Archive for March, 2009

News 3/31/09

Posted: Tuesday, March 31st, 2009 at 12:49 pm


Pella Corporation to increase production
Pella Corporation plans to ramp up production toward the end of April. Corporate spokeswoman Kathy Krafka Harkema says the company will return to a five-day work week beginning April 27. The company went to a four-day week late last year in an effort to cut costs while maintaining their workforce. Krafka Harkema says with the arrival of spring the company is hopeful that consumers will begin to reinvest in their homes.

One person injured in crash
One person was sent to the hospital with injuries Monday after a vehicle collided with a power pole in Bussey. Marion County Sheriff’s Deputies, Iowa State Patrol, and Mid-American Energy all responded to the scene. Mid-American crews worked to remove the power pole, which was balancing on the hood of the vehicle.

NWS predicts a normal spring flood season
A near normal spring flooding season is expected in Marion County, according to the latest flood forecast from the National Weather Service. The chance of flooding is near normal for both the Des Moines River and the Cedar Creek near Bussey. However, the National Weather Service predicts a seven to 10 percent greater than normal chance of flooding for the South Skunk River near Oskaloosa.

Mayor Sprafka meets with VA Secretary
The U.S. Secretary of Veterans Affairs, Eric Shinseki, assured Knoxville Mayor Harv Sprafka during a trip to Washington D.C. last week that the VA Campus in Knoxville is closing. Sprafka says that Shinseki proposed that Knoxville build a Community-Based Outpatient Clinic, or C-BOC, in exchange for Knoxville to receive the VA Campus after it’s closed. Sprafka says although there’s no concrete timeline for building the C-BOC, he stresses that all of the planning and development would be from local leaders.

Local company plane suffers glitch before landing
A plane registered to a local company had a scare in Webster City Monday morning. Officials say a plane registered to Pella Building Systems was preparing to land at the Webster City Airport when a light that signifies the planes landing gear is down failed to illuminate. Emergency crews responded to the scene but the plane was able to land safely as the gear had properly deployed.

School Board sets budget hearing date
The Knoxville School Board set the district’s 2009-10 school budget hearing date for April 13th at 6:30 p.m. at their meeting Monday. The proposed levy rate is $16.45 per $1,000 taxable valuation, slightly down from last years rate of $16.47. The board also voted to levy over $89,000 in property taxes to receive one percent allowable growth for the district, among other issues.

Pella Cooperative Electric holds annual meeting
Pella Cooperative Electric holds their annual meeting tonight. CEO John Smith tells KNIA/KRLS News that rural electric cooperatives face a number of challenges, including the need for greater capacity, new environmental standards, and maintaining affordable and reliable energy. Smith says maintaining affordable and reliable energy is important for economic development.

City crews flushing hydrants
If you see Knoxville Water works crews flushing hydrants in the city this week, they’re conducting their bi-annual test of the hydrant system. Steve Inskeep, general manager of the Knoxville Water Works says crews typically flush the hydrants in the spring and fall to get water flowing which may have become stagnant and to see if the entire system is operating properly.

Legislative Coffee is Saturday
The Pella League of Women Voters has announced a change in location for their April Legislative Coffee. League President Kate Bearce says it will be held April 4 at 9:30 a.m. at the Public Safety Complex. The league traditionally holds a Legislative Coffee the first Saturday of each month during the legislative session and invites State Representative Jim Van Engelenhoven and State Senator Paul McKinley.

Property tax payments due
The second half of Marion County residents 2008-2009 property tax payments become delinquent Wednesday, and residents must make their payments before then to be on time. Thats according to Marion County Assessor Drew Sanders. Residents can pay their property taxes by coming into the Marion County Treasurer’s Office in the courthouse or online at Iowatreasurers.org.

News 3/29/09

Posted: Sunday, March 29th, 2009 at 6:09 am

Knoxville School Board to Meet Monday
The Knoxville School Board is set to approve the fiscal year 2010 budget at their bi-monthly meeting Monday evening at 6:30 in the Knoxville high school library. Setting a budget public hearing date for April 13th, and levying over $89,000 in property taxes to achieve one percent allowable growth is also set, among other issues.

Volunteers Needed for Howell Station Campground
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers at Lake Red Rock is seeking volunteers to help prepare Howell Station for the summer camping season. The corps operated campground suffered significant damage in the flood last year. Park Ranger Tracy Spry says an activity day is planned for April 25 from 8 a.m. to noon at Howell Station. Volunteers are needed to help paint picnic tables, collect loose branches and other duties. Plans call for Howell Station Campground to reopen for the Memorial Day weekend. Spry says those interested in volunteering can contact the Lake Red Rock Visitor Center at 628-8690 or 828-7522.

Marion County Property Taxes Due
The second half of Marion County residents 2008-2009 property tax payments become delinquent Wednesday, and residents must make their payments before then to be on time. Thats according to Marion County Assessor Drew Sanders. Residents can pay their property taxes by coming into the Marion County Treasurers Office in the courthouse or online at Iowatreasurers.org.

Tips on Keeping Your Eyes Healthy
Studies are finding that proper nutrition can help prevent the onset of the eye disorder macular degeneration. Dr. Ralph De Haan with Eye Care Partners in Pella says the disease typically afflicts people over the age of 50. He says its caused by a decrease in circulation to a portion of the eye. If someone has a family history, De Haan says a diet with enough lutein, zinc, copper, Vitamin E, Vitamin C and certain fatty acids has been shown to have a preventive effect. De Haan recommends annual eye exams to help detect early signs of macular degeneration. If someone develops the disease, he says treatment options are available.

3M Lays Off 20 Employees
3M Co. in Knoxville placed 20 of its production employees on layoff status earlier this week, with the layoffs set to take effect April 10th. That’s according to 3M spokesman Jeff Horacek, who says that 3M hopes the layoffs will be temporary. He also says the company has no plans to continue shutting down the plant on Fridays at this time.

Unemployment Rate Goes Up in Marion County
Marion Countys unemployment rate increased last month, according to the latest figures from Iowa Workforce Development. The rate increased from 5.7 percent in January to 6.2 percent in February. However, that is substantially lower than the national rate of 8.1 percent. Iowa Workforce Development spokeswoman Kerry Koonce says about 90 more people in Marion County were collecting unemployment in February. She says hopefully the rate should start to decline this spring. The state unemployment rate for last month was 4.9 percent, up only a tenth-of-a-percent from January.

Gas Main Break in Knoxville
A gas main break at the intersection of Lincoln and Madison streets in Knoxville earlier this week closed down the intersection for nearly two hours, and resulted in the evacuation of nearby homes, following a quick response from area emergency responders. Fire Chief Mike Roberts says a contractor doing main work for Knoxville Water Works was laying protective earth around their workzone when a substantial hunk of earth fell, hitting and severing the gas main, with no injuries. Pella Ambulance and Knoxville Rural Fire Department were also on stand by during the incident.

Pella Community Schools Looking at Facility Upgrades
Significant facility upgrades could be in store for the Pella Community School District. The Pella School Board recently took the first step in a process that could lead to some improvements to district buildings and athletic fields. District Superintendent Mark Wittmer says this project would address safety issues with the track and bleachers at the football field. Wittmer says each school also has some facility requests. At this point, the project carries a price tag of $1.9 million and would be paid for by bonding against sales tax revenue.

News 3/28/09

Posted: Saturday, March 28th, 2009 at 5:57 am

Local group honors state flag day 
This Sunday is the 88th anniversary of when Iowa adopted Knoxville resident Dixie Gebhardts design for the Iowa State Flag. To commemorate this event, the Knoxville Historic Preservation Commission presented a brief history of the Iowa state flag and flag activities to Knoxvilles 2nd and 3rd grade students. Hundreds of colored flags have been returned to the commission, and these will be displayed in area businesses, according to committee co-chair Carolyn Formanek. She says the history is being presented to help students appreciate one of Knoxvilles contributions to state history.

Reducing wear to Tulip Toren 
City
officials are taking steps to reduce wear to the Tulip Toren after a renovation project last year. Community Services Director Kevin Vos says bicycles, skateboards and roller-blades can damage the structure by wearing down the paint and concrete. The Pella City Council will likely consider an ordinance next month that would prohibit use of bicycles, skateboards and roller-blades on the Tulip Toren.
 

New measure will help track medicine buys in Marion County 
A new state measure increasing ways nonprescription cold medicine is purchased will help law enforcement crack down on methamphetamine production. Governor Chet Culver signed the measure earlier this week, which requires customers buying pseudoephedrinea main ingredient used to make meth to sign an electronic log, whereas before they only had to sign a paper log. Marion County Sheriff Ron Goemaat says this will save deputies the time of physically going to pharmacies to check logs, and make it easier to keep track of sales. 

Reducing wear to Tulip Toren 
City officials are taking steps to reduce wear to the Tulip Toren after a renovation project last year. Community Services Director Kevin Vos says bicycles, skateboards and roller-blades can damage the structure by wearing down the paint and concrete. The Pella City Council will likely consider an ordinance next month that would prohibit use of bicycles, skateboards and roller-blades on the Tulip Toren. 

Planning Pella Farmers Market 
The Pella Farmers Market Club met this past Thursday night to set their schedule for this season. Vivian Rippentrop with the Pella Farmers Market says they plan to open the season April 30 in the parking lot of First Reformed Church. She says the hours will remain the same as last year from 3:00 to 6:00 p.m. every Thursday. The market traditionally continues into October, depending on weather conditions. 

Knoxville Lodge Open House today
The Lodge of Westridgea new independent living senior centeris having its Open House event Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on highway 14 next to Godfathers Pizza, according to Lodge owner Jan Pearson. She says area residents are invited to take a tour of the five apartments, foyer, and other areas already finished. Pearson says the center will have a tranquil atmosphere, and is for seniors aged 55 and older.

Pella students combat hunger
A group of Pella third-graders raised more than $690 to help combat world hunger. Students in Cindy Dixsons class at Lincoln Elementary collected funds for the non-profit organization Heifer International. The funds will be used to purchase a water buffalo, llama, pigs, goat and a share of a heifer for a needy family. 

Pets can suffer storm phobia 
The storm season can be frightening to a pet but owners can take some measures to keep their dog or cat healthy and calm this spring and summer. Dr. Christie Carlo with Tri-County Veterinary Clinic in Pella says one fairly common problem this time of year is storm phobia. She says some dogs and cats can become very anxious during storms, which can cause them to harm themselves or their environment. 

Maid of Honor in Pella tonight 
Residents have one more opportunity to see Pella Christian High School students test their comic timing. The show Maid of Honor opened last night. Director Marlo Van Peursem describes it as a family-friendly slapstick comedy that involves a friendly rivalry between athletics and the arts. He says 20 students are involved in the production. Showtime is at 7:00 p.m. at the Pella Christian High School. Tickets are $5 for adults and $4 for students. 

Getting ready for Knoxville Egg Hunt 
Area residents are invited to help stuff Easter eggs Saturday starting at 10 a.m. at Celebrate Community Church at 1005 North Lincoln in Knoxville for the Community Easter Egg Hunt being held April 11th. 

News 3/28/09

Posted: Saturday, March 28th, 2009 at 5:57 am

Local group honors state flag day 
This Sunday is the 88th anniversary of when Iowa adopted Knoxville resident Dixie Gebhardts design for the Iowa State Flag. To commemorate this event, the Knoxville Historic Preservation Commission presented a brief history of the Iowa state flag and flag activities to Knoxvilles 2nd and 3rd grade students. Hundreds of colored flags have been returned to the commission, and these will be displayed in area businesses, according to committee co-chair Carolyn Formanek. She says the history is being presented to help students appreciate one of Knoxvilles contributions to state history.

Reducing wear to Tulip Toren 
City
officials are taking steps to reduce wear to the Tulip Toren after a renovation project last year. Community Services Director Kevin Vos says bicycles, skateboards and roller-blades can damage the structure by wearing down the paint and concrete. The Pella City Council will likely consider an ordinance next month that would prohibit use of bicycles, skateboards and roller-blades on the Tulip Toren.
 

New measure will help track medicine buys in Marion County 
A new state measure increasing ways nonprescription cold medicine is purchased will help law enforcement crack down on methamphetamine production. Governor Chet Culver signed the measure earlier this week, which requires customers buying pseudoephedrinea main ingredient used to make meth to sign an electronic log, whereas before they only had to sign a paper log. Marion County Sheriff Ron Goemaat says this will save deputies the time of physically going to pharmacies to check logs, and make it easier to keep track of sales. 

Reducing wear to Tulip Toren 
City officials are taking steps to reduce wear to the Tulip Toren after a renovation project last year. Community Services Director Kevin Vos says bicycles, skateboards and roller-blades can damage the structure by wearing down the paint and concrete. The Pella City Council will likely consider an ordinance next month that would prohibit use of bicycles, skateboards and roller-blades on the Tulip Toren. 

Planning Pella Farmers Market 
The Pella Farmers Market Club met this past Thursday night to set their schedule for this season. Vivian Rippentrop with the Pella Farmers Market says they plan to open the season April 30 in the parking lot of First Reformed Church. She says the hours will remain the same as last year from 3:00 to 6:00 p.m. every Thursday. The market traditionally continues into October, depending on weather conditions. 

Knoxville Lodge Open House today
The Lodge of Westridgea new independent living senior centeris having its Open House event Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on highway 14 next to Godfathers Pizza, according to Lodge owner Jan Pearson. She says area residents are invited to take a tour of the five apartments, foyer, and other areas already finished. Pearson says the center will have a tranquil atmosphere, and is for seniors aged 55 and older.

Pella students combat hunger
A group of Pella third-graders raised more than $690 to help combat world hunger. Students in Cindy Dixsons class at Lincoln Elementary collected funds for the non-profit organization Heifer International. The funds will be used to purchase a water buffalo, llama, pigs, goat and a share of a heifer for a needy family. 

Pets can suffer storm phobia 
The storm season can be frightening to a pet but owners can take some measures to keep their dog or cat healthy and calm this spring and summer. Dr. Christie Carlo with Tri-County Veterinary Clinic in Pella says one fairly common problem this time of year is storm phobia. She says some dogs and cat
s can become very anxious during storms, which can cause them to harm themselves or their environment.
 

Maid of Honor in Pella tonight 
Residents have one more opportunity to see Pella Christian High School students test their comic timing. The show Maid of Honor opened last night. Director Marlo Van Peursem describes it as a family-friendly slapstick comedy that involves a friendly rivalry between athletics and the arts. He says 20 students are involved in the production. Showtime is at 7:00 p.m. at the Pella Christian High School. Tickets are $5 for adults and $4 for students. 

Getting ready for Knoxville Egg Hunt 
Area residents are invited to help stuff Easter eggs Saturday starting at 10 a.m. at Celebrate Community Church at 1005 North Lincoln in Knoxville for the Community Easter Egg Hunt being held April 11th. 

News 3/25/09

Posted: Wednesday, March 25th, 2009 at 11:30 am

Marion County Dispatchers recieve award 
The Marion County Sheriffs Office Communications Center was named Team Telecommunicators of the Year for 2008 by the Iowa chapter of the Association of Public Safety Communications Officials. Communications Director Martha Dykstra says the Center is honored to receive the award which recognized the vital role the communications center played during last years floods. The award presentation was held Tuesday in Des Moines.

Court holds Royalty Party 
Young ladies dressed in traditional Dutch garb and finely-painted wooden shoes offered a glimpse into local history Tuesday night at the annual Royalty Party. The 2009 Tulip Time Royalty Court performed their program, "Mareah’s Miles," which tells the story of Mareah Scholte, wife of Pella founder Hendrik Scholte. The court will give 30 presentations during the course of the next few months. 

3M makes cutbacks 
3M Co. in Knoxville placed 20 of its production employees on layoff status Tuesday, with the layoffs set to take effect April 10th . That’s according to 3M spokesman Jeff Horacek, who says that 3M hopes the layoffs will be temporary. He also says the company has no plans to continue shutting down the plant on Fridays at this time. 

Pella Corp hopes to benefit from energy efficiency tax credits 
A local company is hoping people take advantage of home energy efficiency tax credits included in the economic stimulus package. Pella Corporation spokeswoman Kathy Krafka Harkema says the stimulus package provides a tax credit for up to $1,500 or 30 percent of the replacement cost of qualifying windows and doors. The company is nationally-recognized for their energy efficient products as they received the 2009 Energy Star Sustained Excellence Award.

Bussey couple faces drug charges 
Two Bussey residents were arrested Tuesday, and each charged with manufacturing of a schedule I controlled substance, marijuana, and possession of marijuana with intent to deliver. That’s according to an undercover narcotics deputy with the Marion County Sheriffs Office, who says Wade Sherman and his wife Misty were also each charged with two counts of failure to affix a drug tax stamp. 

School Board receives preliminary budget information 
The Pella School Board will certify the budget for the 2009-2010 school year at a meeting next month. Pella Community School District Superintendent Mark Wittmer says the proposed tax levy rate is $13.71 per $1,000 of taxable valuation, which is a decline of 13 cents. Wittmer says the budget must be certified by April 15. At this point, he says they still don’t know the level of state aid or what role stimulus funding will have in the budget. A budget hearing is set for April 13. 

Budget Committee to present final recommendation 
The Knoxville School district budget review committee will present their final 2009-2010 budget recommendation to the Board of Education at a special meeting this evening at 7:30 in the Knoxville High School Library. Residents can tune into AM-1320 and kniakrls.com for live meeting coverage during a special edition news magazine starting at 7:30. 

Rain and cooler temps slow early tulip growth 
The recent rain may have helped prevent an early bloom in Pella. Community Services Director Kevin Vos says getting tulips to operate according to the festival schedule is always a challenge. Vos says above-average temperatures this month accelerated the growth process. Without the rain, Vos says crews wouldve had to water the beds in an attempt to cool the soil and slow growth. 

Some farmers eligible for conservation variances 
Some Marion County producers may be eligible for conservation compliance variances this spring. That’s according to Jay Jung with the Natural Resources Conservation Service in Marion County. He says last years flooding and the recent heavy rains may have left small rills across the slopes of some no-till fields, and the variance would allow the farmers to smooth out the areas without penalty. 

Chamber plans shop local effort 
The Pella Chamber of Commerce is planning a new shop local campaign. Chamber Director Karen Eischen says the campaign will have several different components to remind residents about the importance of shopping locally. The chamber is prepared to launch the year-long campaign sometime this spring.

News 3/25/09

Posted: Wednesday, March 25th, 2009 at 11:30 am

Marion County Dispatchers recieve award 
The Marion County Sheriffs Office Communications Center was named Team Telecommunicators of the Year for 2008 by the Iowa chapter of the Association of Public Safety Communications Officials. Communications Director Martha Dykstra says the Center is honored to receive the award which recognized the vital role the communications center played during last years floods. The award presentation was held Tuesday in Des Moines.

Court holds Royalty Party 
Young ladies dressed in traditional Dutch garb and finely-painted wooden shoes offered a glimpse into local history Tuesday night at the annual Royalty Party. The 2009 Tulip Time Royalty Court performed their program, "Mareah’s Miles," which tells the story of Mareah Scholte, wife of Pella founder Hendrik Scholte. The court will give 30 presentations during the course of the next few months. 

3M makes cutbacks 
3M Co. in Knoxville placed 20 of its production employees on layoff status Tuesday, with the layoffs set to take effect April 10th . That’s according to 3M spokesman Jeff Horacek, who says that 3M hopes the layoffs will be temporary. He also says the company has no plans to continue shutting down the plant on Fridays at this time. 

Pella Corp hopes to benefit from energy efficiency tax credits 
A local company is hoping people take advantage of home energy efficiency tax credits included in the economic stimulus package. Pella Corporation spokeswoman Kathy Krafka Harkema says the stimulus package provides a tax credit for up to $1,500 or 30 percent of the replacement cost of qualifying windows and doors. The company is nationally-recognized for their energy efficient products as they received the 2009 Energy Star Sustained Excellence Award.

Bussey couple faces drug charges 
Two Bussey residents were arrested Tuesday, and each charged with manufacturing of a schedule I controlled substance, marijuana, and possession of marijuana with intent to deliver. That’s according to an undercover narcotics deputy with the Marion County Sheriffs Office, who says Wade Sherman and his wife Misty were also each charged with two counts of failure to affix a drug tax stamp. 

School Board receives preliminary budget information 
The Pella School Board will certify the budget for the 2009-2010 school year at a meeting next month. Pella Community School District Superintendent Mark Wittmer says the proposed tax levy rate is $13.71 per $1,000 of taxable valuation, which is a decline of 13 cents. Wittmer says the budget must be certified by April 15. At this point, he says they still don’t know the level of state aid or what role stimulus funding will have in the budget. A budget hearing is set for April 13. 

Budget Committee to present final recommendation 
The Knoxville School district budget review committee will present their final 2009-2010 budget recommendation to the Board of Education at a special meeting this evening at 7:30 in the Knoxville High School Library. Residents can tune into AM-1320 and kniakrls.com for live meeting coverage during a special edition news magazine starting at 7:30. 

Rain and cooler temps slow early tulip growth 
The recent rain may have helped prevent an early bloom in Pella. Community Services Director Kevin Vos says getting tulips to operate according to the festival schedule is always a challenge. Vos says above-average temperatures this month accelerated the growth process. Without
the rain, Vos says crews wouldve had to water the beds in an attempt to cool the soil and slow growth.
 

Some farmers eligible for conservation variances 
Some Marion County producers may be eligible for conservation compliance variances this spring. That’s according to Jay Jung with the Natural Resources Conservation Service in Marion County. He says last years flooding and the recent heavy rains may have left small rills across the slopes of some no-till fields, and the variance would allow the farmers to smooth out the areas without penalty. 

Chamber plans shop local effort 
The Pella Chamber of Commerce is planning a new shop local campaign. Chamber Director Karen Eischen says the campaign will have several different components to remind residents about the importance of shopping locally. The chamber is prepared to launch the year-long campaign sometime this spring.

News 3/23/09

Posted: Monday, March 23rd, 2009 at 5:54 am


Fire consumes several acres west of Knoxville
Many area fire departments closed out their weekend by responding to the 28th county grassfire in seven days which required a fire department response Sunday at 999 McGregor drive west of Knoxville. Knoxville Township, Knoxville, Pleasantville and Columbia Fire Departments, Marion County Sheriff’s Deputies and Emergency Management Coordinator Jeff Anderson responded to the scene, which consumed approximately 20 acres of private property before spreading to federal property. Crews had the blaze under control within an hour of arriving on scene.

Author discusses her travels at reading Saturday
An Iowa author shared her travel experiences at a presentation Saturday at the Pella Public Library. Nancy Harless is the author of “Womankind,” a collection of 21 stories about women Harless has encountered in her visits to other countries, such as Guatemala and Belize. She was inspired to travel more frequently after participating in a Rotary Group Study Exchange program in 1999.

More state budget cuts expected
Greater state budget cuts are expected now that new revenue projections are available. Republican State Representative Jim Van Engelenhoven says at this point everything is probably on the table. He says savings can be found – such as extending the lifetime of state vehicles and reducing the size of the state workforce. The Revenue Estimating Conference released their updated projections this past Friday.

Communications Center receives honor
The Marion County Sheriff’s Office Communications Center was named Team Telecommunicators of the Year for 2008 by the Iowa chapter of the Association of Public Safety Communications Officials. Communications Director Martha Dykstra says the center is honored to receive the award.The dispatchers and county officials are attending the award presentation being made in Des Moines Tuesday.

Alternative fuel tests resume next month
The city of Pella Electric Department plans to resume alternative fuel tests at the power plant next month. Electric Director Larry Peterson says emission tests of wood products, such as storm debris, are scheduled to begin in early April. During the test, Peterson says theyll use about a 10 percent wood to coal ratio, which means about 25 tons of wood and 250 tons of coal. This is the second phase of a project that began last fall.

Dry conditions keep firefighters busy
Fire Departments across Marion County have responded to multiple grass fires the past few weeks, with a much higher number of grassfires than last year. Knoxville Fire Department Mike Chief Roberts says it’s because of the weather: 2009 has not been as moist as this time last year, making fields more susceptible to catch fire.

School Board to hold hearing on facility improvements
A public hearing on energy efficiency facility improvements is one item on the Pella School Board agenda today. The board is also scheduled to receive preliminary budget information and set a hearing date for next month. Other items on the agenda include technology expenses for 2009-2010 and a report on long-term facility needs. The Pella School Board meets at 4:30 p.m. at the Administration Office.

County Board to meet this morning
The Marion County Board of Supervisors will discuss and take action on a letter of support for a Connectivity Study from I-80 to the Red Rock Area during their meeting this morning at 9:30 in the Marion County Courthouse. The approval of two agreements for federal highway stimulus program projects is also set, among other issues.

Pella PD has new reserve officer
The Pella Police Department has a new reserve officer. Jonathon Bailey took the oath of office at the city council meeting last week. Bailey works at the Polk County Sheriff’s Office as a detention officer. Glen Matherly is the Chairman of the Pella Police Reserves. He says this volunteer group assists the police department with normal functions. This includes providing additional manpower during special events like Tulip Time.

Court offices to close early two days a week
The third and fourth floor offices of the Marion County Courthouse will be closed at 2:30 p.m. every Tuesday and Thursday beginning this Tuesday, until further notice from the Iowa Supreme Court. The rest of the Marion County courthouse will be open with usual hours.

News 3/22/09

Posted: Sunday, March 22nd, 2009 at 3:56 pm

Marion County Supervisors to Meet Monday
The Marion County Board of Supervisors will discuss and take action on a letter of support for a Connectivity Study from I-80 to the Red Rock Area during their bi-monthly meeting Monday morning at 9:30 in the Marion County Courthouse. The approval of two agreements for federal highway stimulus program projects is also set, among other issues. 

Pella School Board to Meet Monday
A public hearing on energy efficiency facility improvements is one item on the Pella School Board agenda Monday. The board is also scheduled to receive preliminary budget information and set a hearing date for next month. Other items on the agenda include technology expenses for 2009-2010 and a report on long-term facility needs. The Pella School Board meets Monday at 4:30 p.m. at the Administration Office. 

Knoxville Schools District Budget Review Committee to Give Budget Recommendation
The Knoxville School district budget review committee will present their final 2009-2010 budget recommendation to the Board of Education at a special meeting Wednesday evening at 7:30 in the Knoxville High School Library. Residents can tune into AM-1320 and kniakrls.com for live meeting coverage during a special edition news magazine starting at 7:30. 

Pella Electric to Resume Testing Alternative Fuels
The city of Pella Electric Department plans to resume alternative fuel tests at the power plant next month. Electric Director Larry Peterson says emission tests of wood products, such as storm debris, are scheduled to begin in early April. During the test, Peterson says theyll use about a 10 percent wood to coal ratio, which means about 25 tons of wood and 250 tons of coal. This is the second phase of a project that began last fall. Once this latest test is complete, Peterson says theyll analyze the data to see if its a viable fuel source. 

Grassfires in Marion County
Grassfire was the word of the week for Marion County fire departments and first responders. Area departments responded to over 21 grassfires in the last six days, with over ten grassfires Saturday alone. Knoxville Fire Chief Mike Roberts says the weather is the main reason for the high numberthis year has seen far less rain and moisture than at this time last year, making fields more susceptible to catch fire. 

Hydroelectric Power Company Wants to Come to Marion County
A Minnesota company wants to bring hydroelectric power to Marion County. A subsidiary of Nelson Energy has submitted a license application to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission for a power plant at the Lake Red Rock Dam. Project Engineer Doug Spalding says the plant could produce 36 megawatts of electricity, or equal to the size of the city of Pella Power Plant. Officials say review of the application could take between 18 months and two years. 

Robinson Street Construction to Begin Again
Once the ground completely thaws and is determined to be stable for roadwork, construction on Robinson Street in Knoxville will begin again, closing the street for 25 working days as crews finish the project and the road is then reopened. Knoxville City Manager Dick Schrad says the contractor has agreed to pay liquidated damages to the city for unfinished work past the Dec. 1 completion deadline it missed last year.

Flooding Unlikely in Marion County This Year
Major flooding in Marion County is unlikely this spring, according to the latest flood outlook released by the National Weather Service in Des Moines. Senior Hydrologist Jeff Zogg says an early snow melt has left rivers at or near normal levels. According to Zogg, theres a 30-40 percent chance of flooding on the Des Moines River and about a 10-20 percent chance of flooding at Cedar Creek near Bussey. However, he says theres about a 60-80 percent chance the South Skunk River near Oskaloosa could surpass flood stage in the next three months. Overall, Zogg says less flooding is expected this spring than last. A revised flood forecast will be released toward the end of the month.

News 3/22/09

Posted: Sunday, March 22nd, 2009 at 3:56 pm

Marion County Supervisors to Meet Monday
The Marion County Board of Supervisors will discuss and take action on a letter of support for a Connectivity Study from I-80 to the Red Rock Area during their bi-monthly meeting Monday morning at 9:30 in the Marion County Courthouse. The approval of two agreements for federal highway stimulus program projects is also set, among other issues. 

Pella School Board to Meet Monday
A public hearing on energy efficiency facility improvements is one item on the Pella School Board agenda Monday. The board is also scheduled to receive preliminary budget information and set a hearing date for next month. Other items on the agenda include technology expenses for 2009-2010 and a report on long-term facility needs. The Pella School Board meets Monday at 4:30 p.m. at the Administration Office. 

Knoxville Schools District Budget Review Committee to Give Budget Recommendation
The Knoxville School district budget review committee will present their final 2009-2010 budget recommendation to the Board of Education at a special meeting Wednesday evening at 7:30 in the Knoxville High School Library. Residents can tune into AM-1320 and kniakrls.com for live meeting coverage during a special edition news magazine starting at 7:30. 

Pella Electric to Resume Testing Alternative Fuels
The city of Pella Electric Department plans to resume alternative fuel tests at the power plant next month. Electric Director Larry Peterson says emission tests of wood products, such as storm debris, are scheduled to begin in early April. During the test, Peterson says theyll use about a 10 percent wood to coal ratio, which means about 25 tons of wood and 250 tons of coal. This is the second phase of a project that began last fall. Once this latest test is complete, Peterson says theyll analyze the data to see if its a viable fuel source. 

Grassfires in Marion County
Grassfire was the word of the week for Marion County fire departments and first responders. Area departments responded to over 21 grassfires in the last six days, with over ten grassfires Saturday alone. Knoxville Fire Chief Mike Roberts says the weather is the main reason for the high numberthis year has seen far less rain and moisture than at this time last year, making fields more susceptible to catch fire. 

Hydroelectric Power Company Wants to Come to Marion County
A Minnesota company wants to bring hydroelectric power to Marion County. A subsidiary of Nelson Energy has submitted a license application to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission for a power plant at the Lake Red Rock Dam. Project Engineer Doug Spalding says the plant could produce 36 megawatts of electricity, or equal to the size of the city of Pella Power Plant. Officials say review of the application could take between 18 months and two years. 

Robinson Street Construction to Begin Again
Once the ground completely thaws and is determined to be stable for roadwork, construction on Robinson Street in Knoxville will begin again, closing the street for 25 working days as crews finish the project and the road is then reopened. Knoxville City Manager Dick Schrad says the contractor has agreed to pay liquidated damages to the city for unfinished work past the Dec. 1 completion deadline it missed last year.

Flooding Unlikely in Marion County This Year
Maj
or flooding in Marion County is unlikely this spring, according to the latest flood outlook released by the National Weather Service in Des Moines. Senior Hydrologist Jeff Zogg says an early snow melt has left rivers at or near normal levels. According to Zogg, theres a 30-40 percent chance of flooding on the Des Moines River and about a 10-20 percent chance of flooding at Cedar Creek near Bussey. However, he says theres about a 60-80 percent chance the South Skunk River near Oskaloosa could surpass flood stage in the next three months. Overall, Zogg says less flooding is expected this spring than last. A revised flood forecast will be released toward the end of the month.

28th Fire Department Response to Grassfires in Seven Days

Posted: Sunday, March 22nd, 2009 at 3:51 pm

Many area fire departments closed out their weekend—we hope—by responding to the 28th county grassfire in seven days which required a fire department response Sunday at 999 McGregor drive west of KnoxvilleKnoxville Township, Knoxville, Pleasantville and Columbia Fire Departments, Marion County Sheriff’s Deputies and Emergency Management Coordinator Jeff Anderson responded to the scene, which consumed approximately 20 acres of private property before spreading to federal property.  Crews had the blaze under control within an hour of arriving on scene. 

 

Large grassfire now under control

Posted: Sunday, March 22nd, 2009 at 2:41 pm

A large grassfire consumed several acres near 999 McGregor Drive west of Knoxville. Firefighters have the blaze under control, which had spread to federal property. The Knoxville Township Fire Department, Pleasantville Fire Department and Columbia Township Fire Department all responded to the scene along with the Marion County Sheriff’s Department. This is the 28th grassfire in Marion County in the past seven days.

Nine Grassfires in One Day in Marion County

Posted: Saturday, March 21st, 2009 at 3:46 pm

Nine grassfires in Marion County Saturday sent area fire departments and law enforcement responding to fields and residences alike.  Among the fires include Clay Township responding to a grassfire at 2030 Lowe Drive in rural Marion County, which destroyed at least one building and spread to several acres across the road in a nearby field (photo).  Crews had the blaze extinguished with no injuries, with Knoxville Township and Marion County Sheriff’s Deputies responding to the scene as well. 

 

Later than day, Knoxville Township Fire Department and Marion County Sheriff’s Deputies responded to a grassfire on 1113 92nd Avenue.  The blaze there destroyed a trailer and dog house, and damaged a nearby building, also burning several acres in a nearby field, with no injuries.  Crews had the blaze under control within 30 minutes.

 

Also today, Indiana Township Fire Department responded to multiple grassfires.  The Pleasantville Fire Department responded to a grassfire on 455 Erbe Street, and Pella Fire Department, Pella Ambulance, Pella Police Department and Marion County Sheriff’s Deputies responded to a grassfire near Graceland Cemetery.

 

Fire Departments across Marion County have responded to multiple grass fires the past few weeks, with a much higher number of grassfires than last year. Knoxville Fire Department Mike Chief Roberts says it’s because of the weather: 2009 has not been as moist as this time last year, making fields more susceptible to catch fire. The forecast in coming days is predicted to be rainy and moist, which Roberts says could cut down the number of people attempting controlled burns.

The one to count on for up to the minute news and information is KNIA/KRLS.

 

News 3/21/09

Posted: Saturday, March 21st, 2009 at 5:24 am

Electric utility project resumes 
Work has resumed on an electric utility project in the city of Pella. The contractor, KLK Construction of Pella, is installing conduits and cable from north of the power plant to near Pella Regional Health Center. Electric Director Larry Peterson says this new feeder line is needed due to the hospital expansion. Peterson says KLK should be substantially complete with their work by mid-April and then city crews will finish the rest of the project, which he says should be done before summer. 

Program to offer history of Knoxville VA 
The Knoxville Historic Preservation Commission is hosting a program on the history of the Knoxville VA April 23rd from 7 to 8 p.m. at the Knoxville Public Library. That’s according to committee co-chair Tom Schmeh. He says the "Caring for America‘s Veterans: The History of the Knoxville V.A." program will include a narrative and pictures guiding viewers though the VA’s history. 

REC releases revenue projections 
The states revenue estimating committee released its spending projections Friday for both this and next year. Officials tell KNIA/KRLS News that there’s an over $100 million revenue loss projected for this year, and about $250 million in revenue losses projected for next year. The losses indicate how much less money the state has to spend.

Traffic stop leads to drug charge for Pella man 
A Pella man faces a drug charge in Audubon County. According to the Audubon County Sheriffs Office, 32-year-old Jeremy David Best is charged with gathering where drugs are used, methamphetamine, a Class D felony. Audobon County Sheriff Todd Johnson tells KNIA/KRLS News that the charge stems from a traffic stop on Thursday afternoon where two other men were also arrested. Johnson says Best has been ordered to appear in Audubon County District Court on March 23.

Residents looking to maintain vehicles longer 
Many Marion County residents are looking to maintain their vehicles longer in todays economy. Arvin Vander Linden is manager of Raceway Tire & Exhaust in Knoxville. He says more residents are fixing up their cars to last longer, even those which have a high number of miles on them. Craig Ford is owner of Pella Motors. He says he’s serving more people looking for ways to keep their vehicles in good condition longer.

Local governments putting more information online 
More local governments are using the Internet as a valuable communication tool. Pella City Administrator Mike Nardini says theyve found that many residents will use the city website first and call the city second. Marion County Auditor Jake Grandia says the county offers a relatively new comprehensive government website. Knoxville‘s website was launched earlier this year and is still being developed as content continues to be added. 

Streetscape committee to meet next week 
The Knoxville Downtown Streetscape Committee will continue discussion regarding possible grant and funding opportunities at its bi-monthly meeting Tuesday at 5:15 p.m. in City Hall, among other issues.

Catching fish in the spring 
Spring has arrived and with it comes thoughts of casting a line in open water for many Marion County fishermen. Marion County Conservation Officer John Mertz says water temperature is the key to spring fishing as that dictates spawning season. He says two of the more popular species – crappie and white bass – start to spawn when the water temperature reaches 60 degrees. In early spring, Mertz says people below the dam are probably catching some walleye and carp. 

Community Chorus to hold 2009 Spring Concert 
The Knoxville Community Chorus is holding their 2009 Spring Concert March 27th at 7 p.m. in the First Presbyterian Church. The concert will also be held March 28th at 2 p.m. at First United Methodist Church. 

Author to visit with local residents 
An Iowa author will share stories of her travels abroad at a special program this afternoon at the Pella Public Library. Nancy Harless is the author of "Womankind," a collection of individual pieces about her experiences as a world traveler and a health care professional. The reading is at 2:00 p.m. at the Pella Public Library meeting room. 

News 3/21/09

Posted: Saturday, March 21st, 2009 at 5:24 am

Electric utility project resumes 
Work has resumed on an electric utility project in the city of Pella. The contractor, KLK Construction of Pella, is installing conduits and cable from north of the power plant to near Pella Regional Health Center. Electric Director Larry Peterson says this new feeder line is needed due to the hospital expansion. Peterson says KLK should be substantially complete with their work by mid-April and then city crews will finish the rest of the project, which he says should be done before summer. 

Program to offer history of Knoxville VA 
The Knoxville Historic Preservation Commission is hosting a program on the history of the Knoxville VA April 23rd from 7 to 8 p.m. at the Knoxville Public Library. That’s according to committee co-chair Tom Schmeh. He says the "Caring for America‘s Veterans: The History of the Knoxville V.A." program will include a narrative and pictures guiding viewers though the VA’s history. 

REC releases revenue projections 
The states revenue estimating committee released its spending projections Friday for both this and next year. Officials tell KNIA/KRLS News that there’s an over $100 million revenue loss projected for this year, and about $250 million in revenue losses projected for next year. The losses indicate how much less money the state has to spend.

Traffic stop leads to drug charge for Pella man 
A Pella man faces a drug charge in Audubon County. According to the Audubon County Sheriffs Office, 32-year-old Jeremy David Best is charged with gathering where drugs are used, methamphetamine, a Class D felony. Audobon County Sheriff Todd Johnson tells KNIA/KRLS News that the charge stems from a traffic stop on Thursday afternoon where two other men were also arrested. Johnson says Best has been ordered to appear in Audubon County District Court on March 23.

Residents looking to maintain vehicles longer 
Many Marion County residents are looking to maintain their vehicles longer in todays economy. Arvin Vander Linden is manager of Raceway Tire & Exhaust in Knoxville. He says more residents are fixing up their cars to last longer, even those which have a high number of miles on them. Craig Ford is owner of Pella Motors. He says he’s serving more people looking for ways to keep their vehicles in good condition longer.

Local governments putting more information online 
More local governments are using the Internet as a valuable communication tool. Pella City Administrator Mike Nardini says theyve found that many residents will use the city website first and call the city second. Marion County Auditor Jake Grandia says the county offers a relatively new comprehensive government website. Knoxville‘s website was launched earlier this year and is still being developed as content continues to be added. 

Streetscape committee to meet next week 
The Knoxville Downtown Streetscape Committee will continue discussion regarding possible grant and funding opportunities at its bi-monthly meeting Tuesday at 5:15 p.m. in City Hall, among other issues.

Catching fish in the spring  black face=Tahoma>
Spring has arrived and with it comes thoughts of casting a line in open water for many Marion County fishermen. Marion County Conservation Officer John Mertz says water temperature is the key to spring fishing as that dictates spawning season. He says two of the more popular species – crappie and white bass – start to spawn when the water temperature reaches 60 degrees. In early spring, Mertz says people below the dam are probably catching some walleye and carp. 

Community Chorus to hold 2009 Spring Concert 
The Knoxville Community Chorus is holding their 2009 Spring Concert March 27th at 7 p.m. in the First Presbyterian Church. The concert will also be held March 28th at 2 p.m. at First United Methodist Church. 

Author to visit with local residents 
An Iowa author will share stories of her travels abroad at a special program this afternoon at the Pella Public Library. Nancy Harless is the author of "Womankind," a collection of individual pieces about her experiences as a world traveler and a health care professional. The reading is at 2:00 p.m. at the Pella Public Library meeting room. 

Traffic stop leads to drug charge for Pella man

Posted: Friday, March 20th, 2009 at 11:28 am

A Pella man faces a drug charge in Audubon County. According to the Audubon County Sheriff’s Office, 32-year-old Jeremy David Best is charged with gathering where drugs are used, methamphetamine, a Class D felony. Authorities say further charges are pending. Audobon County Sheriff Todd Johnson tells KNIA/KRLS News that the charge stems from a traffic stop on Thursday afternoon, where Best allegedly attempted to destroy evidence and was involved in a scuffle with officers. Two other individuals – 35-year-old Bryan Kent Ingerslev and 33-year-old Brian Ray Juhl both of Exira – also face drug charges. Sheriff Johnson says Best has been ordered to appear in Audubon County District Court on March 23. The incident remains under investigation.

News 3/20/09

Posted: Friday, March 20th, 2009 at 5:50 am

Robbery investigation continues 
The investigation continues into an armed robbery of a Pella bank Wednesday afternoon. Authorities are still searching for the woman who reportedly used a handgun to rob the MidwestOne Bank Branch Office at 500 Oskaloosa Street. According to the Pella Police Department, the FBI is analyzing all video tapes of the scene and the evidence collected from the crime scene has been submitted to the Division of Criminal Investigation for analysis. 

A busy day for grassfires 
A controlled burn got out of control Thursday morning at 1561 Lisbon Drive east of Knoxville, with no injuries. Knoxville Township Fire Department and Knoxville Police Department responded to the blaze and had it extinguished in minutes upon arrival. Pleasantville Fire & Rescue responded to a grassfire spanning multiple acres on 1134 40th Place. Also, the Knoxville Township and Indiana Township Fire Departments responded to a grassfire on the 1500 block of Quebec Drive, and Columbia Fire Department responded to a grassfire off of 120th avenue near Columbia. 

Bank employees lauded for response 
MidWestOne has received an outpouring of support in the wake of an armed robbery Wednesday afternoon. KNIA/KRLS News spoke with MidwestOne Bank Retail Managing Officer Margaret Ratcliff who says they’ve seen an amazing outpouring of support from their customers and other financial institutions. Pella Police Chief Michael Marcinkowski says bank employees did an excellent job and followed procedure. No one was injured in the robbery.

Court furloughs begin
The Iowa Supreme Court is ordering all court offices closed for select days in coming months because of an expected $3.8 million budget cut. The first scheduled furlough day is today: the state offices on the third and fourth floors will be closed, with the rest of the courthouse open as usual. In addition, the third and fourth floor courthouse offices will be closed at 2:30 p.m. every Tuesday and Thursday beginning March 24th.

City Hall building sold 
The former Pella City Hall is under new ownership. City Attorney Bob Stuyvesant says the sale has been completed and the conservation easement agreement recorded. The facility was sold to Horizon Distribution Inc. and it’s unknown at this time what the new owners have planned for the old city hall at 717 Main Street. 

City Council to discuss roll-off dumpsters 
An ordinance amendment using roll-off dumpsters only from licensed residential city haulers could be heading to the Knoxville City Council. Knoxville City Manager Dick Schrad says the amendment suggestion followed discussion with a representative from one of the city haulers at the city council meeting this week. Currently non-residential licensed haulers are able to deliver roll-off dumpsters to residential areas.

Pella Cooperative Electric to hold annual meeting 
Pella Cooperative Electric holds their annual meeting later this month. CEO John Smith says rural electric cooperatives face numerous challenges such as new environmental legislation and finding additional capacity to meet customer needs. Smith says Iowa needs additional generation as projections show that the state will be in a deficit mode for capacity by 2010, which means purchasing more energy on the open market. Smith says this leads to greater exposure to price volatility. 

Legislation modifies absentee ballot procedure for election officials 
County election officials would be required to count absentee ballots the day before the general election under legislation approved by the Iowa House earlier this week. Marion County Auditor Jake Grandia says the requirement could be a positive, because it would save the Office from counting absentee ballots on Election Day, as it currently does. 

Pella League of Women Voters to hold State of the County event 
Area residents can hear about the State of the County at a special event next week. The Pella League of Women Voters has invited the county supervisors, sheriff and auditor. The event is March 26 at 7:00 p.m. at the Pella Public Library. 

Pancake breakfast to serve as fundraiser 
Knoxville residents can enjoy an all-you-can-eat pancake breakfast Saturday at Dyer-Hudson Hall from 7 a.m. to 11 a.m. for a Knoxville High School Bowling Team fundraiser. Tickets are $5 each, and available at Iowa State Savings Bank, from bowling team members and at the door.

News 3/20/09

Posted: Friday, March 20th, 2009 at 5:50 am

Robbery investigation continues 
The investigation continues into an armed robbery of a Pella bank Wednesday afternoon. Authorities are still searching for the woman who reportedly used a handgun to rob the MidwestOne Bank Branch Office at 500 Oskaloosa Street. According to the Pella Police Department, the FBI is analyzing all video tapes of the scene and the evidence collected from the crime scene has been submitted to the Division of Criminal Investigation for analysis. 

A busy day for grassfires 
A controlled burn got out of control Thursday morning at 1561 Lisbon Drive east of Knoxville, with no injuries. Knoxville Township Fire Department and Knoxville Police Department responded to the blaze and had it extinguished in minutes upon arrival. Pleasantville Fire & Rescue responded to a grassfire spanning multiple acres on 1134 40th Place. Also, the Knoxville Township and Indiana Township Fire Departments responded to a grassfire on the 1500 block of Quebec Drive, and Columbia Fire Department responded to a grassfire off of 120th avenue near Columbia. 

Bank employees lauded for response 
MidWestOne has received an outpouring of support in the wake of an armed robbery Wednesday afternoon. KNIA/KRLS News spoke with MidwestOne Bank Retail Managing Officer Margaret Ratcliff who says they’ve seen an amazing outpouring of support from their customers and other financial institutions. Pella Police Chief Michael Marcinkowski says bank employees did an excellent job and followed procedure. No one was injured in the robbery.

Court furloughs begin
The Iowa Supreme Court is ordering all court offices closed for select days in coming months because of an expected $3.8 million budget cut. The first scheduled furlough day is today: the state offices on the third and fourth floors will be closed, with the rest of the courthouse open as usual. In addition, the third and fourth floor courthouse offices will be closed at 2:30 p.m. every Tuesday and Thursday beginning March 24th.

City Hall building sold 
The former Pella City Hall is under new ownership. City Attorney Bob Stuyvesant says the sale has been completed and the conservation easement agreement recorded. The facility was sold to Horizon Distribution Inc. and it’s unknown at this time what the new owners have planned for the old city hall at 717 Main Street. 

City Council to discuss roll-off dumpsters 
An ordinance amendment using roll-off dumpsters only from licensed residential city haulers could be heading to the Knoxville City Council. Knoxville City Manager Dick Schrad says the amendment suggestion followed discussion with a representative from one of the city haulers at the city council meeting this week. Currently non-residential licensed haulers are able to deliver roll-off dumpsters to residential areas.

Pella Cooperative Electric to hold annual meeting 
Pella Cooperative Electric holds their annual meeting later this month. CEO John Smith says rural electric cooperatives face numerous challenges such as new environmental legislation and finding additional capacity to meet customer needs. Smith says Iowa needs additional generation as projections show that the state will be in a deficit mode for capacity by 2010, which means purchasing more energy on the open market. Smith says this leads to greater exposure to price volatility. 

Legislation modifies absentee ballot procedure for election officials 
County election officials would be required to count absentee ballots the day before the general election under legislation approved by the Iowa House earlier this week. Marion County Auditor Jake Grandia says the requirement could be a positive, because it would save the Office from counting absentee ballots on Election Day, as it currently does. e> 

Pella League of Women Voters to hold State of the County event 
Area residents can hear about the State of the County at a special event next week. The Pella League of Women Voters has invited the county supervisors, sheriff and auditor. The event is March 26 at 7:00 p.m. at the Pella Public Library. 

Pancake breakfast to serve as fundraiser 
Knoxville residents can enjoy an all-you-can-eat pancake breakfast Saturday at Dyer-Hudson Hall from 7 a.m. to 11 a.m. for a Knoxville High School Bowling Team fundraiser. Tickets are $5 each, and available at Iowa State Savings Bank, from bowling team members and at the door.

Posted: Thursday, March 19th, 2009 at 5:43 am

Police investigate bank robbery 
Police are searching for a woman who robbed a bank in Pella Wednesday afternoon. The Pella Police Department received a report at 12:36 p.m. of an armed robbery at the MidWestOne Bank Branch Office at 500 Oskaloosa Street. Authorities describe the woman as a white female in her 40’s wearing glasses. Police Chief Michael Marcinkowski says the woman reportedly aimed a handgun at a teller, demanded money, and left the scene on foot with an undisclosed amount of cash. No one was injured in the incident. Marcinkowski says the FBI and the Department of Criminal Investigation were called in to assist in the investigation. Anyone with information is encouraged to contact the Pella Police Department at 641-628-4921. 

Fire causes minor damage at Pella Hy-Vee 
The Pella Fire Department responded to a fire at the Pella Hy-Vee Wednesday evening, quickly extinguishing the blaze. Paper products in one of the aisles had caught fire, with the cause unknown at this time, according to Pella Fire Chief Doug Van Gorkom. He told KNIA/KRLS News on scene that minor damage occurred, and that one person was transported to the hospital for smoke inhalation. The store was evacuated while authorities attended to the scene.

Robinson Street project to resume this spring 
Once the ground completely thaws and is determined to be stable for roadwork, construction on Robinson Street in Knoxville will begin again, closing the street for 25 working days as crews finish the project and the road is then reopened. Knoxville City Manager Dick Schrad says the contractor has agreed to pay liquidated damages to the city for unfinished work past the Dec. 1 completion deadline it missed last year. 

Communications Center receives honor 
The Marion County Sheriff’s Office Communications Center was named Team Telecommunicators of the Year for 2008 by the Iowa chapter of the Association of Public Safety Communications Officials. Communications Director Martha Dykstra says the Center is honored to receive the award. The dispatchers and county officials are attending the award presentation being made in Des Moines March 24. 

Minnesota company has plans for hydroelectric power 
A Minnesota company wants to bring hydroelectric power to Marion County. A subsidiary of Nelson Energy has submitted a license application to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission for a power plant at the Lake Red Rock Dam. Project Engineer Doug Spalding says the plant could produce 36 megawatts of electricity, or equal to the size of the city of Pella Power Plant. Officials say review of the application could take between 18 months and two years. 

Community Chorus to hold concerts this month 
The Knoxville Community Chorus is holding their 2009 Spring Concert March 27th at 7 p.m. in the First Presbyterian Church. The concert will also be held March 28th at 2 p.m. at First United Methodist Church. 

Firefighters respond to grassfire 
Firefighters responded to a grassfire Wednesday afternoon on 2276 Dakota Drive north of Pella. While extinguishing that blaze, the Pella Fire Department was called to another grassfire at 112 Terrace Drive in Park Hills subdivision south of Otley. Both fires were extinguished quickly, causing no damage or injuries.

Girl Scout cookie sale extended 
Marion County residents can order Girl Scout Cookies through June. Iowa Girl Scouts official Wanda Armstrong says the deadline has been extended to help boost cookie sales. She says its $3.50 per box, with 50 cents from every box going towards the troop, while the rest goes to the Girl Scout council to help the girl scouts with summer programs and other items. 

Airman completes training 
A former Marion County student has completed basic military training at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio. Andrew P. Frye studied the Air Force mission and organization and received physical training, among other subjects. Frye is a 2001 graduate of Twin Cedars and is the stepson of Darwin Vos of Pella. 

Have coffee with the mayor today 
Area residents can voice whats on their minds at "Coffee With The Mayor" in Knoxville today. Mayor Harv Sprafka says the program is held the third Thursday of each month at 4 p.m. on the second floor of the Knoxville Public library. 

Posted: Thursday, March 19th, 2009 at 5:43 am

Police investigate bank robbery 
Police are searching for a woman who robbed a bank in Pella Wednesday afternoon. The Pella Police Department received a report at 12:36 p.m. of an armed robbery at the MidWestOne Bank Branch Office at 500 Oskaloosa Street. Authorities describe the woman as a white female in her 40’s wearing glasses. Police Chief Michael Marcinkowski says the woman reportedly aimed a handgun at a teller, demanded money, and left the scene on foot with an undisclosed amount of cash. No one was injured in the incident. Marcinkowski says the FBI and the Department of Criminal Investigation were called in to assist in the investigation. Anyone with information is encouraged to contact the Pella Police Department at 641-628-4921. 

Fire causes minor damage at Pella Hy-Vee 
The Pella Fire Department responded to a fire at the Pella Hy-Vee Wednesday evening, quickly extinguishing the blaze. Paper products in one of the aisles had caught fire, with the cause unknown at this time, according to Pella Fire Chief Doug Van Gorkom. He told KNIA/KRLS News on scene that minor damage occurred, and that one person was transported to the hospital for smoke inhalation. The store was evacuated while authorities attended to the scene.

Robinson Street project to resume this spring 
Once the ground completely thaws and is determined to be stable for roadwork, construction on Robinson Street in Knoxville will begin again, closing the street for 25 working days as crews finish the project and the road is then reopened. Knoxville City Manager Dick Schrad says the contractor has agreed to pay liquidated damages to the city for unfinished work past the Dec. 1 completion deadline it missed last year. 

Communications Center receives honor 
The Marion County Sheriff’s Office Communications Center was named Team Telecommunicators of the Year for 2008 by the Iowa chapter of the Association of Public Safety Communications Officials. Communications Director Martha Dykstra says the Center is honored to receive the award. The dispatchers and county officials are attending the award presentation being made in Des Moines March 24. 

Minnesota company has plans for hydroelectric power 
A Minnesota company wants to bring hydroelectric power to Marion County. A subsidiary of Nelson Energy has submitted a license application to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission for a power plant at the Lake Red Rock Dam. Project Engineer Doug Spalding says the plant could produce 36 megawatts of electricity, or equal to the size of the city of Pella Power Plant. Officials say review of the application could take between 18 months and two years. 

Community Chorus to hold concerts this month 
The Knoxville Community Chorus is holding their 2009 Spring Concert March 27th at 7 p.m. in the First Presbyterian Church. The concert will also be held March 28th at 2 p.m. at First United Methodist Church. 

Firefighters respond to grassfire
 
Firefighters responded to a grassfire Wednesday afternoon on 2276 Dakota Drive north of Pella. While extinguishing that blaze, the Pella Fire Department was called to another grassfire at 112 Terrace Drive in Park Hills subdivision south of Otley. Both fires were extinguished quickly, causing no damage or injuries.

Girl Scout cookie sale extended 
Marion County residents can order Girl Scout Cookies through June. Iowa Girl Scouts official Wanda Armstrong says the deadline has been extended to help boost cookie sales. She says its $3.50 per box, with 50 cents from every box going towards the troop, while the rest goes to the Girl Scout council to help the girl scouts with summer programs and other items. 

Airman completes training 
A former Marion County student has completed basic military training at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio. Andrew P. Frye studied the Air Force mission and organization and received physical training, among other subjects. Frye is a 2001 graduate of Twin Cedars and is the stepson of Darwin Vos of Pella. 

Have coffee with the mayor today 
Area residents can voice whats on their minds at "Coffee With The Mayor" in Knoxville today. Mayor Harv Sprafka says the program is held the third Thursday of each month at 4 p.m. on the second floor of the Knoxville Public library. 

Pella Fire Responds to Two Grassfires

Posted: Wednesday, March 18th, 2009 at 4:35 pm

The Pella Fire Department responded to a grassfire Wednesday afternoon on 2276 Dakota Drive north of Pella. While extinguishing that blaze, the department was called to another grassfire at 112 Terrace Drive in Park Hills Division south of Otley. Both fires were extinguished quickly, causing no damage or injuries.