US long-term mortgage rates rise; 30-year loan at 3.73%

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. long-term mortgage rates rose this week. Still, rates remain at historically low levels as a lure to prospective homebuyers. Mortgage buyer Freddie Mac says the average rate for a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage increased to 3.73% from 3.68% last week. The benchmark rate stood at 4.63% a year ago. The average rate on a 15-year mortgage rose to 3.19% from 3.14%.

The average rate for a five-year adjustable-rate mortgage bucked the trend at 3.36%, down from 3.39% last week.

Freddie Mac surveys lenders nationwide between Monday and Wednesday each week to compile its mortgage rate figures.

WPU’s Newman & Pennington named players of the week

Two William Penn basketball players have been named Heart of America Athletic Conference Players of the Week.  Karmari Newman is the men’s player of the week after averaging 24.7 points per game in three Statesmen victories last week.  The junior from Detroit also made 58.6 percent of his three point shots.  And Brenda Pennington is the conference’s women’s player of the week.  The senior point guard averaged 18 points, 5 rebounds and 4.7 assists in the Statesmen’s three games last week.  Pennington also scored a career high 24 points in Saturday’s overtime win over Evangel.

Thursday high school sports schedule

There’s a light high school basketball schedule Thursday night (12/12): Newton is at Marshalltown, Grinnell hosts Clear Creek-Amana and Gilbert at PCM.  All of these are boys and girls doubleheaders.  Friday night (12/13), Oskaloosa travels to Dallas Center-Grimes for a boys and girls doubleheader.  You can hear both games on KBOE-FM and KBOEradio.com.  Coverage starts at 6, with the girls’ game at 6:15 and the boys’ game around 7:45.

Sigourney’s basketball teams are at Belle Plaine Friday night.  Coverage on KMZN AM & FM starts at 5:45 with the pregame, the girls’ game at 6 and the boys’ game around 7:30.

Thursday’s high school wrestling calendar has Oskaloosa hosting Norwalk and Winterset; EBF, Knoxville and Chariton are part of a six team meet in Centerville; and PCM is at North Polk for a quadrangular meet.

In boys’ high school swimming, Oskaloosa and Ottumwa are at Des Moines Roosevelt for a meet, while Grinnell is at Des Moines Hoover.  Also, Oskaloosa’s bowlers are at Ottumwa.

Area firefighters receive Award of Valor

Three Sigourney firefighters and four from Ottumwa were honored at the Iowa Statehouse Tuesday (12/10).  Sigourney firefighters Joshua Myers, Joseph White and Zachery Steinhart received the Sullivan Brothers’ Award of Valor for their work in a fire rescue in April.  Four members of the Ottumwa Fire Department also received the Award of Valor. Captain Rich Damm and firefighters Gary Doud, Andrew Ewing and Will Munley were honored for their work in October of last year when they conducted a rescue on the flooded Des Moines River that included pulling Captain Damm out of the river.

Tuesday basketball scores

In girls’ basketball Tuesday night (12/10), Sigourney remained undefeated as the third-ranked Savages held off Iowa Valley 46-41….

North Mahaska 58, Lynnville-Sully 31

Ottumwa 60, Fairfield 35

Montezuma 71, HLV 13

Ballard 63, Pella 34

Keota 37, Tri-County 13

Knoxville 62, Clarke 21

Moulton-Udell 39, Twin Cedars 34

North Polk 66, PCM 27

Pekin 43, Highland 37


 In boys high school basketball, Montezuma junior Trey Shearer reached the 1000 point mark for his career as the Braves defeated HLV 87-42.

Oskaloosa 83, Centerville 36

Sigourney 47, Iowa Valley 36

North Mahaska 59, Lynnville-Sully 51

Ottumwa 48, Fairfield 41

Pella 91, Ballard 75

Pella Christian 83, Grand View 62

Keota 100, Tri-County 44

Albia 57, Chariton 42

PCM 50, North Polk 46

Pekin 56, Highland 43

Thunberg ‘a bit surprised’ to be Time ‘Person of the Year’


MADRID (AP) — Teenage climate activist Greta Thunberg said she was surprised and honored Wednesday to learn she had been named Time’s youngest “Person of the Year,” saying the accolade deserved to be shared by others in the global movement she helped inspire.

The 16-year-old Swede has become the face of a new generation of activists, drawing large crowds with her appearances at protests and conferences over the past year and a half. Some have welcomed her activism, including her speeches challenging world leaders to do more to stop global warming. But others have criticized her sometimes combative tone.

“For sounding the alarm about humanity’s predatory relationship with the only home we have, for bringing to a fragmented world a voice that transcends backgrounds and borders, for showing us all what it might look like when a new generation leads, Greta Thunberg is TIME’s 2019 Person of the Year,” the media franchise said on its website.

Leaving a U.N. climate conference in Madrid, Thunberg told The Associated Press she was “a bit surprised” at the recognition.

“I could never have imagined anything like that happening,” she said in a phone interview.

“I’m of course, very grateful for that, very honored,” Thunberg said, but added that “it should be everyone in the Fridays for Future movement because what we have done, we have done together.”

Thunberg said she was hopeful that the message being pushed by her and other activists — that governments need to drastically increase their efforts to combat climate change — is finally getting through.

But she insisted that the media should also pay attention to other activists, particularly indigenous people who she said “are hit hardest by the climate and environmental crisis,” and to the science around global warming.

“That is what I am trying to do, to use my platform to do,” she said.

Thunberg said the movement, which has staged repeated worldwide protests attended by hundreds of thousands of people, had managed to spread awareness about the need to urgently reduce planet-warming greenhouse gas emissions and help those already affected by climate change.

“To get in a sense of urgency in the conversation that is very needed right now to be able to move forward,” she said. “That, I think, is our biggest success.”

Asked whether she thought world leaders were beginning to respond to this message, Thunberg said: “They say they listen and they say they understand, but it sure doesn’t seem like it.”

“If they really would listen and understand then I think they need to prove that by translating that into action,” she added.

She said the experience of the past 15 months, going from solo-protester outside the Swedish parliament to speaking in front of world leaders at the U.N. General Assembly, had changed her.

“I think life is much more meaningful now that I have something to do that has an impact,” she said.

Thunberg has tried to preserve some privacy despite the relentless interest she’s received from media and adoring fans in recent months.

She was mobbed on her arrival in Madrid last week and the attention paid to her appearances at the climate conference has far outstripped that of other events, save for Hollywood stars like Harrison Ford.

“I would like to be left alone,” Thunberg said when asked about her plans for the next days. She will later travel home to Sweden, to spend Christmas with her family and dogs, she added.

“After that, I have no school to return to until August because I’ve taken a gap year,” she said.

“I will probably continue a bit like now, travel around. And if I get invitations to come. And just try everything I can,” she added.

Earlier Wednesday, Thunberg addressed negotiators at the U.N.’s annual climate talks, warning that “almost nothing is being done, apart from clever accounting and creative PR.”

Last year’s Time winners included slain Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi; the staff of the Capital Gazette in Annapolis, Maryland, where five people were shot to death; Philippine journalist Maria Ressa; and two Reuters journalists, Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo.


Kiley Armstrong in New York contributed to this report.

___ Follow AP’s climate coverage at https://www.apnews.com/Climate ___ The Associated Press Health and Science Department receives support from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s Department of Science Education. The AP is solely responsible for all content.

Indians rout Centerville

Oskaloosa’s boys’ basketball team bounced back from last Friday’s (12/6) overtime loss to Grinnell to defeat Centerville 83-36 Tuesday night (12/10) in Oskaloosa.  The Indians never trailed as they improve to 2-1 on the season.  Center Xavier Foster had 17 points to lead the Oskaloosa scoring.  Indians Assistant Coach DaJuan Foster gave credit to senior forward Colton Butler for rebounding.

“Colton is a kid who does everything really well.  He doesn’t necessarily make mistakes.  We challenged him.  I challenged Colton right before we came out, right before tip, to get more rebounds. The kid does everything that you ask him and we just challenged him to be better on the glass and he came out and he responded well.”

The Indians boys are off until Friday night (12/13) when they play at Dallas Center-Grimes.  You can hear that boys and girls doubleheader on KBOE-FM with Friday night’s coverage starting at 6.

Heckethorn attempted murder trial delayed

An Ottumwa man charged with attempted murder has had his trial delayed.  20-year-old Paul Heckethorn is accused of shooting 61-year-old Clifford Collett in August of last year.  Heckethorn’s trial was to have begun in February, but now the trial is scheduled to start in March.  You might remember Heckethorn was convicted of second degree murder last month for the August 2018 death of William Shettlesworth.  Heckethorn will be sentenced in that case in January.

‘We must act;’ Democrats unveil Trump impeachment charges


WASHINGTON (AP) — House Democrats announced two articles of impeachment Tuesday against President Donald Trump — abuse of power and obstruction of Congress — pushing toward historic votes over charges he corrupted the U.S. election process and endangered national security in his dealings with Ukraine.

Speaker Nancy Pelosi, flanked by the chairmen of the impeachment inquiry committees, stood at the Capitol for what she called a “solemn act.″ Voting is expected in a matter of days in the Judiciary Committee and by Christmas in the full House. Trump insisted he did npthing wrong and his reelection campaign called it “rank partisnaship.”

“He endangers our democracy; he endangers our national security,” said Rep. Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., the Judiciary chairman announcing the charges before a portrait of George Washington. “Our next election is at risk. … That is why we must act now.”

Trump tweeted ahead of the announcement that impeaching a president with a record like his would be “sheer Political Madness!”

The outcome, though, appears increasingly set as the House prepares for voting, as it has only three times in history against a U.S. president. Approval of the charges would send them to the Senate in January, where the Republican majority would be unlikely to convict Trump.

Democratic leaders say Trump put his political interests above those of the nation when he asked Ukraine to investigate his rivals, including Democrat Joe Biden, and then withheld $400 million in military aid as the U.S. ally faced an aggressive Russia. They say he then tried obstructed Congress by stonewalling the House investigation.

In drafting the articles of impeachment, Pelosi faced a legal and political challenge of balancing the views of her majority while hitting the Constitution’s bar of “treason, bribery or other high crimes and misdemeanors.”

Some liberal lawmakers wanted more expansive charges encompassing the findings from former special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe of Russian interference in the 2016 election. Centrist Democrats preferred to keep the impeachment articles more focused on Trump’s actions toward Ukraine. House Democrats have announced two articles of impeachment charging President Donald Trump with abuse of power and obstruction of Congress.

When asked during a Monday evening event if she had enough votes to impeach the Republican president, Pelosi said she would let House lawmakers vote their conscience.

“On an issue like this, we don’t count the votes. People will just make their voices known on it,” Pelosi said at The Wall Street Journal CEO Council. “I haven’t counted votes, nor will I.”

Trump, who has declined to mount a defense in the actual House hearings, tweeted Tuesday just as the six Democratic House committee chairmen prepared to make their announcement.

“To Impeach a President who has proven through results, including producing perhaps the strongest economy in our country’s history, to have one of the most successful presidencies ever, and most importantly, who has done NOTHING wrong, is sheer Political Madness! #2020Election,” he wrote on Twitter.

The president also spent part of Monday tweeting against the impeachment proceedings. He and his allies have called the process “absurd.”

The next steps emerged in the swiftly moving proceedings as Pelosi convened a meeting of the impeachment committee chairmen at her office in the Capitol late Monday following an acrimonious, nearly 10-hour hearing at the Judiciary Committee, which could vote as soon as this week.

“I think there’s a lot of agreement,” Rep. Eliot Engel of New York, the Democratic chairman of the Foreign Affairs committee, told reporters as he exited Pelosi’s office. “A lot of us believe that what happened with Ukraine especially is not something we can just close our eyes to.”

At the Judiciary hearing, Democrats said Trump’s push to have Ukraine investigate rival Joe Biden while withholding U.S. military aid ran counter to U.S. policy and benefited Russia as well as himself.

“President Trump’s persistent and continuing effort to coerce a foreign country to help him cheat to win an election is a clear and present danger to our free and fair elections and to our national security,” said Dan Goldman, the director of investigations at the House Intelligence Committee, presenting the finding of the panel’s 300-page report of the inquiry.

Republicans rejected not just Goldman’s conclusion of the Ukraine matter; they also questioned his very appearance before the Judiciary panel. In a series of heated exchanges, they said Rep. Adam Schiff, the chairman of the Intelligence Committee, should appear rather than sending his lawyer.

From the White House, Trump tweeted repeatedly, assailing the “Witch Hunt!” and “Do Nothing Democrats.”

In drafting the articles of impeachment, Pelosi is facing a legal and political challenge of balancing the views of her majority while hitting the Constitution’s bar of “treason, bribery or other high crimes and misdemeanors.”

Some liberal lawmakers wanted more expansive charges encompassing the findings from former special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe of Russian interference in the 2016 election. Centrist Democrats preferred to keep the impeachment articles more focused on Trump’s actions toward Ukraine.

Nadler was blunt as he opened Monday’s hearing, saying, “President Trump put himself before country.”

Trump’s conduct, Nadler said at the end of the daylong hearing, “is clearly impeachable.”

Rep. Doug Collins of Georgia, the top Republican on the committee, said Democrats are racing to jam impeachment through on a “clock and a calendar” ahead of the 2020 presidential election.

“They can’t get over the fact that Donald Trump is the president of the United States, and they don’t have a candidate that can beat him,” Collins said.

In one testy exchange, Republican attorney Stephen Castor dismissed the transcript of Trump’s crucial call with Ukraine as “eight ambiguous lines” that did not amount to the president seeking a personal political favor.

Democrats argued vigorously that Trump’s meaning could not have been clearer in seeking political dirt on Biden, his possible opponent in the 2020 election.

The Republicans tried numerous times to halt or slow the proceedings, and the hearing was briefly interrupted early on by a protester shouting, “We voted for Donald Trump!” The protester was escorted from the House hearing room by Capitol Police.

The White House is refusing to participate in the impeachment process. Trump and and his allies acknowledge he likely will be impeached in the Democratic-controlled House, but they also expect acquittal next year in the Senate, where Republicans have the majority.

The president focused Monday on the long-awaited release of the Justice Department report into the 2016 Russia investigation. The inspector general found that the FBI was justified in opening its investigation into ties between the Trump presidential campaign and Russia and that the FBI did not act with political bias, despite “serious performance failures” up the bureau’s chain of command.

Democrats say Trump abused his power in a July 25 phone call when he asked Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy for a favor in investigating Democrats. That was bribery, they say, since Trump was withholding nearly $400 million in military aid that Ukraine depended on to counter Russian aggression.

Pelosi and Democrats point to what they call a pattern of misconduct by Trump in seeking foreign interference in elections from Mueller’s inquiry of the Russia probe to Ukraine.

In his report, Mueller said he could not determine that Trump’s campaign conspired or coordinated with Russia in the 2016 election. But Mueller said he could not exonerate Trump of obstructing justice in the probe and left it for Congress to determine.


Associated Press writers Julie Pace, Laurie Kellman, Matthew Daly and Eric Tucker contributed to this report.


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