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Oh, 2020, what a year it was!
Despite the laser focus on both the COVID-19 pandemic and results from the November general election, life still went on here in Mount Ayr and Ringgold County.
And for the next two weeks we will review the people, places and things that made headlines in the pages of the Record-News over this unique, tumultuous year.
This week we recall events from January through June.
Next week we complete the review by looking back on the months of July through December.
The county learned of the death of Quentin Anderson at the end of December 2019. A former state legislator and businessman, Anderson was best known for the development of Sun Valley Lake near Ellston.
The Ringgold County compensation board recommends significant salary increases ranging from 14 to 4 percent for county officials.
With the impending closure of CGI, a front-page article explores other empty retail storefronts in Mount Ayr.
Jordan Stewart attends his first meeting as a newly elected Mount Ayr City councilman.
The Mount Ayr school board accepts the resignations of several longtime staff members including activities director Delwyn Showalter, Jodie Geist, Cathy Swank, Darla Sobotka, Jane Uhlenkamp, and Pat Kemery. The retirements represent 174 collective years of service to the Mount Ayr district.
Dr. Jill Biden, wife of former Vice President Joe Biden, makes a campaign stop in Mount Ayr in support of her husband’s campaign for president.
Seven hunters from Missouri paid several thousand dollars in fines for a series of hunting violations in Ringgold County.
Jodie Geist is named Ringgold County Development executive director.
A document filed in the Ringgold County auditor’s office details a settlement agreement between Ringgold County and Deputy Sheriff Landon White. The settlement stems from a complaint filed by White accusing county officials of a violation of the state’s Whistleblower Protection Program.
The Mount Ayr Raiderette basketball team defeats Central Decatur, 59-34, snapping the Cardinals’64-game win streak in the Pride of Iowa conference.
A pair of Raider athletes reach milestones as Trae Ehlen notched as 100th career win on the wrestling mat and Dawson Frost joined the 1,000-point club in basketball.
The 2020 induction class into the Mount Ayr Community Schools All of Fame is announced. New inductees include Kim McGinnis Foster; Eugene Ricker; Thomas Teale, Jr. and Harley Wilhelm.
In results from the Iowa caucus in Ringgold County, local Republicans overwhelmingly choose Donald Trump while former VP Joe Biden is the front runner among Democrats.
Senior Sam Stewart becomes the Raiderette career scoring leader, breaking the previous record held by Kelcie Shields.
Jason Shaffer is named the new shared superintendent between the Mount Ayr and Bedford school districts.
For the third consecutive year, Mount Ayr Elementary is rated a “High Performing” school in the annual Iowa Schools Performance Profiles.
A member of the Diagonal archery team, Mount Ayr sophomore Chloe Saville scores 297 out of a possible 300 at a recent competition.
Bryce Shaha becomes the latest member of the 100th win club for Raider wrestling.
Based upon their second-place finish at sectionals, the Raider wrestling team advances to regional competition for the first time since 1998.
A front-page article features the work of the MOVE ministry and its church building mission in Costa Rica. The group includes local residents Al Rusk and Mike Avitt.
The Mount Ayr city council votes to seek bids for the straightening of Garfield Street and the resurfacing of Cleveland Street.
For the first time in the 60 years of Mount Ayr wrestling, four Raider wrestlers placed at the state tournament as brothers Trae and Drew Ehlen placed seventh while Bryce Shaha and Jaydon Knight finished eighth.
The Mount Ayr basketball teams finish their regular seasons with outstanding records – Raiderettes 18-3 and Raiders 18-2. Both, however, are eventually denied trips to the state tournament with losses and postseason play.
Kaitlyn Dolecheck places the 16th at the state bowling tournament.
The Raiderettes fall to Logan-Magnolia, 48-35, in regional basketball to finish their season.
The Mount Ayr High School drama club presents its spring production, “High School Confidential.”
An armed man – Thomas Kinton – is arrested without incident at Mount Ayr High School during a performance of the school’s spring play.
Ringgold Holdings – a group of local citizens – announce progress on a new pharmacy option with grocery and retail offerings to follow.
The Mount Ayr city council receives a 70-page draft copy of the recreation facilities feasibility study.
Derek Lambert submits his resignation as co-head football coach. The resignation comes on the heels of the retirement of fellow co-head coach Delwyn Showalter earlier in the spring.
Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds issues a directive closing all bars, restaurants, theaters, fitness centers, gaming facilities and senior citizen centers and restricts the size of social gatherings. In a later directive, the governor suspends classes and all extra-curricular activities in all schools.
With schools now closed, staff in the Mount Ayr Community Schools scrambles to offer remote learning opportunities and meals to students.
In decisions related to COVID, the Mount Ayr city council votes to close City Hall and the Ringgold County Board of Supervisors closes the courthouse to walk in traffic without prior notice.
Based upon information from a draft report from Stone Planning, a front-page article examines potential sites for a pool and-or wellness facility.
New Musco lighting is installed at the Mount Ayr High School athletic complex.
In a pair of front-page articles, local restaurant and retail owners explain the economic impact of the COVID shutdown on their businesses.
For the first time ever, the traditional Breakfast with the Master series during Holy Week moves online.
Candidates for the June 2 primary election are announced. They include Kraig Pennington, Colby Holmes, Steve Knapp, and Kurt Shaha for supervisors and Rob Haley and Landon White for sheriff. All candidates are Republicans.
A truckload of surgical gowns, gloves, masks and other personal protective equipment is delivered to the Ringgold County Hospital by members of the Iowa National Guard.
A foot of snow blanketed Ringgold County during the second week in April, the most recorded in the state during a brief spring storm.
On April 17 Gov. Kim Reynolds announces the closure of all schools for the remainder of the school year.
A city-owned house is moved from its current location at 1200 E. Columbus St. to 306 W. Monroe St. once the house is refurbished and connected to utilities, the city intends to sell the house to raise funds aimed at spurring economic development.
The city Council wrestles with the decision to open the swimming pool at Judge Lewis Park amid COVID restrictions.
The Ringgold County supervisors agreed to add pavement markings to several hard surface County roadways.
After postponing graduation ceremonies due to COVID restrictions, commencement for the Class of 2020 is rescheduled for July 19. However, Senior parents have organized a parade around the square to honor graduates on May 17, the original date for graduation. Retiring staff members enjoyed a parade of their own on “the last day of school.”
Even though its 100th season has been canceled, Mount Ayr Community track and field announces its Century Team.
The first confirmed case of COVID-19 as reported in Ringgold County.
The Ringgold County Fair board announces its intention to hold a county fair this summer with a curtailed schedule of events.
A front-page article features the Eighmy Monument Company as current owners Malcolm and Ginny Eighmy transfer ownership to their daughter Melissa and her husband Eric Friedrich, who become the fifth generation to operate the family business.
The Mount Ayr city Council officially cancels this summer’s Little League season while reserving options to open the Judge Lewis Park swimming pool at some point the summer.
A Kellerton couple – Diane and Roger Gibson – are honored for their work with military veterans in Texas.
While COVID restrictions canceled many Memorial Day observances, American flags continue to waive proudly in many Ringgold County cemeteries.
Fire destroys the home of Sherry Briner and her two sons in Tingley.
The city and Hy-Vee negotiate the sale to the grocery chain of the parking lot adjacent to the for ShopKo building.
Republican primary voters choose Colby Holmes and Steve Knapp as supervisor candidates and Rob Haley as sheriff candidate for the upcoming November general election. No Democrats appeared on the ballot for any of those positions.
The city Council announces the municipal swimming pool will not open for the upcoming season.
A front-page article examines the economic impact of a potential new pool/wellness facility.
The US Census Bureau releases its final population estimate prior to new data coming from the 2020 census. With an estimated population of 4,894, Ringgold County remains the second least populated county in the state, following Adams County with a population estimate of 3,602.
The Princess Theater sponsors the first of a series of outdoor movies it intends to hold throughout the summer.
Dr. Bruce Ricker is honored with the Life Service Award from the Iowa Osteopathic Medical Association.
Retiring Mount Ayr school superintendent Joe Drake reflects on his over four decades in education.
The Mount Ayr High School softball and baseball teams announce their summer schedules as interscholastic sports are allowed to resume with a number of COVID restrictions in place.
In a reversal of a prior decision, the city Council announces the Judge Lewis Parks swimming pool will open for recreational swimming only.
A front-page article features a visit to Mount Ayr from Rik Zortman, otherwise known as the “Human Etch-a-Sketch.” Using a GPS device, Zortman runs on city streets as his path spells out names and words.
An examination of county ag land sales reveals out-of-county buyers are responsible for bulk of new ownership in 2019.