The Ottumwa Courier

Letters to the Editor

February 27, 2013

Consider Staebler, Ahrens when naming new school

OTTUMWA — Editor’s note: This is a copy of a letter submitted to Ottumwa School Board President Carol Mitchell.

Understanding that the school district is deliberating the naming of the elementary southside school and two streets, I have several suggestions. The Ottumwa district schools have traditionally been named for principals or significant historical persons. Two outstanding citizens, one an elected school board member, Jack Staebler, and one an educator, Willis Ahrens, greatly contributed to making our school district the strong, viable institution it is today. Both are posthumously deserving to be honored in some manner.

Service on a school district’s board of directors is one of the most significant elected offices in preserving our republic. Jack honorably served the Ottumwa Community School District from the early 1970s until his untimely death in 1984. Because of the passage of time, perhaps none of you were privileged to know him, but there are many who still remember his contributions.

Jack was a beacon of light in this district. He was knowledgeable regarding budget and finance, employee/employer contracts and school law. His guiding principle always was “What is good for the children?” He honorably served as the board president for a number of years.

Jack was not only a respected leader in this community but among other board members throughout the state. Jack exemplified all the fine attributes to be found in a board director.

Many children knew him as “Santa Claus.” Every Christmas season, Jack donned his beautiful “Claus Suit” and visited all the Kindergarten classes ...

Willis Ahrens was a respected educator not only in our district as well as statewide. He faithfully served not only as a teacher and a principal but very capably as its curriculum director for a number of years. Willis exercised fairness and common sense in his decision making with the children’s best interest being his utmost concern. Much time has passed since his retirement, but he is remembered by many.

Because you, the elected board of directors, represent the citizens of this school district, we ask that you seriously consider my request.

If you decided not to name the new school or streets for either Jack or Willis, perhaps you would consider naming a special room such as a library or a gymnasium for them. If so, a suggestion would be to have a plaque with background information by the door entrances ...

Angela Hoff

Ottumwa school board director, 1978-87

past board vice president and president of the board

Text Only
Letters to the Editor
  • Guardian angel rescued me On Dec. 18, I had been to Walmart and as always, I stopped by the Walmart gas station to fill my car up. I got out, pumped gas and I went to get in the car. I locked my keys in! So I had no choice but go see if the cashier could help me. And lo and b

    January 21, 2014

  • Why close plant when it could be cleaned up? Doe Run Company, south of St. Louis, is the third-largest lead smelter in the world and the only one in the western hemisphere. They provide for the lead demand in the U.S. and are a major contributor to the world market. On Dec. 31, they close due

    November 8, 2013

  • Collect lids and fight breast cancer The Southeast Iowa Affiliate of Susan G. Komen represents a 10-county area in its fight to end breast cancer. Your local affiliate is fighting for the screening and treatment programs that save lives and the research that brings us closer to a cure.

    November 8, 2013

  • Who are Tea Party Patriots? First and foremost, if you love God, you may be a Tea Party Patriot. Second, if you love this country we call the United States of America, you may be a Tea Party Patriot. Third, if you value freedom and all the people in our past and present who hav

    November 5, 2013

  • Branstad, please use the heart God gave you To Gov. Terry Branstad of Iowa: Please use the heart that God gave you. I am a senior citizen who is suffering needlessly because you have outlawed the only substance that can take away my horrible pain and discomfort. Pharmaceutical narcotics are in

    November 5, 2013

  • Library doing many great things for the community This past week was National Friends of the Library week. Here in Ottumwa, our public library would not be able to provide all the materials, resources and programming that it does without the support and assistance provided by our local Ottumwa Publ

    October 29, 2013

  • It's up to you to make Ottumwa great If a person were truly honest with themselves every time they bought something they would ask, "Am I getting my money's worth?" If the person selling would truly be honest with themselves they might ask, "Have I met or exceeded my customers' expectat

    October 29, 2013

  • Life too complex My knowledge of electronics stops with the on and off switch. I was persuaded to try a new-fangled cell phone. One of the more simple ones. It takes pictures, prints them, records day, date, time. Tells me where I am, where I should be, how I got the

    October 29, 2013

  • Think before voting We just had a Sara Palin type month. Now I hear that the Tea Party wants to take over the Republican Party. They think we have too much government. People out of work, not their problem. People living on the streets, they don't care. The Tea Party th

    October 29, 2013

  • Why micromanage Halloween? I take no pleasure in composing this letter. Once again another year, the Ottumwa police have made their draconian edict of setting the date and hours for beggars night. It's too bad that even a volunteer kids' holiday has fallen under the auspices o

    October 29, 2013

AP National