The Ottumwa Courier

Local News

October 25, 2013

Ottumwan helps flood victims in Colorado

OTTUMWA – Julie Smithart spent over two weeks this fall helping flood victims in Loveland, Colo.

Smithart was one of 21 Iowa Red Cross disaster workers deployed to Colorado to help victims of the devastating flood there.

As an AmeriCorps volunteer with the National Preparedness and Response Corps (NPRC), Smithart has been assigned to the Red Cross in Ottumwa. She is trained in disaster preparedness, damage assessment, sheltering, logistics and more.

To assist those in need in Colorado, she did client case work, assessing the needs of flood victims and directing them to find needed items such as food and housing.

She saw quite a few people who had been airlifted from the Estes Park area into Loveland after floods wiped out roads into the area.

“They had no idea if their houses were still standing. There were a lot of issues with just not knowing. They had no idea if they had a house to go back to,” Smithart said.

A news release by the Red Cross stated, “More than 850 Red Crossers are deployed to the region where they have served more than 33,000 meals, handed out more than 46,000 relief items and provided as many as 4,700 health and mental health services.”

Many victims stayed in temporary shelters for up to two weeks, before FEMA stepped in and provided temporary housing, Smithart explained.

Locally, Smithart helps residents prepare for emergencies in this area. Parts of Highway 34 that go through Ottumwa and extend past the flooded area have been demolished by recent floods and may take up to two years to repair.

Recently she has led several fire prevention and safety talks at local schools, she will be at Liberty Elementary Oct. 28 to discuss earthquakes, and she leads presentations on other disasters such as tornadoes, floods and winter storms throughout the year at variety of venues.

Anyone wishing to volunteer with the Red Cross or make donations can do so by visiting www.redcross.org/ia, calling 1-800-RED CROSS or simply stopping by the local office.

“The Red Cross is always looking for volunteers,” Smithart said.

1
Text Only
Local News
  • Pedersen: Spec. Ed. students should count ELDON — If you're going to publish graduation rates, stop excluding some children who are doing well. "In some ways, I think it's a little upsetting to the parents of a child who has a physical handicap or is otherwise [in special education], that th

    April 23, 2014

  • 0424 OTT Pennsylvania construction B&W photo -M -T Penn Ave. construction begins Thursday OTTUMWA — Motorists are advised that Pennsylvania Avenue will be closing for Stage 1 of the Pennsylvania Avenue Reconstruction and Widening Project on Thursday. Pennsylvania Avenue will be closed from just downhill from the intersection with Jefferso

    April 23, 2014 2 Photos

  • 0424 OTT Lottery addiction graphic -T -L -M Hoping for riche$ — Part 3

    OTTUMWA — At first, George bought a lottery ticket once or twice a week. Nothing big. Spent $1 or $2 at a time. As the big jackpots rolled around, he’d purchase a few more tickets. No big deal, he thought. Soon, playing the lottery became his obsessi

    April 23, 2014 1 Photo 2 Stories

  • Interpreter bill approved in kidnapping case OTTUMWA — A filing in an Ottumwa case illustrates one of the basic tenets of the American legal system and its costs. Adem Anota is charged with one count of kidnapping. The charge is a Class A felony, among the most serious and one of only a few cri

    April 23, 2014

  • Van Buren OKs teacher pay hike KEOSAUQUA — The Van Buren Community School Board ratified a master contract with its certified staff members recently. Superintendent Dr. Pam Ewell, the Van Buren Education Association and the district reached a settlement which calls for increasing

    April 23, 2014

  • 'Ride With the Clowns' bike event full of fun OTTUMWA — This bike ride is a joke. No, seriously. The 10th annual "Ride With the Clowns" spring tune-up is set for Saturday, May 3, and this fun ride is sponsored by the Ottumwa Shrine Club Clown Unit. "It draws a regular crowd," said Mark Merringer

    April 23, 2014

  • Youth playing with guns panic Fairfield residents FAIRFIELD — The Fairfield Police Department received two calls Tuesday from concerned citizens reporting kids with guns in the vicinity of both elementary schools. In both incidents, the guns were actually pellet guns but looked real. According to a

    April 23, 2014

  • The most fun you ever had

    OTTUMWA — Not every child's idea will be possible — but every idea was recorded. "Kaboom" project manager Brenna Hull of the nonprofit group's San Francisco office was in Ottumwa Tuesday. She asked students at the Ottumwa school district what they'd like to see in a playground.

    April 22, 2014

  • 0423 OTT Recycle center color photo 2 -T -M Where every day is Earth Day

    OTTUMWA — Putting cans in the correct bin, saving electricity and adjusting the thermostat are not new concepts to the Ottumwa/Wapello Recycling Center staff. "We try to practice what we preach," said Janice Bain,

    April 22, 2014 2 Photos

  • 0423 OTT lottery retailers graph -T -M Hoping for riche$ — Part 2

    OTTUMWA — We’ve all heard countless stories of lottery winners and losers. The winners, some of whom hold down multiple jobs, have modest dreams for now. One wants to buy a new home or car, another wants to pay of their debts or give to charity and e

    April 22, 2014 1 Photo 2 Stories

Photo reprints


Obituaries

Facebook
E-edition