Large kayak flotilla deliberate for Massive Hole Recreation Space


A summer highlight in Des Moines County is the annual Outdoor Youth Jamboree at the Big Hollow Recreation Area. However, COVID-19 has overruled this for this year.

Don’t worry: Conservation Director Chris Lee told county regulators and department heads the event would be replaced with an open house including a scavenger hunt on May 15.

“We’re going to rent canoes, we’re going to have some fishing poles for you to borrow,” said Lee.

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Fill the flotilla lake

May 15th will feature the new “Fill the Lake Flotilla,” which Lee says resembles a flotilla in the Quad Cities area.

“Bring out your canoe or kayak and we’ll all get off the beach in a huge flotilla of canoes and kayaks and take a drone photo of it,” Lee said.

The drone material will be used for marketing measures for the nature conservation department’s water catchment project and will be shown at a stakeholder meeting at the end of June.

“Once this watershed plan is in place, we can qualify for federal funding to improve watersheds,” said Lee.

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He invited the public to join the flotilla at 1 p.m. on May 15.

“There will be a lot of kayakers out there,” Lee said. “We won’t have a lot of staff and volunteers; it won’t be one on one like we would for the Jamboree.”

The County Patrol Boat will be on the lake for the flotilla.

Lee said the jamboree will return next year.

Lee added that Big Hollow campgrounds were full and may sell out every weekend through July 4th.


District Attorney Lisa Schaefer said four trials are scheduled for this month.

“Hopefully we’ll start to ease some of the blockage,” said Schäfer. The court system is overloaded due to COVID-19 shutdowns.

Schäfer said the district’s new prosecutor, Trent Henkelvig, started work last week with a full desk and is “promising.”

“We’ll keep him busy,” she said.

Schaefer said her office received applications for the prosecutor’s position this summer: once someone completes three semesters of law school, including the required federal trial and evidence courses, they’ll take a brief training session.

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“You get a special permit from the bar association so that you can act as a quasi-lawyer,” said Schäfer. “They can represent the state, they can do simple bank trials for misdemeanors, all under the supervision of a licensed attorney.”

Schäfer hopes to have this person in place by June; This person stays with the public prosecutor for about 10 weeks.

“Maybe if the bug bites a bit, they’ll actually enjoy being prosecuted,” she said. “Our office isn’t the only one struggling to find prosecutors. When the economy fails, lawyers are the first to fire any company.”

Schäfer said that higher economic revenues in the private sector tend to lure lawyers away from the public sector.

“We want to get people to see how wonderful prosecutorial life can be, and hopefully they will stay,” she said.

Sheriff’s youth academy

Sheriff Kevin Glendening said the new youth academy starts this week; Ten young people between the ages of 16 and 18 spend several hours in the summer volunteering with the sheriff’s department every other Wednesday.

“The goal is for them to feel part of something and get involved,” said Glendening.

This is the first year for the program.

COVID-19 update

Health Authority Christa Poggemiller said the county’s rolling positivity rate is 5% for seven days, with 25 new cases in the past week.

“We’re kind of vacillating,” Poggemiller said, adding her department is waiting for the numbers for families to fall due to cross-family transmission – once a family member receives it, everyone is vulnerable to infection due to their intimate life situation.

She said Des Moines County has given 31,000 vaccines to date with 14,000 vaccinations completed.

A second dose clinic will be held at the Burlington Memorial Auditorium this Friday. Vaccinations are available at the public health clinic on Mondays, Wednesdays and Thursdays.

“We have plenty of vaccine,” said Poggemiller.

Different business

  • Glendening thanked all correctional officers and administrators in the county jail. In 1984 President Ronald Reagan proclaimed the first full week of May National Correctional Officers Week.
  • Schäfer echoed Glendening, saying that prison administrator Doug Ervine was operating a tight ship. “Doug’s COs and Commanders are always courteous, respectful, and professional and a pleasure to work with,” said Schaefer.
  • Poggemiller said this was National Nurses Week; It starts on May 6th each year and ends on May 12th, Florence Nightingale’s birthday. “We really appreciate all of the public health nurses who have done this over the past year,” said Poggemiller.
  • Land Use Administrator Zach James thanked Ron Wunderlich for serving more than 15 years on the Zoning Commission. Wunderlich resigned last year but continued to work during COVID-19. James said the discussion about solar and / or wind farms in the county will continue.
  • County Engineer Brian Carter said work on the Flint Creek Bridge and DMC-99 Bridge projects would continue as planned.

The next meeting of the Supervisory Board will take place on May 11 at 9:00 a.m. The session will be streamed live at and posted on the News Flash section of the county website at

The public is encouraged to submit comments to the Board of Supervisors at [email protected] or by calling (319) 753-8203 ext. 4.

A replay of Tuesday’s meeting is available at