Fairfield Ledger
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Neighbors Growing Together | Dec 21, 2014

Winfield cracking down on crime

By TRISHA PHELPS | Jul 16, 2014

WINFIELD – The city of Winfield is taking a strong stance on crime and unhealthy lifestyles.

At this week’s city council meeting, Winfield Mayor Chris Finnell discussed with the council the need to push for harsher sentence for those found guilty of a crime in Winfield, as well as accepting a healthy-living challenge competition against the city of Columbus Junction.

When Winfield Police Chief Jeff Dietrich finished up his monthly update to the council, he and Finnell expressed to the council their disappointment over the recent results from local arrests.

“I talked to the sheriff and we talked about convictions and dispositions of arrests in our town and he [Henry County Sheriff Rich McNamee] was showing me last month it was dismiss, dismiss, dismiss,” said Finnell. “Everything is getting dismissed in court. We are trying to keep the peace around here and are paying good money for our officers to be on the streets so when they make an arrest, I’d like to see something happen.”

Finnell informed the council that he had made a request to McNamee that he receive a monthly report to share with the council regarding arrests made in Winfield and the final result of each arrest.

“I’d just like to have that so we are aware of just how many things are getting plea bargained down to nothing,” said Finnell. “I’d like to see somebody held accountable for things.”

Mallory Smith, community development director for Columbus Junction, was on hand at the meeting to extend a challenge to the city of Winfield.

“Part of what I do is that I go out and challenge other towns,” explained Smith.

Each year, Columbus Junction takes on another city in a wellness challenge, and this year Smith’s office decided to attempt to compete against Winfield.

“Now that we have Elaina Loyd [Winfield-Mt. Union graduate] as an intern, it seemed natural for us to challenge Winfield,” said Smith. “That and your mayor had the audacity to come to our chili cook-off challenge and win.”

The challenge, accepted by the council, would be open to all Winfield residents wishing to participate, and will be from Sunday to Sept. 20.

Participants will need to sign up online at www.columbusjunctioniowa.org. activity hours will be tracked and the city with the highest average of activity minutes will win the challenge. Each member of the losing team will then be responsible for donating one bag of healthy groceries to the winning city’s food pantry.

Throughout the challenge, explained Loyd, there will be a newsletter emailed to all participants with ideas to stay active during the challenge.

“Columbus Junction is a little bit larger than Winfield so we will need to step it up and get as many people involved as possible,” said Finnell.

“It’s not about the goal of getting healthy, its about winning,” he joked.

The council also:

• Heard an update from the Library director reporting that the library board is in search of a new member.

• Received an update from the Crooked Creek Days committee and approved a $1,000 donation towards the fireworks show.

• Approved hiring Marcy Kinneberg as Winfield Advocate.

The next Winfield city council meeting will be Monday, Aug. 11, at 7 p.m. at Winfield City Hall.

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