WIUM Tristates Public Radio

Jason Parrott

Southeast Iowa Correspondent

Jason is the Southeast Iowa News Correspondent. He established Tri States Public Radio's news bureau in Keokuk in September 2003.  The bureau has moved from his apartment to the Hotel Iowa before landing in its current location at the Daily Gate City newspaper at 1016 Main.  Jason provides short- and long-form news coverage from southeast Iowa, northeast Missouri, and portions of west-central Illinois. Jason covers multiple governmental boards including the Keokuk City Council, the Lee County Board of Supervisors and the Burlington School Board. Jason was born in Burlington, IA and grew up in neighboring Henderson County before graduating from Monmouth High School.  He graduated from WIU in 2002 with Bachelor’s Degrees in Communications and History.  While in Macomb, he was a member of the WIU Track & Field team, serving as Captain during his senior year. Jason received his Master’s Degree in Public Affairs Reporting from the University of Illinois-Springfield in 2003. He and his wife Jamie, a middle school teacher, have called Quincy home since 2007.  They have three dogs (Howie, Sunny and Sadie) and they volunteer with the Quincy Humane Society. During Jason’s free time, he enjoys watching sports, spending time with friends, playing fantasy football and traveling to the Lake of the Ozarks with his wife.

Ways to Connect

Jason Parrott / TSPR

Lee County's historic courthouses have been the subject of debate for years, specifically regarding whether both are needed or if a single courthouse in the center of the county would best serve the public. It now appears the public will be asked to settle that debate.

The parents of a man shot and killed by a Fort Madison police officer in August 2014 filed a lawsuit against the city, claiming it violated the constitutional rights of their son, Ryan Swearingen, 29, of Clinton, Iowa.

Jason Parrott / TSPR

The owners of The Bookmark are ready to move on to the next phase in their lives. So they are looking for a buyer who will keep their "dream" open for years to come.

Jason Parrott / TSPR

The Lee County Fair is the oldest county fair in Iowa, dating back to the mid-1800's. Thousands of local kids have participated in a wide range of friendly competitions on the fairgrounds in Donnellson during the past 175 years, including more than 150 in 2016.

The Iowa Attorney General's office has completed its review of a fatal police shooting in Fort Madison. Scott Brown, Special Assistant Attorney General, summarized the office's findings in a four-page report dated July 12, 2016. Not only does the report clear the two officers involved, but it also sheds much more light on details about the robbery.

steve p2008 / www.flickr.com

Keokuk residents will soon be allowed to legally raise chickens in their backyards, as long as they follow certain requirements. It’s those requirements, though, that are ruffling some feathers.

Lee County Sheriff's Office

A lawsuit filed by a former southeast Iowa police chief claims Lee County violated his constitutional rights by subjecting him to a strip search after his arrest in May 2015.

Jason Parrott / TSPR

Pop superstar Justin Bieber made an unexpected stop in the tri-state region last month because of mechanical problems with one of his tour buses. As it turns out, the detour might cost him a little extra.

The Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation (DCI) reported Wednesday that the suspect in the robbery of a Fort Madison bank was shot and killed by officers as he tried to escape.

Outgoing Keokuk High School Principal Zach Wigle is excited for his new opportunity as Activities Director in the Solon School District. He said he's enjoyed his three years in Keokuk, but that it is no longer the best situation.

Jason Parrott / TSPR

It appears a deal has been reached that will ensure 911 calls from Keokuk continue to be answered by Lee County's centralized emergency dispatch center (LeeComm). The proof comes in the fact that the city asked for and received permission to cancel an upcoming court hearing on the matter.

The Keokuk City Council signed off on an early retirement agreement with  Finance Director John Russell. The move should allow Keokuk to have enough money to cover the salary of new City Administrator Aaron Burnett during the fiscal year that begins July 1, 2016.

The 5th Annual Snake Alley Festival of Film is scheduled for June 23-25 at the Capitol Theater in downtown Burlington. As the event has grown, so has Tadd Good's role.

Jason Parrott / TSPR

It's been more than a year since a fire destroyed the former bottle and can redemption center along Main Street in downtown Keokuk. The city is now using the court system to try cleaning up that site and five other properties.


A local bank is blaming the city of Keokuk for contributing to its private plane being sold without its permission. So State Central Bank is suing the city, the firm that manages Keokuk’s airport (Lindner Aviation), and its owner (Greg Gobble).

Jason Parrott / TSPR

The sun beat down on the bright, white tent set up in front of the administrative building for the Iowa Army Ammunition Plant (IAAAP) in Middletown Tuesday afternoon. The soaring temperatures did not stop roughly 40 people from showing up to watch Iowa Governor Terry Branstad announce the 12th “Iowa Certified Site.”

Jason Parrott / TSPR

Lee County hopes the formation of a special committee will help resolve the ongoing dispute over the future of the county's centralized emergency dispatch center (LeeComm). The idea is for the most active users of the dispatch center to try reaching a compromise before the courts get involved.

The city of Keokuk filed a lawsuit Wednesday afternoon, seeking to maintain emergency dispatch services despite not signing an agreement to remain a member of the county’s 911 center. The lawsuit also asks the court to not tax Keokuk residents for a service they might not be able to use.

Voters in southeast Iowa went to the polls Tuesday to settle a handful of contested races. The results released will be official after they are canvassed by the local boards of supervisors.

Jason Parrott / TSPR

The city of Burlington decided in 2006 that a large piece of land along two busy streets would be ideal for development. Ten years later, it appears that vision will soon become a reality.

The city of Keokuk was told during a recent meeting that if it wanted answers about the future of Lee County’s emergency dispatch center, it should “get a lawyer.” The city has, in essence, done just that by filing several lawsuits and preparing for additional legal action.

It will be up to a judge to decide whether government and law enforcement agencies in Des Moines County violated Iowa’s open records law during an investigation into the shooting death of a Burlington woman last year.


The Fort Madison School Board went against the recommendation of district administrators by choosing not to eliminate several teaching positions. Superintendent Ken Marang said no one ever wants to eliminate jobs, but sometimes it has to be done.

The Iowa State Penitentiary says one of its minimum security inmates was captured shortly after walking away from his work detail in Fort Madison. Robert Juhl II was taken into custody after stealing a car.

Jason Parrott / TSPR

It has been a slow go for Fort Madison when it comes to the city's attempt to bring passenger rail service downtown. But there might soon be a light at the end of the tunnel.

Jason Parrott / TSPR

The state of Iowa might provide a boost to the efforts of Historic Iowa State Penitentiary, which is the non-profit organization trying to find a new use for the former maximum security prison in Fort Madison. The city's tourism director, Jean Peiton, said a boost is exactly what is needed.

Jason Parrott / TSPR

The agreement that created Lee County’s consolidated emergency dispatch center (LeeComm) is set to expire on June 30 and there is no deal in place to extend it that has the signature of all ten members. It appears that will not change anytime soon, which means the future of the system might soon be in the hands of a judge.

The Keokuk School District has spent the past few months filling some key administrative vacancies. That process unexpectedly grew this week following the resignation of High School Principal Zach Wigle.

The Keokuk School Board this week approved a new two-year contract with the Keokuk Education Association. The  agreement takes effect July 1, 2016.

Jason Parrott / TSPR

Iowa Fertilizer Company's new production plant in northern Lee County remains a hub of activity with roughly 2,400 hundred workers on-site, but that activity revolves around construction, not production. The head of the company said the focus of the activity should change in a matter of months.