repair the county’s historic courthouses in Keokuk and Fort Madison instead of building a new courthouse near the county jail. The board appears to be listening, as it approved the hiring of a construction manager, this week, to prioritize and oversee upcoming projects.

Daily Gate City

The company attempting to purchase Keokuk Steel Castings will not have to reveal any additional financial information to the Lee County Board.

Lee County residents are being asked to decide whether the county should borrow up to $8.5-million dollars to build a new courthouse and renovate another building. Plenty of current and former elected leaders are using their wallets to try to sway public opinion.

Jason Parrott / TSPR

The future of the South Lee County Courthouse in Keokuk hinges on the results of the Nov. 8 election as residents will decide whether the county should borrow about $8.5-million for a new courthouse. Dave Barrett of Keokuk said if the current facility is no longer needed by the county, he believes he can turn it into an asset for the entire community.

Jason Parrott / TSPR

Students from throughout Lee County could soon hold a new title: Guinness World Record Holder. That's because hundreds of them participated in an attempt this week to break the record for most people simultaneously planting flower bulbs at one time.

The chairman of the Lee County Board announced Wednesday that a potential re-use for the South Lee County Courthouse in Keokuk has emerged. It would only be needed, though, if voters approve a nearly $9 million bond referendum for a new courthouse on Nov. 8.

Jason Parrott / TSPR

Lee County is well aware of the environmental problems created by the lack of a sewer system in a small, unincorporated community near Keokuk and is getting ready to take action.

Lee County/The Design Partnership Architects

The Lee County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday received its first look at the conceptual design for a single county courthouse. Residents are being asked to decide if the county should borrow nearly $9 million to build it.

Facebook - Raise the Wage Lee County

An effort is underway in Lee County to increase the local minimum wage, which currently sits at $7.25/hour, the same as the statewide rate. Supporters say an increase would help hard-working people throughout the county.

Lee County Sheriff's Office

A lawsuit filed by a former southeast Iowa police chief claims Lee County violated his constitutional rights by subjecting him to a strip search after his arrest in May 2015.

The Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation (DCI) reported Wednesday that the suspect in the robbery of a Fort Madison bank was shot and killed by officers as he tried to escape.

The city of Keokuk filed a lawsuit Wednesday afternoon, seeking to maintain emergency dispatch services despite not signing an agreement to remain a member of the county’s 911 center. The lawsuit also asks the court to not tax Keokuk residents for a service they might not be able to use.

Jason Parrott / TSPR

Keokuk remains adamant it will not sign the proposed agreement to extend the countywide emergency dispatch center (LeeComm). But, it is confident that action taken Thursday night will show the other members of the dispatch center that Keokuk wants to remain a member.

Jason Parrott / TSPR

Diana Fincher-Smith took over as the director of LeeComm in 2012. She said during the past four years, she has tried to create an atmosphere of fairness and equality for the people working at Lee County's centralized emergency dispatch center.

Lee County Sheriff's Office

A judge has dropped one of the two felony charges filed against the head of the Green Bay Levee and Drainage District in southeast Iowa. District Court Judge Cynthia Danielson said this month that the statute of limitations had expired on the charge of Theft in the First Degree against Mike Pieper.

Jason Parrott / TSPR

Paul Roos has been working for years to get his company off the ground in Keokuk. It now appears his efforts are paying off because AMJET Turbine Systems has nearly completed construction of its first hydro-electric turbine.

The merger of two banks and two insurance companies in southeast Iowa could be completed by late 2016. Matt Morris, President/CEO of Fort Madison Bank & Trust, said the move will be good for the region.

It appears Lee County taxpayers will be on the hook for about 25% of the legal fees resulting from the defense of three county supervisors against a recent lawsuit.  The supervisors were accused by several Keokuk residents of violating Iowa's Open  Meetings Act multiple times.

Jason Parrott / TSPR

Mary Van Pelt of Montrose and Al Nelson of Keokuk are regulars at the weekly Lee County Board of Supervisors meetings. They were on opposite sides of the debate over the idea of having a single county seat, but that appears to be behind them as they came together to host a pair of "taxpayer forums" that they both are calling a success.

A former member of the Lee County Board of Supervisors -- who was accused of participating in illegal secret meetings when he served on the board -- wants the county to recoup the money spent in his defense following the dismissal of a lawsuit against him. Ernie Schiller said the actions of the people who filed the lawsuit will end up costing taxpayers money at a time when the county budget is tight.

Rumble Press / www.flickr.com

Several members of the Lee County Board of Supervisors are no longer being sued  for allegedly violating Iowa's Open Meetings Act.

The Eighth Judicial District Department of Correctional Services announced in late June that it would be canceling a series of employee contracts connected to the drug courts in Fort Madison and Ottumwa to help close a roughly $265,000 budget shortfall.

But on July 2, Lee County's weekly Drug Court looked no different than it had during any previous session.

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