The Ottumwa Courier

June 11, 2012

An inside look at Marine boot camp

The Road Less Traveled

Courier editor

OTTUMWA — Ever since staff writer Chelsea Davis joined the Courier newsroom last August, we have discovered early on she is game for just about anything.

That couldn’t be more true than this week when Chelsea joins the Marines.

Well, that’s not exactly the case, but all this week, Chelsea will be reporting back to Courier readers stories about what happens at Marine Corps boot camp. She’ll be eating and chatting with the recruits, watching them train — especially in the daunting “Crucible” — and we'll have the honor of seeing them graduate this Friday, among many other activities.

Chelsea isn’t alone. She will be joining 39 educators from across the state, including three from southeast Iowa: James Brown, industrial technology teacher at Moravia High School, Mike Plecker, secondary science teacher at Van Buren High School, and Sally Burchfield, guidance counselor at New London Middle and High School, as they witness Marine Corps training up close and personal.

Be sure to watch for Chelsea’s stories all this week.


We’ve noted before how important River Hills Community Health Center is to southern Iowa.

Nearly a dozen years ago, River Hills began as one clinic in Ottumwa with 21 staff members.

Today, River Hills operates four clinics, an administrative office and features a staff of 120 people. Along with the downtown clinic, there’s the pediatrics clinic at Ottumwa Regional and clinics in Richland and Centerville. Services include medical, dental, obstetrical, gynecological and behavioral.

River Hills CEO Rick Johnson, the staff and the River Hills board, have done a great job of growing the health center into what has become a tremendous asset to southern Iowa.

But to keep River Hills financially viable, fundraisers are sometimes necessary, and next month, the health center will host what promises to be a fun event that will take us back to the late 1970s and the era of disco music.

On July 7, River Hills is hosting a “Saturday Night Fever” event at the Bridge View Center.

Tickets are $40 for singles and $80 for couples and are available via Ticketmaster and the Bridge View Center box office (tickets must be purchased by noon July 1). Proceeds will go to the River Hills Endowment Fund to assist with patient services and/or clinical equipment.

The evening kicks off with a social hour at 7:30 p.m., followed by disco dancing from 9 p.m. to midnight.

Rick tells me that Disco is not dead and in fact  very much alive in Ottumwa. He even suggested he might wear the white polyester suit made famous by John Travolta in the movie “Saturday Night Fever.”

That alone might be worth the price of admission, but more importantly, this fundraiser is a way for the community to give back to River Hills, a critical part of health care here in southern Iowa.