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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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