VanDusseldorp Breaks 16 year Drought With SIS Win

By Jerry Mackey

Oskaloosa, Iowa: With rain showers blanketing Southern Iowa on Wednesday the Southern Iowa Speedway was able to dodge the rain long enough to get racing action in. Night number two of the season was once again run in front of a closed grandstand due to the Covid-19 Pandemic regulations.

The highlight of Wednesday nights racing action was the return to victory lane by Oskaloosa’s very own Rick VanDusseldorp, a career that spans three decades with breaks in time. VanDusseldorp scored his first win in 16 years topping the Parker Tree Service Hobby Stock 14 lap feature. The win was very hard fought for VanDusseldorp, who held off a hard charging Christian Huffman at the checkers.

Nathan Wood only led two laps of the Mid State Machine Stock Car feature on Wednesday, but it was the last lap that earned Wood his second win of the 2020 racing season at SIS. Wood made a move in turn four coming to the white flag to overtake race leader Derrick Agee to score the win.

Curtis VanDerwal took off from a front row start and was never challenged on his way to an impressive win in the Oskaloosa Quality Rental Sportmod feature. Colton Livezy made a late race charge to finish second.

Billy Cain added his name to first time winners at SIS by scoring the win in the DirtnAsphalt Sport Compact class. Cain raced to the checkers ahead of Tyler Harring.

Jonathan Hughes continued his mastery of SIS in the Non Wing Sprint Car class. Hughes scored Wednesday nights win in dramatic fashion by wrestling the lead away from Ben Woods with one lap to go.

The next racing event at the Southern Iowa Speedway will be run in front of fans, the race date will be determined in the next couple of days.

Southern Iowa Speedway Race Results

Features (top 5)

Hobby Stocks

  1. 1R Rick VanDusseldorp-Oskaloosa
  2. 14 Christian Huffman-New Sharon
  3. 67J Jadyn Stevens-Hedrick
  4. 10G Dustin Griffiths-Hedrick
  5. 54 Jesse Williams-New Sharon

Stock Cars

  1. 52 Nathan Wood-Sigourney
  2. 14 Derrick Agee-Moberly, MO
  3. 85 Jason McDaniel-Eldon
  4. 409 Howard Gordon Jr.-Oskaloosa
  5. 19 Donnie Pearson-Oskaloosa


  1. 1V Curtis VanDerwal-Oskaloosa
  2. 29 Colton Livezy-New Sharon
  3. 7 Blaine Webster-Ottumwa
  4. 7V Carter VanDenberg-Oskaloosa
  5. 30 M Maguire Dejong-Montezuma

Sport Compacts

  1. 52 Billy Cain-Bloomfield
  2. 5 Tyler Harring-Oskaloosa
  3. 213 Tyler Heckart-Ottumwa
  4. 41 Nathan Moody-Oskaloosa
  5. 00 Seth Meinders-Ottumwa

Non Wing Sprints

  1. 67 Jonathan Hughes-Knoxville
  2. 11B Ben Woods-Newton
  3. 25 Kelly Graham-Hedrick
  4. 0 Mike Mayberry-Fremont
  5. 12 Doug Sylvester-Ottumwa 

Violent protests rock Minneapolis for 2nd straight night


MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Violent protests over the death of a black man in police custody rocked a Minneapolis neighborhood for a second straight night as angry crowds looted stores, set fires and left a path of damage that stretched for miles. The mayor asked the governor to activate the National Guard.

The protests that began late Wednesday and stretched into Thursday morning were the most destructive yet since the death of George Floyd, who was seen on video gasping for breath during an arrest in which an officer kneeled on his neck for almost eight minutes. In the footage, George pleads that he cannot breathe before he slowly stops talking and moving.

Mayor Jacob Frey sought calm. “Please, Minneapolis, we cannot let tragedy beget more tragedy,” he said on Twitter.

Protests also spread to other U.S. cities. In California, hundreds of people protesting Floyd’s death blocked a Los Angeles freeway and shattered windows of California Highway Patrol cruisers.

Pockets of looting continued Thursday at Minneapolis stores where windows and doors were smashed. Television station KSTP reported some fires at businesses burned with no firefighters on the scene. A liquor store employee displayed a gun as he stood among the debris of broken bottles and beer cans inside the business.

Amid the violence, a man was found fatally shot Wednesday night near a pawn shop, possibly by the owner, authorities said.

Protesters began gathering Wednesday afternoon near the city’s 3rd Precinct station, in the southern part of the city, where the 46-year-old Floyd died on Memorial Day as police arrested him outside a convenience store on a report of a counterfeit bill being passed. Protesters also skirmished with officers, who fired rubber bullets and tear gas in a repeat of Tuesday night’s confrontation.

By Thursday morning, smoke hung over the city, and looters carried merchandise from a damaged Target store with no interference by police. Video of the store’s interior showed empty clothing racks and shelves and debris strewn about. Obscenities were spray-painted on the outside of the store.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office and the FBI in Minneapolis said Thursday they were conducting “a robust criminal investigation” into Floyd’s death and making the case a priority. The announcement came a day after President Donald Trump tweeted that he had asked an investigation to be expedited.

The FBI had already announced that it would investigate whether Floyd’s civil rights were violated.

The officer and three others were fired Tuesday. On Wednesday, Frey called for him to be criminally charged.

Frey appealed to Gov. Tim Walz to activate the National Guard, a spokesman confirmed Thursday. The governor’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Walz tweeted for calm Wednesday night, calling the violence “an extremely dangerous situation” and urging people to leave the scene.

Also on Wednesday night, officers responding to a reported stabbing near the protests found a man lying on the sidewalk with what turned out to be a bullet wound, police spokesman John Elder said. The man was pronounced dead at a hospital. Elder said a suspect was in custody and that the facts leading up to the shooting were “still being sorted out.”


Associated Press writers Amy Forliti in Minneapolis, Gretchen Ehlke in Milwaukee and Colleen Long in Washington contributed to this report.

Absentee voting begins

Thursday (5/28) is the first day of absentee balloting in Iowa in advance of Tuesday’s primary election.   You can vote in the lobby of your county courthouse Thursday and Friday (5/29) from 8am to 4:30pm, on Saturday (5/30) from 9am to 5pm and Monday, June 1 from 8am to 5pm.  Curbside voting is also available at those same times.

Flash Flood Watch Thursday

A Flash Flood Watch is in effect for the No Coast Network listening area until 7pm Thursday night (5/28).  The National Weather Service says slow moving showers and thunderstorms could produce one to two inches of rain, with two to four inches of rain in some isolated spots.  Heavy rains could produce flash flooding of small streams and creeks and could also lead to ponding in urban areas.  A Flash Flood Watch means conditions could develop that lead to flash flooding.  Keep tuned to the No Coast Network for the latest weather updates.

Lenhart hired as Indians boys basketball coach

Oskaloosa High has a new boys’ basketball coach.  Brandon Lenhart’s hiring was approved at Tuesday night’s (5/26) Oskaloosa School Board meeting.  Ryan Parker, Osky’s Activities Director and former boys’ basketball coach, talks about Lenhart.

“He has five years at William Penn as the assistant, 12 years at McCook (NE) Community College as the head coach and one year at Minot State (ND) (in) Division II, where he is currently the assistant.  He brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to this program.”

Lenhart is also a native of Tama.  Parker stepped down as boys’ varsity coach earlier this month to concentrate on his duties as activities director.

Also at Tuesday’s Oskaloosa School Board meeting, Erik McGee was appointed as assistant varsity coach and head junior varsity coach.  McGee was an assistant with the Indians 8th graders last season.

Pella Christian honored

Pella Christian High School has qualified for the Carrie Chapman Catt Award for the school year that just ended.  The award goes to Iowa schools that register at least 90 percent of eligible students to vote.  Pella Christian is one of just 18 Iowa schools to reach the 90 percent standard.  Ottumwa and Lynnville-Sully High Schools were recognized for registering at least 70 percent of eligible students to vote.

American virus deaths at 100,000: What does a number mean?


The fraught, freighted number of this particular American moment is a round one brimming with zeroes: 100,000. A hundred thousands. A thousand hundreds. Five thousand score. More than 8,000 dozen. All dead.

This is the week when America’s official coronavirus death toll reaches six digits. One hundred thousand lives wiped out by a disease unknown to science a half a year ago.

And as the unwanted figure arrives — nearly a third of the global pandemic deaths in the first five months of a very trying year — what can looking at that one and those five zeroes tell us? What does any number deployed in momentous times to convey scope and seriousness and thought really mean?

“We all want to measure these experiences because they’re so shocking, so overwhelming that we want to bring some sense of knowability to the unknown,” says Jeffrey Jackson, a history professor at Rhodes College in Tennessee who teaches about the politics of natural disasters.

This is not new. In the mid-1800s, a new level of numerical precision was emerging in Western society around the same time the United States fought the Civil War. Facing such massive death and challenges counting the dead, Americans started to realize that numbers and statistics represented more than knowledge; they contained power, according to historian Drew Gilpin Faust.

“Their provision of seemingly objective knowledge promised a foundation for control in a reality escaping the bounds of the imaginable,” Faust wrote in “This Republic of Suffering,” her account of how the Civil War changed Americans’ relationship with death.

“Numbers,” she wrote, “represented a means of imposing sense and order on what Walt Whitman tellingly depicted as the `countless graves’ of the `infinite dead.’”

Today’s Americans have precedents for visualizing and understanding 100,000 people — dead and alive. They have numerous comparisons at hand.

For example: Beaver Stadium, seen often on TV as the home to Penn State football and one of the country’s largest sports venues, holds 106,572 people when full. The 2018 estimated population of South Bend, Indiana, was 101,860. About 100,000 people visit the Statue of Liberty every 10 days.

The total amount of U.S. Civil War deaths — combat and otherwise — was 655,000. For World War I it was more than 116,000, for World War II more than 405,000 and for the Korean and Vietnam wars more than 36,000 and more than 58,000 respectively. Those don’t include non-U.S. deaths.

Gun violence killed more than 37,000 people a year on average between 2014 and 2018 in the United States. And 9/11 took exactly 2,996 lives, a figure that the U.S. coronavirus tally passed in early April.

At some point with numbers, though, things start feeling more abstract and less comprehensible. This has informed the methodology of remembering the Holocaust by humanizing it: Six million dead, after all, is a figure so enormous that it resists comprehension.

“It’s really hard for people to grasp statistics when it comes to numbers after a certain scale,” says Lorenzo Servitje, an assistant professor of literature and medicine at Lehigh University.

“Can you picture 30,000 people Or 50,000 people? And when you get into the millions, what do you even do with that?” he says. “It’s so outside of our everyday life that it’s hard to grasp meaning from them.”

The New York Times tried to address that problem Sunday, dedicating its entire front page to naming the virus dead — an exercise that, even in a tiny typeface, only captured 1% of those now gone. “A count,” the newspaper said, “reveals only so much.”

Adding to the complexity is how different coronavirus deaths are from, say, a 9/11, a mass shooting or a cataclysmic natural disaster. Unlike those, the COVID saga unfolds gradually over time, growing steadily more severe, and resists the time-tested American appetite for loud and immediate storylines.

“Each day we’ve become accustomed to the new reality that we don’t realize how far we’ve traveled from what normal is,” says Daryl Van Tongeren, an associate professor of psychology at Hope College in Michigan who studies how people find meaning in suffering.

Our brains, he says, are wired to be empathetic to suffering — to a point.

“With too much suffering over time, it’s overwhelming and we begin to become callous. And our empathy essentially runs out,” Van Tongeren says. “We’re so accustomed to death right now, at 100,000, that our empathy has become lower.”

Finally, there are numbers living within the round 100,000 number that cry out for their own interpretations. The disproportionate number of dead Americans of color, for example. Or the systematic way the disease is ravaging places where older Americans live, taking them in numbers that — if they were dying in mass shootings — might provoke a very different kind of reaction.

Don’t focus so much on the numbers, some admonish. Others criticize official counts, calling them inflated and inaccurate. More likely, because of spotty testing and undiagnosed cases, the number 100,000 falls significantly short.

But whether 100,000 has already happened or is yet to come, the meaning of this numerical milestone — human-imposed though it may be — raises fundamental questions.

Have we decided to live with death, at least to a point? What would it mean if, around Labor Day, we reconvened in this space to discuss the 200,000th dead American? What would that number cause us to contemplate?

In the 14th century, the Black Death ravaged humanity, taking many millions. No one knows how many died. Today, when the dead are counted, some coherence is reached. The thinking is this: If the virus can’t be stopped, at least it can be quantified by human effort — far more palatable than a society where we couldn’t even establish who was no longer among us.

“As humans we like clean stories,” says Roland Minton, a mathematics professor at Roanoke College in Virginia. “And classifying things by number of digits can be a nice, clear way of classifying things.”

So when Whitman wrote of “countless graves,” he was not merely being poetic. Then, the idea of uncounted dead was more than metaphor; it was a direct description of what had happened.

Replacing that situation with accurate numbers, as society grew more sophisticated, did not solve everything. But it was something. Just as 100,000 means something this week in American life. Maybe not everything — not a vaccine, not a treatment — and maybe not clarity, exactly. Not yet. But something.


Ted Anthony, director of digital innovation for The Associated Press, has been writing about American culture since 1990. Follow him on Twitter at http://twitter.com/anthonyted

Osky School Board OKs summer sports with conditions

Play ball!  At Tuesday’s (5/26) special meeting, the Oskaloosa School Board voted to allow the baseball and softball seasons to go ahead.  Some Board members expressed concerns about coronavirus and their measure highly recommends that team members and drivers wear masks while on buses going to and from games.  Oskaloosa Activities Director Ryan Parker says social distancing will be part of the equation.

“At the end of the day, I’m happy that our kids get a summer sports season.  But we also need to realize that we need to follow the rules and regulations or there may not be a summer sports season.  So I think we just need to be thankful that our kids get an opportunity.”

The School Board’s resolution also includes a warning that if spectators don’t keep their social distance, games could end up being played behind closed doors.  Parker adds that because of a requirement from the State Department of Education, concessions won’t be available at games.  In another bow to social distancing, Little Hawkeye Conference teams have decided that rather than charge admission, teams will accept free will offerings at the gate.  That’s also considered a good way to keep lines moving going into ballparks.

Coronavirus update

Checking the numbers, 464 Iowans have now died from coronavirus, with one new death in Mahaska County and one in Jasper County.  And 17,661 people have tested positive for COVID-19.

Also, Crystal Heights Care Center in Oskaloosa is reporting that two more residents have died for a total of six who have died of COVID-19 since an outbreak was declared earlier this month.  All told, 48 residents and 13 employees at Crystal Heights have tested positive for coronavirus.  All Crystal Heights residents who have tested positive for coronavirus are being quarantined.

And a coronavirus outbreak has also been declared at Vista Woods Care Center in Ottumwa, with 13 residents testing positive for the virus.  Iowa considers it an outbreak when three or more coronavirus cases are found at a long-term care facility.


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