Residents get mushroom hunting tips
As hundreds of area residents likely scoured the hills and valleys of Marion County over the weekend, over 30 residents got professional hunting tips from Dave Layton, president of the Prairie States Mushroom Club. That’s according to Marla Mertz, Marion County Naturalist. She says Layton and club members made a presentation on finding, identifying and enjoying the much-sought Morel mushroom, among other species. The presentation was held at Roberts Creek Park West Campground on the north side of Lake Red Rock.

County seeks grant for medical examiner training
Marion County is looking into applying for a grant to send two Pella and one Knoxville EMT to St. Louis later this year for medical examiner training. Although there are no final details, discussion on sending the EMTs to the St. Louis class and drafting a training contract was the main focus during the county Board of Supervisors special meeting Monday. The board also approved service rate increases with the Christian Opportunity Center, among other issues.

City prepares for Tulip Time visitors
Thousands of visitors are expected in Pella over the next few days. Pella Police Chief Michael Marcinkowski is asking residents to use patience as the size of the community swells during Tulip Time. As a result, Marcinkowski says drivers need to be extra cautious and prepared for the extra amount of traffic. He says to pay close attention at intersections and to watch for children darting out between cars.

USP offers Tulip Time production
Tulip Time visitors will have the opportunity to see Pella history come alive on stage. The Union Street Players will perform Letters from Pella, an original work written by current USP President Tom Vander Well. The play is based on letters written by Pella’s early residents. According to Vander Well, his research revealed some of the hardships and conflicts of those early days. The play opens Wednesday at 7:00 p.m. at the Pella Community Center. Performances will be held at 4:30 p.m. each day of Tulip Time.

County to receive more federal funding for cancer early detection program
Carla Boat is the multi-county coordinator for the breast and cervical cancer early detection program. She says there’s been an increase in federal funding for the Marion County program until the end of June. The program provides mammograms, pap tests and other related exams free of charge to qualifying women who are underinsured or have no health insurance. Boat residents can call her at 828-2238 to find out if they qualify or for more information.

Panel selects baking contest winners
Residents tested their skills at the Fourth Annual Dutch Baking Contest Monday night at the Pella Historical Village. This year’s categories were Whole Wheat Bread and Dutch Mess. First place for whole wheat went to Jo Stursma while Barb Mathes took second. Tammy Brooklander took home first place for her Dutch Mess while Karen Vink was second. Tulip Queen Morgan Kuiper selected the whole wheat bread baked by Jo Sturmsa as the Queen’s Choice.
Pella Corporation receives ESGR Award
Pella Corporation was recently recognized for their efforts to support employees who serve in the National Guard. Pella was one of 27 companies honored this past Saturday in West Des Moines at the Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve annual conference. The company received an Above and Beyond award.

No H1NI cases reported in Marion County
Although health officials now confirm the H1N1 virus is a mild strain of the flu, that hasn’t stopped some school districts in Iowa from cancelling classes. Marion County Public Health Director Kim Dorn says every county has different criteria for cancelling events. She says if the situation would warrant, Marion County Public Health would work with schools or event-sponsoring groups on making the decision to cancel. She adds state health officials and the governor could also issue a general quarantine order canceling all public events. No H1N1 cases have been reported in Marion County, and Dorn says washing hands frequently after coughing, covering coughs or sneezing, using a tissue and other sanitary measures are the best ways to prevent the spread of any type of influenza.

City Council to set public hearing date on traffic signal project
The Pella City Council is scheduled to set the public hearing date on the Washington and West Third traffic signal project at their meeting tonight. Also on the agenda is a request to apply for $20,000 of stimulus funding through the Edward Byrne Memorial Assistance grant program. The Pella City Council meets at 7:00 p.m. at the Public Safety Complex.

Some households may be eligible for additional FEMA aid
Marion County households which applied for FEMA assistance for damage incurred between May 24th and August 14th of last year could be eligible for to up to $2,500 for unreimbursed personal property, home repair or food expenses, and child care, among others. That’s according to Marion County Emergency Management Coordinator Jeff Anderson. He says applicants must also have applied for FEMA assistance and have a FEMA number, and have a household income of to up to three times the federal poverty level. Anderson says applicants have until June 30th, 2010 to apply for any existing funds, and can call him at 828-2256 with program questions or for more information.

Council approves bid for paving contract
The Knoxville City Council approved TK Concrete, Inc.s $62,185 bid for the 2009 City Paving Contract at their bi-monthly meeting Monday. The council also adopted the $82,778 bid from J&B Concrete for the 2009 Sidewalk Contract, with the provision that the contractor is told to complete the work in a timely manner. The council also adopted an ordinance requiring any company delivering a roll-off dumpster in a residentially-zoned neighborhood needs to be one of the city’s three licensed residential haulers, among other issues.

School Board approves project specs
The Pella School Board approved specifications and plans for concrete and storm sewer work at the athletic complex at a special meeting Monday. The project is expected to cost about $210,000. In other business, the board approved specifications for the running track renovation and the 2009/2010 teacher settlement, which gave teachers a 3.6 percent salary increase. This amounts to $351,000 district wide.