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12-hour run aims to replace Little League equipment

  • 3 min to read
Oelwein flooding (copy)

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Local residents and business owners are banding together to help the Williams Wellness Center replace Little League equipment destroyed when a storm with flash flooding hit Oelwein. About $4,000 worth of Oelwein Parks and Recreation Little League equipment was lost.

To help offset the cost of replacing the equipment, Jessica Niemann, fitness instructor and Liz Eser, health promotion facilitator, will be running three miles, every hour, on the hour, for 12 hours, on Saturday, Oct. 24. They will be running from 5 a.m. to 5 p.m., with the last three miles starting at 4 p.m.

Fitness enthusiasts are invited to join them — including non-members, wellness coordinator Jessica Burkhart said. Simply sign-up for any one-hour, on-the-hour time slot to run, jog, walk, bike, or use the elliptical machine, and move along with them. Participants are asked to arrive 15 minutes beforehand and start their three miles on the hour. They will have up to 55 minutes to complete each segment, then wipe down their machine, to allow the next time slot to get ready.

Masks are not required but staff will be wearing them, Burkhart said.

“If you do not complete your three miles (or want to go longer), we just ask that you only go 55 minutes total,” Eser said in an email describing the project.

For one, three-mile segment, the cost will be $20, which includes a “Big Run for Little League” T-shirt. For any additional three-mile segments, it is an extra $5 each.

For the final three miles, starting at 4 p.m., participants will run outside (weather permitting) starting from the Williams Wellness Center parking lot. Cost to participate in the “final miles” is $1 — no T-shirt included.

For persons wishing for dinner after the run, or wishing to help out without breaking a sweat, don’t sweat it. There will be another way to support the cause. T&T Barbecue will be in the Wellness Center parking lot and will donate all proceeds from the food to the Little League equipment fundraiser also.

“He’s gotten sponsors to pay for his meat for the day, so everything he brings in that day is going to get donated,” Burkhart said.

Thyron Mathews and his wife, Terrishane Mathews, run T&T Barbecue.

“Jessica Niemann, it is her brainchild,” Thyron Mathews said. “She got with us, me and her husband, Jeff, and my wife, Terrishane.”

“Local people are helping us,” Mathews said. Nathan J. Lein, who has Big Boy Meats, will be donating meat, and Brian and Wendy Irvine with Ken’s Electric are donating their services.

“We’re donating all proceeds to raise money for the equipment that was destroyed in the June 9 storms,” Mathews said.

“Me and my wife love giving back to the city of Oelwein,” Mathews said, noting they got their start helping out at various community benefits. Their three children played city rec league ball in the past but are now in eighth grade, sophomore and junior year of high school. “I do know how valuable that (Little League) is for development of teamwork skills,” Mathews said.

Sign-up early in order to guarantee the time/mode you want is available. Registrations and time/mode slots will be selected on a first come basis. Registrations will be available at the Wellness Center, or call them with questions, 319-283-2312.



City Administrator Dylan Mulfinger said Wings City Park saw a significant amount of damage to Diamond 1, the Daily Register reported following the June 9 storm, and a road at the City Park Campground that is the one closest to Otter Creek below the dam was completely washed out.

Otter Creek also runs through the Diamond 1 area, Burkhart said.

“We use (Diamond 1) for everything, softball and all that, but it was Little League equipment that got ruined,” Burkhart said, naming items stored there such as batting and catching equipment, including helmets, and umpire gear. “That stuff was completely underwater. Anytime you have floodwater you’re getting runoff from people’s fields and backs up from their basements.”

“The floodwaters came up. Diamond 1 was pretty well all flooded, we didn’t use it all season,” Burkhart said. “The parks department got it back in mid-August.”

“We did not have a county wide proclamation for the June 9 rain/flash flood event,” Mulfinger said.

Gov. Kim Reynolds did declare a disaster for Fayette and Van Buren counties on June 29 but for a June 20 storm. Persons had 45 days, until mid-August, to apply for Iowa Individual Assistance grants.

Disaster proclamations are done by working with the county emergency management agency.

“Emergency Management said we needed to report the numbers,” Mulfinger said. “So we reported the city side, roads and ball diamonds.”

The dollar threshold damage estimate, which is among other criteria for a county to be eligible for Federal Emergency Management Agency assistance, was $75,000.

According to Iowa Homeland Security and Emergency Management, for all disasters declared on or after Oct. 1, 2019, the state must have sustained the minimum amount of damage statewide (according to FEMA regulations) of $1.53 per capita, or $4,660,923.15, to qualify for Public Assistance funding.

Once this statewide minimum has been met, then the qualifying amount of damage per capita in each county must reach at least $3.84. Fayette County had an estimated population of 19,650 in 2019, the U.S. Census Bureau reports, yielding a countywide dollar threshold for Public Assistance funding of $75,456 according to this formula, if the state threshold was also met.

“The goal was $75,000, and our city damage did not exceed that threshold,” Mulfinger said.


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