Thursday, 17 Apr 2014
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Viral status: locals join worldwide challenge PDF Print E-mail
Written by J Wilson   
Wednesday, 09 April 2014 13:31

By Jacki Bardole

The Plunge for Landon began on March 30 as a way for people to show support for Landon Shaw,

a five-month old baby Tarkio, Mo. For the past six weeks,Shaw has been battling a rare form of

cancer that attacks the kidneys, liver, lungs and brain of its victims. Individuals who accept,

record themselves stating who challenged them and call out others they will sponsor before

jumping into or otherwise dousing themselves with cold water. As of April 7, individuals from

48 states and at least 16 countries have taken the plunge. As of Friday, when local people

began jumping into Lake Icaria, the total amount raised to help the family with their medical

expenses was $30,648.65. To learn more about Landon and follow the challenge search Facebook

for Plunge for Landon. Pictured, clockwise from above, Tristan Lillie is interviewed by KCCI’s Mark Tauscheck

after her plunge; Brad Bain takes a leap into Lake Icaria; Jason Boswell emerges from 40-degree

water after his April 4 jump. Photos by J. Wilson




Last Updated on Wednesday, 09 April 2014 13:40
City Council okays alcohol at community building PDF Print E-mail
Written by J Wilson   
Tuesday, 01 April 2014 16:52

The Corning City Council voted on March 24 to allow the consumption of alcoholic beverages at the Corning Community Building and at Spring Lake.

A potential revenue stream for the City, the ordinance shift has been discussed for years as a means of offering more options for events such as wedding receptions, class reunions and other group gatherings, said Mayor Courtney Turnis.

“This is a simple new opportunity for the citizens to utilize their community building to socialize with alcohol legally,” said Turnis. “The community building offers a great spatial layout for reunions, banquets, conferences, meetings, and weddings thus legally you should have the right to celebrate accordingly. In the future I hope this space is filled with great conversation, laughter, music, and of course dancing.”

The changes to Ordinance 423 define the Community Building and Spring Lake as the only city-owned properties where alcohol may be possessed or consumed, noting that users of the facilities must sign a rental agreement agreeing to conditions to allow an “authorized function” at the “authorized sites.”

The ordinance change does not allow for the consumption of alcoholic beverages at other City-owned public places such as Central Park, Grove Park or Lake Binder.

For a complete look at Ordinance 423, see page 9.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 01 April 2014 16:52
Dance showcase PDF Print E-mail
Written by J Wilson   
Tuesday, 25 March 2014 19:55


Southwest Valley dancers, from kindergarten to high school, performed a Dance Showcase at the SWV High School Activity Center in Corning on March 14. Photo by Teri Laughlin

Cattleman by day, gymnast by night PDF Print E-mail
Written by J Wilson   
Tuesday, 25 March 2014 20:04

By J. Wilson

Free Press Editor

Bob Stougard moved from Des Moines to Adams County in 2004 to raise his children in the country and make a project out of a fixer-upper house. Born and raised in the city, he took the unlikely job of working cattle for Jorgensen Farms.

“I never would have dreamed that I’d be doing cattle work,” he said. “But it’s actually one of my two favorite jobs.”

The other job that Stougard likes is teaching gymnastics. He took up tumbling in elementary and junior high school, and later immersed himself in gymnastics. A year after graduating from high school, he began teaching gymnastics at a local gym. Eventually, he opened Stougard’s Gymnastics Academy, which he operated for six years before taking a break from teaching. During that time, Stougard led a gymnast to two gold medals at the Junior Olympics, and has trained gymnasts to compete in the United States Gymnasts Federation, the United States Tumbling Association and the American Athletic Union.

Fast-forward to 2012. An acquaintance learned of Stougard’s history teaching tumbling and gymnastics, and asked him to consider giving lessons to her two children. Stougard considered the notion and eventually decided to not only take the offer, but to return to teaching full-on by setting up a tumbling program at the Alegent Creighton Wellness Center in January of 2013. Word spread.

As interest grew, Stougard began searching for a bigger space, and last December, he opened Corning Gymnastics, located at 709 Davis Avenue. Though he was reluctant to take on the overhead due to the small size of the community and local population, opening the gym, fully equipped with parallel bars, rings, a balance beam and a pommel horse, was a good move. Though Corning Gymnastics is young, Stougard has attracted 85 students from as far away as Red Oak, Shenandoah and Afton, and everywhere in between. “I’m blown away at the distance that people are willing to travel from all over Southwest Iowa,” he said.

Three months in, Stougard, a father of six, has discovered a wealth of talent in his students. “My mission is to use the sport of gymnastics to enrich the lives of young people through physical fitness in a positive and encouraging environment. His work is paying off. On April 5, he’ll take eight of them to their first competition in Atlantic, and he’s excited about their potential to perform well.

Corning Gymnastics offers evening classes year-round. For more information, visit or call (641) 203-0296.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 25 March 2014 20:06
Science Fair puts theories to the test PDF Print E-mail
Written by J Wilson   
Tuesday, 11 March 2014 18:58

Mikayla Hartstack (along with her partner, Bellamy Heaton) received an honorable mention nod for her science project, “Cookie Monster’s Favorite Science Fair Project. Photo by Jacki Bardole

With entries in physical science, biology, chemistry, engineering and physics, the 2014 Southwest Valley High School Science and Engineering Fair was held at the high school gym in Corning on March 6.

Topping nearly one hundred entries in two divisions were Marissa Drake and Gentry Johannes (physical sciences) and Christine Shipley (life sciences) with their respective entries, “Ankle Science” and “Can’t Handle the Tension? Get Out of the Water!”

Judges for the event were Brian Peterson, Josh Sussman, Mat Beu, Erin Wetzel, William Stone, Beth Waddle, Marilea Mullen, Linda Shearer, Ken Rummer, Tim Freed, Brent Mullen, Kent Jorgensen, Katrina Phelan, Pete Nett, Sharon Ireland, Tracy King, Sandy Winter, Burton Heaton and Daniel Mahn.


Life Sciences

1st place: “Ankle Science” by Marissa Drake and Gentry Johannes;

2nd place: “I Spy” by Mikayla Moore and Lane Peterson;

3rd place: “Got Milk?” by Sydney Pontius and Stephanie Shuler

Honorable Mention: “Spiraling in Frozen Fractals” by Kelsey Holbrook

Physical Science

1st Place: “Can't Handle the Tension? Get out of the Water!” by Christine Shipley

2nd Place: “Does That Angle Matter” by William Golden and Hunter Pontius

3rd Place: “Polar Opposites” by Taylor Henkenius and Taylor Gaule and “Spud Gun” by Trevor Sorensen and Colten Drake

Honorable Mention: “Cookie Monster's Favorite Science Fair Project” by Bellamy Heaton and Mikayla Hartstack and “Got Pressure” by Sean Haffner”

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