Here you'll find work published in the Creston News Advertiser, The Western Journal and the Polk County-Itemizer Observer.

Newport News-Times

North Lincoln Fire begins second station revamp

LINCOLN CITY — North Lincoln Fire and Rescue closed the Bob Everest Station for construction last month to begin the process of retrofitting the structure with seismic safety precautions, as well as upgrading much of the equipment and facilities within. The $4.5 million project — which comes on the heels of the Rose Lodge station renovation completed in February — is slated to be finished and the station ready to reopen in Jan. 2020.

A twist on going medieval

For those who enjoy dark comedy, meta dialogue in shows and, of course, the time-old theater tradition of mocking the French, Newport High School Theater has a new offering to scratch all of those itches. Directed by Jody Hanna, “Game of Tiaras” is a mixture of three main sources of inspiration: “Game of Thrones,” Shakespeare’s “King Lear” and Disney princesses. The ease with which the Newport students have made these topics feel easily integrated into one show results in shock and comedy. The

Twist of fate brings disaster prep pup to Lincoln City

LINCOLN CITY — A new member has joined Jim Kusz in his efforts to educate the public on disaster preparedness: Nick, a 16-month-old goldendoodle. Kusz, a North Lincoln Fire and Rescue district captain, has a passion for education and disaster planning — a combination that has led him to teach disaster preparedness classes. But until today, he’s done that class fur-free, though preparing for pet care in the event of an emergency is part of his curriculum.

Soaring in the great indoors

LINCOLN CITY — In the first weekend of National Kite Month, a kiting event raised over $1,000 for local affordable housing efforts — and all the while bringing people together to have fun. The second annual SOS Indoor Kite Flying Gala, the reincarnation of an indoor kite fest from days gone by, was held on April 6 and 7 at Taft High School. Sheila Stiley, executive director of Northwest Coastal Housing, first thought of bringing back the indoor kite festival when brainstorming an event for Linc

Early fires sound alarm

OREGON — Though rain has returned to the Oregon coast, the warm and dry weather over the last couple weeks wreaked havoc across the state — and in multiple parts of Lincoln County. Regardless of the time of year, firefighters are advising being vigilant about fire safety, and checking in with authorities before starting any burns. In Eddyville last week, a tree hitting a powerline sparked a nine-acre brush fire. While it’s early in the year for fire season to start, each year, fire seasons “in

Cooler tide on the horizon

NEWPORT — Cooler ocean waters are on the way, but acidification and low oxygen areas could still pose trouble for marine life off the Oregon coast in the coming months. That’s according to a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration annual ecosystem assessment and report released this month, summarizing the state of coastal waters in the wake of 2018, as well as forecasting what it can for 2019. On the environmental side, there are conflicting reports which are giving researchers pause.

Dry conditions propel brushfire near Eddyville

EDDYVILLE — A brush fire caught off of Crystal Creek Loop near Eddyville and brought five agencies to the area to contain the blaze, which ultimately affected approximately eight acres. The Toledo Fire Department was dispatched around noon Tuesday after reports of a brush fire, and upon arrival found one to two acres affected. “There were a couple of out-buildings that were threatened, and one of them got partially burned,” Toledo staff captain Greg Musil told the News-Times. “There’s a reside

Bookings down at Sheriff’s Office

LINCOLN COUNTY — Sheriff’s deputies responded to 29,503 calls for service covering 996 square miles — 9 percent fewer than in 2017 — and the three most common crimes were assault, burglary and vandalism in 2018. Bookings at the county jail saw the same decrease of 9 percent in 2018, with 2,409 males and 852 females going through the process for a total of 3,261 individuals booked. New at the jail as of 2018 is an X-ray body scanner, which allows jail staff to view the entire contents of an indi

Toledo pool plans for upgrades

TOLEDO — In the year since the Greater Toledo Pool District took over the city pool, a lot of improvements have been made — but there are more dramatic changes on the way. The board of directors recently announced a series of construction plans for the Greater Toledo Pool, which may take years to complete but could make a difference for the entire town. “We plan on doing it in a three-phase system,” explained district manager Paul Steenkolk. “We plan on replacing the natatorium (the building wh
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The Creston News Advertiser

Creston City Councils backs CCSD on school safety grant

Creston Community School District’s superintendent, Steve McDermott, took the podium at the city council’s regular meeting Tuesday to ask the council for its blessing on a federal grant application. “We’ve recently worked on a grant application that’s federal money for some additional school safety measures. The list right now includes a shooter alert system, a panic button system in our offices, additional fob entry system, lighting upgrades — primarily, additional exterior lighting around our

City council to hold open hearing on city code reform

Creston City Council passed a resolution at Tuesday night’s regular meeting to hold a public hearing on Aug. 21 to hear public opinion on its proposed amendments to the city codes. The current proposal is to repeal one ordinance and one sub-section of another ordinance, and to modify two sections and three subsections of another ordinance. Those wishing to voice their opinion will be able to speak on the matter at the regular meeting on Aug. 21, and will be permitted to speak before the council

City council meeting ‘out of hand’

The Creston City Council held a regular meeting Tuesday night, the agenda for which held an open hearing on proposed ordinance changes, numerous resolutions and five individual appointments — one of which was added to the agenda after its official release. The meeting was adjourned after Mayor Gary Lybarger commented, “I’m sorry if I offend anybody, but it kind of got out of hand, OK?” Lybarger’s comment referred to the council’s third appointment, which set with Danny Bird to discuss removal o

Water board weighs options pending SIRWA decision

The Creston City Water Works Board of Directors held a special meeting Tuesday to meet with representatives from Snyder & Associates, Inc. and discuss potential options the board could pursue if Southern Iowa Rural Water Association follows through on its proposed plan to end its service with Creston Water. At the board’s joint work session with Creston City Council on July 10, the board announced SIRWA had made it known to them that it intended to either buy Creston’s current plant or build it

Sec. of Ag candidate visits Union Co. Fair

Come November of this year, Iowa residents will be given the opportunity to vote for, among other things, their next Secretary of Agriculture. This election follows the resignation of Bill Northey, who left office to serve as Under Secretary for Farm and Foreign Agricultural Service at the USDA. I had the opportunity to sit down with with Democratic candidate Tim Gannon to talk about this issues at the top of his agenda.

City council funds UCDA project after near split vote

Creston City Council will provide $100,000 over a 10-year period to Union Couty Development Association for the UCDA Board of Trustees Building 301 Project after passing a resolution during Tuesday’s regular meeting with a split decision. Seven community members took podium during the meeting’s public forum to discuss various issues, the first of which was Melvin Scadden, who came to voice concern over the resolution to fund the UCDA’s project. Scadden expressed that this may not be the best u

Fairgrounds buildings to open Thursday

In August 2017, the Union County Fair Board announced the “Building on Tradition” campaign, the aim of which was to raise money so that improvements could be made to the fairgrounds. The majority of the funds were going to be allocated to building two new buildings: one for cattle, the other for sheep and goats. Just under a year later, those new buildings have been built and will officially open Thursday night.

The Western Journal

Here is what’s in a name - The Western Journal

Every year on Yom HaShoah, these disturbing little flags are planted around campus to educate passersby about the effects of the Holocaust and — debatably — honor those whose lives were lost in concentration camps. There are different colors for different groups, and a key so you can read which groups are represented by what. It is this sign that I take issue with. Having attended Western for four Shoahs now, I am disappointed to say that Western’s signage still uses an ethnic slur.

Review: “Big Bear, Little Bear” - The Western Journal

On Jan. 15, Rusty Clanton released his EP “Big Bear, Little Bear.” The Tennessee-native singer-songwriter has grown a substantial following in the last five years through YouTube and touring with the likes of Tessa Violet, dodie and Emma Blackery. For those unfamiliar with his work, when Clanton asked his fans on Twitter to name other acts that his work sounds similar to, followers listed acts from Vance Joy to Bonnie Tyler, from Bon Iver to Sleeping at Last and Passenger.

Harmonica player steals spotlight in jazz performance - The Western Journal

Under a wash of colored lights — which would shift throughout the night, from reds and purples to blues and greens — four men took the Rice Auditorium stage on Jan. 19 for one purpose: to play jazz. The quartet was composed of: DJ Ginyard on bass; Shedrick Mitchell on keyboard, organ and piano; Nathaniel Townsley on drums; and headliner Gregoiré Maret on harmonica. The group were old friends, Maret explained after their introduction. But the four were not the only musicians on stage that night

The Polk County Itemizer-Observer

Keeping science, and kids, cool

INDEPENDENCE — At Talmadge Middle School and Henry Hill Education Support Center, the Summer Science Program will be wrapping up this week. The program has provided more than 100 children with activities to keep them in engaged and air conditioned, as well as providing them with free breakfast and lunch every day, said Angelica Gloria, the school district’s Summer Programs Coordinator. “(The program is important) because it’s giving students the opportunities that enrich them during the summer,

Camp teaches theater to kids

INDEPENDENCE — This week at Central High School, the Little Actors Acting Camp is taking center stage. Founded last year by CHS thespian Matisyn Robischon, the camp began as a fundraiser for the CHS Thespians, but has evolved into something more. “I thought, ‘oh, we can do this camp and it’ll be super fun, and the volunteers would learn something,’ because we were working on getting our thespian troop closer together,” Robischon explained. “I wanted to originally make it a community kind of th

Something new in ‘Much Ado’

Something new in ‘Much Ado’ Valley Shakespeare Company puts twists on classic work, opens Thursday at Western MONMOUTH — Comedy and heroism will seize the Leinwand outdoor stage on Thursday as Valley Shakespeare Company at Western Oregon University opens their third summer show. This year the company is putting on its rendition of Shakespeare’s “Much Ado About Nothing,” which will be set in the wine country of 1890s Italy. The story, which the company’s press release describes as a “romantic

Teens honored for rescue efforts

DALLAS — “Every job is a self-portrait of the one who does it. Autograph your work with excellence.” This is the inscription on the challenge coins which were given to Ethan Collins, Kyra Orwick and Noah Woods by Sgt. Todd Fenk, along with plaques of commendation from Polk County Sherriff Mark Garton. In the community conference room of the Polk County Courthouse on Friday, Ethan, Kyra and Noah were given commendations for their actions on June 30.

‘Lessons in Grace’

DALLAS — In the late ’70s, Petra Cole and her husband adopted two children: Jay and Sally. Sally was the younger sister of Jay, who, it would later be discovered, was what Cole refers to as a “drug baby” — a child affected by their mother’s drug and alcohol use while pregnant. In 2016, Cole published a book titled, “Lessons in Grace, Mercy and Forgiveness: Adopting a Drug Baby,” recounting her experiences raising a drug-affected child and the challenges she faced.