Area News Stories


LOCAL NEWS

EDUCATION AT FOREFRONT OF EGGS AND ISSUES

School Issues took front and center and Saturday’s eggs and issues. Topics ranged from supplemental aid for districts to the school start date. The first issue dealt with supplemental aid for districts. It was noted that there’s a major gap between what is being requested for additional supplemental aid. Governor Branstad is asking the legislature to award 1.25% while the state school board association is asking for 6% supplemental aid. Representative Guy Vander Linden said that there will be about $200 million in new money for the state and he expects schools to receive around half of that amount.

Also discussed was the start date for school districts. Back in December, Iowa Department of Education Director Brad Buck announced that the state department of education would no longer automatically grant early start waivers, meaning school cannot begin before the week of September 1st. At issue Saturday was local control of school districts. Representatives Guy Vander Linden and Larry Sheets both agreed that local control was important for school districts and that districts, not the state, should have the authority in setting school calendars. Vander Linden said he expects the issue to a bi-partisan battle in the legislature this year, with strongly differing opinions on the matter.

The next eggs and issues will be on February 14th.


YMCA ANNOUNCES RESIGNATION OF EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR

After nearly five years, Dawn Collins is stepping down from her position as Mahaska County YMCA Executive Director. She joined the Y in April 2010; her last day will be January 30. An interim director, David Phelps, has been hired by the Y Board and will begin January 26.

Phelps started his Y career in 1987 at the Black Hawk County YMCA in Waterloo. He brings to the Mahaska County Y many years of experience working YMCAs throughout Iowa, Missouri, Michigan and Wisconsin. Over the next six months, Phelps will work closely with staff and the Board of Directors to develop a sustainability plan and bring the YMCA facilities and programs to the next level.

Additionally, the YMCA Board of Directors is announcing the resignation of Sports, Fitness & Aquatics Director Ryan Harkema and the hiring of Kathy Chamra as the new YMCA Child Care Director.

Harkema's last day will be February 8. He has accepted a position with the City of Ankeny Parks and Recreation Department. Chamra began her duties at the Y January 12 after retiring as the SIEDA Child Development Director, a position she held for 13 years. Chamra has been working closely with Collins and the Y's Preschool Director, Betty Phillips, to make sure there is a smooth transition for YMCA children, families and staff.

The YMCA is located at 414 North Third Street.
An open house will be held, Wednesday, January 28th from 4-6pm at the YMCA to honor the dedicated efforts of Dawn and Ryan and introduce Dave and Kathy.


OSKY WINTER OPEN SET FOR FEBRUARY

The 4th Annual Osky Winter Open will be held February 13-14 at Penn Central Mall. This year’s planning committee is inviting the community to escape the cold and come play a little mini-putt golf while benefitting the Mahaska County YMCA. This creative two-day event is geared for the whole community. The Y and its business partners have put together an enjoyable event where participants can get out and socialize, join in fun competition, and burn off some extra energy. 

Event proceeds will go toward your Mahaska YMCA programs and scholarships. If you have questions or want to sign up for the two-person tournament, please call the Y, 641.673.8411.

Visit www.MahaskaYMCA.org and click on Winter Open from the news link in the main navigation bar to learn more and to see pictures from last year’s event.


OSKALOOSA DENTAL OFFICE SELLS PRACTICE, CONTINUES TO TREAT PATIENTS

OSKALOOSA, IOWA—Tom Bowie, D.D.S, 212 North Market, announces the sale of his dental practice to Eric De Boef, D.D.S., principal owner of Town Square Dental Care, 107 High Ave.

“After practicing for over 37 years, I have decided to begin my transition into retirement,” Dr. Bowie says. “Following a long and careful search, I have found the right dentist to take ownership of my practice. Dr. De Boef is a caring, talented and compassionate professional who shares my commitment to providing exemplary dentistry to our community. I am confident in his practice philosophy and look forward to partnering with him.” 
For the next few years, Dr. Bowie will continue to serve patients with his same excellent staff in his current location, 212 N. Market Street, Oskaloosa, Iowa.

“I feel honored to continue the tradition of quality dentistry Dr. Bowie and his father and grandfather began in this community over 100 years ago,” Dr. De Boef says. “When the time is right, Dr. Bowie and I will work closely together to ensure a smooth transition in response to patients’ specific needs.”

Dr. De Boef is a graduate of the University of Iowa dental school. He has been practicing for the last 13 years in Oskaloosa and recently opened a second clinic in Montezuma. Dr. De Boef was born and raised in rural Mahaska County. He, his wife, Amy, and their six children reside between the communities of Oskaloosa and Montezuma. Dr. De Boef has two additional associates practicing with him—Dr. Jones and Dr. Wieshaar. 

Dr. Bowie is a graduate of the University of Iowa dental school. He returned to Oskaloosa in 1977, and moved to his current location in 1987. Dr. Bowie followed in the footsteps of his father and grandfather by practicing dentistry in Oskaloosa. In 2010, the practice celebrated 100 years of Bowie dentistry in the community. Dr. Bowie and his wife, Madonna, are active volunteers in the school and community. They have four children and four grandchildren. 


SCHOOL BOARD DELAYS CALENDAR APPROVAL

Oskaloosa school board members met in regular session for the first time in 2015 Monday. On the agenda was consideration for acceptance of the 2015-16 school calendar. Discussion during the meeting has delayed acceptance until the February 9, 2015 meeting.

Superintendent Russ Reiter explained the governor’s request for the state board of education to follow state law and no longer allow early start waivers. State law says schools may begin in a week in which Sept. 1 falls. This year would allow school to start on Aug. 31. School districts can still make a request if it can show that starting later is a detriment to the educational process.

Board member Shawn Moyer expressed concern about fall activities beginning three weeks before school. Reiter said that obviously the governor did not consult the athletic associations about the decision. Band and athletic practices will begin on Aug. 10. The traditional “Old Shoe” football game will be Aug. 21 and the first football game will be on Aug. 28.

Board members said they wished to make sure school staff were comfortable with possible work day options, which prompted the decision to hold off another month. Board member Nik Rule said he had conversations that stressed to either install a spring break every year or do the extended weekends every year. The current calendar has a week-long break while the proposed calendar would include two extended weekends.

Two changes to the calendar of note for students would be attending classes Monday and Tuesday of Thanksgiving week with Wednesday reserved for a staff development day. There would be a similar scenario possible for Christmas week.
Board members will consider finalization of the calendar next month, but will be seeking input from staff and school patrons before making the final decision on a calendar.

Reiter stated during his comments that the district received notice Dec. 19 that it had received a Teacher Leadership grant in the amount of $750,000. The funds will allow the addition of instructional coaches to assist teachers.

The board will have a social meeting on Jan. 26 at The Peppertree. The gathering will be for board members and staff to gather socially. Board president Carl Drost emphasized that each member is responsible for the cost. No district funds are used for this event.

Next regular meeting will be at 7 p.m. on Monday, Feb. 9.


RELAY FOR LIFE OF MAHASKA COUNTY 2015 ANNOUNCED

We are excited to announce the details for Relay For Life of
Mahaska County. This event will be held March 21st, 2015 at the
Penn Central Mall in Oskaloosa, Iowa, from 2:00 p.m. to 10 p.m.
There is something for everyone to do at this year’s event!
The theme this year is “Rockin’ For A Cure”. We plan to have a
rockin’ good time in store for all of our participants and their guests!

Why should you sign up for Relay For Life?
★FREE and easy registration, with ability to sign up through social media!
★FUN for the whole family with many activities for all ages!
★FANTASTIC opportunity to meet new people and support a great cause!
★FREE T-shirt when you raise $100!
★FUNdraiser challenges between your family and friends!

How do you sign up?
1. Go to www.relayforlife.org/mahaskacountyia
2. Create an account using email or Facebook.
3. Answer a few short questions
Like us on Facebook for more information! Relay For Life of Mahaska County
If you are having trouble getting registered, have questions, or would like to be
involved more, please contact us at mahaskarelay4life@gmail.com.


STATE NEWS

GOP 2016-EVANGELICALS

Republican White House maybes court evangelicals toward 2016

ATLANTA (AP) — Jeb Bush and Mitt Romney are courting the Republican Party's elite donors in the early maneuvering for the 2016 presidential race.

But several other potential Republican candidates are concentrating their efforts on Christian conservatives.

Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal hosted a prayer rally in his home state, where he called for a national spiritual revival.

Doctor Ben Carson, a retired neurosurgeon, spoke and attended services this weekend at a Houston, Texas megachurch conference billed as an effort to "restore the soul of America."

Several White House hopefuls also addressed social conservatives at the Freedom Summit in Iowa, which hosts the nation's first caucuses in 2016.

Republicans agree that religious conservatives still are an important voting bloc. The challenge for a GOP nominee is securing that support while reaching the wider electorate.


BROADBAND EXPANSION

Broadband committee helping Branstad still sorting issues

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — As Governor Terry Branstad prepares to introduce legislation aimed at expanding broadband Internet in Iowa, members of a committee tasked with giving him key recommendations for a bill say it's a complex issue that they're still sorting out.

Members of a broadband committee within a science, technology, engineering and math advisory council say they're still deciding what the state's overall goal should be with expanding high-speed Internet, also known as broadband.

John Carver, superintendent of the Howard-Winneshiek Community School District in northeast Iowa, is committee co-chair. He says there's a shifting national definition of what constitutes high-speed Internet.

Branstad is once again making expanded broadband Internet a top priority this session. He has set aside $5 million in his budget proposal.


DES MOINES POLICE CHIEF

Final interviews planned for next Des Moines police chief

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — The four finalists to be Des Moines next police chief will be interviewed this week as officials prepare to make their choice.

KCCI reports the final four candidates will go through a series of public events and interviews this week.

The finalists are Northwestern University police chief Michael Davis; Des Moines police Captain Allan Tunks; Des Moines police Major Stephen Waymire; and Des Moines police Major Dana Wingert.

A public reception will be held for the candidates on Wednesday from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. at the World Food Prize building. They will meet privately with top city officials on Friday.

Former Des Moines Police Chief Judy Bradshaw retired in October and is now assistant director of the Iowa Law Enforcement Academy.


BALD EAGLE MIGRATION

Bald eagles return to Iowa again as they migrate

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) — Iowa bird watchers will again be able to spot bald eagles this winter as they visit in search of warmer weather.

The Iowa City Press-Citizen reports thousands of bald eagles cross Iowa each winter as they migrate south.

Wildlife experts say any location that offers open water where the eagles can hunt is likely to offer a good chance to see bald eagles.

An eagle watching event will also be held at North Central Junior High on February 7th.

Conservation efforts have helped the bald eagle population rebound nationwide over the past several decades.