Mar. 31- 2015
My name is Melody Boatner. I was raised in rural Lee County, Iowa. In regards to my character, I hold a high regard to moral law. I do not lie, I do not cheat, and I do not steal. I have lived my life, as I was taught early on, by the golden rule, “Treat others as you want to be treated”. I have always been hard-working, responsible, confident, talented, independent and trustworthy. All traits that seemingly are in the best interest of society as a whole.
I married, had a son and moved south for a few years. My son developed a serious, life threatening medical condition at the age of 6. Addicted to alcohol and drugs, his father proved incapable of caring for him while I was at work. I determined it was in my son’s best interest that return back to my home, to Iowa. In 1990, I called my brother, he drove to Georgia, rented a u-haul trailer and brought the two of us and all we could squeeze in a U-haul trailer back to Iowa. Three days later, I was hired by a local contractor as an assistant mechanic. I had to resign soon after because the employer-provided no insurance benefits. Due to the rarity of my son’s condition I was advised that if I could get health insurance for my son it would be so expensive I could not afford the premiums. It is so rare that his Dr. in Georgia took over a year to make the proper diagnosis. The length of time for diagnosis had caused his heart to be damaged. Knowing that I was the only person familiar with the symptoms that could recognize by looking at him if he was needing immediate medical attention. I already knew that to maintain a normal quality of life he would require monthly injections until the age of 18 years, longer depending on his environment and career choice. At the time his condition was considered existing and he would have been excluded from any employer offer insurance benefit package. In order for me to care and provide for his future needs personally, I needed to be self-employed. Attorney Vivian Meyers got a divorce granted for me by the court pro-bono. AFDC covered the cost of his medical needs. I have never received any child support money from my ex-husband and never expected anyone but myself to provide for my son. I was completely capable of providing for him, had he not gotten sick and had to have regular medical attention.
I utilized the resources offered by the government to get out of poverty. I enrolled in a business course offered to low-income families. Self Employed Independent Development to assist in the needs to be successfully self-employed in a home based business, I was taught how to prepare a business plan to present to a financial lender. Through my research I discovered there was a demand for upholstery services in my area.
October 9, 1991 I was selected to travel to Washington DC and testify in front of a Congressional Committee. My intent was to explain to the committee that income regulations prevented me from acquiring the tools I needed to start a business. Counting the value of assets (tools) for micro enterprise as a personal asset would exceed the income guidelines, exempting my son from being insured by Medicaid was not an option. The fact that I was selected out of hundreds of individuals in the State of Iowa to travel to Washington DC suggests that the program directors recognized my character showed determination to succeed in my goal. I could now acquire the tools I needed to open a home based business
My brother financed my sewing machine and I made payments of $50 per/mo for 24 months. We agreed that I would set up shop in a portion of his garage. He owned the business named Brannon’s Upholstery. I worked as an employee, teaching myself how to upholster. I reinvested any personal income back into my future by purchasing tools, fabric and reference books. I paid the machine off as agreed.
My formal education is minimal. I dropped out of high school in the 11Th grade opting for a GED. I am self-educated in subjects that I am interested in. I am self-educated with the ability to provide multiple skilled services such as my chosen career as an upholsterer. I have studied many personal interests, one of which is human behavior, particularly personality disorders. I am intelligent and have found employment based on the fact that I have high level of common sense. I easily comprehend written material. I have an impressive personal library that includes a wide array of subjects.
My knowledge of the law, specifically the duties and responsibilities a City has to provide in order to protect its residents, was taught to me for the most part, by my father. His career was a long time employee of the City of Ft Madison in Lee County, Ia. His job title was “acting Street Commissioner” prior to and during integration of “City Engineer”. The engineer took over responsibility of issuing building permits assuring compliance to the “Iowa Stormwater drainage laws” and building code. Smaller Cities such as Montrose, Ia use the Mayor-council system. The mayor appoints a council member to act as “building administrator”. The administrator’s duties are to represent the State of Iowa. He reviews blueprints, issues building permits, and charges a fee assessed by the value of completed construction. Before the administrator approves the completed project he follows a standard procedure to assure the construction is compliant with State building code. He then issues a certificate of occupancy. The Building Code Officials Handbook and a manual provided by State Assoc. of floodplain managers titled “NO ADVERSE IMPACT AND THE COURTS: PROTECTING THE PROPERTY RIGHTS OF All” are available at Montrose City Hall. The local FEMA officer is Steve Cirinna, husband of City of Montrose clerk Celeste Cirinna. Building administrator Mark Holland has been appointed this duty many terms that he has served as a council member.
February 1995 I made my brother angry. He demanded that we vacate the property immediately. Lee County Deputy Dave Hunold responded to my 9-9-1 call. My brother is a very large intimidating man. I have never seen him that angry before and never want to see him in that state of mind again. When we were kids I would make him mad and he would hit me , common for siblings. As adult sibling an intent to physically assault me is not, in my opinion, acceptable behavior. My son had never witnessed anyone acting violent and was terrified. Feb 22, 1995 I filed a complaint to get possession my tools. The day before we were ordered to appear in court he notified me that I could retrieve my property. The case was dismissed and we had no interaction or contact.
Homeless, we moved to into town, the city of Montrose, Ia and stayed with a friend. I rented a garage to work out of temporarily from Sue Kerns Dinwiddie prior to her marriage to Mayor Ron Dinwiddie. A friend had her property for sale for a very affordable price. I went over and looked at it. It was structurally sound but in need of some serious maintenance. The house needed some of the sill plate and corner post replaced. The repairs were needed on the front right corner due to lack of maintenance by the City of the storm water ditches. The garage was not too bad. I installed a furnace in both the house and the garage, I updated the electric service panel and wiring in the house and garage. The workshop floor was completely replaced. Stormwater ran directly into the entry door over an extended period of time the chairs had literally fell through the rotten plywood. They were sitting on the ground of he crawl space. The damage to the home and the shop floor was caused by the city’s failure to maintain drainage ditches. The property was with my price range at $10,000. The seller set the price so that she would be within the income guidelines to qualify for a Sec 8 apartment in Keokuk, Ia. The lot was legally nonconforming. Non-typical long narrow lot running street to street. The typical conforming lot runs from City street to City alley. There would be restrictions if I ever needed to build a new structure. No legally non-conforming properties are ever allowed to have new structures built larger the existing structures. My property potentially had everything needed to provide a home for my son and a garage to operate my business.
When I first moved in with my friend I applied for a Habitat for Humanity house. We were selected to receive the next habitat built home. A few days later I was notified by the bank that I had been approved for the loan for the $10,000 fixer upper that my friend was selling. This property was perfect for me. I withdrew my application from Habitat for Humanity
Nov. 1995 We moved into the house at 111 N 5Th St, Montrose, Ia . Typical to the early 1900’s era, Boatner’s property was protected from stormwater runoff by using the berm and swale technique along the common boundary of the adjoining property at 105 N 5Th St. The berm was distinct in its purpose. When it rained, the stormwater was held forming a small pond on the right side of the berm. The berm was built on Conlee’s side of the common boundary. The swale was on my side of the common boundary. A garage was attached to Conlee’s mobile home and the top of the berm served as the driveway from the street into the garage.
I can not stress enough that the damage to the existing structures on my property was caused by stormwater runoff from 5Th St. The City of Montrose had not maintained any of storm water drainage ditches for so long that in most cases and certainly in front of my property on 5Th St, there was no visible evidence that a ditch ever existed. Both corners of my lot contained very nice and culverts. I know full well, that it is the City’s responsibilities to maintain the streets and drainage ditches. I did not complain to the City that they had been negligent in maintaining the ditches. I was well aware that they are liable for the ditch maintenance. I had the ability to do it myself. Public record shows many complaints by city residents discussing drainage ditch problems though these years.
My first priority was to hand dig the ditches and replace the driveway culvert. There are many witnesses to that fact, including Police chief at the time Officer John Farmer. Most all the properties in town suffered adverse effects from stormwater due to the City’s failure to maintain. Stormwater ran from the street down the driveway into the doorway of my garage, the floor had rotted through and chairs had fallen through. Storm water ran over the sidewalk to the front corner of my house. I guess it must have been ongoing for 10 or 15 years. It didn’t take to long for me to repair damage to structures on my property. I already had the knowledge of how to do the repairs. I had access to any equipment I needed. Most of my friends are in the field of construction.
I renovated, rehabilitated and upgraded most everything by the time the loan was satisfied. I have receipts to prove the amount of money I reinvested into the property. I paid the loan off in 2000.
I had established a reputable upholstery service and raised my son though his school years in the house at 111 N 5Th St Montrose, Ia. My son has always worked, starting as a paperboy when we moved to this house. He graduated high school and though he has had some health problems, he no longer requires monthly injections. He has worked for Huffman Welding and Machine since he graduated, he is now 32 years old. I never had any problems with neighbors of any kind. We all got along, everyone was friendly, and considered it a nice neighborhood to live in.
Ron Dinwiddie has been the Mayor of the City of Montrose since 1995 when I purchased my property. There has not been much turnover in council members or City employees. I have never been involved with the City politics or attended the City Council meetings. It was my opinion that all seemed to be running well within the City Government. Those who were in charge seemed sincere in their roles as community leaders.
You will be led to believe that I am a lazy person who never takes care of my financial responsibilities by the opposing party of my complaint. That is simply not true. I downloaded a copy of my credit score when it was obvious I was not going to be able to make payments on unexpected ER visits. The rash that erupted on my shins caused severe intense itching immediately after I had got it on my skin. After the grass had died several days later did I see that chemicals had been unlawfully applied to my property. No matter what I did be it civil court or request law enforcement to file a complaint for trespassing on my behalf, the chemicals continued to be applied against my will on my property until the day I was forced to flee. Before the back to back Emergency room bills was sent to a collection agency my score was 760.