Douglas Acres Neighborhood Association

  "Livin' It Up In Northeast Des Moines"








2005   2006   2007   2008   2009   2010   2011






From: Tom Hockensmith <>
Date: June 19, 2018 at 2:23:31 PM CDT
Subject: Response to Des Moines Register Coverage

Dear Constituents and Stakeholders,

It was surprising and disappointing to read a Des Moines Register article on June 17, 2018, about the Polk County Board of Supervisors approving a proposal to fund computers, smart boards, and iPads for nine parochial schools. Reading the article, the decision appears to have been against state law, county policy, all under a cloak of secrecy.

Nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, we shared the factual and comprehensive information about our decision with the reporter but the information was not included in the article. Therefore, we want to provide this overview so as taxpayers, voters, parents, and members of this community, have a full understanding of our decision making.

Since Polk County owns the land that Prairie Meadows Racetrack & Casino operates on, we receive approximately $26 million per year in lease payments and revenue sharing. This revenue is used to pay the debt on the Iowa Events Center, provide unrestricted funding to the metro public school districts, and support various municipalities. Individual grants are also approved for a variety of projects.

In 2012, Iowa law and our own policy stated that we could not directly give money to religious-affiliated groups such as schools. This was problematic for all of the Supervisors, many of whom felt the regulations were discriminatory against parochial students and parents.

The spirit of state law prohibiting government funding to religious entities is to avoid using public funds to promote or advance religious ideas. We agree with this ethic. However, we also wanted to help our taxpaying constituents using the parochial elementary schools with a much-needed technology upgrade.

The only way for the religious schools to receive money was for a private non-profit organization to apply for a grant. The grant, made to a third party nonprofit, Education for the 21st Century, was narrowly defined for technology equipment. The County Attorney’s office advised us then, and advises us now, this is a legal use of grant money. We believe we were complying with the spirit of state law while being able to help meet the needs of students in all our schools.                                                                                                                                                       

The Polk County Board of Supervisors discussed and approved this matter on March 27, 2012 and again on October 15, 2013. The minutes and audio recordings of the Board of Supervisors are available on our website.

Today, no separate non-profit entity is required in order to give money to religious institutions. The 2017 U.S. Supreme Court ruling in Trinity Lutheran Church of Columbia, Inc. v. Comer has allowed governmental organizations to offer direct grant funding to religious organizations. In short, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled the prior practice was discriminatory.  

The Des Moines Register appears to make the case that money given to the parochial schools shortchanged the public schools. However, the numbers simply tell a much different story. Since 2007, public schools in our county have received approximately $11,807,963 from Polk County and Prairie Meadows while the parochial schools have received $844,000 for the same time period. All the funds to the religious schools were restricted while all of the money given to the public schools is unrestricted - meaning the local schools can decide how the money is used. Additionally, over $3,184,330 was provided to the public schools in the form of Polk County grants to be used for specific activities and purposes since 2007.

The Board of Supervisors are proud of the contributions that have been made to our public schools. And we believe the intent of the grants made to parochial schools in 2012 and 2013 was done in the spirit of ensuring all our children in our community have access to current technology. 

At the end of the day, the Board of Supervisors is proud of the contributions that have been made to our public schools, as well as the many organizations that apply for grants. And that is the reason why we have joined with Prairie Meadows and hired a local public relations firm to showcase how these funds are being used to improve and enhance our county and our community members.  

We work hard to ensure that we are good stewards of public funds, to follow the law and to be inclusive and thoughtful as we make decisions that impact the community. Through our partnership with Prairie Meadows, we look forward to continuing to positively impact our community in the years to come.


Tom Hockensmith
4th District Supervisor

Polk County Board of Supervisors
111 Court Avenue, Room 300
Des Moines, Iowa  50309 

515-286-3120 - Office
515-323-5225 – Fax



Neighborhood Finance Corporation

Douglas Acres Lending Activity



Purchase, including 20% 2nds







80% 1sts




20% 2nds









Home Improvement















Grand Total:




Do you know of someone, or are you, having difficulty making their mortgage payments?  If so, NFC's Rescue and Repair Refinance (R3) loan could help.  This loan offers customers the opportunity to refinance out of their current higher interest rate mortgage loan(s) to a more affordable loan.  Plus, the customer can earn your way to an even better rate over the next two years.  And, the loan includes up to $10,000 forgivable subsidy for property repairs.  Please email or call one of our loan originators for details. 

Neighborhood Finance Corporation (NFC) currently has a staff of 12, and shares a property inspector with the City of Des Moines.  NFC's address is 1912 Sixth Avenue, Des Moines, IA 50314.  We are located one block south of the 6th & Hickman intersection. 
To reach any of the following staff members, call 288-5626 (that's 288-LOAN) and dial their extension. 
Our fax number is 246-0112.



The City of Des Moines through the Neighborhood Infrastructure Rehabilitation Program (NIRP) spent a total of $822,960 to repair streets and sidewalks in the Douglas Acres Neighborhood during the summer of 2009. That total includes $588,220 for streets (16 projects) and $234,740 for sidewalk replacement (11,737 linear feet). NIRP has significantly improved our neighborhood infrastructure, and we thank the City of Des Moines.


Hello Neighbors!

Polk County Health Department officials want people to take the proper precautions in returning to their homes after recent flooding. "People in the community who were affected by the flood have been through enough. We want to avoid further suffering by preventing injury or illness when trying to recover their homes," said Terri Henkels, Polk County Health Department Director.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has provided the Polk County Health Department with copies of two cleanup guides, "Flood Cleanup and the Air in Your Home" and "A Brief Guide to Mold, Moisture, and Your Home." The Polk County Health Department urges residents to visit the Health Department at 1907 Carpenter Ave to pick up a guide before attempting to clean flood damaged homes. The guides are also available online at

Thank you!

Sarah M. Tompkins
Community Health Educator
Polk County Health Department
1907 Carpenter Avenue
Des Moines, IA 50314


The City of Des Moines, through its Archie Brooks, Forest Avenue, and Logan Community Services Neighborhood site offices, is beginning to plan for the holiday season by calling on you for your support.

Last year, through the generous support and participation of local schools, businesses, and organizations like yours, over 1,000 low-income Des Moines families received a Holiday Food Basket. The food baskets help these families enjoy a traditional holiday dinner and provide some other non-perishable food items for the holiday season. Families receive a box of non­perishable food and a $15.00 food certificate to purchase the meat and produce of their choice.

This year we again hope to brighten the holiday season for 1,000 families in Des Moines. Together we can make this project possible.

We encourage you to participate in the Holiday Food Project by:

1)      Conducting a food drive for non-perishable food items such as cereals, vegetables, fruits, soups, Jello, pasta, instant potatoes, rice, stuffing, etc.

2)      Making a cash or check donation toward the purchase of $15.00 food certificates for participating families. Send donations to:

City of Des Moines Holliday Food Project

c/o Community Development Dept

602 Robert D. Ray Drive

Des Moines, IA 50309

         3)      Helping assemble and/or distribute food baskets.

We would like to pick up food donations this year according to the following schedule:

Dec 3              Principal Companies
      Dec 4-5           West Metro Area, south of University
      Dec 5-6           North Metro Area, north of University
      Dec 7-8             South Metro Area
      Dec 10-11         East Metro Area

For more information, contact the Community Services Division at 283-4180



Des Moines Parks and Recreation Department announces two grant opportunities for groups interested in beautifying the public spaces in their neighborhood. Funds are available for perennial plantings on City, State, or School property through the Lillian Swartzel Perennial Planting program. A total of $8000 is available for planting projects. Streetscape improvements that build neighborhood cohesion, have high pubic visibility, improve the environment and are located on City of Des Moines property will be funded through the new Neighborhood Streetscape Grant Program. A total of $25,000 is available for streetscape projects. There is no minimum or maximum amount that can be requested. Grant guidelines and applications can be found on the department website at Applications are due on November 16th.

For more information, please contact:

Teva Dawson

Des Moines Parks and Recreation Dept

2501 SE Maury

Des Moines, IA 50317

Phone: 515-323-8907

Cell: 515-208-0308



      We are pleased to announce that DANA has received a Community Betterment Grant for $3,000 from Polk County. The money will be used to pay for publication of our newsletter and for maintenance of our internet website. We extend our sincere thanks to Supervisor Tom Hockensmith and the Board of Supervisors.


     Volunteers are essential to meeting the Des Moines Parks and Recreation mission of providing safe, clean and beautiful parks and open spaces, along with professionally-managed leisure activities for all people.

     There are over 72 parks and many other green spaces that enhance the quality of life for all who live here.

     Maintaining and improving our parks is a gift volunteers give to all!

     The Des Moines Park and Recreation Department’s new bi-weekly email gives us a chance to update you on current volunteer opportunities that will make a positive difference in our community. Please pass it on to others that you think might be interested. Thank you for your ongoing support of our parks and green spaces.

     Sign up to receive free weekly e-mail notices of volunteer opportunities by sending your e-mail address to and requesting to be added to the recipient list.


Cleaning Your Garage Can Build Homes in Greater Des Moines

            If a recycling program were as easy as cleaning out your garage, would you be interested?

            Greater Des Moines Habitat for Humanity ReStore can help your community recycle new and gently used materials left over or recovered from home improvement projects.  At no charge, you can drop off items or call to see if we can schedule an item pickup.

      By donating materials to ReStore, you help the environment and local community in multiple ways:

·         First, you divert tons of materials from Iowa landfills.  In the last fiscal year, over 800 tons of materials were diverted from landfills through the ReStore

·         Secondly, you are recycling perfectly good materials back into the community.  Multiple Iowans benefit from purchasing discounted home improvement materials, including some who could not otherwise afford to do home renovations. 

·         And finally, you benefit the mission of the Greater Des Moines Habitat for Humanity, who partners with the community to make home ownership possible for low-income, working families.  In 2006, Habitat community partnerships enabled 13 families to purchase homes for the value of materials.  There are plans for 17 homes in 2007!

      By letting ReStore have your unwanted materials, you can clean out your storage space, help our environment and help our community.  We hope you will consider partnering with us!

 Greater Des Moines Habitat for Humanity



2341 2nd Ave., Des Moines (2nd & Holcomb, Just east of North High School)




Hello.  I would like to introduce all of you to a program offered by Polk County that many of you may not be aware of.  It is called the Polk County Citizen's Academy.  The Citizen's Academy came about as a result of a 2003 citizen survey which showed that many people were confused or entirely unaware of Polk County's responsibilities and services.  

The Academy's primary objective is to educate citizens about the services offered by Polk County Government.  The classes involve elected officials, department heads, county employees, and most importantly citizens.

The Academy is designed to raise citizen awareness of services and facilities provided by Polk County and enhance and strengthen partnership with the community.  Polk County needs the assistance and support of the community in order to provide the most effective and efficient services possible, which is where you come in.  Polk County is currently accepting applications for the 2007 Citizen's Academy.

Attached is information and an application.  Please make copies and share this with your neighborhood members.  The first session of the 2007 academy is scheduled to being on September 11, 2007.  We will be accepting applications through July 16, 2007. 

If you have any questions regarding the Polk County Citizen's Academy, please feel free to contact me at 286-3120.


Paulette Stodgel
Administrative Secretary
Polk County Board of Supervisors
Phone: 515-286-3121
Fax: 515-323-5225




Happy Holidays From The Des Moines Police Department!

Seasonal Crime Prevention Tips

During the year-end holidays, people are often busy, excited and sometimes a little bit careless. The following holiday crime prevention tips should be shared with others:

At Home:

  • Be extra cautious about locking doors and windows when you leave your house or apartment, even for a few minutes.
  • Lock garage doors and windows.
  • Don’t display holiday gifts where they can be seen from a window or doorway. Store gifts before you go away on a holiday trip.
  • If you go out, turn on lights and a radio or television so the house or apartment appears occupied.
  • If you are leaving for an extended period of time have some interior lights and a radio activated by a timer. Have a neighbor or family member watch your house, shovel new snow, pick up the mail, and newspaper and park a vehicle in your driveway from time to time.
  • Mark your property with a unique identification number and keep a home inventory list of major personal possessions - including respective serial numbers.
  • Be wary of strangers soliciting for charitable donations. They may attempt to take advantage of people’s generosity during the holidays. Ask for identification, how donated funds are used, and if contributions are tax deductible. Check with the Iowa Attorney General’s Office, Consumer Protection Division, before giving. If you are not satisfied with the answers don’t give.
  • After the holidays don’t forget to add any new possessions to your home inventory.
  • Test your smoke detectors.
  • Use only fire resistant ornaments on holiday decorations, make sure lights are in good working order and keep live trees watered. Don’t leave holiday lights on all continuously or when you are away from home.
  • Avoid leaving boxes from purchases out on the curb, in plain site, for trash pick up (especially TVs, computers, and other new electronic items).


  • Shop before dark, if possible. Possibly coordinate shopping trips with a friend. Never park in an unlit lot or area, no matter how convenient it is.
  • Lock your purchases in your trunk in order to keep them out of plain site, if possible. Keep your doors locked and windows closed.
  • Avoid carrying large amounts of cash. Pay for purchases with a check, credit card, or debit card whenever possible.
  • To discourage purse-snatchers, don’t overburden yourself with packages.
  • Be extra careful with purses and wallets. Carry a purse under your arm. Keep a wallet in an inside jacket pocket, not a back trouser pocket.
  • Teach children to go to a store clerk or security guard and ask for help if they become separated from the adult they are with. Children should never go into a parking lot to look for the adult they are separated from.

Holiday Parties:

  • Have non-alcoholic beverages available for party guests.
  • Don’t let guests drink and drive.

    In addition to these crime prevention tips, be aware of a scam artist coming to your doors or approaching you asking for money. Again this year, we have received complaints of a black male in his 50s, with his two front teeth missing, knocking on doors asking for a loan. He tells individuals that his car is broke down or his wife is pregnant and needs a ride to the hospital. Don't fall prey to these scams. We would encourage you to call DMPD at 283-4811. He is known by the police and has been working the East side but is known to travel throughout the city.

  • Sergeant Larry Davey
    Senior Police Officer Larry D. Rogers
    Senior Police Officer Kelly Fisher
    Neighborhood Area Resource Coordinator's Office
    Des Moines Police Department


    Sargent Park Improvements

    Funding is currently available to implement the first phase of the improvements shown in the Master Plan for Sargent Park.  These improvements will include an open-air shelter, a permanent (running water) restroom with drinking fountain, and a new parking lot all on the west side of Four Mile Creek.  We are currently starting the design phase and expect to complete the final construction documents over the winter.  The project should go out to bid early next year with construction starting sometime next spring.  If all goes well, the new improvements should be complete by mid summer.

    If you have any questions/comments about this or anything else in the park, please feel free to contact me.

    Larry F. Edris
    Park Planner
    Des Moines Park & Rec.
    Phone:  248-6355
    Cell:  208-0344
    Fax:  263-8713




    CONSUMER ADVISORY April 2005 By Attorney General Tom Miller

            Prevent Home Repair Scams and Disputes

    Spring is prime time for home repairs -- and that makes it prime time for outright scams or frustrating disputes.  You can take action to avoid both problems. Home repair scams by traveling con-artists work like this: Con-artists stop at your door, give you a hard sell, and offer sensational low prices.  It might be for roofing or painting, tree-trimming, or asphalting your driveway.  The con-artists insist that you pay in advance -- but they do little or no work and never return.  Remember, legitimate contractors very rarely solicit door-to-door.  Be skeptical.  The main rules are to check out a contractor, and never pay large sums in advance to a contractor you don't know.   Help older neighbors who might be pressured or intimidated into paying traveling con-artists.

    A few 'bad-apple' local contractors also take large advance payments but fail to do the work, or do just part of a job or very shoddy work.  This is hard to prove as fraud, but it's costly and frustrating.  Follow these tips to protect yourself when you hire a contractor: 

    *  Beware of high-pressure sales tactics such as "today-only" discounts, offers to use your home as a  "display home" for replacement siding or windows, and "lifetime warranty" offers that only last for the life of the company.  Always get several written estimates -- shop around for the best deal before making such a large investment.

    *      Check out a contractor before you sign a contract or pay any money.  Request local references -- and check them out.  Contact the Attorney General's Office to see if it has complaints (call 515-281-5926, or 888-777-4590.)  Contact the Better Business Bureau (515-243-8137, or  Contact your county clerk of court and ask how to check if a contractor has been sued by unsatisfied customers.

    *    Ask for a copy of the contractor's liability insurance certificate. Put start and completion dates in writing, and consequences if the contractor fails to meet them.  (Example:  the contract could be nullified if the contractor doesn't start on time.)   If you sign a contract at your home, in most cases you have three business days to cancel.

    *  Avoid paying large sums in advance if you don't know the contractor. If you have to make a partial advance payment for materials, make your check out to the supplier and the contractor.  Insist on a "mechanic's lien waiver" in case the contractor fails to pay others for materials or labor.

    For more information or to file a complaint, contact the Attorney General's
    Consumer Protection Division, Des Moines, Iowa 50319. 
     Call 515-281-5926, or toll-free at 888-777-4590. 
     The web site is:

    Consumer Protection Division * Hoover Building * Des Moines, Iowa 50319

    Guard Your Bank Accounts!
     Keep your account information to yourself --
    and examine bank statements and other accounts every month.

    Nowadays there is a much higher volume of electronic fund transfers of various kinds -- including by con-artists who use lots of schemes to make unauthorized debits straight from people's accounts.  Schemes often use trickery to get so-called "authorization" from victims to make withdrawals
    -- or they may make a debit with no permission at all.

        People often have pay-checks or government checks deposited
    automatically, or legitimate payments withdrawn electronically for their mortgage, car loan or utility bills.  Here are tips to prevent con-artists from making unauthorized debits to your bank account:

    •    Protect your personal information.   Don't give your bank "info"
    over the phone unless YOU made the call or you KNOW the company is legitimate.
        Con-artists love to use telephone solicitations to trick you into
    providing your bank account numbers.  And they use lots of stories to get you to "authorize" some kind of payment.  For example, callers might tout an appealing "free trial offer" - but start making charges right away if you give your account information.  Or callers might say they need to "verify" your account number "for security reasons."  Callers might try to sell you an advance-fee credit card, "government-grant" information, or discounts on prescription drugs.  Or callers may claim you've won a "lottery prize."  The
    Attorney General's Office is aware of many schemes that used deceptive "pitches" like these.

    •    Examine your bank statement and other accounts every single month.  Look for unauthorized debits of any kind -- on your bank account, your credit card bill, and even your phone bill.  A few minutes each month can avoid big headaches.

    •    Complain to your bank or to the Attorney General's Office.
        Contact your bank immediately about any unauthorized bank account debit.  Ask the bank to stop payment if possible, or to credit your account if a debit wasn't authorized.  (You likely will need to submit a sworn statement to your bank that the debit was not authorized.)  If your bank does not or cannot help you, contact the Attorney General.  Contact your credit card or telephone company if their bill contains unauthorized charges.
        For more information or to file a complaint, contact the Attorney
    General's Consumer Protection Div., Des Moines, IA 50319.  Call
    515-281-5926, or toll-free at 888-777-4590. Web:
    (click on protecting consumers.)

    Dear Neighbors,



    Our neighborhood faces a desperate situation. We once again face the risk of losing our neighborhood school.   Several years ago the school district came to us and asked if we would like  Goodrell Middle School to become a Traditional School . We were delighted and gave our support to the school becoming a traditional style school.  Shortly after that we discovered that Goodrell was no longer a neighborhood school but rather a magnet school and the children in the neighborhood would be assigned to whatever school could accommodate them, and only by application could they attend Goodrell.  We have had and continue to have families leave the area because of the lack of a neighborhood middle school.


    Several years prior to that the school district changed our boundaries so the neighborhood children would attend North High rather than East High.  At that time several families moved out of the neighborhood because they wanted their children to attend East High.


    Two years ago the school district sent home letters with the elementary students saying the parents would be given the opportunity to "vote" as to whether or not they wanted Adams to merge with Garton.  The teachers at the school alerted the neighborhood as to what was happening and asked that we attend the meetings.  At the meetings the neighborhood attendees were asked to leave as we were told this was a meeting for parents only.  We objected and only after much turmoil were we allowed to stay and attend future meetings.  Meeting dates and times were announced only to be changed without any notice given to the neighborhood.  When it was clear to the school district the majority of citizens in the area did not want to merge, no more meetings were scheduled.


    On July 12, the School Board will decide whether to close Adams Elementary School . What happens to a neighborhood affects the whole city, and the East side is being left out, ignored, and insulted by the school district.  At the school board meeting on June 21 Mr. Roeder said the East side should be happy as they have a new East High School and will have a new  Goodrell Middle School .  Our neighborhood children cannot attend East High School as North High is their home school, and may attend Goodrell Middle School only if their application is accepted. The school board is making decisions without knowing where we even live.  Other school board members at the meeting did not even take the time or care to point out to Mr. Roeder how wrong he was and that neither East or Goodrell were our children's home school. 


    I am asking each and every person in the neighborhood to contact their elected officials (names, addresses, and phone numbers attached) and ask them for their help.  Ask them to talk to the school board members individually and let them know how important our schools are.  We hold a lot of power in this neighborhood and we have a very strong voting record.  We will only re-elect those individuals that listen to us.  


    I apologize for such a lengthy letter, but I thought that a little background information would be helpful to those who have not been involved in this issue. 
    To summarize, I am making 2 urgent requests: 
    1) All concerned citizens are asked to attend the town hall meeting on July 6 at the Botanical Center
    2) Please contact your elected officials to ask for their help in keeping Adams Elementary School         open.





    Linda Westergaard, President

    Douglas Acres Neighborhood Association



    Help the Des Moines Parks Department Monitor our Precious Water Resources
    The Des Moines Park and Recreation Department is the steward for a number of water bodies in the City of Des Moines.  With a growing concern for water quality in the state of Iowa, the Des Moines Park and Recreation Department wants to be proactive and begin to investigate what we can do to be better stewards of our parkland with one goal being improving water quality.   The City of Des Moines Parks Department is the only city parks department in the state developing a comprehensive water quality assessment plan.    
    >The goals of the water quality assessment plan are to:
    *   better understand the current health of our water bodies
    * establish benchmark data to monitor the health over time
    * begin to identify alternative management strategies to improve the quality of our water bodies
    * bring back fishing and other water activities in our neighborhood ponds and creeks

    We are seeking the help of volunteers to begin monthly monitoring of a specific water site in Des Moines (see list below).  It's an opportunity for neighbors to build a relationship with a body of water in their area.  Volunteers will test various chemical attributes such as nitrates, phosphorus, and chloride; measure physical features such as temperature and transparency of the water; assess stream habitat and even  evaluate biological health by hunting for little critters called macro invertebrates.

    We are partnering up with IOWATER, the DNR's volunteer water quality monitoring program and the Polk County Snapshot.  Volunteers need to have attended the IOWATER Level I workshop.  Information about IOWATER and upcoming workshops schedule can be found at  Testing supplies and data collection is coordinated through IOWATER.  Volunteers will run a number of tests including testing for pH, phosphate, nitrates, temperature, transparency, and chloride.  The DNR will help the Parks Department analyze the data on a semi-annual basis and make recommendations for changes in the management of our water bodies.  

    To sign up for monthly monitoring, contact Teva Dawson (contact information below) with the Des Moines Park and Recreation Department.  A park staff person will following up with more specific instructions for each site and will conduct the initial visit with each volunteer.  
    Sites in Des Moines:
    Waveland Golf Course pond - 49th south of University
    Waveland Creek - Pleasant Drive
    Glendale Cemetery pond - 49th north University
    Greenwood Park pond - 45th south of Grand
    Witmer Park pond - 34th & Witmer

    Birdland Lagoon - by the marina on Penn
    Spring Creek - in Chautauqua Park Neighborhood, south of Hickman, east of 6th Ave.

    Grandview Golf Course pond - Guthrie, east of E29th
    Sargents Park - 4-Mile Creek - East Douglas and Colfax Avenue
    4-mile Creek - Easton Blvd at bike trail head
    MacRae Park pond - SW 9th & Bell
    Gray's Lake
    Great Western Trail - Frank Creek
    Harmon Park creek - SW26th & Watrous
    Ewing Park- pond and Yeader Creek - Indianola Road Dean's Lake at E25th at Maury
    Case Lake at Cownie Soccer

    Teva Dawson
    Horticulture Inspector
    Des Moines Park and Recreation Department
    3226 University Avenue
    Des Moines IA  50311
    Phone:  515/323-8907
    Cell:  515/208-0308
    Fax:  515/237-1407

    Is your street is wanting to have a BLOCK PARTY???  Here is how!
    Appoint a committee to:                                                
                          1. Download this file, print it out and send it to the city at least 30 days before the party date to have the street blocked off and barricades brought out
      2. Pick whose house it will be in front of
                                                      3. Plan for some lights such as Christmas tree strings or floodlights
                       4. Find out who has cooking grills, banquet tables,  
                     picnic tables, and chairs to bring
    5. Organize games for the kids to play    
                                       since they CAN play in the street!
    6. Advertise it to the neighbors             

    July 2006

    Beware of "Free Trial Offers"
    Study your billing statements for unauthorized charges.

    Some consumers are being charged for products or services and
    don't even know it. This happens especially when consumers receive "free
    trial offers" for buying club memberships, travel clubs, or "credit card
    protection plans" -- and then are charged automatically on their credit
    cards or bank accounts when the free trial period ends.

    Consumers often are surprised when - and if - they discover the
    unexpected bill. The problem seems to stem from two things: First,
    consumers may not realize a seller already has the key information to
    bill their credit card or checking account. Second, some sellers use
    questionable tactics to try to shift the burden onto the consumer to

    If you don't cancel within the "free trial offer period" (usually
    30 days), your credit card will be charged the monthly or annual
    membership fee, possibly as much as $100 or more. And you may be charged
    repeatedly every month or every year if you don't cancel.

    "Free trial offers" may come in several ways: On the phone:
    You may order a product or ticket, or make a hotel or car reservation -
    and then the telemarketer may ask you to consider a "free trial offer"
    membership. In mailings: For example, a bank statement may include a
    check made payable to you for a small amount (say, $10 or $15) -- with
    small type on the back of the check telling you that if you cash the
    check you'll be joining a buying club. Over the Internet: You may order
    something over the Internet and receive a "pop-up" ad on your computer
    screen with the "free trial offer."

    Remember, sellers may already have access to charge your credit
    card or checking account -- and they will bill you after the free trial
    period without further approval from you. They count on you forgetting,
    not noticing the billings, or not noticing if they send you a mail notice
    that you discard as "junk mail." And some unscrupulous sellers may start
    billing you even if you decline the free trial offer!

    Don't be trapped by "free trial offers":

    ∙ Reject a free trial offer unless you are absolutely sure it is
    something you will use. Make it very clear to the solicitor that you
    are declining the offer. Beware of cashing a check that comes in the
    mail with a free trial offer.

    ∙ Examine your credit card bill every month, and your checking
    account and phone bills, too. Watch for unauthorized charges -- and
    dispute them at once, in writing.

    ∙ Watch your mail carefully. (Some cancellation notices look like
    junk mail.)

    Contact the Attorney General's Consumer Protection Div., D.M., IA
    50319. Call 281-5926 or 888-777-4590 (toll-free.) The web site is

    East Side Library Renovation On Schedule

     Folks on the east side of Des Moines can look forward to the re-opening this summer of the newly renovated East Side Library located at 2559 Hubbell Avenue, designed by OPN Architects, Brian Lane, project manager.    “Construction continues to be on schedule and library customers will find some wonderful improvements.” according to  Kevin Kain, The Weitz Company Project Engineer.  

     The doors will CLOSE at the temporary location at the Douglas Elementary School on July 1 at 5:00 PM.  A Grand RE-OPENING Celebration is planned for Saturday, August 12, at 9:30 AM!   We invite the public to stop at the dedication on the  way to a day at the Iowa State Fair   Popular children’s entertainer James Coffey will present a free family concert at 10:30 AM. 

     Library customers will soon be able to enjoy a cozy fireplace reading area, a new teen center, and a fanciful children’s spot complete with a fun slide and tunnel!  The East Side Library renovation has added space, a new community meeting room, a  brand new  entrance  gallery  and library interior as well as growth in both the print and electronic collections.  The new building will be 15,200 square feet compared to the old building which was 9,000 square feet.    The East Side Library renovation project is budgeted at $2.9 million.  It is part of the library’s $48 million, ten-year public/private partnership to enhance the entire library system. 

     While the East Side Library is closed, customers are encouraged to visit and return books to any of the library’s other locations.  For more information, call 283-4152 or visit


    For more information, call Jan Kaiser
    Des Moines Public Library 283 4103.
    1000 Grand Ave, Des Moines, Iowa 50309-3027
    515.283.4152 FAX: 515.237.1654
    Kay K. Runge, Director