Area News Stories


LOCAL NEWS

FORMER ASSISTANT COUNTY ATTORNEY FOUND DECEASED

Former assistant Mahaska county attorney Rich Scott has been found deceased at his Centerville apartment. According to an Appanoose county sheriffs office press release, Scott was found deceased during a welfare check. The welfare check was ordered after Scott failed to show up to work as Appanoose county attorney Friday morning. An investigation on the scene determined that Scott died of natural causes, according to the press release. 

Rich Scott became Appanoose County Attorney in 2008 after the previous county attorney resigned. Scott was later elected to the position. Prior to serving as Appanoose County Attorney, Scott served as the assistant Mahaska County Attorney. 


ROLL-OVER ACCIDENT CLAIMS LIFE OF AREA RESIDENT

One person is dead after a single vehicle roll-over accident in Mahaska County early Sunday morning.

The accident happened around midnight April 13th. According to an Iowa State Patrol crash report, a 1997 ford truck was traveling westbound on 170th street near oxford avenue northeast of Oskaloosa when the driver lost control and left the roadway. The accident report states that the truck rolled and came to rest in the south ditch.

The name of the deceased is being withheld pending notification of next of kin. The accident remains under investigation.


AREA FIREFIGHTERS BATTLE LARGE GRASS FIRE

Firefighters from three different agencies battled a grass fire Tuesday afternoon, April 8th. A call for service came into the Mahaska County 911 center around 1:05 pm reporting an out of control grass fire in the 1800 block of Highway 92 west of Oskaloosa.

Firefighters from Oskaloosa arrived and found a fire being driven by strong winds. Additional units were quickly dispatched to the scene as a result. Additionally, mutual aid from Eddyville Volunteer Fire Department and the New Sharon Volunteer Fire Department was dispatched to the scene. Emergency units were on the scene for approximately three hours Tuesday afternoon.

The cause of the fire has been determined to be from a controlled burn that got out of control. No injuries were reported in the fire. A total of seven apparatus and around 12 firefighters from three different fire departments battled the blaze.

Oskaloosa Fire Chief Mark Neff will be discussing the present burn conditions with area fire chiefs on Wednesday. From there a discussion and possible decision on a burn restriction will be considered.


SCHOOL BOARD DISCUSSES SCHOOL SAFETY

School security has become a hot button in many districts in Iowa and around the nation. Oskaloosa is no different and the board of education took the first steps to improve the access to the school buildings.

Superintendent Russ Reiter requested the board approve a bid from Strauss Security of Des Moines. Reiter told the board he would like to see the access project divided into two parts, the main campus, which includes the high school, middle school and Daily Auditorium. Reiter said the doors would be monitored from a single server. The current doors are different in each building and this will bring uniformity to them. Cost of the project will be $32,700. The elementary project will be budgeted and done at a later time.

Board member Nik Rule said this is one issue he has heard much concern about since coming onto the board and is glad to see the project begin.

The board agreed to the tentative agreement with the Oskaloosa Education Association. The agreement, which will be voted on the by the association later this week, will be a 3.6 percent increase and includes increases for insurance.

Two new teachers were hired in the special education department at the high school for 2014-15. Both served as student teachers in the district. The teachers, Noelle Hoover and Taya (Tay-Uh) Donovan, will be hired at BA step 1 at $33,615 each.

In other business:

Heard a presentation from YMCA Executive Director Dawn Collins regarding the YMCA annual report. The report is made to the district as part of the organization's report to stakeholders.

Held public hearing and approved the 2014-15 budget. No member of the public was on hand to speak. The district is asking a $14.95 per $1,000 evaluation.

Agreed to purchase two busses from Hogeland Bus Company for $97,488 each

Approved a resolution to support the Oskaloosa Blue Zone Certification

Approved specifications to receive bids for provision of milk

Approved increase of adult lunches by 10 cents to $3.35 for the 2014-15 school year.

Approved agreement with Iowa Education Purchasing for cooperative food purchases.

Approved a resolution to participate in the 2015 hazard mitigation with the multi-jurisdiction plan

Scheduled a public hearing for a budget amendment for current budget year. Hearing will be held on Tuesday May 13 at 7 p.m.


CITY COUNCIL RECEIVES REPORT ON BLUE ZONES PROJECT

The Oskaloosa City Council met in regular session Monday evening with Mayor Dave Krutzfeldt presiding. The main agenda item before the council Monday evening was a presentation on the Oskaloosa Blue Zones Project. Miranda Cummings and Valin McReynolds presented to the Oskaloosa City Council on the Blue Zones project and highlighted some of the goals that are hoped to be achieved over the next 18 months in Oskaloosa. Cummings, Reynolds, and Spry also fielded questions from the City Council regarding City involvement in the project. A formal kickoff to the Oskaloosa Blue Zones project is planned for next Monday April 14th.

The council also approved the appointment of two individuals to the Oskaloosa Municipal Housing Agency. Matt Montavon and Linda Russell were both unanimously appointed to the commission.

City Councilors also took the first steps for a major street reconstruction project. The council unanimously approved a professional services agreement between the City of Oskaloosa and Garden and Associates for the Third Avenue East Reconstruction and Storm Sewer Replacement project. The professional services agreement between the city and garden and associates is approximately $182,000. The agreement covers design and bid phase services and construction phase services. The cost of the road reconstruction project is estimated to be around $1,050,000 and will be funded primarily through Local Option Sale Tax monies. Bids for this project will be advertised at a later date.

In other action, the City Council:

· Unanimously approved a request from Main Street Oskaloosa for street closings for the 2014 Main Street Oskaloosa events

· Unanimously approved pay request number five to DeLong Construction in an amount of approximately $15,000 for work completed on the West Side Sanitary Sewer Project.

· Unanimously approved a 28E agreement between the City of Oskaloosa and the Forest Cemetery Association.

· Unanimously approved a resolution setting the April 21st City Council meeting as the time and place for an appeal relating to the removal of Erin Keltner as a member of the Oskaloosa Water Board.

The next meeting of the Oskaloosa City Council will be on April 21st at 4:30 pm in the City Council chambers.


KOOL BUILDING EXPERIENCES PARTIAL COLLAPSE

A local apartment building and downtown business declared uninhabitable by city officials has experienced a partial collapse. On Sunday March 30th, the northeast corner of the building collapsed partially into the alleyway. Due to concerns of a larger collapse, city officials closed off North 2nd Street between High Ave and A Ave until further notice. In addition, Mid American Energy shut off all utilities to the building.

The K and K craft store building located at 219 High Ave East in Oskaloosa was declared uninhabitable by City Officials in late June 2013 due to concerns of the structural integrity of the building. The concerns arose from a structural engineers report filed June 21st.

On October 17th 2013, Magistrate Scott Campbell ordered all tenants to vacate the building by November 1. In addition, he ordered that the owner of the building obtain the necessary building permits to repair the building by January 17th of this year. Kim Kool, manager of the building, said that cold temperatures kept her from being able to make the necessary repairs to the building by the January 17th deadline.

Support beams had previously been installed within the inside of the building last year after the city declared the building uninhabitable.

A hearing is scheduled for April 17th at 9 AM before the Mahaska County Magistrate to discuss the status of the building.


CITY WIDE CLEAN UP SET FOR LAST WEEK OF APRIL

The following guidelines will be used for the pickup:
1.) The city will be divided into four quadrants:
· The southeast quadrant (south of A Avenue East and east of South Market) will be picked up on Monday, April 28.
· The northeast quadrant (north of A Avenue East and east of North Market Street) will be picked up on Tuesday, April 29.
· The northwest quadrant (north of A Avenue West and west of North Market Street) will be picked up on Wednesday, April 30.
· The southwest quadrant (south of A Avenue West and west of South Market Street) will be picked up on Thursday, May 1.
2.) Items must be placed on the curb or edge of the property by 7:00 a.m. on the morning of
pickup for that area of town. Each quadrant will only be picked up on the day scheduled.
The event is open to all Oskaloosa residents. 

BUSINESS WASTE IS NOT ACCEPTED THROUGH THIS PROGRAM.
The city will not pick up any garbage bags, yard waste, paint cans (unless open and dried out), batteries, hazardous waste items or construction material. Items not picked up by the city will be the responsibility of the property owner or renter to properly dispose of within 24 hours. If you have any questions, call Public Works 673-7472 or City Hall 673-9431
Only the following items will be picked up:
• Furniture
• Appliances: (Limit 3 per household)
Including
Refrigerators,
Stoves,
Televisions,
Hot water heaters,
Microwaves,
Freezers
• Other large, bulky items the
garbage haulers cannot pick up.


TIRES WILL NOT BE PICKED UP.
Tires must be taken directly to the
Mahaska County Landfill at 2979
HWY 63 from April 28th– May 3rd
.
Hours: Mon - Fri 7:00 am - 3:45 pm
Sat 7:00 am - 11:45 am
· No tires from Semi,
Construction, farm, hobby- such
as race car tires
· Maximum 10 tires per load.
· Maximum 1 load per event.
· Provide house address to landfill


FIRE DEPARTMENT REMINDS RESIDENTS OF STORM SIREN PROCEDURES

The Oskaloosa Fire Department wants remind everyone that we are entering warm weather months and severe weather season. 

Weather permitting, the storm sirens in Oskaloosa are tested at 2pm on the first Monday of each month from April through September. 

The outdoor storm warning sirens will be activated if the national weather service has issued a tornado warning for Mahaska County and the tornado is headed in a direction that would likely affect the city of Oskaloosa. Also, if a trained storm spotter indicates to the 911 center that a severe thunderstorm contains damaging winds and or hail, the sirens can be activated. 
If the storm sirens are sounded for a severe weather event, you need to take shelter right away. Get to the lowest level of your home and move to an interior room or hallway. If you are outside and cannot find indoor shelter, you need to get to the lowest place you can find such as a ditch or culvert and cover your head.
 


CITY OF OTTUMWA TO TAKE BACK UNWANTED PRESCRIPTION DRUGS

On April 26 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. the Ottumwa Police Department, the Southeast Iowa Inter-Agency Drug Task Force and the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) will give the public its eighth opportunity in three years to prevent pill abuse and theft by ridding their homes of potentially dangerous expired, unused, and unwanted prescription drugs. Bring your pills for disposal to Center Court of the Quincy Place Mall located at 1110 N. Quincy Avenue. (The DEA cannot accept liquids or needles or sharps, only pills or patches.) The service is free and anonymous, no questions asked.

Last October, Americans turned in 324 tons (over 647,000 pounds) of prescription drugs at over 4,114 sites operated by the DEA and its thousands of state and local law enforcement partners. When those results are combined with what was collected in its seven previous Take Back events, DEA and its partners have taken in over 3.4 million pounds—more than 1,700 tons—of pills. 

This initiative addresses a vital public safety and public health issue. Medicines that languish in home cabinets are highly susceptible to diversion, misuse, and abuse. Rates of prescription drug abuse in the U.S. are alarmingly high, as are the number of accidental poisonings and overdoses due to these drugs. Studies show that a majority of abused prescription drugs are obtained from family and friends, including from the home medicine cabinet. In addition, Americans are now advised that their usual methods for disposing of unused medicines—flushing them down the toilet or throwing them in the trash—both pose potential safety and health hazards. 

DEA is in the process of approving new regulations that implement the Safe and Responsible Drug Disposal Act of 2010, which amends the Controlled Substances Act to allow an “ultimate user” (that is, a patient or their family member or pet owner) of controlled substance medications to dispose of them by delivering them to entities authorized by the Attorney General to accept them. The Act also allows the Attorney General to authorize long term care facilities to dispose of their residents’ controlled substances in certain instances. 

For more information please contact Sgt. Jason Parmenter of the Ottumwa Police Department at 641-683-0661.


6TH ANNUAL LIVE UNITED 5K SET FOR APRIL 26TH

March 10, 2014– Oskaloosa, IA – The United Way of Mahaska County is holding its 6th Annual Live United 5K & YMCA Healthy Kids Day on Saturday, April 26th at the Penn Activity Center on the William Penn University campus. 

This year’s event is all about promoting health in Mahaska County. We’re partnering with the YMCA to give adults and children a fun and exciting day, all while promoting our healthy living initiatives. Family day events will be held from 9:00 am to 12:30 pm, and include numerous free kid-friendly activities such as crafts, balloon animals, games, bounce houses, community booths, raffle prizes, and more. 
To pre-register for the 5K race, go to active.com and search LIVE UNITED. Pre-registration for the race is $25 and ends April 25th. Race day registration for the 5K Run/Walk begins at 8:00 am. Race day registration is $30.
There will again be free “fun run” races for children in separate age categories. There will also be lots of giveaways for kids.

The United Way of Mahaska County is asking local businesses to participate in the 6th annual event by becoming a sponsor, donating prizes, volunteering, or helping out in any way possible. 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.


OACDG SCHOLARSHIP APPLICATIONS NOW AVAILABLE

The Oskaloosa Area Chamber & Development Group is happy to announce that scholarships will again be available through its Chamber Scholars program, now in its 17th year.

High school seniors living in Mahaska County and attending any high school are eligible to apply. Pick up an application from your school counselor, from the Oskaloosa Area Chamber office or at www.oacdg.org. Scholarships will be offered in the amounts of $500 and up, and are sponsored by area businesses and industries. Last year $7,000 was distributed to 14 students from North Mahaska, Eddyville/Blakesburg, Oskaloosa, and Pella Christian.

The application requests such information as participation in school and community activities, as well as short essays on "What do you value most about Mahaska County and calling it your Hometown" and "What do you see yourself doing in 6 to 8 years?" Typed Chamber Scholars applications and transcripts are due at the Chamber no later than Wednesday, April 16, 2014.

“Businesses and individuals are encouraged to contribute to the scholarship fund as well. Every little bit that we can do to make it easier for our youth to attend college is very important,” stated Deb Bruxvoort of the OACDG. “Perhaps you can contribute financially to the fund, or perhaps participate in the annual OACDG Golf outing set for Friday, May 9.”

For further information, to request an application form, or to contribute to the fund contact the Oskaloosa Chamber at 641.672.2591 or email dbruxvoort@oacdg.org.


UNITED WAY LAUNCHES VOLUNTEER WEBSITE

Those wishing to donate their time and skills in Mahaska County will have a lot easier time finding out about volunteering opportunities.  The United Way of Mahaska County has launched volunteermahaska.org, available to all those wanting to get involved in our community. This website is a user-friendly way for volunteers to access opportunities to give, advocate and volunteer at local nonprofits.

“Accessing volunteer opportunities should be easy,” says Amy Langdon, Executive Director of the United Way of Mahaska County.  “The opportunities are out there, nonprofits are needing help, but we didn’t have a unified way to find out about those needs.  We do now.”

Nonprofit organizations now have a place to give the details of the work they do as well as the volunteer roles that they need filled.  These profiles can help raise awareness regarding an agency, what they do, where they are located and any needs they have at the time. They can also include in-kind needs

“You’ll be able to see if a nonprofit is looking for a new desk or if they have a client who needs an air conditioner.  So many of us have things that we would like to donate, but we don’t know where they’re needed,” says Langdon.

 All of this information can be shared on social media sites and can be responded to directly from the agency’s profile on volunteermahaska.org.

Those looking to get involved in the community can browse volunteer opportunities, set up a profile, or “Become a fan” of different nonprofits so they’ll be notified when new opportunities are available.

“We want everyone to have the chance to volunteer in Mahaska County,” says Langdon.  “Studies show volunteers lead fuller and healthier lives.”

For more information please visit volunteermahaska.org or contact Volunteer Coordinator, Lindsey Sheets at 641.673.6043 or uwmc.coordinator@gmail.com.


STATE NEWS


CAMBRIDGE DEATH

Police charge man with murder in Cambridge death

CAMBRIDGE, Iowa (AP) - Authorities say they have arrested a man in connection with the shooting death of a woman in the Story County city of Cambridge.

The Iowa Department of Public Safety announced police arrested 44-year-old Jeremy Michael Cory on Tuesday. He was charged with first-degree murder and taken to the Story County Jail.

Huxley police and investigators from the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation arrested Cory after officers on Monday evening found the body of a woman in the upstairs bedroom of a home in Cambridge. She had died of multiple gunshot wounds.

An autopsy is planned Tuesday at the Iowa State Medical Examiner's Office in Ankeny.

Authorities haven't released the woman's name.

Online court records don't indicate a lawyer for Cory.

Cambridge is about 20 miles north of Des Moines.



PIT BULL BAN-SIOUX CITY

Sioux City council advances pit bull proposal

SIOUX CITY, Iowa (AP) - The Sioux City Council has advanced a proposal to change the city ordinance that bars pit bulls from inside city limits.

The measure was advanced at Monday's meeting on a second vote and faces a third and final vote next Monday, after people have another opportunity to speak. The council approved the proposal at its first consideration on April 7.

The proposal would let the city manager give exemptions to licensed Sioux City animal rescue agencies. It would let the agencies hold the pit bulls in their facilities for up to 90 days.

Noah's Hope Animal Rescue in February began inquiring about placing rescued pit bulls in local pet stores as possible adoptions for people who don't live inside city limits.



DOCTOR CHARGED

1 count against Des Moines doctor dropped

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - A Des Moines doctor will face one less count of involuntary manslaughter as his trial gets underway.

The Des Moines Register says jury selection began Monday for the trial of Dr. Daniel Baldi. Prosecutor Jaki Livingston says she decided to drop a charge stemming from the drug-overdose death of Carla Davis. Livingston did not say why she made that decision. Baldi now faces nine counts instead of 10.

Prosecutors have said Baldi prescribed large amounts of narcotic painkillers to patients including Paul Gray, founder of the band Slipknot, who died in 2010.

Baldi's lawyers say his patients either took more of their medications than prescribed or took other drugs along with them.

Lawyers for both sides are expected to make their opening statements on Wednesday.



NEBRASKA MAN-IOWA SEX ABUSE

Nebraskan gets 25 years in Iowa child sex case

GLENWOOD, Iowa (AP) - A Nebraska man has been given 25 years in prison for sexually abusing girls ages 7 and 8 in western Iowa.

The Daily Nonpareil says 64-year-old John Schondelmeyer, of Bellevue, Neb., was sentenced on Monday. He'd been found guilty of two counts of sex abuse and two counts of lascivious acts with a child.

The Mills County Sheriff's Office says Schondelmeyer was in the process of moving to Fayetteville, N.C., when he was arrested Oct. 17, 2013, at his Nebraska home.

Schondelmeyer will be transferred to Nebraska, where he faces more child sex charges.



INSURANCE SCAMS-FORUM

Iowa regulators to hold forums on investment scams

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (AP) - Iowa's insurance commissioner has scheduled forums in Cedar Rapids and Davenport to educate the public on how to avoid investment and insurance scams.

Insurance Commissioner Nick Gerhart said a May 1 forum and panel discussion at The Hotel at Kirkwood Center would be limited to the first 210 respondents. A similar event is scheduled June 5 in Davenport.

Gerhart said the events are part of an education program called, "Iowa Fraud Fighters - Shield Your Savings." He said many con artists are targeting residents who are older than 60 with "very slick and sophisticated investment" scams that swindle millions of Americans out of billions of dollars every year.

The event will include information about common scams tips to prevent fraud. Attorney General Tom Miller and other state officials will participate.



SIOUX CITY CASINO-MACHINES

New Sioux City casino gets some of its slots

SIOUX CITY, Iowa (AP) - More than 100 slot machines have been delivered for the new Hard Rock casino in Sioux City.

General manager Todd Moyer told the Sioux City Journal that officials spent more than nine months researching machines and games and visiting other Iowa casinos to check the competition. Moyer says Hard Rock's selections included "the best of the best" slot machines.

The slots will accept bets ranging from a penny to $25 per play.

Up to 850 machines should be installed for the opening of the $128.5 million project. The opening is expected to occur by late July or early August.