The Ottumwa Courier

Local News

January 6, 2014

Rescuing the coldest Ottumwans

OTTUMWA — Most cars weren't warm, Wapello County commuters noticed Monday morning. Imagine having spent the night there, with no money for gas.

"I can't see people dying under the bridge, not in a town this size," said Mary Margaret Butler, one of the founding members of a local faith-based group, Whatsoever You Do. "I am not going to watch someone die. There's no excuse for that."

Their Facebook page has received a lot of traffic as word of the coldest day in years started circulating. She and other members have been finding people living on the street — or in one couple's case, in a car — and found them someplace warm for a few nights.

Make no mistake, said a former community action official: You may not notice them, but there are people in danger of freezing to death within 15 minutes of your house. A local leader within the pastoral community agreed.

"There are homeless people in Ottumwa," confirmed Pastor Ron Barnett at St. Paul Lutheran Church.

Last year, Ottumwa's only homeless shelter for men closed.

"It's not always a case of people sleeping out on the street. There are people staying temporarily on a friend's couch," said the pastor before clarifying that "there are also people living in their car."

Brandon Holstrom, American Red Cross disaster support manager, said if there were to be a major power outage, the Red Cross and local emergency management coordinator would work to find a warm place.

"It's all about where the power outage is located and the scale," he said. "We have agreements [with places] all around Ottumwa. But they don't always get used. Traditionally in Iowa, people find other places to stay — family, friends. But we like to have that option available to them."

Text Only
Local News
  • 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

  • Lottery sales top $3 million mark

    OTTUMWA — Mother Nature may have thrown Iowans a brutal winter, but it didn’t stop them from venturing out to buy lottery tickets. On Tuesday, the Iowa Lottery confirmed that it had topped the $3 million mark in sales for the third consecutive year.

    July 29, 2014

  • halo-5-guardians-concept_wallpaper-1920x1080-53cf9b0098ea45ada37dc0f66bc174f5.jpg The Art of Kong

    OTTUMWA — The Mona Lisa. Whistler's Mother. Donkey Kong? Don't be so surprised, said Walter Day, that video games and the surrounding memorabilia are being considered art. The creativity and artistic vision required to create a poster, said the found

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • Slideshow: Truck overturns on roundabout

    July 28, 2014

  • 0729 OTT Picture veteran -T -M Veteran finally receives his medals OTTUMWA — A World War II injury may have saved the life of a U.S. Coast Guardsman from Iowa, but he lost friends and a box of military awards. Francis Hardy Harbour was born on Dec.16, 1919, in Drakesville. He joined the Coast Guard in 1941 as a mach

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • Seasonal forecast Cool summer leading to cool fall? OTTUMWA — By late July, the average daytime high temperature starts to drop. What is normally the hottest part of the year is over. Averages are still in the mid-80s, and it certainly wouldn’t be out of the ordinary to see days in even the upper 90s.

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • IHCC buildings.jpg Grant helps Hills keep students on track

    OTTUMWA — Thanks to a grant designed to improve graduation rates, Indian Hills Community College now has even more tools in its campuswide effort to help students with needs and give them the resources they need to stay in class. Indian Hills is one

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • 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

Photo reprints


Obituaries

Facebook