Archive for April, 2009

Posted: Saturday, April 11th, 2009 at 5:37 am

City to maintain Bos Landen 
Bos Landen Golf Course will be maintained to a certain degree while the search continues for a buyer. Pella Mayor Darrell Dobernecker says the city council has directed the parks department to do some mowing, fertilizing and weed control at the golf course, which is city-owned property. He says they don’t want the course condition to deteriorate. It remains to be seen when the facility could reopen. 

Tassel Ridge wins award 
Tassel Ridge Winery recently captured another award. The local winery has announced that their 2007 Steuben won gold in the Best-of-Appellation evaluation last month. Thirty-nine wines from 16 different wineries were evaluated in the competition. The semi-sweet wine features grapes grown entirely at their vineyards in Mahaska County.

Robinson Street project to resume April 20 
Work on the Robinson Street Reconstruction Project in Knoxville is set to resume April 20th, after the projects contractor and the city reached an agreement. That’s according to Knoxville Public Works Director Jeff May. He tells KNIA/KRLS News that the contractor has 30 working days to complete the work, including all sidewalks, lighting and final grading. In related news, May says that Phase II of the South Fifth Street Construction project is set to start April 15. 

MidAmerican Energy to use flyover county to examine transmission lines 
MidAmerican Energy will have a helicopter inspecting transmission lines next week. Using a helicopter is part of routine maintenance, and the helicopter fly-zone could include Marion County. That’s according to Marion County Emergency Management Coordinator Jeff Anderson. The helicopter that will be used is a brown and white Bell Jet Ranger. 

DNR unveils new birding trail 
The Iowa Department of Natural Resources has unveiled a new birding trail for Central Iowa. According to the DNR, Lake Red Rock is one of the anchor sites for the Makoke Trail, which includes 22 sites selected for their birdlife. There are close to 400 such trails in the United States and Iowa DNR Wildlife Diversity Program Coordinator Doug Harr says this helps people find some of the best birding areas. 

Home Energy Assistance program application deadline extended 
The deadline has been extended for residents to fill out Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program applications from April 15th to May 29th. The Red Rock Area Community Action Program says the program helps qualifying low-income Iowa homeowners and renters pay for a portion of their primary heating costs during the winter. For more information, call the Red Rock Area Community Action Program at 842-6571. 

Firefighters respond to grassfire 
Firefighters responded to a grassfire Friday afternoon south of Pella. Firefighters were able to quickly get the blaze at 1277 245th Place under control. No buildings were damaged and no one was injured, according to Chad Klein with the Pella Fire Department. Klein estimates that crews were at the scene for about a half-hour. 

Weekend of Wheels set for later this month 
Knoxville is revving up for the Weekend of Wheels being held April 25th and 26th at the Marion County Fairgrounds. That’s according to event coordinator Bob Colbert and volunteer Craig Kelley. They say the event starts Saturday at 10 a.m. with a car show on the fairgrounds. Sunday features a celebrity auto cross, with cars traversing a miniature road course. Registration fees for those wanting to participate in both the car show and celebrity cross are $20. 

Volunteers sought at Lake Red Rock 
Volunteers are still needed for the camping season at Lake Red Rock. According to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, a free full-service campsite will be provided to volunteers in the following positions: Whitebreast Beach Volunteer and Wallashuck Custodial volunteer. Officials say volunteers are needed from late-April through mid-September. For more information, contact the Lake Red Rock Office at 628-8690 or 641-828-7522.

Wolf Center display comes to Knoxville Library 
An interactive display on the North American Gray Wolf will be at the Knoxville Public Library today for special displays at 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. That’s according to Ron DeArmond, founder and CEO from the Pella Wildlife Company. He says the company has an agreement with the International Wolf Center in Minnesota for the display. 

Posted: Saturday, April 11th, 2009 at 5:37 am

City to maintain Bos Landen 
Bos Landen Golf Course will be maintained to a certain degree while the search continues for a buyer. Pella Mayor Darrell Dobernecker says the city council has directed the parks department to do some mowing, fertilizing and weed control at the golf course, which is city-owned property. He says they don’t want the course condition to deteriorate. It remains to be seen when the facility could reopen. 

Tassel Ridge wins award 
Tassel Ridge Winery recently captured another award. The local winery has announced that their 2007 Steuben won gold in the Best-of-Appellation evaluation last month. Thirty-nine wines from 16 different wineries were evaluated in the competition. The semi-sweet wine features grapes grown entirely at their vineyards in Mahaska County.

Robinson Street project to resume April 20 
Work on the Robinson Street Reconstruction Project in Knoxville is set to resume April 20th, after the projects contractor and the city reached an agreement. That’s according to Knoxville Public Works Director Jeff May. He tells KNIA/KRLS News that the contractor has 30 working days to complete the work, including all sidewalks, lighting and final grading. In related news, May says that Phase II of the South Fifth Street Construction project is set to start April 15. 

MidAmerican Energy to use flyover county to examine transmission lines 
MidAmerican Energy will have a helicopter inspecting transmission lines next week. Using a helicopter is part of routine maintenance, and the helicopter fly-zone could include Marion County. That’s according to Marion County Emergency Management Coordinator Jeff Anderson. The helicopter that will be used is a brown and white Bell Jet Ranger. 

DNR unveils new birding trail 
The Iowa Department of Natural Resources has unveiled a new birding trail for Central Iowa. According to the DNR, Lake Red Rock is one of the anchor sites for the Makoke Trail, which includes 22 sites selected for their birdlife. There are close to 400 such trails in the United States and Iowa DNR Wildlife Diversity Program Coordinator Doug Harr says this helps people find some of the best birding areas. 

Home Energy Assistance program application deadline extended 
The deadline has been extended for residents to fill out Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program applications from April 15th to May 29th. The Red Rock Area Community Action Program says the program helps qualifying low-income Iowa homeowners and renters pay for a portion of their primary heating costs during the winter. For more information, call the Red Rock Area Community Action Program at 842-6571. 

Firefighters respond to grassfire 
Firefighters responded to a grassfire Friday afternoon south of Pella. Firefighters were able to quickly get the blaze at 1277 245th Place under control. No buildings were damaged and no one was injured, according to Chad Klein with the Pella Fire Department. Klein estimates that crews were at the scene for about a half-hour. 

Weekend of Wheels set for later this month 
Knoxville is revving up for the Weekend of Wheels being held April 25th and 26th at the Marion County Fairgrounds. That’s according to event coordinator Bob Colbert and volunteer Craig Kelley. They say the event starts Saturday at 10 a.m. with a car show on the fairgrounds. Sunday features a celebrity auto cross, with cars traversing a miniature road course. Registration fees for those wanting to participate in both the car show and celebrity cross are $20. 

Volunteers sought at Lake Red Rock 
Volunteers are still needed for the camping season at Lake Red Rock. According to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, a free full-service campsite will be provided to volunteers in the following positions: Whitebreast Beach Volunteer and Wallashuck Custodial volunteer. Officials say volunteers are needed from late-April through mid-September. For more information, contact the Lake Red Rock Office at 628-8690 or 641-828-7522.

Wolf Center display comes to Knoxville Library 
An interactive display on the North American Gray Wolf will be at the Knoxville Public Library today for special displays at 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. That’s according to Ron DeArmond, founder and CEO from the Pella Wildlife Company. He says the company has an agreement with the International Wolf Center in Minnesota for the display. 

News 4/10/09

Posted: Friday, April 10th, 2009 at 6:10 am

Deputy returns from training 
A Marion County Sheriff’s Deputy just got back from 13 weeks of peace-officer training at the Iowa Law Enforcement Academy last week. Deputy Justin Kingrey says the training covered criminal law and motor vehicle classes, defensive tactics, firearms, driving and other training. 

City likely to modify special deer hunt 
The city of Pella deer hunt is likely to return for another season. This was the first year the city had sanctioned an archery hunt in an attempt to control the deer population. Six does were harvested during the season, according to the Pella Police Department. As a result, the program could be modified. City Administrator Mike Nardini says this could include greater incentives for hunters and a shorter season in Big Rock Park to address concerns by the Park Board. 

Turkey season approaches 
Turkey season starts soon. A two-day youth hunt begins Saturday with the regular season to start April 13. Marion County Conservation Officer John Mertz says turkey hunting has become a popular sport in the area. He stresses the importance of safety and says hunters must be aware of their surroundings and certain of their target. 

City could be eligible for sewer project loan 
The city of Knoxville might be receiving over $1 million in a forgivable loan from the Clean Water State Revolving Fund, or SRF. Knoxville City Manager Dick Schrad says the state has been receiving federal stimulus dollars for the SRF a program the city applied for to receive lower interest loans for state-mandated relief-sewer projects and Knoxville could be eligible for the forgivable loan. Schrad says although nothing in certain, the forgivable loan could mean the city wouldnt have to act on planned sewer rate increases. 

Council waives license fees for some vendors 
In order to attract more people to the downtown, the Knoxville City Council voted earlier this week to waive license fees for vendors putting on events on the square, such as Ag in the City, Living Windows and Bike Nite. That’s according to Knoxville City Manager Dick Schrad. In related news, Schrad says the council will consider removing the $525 fee out-of-town vendors pay during the week of the Knoxville Nationals, and going back to the annual fee of $105.

CDC to consider Applebee’s design permit next week 
The Pella Community Development Committee will hold a special meeting next week to consider a design permit for a new Applebee’s restaurant. The permit was originally on the agenda for a meeting this week, but Planning and Zoning Director George Wesselhoft says the architect was unable to attend.

Another furlough day at the courthouse 
Its another state court furlough day Friday in the Marion County Courthouse as the state court offices will be closed because of state budget cuts. The state offices on the third and fourth floors of the Marion County courthouse will be closed, with the rest of the courthouse open as usual. In addition, the third and fourth floor courthouse offices are closed at 2:30 p.m. every Tuesday and Thursday.

Registration open for Klompen Classic 
Get the running shoes out of the closet. The Klompen Classic is less than a month away. The 5K Walk/Run is the unofficial kick-off to Tulip Time. Race Director Julie Johnson with Crossroads of Pella says more than 190 people have registered for the event. Johnson says theyre preparing for about 2,000 participants as last year they had more than 1,800. Registration information is available online at www.crossroadspella.org. 

DOT issues reminder about farm machinery on the roadways 
As Marion County farmers head back into their fields, drivers need to use caution around farm equipment on area roads. That’s according to the Iowa Department of Transportation, which tells KNIA/KRLS News that drivers cant assume the equipment operator will move aside to let them pass, while farmers should drive slow-moving vehicles in the right hand lane as close to the edge of the roadway as safely possible. 

Household Hazardous Waste Collection is Saturday 
Marion County
residents can dispose of their Household Hazardous Waste at a special collection Saturday. The collection will be held Saturday from 9 a.m. to noon at the Pella Public Works Complex at 100 Truman Road. According to Public Works, residents can drop-off a variety of items such as lawn chemicals, oven cleaners, rechargeable batteries and cell phones.

News 4/10/09

Posted: Friday, April 10th, 2009 at 6:10 am

Deputy returns from training 
A Marion County Sheriff’s Deputy just got back from 13 weeks of peace-officer training at the Iowa Law Enforcement Academy last week. Deputy Justin Kingrey says the training covered criminal law and motor vehicle classes, defensive tactics, firearms, driving and other training. 

City likely to modify special deer hunt 
The city of Pella deer hunt is likely to return for another season. This was the first year the city had sanctioned an archery hunt in an attempt to control the deer population. Six does were harvested during the season, according to the Pella Police Department. As a result, the program could be modified. City Administrator Mike Nardini says this could include greater incentives for hunters and a shorter season in Big Rock Park to address concerns by the Park Board. 

Turkey season approaches 
Turkey season starts soon. A two-day youth hunt begins Saturday with the regular season to start April 13. Marion County Conservation Officer John Mertz says turkey hunting has become a popular sport in the area. He stresses the importance of safety and says hunters must be aware of their surroundings and certain of their target. 

City could be eligible for sewer project loan 
The city of Knoxville might be receiving over $1 million in a forgivable loan from the Clean Water State Revolving Fund, or SRF. Knoxville City Manager Dick Schrad says the state has been receiving federal stimulus dollars for the SRF a program the city applied for to receive lower interest loans for state-mandated relief-sewer projects and Knoxville could be eligible for the forgivable loan. Schrad says although nothing in certain, the forgivable loan could mean the city wouldnt have to act on planned sewer rate increases. 

Council waives license fees for some vendors 
In order to attract more people to the downtown, the Knoxville City Council voted earlier this week to waive license fees for vendors putting on events on the square, such as Ag in the City, Living Windows and Bike Nite. That’s according to Knoxville City Manager Dick Schrad. In related news, Schrad says the council will consider removing the $525 fee out-of-town vendors pay during the week of the Knoxville Nationals, and going back to the annual fee of $105.

CDC to consider Applebee’s design permit next week 
The Pella Community Development Committee will hold a special meeting next week to consider a design permit for a new Applebee’s restaurant. The permit was originally on the agenda for a meeting this week, but Planning and Zoning Director George Wesselhoft says the architect was unable to attend.

Another furlough day at the courthouse 
Its another state court furlough day Friday in the Marion County Courthouse as the state court offices will be closed because of state budget cuts. The state offices on the third and fourth floors of the Marion County courthouse will be closed, with the rest of the courthouse open as usual. In addition, the third and fourth floor courthouse offices are closed at 2:30 p.m. every Tuesday and Thursday.

Registration open for Klompen Classic 
Get the running shoes out of the closet. The Klompen Classic is less than a month away. The 5K Walk/Run is the unofficial kick-off to Tulip Time. Race Director Julie Johnson with Crossroads of Pella says more than 190 people have registered for the event. Johnson says theyre preparing for about 2,000 participants as last year they had more than 1,800. Registration information is available online at www.crossroadspella.org. 

DOT issues reminder about farm machinery on the roadways 
As Marion County farmers head back into their fields, drivers need to use caution around farm equipment on area roads. That’s according to the Iowa Department of Transportation, which tells KNIA/KRLS News that drivers cant assume the equipment operator will move aside to let them pass, while farmers should drive slow-moving vehicles in the right hand lane as close to the edge of the roadway as safely possible. 

Household Hazardous Waste Collection is Saturday 
Marion County
residents can dispose of their Household Hazardous Waste at a special collection Saturday. The collection will be held Saturday from 9 a.m. to noon at the Pella Public Works Complex at 100 Truman Road. According to Public Works, residents can drop-off a variety of items such as lawn chemicals, oven cleaners, rechargeable batteries and cell phones.

News 4/9/09

Posted: Thursday, April 9th, 2009 at 6:08 am

Fire on West Main 
Fire & Rescue responded to a kitchen fire at 509 West Main Street Wednesday evening, with minor injuries to one resident. Thats according to fire chief Mike Roberts. He says crews had to extinguish some ceiling tiles, but that the resident had the main part of the stove fire out when crews arrived. 

Tulips on schedule for Tulip Time 
The tulips are now on schedule. Pella Community Services Director Kevin Vos says the recent cool weather has maintained or lowered soil temperature, which has slowed tulip growth. The flowers had gotten a head start during some of the unseasonably warm temperatures last month. Vos expects some tulips to start blooming toward the end of April. Tulip Time is May 7, 8, 9. 

Apartment fire remains under investigation 
The cause of an apartment fire near the corner of Marion and 4th Streets in Knoxville Tuesday evening is still under investigation. Knoxville Fire Department Chief Mike Roberts says the resident transported from the fire scene with burn injuries was transferred to the burn center at the University Of Iowa Hospital Tuesday night, with an unknown condition. Roberts says the State Fire Marshal is aiding in the investigation. 

Supreme Court ruling is an opportunity for discussion 
Some see the Iowa Supreme Court ruling on the issue of same-sex marriage as an opportunity for discussion. Brandyn Woodard is the Director of Intercultural Life at Central College, an office that deals with issues of diversity. Woodard says this is an opportunity to discover how the state can be welcoming to everyone in a way that also maintains history and traditions. At this points it’s unlikely a constitutional amendment regarding marriage will be voted on this session, which leaders such as Republican Senate Minority Leader Paul McKinley have called for.

Bridge projects closes section of Highway T-17 
Highway
T-17 south of the landfill will be closed starting this Thursday for bridge replacement, which is estimated to take about 2 months to complete. That’s according to the Marion County Engineers Office, which tells KNIA/KRLS News that traffic will be detoured on Highway 5 and Highway 92 during construction.
 

Forty years ago a lake was born 
Officials are planning a celebration to recognize the 40th anniversary of Lake Red Rock. Marion County Development Commission Executive Director Carla Eyesink says festivities will be held June 13 at Cordova Park. Eyesink says they’re planning a day of arts, recreation and education. The Marion County Development Commission, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the Marion County Conservation Board are working together to organize the event. 

Students visiting Washington D.C. 
50 Knoxville eighth grade Students are heading to Washington D.C. for the schools annual trip to the capital Thursday. Knoxville Middle School History Teacher Chris Hudson says the students will tour the U.S. Capitol, Gettysburg, Smithsonian and other sight seeing locations, all with the purpose of giving students a first hand experience of national history. 

Tornado Drill declared a success 
The tornado drill held Wednesday morning was a success, according to local officials. Marcia Slycord with the Pella Police Department reports that all the sirens functioned properly. Slycord would like to remind citizens that the system is designed to be audible outdoors and not indoors. Marion County Sheriff’s Office Communications Director Martha Dykstra says the drill was positive for the dispatch center and for testing the sirens. 

Knoxville holds Easter Egg Hunt Saturday 
The Annual Knoxville Community Easter Egg Hunt starts at exactly 1 p.m. April 11th at the corner of Lincoln and Madison Streets, and is free and open to all ages. That’s according to Pat Kading, who says residents should make sure to arrive early as the event traditionally draws a large crowd. 

Pella Easter Egg Hunt set for Saturday 
Families are invited to Central Park in Pella Saturday morning for the annual Easter Egg Hunt. Margaret Ratcliff with Pella Kiwanis says they expect more than 700 children at the event this year. Ryan Doschadis with Community First Credit Union is the Master of Ceremonies. He says the Easter Egg Hunt begins at 10 a.m. in Central Park and is open to children up to eight years of age.

News 4/9/09

Posted: Thursday, April 9th, 2009 at 6:08 am

Fire on West Main 
Fire & Rescue responded to a kitchen fire at 509 West Main Street Wednesday evening, with minor injuries to one resident. Thats according to fire chief Mike Roberts. He says crews had to extinguish some ceiling tiles, but that the resident had the main part of the stove fire out when crews arrived. 

Tulips on schedule for Tulip Time 
The tulips are now on schedule. Pella Community Services Director Kevin Vos says the recent cool weather has maintained or lowered soil temperature, which has slowed tulip growth. The flowers had gotten a head start during some of the unseasonably warm temperatures last month. Vos expects some tulips to start blooming toward the end of April. Tulip Time is May 7, 8, 9. 

Apartment fire remains under investigation 
The cause of an apartment fire near the corner of Marion and 4th Streets in Knoxville Tuesday evening is still under investigation. Knoxville Fire Department Chief Mike Roberts says the resident transported from the fire scene with burn injuries was transferred to the burn center at the University Of Iowa Hospital Tuesday night, with an unknown condition. Roberts says the State Fire Marshal is aiding in the investigation. 

Supreme Court ruling is an opportunity for discussion 
Some see the Iowa Supreme Court ruling on the issue of same-sex marriage as an opportunity for discussion. Brandyn Woodard is the Director of Intercultural Life at Central College, an office that deals with issues of diversity. Woodard says this is an opportunity to discover how the state can be welcoming to everyone in a way that also maintains history and traditions. At this points it’s unlikely a constitutional amendment regarding marriage will be voted on this session, which leaders such as Republican Senate Minority Leader Paul McKinley have called for.

Bridge projects closes section of Highway T-17 
Highway
T-17 south of the landfill will be closed starting this Thursday for bridge replacement, which is estimated to take about 2 months to complete. That’s according to the Marion County Engineers Office, which tells KNIA/KRLS News that traffic will be detoured on Highway 5 and Highway 92 during construction.
 

Forty years ago a lake was born 
Officials are planning a celebration to recognize the 40th anniversary of Lake Red Rock. Marion County Development Commission Executive Director Carla Eyesink says festivities will be held June 13 at Cordova Park. Eyesink says they’re planning a day of arts, recreation and education. The Marion County Development Commission, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the Marion County Conservation Board are working together to organize the event. 

Students visiting Washington D.C. 
50 Knoxville eighth grade Students are heading to Washington D.C. for the schools annual trip to the capital Thursday. Knoxville Middle School History Teacher Chris Hudson says the students will tour the U.S. Capitol, Gettysburg, Smithsonian and other sight seeing locations, all with the purpose of giving students a first hand experience of national history. 

n class=apple-style-span>Tornado Drill declared a success 
The tornado drill held Wednesday morning was a success, according to local officials. Marcia Slycord with the Pella Police Department reports that all the sirens functioned properly. Slycord would like to remind citizens that the system is designed to be audible outdoors and not indoors. Marion County Sheriff’s Office Communications Director Martha Dykstra says the drill was positive for the dispatch center and for testing the sirens. 

Knoxville holds Easter Egg Hunt Saturday 
The Annual Knoxville Community Easter Egg Hunt starts at exactly 1 p.m. April 11th at the corner of Lincoln and Madison Streets, and is free and open to all ages. That’s according to Pat Kading, who says residents should make sure to arrive early as the event traditionally draws a large crowd. 

Pella Easter Egg Hunt set for Saturday 
Families are invited to Central Park in Pella Saturday morning for the annual Easter Egg Hunt. Margaret Ratcliff with Pella Kiwanis says they expect more than 700 children at the event this year. Ryan Doschadis with Community First Credit Union is the Master of Ceremonies. He says the Easter Egg Hunt begins at 10 a.m. in Central Park and is open to children up to eight years of age.

News 4/8/09

Posted: Wednesday, April 8th, 2009 at 5:58 am

Apartment fire sends one person to the hospital 
Plumes of smoke greeted first responders at an apartment building near the corner of Marion and 4th Streets in Knoxville blast night, where an apartment fire sent one resident to the hospital with burn injuries. Knoxville Fire Department Chief Mike Roberts tells KNIA/KRLS News that the cause of the fire remains under investigation. He says the Red Cross found temporary shelter for displaced residents.

Fire destroys barn near Harvey 
An early morning blaze destroyed a barn at 1990 Oklahoma Drive southwest of Harvey. The structure was a total loss, with crews containing the blaze when they arrived on scene around 12:30 a.m., preventing it from spreading to surrounding agricultural buildings. Mid-American Energy crews arrived on scene and worked on a nearby power line which appeared to have caught fire, and was sparking. 

Local banks have money to loan 
The national credit crunch hasn’t put a hold on local lending. Marion County Bank Vice President David Greving says they’re experiencing record loan demand right now fueled in large part by home refinancing. He says many homeowners are taking advantage of low-interest rates. Bob Wims is executive vice-president of Iowa State Savings Bank in Knoxville. He says Iowa State Savings Bank has money available and will meet with residents looking to apply for a loan. 

Council decides to re-bid waste collection contract 
The Pella City Council chose to re-bid the city solid waste collection contract at their meeting Tuesday night. The city received bids from Midwest Sanitation and Waste Management of Iowa, with Waste Management as the low bidder. After two attempts to award a contract – first to Waste Management and then to Midwest Sanitation each failed – council voted unanimously to re-bid the contract. 

Increase in business reduces 3M layoffs 
Layoff numbers at 3M Co. in Knoxville are not as high as originally anticipated. 3M spokesperson Jeff Horacek tells KNIA/KRLS News that six of the 20 production employees scheduled to be laid off are going to remain working for the next month, following an increase in business last week. However, Horacek also says two salaried employees have been offered severance packages. 

Electrical fire closes HyVee briefly last night 
A minor electrical fire caused a brief closure of the Pella HyVee late last night. The small fire near an electrical outlet was quickly extinguished by an employee with no damage to the building. Assistant Manager Scott Vandenberg told KNIA/KRLS News as a precaution they asked employees and customers to leave but the store was only closed for about 10 minutes. 

Library Director to retire 
The Knoxville Public Library Director is retiring at the end of May, after 14 years of holding the position. Jan Behrens tells KNIA/KRLS News that she enjoys serving the community, and will continue to remain involved in the library after her retirement. Behrens says the library board is already in the process of selecting a new director. 

Several institutions receive gifts from Huyser estate 
Several local institutions have received generous gifts from the estate of Francis G. and Jeanette Dekker Huyser. Sources say Central College was given over $1 million to be used for scholarships. Other organizations that were awarded gifts include Pella Regional Health Center, First Reformed Church, Pella Historical Society, Christian Opportunity Center, Pella Community Foundation and Crossroads of Pella.

KNIA/KRLS to participate in mock tornado drill 
Severe Weather Awareness Week continues Wednesday with an annual statewide tornado drill being issued by the National Weather Service. The drill is set to take place at approximately 10:15 this morning, and KNIA/KRLS will also conduct a mock tornado drill with our Severe Weather Action Team at that time. 

Asphalt overlay project to begin this month
An asphalt overlay project is set to start later this month. Pella Public Works Director Denny Buyert says the contractor Norris Asphalt will likely start work the week of April 20, provided the weather cooperates. Buyert says the project includes an asphalt overlay for sections of West Fourth, Edgewood, Brook Circle, Boone and Carson streets. 

News 4/8/09

Posted: Wednesday, April 8th, 2009 at 5:58 am

Apartment fire sends one person to the hospital 
Plumes of smoke greeted first responders at an apartment building near the corner of Marion and 4th Streets in Knoxville blast night, where an apartment fire sent one resident to the hospital with burn injuries. Knoxville Fire Department Chief Mike Roberts tells KNIA/KRLS News that the cause of the fire remains under investigation. He says the Red Cross found temporary shelter for displaced residents.

Fire destroys barn near Harvey 
An early morning blaze destroyed a barn at 1990 Oklahoma Drive southwest of Harvey. The structure was a total loss, with crews containing the blaze when they arrived on scene around 12:30 a.m., preventing it from spreading to surrounding agricultural buildings. Mid-American Energy crews arrived on scene and worked on a nearby power line which appeared to have caught fire, and was sparking. 

Local banks have money to loan 
The national credit crunch hasn’t put a hold on local lending. Marion County Bank Vice President David Greving says they’re experiencing record loan demand right now fueled in large part by home refinancing. He says many homeowners are taking advantage of low-interest rates. Bob Wims is executive vice-president of Iowa State Savings Bank in Knoxville. He says Iowa State Savings Bank has money available and will meet with residents looking to apply for a loan. 

Council decides to re-bid waste collection contract 
The Pella City Council chose to re-bid the city solid waste collection contract at their meeting Tuesday night. The city received bids from Midwest Sanitation and Waste Management of Iowa, with Waste Management as the low bidder. After two attempts to award a contract – first to Waste Management and then to Midwest Sanitation each failed – council voted unanimously to re-bid the contract. 

Increase in business reduces 3M layoffs 
Layoff numbers at 3M Co. in Knoxville are not as high as originally anticipated. 3M spokesperson Jeff Horacek tells KNIA/KRLS News that six of the 20 production employees scheduled to be laid off are going to remain working for the next month, following an increase in business last week. However, Horacek also says two salaried employees have been offered severance packages. 

Electrical fire closes HyVee briefly last night 
A minor electrical fire caused a brief closure of the Pella HyVee late last night. The small fire near an electrical outlet was quickly extinguished by an employee with no damage to the building. Assistant Manager Scott Vandenberg told KNIA/KRLS News as a precaution they asked employees and customers to leave but the store was only closed for about 10 minutes. 

Library Director to retire 
The Knoxville Public Library Director is retiring at the end of May, after 14 years of holding the position. Jan Behrens tells KNIA/KRLS News that she enjoys serving the community, and will continue to remain involved in the library after her retirement. Behrens says the library board is already in the process of selecting a new director. 

Several institutions receive gifts from Huyser estate 

Several local institutions have received generous gifts from the estate of Francis G. and Jeanette Dekker Huyser. Sources say Central College was given over $1 million to be used for scholarships. Other organizations that were awarded gifts include Pella Regional Health Center, First Reformed Church, Pella Historical Society, Christian Opportunity Center, Pella Community Foundation and Crossroads of Pella.

KNIA/KRLS to participate in mock tornado drill 
Severe Weather Awareness Week continues Wednesday with an annual statewide tornado drill being issued by the National Weather Service. The drill is set to take place at approximately 10:15 this morning, and KNIA/KRLS will also conduct a mock tornado drill with our Severe Weather Action Team at that time. 

Asphalt overlay project to begin this month
An asphalt overlay project is set to start later this month. Pella Public Works Director Denny Buyert says the contractor Norris Asphalt will likely start work the week of April 20, provided the weather cooperates. Buyert says the project includes an asphalt overlay for sections of West Fourth, Edgewood, Brook Circle, Boone and Carson streets. 

News 4/7/09

Posted: Tuesday, April 7th, 2009 at 5:39 am

Traveling museum visits Knoxville 
World War II veterans, youth and other visitors went in and out of a traveling museum which made a stop at the Knoxville Public Library Monday. The non-profit educational organization TRACES featured its retrofitted school BUS-eum, which detailed the lives of the around 372,000 German prisoners of war, or POWs, held in camps across the United States during World War II. 

Central students select professor to deliver special lecture 
A Central College Professor will give his version of a Last Lecture tomorrow. Professor of Economics Brian Peterson was chosen by Central students to deliver the lecture, which is entitled "All I ever really needed to know I learned in Economics Class." The event is inspired by the book "Last Lecture," which contains life lessons from former Carnegie Mellon Professor Randy Pausch, who died of pancreatic cancer in 2008. The lecture is tomorrow at 8 p.m. in Cox-Snow Recital Hall. 

Council acts on Robinson Street project 
The Knoxville City Council voted for the Robinson Street project contractor to begin resuming work no later than May 1st at their meeting Monday. The council also approved a 30 working-day timeframe for the project to become complete. Also during the meeting, the council approved a resolution regarding wastewater treatment plant improvements and electrical control modification.

FEMA will not accredit Southeast Des Moines levee system 
An issue involving accreditation for the Southeast Des Moines levee system wont directly impact Marion County residents, according to Lake Red Rock Assistant Operations Manager John Holt. The Federal Emergency Management Agency will not accredit the Lake Red Rock Remedial Southeast Des Moines levee system on the Polk County Digital Flood Insurance Rate Map. This came as a result of the U.S. Corps of Engineers inability to certify a one-percent protection level for the levee system. 

Pleasantville receives Community Development grant 
Pleasantville received over $1 million in Community Development Block Grant and state revolving funds Monday. Pleasantville mayor Aaron Hurt tells KNIA/KRLS News the funds will be used for a sewer bypass project to eliminate potential backflow into residents basements. He also says the money will help fund a project lining severely damaged sewer pipes. 

City left with salt to spare this winter 
The city of Pella still has salt to spare following the winter season, which wasn’t the case one year ago. Pella Public Works Director Denny Buyert says they used about 350 tons of salt or roughly the average for a normal winter. The city had purchased 500 tons of salt for the 2008-2009 season following a harsh winter that had depleted supplies. 

Bridge replacement project to close part of Highway T-17 
Highway
T-17 south of the landfill will be closed starting this Thursday for bridge replacement, which is estimated to take about 2 months to complete. That’s according to the Marion County Engineers Office, which tells KNIA/KRLS News that traffic will be detoured on Highway 5 and Highway 92 during construction.
 

Council to hold hearing on solid waste contract 
A public hearing on the city solid waste contract is one item on the Pella City Council agenda tonight. In other business, the council will consider an amendment to city policy on banners in the right-of-way. This would allow for a Shop Local campaign organized by the Pella Chamber of Commerce to move forward. The Pella City Council meets at 7:00 p.m. at the Public Safety Complex. 

Des Moines woman found guilty of forgery has parole revoked
A 39-year-old Des Moines resident arrested in Pleasantville last year and found guilty of forgery had her probation revoked last week. Marion County Courthouse documents report Kristie K. Blackburn was found to have violated her parole, and was ordered to serve her original sentence of to up to five years in prison. 

Communities to participate in mock tornado drill 
The National Weather Service conducts a mock tornado drill each year during Severe Weather Awareness Week. The city of Pella and communities across the state will participate in the drill. Pella Police Department Communications Supervisor Marcia Slycord says this will include an activation of the citys eight outdoor warning sirens at approximately 10:15 Wednesday morning. At that time, KNIA/KRLS will also conduct a mock tornado drill with our Severe Weather Action Team. 

News 4/7/09

Posted: Tuesday, April 7th, 2009 at 5:39 am

Traveling museum visits Knoxville 
World War II veterans, youth and other visitors went in and out of a traveling museum which made a stop at the Knoxville Public Library Monday. The non-profit educational organization TRACES featured its retrofitted school BUS-eum, which detailed the lives of the around 372,000 German prisoners of war, or POWs, held in camps across the United States during World War II. 

Central students select professor to deliver special lecture 
A Central College Professor will give his version of a Last Lecture tomorrow. Professor of Economics Brian Peterson was chosen by Central students to deliver the lecture, which is entitled "All I ever really needed to know I learned in Economics Class." The event is inspired by the book "Last Lecture," which contains life lessons from former Carnegie Mellon Professor Randy Pausch, who died of pancreatic cancer in 2008. The lecture is tomorrow at 8 p.m. in Cox-Snow Recital Hall. 

Council acts on Robinson Street project 
The Knoxville City Council voted for the Robinson Street project contractor to begin resuming work no later than May 1st at their meeting Monday. The council also approved a 30 working-day timeframe for the project to become complete. Also during the meeting, the council approved a resolution regarding wastewater treatment plant improvements and electrical control modification.

FEMA will not accredit Southeast Des Moines levee system 
An issue involving accreditation for the Southeast Des Moines levee system wont directly impact Marion County residents, according to Lake Red Rock Assistant Operations Manager John Holt. The Federal Emergency Management Agency will not accredit the Lake Red Rock Remedial Southeast Des Moines levee system on the Polk County Digital Flood Insurance Rate Map. This came as a result of the U.S. Corps of Engineers inability to certify a one-percent protection level for the levee system. 

Pleasantville receives Community Development grant 
Pleasantville received over $1 million in Community Development Block Grant and state revolving funds Monday. Pleasantville mayor Aaron Hurt tells KNIA/KRLS News the funds will be used for a sewer bypass project to eliminate potential backflow into residents basements. He also says the money will help fund a project lining severely damaged sewer pipes. 

City left with salt to spare this winter 
The city of Pella still has salt to spare following the winter season, which wasn’t the case one year ago. Pella Public Works Director Denny Buyert says they used about 350 tons of salt or roughly the average for a normal winter. The city had purchased 500 tons of salt for the 2008-2009 season following a harsh winter that had depleted supplies. 

Bridge replacement project to close part of Highway T-17 
Highway
T-17 south of the landfill will be closed starting this Thursday for bridge replacement, which is estimated to take about 2 months to complete. That’s according to the Marion County Engineers Office, which tells KNIA/KRLS News that traffic will be detoured on Highway 5 and Highway 92 during construction.
 

Council to hold hearing on solid waste contract 
A public hearing on the city solid waste contract is one item on the Pella City Coun
cil agenda tonight. In other business, the council will consider an amendment to city policy on banners in the right-of-way. This would allow for a Shop Local campaign organized by the Pella Chamber of Commerce to move forward. The Pella City Council meets at 7:00 p.m. at the Public Safety Complex.
 

Des Moines woman found guilty of forgery has parole revoked
A 39-year-old Des Moines resident arrested in Pleasantville last year and found guilty of forgery had her probation revoked last week. Marion County Courthouse documents report Kristie K. Blackburn was found to have violated her parole, and was ordered to serve her original sentence of to up to five years in prison. 

Communities to participate in mock tornado drill 
The National Weather Service conducts a mock tornado drill each year during Severe Weather Awareness Week. The city of Pella and communities across the state will participate in the drill. Pella Police Department Communications Supervisor Marcia Slycord says this will include an activation of the citys eight outdoor warning sirens at approximately 10:15 Wednesday morning. At that time, KNIA/KRLS will also conduct a mock tornado drill with our Severe Weather Action Team. 

News 4/6/09

Posted: Monday, April 6th, 2009 at 6:37 am

Good turnout for Legislative Coffee Saturday 
A large crowd gathered at the Public Safety Complex in Pella Saturday morning for a Legislative Coffee. State Representative Jim Van Engelenhoven and State Senator Paul McKinley spoke to a crowd of over 40 people at the Public Safety Complex. In the wake of the Iowa Supreme Court decision Friday, much of the discussion centered on the issue of same-sex marriage. Other topics included the federal tax deductibility bill and funding for education. 

 

Grassfire spreads to trees near Knoxville residence 
The Knoxville Township Fire Department responded to a grassfire near a propane tank outside a residence on Highway 14 north of Knoxville Saturday, sending several trees on fire near the home. Crews quickly extinguished the blaze, with no injuries reported. 

Power outage strikes Pella Sunday night 
A power outage left many Pella residents without electricity for about three hours last night. The Electric Department reported a problem with Substation B at 8:08 p.m. Sunday. Electric Director Larry Peterson tells KNIA/KRLS News that a bad cable between the 800 Block of East First Street and the Power Plant was the culprit. 

This is Severe Weather Awareness Week 
Monday kicks off Severe Weather Awareness Week, and KNIA/KRLS will be carrying a series of stories informing Marion County residents on what they should do when severe weather strikes. KNIA/KRLS General Manager Jim Butler says the station plays an important role by giving the most up to date information to Marion County residents from County officials, the National Weather Service and the Weather Eye Weather Center. 

Knoxville city council to meet tonight 
The Knoxville City Council will consider adopting a resolution regarding wastewater treatment plant improvements and electrical control modification at their meeting at 6:15 in city hall. The council will also consider a resolution accepting engineering services for a sewer rehabilitation project from highway 14 to Grant Street and North of Pleasant Street., among other issues. 

Pella crews respond to grassfires Saturday 
Firefighters responded to two rural grassfires near Pella Saturday afternoon. Crews were dispatched to a grassfire that had gotten out of control at 598 Highway T-14. The fire burned a large area of land but firefighters were able to prevent any major damage to buildings. While at that scene, firefighters were dispatched to another grassfire at 2029 Carter Drive north of Pella. 

Another court furlough is Friday 
Its another state court furlough day this Friday in the Marion County Courthouse as the state court offices will be closed because of an expected $3.8 million budget cut. The state offices on the third and fourth floors of the Marion County courthouse will be closed, with the rest of the courthouse open as usual. In addition, the third and fourth floor courthouse offices are closed at 2:30 p.m. every Tuesday and Thursday.

Tulip Time expected to attract more regional visitors 
More area visitors are expected at Tulip Time this year. Pella Convention and Visitors Bureau Director Jill Vandevoort says many of the requests for Tulip Time information have come directly from within a 60-mile radius. As a whole, Vandevoort expects more local and regional tourism this season, which she says is a benefit to the area.

TRACES coming to Knoxville today 
A traveling museum is making a stop at the Knoxville Public Library today from 3 to 6 p.m. to detail the lives of the around 372,000 German prisoners of war, or POWs, held in camps across the United States during World War II. Library director Jan Behrens says the non-profit educational organization TRACES is featuring its retrofitted school BUS-eum which contains exhibits on the legacy of German POWs in the U.S. 

Iowa film industry grows 
The Iowa film scene continues to expand and a local resident has a prominent role. Ann Wilkinson of Pella teaches at Central College and operates PMS Casting. Wilkinson says shes currently working on a new film entitled Splatter, which is shooting in the Burlington area. In the past, Wilkinson says she was happy to cast one film every year or two. Splatter is her fourth film in a year with another set to start later this month.

News 4/6/09

Posted: Monday, April 6th, 2009 at 6:37 am

Good turnout for Legislative Coffee Saturday 
A large crowd gathered at the Public Safety Complex in Pella Saturday morning for a Legislative Coffee. State Representative Jim Van Engelenhoven and State Senator Paul McKinley spoke to a crowd of over 40 people at the Public Safety Complex. In the wake of the Iowa Supreme Court decision Friday, much of the discussion centered on the issue of same-sex marriage. Other topics included the federal tax deductibility bill and funding for education. 

 

Grassfire spreads to trees near Knoxville residence 
The Knoxville Township Fire Department responded to a grassfire near a propane tank outside a residence on Highway 14 north of Knoxville Saturday, sending several trees on fire near the home. Crews quickly extinguished the blaze, with no injuries reported. 

Power outage strikes Pella Sunday night 
A power outage left many Pella residents without electricity for about three hours last night. The Electric Department reported a problem with Substation B at 8:08 p.m. Sunday. Electric Director Larry Peterson tells KNIA/KRLS News that a bad cable between the 800 Block of East First Street and the Power Plant was the culprit. 

This is Severe Weather Awareness Week 
Monday kicks off Severe Weather Awareness Week, and KNIA/KRLS will be carrying a series of stories informing Marion County residents on what they should do when severe weather strikes. KNIA/KRLS General Manager Jim Butler says the station plays an important role by giving the most up to date information to Marion County residents from County officials, the National Weather Service and the Weather Eye Weather Center. 

Knoxville city council to meet tonight 
The Knoxville City Council will consider adopting a resolution regarding wastewater treatment plant improvements and electrical control modification at their meeting at 6:15 in city hall. The council will also consider a resolution accepting engineering services for a sewer rehabilitation project from highway 14 to Grant Street and North of Pleasant Street., among other issues. 

Pella crews respond to grassfires Saturday 
Firefighters responded to two rural grassfires near Pella Saturday afternoon. Crews were dispatched to a grassfire that had gotten out of control at 598 Highway T-14. The fire burned a large area of land but firefighters were able to prevent any major damage to buildings. While at that scene, firefighters were dispatched to another grassfire at 2029 Carter Drive north of Pella. 

Another court furlough is Friday 
Its another state court furlough day this Friday in the Marion County Courthouse as the state court offices will be closed because of an expected $3.8 million budget cut. The state offices on the third and fourth floors of the Marion County courthouse will be closed, with the rest of the courth
ouse open as usual. In addition, the third and fourth floor courthouse offices are closed at 2:30 p.m. every Tuesday and Thursday.

Tulip Time expected to attract more regional visitors 
More area visitors are expected at Tulip Time this year. Pella Convention and Visitors Bureau Director Jill Vandevoort says many of the requests for Tulip Time information have come directly from within a 60-mile radius. As a whole, Vandevoort expects more local and regional tourism this season, which she says is a benefit to the area.

TRACES coming to Knoxville today 
A traveling museum is making a stop at the Knoxville Public Library today from 3 to 6 p.m. to detail the lives of the around 372,000 German prisoners of war, or POWs, held in camps across the United States during World War II. Library director Jan Behrens says the non-profit educational organization TRACES is featuring its retrofitted school BUS-eum which contains exhibits on the legacy of German POWs in the U.S. 

Iowa film industry grows 
The Iowa film scene continues to expand and a local resident has a prominent role. Ann Wilkinson of Pella teaches at Central College and operates PMS Casting. Wilkinson says shes currently working on a new film entitled Splatter, which is shooting in the Burlington area. In the past, Wilkinson says she was happy to cast one film every year or two. Splatter is her fourth film in a year with another set to start later this month.

News 4/5/09

Posted: Sunday, April 5th, 2009 at 6:56 am

Severe Weather Awareness Week
Next week is Severe Weather Awareness Week, and starting Monday KNIA/KRLS will be carrying a series of stories informing Marion County residents on what they should do when severe weather strikes. Also Wednesday, April 8th, is when Iowa is conducting a statewide tornado drill, and KNIA/KRLS will conduct a mock Severe Weather Action Team drill to better inform residents on KNIA/KRLS severe weather coverage process.

Legislative Coffee Draws Crowd
A large crowd gathered at the Public Safety Complex in Pella Saturday morning for a Legislative Coffee. State Representative Jim Van Engelenhoven and State Senator Paul McKinley spoke to a crowd of over 40 people at the Public Safety Complex. In the wake of the Iowa Supreme Court decision Friday, much of the discussion centered on the issue of same-sex marriage. Senator McKinley again called for a constitutional amendment to allow Iowans to decide the definition of marriage. He says Iowans need to stand up and be counted on this issue. Other topics discussed at the forum included a bill to eliminate federal deductibility on state taxes. Both Van Engelenhoven and McKinley warned about the negative impact this would have on small business.

Knoxville City Council Bi-Monthly Meeting
The Knoxville City Council will consider adopting a resolution regarding wastewater treatment plant improvements and electrical control modification at their bi-monthly City Council meeting Monday evening at 6:15 in city hall. The Council will also consider a resolution accepting engineering services for a sewer rehabilitation project from highway 14 to Grant Street and North of Pleasant St., among other issues.

Grassfires near Pella
Firefighters responded to two rural grassfires near Pella Saturday afternoon. Crews were dispatched to a grassfire that had gotten out of control at 598 Highway T-14. The fire burned a large area of land but firefighters were able to prevent any major damage to buildings. The property owner told KNIA/KRLS News that only minor damage was done to a barn. While at that scene, firefighters were dispatched to another grassfire at 2029 Carter Drive north of Pella.

Projected Increase in Agricultural Land Value
Overall agricultural land valuations in Marion County are projected to increase by 48%, although the estimated taxable value residents will have to pay could range from 3 to 6% due to the projected state rollback from the Department of Revenue. That’s according to Marion County Assessor Drew Sanders, who adds that overall urban residential property tax assessments will be down 1.5 to 2% compared to last year.

Community Development Committee to Discuss Applebee’s
Formal design plan for an Applebees Restaurant in Pella are up for approval later this month. City Planning and Zoning Director George Wesselhoft says a design permit for the building architecture will be considered at the Community Development Committee meeting April 8 while the site plan is on the agenda for the Planning and Zoning Commission meeting April 27. Dave Phillips with developer Apple Corp. says construction could start in early May.

Knoxville 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 earlier this week. 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.

Central College Honors Former Music Professor
Central College will honor a former music professor with a special concert today. According to Central, the music department will honor Edith LeCocq with a memorial concert entitled Mass of the Children. Several groups are scheduled to perform including the Central College Community Choir and Orchestra and the Pella Community Handbell Ensemble, among others. LeCocq taught music for 36 years at Central College. The performance is at 4 p.m. at Douwstra Auditorium.

News 4/4/09

Posted: Saturday, April 4th, 2009 at 5:40 am

Officials weigh in on court ruling 
The Iowa Supreme Court ruled Friday that the state’s same-sex marriage ban violates the constitutional rights of gay and lesbian couples. Senate Republican Leader Paul McKinley says he disagrees with the ruling, saying he sees marriage as just between a man and a woman. McKinley is calling on Senate Democratic Leader Mike Gronstal to allow a constitutional amendment to be voted on in the Iowa Senate next week. Gronstal says the unanimous ruling allows all Iowa couples to the same marriage rights and responsibilities of all Iowans.

Central holding marriage meeting 
A town hall meeting on marriage is set for next week at Central College. Sources say the meeting will be led by One Iowa Campaign Director and Central College Alumnus Brad Clark. The event is scheduled for April 7 at 7:00 p.m. in van Emmerik Studio at the Maytag Student Center and is open to the public. In a unanimous ruling Friday, the Iowa Supreme Court declared the states same-sex marriage ban unconstitutional. 

Legislative session held in Knoxville yesterday 
Possibly overhauling the states income tax system and controlling state spending were some issues state legislators discussed at the Knoxville Chamber of Commerce Friday. State senator Paul McKinley and State Representative Jim Van Engelenhoven attended the event in Knoxville, which is held the first Friday of each month during the legislative session at 4 p.m. to update residents on the legislative issues and answer questions. 

Pella Highs Prom tonight 
About 350-400 Pella High School students will participate in prom today, according to Assistant High School Principal Eric Nelson. Officials are encouraging students to make sure this is a safe event for everyone involved. Pella Police Officer Paul Haase says its important for parents to talk to their children about making good decisions on prom night. He says the police department encourages participation in the school-sanctioned after-prom party. 

Motorcycle accident in Knoxville
A Knoxville resident was transported to the hospital with minor injuries yesterday, after falling from his motorcycle. Knoxville Fire & Rescue quickly responded to the scene, and fire chief Mike Roberts says the patient was not wearing their helmet when they were riding. 

Legislative Coffee in Pella
Two area legislators are scheduled to visit with constituents Saturday morning. The Pella League of Women Voters will hold a Legislative Coffee with State Senator Paul McKinley and State Representative Jim Van Engelenhoven at 9:30 a.m. at the Public Safety Complex. The Pella League of Women Voters traditionally holds a Legislative Coffee the first Saturday of each month during the legislative session. 

Knoxville students heading to D.C. 
50 Knoxville eighth grade Students are heading to Washington D.C. for the schools annual trip to the capital next Thursday. Knoxville Middle School History Teacher Chris Hudson says the students will tour the U.S. Capitol, Gettysburg, Smithsonian and other sight seeing locationsall with the purpose of giving students a first hand experience of national history. Hudson says this is his 12th trip to the nations capitol through the school and at least the 18th trip for the school itself.

Pella to test warning sirens 
Pella residents will likely hear the outdoor warning sirens today. According to Pella Police Department Communications Supervisor Marcia Slycord, the system is tested on the first Saturday of each month at noon. The system includes eight sirens strategically placed in different parts of the community. Slycord notes the warning sirens are designed to be audible outdoors. 

Garden Club holds their Garden Gala today
The Knoxville Federated Garden Club is holding their 2009 Garden Gala Saturday at Dyer-Hudson Hall, featuring guest speakers, vendors, giveaways and lunch. For more information, residents can call Sandra at 842-4591. 

Next week Spring Clean Up Week in Pella 
A reminder that next week is Spring Clean-Up Week in the city of Pella. According to the Public Works Office, this collection is for residential customers whove been issued the city of Pella authorized tote. Officials note that items must be placed curbside by 7 a.m. on a residents normal garbage collection day. Public Works says a number of items will not be accepted such as electronics, appliances, automobile batteries, waste oil and others. 

News 4/4/09

Posted: Saturday, April 4th, 2009 at 5:40 am

Officials weigh in on court ruling 
The Iowa Supreme Court ruled Friday that the state’s same-sex marriage ban violates the constitutional rights of gay and lesbian couples. Senate Republican Leader Paul McKinley says he disagrees with the ruling, saying he sees marriage as just between a man and a woman. McKinley is calling on Senate Democratic Leader Mike Gronstal to allow a constitutional amendment to be voted on in the Iowa Senate next week. Gronstal says the unanimous ruling allows all Iowa couples to the same marriage rights and responsibilities of all Iowans.

Central holding marriage meeting 
A town hall meeting on marriage is set for next week at Central College. Sources say the meeting will be led by One Iowa Campaign Director and Central College Alumnus Brad Clark. The event is scheduled for April 7 at 7:00 p.m. in van Emmerik Studio at the Maytag Student Center and is open to the public. In a unanimous ruling Friday, the Iowa Supreme Court declared the states same-sex marriage ban unconstitutional. 

Legislative session held in Knoxville yesterday 
Possibly overhauling the states income tax system and controlling state spending were some issues state legislators discussed at the Knoxville Chamber of Commerce Friday. State senator Paul McKinley and State Representative Jim Van Engelenhoven attended the event in Knoxville, which is held the first Friday of each month during the legislative session at 4 p.m. to update residents on the legislative issues and answer questions. 

Pella Highs Prom tonight 
About 350-400 Pella High School students will participate in prom today, according to Assistant High School Principal Eric Nelson. Officials are encouraging students to make sure this is a safe event for everyone involved. Pella Police Officer Paul Haase says its important for parents to talk to their children about making good decisions on prom night. He says the police department encourages participation in the school-sanctioned after-prom party. 

Motorcycle accident in Knoxville
A Knoxville resident was transported to the hospital with minor injuries yesterday, after falling from his motorcycle. Knoxville Fire & Rescue quickly responded to the scene, and fire chief Mike Roberts says the patient was not wearing their helmet when they were riding. 

Legislative Coffee in Pella
Two area legislators are scheduled to visit with constituents Saturday morning. The Pella League of Women Voters will hold a Legislative Coffee with State Senator Paul McKinley and State Representative Jim Van Engelenhoven at 9:30 a.m. at the Public Safety Complex. The Pella League of Women Voters traditionally holds a Legislative Coffee the first Saturday of each month during the legislative session. 

Knoxville students heading to D.C. 
50 Knoxville eighth grade Students are heading to Washington D.C. for the schools annual trip to the capital next Thursday. Knoxville Middle School History Teacher Chris Hudson says the students will tour the U.S. Capitol, Gettysburg, Smithsonian and other sight seeing locationsall with the purpose of giving students a first hand experience of national history. Hudson says this is his 12th trip to the nations capitol through the school and at least the 18th trip for the school itself.

Pella<
/st1:City> to test warning sirens 
Pella residents will likely hear the outdoor warning sirens today. According to Pella Police Department Communications Supervisor Marcia Slycord, the system is tested on the first Saturday of each month at noon. The system includes eight sirens strategically placed in different parts of the community. Slycord notes the warning sirens are designed to be audible outdoors. 

Garden Club holds their Garden Gala today
The Knoxville Federated Garden Club is holding their 2009 Garden Gala Saturday at Dyer-Hudson Hall, featuring guest speakers, vendors, giveaways and lunch. For more information, residents can call Sandra at 842-4591. 

Next week Spring Clean Up Week in Pella 
A reminder that next week is Spring Clean-Up Week in the city of Pella. According to the Public Works Office, this collection is for residential customers whove been issued the city of Pella authorized tote. Officials note that items must be placed curbside by 7 a.m. on a residents normal garbage collection day. Public Works says a number of items will not be accepted such as electronics, appliances, automobile batteries, waste oil and others. 

Posted: Friday, April 3rd, 2009 at 5:37 am

Electrical short leads to small fire near a Knoxville residence 
An electrical short sent the top of a utility pole falling and hitting a transformer behind a residence in Knoxville Thursday, which fell into a pile of leaves, starting them on fire. Knoxville Fire and Rescue quickly responded to the scene and had the blaze extinguished within moments of arrival. The Knoxville Police Department also responded to the call. No injuries were reported. 

Pella students prepare for prom 
Pella High School students are preparing for prom this weekend. Assistant High School Principal Eric Nelson says the theme this year is "Atlantis: The Lost EmpireThe Journey Awaits You." Nelson says planning for this major social event starts in October. Prom will be held Saturday at the Pella Opera House. Nelson says an open house for the general public is from 3:30 to 5:00 p.m. Saturday. 

Ag land valuations increase locally 
Overall agricultural land valuations in Marion County are projected to increase by 48%, although the estimated taxable value residents will have to pay could range from 3 to 6% due to the projected state rollback from the Department of Revenue. That’s according to Marion County Assessor Drew Sanders, who adds that overall urban residential property tax assessments will be down 1.5 to 2% compared to last year. 

Stock market shows signs of rebounding 
The stock market is showing signs of recovery. Mark Ellingson with VSR Financial Services in Pella says March became the best month for the stock market in the past six years and added some comfort to what had been a dismal year-and-a-half. Ellingson says it remains to be seen whether this is the start of a bull market. Iowa State Investment Officer Joe Cunningham in Knoxville also sees some positive signs such as the resurgence in blue-chip stocks the past couple of weeks.

Knoxville resident faces marijuana charge 
The arraignment for a 29-year-old Knoxville resident charged with possession of marijuana with intent to deliver is set April 13. Marion County courthouse documents report Shannon Marie Fisher was charged with possession of over 42.5 grams of marijuana last year, and is also charged with failure to affix a drug tax stamp and maintaining a drug house, among other charges. 

Legislative Coffee set for Saturday 
Area residents can hear from two local legislators at a forum Saturday. The Pella League of Women Voters traditionally holds a Legislative Coffee with State Representative Jim Van Engelenhoven and State Senator Paul McKinley the first Saturday of the month during the legislative session. League President Kate Bearce says the meeting will be held at 9:30 a.m. at the Public Safety Complex. 

Food Plot Seed available later this month 
Food Plot Seed from Marion County Pheasants Forever will be ready for pick up at the Marion County Soil and Water Conservation District office the week of April 13th. That’s according to Jay Jung with the Natural Resources Conservation Service in Marion County. He says to contact himself at 842-5314 or Jeff Nelson at 641-259-3103 to arrange a pick up time.

Library offers Food for Fines 
The Pella Public Library has planned a special program for National Library Week later this month. According to Library Director Wendy Street, the library will accept non-perishable food items in exchange for overdue fines the week of April 13. One food item is equal to $1.00 in fines up to a one-time maximum of $5.00. Street says patrons should bring only non-perishable canned goods and packaged items. 

Garden Club holds their Garden Gala Saturday 
The Knoxville Federated Garden Club is holding their 2009 Garden Gala on April 4th at Dyer-Hudson Hall, featuring guest speakers, vendors, giveaways and lunch. The cost is $30 to register, which includes lunch. To register and for more information, residents can call Sandra at 842-4591. 

Cub Scouts went racing 
The Pella Cub Scouts tested their racing skills this past weekend. According to Cub Master Tim Williams, seven groups and 54 cars took part in the recent 2009 Pinewood Derby. The event was held at the Madison Elementary in Pella. According to Williams, the next Pella Cub Scout Pack 374 event is an Earth Day project April 25 at Big Rock Park.

Posted: Friday, April 3rd, 2009 at 5:37 am

Electrical short leads to small fire near a Knoxville residence 
An electrical short sent the top of a utility pole falling and hitting a transformer behind a residence in Knoxville Thursday, which fell into a pile of leaves, starting them on fire. Knoxville Fire and Rescue quickly responded to the scene and had the blaze extinguished within moments of arrival. The Knoxville Police Department also responded to the call. No injuries were reported. 

Pella students prepare for prom 
Pella High School students are preparing for prom this weekend. Assistant High School Principal Eric Nelson says the theme this year is "Atlantis: The Lost EmpireThe Journey Awaits You." Nelson says planning for this major social event starts in October. Prom will be held Saturday at the Pella Opera House. Nelson says an open house for the general public is from 3:30 to 5:00 p.m. Saturday. 

Ag land valuations increase locally 
Overall agricultural land valuations in Marion County are projected to increase by 48%, although the estimated taxable value residents will have to pay could range from 3 to 6% due to the projected state rollback from the Department of Revenue. That’s according to Marion County Assessor Drew Sanders, who adds that overall urban residential property tax assessments will be down 1.5 to 2% compared to last year. 

Stock market shows signs of rebounding 
The stock market is showing signs of recovery. Mark Ellingson with VSR Financial Services in Pella says March became the best month for the stock market in the past six years and added some comfort to what had been a dismal year-and-a-half. Ellingson says it remains to be seen whether this is the start of a bull market. Iowa State Investment Officer Joe Cunningham in Knoxville also sees some positive signs such as the resurgence in blue-chip stocks the past couple of weeks.

Knoxville resident faces marijuana charge 
The arraignment for a 29-year-old Knoxville resident charged with possession of marijuana with intent to deliver is set April 13. Marion County courthouse documents report Shannon Marie Fisher was charged with possession of over 42.5 grams of marijuana last year, and is also charged with failure to affix a drug tax stamp and maintaining a drug house, among other charges. 

Legislative Coffee set for Saturday 
Area residents can hear from two local legislators at a forum Saturday. The Pella League of Women Voters traditionally holds a Legislative Coffee with State Representative Jim Van Engelenhoven and State Senator Paul McKinley the first Saturday of the month during the legislative session. League President Kate Bearce says the meeting will be held at 9:30 a.m. at the Public Safety Complex. 

Food Plot Seed available later this month 
Food Plot Seed from Marion County Pheasants Forever will be ready for pick up at the Marion County Soil and Water Conservation District office the week of April 13th. That’s according to Jay Jung with the Natural Resources Conservation Service in Marion County. He says to contact himself at 842-5314 or Jeff Nelson at 641-259-3103 to arrange a pick up time. />
Library offers Food for Fines 
The Pella Public Library has planned a special program for National Library Week later this month. According to Library Director Wendy Street, the library will accept non-perishable food items in exchange for overdue fines the week of April 13. One food item is equal to $1.00 in fines up to a one-time maximum of $5.00. Street says patrons should bring only non-perishable canned goods and packaged items. 

Garden Club holds their Garden Gala Saturday 
The Knoxville Federated Garden Club is holding their 2009 Garden Gala on April 4th at Dyer-Hudson Hall, featuring guest speakers, vendors, giveaways and lunch. The cost is $30 to register, which includes lunch. To register and for more information, residents can call Sandra at 842-4591. 

Cub Scouts went racing 
The Pella Cub Scouts tested their racing skills this past weekend. According to Cub Master Tim Williams, seven groups and 54 cars took part in the recent 2009 Pinewood Derby. The event was held at the Madison Elementary in Pella. According to Williams, the next Pella Cub Scout Pack 374 event is an Earth Day project April 25 at Big Rock Park.

News 4/2/09

Posted: Thursday, April 2nd, 2009 at 8:31 am

Team advances in major academic competition 
A team of Pella elementary students will participate in a major academic competition in late May. The group will compete in the World Finals of the Odyssey of the Mind program, which Coach Lori Parisee describes as an international problem solving competition (Rex the Pigeon above was the result of part of the competition). Pella had five teams participate in the state contest held this past Saturday in Ames. Parisee says World Finals begin May 27 at Iowa State University. 

Firefighters respond to grassfire east of Pella 
Firefighters responded to a grassfire east of Pella Wednesday afternoon. The blaze at Exit 44 was reported at about 2:22 p.m. Pella Fire Chief Doug Van Gorkom tells KNIA/KRLS news that crews were able to get the blaze under control in about a half-hour. No one was injured and Van Gorkom says the cause of the fire is unknown. 

Officials issue reminder about weed progam 
Marion County residents should make sure their property is in compliance with the 2009 Marion County Weed Program as crews prepare spot treatment of weeds and brush on the roadside later this year. The Marion County Engineer’s Office says that Canada thistle should be cut by June 15, and all other thistle should be cut by July 1, with eradication by spraying to be done one week prior to those dates. 

Design plans submitted for new restaurant 
An Applebee’s restaurant in Pella is a step closer to reality. City Planning and Zoning Director George Wesselhoft says the company has submitted formal design plans. According to Wesselhoft, a design permit for the building architecture will be considered at the Community Development Committee meeting April 8 while the site plan is on the agenda for the Planning and Zoning Commission meeting April 27. Dave Phillips with developer Apple Corp. says construction could start in early May.

State Legislators to hold forum at Knoxville Chamber 
Our state legislators will be at the Knoxville Chamber of Commerce Friday at 4 p.m. to update residents on the legislative issues and answer questions. State Senator Paul McKinley and State Representative Jim Van Engelenhoven are set to attend the event in Knoxville, which is held the first Friday of each month during the legislative session. 

Grassfire quickly extinguished 
The Knoxville Rural Fire Department responded to a grassfire at 1064 112th Ave. yesterday afternoon, and quickly extinguished the blaze with no injuries. The department reminds residents to always call-in controlled burns to the Marion County Sheriff’s Office at 828-2220. 

Medical examiner deputies topic of discussion at board meeting 
The Marion County Board of Supervisors continued discussion on the medical examiner deputies for the northern part of the county at a special meeting Wednesday. The board also discussed office space regarding Red Rock Community Action and received a presentation concerning the possibility of having the Natural Resources Conservation service administering the County Weed Commissioners duties, among other issues. 

Pella prepares for spring cleaning 
Spring cleaning time for the city of Pella. The annual Spring Clean-Up is set for next week. According to the Public Works Office, items should be curbside by 7 a.m. on your normal garbage collection day. A number of items will not be accepted during Spring Clean-Up Week. Public Works says this includes electronics, appliances, tires, automobile batteries and waste oil, among others. Officials note this collection is for residential customers who’ve been issued the city of Pella authorized garbage tote. 

Church offers divorce recovery group 
Area residents are invited to attend the Divorce Care Recovery Group being held every Thursday for 13 weeks beginning April 2nd from 7 to 9 p.m. at Christ Church in Knoxville. Dr. Bill Reiseman one off the groups spiritual advisers, says people who are separated, divorced or going through a divorce can learn about forgiveness, loneliness, reconciliation, among other topics. 

Author to share stories from the Yucatan 
A Central College professor will share her stories of life in the Yucatan Peninsula at a reading tonight. Professor Jann Freed will read excerpts from her book, "Daring to Be: Portraits of Women Leaders," a collection of essays and photographs about the lives of women in the Yucatan. The reading is at 7:30 p.m. in the Geisler Library Reading Room. 

News 4/2/09

Posted: Thursday, April 2nd, 2009 at 8:31 am

Team advances in major academic competition 
A team of Pella elementary students will participate in a major academic competition in late May. The group will compete in the World Finals of the Odyssey of the Mind program, which Coach Lori Parisee describes as an international problem solving competition (Rex the Pigeon above was the result of part of the competition). Pella had five teams participate in the state contest held this past Saturday in Ames. Parisee says World Finals begin May 27 at Iowa State University. 

Firefighters respond to grassfire east of Pella 
Firefighters responded to a grassfire east of Pella Wednesday afternoon. The blaze at Exit 44 was reported at about 2:22 p.m. Pella Fire Chief Doug Van Gorkom tells KNIA/KRLS news that crews were able to get the blaze under control in about a half-hour. No one was injured and Van Gorkom says the cause of the fire is unknown. 

Officials issue reminder about weed progam 
Marion County residents should make sure their property is in compliance with the 2009 Marion County Weed Program as crews prepare spot treatment of weeds and brush on the roadside later this year. The Marion County Engineer’s Office says that Canada thistle should be cut by June 15, and all other thistle should be cut by July 1, with eradication by spraying to be done one week prior to those dates. 

Design plans submitted for new restaurant 
An Applebee’s restaurant in Pella is a step closer to reality. City Planning and Zoning Director George Wesselhoft says the company has submitted formal design plans. According to Wesselhoft, a design permit for the building architecture will be considered at the Community Development Committee meeting April 8 while the site plan is on the agenda for the Planning and Zoning Commission meeting April 27. Dave Phillips with developer Apple Corp. says construction could start in early May.

State Legislators to hold forum at Knoxville Chamber 
Our state legislators will be at the Knoxville Chamber of Commerce Friday at 4 p.m. to update residents on the legislative issues and answer questions. State Senator Paul McKinley and State Representative Jim Van Engelenhoven are set to attend the event in Knoxville, which is held the first Friday of each month during the legislative session. 

Grassfire quickly extinguished 
The Knoxville Rural Fire Department responded to a grassfire at 1064 112th Ave. yesterday afternoon, and quickly extinguished the blaze with no injuries. The department reminds residents to always call-in controlled burns to the Marion County Sheriff’s Office at 828-2220. 

Medical examiner deputies topic of discussion at board meeting 
The Marion County Board of Supervisors continued discussion on the medical examiner deputies for the northern part of the county at a special meeting Wednesday. The board also discussed office space regarding Red Rock Community Action and received a presentation concerning the possibility of having the Natural Resources Conservation service administering the County Weed Commissioners duties, among other issues. 

Pella prepares for spring cleaning 
Spring cleaning time for the city of Pella. The annual Spring Clean-Up is set for next week. According to the Public Works Office, items should be curbside by 7 a.m. on your normal garbage collection day. A number of items will not be accepted during Spring Clean-Up Week. Public Works says this includes electronics, appliances, tires, automobile batteries and waste oil, among others. Officials note this collection is for residential customers who’ve been issued the city of Pella authorized garbage tote. 

Church offers divorce recovery group 
Area residents are invited to attend the Divorce Care Recovery Group being held every Thursday for 13 weeks beginning April 2nd from 7 to 9 p.m. at Christ Church in Knoxville. Dr. Bill Reiseman one off the groups spiritual advisers, says people who are separated, divorced or going through a divorce can learn about forgiveness, loneliness, reconciliation, among other topics. 

Author to share stories from the Yucatan 
A Central College professor will share her stories of life in the Yucatan Peninsula at a reading tonight. Professor Jann Freed will read excerpts from her book, "Daring to Be: Portraits of Women Leaders," a collection of essays and photographs about the lives of women in the Yucatan. The reading is at 7:30 p.m. in the Geisler Library Reading Room. 

News 4/1/09

Posted: Wednesday, April 1st, 2009 at 6:03 am

Local firefighters complete training 
Members of Knoxville Fire & Rescue and Indiana Township fire departments practiced fire truck maneuvering, hydrant testing, hose operation and took written exams over the weekend, as part of a state-certification program. Knoxville fire chief Mike Roberts says the training concluded the 32-hour certification course. 

Camping season approaches 
Three U.S. Army Corps of Engineers campgrounds at Lake Red Rock open later this month. Park Ranger Tracy Spry says Wallashuck, Whitebreast and North Overlook campgrounds will open for the season on April 23. Spry says reservations can be made online at recreation-dot-gov or by calling 1-877-444-6777. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers plans to reopen Howell Station Campground for Memorial Day Weekend. It’s unknown when Ivans Campground could reopen.

County Board to consider Care Facility items 
The Marion County Board of Supervisors will discuss potential roof and electrical expenditures at the Marion County Care Facility during a special meeting at 9 a.m. in the Marion County Courthouse. The board will also have discussion on the medical examiner deputies for the northern part of the county, among other issues.

Post Offices face financial challenges 
Local post offices are taking steps to lower expenses as the U.S. Postal Service faces increasing financial pressures. Pella Postmaster Roger Hugen says they’ve reduced work hours by about 12 to 13 percent and that routes will be readjusted according to mail volume. Knoxville Postmaster Jack Moorhead says they’ve also restructured postal routes and reduced hours recently to maintain the offices efficiency to residents.

Traveling museum to visit Knoxville 
A traveling museum is making a stop at the Knoxville Public Library April 6th to detail the lives of the around 372,000 German prisoners of war, or POWs, held in camps across the United States during World War II. Library director Jan Behrens says the non-profit educational organization TRACES is featuring its retrofitted school "BUS-eum" which contains exhibits on the legacy of German POWs in the U.S. 

Tulip Court visits state capitol 
The 2009 Tulip Queen and Court is visiting the Iowa State Legislature today and bringing some guests. Each year the Tulip Queen and Court visits the State Capitol. Pella Chamber and PADCO Director Karen Eischen says this is the first year local officials have gone along for the trip. She says this is an opportunity to visit with legislators about different issues and how they could impact local businesses.

Scholarship deadline is today 
The submission deadline for most local scholarships is by end of the school day on Wednesday for graduating Knoxville seniors, and students should fill out an application if they haven’t already. That’s according to Kevin Crawford, president of the Knoxville Dollars for Scholars program, which awards a scholarship to every student who applies. 

American Legion announces essay contest winners 
American Legion Post 89 has announced the winners of their second annual 5th grade flag essay contest. According to the legion, first place went to Lucia Martsovitsova while Megan Kooker and Lauren Kriegel tied for second place. Third place went to Kayla Langstraat. The first place finisher now moves onto to the district contest that will determine the American Legion state contest winner. 

Raceway begins Anniversary Tour 
The Knoxville Raceway begins its 50th Anniversary Tour as it travels to racing events in multiple states over the next two years to rev up attendance for the 49th Annual SuperClean Knoxville Nationals this year and the historic 50th Annual Nationals race in 2010. Brian Stickel, director of marketing for the Knoxville Raceway, says the tour is an excellent way to continue building the racing fan base and to bring visitors to Marion County. 

Central to honor former music professor 
Central College plans to honor a former music professor with a special concert Sunday. According to Central, the music department will honor Edith LeCocq with a memorial concert entitled Mass of the Children. Several groups are scheduled to perform including the Central College Community Choir and Orchestra and the Pella Community Handbell Ensemble, among others. The performance is at 4 p.m. at Douwstra Auditorium.