The Ottumwa Courier

Local News

May 21, 2013

Oklahoma emergency crews will report specific needs soon

OTTUMWA — The sound of the telephone ringing is evidence to Julie Smithart that residents of Wapello County do care.

The tornado damage to lives and property in Oklahoma has brought out the best in people, said Smithart, an AmeriCorps volunteer assigned to the Ottumwa office of the American Red Cross.

"I've been getting all sorts of phone calls today. Basically, they're asking what they can do, how to go about volunteering or donating," Smithart said.

The Ottumwa chapter's disaster team hasn't been dispatched to the area — yet.

"At this time, Red Cross teams in Oklahoma are assessing the situation," said Kara Kelly, an Iowa-based spokesperson for the Red Cross. "Once that assessment is complete, we'll know more about what the need is and if volunteers and the emergency response vehicles from the Iowa region are needed."

That makes sense to Smithart. Each extra person arriving on scene needs resources like food, water and shelter, all of which may be in short supply. So only necessary personnel will be sent.

There are ways Wapello County and other area residents can help, Smithart said. It may not sound as exciting, but the easiest thing to do is give money by going online to Redcross.org or calling 800-RED-CROSS. The disaster relief volunteers, despite the big red cross on the side of their truck, do not get free gas on the way to an emergency. While businesses are generous, there may be a need to purchase paper plates for a shelter or other things that aren't donated. The agency will often purchase things the average person may not think of as urgent — toiletries or cleaning supplies like bleach.

Trying to transport batches of clothing, when that may not be the priority, is better left for other agencies. Smithart has referred those with clothing to give to Goodwill or Salvation Army.

Text Only
Local News
  • 0731 OTT Aviation plane -T -M Flying free OTTUMWA — The financial obstacle may have been removed if your career goal starts with learning to fly. "We have it set up for three terms, about nine months," said pilot and chief flight instructor Darren Graham at Indian Hills Community College. "

    July 30, 2014 1 Photo

  • Supervisors discuss pipeline potential KEOSAUQUA — Van Buren County Supervisors received preliminary, general information on a new pipeline being proposed to carry oil from North Dakota through Iowa, including Van Buren County, then crossing into Illinois. The proposed Bakken Pipeline wou

    July 30, 2014

  • Fairfield stabbing suspects' trials separated FAIRFIELD — The three people accused of dragging a man into a Fairfield apartment before robbing and stabbing him have had a judge grant their requests to separate their trials. Dawn Dunn, Dustin Roll and Brett Hedblade are each charged with willful

    July 30, 2014

  • Local business donates grain rescue tube KEOSAUQUA — Stockport Elevator, owned by Roquette America, donated a grain rescue tube to Birmingham and Stockport Fire Departments. A training session was conducted Monday, led by Dale Ekdahl, a representative of Outstate Data, LLC, the device’s man

    July 30, 2014

  • Where do my taxes go? OTTUMWA — Wapello County Board certified its tax levy. But what does that mean? Based on budgets submitted by various levying authors, the Wapello County Auditor prepares and certifies the levy rates for the county. Budgets for each levy are based on

    July 30, 2014

  • OCSD releases elementary supplies list

    OTTUMWA — For years, parents of the students in Ottumwa's elementary schools have had to check to make sure the school supplies list they grabbed was the right one for their school. No more.

    July 30, 2014

  • Reducing runoff at the local level AGENCY — Pollution isn’t the first thing that comes to mind when you look out at a field of Iowa corn or soybeans, but there’s growing concern about what manages to get out of the fields and into the water. The same nutrients that benefit the crops c

    July 30, 2014

  • Supervisors wrestle with staffing woes KEOSAUQUA — Van Buren County Supervisor Chairman Bob Waugh says he wants county supervisors to help alleviate staffing problems within the county treasurer’s office. In May, supervisors opted not to replace a vacancy within the treasurer’s office. Va

    July 30, 2014

  • 0730 OTT Better Buildings -T -M Wildwood could be your home OTTUMWA — There was always one child per class who just adored school. If they went to Wildwood, they may soon be able to move in permanently. The Ottumwa board of education met Monday, where staff told them where the district stood as far as "facili

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • A changing roster -- for school board OTTUMWA — If the last time you saw your board of education was before Christmastime, the current school board might surprise you. Two members retired from the board: longtime educator Ron Oswalt stepped down, as did board president Carol Mitchell. Bo

    July 29, 2014

Photo reprints


Obituaries

Facebook