The Ottumwa Courier

Local News

August 2, 2013

Secret of 'Lighthouse Island' revealed


"We took advantage of their physical strength and their dedication to us," Kay said.

They built a frame around the lighthouse, loaded it into the pick-up truck and the family took off late one May evening in 2003 because Brees didn't want anyone around to see them in action. The original plan was to float the lighthouse out to the island in a boat — but it sunk the boat.

There was only a foot of water in the pond at the time, but when the men stepped in, they were up to their knees in mud. Then the head of the parks department showed up.

"You are not allowed to swim in there," he shouted.

"Believe me, we are doing anything but swimming," Brees responded.

Skip Stevens, street commissioner at the time and father-in-law of Brees' daughter, Shellie, rode along with his wife to watch the installation and explained to the parks director what they were doing.

"It took the men about an hour to struggle with it up the embankment," Brees said. "It slipped and fell and slid and everything else."

Finally, the lighthouse was on top of the island, but they had to dig around in order for it to sit properly in the direction they wanted.

"We finally got it set and got back, and then they remembered they hadn't put the light in," Brees laughed.

A couple of the sons-in-law waded back in and installed a solar light, though it stopped working sometime in the next year. The city eventually installed an electric wire to light it, but that has since vanished as well.

"Later on when I got on the council — but nobody knew I had done it — I raised cain 'cause there was no light in it," he said. "They finally ran a wire over there."

Text Only
Local News
  • 0728 OTT ribs in eldon BBQ dinner with a hundred friends ELDON --- This year's Eldon Rib Cook-off was won by three BBQ chefs --- and about 150 hungry visitors. "I was down here last year, too," said Dwayne Yates from Floris, who was biting into his third smoked rib. "I never had a bad one yet." That's what

    July 27, 2014 1 Photo

  • Mediacom: Rural cable consumers and companies mistreated OTTUMWA --- You may want to add just a racing channel, a court channel or a nature channel to your cable line up. Unfortunately, you'll probably have to buy a "bundle," which, ironically, is what it will cost you here in Wapello County. That's accord

    July 26, 2014

  • Calendar Groups wanting to be included in the Calendar must submit the item every time the group meets, at least three days in advance of the meeting.Send information to Calendar, Newsroom, Ottumwa Courier, 213 E. Second St., Ottumwa 52501 or send email to ne

    July 26, 2014

  • Alternate juror could not have convicted Techel based on evidence DAVENPORT — An alternate juror who was dismissed before Seth Techel, 23, of Agency was convicted of killing his wife and the non-consensual termination of a human pregnancy says the verdict could have been different if she had been in deliberations.D

    July 25, 2014

  • 0724 OTT Tehel mug -T -M Resolution — Techel verdict reached

    DAVENPORT — The father of a slain Wapello County woman said he began to heal as soon as he heard the guilty verdict today. The jury unanimously pronounced Seth Techel, 23, guilty on charges of first-degree murder and non-consensual termination of a h

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • Overcome testing fear, get a good job OTTUMWA — It's not who you know, it's what you know. That's what City leaders say about getting a good paying job in Ottumwa. "It seems like in the last year we've had a real reduction in the number of individuals who've applied," said Joni Keith, hu

    July 25, 2014

  • Water Pollution Control Facility gets OK to upgrade OTTUMWA — An emergency Ottumwa City Council meeting resulted in spending $140,583 for the Water Pollution Control Facility. Friday afternoon, council members listened intently as Ottumwa Water Pollution Control Facility Superintendent Kam Reeves told

    July 25, 2014

  • Quincy Ave. project starts Aug. 4 OTTUMWA — Updates on the Quincy Avenue project was given to residents and businesses residing between Albia Road and Hwy. 34 on Thursday night at Ottumwa City Hall. About a dozen people attended the meeting where City Engineer Dan Sturm gave an updat

    July 25, 2014

  • Silence continues on fatal shooting OTTUMWA — Law enforcement is exercising its right to remain silent about a shooting death that occurred south of town this week. The Wapello County Sheriff's Office, which had responded to the shooting, said most information on the case would now com

    July 25, 2014

  • 0726 OTT cedar creek Gone in a flash

    BLOOMFIELD — Bob Parker got about as close to lightning as you can Friday morning, and came out of it without injury. A line of thunderstorms started moving through southeast Iowa in the early morning hours. Parker was heading to work at about 7 a.m.

    July 25, 2014 2 Photos

Photo reprints