The Ottumwa Courier

AP Iowa

September 10, 2013

Iowa's Miss America hopeful advocates for disabled

ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. (AP) — Born without her left forearm, Nicole Kelly has been overcoming disability her entire life, be it playing baseball, dancing or diving.

Now representing Iowa in the Miss America pageant, Kelly hopes to win the crown and inspire others to overcome their own difficulties. She chooses to focus on what she has rather than what she lacks.

"The reason I'm here is not because I'm a public interest story," she told The Associated Press in an interview Monday, in between rehearsals for three nights of preliminary competition that starts Tuesday. "I'm here not because I look different but because I have the intelligence, I have the ability and all the things that Miss America needs to have.

"I'm proud to represent those who look differently, but it's about what you can do and how you celebrate it," she said. "I'm just like you."

She said she developed an outgoing personality "that would not give in to 'no'" as a way to deal with the stares she often got.

The 23-year-old resident of Keokuk, Iowa, a Mississippi River town, Kelly said she never let her disability stop her from doing what she wanted. She played baseball, swam and dove, danced.

"I just did it," she said. "There never was an issue. No excuses, nor should there have been."

Kelly said people she met while growing up generally went through three phases: the first was when she approached them, because they were too intimidated to approach her. The second was when they grew comfortable enough to ask her questions like, "How do you do your hair?" or "How do you tie your shoes?"

The third phase "was when they completely forgot about it" and just saw her as Nikki, not a person with a disability.

Text Only
AP Iowa
  • State urges action to avoid West Nile virus DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — The Iowa Department of Public Health says there have already been three reported cases of West Nile virus in the state, even though the disease usually is seen in early autumn. The agency says cases have been reported in Clay,

    July 31, 2014

  • Iowa official: Goat grazing plan is working STRAWBERRY POINT, Iowa (AP) — An Iowa government official says the state's plan to use goats to clear away vegetation is an initial success. Iowa Department of Natural Resources supervisor Mike Steuck tells KCRG-TV (http://bit.ly/1qqKGaY ) the 60 goa

    July 31, 2014

  • Commission wants former Iowa prosecutor punished WINTERSET, Iowa (AP) — A commission has recommended to the Iowa Supreme Court that a former prosecutor who beat a client that he'd had a sexual relationship with should be barred from practicing law for at least four years. The Des Moines Register sa

    July 31, 2014

  • New attractions planned for Hoover library in Iowa WEST BRANCH, Iowa (AP) — The Herbert Hoover Presidential Library and Museum is getting a temporary $600,000 exhibit that will include a simulation of a World War I trench. The Iowa City Press-Citizen reports (http://icp-c.com/1knYdSU ) the exhibit wi

    July 31, 2014

  • Hot air balloon brushes power line at Iowa event INDIANOLA, Iowa (AP) — A hot air balloon brushed a power line and caused an outage at the National Balloon Classic near Indianola. An event official, Bill Clemons, says the balloon was on the ground Tuesday night when it touched the wire and then dra

    July 30, 2014

  • Wilson Island State Recreation Area set to reopen COUNCIL BLUFFS, Iowa (AP) — A state recreation area near Council Bluffs is scheduled to reopen soon. The Iowa Department of Natural Resources says the Wilson Island State Recreation Area will open its gates Monday. Workers are currently adding fire r

    July 30, 2014

  • Iowa parents speak out against school changes DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Students at Des Moines middle schools no longer have the option to take advanced English and science classes. The Des Moines Register reports (http://dmreg.co/WMKKcT ) Tuesday that some parents are concerned that top performer

    July 30, 2014

  • Iowa's first startup accelerator set to begin CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (AP) — Cedar Rapids is joining the expanding pool of U.S. cities that want to kick-start fledgling businesses. The Des Moines Register reports (http://dmreg.co/1nSV5z7 ) that the Iowa Startup Accelerator begins Monday and is the fi

    July 30, 2014

  • Cedar Rapids murder case now in judge's hands CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (AP) — A Linn County judge is considering the fate of a 20-year-old man accused of killing a former women's basketball standout from Cedar Rapids. Cedar Rapids television station KGAN says (http://bit.ly/1oKi8eC ) closing arguments

    July 30, 2014

  • Inspector had cited lauded Iowa nursing home WAVERLY, Iowa (AP) — A northeast Iowa nursing home was cited for unsanitary conditions in its kitchen seven weeks before it was lauded by the governor's office as among the best such facilities in the state, The Des Moines Register (http://dmreg.co/U

    July 29, 2014

Obituaries
Record
Facebook
AP National