Monona Police see drop in cases, traffic stops

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By Audrey Posten, North Iowa Times

The number of cases the Monona Police Department handled last year dropped slightly from the previous year, noted police chief Jo Amsden, who shared the department’s 2017 data at the city council’s Jan. 15 meeting.

In 2016, 353 cases were handled, said Amsden, compared to 327 in 2017.

Most complaints came in on Thursdays or Fridays, she said, meaning the activity likely occurred on a Wednesday.

“Saturdays and Sundays are the quietest,” Amsden shared.

Officers also conducted 83 fewer traffic stops in 2017, and issued 30 fewer tickets. Six fewer accidents occurred. There were, however, four more arrests, she said.

One-way sign to remain

Mayor Lynn Martinson proposed removing the one-way directional traffic sign on South Page Street, between Davis and Kregel Streets, near the MFL MarMac school.

“I think it should be opened,” said Martinson, who lives near there. “People are already driving the wrong way, especially if there’s a ball game.”

The street was made a one-way, he said, when buses loaded and unloaded students near that entrance, but that’s no longer the case.

The council wasn’t on-board with Martinson’s proposal, citing safety concerns.

“I feel safety is going to drop,” if the street is opened to two-way traffic, remarked councilman Doug Bachman, who’s also a bus driver. “I don’t feel it should change. A lot of kids cross there.”

Councilman Dan Havlicek agreed, noting, “I like the flow now. There’s still a lot of stuff happening there.”

The council unanimously approved to leave the street as it is.

Bee to retire

Christine Bee, director of Monona’s Murphy Helwig Library, said she plans to retire at the end of March.

“I’ve really enjoyed my time at the library,” said Bee, who’s worked there since 1993. “I’m sorry to say goodbye, but I’m ready for a new chapter.”

Bee said advertisements have been placed seeking a new director, and the library board will conduct interviews in February, leaving her a month to train with the new director.

Engineering services engaged

The council approved an engineering services agreement with Fehr-Graham Engineering for design and construction of a proposed sanitary sewer extension from Oak Street into the South Main Street right-of-way.

The extension is part of the city’s intent to annex properties along its southeast boundary.

City doesn’t receive grant

City administrator Dan Canton announced the city was unsuccessful in its bid for a federal recreational trail grant, which would have gone toward completing the Butterfly Trail extension from the Butterfly Garden to Gateway Park.

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