Area News Stories




(March 31, 2015)   With warmer weather ahead, kids are heading to the skate park. The Oskaloosa Police Department would like to remind everyone of the city ordinance regulating bicycles, rollerblades, and roller skates and skate boards. Every person riding a bicycle upon a city street shall obey all traffic laws. Bicycles shall be ridden in single file upon all sidewalks and yield the right-of-way to pedestrians. All bicycles ridden on the roadway shall be kept to the right and shall be ridden as near as practical to the right-hand edge of the roadway. No person shall operate a bicycle at a speed greater than is reasonable and prudent. The operator of a bicycle shall yield the right-of-way to all vehicles upon entering a city street. No person shall ride a bicycle upon a sidewalk within the public square. It is unlawful for any person riding a bicycle to be towed or to tow any other vehicle upon a city street. No person shall ride a bicycle in an irregular or reckless manner such as zigzagging, stunting, speeding or otherwise so as to disregard the safety of the operator or others. Every bicycle when in use at nighttime shall be equipped with a light on the front and a red light or red reflector on the rear. Every bicycle shall be equipped with a brake which will enable the operator to make the braked wheel skid on dry, level, clean pavement. Every bicycle ridden upon an alley, public street or the recreation trail shall be registered with the city. Any person violating a city ordinance may receive a citation or may have their bicycle impounded by the city for not less than five days for the first offense, ten days for the second offense and 30 days for the third offense. Skateboards, rollerblades and roller skates shall not be operated on any of the city streets and shall not be operated within the downtown area except in the “bike/skate park.” Skateboards, rollerblades and roller skates may be operated on sidewalks other than the downtown area, however, that any person riding a skateboard shall upon meeting a pedestrian dismount until the pedestrian has passed. In the the event a person riding a skateboard shall be going in the same direction as a pedestrian, the person riding the skateboard shall dismount and walk past the pedestrian before continuing on the skateboard. If you have any questions, contact the Oskaloosa Police Department at 673-3201. 

For more on this story, check out to today's Oskaloosa Herald.


(March 31, 2015)   As part of the Dare Ya’ Expo held at Penn Central Mall Sunday, Mahaska County Freedom Rock group had an area set up to discuss the upcoming plans for a Freedom Rock to be located in Oskaloosa at Caldwell Park. The planning for the rock has been ongoing for some time, but Kim Dixon of the American Legion Auxiliary, who is spearheading the efforts along with a dedicated panel of volunteers, have been pushing this forward to make sure it becomes a reality. “I am hoping to have the rock up by summer,” Dixon said. In terms of obstacles that have put the plan on hold, there have been some, but not many. “Our biggest snag is just the fundraising. We have got to get the money raised,” she said.“We have over 10,000 people in Mahaska County. So, even if those people would just give a dollar, we would be able to reach our goal,” Dixon said. “We are not asking for huge amounts of money from people. We have options where you can buy a brick and make a $20 donation,” she added. A question was posed to Dixon regarding if it were possible to change the price for the bricks. “The bricks cost half of what we are charging them to do a brick and get it engraved. Plus, we have the money to get the bricks laid,” Dixon said. She indicated that if there was a price change, people would have to be notified. “I feel that if we did change the price, we would have to refund the money, or call people to let them know that the price has been reduced to give them options,” Dixon said. As part of the project, she described the layout in terms of what will be surrounding the rock. “We have four benches that are going to go around the outside of the rock. They will be granite. So, they will last for a lifetime. The same goes for the rock,” she said. She added that there will be a nice pathway to walk around the rock. In addition, she said there would be several flags located at the site. It will encompass the United States flag, an Iowa flag and possibly a Prisoner Of War flag. Dixon also highlighted there would be measures to ensure that the rock and surrounding area are well preserved and do not deteriorate. Dixon indicated exactly where the rock will be located once complete. “It will be located near Highway 92 east on the south side of the road at Caldwell Park,” she said. She said that the current location will be where a house once stood. In terms of conducting surveys to determine what people think about the rock, she said they might look into that as a possibility. She said that at some point it might be beneficial to reach out to the community to have that interaction. 

For more on this story, check out to today's Oskaloosa Herald.



(March 30, 2015)   A Derby teenager was injured Saturday afternoon while jumping his motorcycle at Bluff Creek OHV Park near Eddyville. Thomas Ruepke, 16, of Derby, was jumping a motorcycle when he lost control, sustaining injuries to his lower leg at approximately 2 p.m. Saturday. Ruepke was transported to Mahaska County Hospital in Oskaloosa where he was being treated for non-life threatening injuries. He was wearing a helmet and other safety gear at the time of the accident.


(March 30, 2015)   What’s the future of recreation and child care in the Oskaloosa and Mahaska community? The Mahaska Community Development Group (MCDG) and YMCA will host a public input meeting at 9 am, 11:30 am and 6 pm, Monday, March 30, in Penn Central Mall in the suite across from Label Shopper. The two-hour session will be aimed at defining what key indoor recreation and child care facilities and programs need to be maintained, revamped and/or developed to serve the community.

Additional focus groups will be held:

Wednesday, April 1, 7 am, Eddyville City Hall
Wednesday, April 1, 7 pm, New Sharon Fire Station
Thursday April 2, 8 am, 11:30 am, and 7 pm, Penn Central Mall – focus child care only
Friday, April 3, 7 am and 11:30 am, Penn Central Mall – focus recreation only

In addition to the public meetings, interested individuals may complete an online survey to provide feedback about existing services, and ideas for improved and expanded recreation and child care facilities and programs. A link to the survey will be released next week. “Indoor recreation and early childhood education & daycare are critical services necessary to support businesses and their employees,” said Jay Christensen, Mahaska Health Partnership CEO. “As the YMCA began to assess future plans for their facilities and programming, MCDG made a decision to support that effort with a study that includes a community survey and master planning process,” said Christensen. MCDG and YMCA contracted with Des Moines architectural firm Walker/Coen/Lorentzen to assist with the project. Matt Coen, a native of Oskaloosa, is leading the study process. The study includes three phases: 1) a recreation and early childhood needs assessment to gather public input; 2) a capital needs assessment of the existing YMCA facility; and 3) creation of a master plan using data from phases 1 & 2. The plan will define facility and programming needs for indoor recreation and early childhood education & daycare for the YMCA and other community providers. “We know the study will help us define a path toward providing quality learning opportunities for the youth of the community in a way that’s convenient and affordable,” said Mark Willett, CLOW General Manager. “Indoor recreation is another piece of this,” said Willett. “We need to define what’s important to the community to support leisure, wellness and rehabilitation activities, for individuals of all ages. Businesses and individuals alike rely on these amenities.” “We hope people will get out and attend the input sessions and complete the online survey,” Willett said. “Those tools will help guide our planning and future investment in programs and facilities.”


(March 30, 2015)   The Sock Monkeys are returning to world competition. The Oskaloosa High School Robotics Team — The Sock Monkeys — won big at the North Super Regional held in Des Moines Saturday and qualified for a return to world competition. Parents gathered at Oskaloosa High School Saturday evening to greet the victorious team when they returned home. “We’re going to World,” Sock Monkey member Logan Gross said after getting off the bus Saturday evening. “We made it.” The Sock Monkeys won two awards — The Division Winning Alliance plaque and the Finalist Alliance Trophy. “We had two other teams in our alliance,” Sock Monkey member Molly Bleything said. The other two teams in the alliance were Combustible Lemons, from Davenport, and Dark Matter, from Linn-Mar. The Sock Monkeys led the alliance, she added. “All three are Iowa teams and we are all going to World,” Bleything said.
World competition will be held in St. Louis, Mo., at Union Station on April 22-25. There will be 127 teams in the competition, Gross said. The Sock Monkeys will have to upgrade their 
robot for World competition, Gross said. While the team only has to tweak its robot, the 
students have to raise funds for their trip to St. Louis. “We have to do a lot of fundraising,” Bleything said. The team has to pay for the registration fee, transportation, lodging and social events associated with the competition, she added. “We’ve got three weeks 
to prepare,” Gross said.

For more on this story, check out to today's Oskaloosa Herald.


(March 30, 2015)   People got their “Just Desserts” Saturday at the Girl Scout bake sale held at Penn Central Mall. A wide variety of cakes, cookies and cupcakes were on display for people to buy at auction. Proceeds from the bake sale will help Girl Scouts go to camp. “Last year, we gave $3,000,” Girl Scouts PR and Events Coordinator Sandi Tucker-Stanbro said. “This year, we’re shooting for $3,500.” This year, there are 124 registered girls who brought baked goods or helped with the auction, she said. “They can bring a cake or work here to be eligible for camp funds,” Tucker-Stanbro said. This past year, about 40 girls went to camp, she said. The funds can be used for things ranging  from physicals to gas money, she added. There are three camps in the Girl Scout council that local girls can attend — Boone, Clear Lake and near Sioux City, Tucker-Stanbro said. Besides the auction, the young Girl Scout bakers could enter their culinary work in a cake decorating contest. The categories judged include Most Creative, Best Girl Scout Theme, Best Use of Girl Scout Cookies, Animals and Favorite Storybook. The judges come from the Girl Scout Council of Greater Iowa, located in Des Moines, Tucker-Stanbro said. 
Besides buying desserts, there were other things for people to do at the event. Barnyard 
Billy was on hand to make balloon animals for children. Also, older Girl Scouts had booths 
for face painting or hair coloring. Also, there was a pizza and bake sale.

For more on this story, check out to today's Oskaloosa Herald.


(March 26, 2015) — The Oskaloosa Middle School Jazz Band received first place in the Middle School Band Small Class at the Southeast Iowa Bandmasters Association District Jazz Festival on Saturday, March 7, in Iowa City. The Oskaloosa Middle School Jazz Band was followed by Solon I/II, Fort Madison, Mount Pleasant, Davis County, Washington I/II, and Grinnell.

Outstanding Soloist Awards went to: John Edgren, trumpet; Joshua Hartl, trombone; Brandon Salevsky, tenor saxophone; Ethan Herr, trombone; Aaron Vos, trumpet; and Colin Fiechtner, trombone. The band is under the direction of Michelle Dickinson.

The overall Outstanding Soloist in the Junior High Small Class was awarded to Brandon Salevsky on tenor sax.The Oskaloosa Middle School Jazz band will perform in concert with the Oskaloosa High School, North Mahaska, Eddyville-Blakesburg-Fremont and William Penn Jazz Bands on Friday, March 27, at the George Daily Auditorium at 7 p.m.

For more on this story, check out to today's Oskaloosa Herald.

7th Annual Live United 5K & YMCA Healthy Kids Day to be held April 25th

(March 26, 2015) - The United Way of Mahaska County is very excited for its 7th Annual Live United 5K & YMCA Healthy Kids Day on Saturday, April 25th at the Penn Activity Center on the William Penn University campus.

This year’s event will have one major change- all races are free!

The morning will kick off with the standard 5K at 8:30, but that won’t be the only chance runners and walkers will have at a race. At 9:30, the Fun Run Obstacle Course will begin.

The Fun Run will take participants down one of three routes, each with a series of “checkpoints”. All checkpoints are suitable for all ages, skill levels and may include things like hula hooping or jumping jacks.

“There will also be a shortened version of the Fun Run Obstacle Course for kids under second grade called the Kids’ Blue Zones Route” said Sheets. “We’ll have lots of giveaways for kids throughout the day as well.”

To pre-register for the 5K race, go to and search LIVE UNITED.

The United Way is partnering with the YMCA again this year to give adults and children a fun, exciting and active day, all while promoting our healthy living initiatives. Family day events will be held from 9:00 a.m. to noon, and include numerous free family-friendly activities such as balloon animals, games, bounce houses, community booths, raffle prizes, face painting and more. Also at this year’s event, MCRF has a “Play it Forward” site where you can drop off, swap or take used sporting equipment.

The United Way of Mahaska County is looking for volunteers for this event. Contact Lindsey Sheets at 641.673.6043 for more information about sponsorship or to sign up to volunteer.

As always, the United Way is truly grateful for the support from our local business leaders, their employees and families.

Mahaska Community Indoor Recreation/Early Childhood Education Needs Assessment

(March 26) - What’s the future of recreation and child care in the Oskaloosa and Mahaska community?

The Mahaska Community Development Group (MCDG) and YMCA will host a public input meeting at 9 am, 11:30 am and 6 pm, Monday, March 30, in Penn Central Mall in the suite across from Label Shopper.

The two-hour session will be aimed at defining what key indoor recreation and child care facilities and programs need to be maintained, revamped and/or developed to serve the community.

Additional focus groups will be held:

Wednesday, April 1, 7 am, Eddyville City Hall

Wednesday, April 1, 7 pm, New Sharon Fire Station

Thursday April 2, 8 am, 11:30 am, and 7 pm, Penn Central Mall – focus child care only

Friday, April 3, 7 am and 11:30 am, Penn Central Mall – focus recreation only

In addition to the public meetings, interested individuals may complete an online survey to provide feedback about existing services, and ideas for improved and expanded recreation and child care facilities and programs. A link to the survey will be released next week.


(March 25, 2015)  The Mahaska County Farm Service Agency (FSA) office reminds producers to take action on the new Agricultural Risk Coverage (ARC) and Price Loss Coverage (PLC) programs as the March 31, 2015 deadline quickly approaches.  Producers are strongly  encouraged to schedule an appointment with the Mahaska County FSA office as soon as possible to meet this deadline by calling (641) 673-3476, Extension 2. “Producers are strongly encouraged to take advantage of the opportunity to elect ARC or PLC and qualify for 2014 payments. Call our office today to avoid missing out on this opportunity,” stated Wendi Denham, Mahaska County FSA Executive Director. The following actions must be taken by the March 31, 2015 deadline: Updating yields, Reallocating base acres and Electing ARC or PLC. Landowners need to update farm yield history and/or reallocate crop base acres, while producers need to make a one-time election of ARC and PLC for 2014-2018 crop years. If the March 31, 2015 deadline is missed, farms will not be eligible for 2014 crop year ARC or PLC payments. The only option remaining at that point is to enroll the applicable farms in PLC for the 2015-2018 crop years. Furthermore, current counter-cyclical yield and base acres associated with the farms will be used for PLC. To learn more information about the programs and services FSA has to offer, please contact the Mahaska County office at (641) 673-3476, Extension 2, or visit FSA online at


(March 24, 2015)  Budget and cost containment topped a work session by the Oskaloosa School Board Monday night. Earlier in the day superintendent Russ Reiter and business manager Chad Vink met with the district’s negotiations team to look at the initial proposals by each.

Monday night’s meeting looked at options for the district to contain costs in light of inaction from the state legislature. The Iowa Democratically controlled Senate has offered up a 4 percent supplemental funding but the Republican-controlled House is saying 1.25 percent and there appears to be no resolution in sight. If no decision it will revert to 0 percent.

Reiter answered board questions on how much supplemental would be included in a 1.25 percent scenario. He said it is estimated to be $435,573. However, depending how the negotiations with certified staff ends up the district could still face a $150,000 shortfall. If the settlement is at 3 percent, means a cost to the district of $582,000. The district has qualified and accepted a TLC grant to pay for instructional coaches. With that taken out there would still be a difference of about $285,000.

School districts are limited in the amount of revenue it can generate, but Reiter cited current and potential sharing opportunities including transportation director, superintendent, human resources, information technology, librarians and others. There have been some rule changes that would allow sharing districts to recover some of those costs.

Reiter and the board said they are reluctant to reduce class sections at the elementary as the district have made strides to reduce class sizes. Staff attrition, replacing retirees with a lower cost teacher, possibly offering early retirements and other options are on the table. The board will continue to look at options and will have recommendations brought forth in April.


(March 24, 2015)  Board members discussed possible work projects for the summer during their work session Monday. Some of the projects have been on the priority list for some time.

Tops on the list is the renovation of the small gym at the high school. Superintendent Russ Reiter said the floor would be replaced at a cost of $50,000. He said there is discussion to convert it to a spectator gym by adding a three-row bleacher seating similar to the system utilized at the elementary. School staff would reposition the baskets and pads would be added to each end to provide cushion with the short distance between the wall and end lines.

Reiter mentioned that the tennis courts, three north of the high school and four by the baseball field are in need of replacement.

“They are in bad shape. We have considered not hosting home meets because of the condition,” said Reiter. “If there is any moisture at all the ones by the high school become very slick.”

Cost estimates are in the $125,000 range. Board member Shawn Moyer asked about doing part of the courts this year and the other next year. Reiter said the project would need to be done on all seven at the same time.

Elementary carpeting replacement is needed due to carpet “bubbling.” The bubbling is a possible tripping hazard. Elementary principal Mike Dursky said that there is some opportunity to do some work in the library to update it. He said there are sets of 1985 version encyclopedias and empty bookcases. Removing and renovating could be done at the same as replacement of the 10-year old carpet.

A wash bay at the bus barn is the last item on the list for that facility. The cost of that project is $45,000. It would eliminate the amount of moisture that is collecting in the building due to the current washing in the main facility.

The board will continue to look at the needs and available funds available to complete them.


(March 24, 2015)  Oskaloosa school board and Oskaloosa Education Association met to respond to initial proposals for the 2015-16 contract. The informational meeting was the first meeting between the two groups. They will meet in a closed session proposed on Monday April 13.

The association proposed changes to family illness clause to allow for utilization of accumulated sick leave. It would also allow for an employee to appeal to the Sick Leave Bank Committee if they have need for additional days.

The association is asking for a one-day bereavement leave to support a friend of family member in attendance of a funeral.

Transfers in assignments would occur based on seniority by grade level at the elementary and subject area at the middle school and high school. An employee with the least seniority would be transferred first.

Insurance premiums would be altered based on the increase.

The association proposes a 5 percent salary combined base from $34,165. The nursing base would also be increased from $31,015 by 5 percent. Step movement would be by contract. They also request adding a nursing lane of MSN/CSN between BSN and BSN/CSN. They would also add a BSN+30 to the nurse’s salary schedule by an increment of .003.

Another language change would be: Teachers will be paid a per diem hourly wage for loss of preparation time when covering for another teacher when a sub cannot be found or when leaving school for school-related responsibilities.

The Association is asking for a one-year contract.

The school board is offering a change to sick leave policy to include a clause that sick leave cannot be used for elective medical procedures that can be performed during periods of the year when school is not in session.

Due to changes in the health care law, Superintendent Russ Reiter said legal authorities are looking into necessary changes

The board is asking to revise the supplemental pay schedule and classification for cheerleaders into four different contracts (football, wrestling, boys basketball and girls basketball).

The Board is offering no increases to base or supplemental pay. They are asking for a two-year contract covering 2015-2017.

The board wishing to adopt a memorandum of understanding to cover those employees under the Teacher Leadership System grant.


(March 21, 2015)  Parents gathered at the Fremont Elementary School cafeteria Thursday night to talk to two Eddyville-Blakesburg-Fremont School Board members about the future of the school. EBF School Board members Dan Hulbert and Mike Mayberry were on hand to answer questions from parents about the future of the school. Some rumors have circulated that the school may be closed. “We’re not here talking about shutting this building down,” Hulbert said. “You guys have the best building in the district.” Some parents were concerned about the possibility of preschool and kindergarten teachers being let go. Hulbert said that sending kindergarten students to Eddyville was considered, but “nothing is carved in stone.” A parent asked if more students would be bussed to Fremont. An Oskaloosa resident said her children go to Fremont school because there is more one-on-one teaching in Fremont. She said that free, all-day preschool is another selling point for the Fremont Elementary School. Fremont Elementary School has a 12 to 1 student to teacher ratio. Another parent asked if students could open enroll to Fremont instead of Eddyville. “We’re leaning toward that,” Mayberry said. “We need time to get answers,” Hulbert said. Several audience members also said they were interested in joining a PTO. Some audience members raised the issue of access to the school building. During events such as parent-teacher conferences, the doors were locked. Hulbert said he will talk to the superintendent about parental access to the school. Parents also asked about the principal and associate principal being accessible. Mayberry said that he had heard that the administrators were often away from the building, but after speaking to the superintendent about it, that has changed. Parents also asked if grades were going to be combined. Hulbert said that second- and third-grade, and fourth- and fifth-grades were being considered. Mayberry said that the state provides $6,300 per students. A teacher, on average, costs about $40,000. There needs to be enough students in each classroom to pay for the costs of the educators, he said.

For more on this story, check out to today's Oskaloosa Herald.


(March 21, 2015)  The Mahaska County Board of Supervisors met for a special meeting at the Mahaska County Courthouse Friday afternoon to discuss additional proposals from Renaissance 
Roofing, who has been contracted to repair the courthouse’s roof. The original contract 
was for over $60,000, and these changeovers would be extra onto that contract.
The first proposal involved installing shields for water and ice in a practice that is known 
as flashing. The proposal would cost an additional $4,850 to do. After hearing some 
descriptions of the issue, the Board unanimously approved the proposal.
The second proposal was for some broken tiles on the East side of the courthouse roof, 
which was not on the first contract. All three members of the Board questioned the 
roofing company, and believed the original contract was to fix the entire roof, and not 
just certain highlighted portions. The company quoted this proposal at $28,000. 
Supervisor Mike VanderMolen immediately declared he would not approve that 
proposal. He was supported by both Chair Mark Doland and Vice-Chair Henry 
VanWeelden. The proposal was never brought to a vote.

The third proposal involved the gutters along the edges of the roof. According to the 
roofing company, the gutters were installed incorrectly long ago, and they have created 
some additional issues with the roof. The company proposed they fix the issue while 
they are there, because it would be much more expensive to address the gutters after 
the roof is finished. VanWeelden was the only member of the Board to support that 
proposal, with Doland and VanderMolen preferring to address that later after seeking 
additional information elsewhere.

The fourth proposal was for the roofers to get an extra few hundred tiles of roofing to be 
able to complete the originally proposed project. This proposal was unanimously 

Chair Mark Doland said that the Board could call another special meeting within the 
next week to address any other roof related issues while the company works on the 
roof. Their work is scheduled to start on Monday.

In the only other item on the agenda Friday, the Board unanimously approved an 
agreement for Mahaska County to provide hours of watch in support of the town of 
Fremont’s Sheriff’s department.

The Mahaska County Board of Supervisor’s next regularly scheduled meeting is set for 
April 6th at 9 AM in the Mahaska County Courthouse on the square in Oskaloosa.
(Oskaloosa, Iowa) Campaign Headquarters will celebrate the opening of their newest 
location at 212 North I Street in Oskaloosa with a ribbon cutting and open house 
on Thursday, March 26, 2015, from 4:30 p.m. 


(March 21, 2015)
  Campaign Headquarters is a conservative call center that was founded by Nicole Schlinger in 1999. Based in Brooklyn, Iowa, Campaign Headquarters calls for various 
candidates and issues, including pro-life, upholding the constitution, and cutting 
government spending. 

The company is still hiring call center representatives at the Oskaloosa location. Anyone 
interested may apply online at or by stopping by the 
office during business hours, Monday through Thursday 12:30 p.m. – 9:00 p.m. and 
Fridays 8:30 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.


(March 20, 2015)  The city council passed a resolution this week authorizing an application to the Area 15 Regional Planning Commission for Surface Transportation Program funds to reconstruct D Street from A Avenue West to Sixth Avenue West. The proposed reconstruction of these streets includes new concrete pavement, ADA sidewalks, ramps, storm and sanitary sewer improvements. Joe Caliguri, city council member, addressed a question regarding D Street looking north and south. “Is there a way that we can include a right turn lane at the light and maybe a center turn lane for the traffic going left? I think it is wide enough to do that,” he said. City Manager Michael Schrock Jr. said that it is in the plan to assess whether that is a possibility. He added that part of the problem would be that it will slow all the traffic down through A Avenue West if you had to put the arrow in,” he said at the meeting. He also said that on the northwest side of the street would not be a good place to have ADA accessibility. Mayor David Krutzfeldt had a question regarding some of the funding and that some of the numbers did not quite add up. Public Works Department Director Akhilish Pal said that we expect to get this. “Historically, we can apply for grants ahead of time, but its dependent on the policy vote,” Pal said. Some of the funds will be used from the Complete Streets Policy. According to a city document, the section of D Street carries up 5,400 vehicles per day. The increase in traffic has caused the roads to deteriorate over a period of time. City officials have been exploring their options in terms of trying to seek the lowest bid for the projects and also determining where the funds will come from for the reconstruction project. One estimate came in at $1.9 million. There were some things that had to be considered. The initial estimate of $1.9 million for the project came with some stipulations. It stated that up to 80 percent of the STP funding from the RPA 15 had a 20 percent local match, which equates to $380,000 in Fiscal Year 2017 and 2018. There will be some money available to fund roads projects during Fiscal Year 2018 through the STP. However, the document stated that if funds are allowed to accumulate, in Fiscal Year 2019, the funding amount will increase to over $1.4 million. The STP funds have been requested ahead of time, and historically the RPA has allowed for this type of transaction to take place in the past. The Public Works Department is recommending that there also be a resolution authorizing the city of Oskaloosa to apply to the Area 15 Regional Planning Commission for over $1.5 million of the STP funding in Fiscal Years 2017 and 2018.

For more on this story, check out to today's Oskaloosa Herald.


(March 20, 2015)  The fourth annual 4-H & FFA Gala event was held at the Mahaska County Extension office March 13 to raise funds for Southern Iowa Fair events. Each year, Mahaska County 4-H & FFA holds a Gala event and fundraising campaign. This year’s fundraising goal is $10,000 and the campaign will run until mid-June. Nearly 200 people attended the event where a meal was available for free-will donations. The Mahaska County Cattlemen grilled hamburgers and hot dogs, while 4-H volunteers provided sides, dessert, and drinks. A silent auction was also held. This event was the kick-off for the annual 4-H & FFA Youth Shows Fundraiser. Funds raised will be used to cover the cost of 4-H & FFA expenses at the Southern Iowa Fair. This includes judges’ fees, member premiums, ribbons, trophies, and awards for 4-H & FFA members. Each show at the Southern Iowa Fair has at least one judge and 4-H & FFA are responsible for covering the cost of time and travel for those judges. As members exhibit at the fair, they earn ribbons for their hard work, those ribbons equal premiums. Each 4-H & FFA member who exhibits will receive monetary premiums for each ribbon they earn. As members exhibit at the fair, they may earn trophies, banners, or plaques. The cost of those awards is covered by the 4-H & FFA Youth Shows Fair Fund. To learn more about the 4-H & FFA Youth Shows Fundraiser, call (641) 673-5841.

For more on this story, check out to today's Oskaloosa Herald.


(March 19, 2015)  What does the future hold for downtown Oskaloosa? Community residents and business persons will have a chance to chime in as part of the Oskaloosa Downtown Market Study project being orchestrated by Oskaloosa Main Street. Oskaloosa Main Street Board President Josh Buckingham said a special project team assembled by Oskaloosa Main Street initiated work on the project last week. Oskaloosa Main Street, the local non-profit group spearheading downtown Oskaloosa revitalization efforts, is performing the study to fine-tune and enhance downtown business development and marketing strategies. The study will include an in-depth analysis of input collected from local business and consumer surveys to be conducted in March and April. Project team members are in the midst of the project’s initial discovery phase that includes the collection and review of background information and an assessment of the downtown business climate. The team is also reviewing current demographic and economic data to assess conditions and to identify possible opportunities for business retention, expansion and recruitment. Special components of the study, scheduled for completion this spring, include business and consumer surveys designed to identify and assess opportunities for business expansion and recruitment in the downtown business district, and recommendations for the implementation of related projects and activities. Oskaloosa Main Street is receiving technical assistance and support from Main Street Iowa in 2015 to complete a local market study. United States Department of Agriculture Rural Community Development Initiative funding and Community Development Block Grant funding were procured by Iowa Economic Development Authority to underwrite market analysis training and technical assistance furnished to select Main Street Iowa communities in 2015. For more information about study and opportunities to participate, contact Oskaloosa Main Street at 672-2591.

For more on this story, check out to today's Oskaloosa Herald.


(March 19, 2015)  The annual William Penn University Easter Egg Hunt, sponsored by the student group P.A.S.S. will be held on Wednesday, April 1, at 4 p.m. on the front lawn of Penn Hall. Children of the community are invited and should bring their own Easter basket or bag. In the event of inclement weather, the hunt will be held on the PAC turf. Children will be divided into the following age groups: 2 and under, 3–5, 6–8, and 9–10. Children age 5 and under will have the opportunity to find a golden egg containing a special prize. Special guests will include the Easter Bunny and the William Penn University mascot, Willy P. For more information, contact PAC director Levi Tarbell at (641) 673-1024 or at

For more on this story, check out to today's Oskaloosa Herald.


(March 11, 2015)  Mahaska Community Recreation Foundation will host a Dare Ya' "expo event in the Mall designed to be an interactive introduction of all of the incredible clubs, activities, events and organizations available right here in our own community. The event is open to the public and will be held at Penn Central Mall on Sunday, March 29th. Near thirty entities that offer "things to do" for all ages in the community will host stations from noon to 4 PM. We invite the community to come out and experience activities that are available right here in their community with hands-on, interactive stations that are creative, fun and unique!
Come walk the MCRF trail, throw a disc for Edmundson Disc Golf, ride a bike with Bobzilla's bike station, win a tree from Tree's Forever and much more! "I am excited about this community partnership coming together as all of Mahaska recreation and community activities," stated Sherry Vavra, MCRF Executive Director. "It has been easy to connect with organization's hosting stations because as soon as they hear the expo's purpose, to showcase all of our community activities, the clubs and organizations are excited as well! It will be fun to see the many things to do in our own backyard!"
We will provide a map with descriptions and introductions of the stations at the event.

For more on this story, check out to today's Oskaloosa Herald.


(March 11, 2015)  Applications for college scholarships from Mahaska Health Partnership are available to high school seniors pursuing a career in a health-related field. The deadline for submitting applications is April 17.

Three students chosen by the MHP Board of Trustees will be awarded $500 scholarships. Applicants must be graduating seniors from North Mahaska, Eddyville-Blakesburg-Fremont or Oskaloosa schools. Individuals must be accepted to an accredited college and be pursuing a career in a health-related field.

While the final decision of scholarship winners is not based solely on financial need, it may be a determining factor if candidates are equal in other qualifications. Letters of recommendation must accompany the application and personal interviews may be requested for further clarification.

Applications are available through local schools or can be picked up on the MHP campus at entrance #1. Applicants may also email for an application. For more information on the MHP Scholarship program, please contact your high school guidance counselor.



Police respond after fight escalates to shooting in Clinton

CLINTON, Iowa (AP) — Police say they were responding to a report of a fight in Clinton when they were advised that it had escalated to a shooting.

Officers with the Clinton Police Department were dispatched around 1:30 a.m. Sunday. They arrived at the scene to find that 28-year-old Cordell Clark had already been taken to the hospital following the shooting.

Capt. William Greenwalt says Clark is being treated at Mercy Medical Center for a gunshot wound to the abdomen. The injuries have been deemed non-life threatening.

No arrests have been made. Police say the case remains under investigation.


Council Bluffs work release prisoner listed as escaped

(Information in the following story is from: The Daily Nonpareil,

COUNCIL BLUFFS, Iowa (AP) — A 21-year-old inmate has been listed as escaped from the state work release facility in Council Bluffs.

The Iowa Department of Corrections says Joseph C. Smith Jr. was placed on escape status when he didn't return to the facility after getting off work Sunday. He had been returned to work release after violating his parole.

Smith was arrested in May 2012 and later convicted of assault causing serious injury, assault with a weapon and willful injury causing bodily injury. He is serving a seven-year sentence for the convictions. He was free on parole from Nov. 4 until March 12.


Fire at Renaissance Faire grounds destroys 2 buildings

(Information in the following story is from: The Des Moines Register, )

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — An early morning fire at the Des Moines Renaissance Faire grounds has left at least two structures with nothing but charred framework remaining.

Police say they responded around 1:15 a.m. Monday to reports of a fire in an area of Sleepy Hollow Sports Park where the festival is held. Fire officials called in portable water tanks to contain the flames that scorched the food vendor and maintenance buildings because no hydrants are located on the fairgrounds.

Park owner Rick Flatt says he's unsure how the fire could have started because nobody works on Sunday evenings. Authorities had to cut a padlock gate to reach the site.

Three burnt tanks were located near the fire scene. The cause of the fire remains under investigation.


2 officers who shot, wounded man at end of chase identified

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (AP) — Authorities have identified the two Cedar Rapids officers who shot and wounded a man at the end of a chase.

The Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation said Monday that officers Jeremy Depies and Brandon Tinta were involved in the shooting.

Cedar Rapids police say the chase began shortly after 2 a.m. Sunday when officers noticed an orange BMW driving recklessly. The BMW drove the wrong way down a street and turned into an alley before crashing into a telephone pole. When officers approached the vehicle, it drove toward them, so they began to shoot.

The driver wounded by the gunfire has been identified as 28-year-old Kyle Orth. He was treated at a hospital before being taken to jail.

The shooting remains under investigation.


Iowa House panel approves bill on adoption leave benefits

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — A House panel has approved a bill that would require some businesses in Iowa to offer more leave benefits to parents who adopt children.

Members of a labor subcommittee approved the bill Monday. A committee must approve it by Friday for it to survive a legislative deadline. The Senate passed it earlier this month.

The bill would require businesses offering leave benefits to parents of newborns to do the same for adoptive parents. A business that doesn't already offer such benefits would not be required to start.

Supporters of the bill say it would treat biological parents and adoptive parents more equally.

Some lawmakers have expressed concern about the financial impact on businesses.

Federal law requires unpaid leave to biological and adoptive parents under certain guidelines.


Iowa Senate panel OKs bill changing basis for strip searches

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — A Senate panel has approved a bill that would allow law enforcement officials in Iowa to conduct limited strip searches on certain jail inmates without probable cause.

A Judiciary subcommittee agreed Monday to advance the bill, which passed in the House. A committee must approve it by Friday to beat a legislative deadline.

The bill would allow a strip search involving visual inspection of a person, including genitals, without probable cause if he or she is arrested on suspicion of a simple misdemeanor or scheduled violation and is in a holding area with others. A scheduled violation can involve offenses while driving or consuming alcohol, among others.

Supporters say the bill allows for better confiscation of items entering the jail. Critics say such searches are invasive and require probable cause.


Ownership of a Janesville church cemetery unclear

(Information in the following story is from: Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier,

JANESVILLE, Iowa (AP) — Legal questions about ownership surround the cemetery of a Janesville church that was abandoned several years ago.

The property's ownership and responsibility seem to be muddled, according to an assistant Black Hawk County attorney. The Iowa Conference of the United Methodist Church filed a quit claim deed in Black Hawk County in 2011, effectively giving the cemetery to trustees of Mount Vernon Township. The attorney says that courthouse records appear to show that township trustees own the cemetery. Township trustees say there were no plans or directives when the church was abandoned, so ownership is unclear.

An attorney for the Iowa Conference cites a state law, which states that "a governmental subdivision" bears responsibility for cemeteries with no support mechanisms in place. The attorney says that the township is that subdivision.

Both parties say that a resolution is possible.


Attorney: Returning ex-Des Moines officer to prison unneeded

(Information in the following story is from: The Des Moines Register, )

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — An attorney for a former Des Moines police officer who spent less than two years in prison for severely beating a man during a 2008 traffic stop says putting him back behind bars wouldn't be beneficial.

In a sentencing brief filed Friday, 31-year-old Mersed Dautovic's attorney argued that returning him to prison would harm his daughters and negate progress he's made since his 2012 conviction of using excessive force on Octavius Bonds.

Dautovic finished his federal sentence and was released in January 2014. But in August, a three-member panel of the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals deemed the sentence too lenient and sent Dautovic's case back for resentencing. The U.S. Supreme Court declined to review the decision.

Dautovic will be resentenced April 20. Prosecutors seek a 14-year prison term.


Iowa man accused of kidnapping, threatening girlfriend

(Information in the following story is from: Omaha World-Herald, )

WOODBINE, Iowa (AP) — A western Iowa man accused of confining his girlfriend and psychologically torturing her has been arrested.

Online court records on Monday listed a first-degree kidnapping charge against 50-year-old Daniel Yate, of Woodbine. He was detained after his girlfriend told police last week that he assaulted her at his home and wouldn't let her leave.

Woodbine Police Chief Michael Jensen says the girlfriend accused Yates of binding her and threatening to throw her in a nearby river. The girlfriend says Yates also sat on her chest and opened and closed a knife.

Records show the woman had injuries consistent with her allegations and a hospital visit revealed a broken rib.

Court documents don't yet list an attorney for Yates to seek comment on his behalf.


Western Iowa man adjusting holster shoots hand, police say

(Information in the following story is from: The Daily Nonpareil, )

CARTER LAKE, Iowa (AP) — Authorities say a western Iowa man accidentally shot himself in the hand.

The Council Bluffs Police Department says 21-year-old Marvin Naggatz, of Crater Lake, arrived at the hospital around 4:30 p.m. Sunday with a gunshot wound to the hand. He was treated for non-life threatening injuries and released from CHI Health Mercy Hospital.

Naggatz told police and hospital staff that he was in a parking lot trying to adjust his holster when the .40-caliber handgun discharged. The bullet struck him in the hand.

Naggatz has a permit to carry weapons. Police say no charges have been filed at this time.