Knoxville School Board to Meet Monday
The Knoxville School Board is set to approve the fiscal year 2010 budget at their bi-monthly meeting Monday evening at 6:30 in the Knoxville high school library. Setting a budget public hearing date for April 13th, and levying over $89,000 in property taxes to achieve one percent allowable growth is also set, among other issues.

Volunteers Needed for Howell Station Campground
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers at Lake Red Rock is seeking volunteers to help prepare Howell Station for the summer camping season. The corps operated campground suffered significant damage in the flood last year. Park Ranger Tracy Spry says an activity day is planned for April 25 from 8 a.m. to noon at Howell Station. Volunteers are needed to help paint picnic tables, collect loose branches and other duties. Plans call for Howell Station Campground to reopen for the Memorial Day weekend. Spry says those interested in volunteering can contact the Lake Red Rock Visitor Center at 628-8690 or 828-7522.

Marion County Property Taxes Due
The second half of Marion County residents 2008-2009 property tax payments become delinquent Wednesday, and residents must make their payments before then to be on time. Thats according to Marion County Assessor Drew Sanders. Residents can pay their property taxes by coming into the Marion County Treasurers Office in the courthouse or online at

Tips on Keeping Your Eyes Healthy
Studies are finding that proper nutrition can help prevent the onset of the eye disorder macular degeneration. Dr. Ralph De Haan with Eye Care Partners in Pella says the disease typically afflicts people over the age of 50. He says its caused by a decrease in circulation to a portion of the eye. If someone has a family history, De Haan says a diet with enough lutein, zinc, copper, Vitamin E, Vitamin C and certain fatty acids has been shown to have a preventive effect. De Haan recommends annual eye exams to help detect early signs of macular degeneration. If someone develops the disease, he says treatment options are available.

3M Lays Off 20 Employees
3M Co. in Knoxville placed 20 of its production employees on layoff status earlier this week, 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.

Unemployment Rate Goes Up in Marion County
Marion Countys unemployment rate increased last month, according to the latest figures from Iowa Workforce Development. The rate increased from 5.7 percent in January to 6.2 percent in February. However, that is substantially lower than the national rate of 8.1 percent. Iowa Workforce Development spokeswoman Kerry Koonce says about 90 more people in Marion County were collecting unemployment in February. She says hopefully the rate should start to decline this spring. The state unemployment rate for last month was 4.9 percent, up only a tenth-of-a-percent from January.

Gas Main Break in Knoxville
A gas main break at the intersection of Lincoln and Madison streets in Knoxville earlier this week closed down the intersection for nearly two hours, and resulted in the evacuation of nearby homes, following a quick response from area emergency responders. Fire Chief Mike Roberts says a contractor doing main work for Knoxville Water Works was laying protective earth around their workzone when a substantial hunk of earth fell, hitting and severing the gas main, with no injuries. Pella Ambulance and Knoxville Rural Fire Department were also on stand by during the incident.

Pella Community Schools Looking at Facility Upgrades
Significant facility upgrades could be in store for the Pella Community School District. The Pella School Board recently took the first step in a process that could lead to some improvements to district buildings and athletic fields. District Superintendent Mark Wittmer says this project would address safety issues with the track and bleachers at the football field. Wittmer says each school also has some facility requests. At this point, the project carries a price tag of $1.9 million and would be paid for by bonding against sales tax revenue.