The Gazette covers City Hall, now a flood-damaged icon on May's Island in the Cedar River

Archive for April 15th, 2008|Daily archive page

Five candidates still standing for police chief: Come meet them

In City Hall, Police Department on April 15, 2008 at 3:29 pm

On Thursday morning, the public can meet the five candidates who have been certified by the city’s Civil Service Commission as qualified to be the city’s next police chief.

The public reception for the five candidates will be held at the National Czech & Slovak Museum & Library, 30 16th Ave. SW, from 7:30 to 9:30 a.m. Thursday.

The five candidates are: Joseph D’Agostino, 49, police captain in Port St. Lucie, Fla.; Kenneth Graham, 46, deputy police chief in Ocala, Fla.; Jeff Hadley, 37, police captain in Fort Wayne, Ind.; and two Cedar Rapids police captains, Steve O’Konek, 46, and Bernie Walther, 47.

City Manager Jim Prosser, along with Mo Sheronick, assistant city attorney, and Conni Huber, human resources director, will interview the candidates on Wednesday, Thursday or Friday. The interviews are closed to the public.

An initial group of seven candidates interviewed in front of a seven-member panel and the public earlier this month. Videotapes of those interviews can be seen by going to

The Civil Service Commission ranked the five candidates it certified in this order: O’Konek, Graham, Hadley, D’Agostino and Walther.

Prosser has said he hopes to hire a new chief by early May and have him on the job a month later.

Need compost? Have a pickup? The solid waste agency is for you

In Cedar Rapids/Linn County Solid Waste Agency on April 15, 2008 at 2:30 pm

The market for compost is sufficiently marginal that the Cedar Rapids/Linn County Solid Waste Agency is giving the stuff away to residential customers.

Practically speaking, though, you probably need at least a pickup because the agency’s compost isn’t bagged.

Karmin McShane, the agency’s executive director, says getting the public to use the compost has an immediate benefit of having a public agency’s useful product being used. And down the road, that might help establish a better local market for compost, she adds.

“We have a product, let’s get it out there and get people using it,” McShane says.

In the past, the agency accepted material for composting for free and then bagged the compost and sold it. Now the agency charges $15 a ton for those dropping off organic material and, this spring, is giving the final product away to residential customers. It still sells the compost to commercial customers.

The agency will load the compost for those who stop by at the Site 1 landfill to pick it up.

The site, on A Street SW down river from Czech Village, is open 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Monday through Saturday.

McShane notes that the agency has four pads on which it stores material as it ages into compost. One of the pads takes industrial waste and the three others take yard waste. Some industrial material is now turned away. Some of that, she says, is applied directly to farm ground at certain times of the year.

Much of the agency’s compost in the last couple years has been used to cap the Site 1 landfill, which closed for business in July 2006. The capping is now complete.

The agency’s compost operation is at the base of the closed landfill.