Ben Shuberg recently took over the positions of Cherokee County Emergency Management Coordinator and County Environmental Health Director following the departure of long time director Aimee Barritt.
Shuberg began his duties at the beginning of this month, and he is looking forward to working with community leaders to continue keeping Cherokee County ready in case of a disaster.
Shuberg's new duties are to oversee the Cherokee County Emergency Management Agency for the purpose of ensuring mitigation, preparedness, response and recovery planning from the effects of man-made and natural hazards, and to assist in the preservation of life and the protection of property for the citizens of Cherokee County, and is overseen by the Emergency Management Commission.
The Commission is comprised of the mayors of all eight communities within the County, along with the Sheriff and one member of the Board of Supervisors.
The Agency's primary mission is to collaborate and cooperate with the County's emergency responders, partner agencies and the public to ensure that Cherokee County is prepared to deal with all hazards that may impact the County.
That includes the maintenance of the County's All Hazards Emergency Operations plan, the Recovery plan, the Mitigation Plan, and the Strategic Plan for Emergency Services.
Also, Shuberg will oversee the Coordinator plans and facilitate a countywide disaster exercise. The next disaster exercise will be held at the Marcus High School on Aug. 28 at 9 a.m.
The EMA Coordinator also applies for and administers several grant programs that benefit response agencies within Cherokee County. Shuberg will also represent Cherokee County on the Iowa Region 3 Homeland Security Board, along with the Iowa Emergency Management Association, the Cherokee County EMS Board, the Cherokee County 911 Board, and the Tri-state Emergency Management Board.
As the County's Environmental Health Director, Shuberg's duties, along with part-time help from Sandy O'Hearn, will include food inspections for approximately 100 food licenses in Cherokee County. Each facility is inspected 1-3 times per year, more if needed.
Tattoo parlor inspections and swimming pool inspections-inspect pools, spas and wading pools that are open for the public's use. Tanning bed inspections, Hotel/Motel inspections, indoor air quality-sell radon kits, educate public on dangers of radon exposure, private water well permitting, and septic permitting and inspections, septic time-of-sale inspections.
Also, he will administer DNR Grants to the County's program that allows testing private well water for free, monetarily assisting landowners with well and cistern plugging, and monetarily assisting landowners with well rehabilitation to improve their water quality.
Plus, nuisance complaints that are time intensive, as each must be investigated and acted upon. Some complaints must be referred to outside agencies or to a city, while many of them are the responsibility of Environmental Health.
Along with epidemiological investigations and work in tandem with Public Health to investigate disease outbreaks as they relate to food or the environment. He also will be responsible for public education on all topics relating to Environmental Health. This is key to preventing diseases caused by environmental and/or human factors.
Shuberg has been busy in the last couple of days to inform the public about Cherokee County being added to FEMA Individual Assistance list.
County residents are encouraged to sign up as assistance may now be available to eligible residents and business owners who have suffered damage due to recent weather related events and flooding within Cherokee County.
Resident should begin registering for assistance online at www.DisasterAssistance.gov or by calling 1-800-621-FEMA(3362) or 1-800-462-7585 (TTY) for the hearing and speech impaired. The toll-free telephone numbers will operate from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Office hours for the Emergency Management Office and the Environmental Health are Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and is located at the lower level of the Cherokee Courthouse. Shuberg can be contacted at 225-6721.