Electronic Mail – City of Grinnell, IA – City of Newton, IA – Jasper County, IA

Mrs. Wingerter:

This request is the request the form I signed today is for.  I wanted to express my appreciation to the city employee who took the time to listen to what I was trying to communicate.  I think the biggest problem that has manifested the life that I am now living is that I previously lived in a town with a municipal climate producing people that evidence indicates did not care, and when the situation evolved, the government bodies that employed those people felt they were above providing public records documenting their historical record.

As the state-wide public records requests I have already completed, I believe have isolated the City of Newton, IA, Jasper County, IA, and Marshalltown, IA, in a place where they are now alone, possibly trying to determine how to respond to the current records request that is consistent with state-wide data while not compromising the responses they have provided in the past that evidence indicates were strategically constructed and designed to assist with not releasing the requested public records it is my hope and belief that I will not need to submit any further public records requests to the City of Grinnell, IA.

2023 was a very dark year for me.  The people of Grinnell, IA, are why I have gotten to where I am.  At the same time, I now know that I am not alone and that I am part of a community that cares about people.  Thank you for helping me feel like I belong somewhere and have a home.  The many times I walked to the Grinnell, IA PD to provide them evidence of what I was dealing with I felt like I was talking to a friend.  It meant a lot to me because that is something I have not had for a long time.  I am looking forward to finally getting a vehicle in the next few months and starting the life that I tried to begin nearly 7 years ago when I retired from the United States Navy.  I think one of the first things I intend to do when I get a vehicle is parking my go-cart in front of the City of Newton, IA Police Department and picking up Chief of Police Burdess and taking him out for lunch at Maidrite.

Chied of Police Burdess:  “Merritt, I am not sitting in the back of your go-cart and holding on to you while we go to Maidrite.”
Merritt:  “Dude relax it’s only a block away.  Ok, ok, fine you sit up front.  I will hold onto you.”
Chief of Police Burdess: “No.”
Merritt: “Rob you are making this more difficult than a Newton, IA records request.  I am just saying statistically car-pooling is more environmentally friendly.”

Chief of Police Burdess:  “Merritt, I would like you to look around Newton, IA.  What does everything you see here have in common.”
Chief of Police Burdess:  “It’s a criminal investigation, Merritt.”
Merritt: “A criminal investiation.”
Chief of Police Burdess:  “Now, I can’t, Merritt,  at this time, give you the public records you are requesting to solve all of your problems, and you know why.”
Merritt:  “Because you are currently making new public records.”
Chief of Police Burdess:“Exactly, but what I can do is this….”
Merritt: “Rob, come on Dude, not another ticket.”
Chief of Police Burdess: “Eh, Eh, Eh, this is not a ticket.  Read it.”
Merritt: “It says, take a vacation, from my public records requests, and walk away from Newton, IA.”
Chief of Police Burdess:  “I am giving you permission to take a vacation Merritt.  Not a vacation from paying taxes or parking tickets, but a vacation…”
Merritt: “from my public records requests.”
Chief of Police Burdess: “EXACTLY!  Now I want you to get on that bus, and go back to Grinnell, IA, BUT every, single, time, you feel like writing a public records request I want you to take out that warning and follow it to the letter, Chief’s orders.  I’ll see you at the next public meeting in twenty years.”
Merritt:  “This is incredible, this is astounding.  For the first time since electro shock therapy I feel energized.  You have given me a great gift Chief.  The gift of life.  You are a great man.  I knew coming to Newton, IA was the right thing to do.”
Chief of Police Burdess: “It feels right because you are here, and it feels right because you are leaving.”
Merritt:“Have a good time creating new public records Chief.”
Chief of Police Burdess:  “Enjoy your vacation, Merritt.”
Merritt: “My vacation from requesting public records.  You bet I will”
Chief of Police Burdess: “There you go, Merritt, city limits are right down that road.”


Sometimes people ask me how I survived a career in the Navy while having mental health issues.   I guess you could say I was part of a team that took care of each other.

Everyone have a good weekend.


Michael J. Merritt