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News 3/20/09

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