The Ottumwa Courier

Local News

March 28, 2014

Learning about each other

OTTUMWA — Diversity isn't always easy. And that's OK.

Mary Stewart, one of the key organizers of the first IHCC Diversity Conference 10 years ago, said we've grown as a people. Where America was once proudly called a melting pot, she said, that will hopefully change. Because we don't want Americans melted down and turned into replicas of each other. It's while celebrating our differences that we can see what makes us the same.

Unless, of course, you're all covered in a thick layer of dust from the debris of the Twin Towers collapsing on 9/11.

"No one was black, no one was white. We were all gray. Everyone was helping everyone else," said one of the speakers at the conference, Lt. Joe Torrillo of the New York Fire Department. "We were all New Yorkers; Americans."

Ottumwa Mayor Tom Lazio was at the conference. After the keynote address, he told The Courier that the "gray" images projected on the screen by Torrillo struck a chord with him.

"Race, color, religion — when it comes to [supporting each other] it doesn't matter," Lazio said. "We're all people."

"Accomplishments have come from every corner of the world," Torrillo said, "and from all kinds of people."

Remember that next time someone tries to convince you that an entire subset of human beings is worthless, he said.

"You may have been told a certain group of people act a certain way. You have a brain in your head. Look for yourself. Look at every situation and evaluate it."

Stewart, former dean of academic services for Indian Hills, said the event has grown every year. International affairs director Freddy Miranda agreed; he said this year was the biggest ever. Between pre-registered participants and attendees who paid "at the door," there were more than 700 people signed up.

Text Only
Local News
  • 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

  • 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

  • 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

  • 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

  • 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

  • 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

Photo reprints