The Ottumwa Courier

Local News

January 2, 2014

Drafted at the Rose Bowl

ELDON — If you caught the Tournament of Roses parade, then you probably saw some Wapello County handiwork: It happened by chance.

Pie maker and American Gothic House resident Beth Howard is visiting her parents in Southern California. She ran into Dave Pittman, originally from the Cedar Rapids area. He was in California because he designs floats for the Rose Bowl parade; he's done 100 so far.

"Dave invited me to help decorate the parade floats," Howard said. "I was posting pictures on Facebook, [and] Diana Harness of Eldon made a comment on one of my posts that she was in the area. So I invited her to the float decorating area ... across the street from the Rose Bowl for a ... tour from Dave the designer."

Harness, who works at Indian Hills Community College in Ottumwa, her husband Don and her sister hurried from the coast south of Los Angeles to Pasadena.

"There were pretty large crowds," Don said. "We finally found a place to park, [but] when we found the [pavilion], there was a big line of people waiting to pay for a tour; they'd show you the outside of the [float] building. Beth saw us and talked to the security guard, who opened the gate for us, let us right in."

The bad news? "Dave was too busy to give them a tour," said Howard.

The good news? He gave them a rare opportunity instead.

"He put them to work," said Howard.

"Up to that point, we thought we were just going to look at some floats," Don said.

As the designer walked around the pavilion looking for a float that needed work (out of about 50 floats, he designed nine), the Wapello County folks got to see nearly all the floats they would have seen on television.

"We always watch the parade, but to see the floats up close was just beautiful," said Diana, who added she had dreamed of one day experiencing the parade. "And to work on them, that's a once-in-a-lifetime experience."

Text Only
Local News
  • A change at Evans OTTUMWA — You can get kids to memorize facts. But teaching them to think can take more time. Educational leaders told the Ottumwa school board that the school year that begins 2014 will shift Evans Middle School students from 45-minute periods to 60-

    April 17, 2014

  • 0418 OTT Tree City U.S.A. logo Ottumwa awarded as Tree City U.S.A. again OTTUMWA — Having big, beautiful trees throughout a community can help spruce up a city and make it more attractive to visitors. Ottumwa has shown a dedication to making the community more green and inviting, and the efforts have been recognized by th

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • 0418 OTT Agriculture Day color photo 2 -T -L -M Cardinal students celebrate Ag Day ELDON — Sometimes the best way to learn is to get out of the classroom and come face-to-face with things that you might not see every day. Students at Cardinal Elementary School got that chance Thursday during Ag Day. Every year, the Cardinal FFA and

    April 17, 2014 2 Photos

  • 0418 OTT Five Things logo -T -L -M Five things to do in southeast Iowa this weekend OTTUMWA — It's a weekend of Easter celebrations, historic events and educational opportunities in southeast Iowa. Many people are gathered together this weekend, and the surrounding communities have scheduled events perfect for the whole family. 1. S

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • 0418 OTT Joe Tafta bw photo -L -T -M Pursuing opportunities OTTUMWA — Joe Tafta follows the rules. The Simpson College junior hopes to be a U.S. marshal one day, so he’s careful about what he says and does. But not always. On the afternoon of April 1, Tafta says, he nearly got booted out of Dunn Library for m

    April 17, 2014 2 Photos

  • 0418 OTT OEDC director -T Guiding our growth OTTUMWA — An organization designed to help Ottumwa grow has found a new employee in Indiana. The Ottumwa Economic Development Corporation (OEDC) board has chosen Sharon Stroh as the group's new executive director. “We are confident she will hit the g

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • 0417 OTT Earth day color photo 1 -T -M Cargill celebrates Earth Day by educating ALBIA — In honor of Earth Day on Tuesday, April 22, employees from Cargill Eddyville and Cargill Pork are visiting with students at Grant Elementary and Lincoln Center in Albia all this week. On Wednesday the Courier caught up with them as they went

    April 16, 2014 3 Photos

  • 0417 OTT Saving Center color photo -T -L -M Hedrick building has friends HEDRICK — The community wants a civic center, and they've been willing to work for it. "I'd say we have 15 to 25 volunteers each time," Tommy Smith of Hedrick said. "These are all good people." Smith was volunteering his services at the Easter Brunch

    April 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • Southern Iowa farmers preparing for planting OTTUMWA — Even though the winter seemed to linger like Iowa was going through an ice age and cold and wet weather has highlighted the early spring, farmers are starting to get out to their fields to put down fertilizer and get fields ready for planti

    April 16, 2014

  • 0417 OTT Camp Wapello fence photo -T -M -L Good fence irritates good neighbor DRAKESVILLE — For 82 years, Camp Wapello’s iconic entryway has welcomed people to peacefully coexist with nature. Now there’s a 400-foot barbed wire fence down the middle of the road. In February, Davis County Supervisors approved vacating of portion

    April 16, 2014 1 Photo

Photo reprints