Firefighters respond to multiple grassfires 
A grassfire spanning several acres on highway G-76 southwest of Attica affected approximately a dozen vehicles and other property in a salvage yard Tuesday afternoon, where crews from Columbia Fire Department, Indiana Township and Knoxville Rural Fire Departments brought the flames under control within an hour. While this fire was still being extinguished, Columbia Fire Department was called to another grassfire just south of Columbia on 103rd Street, where crews extinguished the blaze before it reached an abandoned building. 

Weather Service releases flood outlook 
Major flooding in Marion County is unlikely this spring, according to the latest flood outlook released by the National Weather Service in Des Moines. Senior Hydrologist Jeff Zogg says an early snow melt has left rivers at or near normal levels. According to Zogg, there’s a 30-40 percent chance of flooding on the Des Moines River and about a 10-20 percent chance of flooding at Cedar Creek near Bussey. However, he says there’s about a 60-80 percent chance the South Skunk River near Oskaloosa could surpass flood stage in the next three months. 

Leaf fire damages garage 
The Knoxville Fire & Rescue responded to a burning leave pile which caught onto a nearby garage Tuesday evening on Park Lane Drive, with no injuries. Knoxville Fire Department Chief Mike Roberts says residents must always be present during an open burn, and have a continuous source of water.

New completion date set for I-80 study
The Pella City Council approved a 60-day contract extension for the I-80 feasibility study at their meeting Tuesday. Officials had hoped that the study examining routes from the Pella area to Interstate 80 could be complete by March 1. The new completion date is now April 30 as officials are still waiting on traffic modeling data from the State of Iowa. 

County to participate in mock drill 
Marion County is joining 16 other counties in a four-hour emergency preparedness exercise March 25th. Marion County Public Health Director Kim Dorn says the exercise will center on a fictional biological event around the RAGBRAI route, involving more than 90 organizations from 12 disciplines. Dorn says the exercise tests the ability of agencies to correctly respond to emergencies and cooperate with other organizations.

Lincoln School receives grant for literacy efforts 
Lincoln Elementary in Pella is expanding their literacy efforts thanks to a recent grant award. The school received $1,000 courtesy of Heartland Tire and Auto, among other sponsors. Funds will be used to purchase devices called WhisperPhones, which first-grade teacher Donita Smith says are headsets that allow students to hear themselves while they read. She says with this grant they’ll be able to purchase a unit for each first-grade student. 

Have Coffee with the Mayor 
Area residents can voice whats on their minds at Coffee with the Mayor in Knoxville Thursday. Mayor Harv Sprafka says the program is held the third Thursday of each month at 4 p.m. on the second floor of the Knoxville Public library. Residents are encouraged to bring their questions, comments and ideas for discussion.

Work to resume
on Pella Christian athletic fields
Pella Christian plans to resume work on their outdoor athletic complex this spring. Athletic Director Verlan Nikkel says if the weather cooperates crews will begin installing the turf for the football field next month. The school also hopes to complete the track and have the football grandstands ready for the fall season. 

Construction to start soon on new Habitat for Humanity home 
Construction on a Habitat for Humanity Home will begin soon for a Knoxville family, and volunteers will be needed to help build the home. Executive Director of Marion County Habitat for Humanity Lisa Houser says the home for Julia Jones and her two daughters will be funded through Thrivent Builds with Habitat for Humanity and Marion County Habitat for Humanity. Those interested in volunteering can call 828-8844. 

Two PRHC nurses receive state honor 
Two nurses from Pella Regional Health Center are among Iowas 100 Great Nurses. According to the hospital, RN Janet Naset-Payne and RN Dan Schreur were selected as two of the 100 Great Iowa Nurses for 2009. The annual program recognizes outstanding nurses in the state of Iowa.