Last week’s announcement that Wells Fargo and the U.S. Small Business Administration would expand a microfinance program to Ottumwa was good news for the community. It’s tough to say just how much of an effect it will have, but it’s an encouraging step.

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Tuesday’s elections saw Ottumwa voters turn out five members of the school board, ensuring the board will look very different in the near future. It was an unmistakable statement of dissatisfaction with the current board.

Many of the Courier’s editorials have points on which reasonable people can disagree. That’s normal and, frankly, healthy. Americans never have been much for marching in lock-step on issues for long.

As our readers let us know, this past Saturday’s editorial page fell well short of our standards. There were multiple, serious errors. Here’s what happened.

The Courier’s editorial board has reservations about this year’s candidates for city council. While the board commended the candidates for stepping forward, none was a clear-cut match for both the office and the situation Ottumwa currently finds itself in.

The Courier’s editorial board wrapped up interviews with each of the four city council candidates Thursday night. We appreciate each taking the time to meet with us and explain their views on current city issues and what they see as Ottumwa’s path forward in a changing world.

Rob Freed’s comments about riding his bike across Iowa as part of a cross-country ride to raise awareness of the disease that took his son’s life weren’t specifically aimed at Ottumwa. But they still hit a mark.

Much of this week’s meeting of the Courier’s editorial board focused on the current dispute over the standing of seven candidates for Ottumwa’s school board. The candidates are the subjects of a new court filing that seeks to have them removed from the ballot because their candidate petition…

The school board’s decision Monday to tap the brakes a bit on the assessment of the country club site as a possible location for a new elementary school makes sense. It’s also an important indicator that what had appeared at times to be a headlong rush is a more deliberate process than criti…

The city council has an important decision to make tonight. It is being asked to vote on hiring Moulder & Associates/Midwest Municipal Consulting to help find a new city administrator. It’s not the kind of thing that usually gets a lot of attention from the public, but it’s difficult to …

The Ottumwa Fire Department had a busy weekend. Four structure fires in about two hours, which included three within about a half-hour, always raise questions.

The sudden placement of City Administrator Andy Morris on administrative leave raises serious questions about the city council’s adherence to Iowa’s open meetings law.

One of the top stories we’ve had recently was Frank Huston’s interview looking back at his career. It hit the paper Friday, and the online readership underscores the effect he had on generations of Ottumwans.

Larry Northup and the Evans Middle School students on the Great Western Expedition should be getting back into town this morning. It’s Northup’s final trip with the school’s travel program, a program he has shepherded for years.

Like many of you, we’ve been seeing posts online by people saying their electrical bills have shot up by far more than Alliant Energy’s interim rate would allow, or even their proposed rate hike if it was approved in full by the Iowa Utilities Board.

It’s not often a major piece of new equipment comes with a discount of more than 50 percent, but that’s effectively what the city is getting with the new river rescue boat. The cost to the city was slashed thanks to donations from other organizations.

It has been fun to watch the Bulldog baseball and softball teams this summer. Both have had seasons to be proud of, and they’re not finished.

One of the biggest gambles on Ottumwa’s future in recent years kicked off Monday. Crews began setting up protective barriers to separate the sidewalks in front of businesses on East Main Street from the streetscape project that will remake the road.

This has indisputably been a difficult year for those who manage Iowa’s waterways. Far more rain has fallen in 2019 than normal. While patterns have been less relentless in the past several weeks, Iowa is still getting more than its share of rain.

We can’t help but be uneasy about the interest Alliant Energy is showing in the city’s tentative steps toward using solar power to help shave some costs at city-owned facilities. Alliant’s history of rate increases and fundamental opposition to solar power gives us little reason to believe t…

It would be easy to give in to cliché when talking about Judge Arthur “Art” McGiverin. He had a remarkable legal mind and rose to the highest levels of the Iowa judiciary, serving for 13 years as the state’s chief justice.

We have rarely been so pleased to be wrong as we were on Saturday with the Canteen eating contest. The event’s move from Central Park to Canteen Alley had us concerned.

School board members were right to delay the vote on whether to move ahead with construction of a new elementary school on Tuesday. But they should give the idea strong consideration.

There aren’t too many good options in the current situation with the City of Ottumwa and the Ottumwa Community School District. On Tuesday, the council rejected the school district’s proposal to share the costs of the school resource officers 50-50.

Anyone who has watched Blackbird Investments’ actions over the past several years could see a stark difference between past performances and Tuesday’s update for the city council. The brash, defiant attitude Blackbird has displayed in the past was gone.

Blackbird Investments’ statement on the stalled projects in Ottumwa and Des Moines was hardly a master class in damage control. It contained the usual elements — straw man arguments and vague claims of progress — but failed in its goal. Ottumwa has no more reason to trust Blackbird today tha…

When people scheduled this year’s Race for the Cure and the work day at Seton’s playground, they probably figured mid-May would be safe. Sure, it rains occasionally, but it’s at least warm by then. Right?

We’re going to use a different approach for this Saturday’s editorial. There isn’t one overwhelming issue we want to address today, but there are some points worth making that don’t demand a big space. So we’re giving you a couple bite-sized editorials today to clear them out.

Wednesday morning’s “Bridges out of Poverty” seminar drew a big crowd to Indian Hills. Many were educators, coming from several area districts and counties to hear ideas. It was a diverse group, and that’s good.

We’re writing this before Friday’s Ladies Night Out in downtown Ottumwa. That’s the reality of newspaper timelines on occasion. Different pages are due at different times. In our case, the editorial pages are due well before the event began.

Despite the week’s forecast and the National Weather Service’s inclusion of a chance of snow Friday (don’t worry, it won’t stick around), it’s clear that spring is here.

Tonight’s discussions about the proposed hotel at Bridge View Center are likely the most important it has had. This is a make-or-break moment for the proposal.

The proposal from County Attorney Reuben Neff to use some of the money saved by vacancies to retain people in the office makes sense to us. While details are being worked out, the basic approach and the end goal are both appropriate.

Word this week of new vandalism at Mars Hill Church is dismaying. While the recent incidents don’t come close to the level that took place 13 years ago, when the church was burned, they remain unacceptable.

Sens. Chuck Grassley and Dick Durbin reintroduced a bill this week to require the U.S. Supreme Court to allow cameras to film proceedings. Here’s hoping Congress moves quickly to pass it.

This Week's Circulars

Obituaries

OTTUMWA [mdash]Tammi Rae Remmark, 57, of Ottumwa, died unexpectedly November 9, 2019 at home. Arrangements are pending at Reece Funeral Home.

ALBIA [mdash] Carol Gardner passed away on Thursday, November 7, 2019. Funeral services will be held at 10:30 a.m. on Tuesday, November 12, 2019, at the First Christian Church in Albia. Burial at Oak View Cemetery.

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