MAHASKA COUNTY — Take a look back over the first three months of 2018.


Radio system

The saga of the county radio system continued throughout the entire year. In January, a request for proposal was ready to be presented to the Emergency Management Agency Commission for review before being sent out.

The RFP wasn't sent out, due to conflicts with the Mahaska County Board of Supervisors, until over half a year later.

Big Brothers Big Sisters

Big Brothers Big Sisters launched locally and began pairing adult mentors with children. The Mahaska County program is under the umbrella of Big Brothers Big Sister of Johnson County. "Bigs and littles" spend time together and do activities. Program Director Robbyn Duchow oversees the program.

Currently, more mentors are needed – especially men.

New Year's baby

Adan Dean Martin, born Jan. 4, 2018, was the New Year's baby at MHP. Adan weighed 6 pounds 7 inches and was 20 inches long. His parents are Patricia Snook and Travis Martin of Sigourney. Grandparents are Tim and Faye Snook of Oskaloosa and Crystal and the late Larry Martin of Sigourney. His great-grandparents are James and Bonnie Handeland of Eddyville and Wallis and the late Beverly Lippard of What Cheer.

Opioid crisis

Mahaska County joined 34 other counties (at that time) in a lawsuit filed against drug companies in an effort to combat opioid addiction. Iowa counties were encouraged to file suit by the Iowa State Association of Counties.

Cheer squad

Oskaloosa cheerleaders Vincent Ramirez and Noah Hoffman were the first male cheerleaders for Oskaloosa in over a decade.

Eggs and issues

Oskaloosa's winter tradition returned, with elected officials making themselves available to answer questions from their constituents

Recreation and Early Childhood Education Center

The Oskaloosa Community School District Board of Directors officially decided to be involved with the recreation and early childhood education center, subject to an agreeable 28E with the City of Oskaloosa.

At a December 2018 meeting, the school board approved the 28E agreement, which is now in the hands of the Oskaloosa City Council.

Woolly Dreams

Mammoth bones were found on a Mahaska County farmer's property in 2010. The Mahaska County Conservation Board helped with the dig.

MCCB Naturalist Laura DeCook said they helped dig up bones and recruited volunteers to help.

“One day while we were digging, I was trying to think of a way to make the dig educational,” she said. “What do we do with the bones once they’re out, how can we educate the public about it?”

DeCook, Mary Jane Sullivan and Linda Fox wrote the children's story; Karen Phelps illustrated.

Sales barn

The old Oskaloosa sales barn was demolished Jan. 29 due to being in disrepair. The sales barn hadn't been used in quite some time.


Fire at International Ingredients Corp.

A fire razed International Ingredients Corp on Sunday, Feb. 4. The facility was a total loss, with an estimated $1.8 million in damages. Firefighters were on the scene for eight hours. Oskaloosa Fire Chief Mark Neff said there were 84 firefighters from nine different departments on the scene. A strong wind complicated firefighting efforts.

The company decided to rebuild.

Historical marker

The first of nine historical markers was placed at the Oskaloosa Fire Station on Thursday, Feb. 15. A group of local history buffs has worked on the project, which continues into 2019.

The Oskaloosa Fire Department building was built in 1909 and has been in continuous use. It received some updates and upgrades in 2017.

Flag lowered

The Oskaloosa bandstand flag was lowered to half-mast following the tragic shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla.

Racing to the start line

Despite rumors that there would be no racing at Southern Iowa Speedway in 2018, the speedway announced plans for a shorter racing season. Several races were rained out during the abbreviated season.


Marquis Todd

William Penn University basketball player Marquis Todd, 22, from Woodridge, Ill., was killed March 1. Todd died as the result of a stab wound. Oskaloosa Police Chief Jake McGee during a press conference said there was a minor vehicle accident, which turned into a fight resulting in the stabbing. Luke Ryan VanHemert, 23, of Oskaloosa, was arrested March 14 and charged with one count of murder in the second degree. VanHemert has yet to undergo trial.

Elected office

Reps. Guy Vander Linden and Larry Sheets announced they would not be running for re-election for Districts 79 and 80. New Sharon Mayor Dustin Hite was elected to replace Vander Linden in District 79; Holly Brink was elected to District 80.

Pheasants Forever

Mahaska County Pheasants Forever celebrated 30 years. The nonprofit organization has focused on wildlife conservation and habitat projects.