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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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