Oskaloosa Community School District Board Meeting

The Oskaloosa Community School District will have a meeting of the Board of Directors on March 8 at 7:30 PM in the George Daily Auditorium Board Room. The main topic at hand will be to consider approval of profile and documents for the search of a Superintendent.

USDA Launches Webpage to Help Rural Communities Address Opioid Crisis

(WASHINGTON, USA) – Assistant to the Secretary for Rural Development Anne Hazlett recently unveiled a new webpage featuring resources to help rural communities respond to the opioid crisis.

“While no corner of the country has gone untouched by the opioid crisis, small towns and rural places have been particularly hard hit,” Hazlett said. “The challenge of opioid misuse is an issue of rural prosperity and will take all hands on deck to address. The webpage we are launching today will help rural leaders build a response that is tailored to meet the needs of their community.”

The National Center for Health Statistics estimates that more than 63,000 Americans died from drug overdoses in 2016. More than half of those deaths involved opioids, including prescription drugs and heroin.

USDA is playing an important role to help rural communities address this national problem at the local level through program investment, strategic partnerships and best practice implementation.

In April 2017, President Donald J. Trump established the Interagency Task Force on Agriculture and Rural Prosperity to identify legislative, regulatory and policy changes that could promote agriculture and prosperity in rural communities. In January 2018, Secretary Perdue presented the Task Force’s findings to President Trump, which included 31 recommendations to align the federal government with state, local and tribal governments to take advantage of opportunities that exist in rural America.

In the area of quality of life, the Task Force included a recommendation to modernize health care access. The report highlighted the importance of telemedicine in enhancing access to primary care and specialty providers. The Task Force also found that improved access to mental and behavioral health care, particularly prevention, treatment and recovery resources, is vital to addressing the opioid crisis and other substance misuse in rural communities.

To view the report in its entirety, please view the Report to the President of the United States from the Task Force on Agriculture and Rural Prosperity (PDF, 5.4 MB). In addition, to view the categories of the recommendations, please view the Rural Prosperity infographic (PDF, 190 KB).

USDA Rural Development provides loans and grants to help expand economic opportunities and create jobs in rural areas. This assistance supports infrastructure improvements; business development; housing; community services such as schools, public safety and health care; and high-speed internet access in rural areas. For more information, visit www.rd.usda.gov.

Pleasant Hill Woman Charged with Fraud

(Des Moines, Iowa) – Cora Lea Harrington, age 42, of Pleasant Hill was charged with Fraudulent Submissions (Class D Felony) and Theft in the 2nd Degree (Class D Felony) following an insurance fraud investigation by the Iowa Insurance Division’s Fraud Bureau.

The charges against Harrington, a former insurance claims representative, stem from an investigation that began in March 2017. It is alleged that Harrington engaged in altering financial documents related to insurance claims in order to redirect insurance claim proceeds to herself for personal use.

On January 30, 2018, a State of Iowa warrant was issued for the arrest of Harrington. On February 9th, 2018, Harrington was arrested by the Pleasant Hill Police Department and booked into the Polk County Jail.

Iowans with information about insurance fraud are encouraged to contact the Iowa Insurance Division’s Fraud Bureau at 515-242-5304. No additional information has been provided at this time.

Note: A criminal charge is merely an accusation and a defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty.

Booking photo courtesy of the Polk County Sheriff’s Office

Multiple Defendants Sentenced as Part of ‘Project Safe Childhood’ Initiative

(DES MOINES, Iowa) – The United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Iowa recently obtained several convictions against defendants committing offenses against minor children, as part of the United States Department of Justice Project Safe Childhood Initiative, announced United States Attorney Marc Krickbaum.

On March 1, 2018, United States District Court Judge Stephanie M. Rose sentenced Gabriel Espinoza, age 23, of Marshalltown, to 25 years in prison for sexual exploitation of a minor. Upon his release from imprisonment, Espinoza will serve 25 years of supervised release.

The investigation into Espinoza’s crime started in March 2017, when law enforcement in Bucks County, Pennsylvania learned a 10-year-old female had been sexually exploited via social media by Espinoza, a registered sex offender. Within days, Espinoza was located and arrested by the Iowa ICAC Task Force. After additional investigation, law enforcement learned Espinoza had also victimized a minor female in Minnesota. This matter was investigated by the Iowa Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force (ICAC), Bucks County (PA) District Attorney’s Office, Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, Iowa Division of Narcotics Enforcement, Iowa State Patrol, Marshalltown Police Department, Ankeny Police Department, and Iowa Division of Intelligence. On December 8, 2017, United States District Court Judge Rebecca Goodgame Ebinger sentenced Gaspar Jose Francisco, age 27, of Osceola, to 14 years imprisonment for enticement and attempted enticement of a minor to engage in illicit sexual activities. Upon his release from imprisonment, Francisco will serve five years of supervised release.

This investigation was initiated by a report to the Osceola Police Department that alleged possible sexual abuse of a minor child by an adult who lived nearby. Further investigation revealed Francisco used social media to entice a 13-year-old female to engage in illegal sexual activity with him. This matter was investigated by the Iowa ICAC, Osceola Police Department, United States Department of Homeland Security – Homeland Security Investigations, and Iowa Attorney General’s Office.

On November 17, 2017, United States District Court Judge Rebecca Goodgame Ebinger sentenced Jordan Adolfo Turner, age 25, of Muscatine, to 20 years imprisonment for receipt of child pornography. Upon his release from imprisonment, Turner will serve 10 years of supervised release. This investigation was initiated by a tip from an Iowa man to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), which alleged a 13-year-old boy was being sexually exploited via social media by an adult male. Further investigation by Iowa ICAC revealed Turner solicited and received nude images and/or videos from seven other minors that resided in Iowa. This matter was investigated by the Iowa ICAC, FBI (Minneapolis Field Office and Omaha Field Office), and Muscatine Police Department.

These cases were prosecuted by the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Iowa as part of the U.S. Department of Justice’s “Project Safe Childhood” initiative, which was started in 2006 as a nation-wide effort to combine law enforcement investigations and prosecutions, community action, and public awareness in order to reduce the incidence of sexual exploitation of children.

Any persons having knowledge of a child being sexually abused are encouraged to call the 24-hour Iowa Sexual Abuse Hotline at 1-800-284-7821. The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) also operates a Cyber Tip line at www.cybertipline.com that allows parents and children to report child pornography and other incidents of sexual exploitation of children by submitting an online form.

-This information was submitted as a news release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

Loebsack Rep Holds Knoxville Hours

Brianna Dennison, Congressman Dave Loebsack’s District Representative, will be in Knoxville, Iowa on Wednesday, March 21. Dennison will be at the Marion County Courthouse from 1:00 PM – 2:00 PM. She will be on hand to work with individuals who are having difficulty with a government agency, have suggestions for Dave, or would just like to share their concerns. Public invited.

Loebsack Representative Visits Oskaloosa

Congressman Dave Loebsack will have Brianna Dennison, Loebsack’s District Representative, in Oskaloosa on Thursday, March 15. Dennison will be at the Mahaska County Courthouse (third floor conference room) from 1:00 PM – 2:00 PM. She will be on hand to work with individuals who are having difficulty with a government agency, have suggestions for Dave, or would just like to share their concerns. Public invited.


Maple Syrup Festival – NEW LOCATION & TIME

The Mahaska County Conservation Board staff and volunteers will demonstrate how to tap trees and boil it to make maple syrup at the Maple Syrup Festival on Saturday, March 17. Bring your appetites for fresh maple syrup on ice cream! (We can’t let you leave without tasting maple syrup).

New Location: Conservation Center at the Russell Wildlife Area – Due to today’s weather and tomorrow morning’s forecast, the Maple Syrup Festival has been relocated to be held indoors at the conservation center at the Russell Wildlife Area. Please note the time change which is now 9:00-10:30 am.

The Russell Wildlife Area is located at 2254 – 200th Street, New Sharon, IA which is 4 miles north of Oskaloosa on Hwy. 63 and 1 mile east on 200th Street. We look forward to see you!

If you have questions, call the Mahaska County Conservation Board at 641-673-9327.

Free ‘Introduction to Cholesterol’ Class

Mahaska Health Partnership is sponsoring a free class, “Introduction to Cholesterol” on Tuesday, Feb. 20 from 1 to 3 PM at Smokey Row in Oskaloosa. Attendees can learn the basics of cholesterol and why it’s so important, as well as how to improve cholesterol through lifestyle changes.

This class is free, but pre-registration is required by calling 641-672-3174.

‘Can’ Hunger with Eric Pike the Satellite Guy

Eric Pike the Satellite Guy, local DISH Authorized Retailer, along with DISH Cares, the corporate citizenship program of DISH, are announcing their support of the Oskaloosa Ecumenical Food Cupboard by participating in a nationwide DISH food drive to help “can” hunger Feb. 12-Mar. 2.

Participants may support the Ecumenical Food Cupboard by dropping off non-perishable food items such as canned goods and pasta as well as used, clean plastic bags at these local drop off locations: Hy-Vee (Oskaloosa), The Oskaloosa Eagles Aerie 276, EZ Sales & Rental, Fareway (Oskaloosa), Julie’s Cafe, State Bank of Bussey, Summers Car Credit, Smokey Row (Oskaloosa) and the KBOE/KMZN Studios.

Drugs, Weapons Seized During Ottumwa Traffic Stop

(Ottumwa, Iowa) – In the early hours of Tuesday, Feb. 13, the Ottumwa Police Department performed a traffic stop on a vehicle near the intersection of Ferry and Chester in Ottumwa.

According to a news release, officers seized controlled substances and a loaded handgun as a result of this stop. The following people were arrested and charged with the following crimes:

Ryan Lawrence Gillen, 22, of Ottumwa, was arrested for: Possession with the Intent to Deliver More Than 5 Grams of Methamphetamine, a Class “B” Felony; Failure to Affix a Drug Tax Stamp, a Class “D” Felony; Carrying Weapons, an Aggravated Misdemeanor; Driving While Barred, an Aggravated Misdemeanor.

Theresa Ann Lomax, 43, of Ottumwa, was arrested for: Possession with the Intent to Deliver More Than 5 Grams of Methamphetamine, a Class “B” Felony; Failure to Affix a Drug Tax Stamp, a Class “D” Felony; Possession of a Firearm by a Felon, a Class “D” Felony; Prohibited Acts, Possession of Marijuana, a Serious Misdemeanor; Possession of Drug Paraphernalia, a Simple Misdemeanor.

Disclaimer: A charge is merely an accusation and all defendants are presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.

By Hailey Brown, KBOE/KMZN


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