Pella High School’s Jazz I ensemble came up just short to their rivals from Harlan in the 2018 Iowa Jazz Championships Thursday night in Ames, finishing in 2nd place. Pella and Harlan were the two finalists after 15 ensembles from around the state performed earlier in the day in Class 3A. Annaleigh Babcock received outstanding performer recognition on the trumpet. Pella has won 17 state championships in the 41 years of the event, and have now finished in the top four of the prestigious jazz competition 36 consecutive years, with either Harlan or Pella as champions since 2015. North Mahaska jazz also won their second consecutive state championship in Class 1A–their seventh title in the last ten events.
Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig made a stop at Frisian Farms Cheese House in Leighton Thursday. Naig says operations like the artisan cheesemakers are value-added agriculture, and his office likes to highlight those processes, both large and small. Naig is a month into his role as the state’s Secretary of Agriculture after Bill Northey was nominated and selected to work as the Under Secretary of Agriculture for Farm and Foreign Agricultural Service in the USDA.