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Forest City couple opens gymnastics, tumbling club

FOREST CITY | Children interested in learning gymnastics now have a place to do so in Forest City.

That’s with much credit to Sandra DeWaard, the owner of Funky Monkey Tumbling & Gymnastics, and her husband, Gary.

“We have three younger girls and they love gymnastics, but there’s just no local place to go unless you want to drive hours, so we turned this into one,” she said.

This spring, the DeWaards purchased the former Krys Mart building at 1305 U.S. Highway 69 S. in Forest City, and with the help of family and friends, they began remodeling the building to accommodate competition-level tumbling and gymnastics equipment, like a spring floor.

“We had a hard time finding a building like this that had enough space, especially with height, to accommodate gymnastics,” said Gary DeWaard of the 4,800-square-foot building with an 18-foot ceiling.

On Oct. 2, Funky Monkey Tumbling & Gymnastics held its first class.

Classes, which are led by local instructors who will soon be members of USA Gymnastics, are held for children between 3 and 16 years old from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. Mondays and Thursdays. There are three levels: beginner, intermediate and advanced.

“You can start at any level, and then the instructors will move you if needed,” Sandra DeWaard said, noting a child’s placement is dependent on his or her ability to complete the movements in each level, like a cartwheel, a handstand, a front handspring, a round-off rebound and others.

The classes, which focus primarily on tumbling right now, are the foundation for other gymnastics events, like the uneven bars, vault and balance beam, she said.

As of Monday, Oct. 30, there were 30 girls — although boys are welcome — signed up for the classes. The average class size is eight children, she said.

“I was hoping for 20 at least, and we got 30,” Sandra DeWaard said. “Every week there are a couple new ones.”

And the DeWaards hope to add more.

Recently, fliers were distributed to students within the Forest City schools encouraging them to visit Funky Monkey for a class, which is free the first time.

“We want to continue to add more days and kids and build it more to gymnastics,” Gary DeWaard said, adding the couple is exploring an open gym option on Saturdays.

The building — when the remodel is complete — will feature a 500-square-foot viewing area for parents to watch their children during class, and in the coming weeks, the DeWaards hope to purchase a four-circuit bar system, which contains uneven bars, parallel bars, high bar and rings.

The space will be available for clubs, organizations and businesses to rent for workouts, fitness classes and other events in the future, Gary DeWaard said.

Sandra and Gary DeWaard, who own their own marketing company that organizes live events, like Tree Town Music Festival, have three daughters between 10 and 7 years old and a 4-year-old son — all of who’ve attended Funky Monkey Tumbling & Gymnastics.

“It’s just fun to see all the kids come out and have fun,” Sandra DeWaard said. “They really enjoy it.”

For those interested in trying Funky Monkey Tumbling & Gymnastics, message the business’s Facebook page

Clear Lake man charged with using $966 in stolen checks, stealing two trucks


A Clear Lake man charged in several incidents involving stolen checks, forgery and two stolen trucks in August North Iowa crime spree.

Anthony Jerome Woodraska, 28, is charged with three counts of forgery, two counts of second degree theft and ongoing criminal conduct.

According to court documents, Woodraska also gave an address in Alden, Minnesota, as his place of residence.

From Aug. 4 to Aug. 8, Woodraska allegedly forged seven stolen checks totaling $431 and used them at Hy-Vee West in Mason City.

Woodraska allegedly forged seven stolen checks totaling $535 and used them at Hy-Vee Drug in Mason City.

According to court documents, Woodraska is observed by witnesses and in security footage at both locations purchasing alcohol and cigarettes. The 14 total checks were stolen from the same woman.

He also obtained cash back during some of the check forgeries, court records said.

About 9 a.m. Aug. 7, Woodraska allegedly purchased a 1998 Ford F-150 truck from an Eldora man for $2,500 using a fake check. The transaction took place at the Walmart parking lot in Mason City and Woodraska took the truck.

On Aug. 27, Woodraska met with a person at the McDonald’s parking lot in Clear Lake after he made contact on Facebook through a fake profile. He paid for a Dodge Ram pickup truck with a fraudulent check for $2,520.

A warrant was issued for Woodraska’s arrest on Sept. 20. On Nov. 8, he was arrested in Benton County and brought to Cerro Gordo County.

Woodraska is held in the Cerro Gordo County Jail on a $50,000 bond. A preliminary hearing is scheduled for Nov. 17 in Cerro Gordo County District Court. 

Charles City council members adopt chronic nuisance ordinance

CHARLES CITY | A new ordinance that passed a third and final reading at a Charles City Council meeting earlier this week will allow the city to more actively combat "chronic nuisance" properties in town.

Council members unanimously passed Ordinance No. 1111 on Monday night, which amends Chapter 52 in the city code. According to the ordinance, a "chronic nuisance property" is one where nuisance activities have occurred at least three times in the past 12 months, and require a law enforcement response. 

It can be any residential or commercial property, except for city-owned properties, which are exempt. It is not related to the ordinance proposed by the SoFar group, which would allow landlords to keep a log of all residents living in their properties. That proposal has not been discussed in a city meeting.

City Administrator Steven Diers said a nuisance activity can range from fights, illegal drug activity, assaults or other similar violations.

He added that after two such incidents, the police can notify the property owner that the property will become a "chronic nuisance property" after the next offense. 

If a third incident occurs, he said, police will issue another notice. If the owner fails to respond, the property owner will be fined at least $750.

"This is something we've been working on for nine to ten months," Diers told the Globe Gazette by phone Thursday. "And we have certain properties where there always seems to be junk vehicles or a fight breaks out, stuff like that ... that's really the point of this ordinance."

Council members have been supportive it, including DeLaine Freesman.

"I think it's a step in a good direction for us," Freesman said at Monday's meeting, before motioning to continue with its final reading.

Freesman did not return two calls or an email for comment on Thursday.

Diers told the Globe Gazette the ordinance was modeled after other similar versions throughout Iowa because of their success.

"It's based on what we've seen in other communities .... because you're on calls to that property," he said. "You're not dealing with the resident, but the property itself."

After the initial $750 fine, the city can fine up to $50 for each additional "nuisance activity" that requires law enforcement to respond, according to the ordinance. 

Diers said the ordinance still needs to be finalized in the official city code, but said it was the culmination of a lot of planning and talks between city officials.

"We've had a lot of discussion on it," he said. "Once it gets published over the next couple of weeks, it will just come down to enforcing it."

Mason City fire captain named to state council

MASON CITY | A Mason City Fire Department captain has been named to a state council. 

Gov. Kim Reynolds on Thursday announced Capt. Jared Ogbourne, Mason City, was named to the Fire Service and Emergency Response Council. 

The appointment is unpaid and not subject to Iowa Senate confirmation.