Klompen Classic draws a crowd to downtown Pella 
More than 1,700 people took part in that unofficial kickoff to Tulip Time – the Klompen Classic. The annual 5K Walk/Run drew 1,718 people to downtown Pella Wednesday evening, according to race official Julie Johnson with Crossroads of Pella. The top overall male was Marty Dalton of Earlham with a time of 15:28 while Robyn Friedman of Lambs Grove was the top female with a time of 17:09. 

Library Board confirms new director 
The Knoxville Public Library Board confirmed a new library director last week. Current director Jan Behrens says Assistant Director Roslin Thompson was selected by the board. Behrens is retiring at the end of May, after 14 years of holding the position. Behrens says she enjoys serving the community, and will continue to remain involved in the library after her retirement. 

Tulip Time arrives 
Tourism officials estimate that about 150,000 people visit Pella during Tulip Time. This creates an economic boom for Pella and the surrounding area. Pella Convention and Visitors Bureau Director Jill Vandevoort says the Iowa Department of Economic Development estimates that a visitor will spend about $270 per day. While there were concerns about how the economy could impact the festival, a Reuters/University of Michigan survey shows that consumer confidence is on the upswing.

New EMT joins Knoxville Fire and Rescue 
A new emergency medical technician, or EMT, has joined the Knoxville Fire & Rescue department. The city council approved the addition of Michelle J. Fischer, who is currently a student at Grandview College and an EMT-B student at Indian Hills Community College. Fischer will be taking her EMT certification test May 16. 

Police Department applying for grant 
The Pella Police Department is applying for federal stimulus funds. Pella Police Chief Michael Marcinkowski says the $20,000 grant would be used to upgrade in house video and audio recording systems. Marcinkowski says if the application is approved, they’ll share the grant with the Marion County Sheriffs Department. Sheriff Ron Goemaat says theyd also use the funds to improve the audio and video recording equipment at the Sheriff’s Office. 

School Districts receive stimulus funds 
Federal dollars recently allocated for Iowa schools Title One reading and special education programs wont necessarily mean new cash for districts. Knoxville Schools Superintendent Dr. Randy Flack says the federal funds will basically backfill money lost from the across-the-board state budget cuts last session. Pella Schools Superintendent Mark Wittmer says the although the legislature voted for 4% allowable growth for districts next year, the state cannot fund all of the growth unless it uses the federal dollars. 

Communities mark National Day of Prayer 
This is the National Day of Prayer. The annual observance was established in 1952 and is always held on the first Thursday of May. Pastor Jeff Sajdak with First Christian Reformed Church in Pella encourages people to take some time to pray for God’s blessings upon our nation. 

Meth use on the decline locally 
Although areas such as Iowa City recently show an increase use in methamphetamine, Marion Countys meth use has decreased in recent years. An undercover narcotics officer with the Marion County Sheriff’s Office also says marijuana, cocaine and prescription drugs are a more local concern for law enforcement officials, with all illegal drug use constantly monitored.

Ritchie Lee to perform tonight in Pella 
An Iowa musician known for his love of Buddy Holly-era rock and roll is performing at Tulip Time this year. Ritchie Lee will perform two shows today, according to Tulip Time Steering Committee Co-Chair Karen Eischen. Shows are at 4:30 and 7:30 p.m. Other evening entertainment acts this year include Opera Singer Tim Kuhn on Friday and Country Music artist Jason Brown, who will perform three shows on Saturday. 

Law enforcement stresses boating safety 
Marion County residents putting their boats on Lake Red Rock need to be safe. Marion County Sheriff Ron Goemaat says residents should check their boat for mechanical problems, always have life jackets available and to have carry a cell phone when on the lake. Goemaat adds people should stay to the right when driving the boat, and to slow down when passing people fishing on the lake.