For the 4th straight year the Pella High Dutch made a trip to the UNI Dome for the Class 3A football championship – but this time the ending was bittersweet. Cedar Rapids Xavier controlled three-time defending state champion Pella last night at the UNI-Dome, and took their title with a 31-13 victory. The Saints held Pella scoreless for the first quarter and a half, building a 17-0 lead; After the Little Dutch finally found life with an Avery Van Zee 36-yard touchdown catch, Xavier answered with an 80-yard drive that took the final four plus minutes off the clock, capped by a back-breaking gadget-play touchdown on a double pass. Pella finishes the season 11-2, while the Saints were undefeated at 13-0 to win their second state championship, and their first in class 3A.
Students from Eddyville-Blakesburg-Fremont Junior/Senior High School went to Indian Hills’ Iron Chef competition with hungry expectations. They placed third, but realized the real prize is the lessons they learned over the course of the competition. The student-chefs who created the dishes were from EBF’s Family and Consumer Science class taught by Lisa Strausser; six students working in three pairs created an appetizer, main course, and dessert.
A Central College graduate’s run on NBC’s The Voice has come to an end. Chris Weaver, class of 2010 at Central, performed for the final time on Monday night’s show after his coach Jennifer Hudson picked three other members to be part of her final team continuing through the “Playoffs” round. Weaver was selected to Hudson’s team in the season premiere and was praised by the coaches for his powerful voice.
William Penn University will be hosting two consecutive “Cards for Jacob” nights during the men’s basketball games at home this weekend. The first game is slated for Friday, November 17th at 7:00 PM; the second contest is on Saturday, November 18th at 2:00 PM. Jacob Thompson is a 9-year-old from Maine diagnosed with Stage 4 High-Risk Neuroblastoma. The doctors aren’t sure Jacob will make it to Christmas, so for his last wish, Jacob requested to have Christmas Cards sent to him from all around the country. William Penn University would like to invite anyone planning to attend the games this weekend, to bring along a card for Jacob – information on where to mail the cards will be available at the games.
Hundreds of potential job seekers packed Penn Central Mall last week Thursday for the Oskaloosa Job Fair, put on by Mahaska County Agricultural and Rural Development (MCARD) and Iowa Works. The event matched job seekers with over 50 employers from the region – MCARD Director Deann De Groot was pleased with the 3rd annual job fair, saying anywhere from 325 to 400 individuals attended the event.
The jobs bus is making its way to Newton – a company that makes wind blades in central Iowa will begin manufacturing bus bodies as well, adding hundreds of jobs. T-P-I Composites started producing wind blades in Newton nearly 10 years ago. Nowthey’ll be making composite bus bodies for California-based Proterra Incorporated. The supply agreement requires TPI to provide Proterra with up to 3,350 bus bodies over a five-year period. The Newton bus manufacturing operation is expected to be up and running in the first half of next year with 75-to-100 employees, with three year numbers reaching 350 employees.
A veterans memorial is coming to New Sharon – Mayor Dustin Hite recently announced an agreement with he McQuniston Trust to provide $25,000 in funding for the project. The 9-foot granite stone, flagpoles and benches will be placed in a garden space at the corner across from the fire station – the memorial should be done in the next year.
Staff cuts may be coming to the Pella School District – budget projections show the district going into the red next year. Superintendent Greg Ebeling says if state aid remains low as many as a dozen positions may need to be eliminated. The board will address the 2019 fiscal year budget in December.
After serving the Ottumwa community for 42 years, orthopedic surgeon Dr. Donald Berg has decided to retire. Berg says he’s been busy since the day he arrived in South Central Iowa back in 1975, when he took over the caseload of another surgeon Dr. Fox. Originally drafted into the armed forces, Dr. Berg entered a special program that allowed him to get medical training – he says he’s had days where he did 40 consults in an afternoon and has operated on literally thousands of joints – while ready for retirement he says he will miss his patients and staff, including a physicians assistant who has been on his team for 32 years.
Christmas is coming, and that means ringing bells and shiny red kettles will soon make their return to Pella store fronts. The Salvation Army’s Red Kettle campaign begins Thanksgiving night in Pella; it began the campaign in San Francisco in 1891, and according to the Salvation Army continues to be their biggest fundraiser. Sherril Graham, Pella’s Red Kettle Campaign Coordinator, said $49,224.31 was raised in Marion County last year, with bell ringers in Pella netting $15,611.32.
Juliana Van Gorp has been named 2018 Tulip Queen – twelve girls took the stage Saturday evening at the announcement party, held at Pella High School. Van Gorp said she was standing with the rest of the girls and was beyond excited to hear her name called; she said she wasn’t expecting to hear her name, but is joyful, grateful and excited for the upcoming spring. Van Gorp will be joined by Elise Beukelman, Lexi Dejong, Naomi Tripp, and Tressa Vos who were all named to the 2018 Tulip Queen Court.
The Executive Director of The Well in Pella has been named to a state board by Governor Kim Reynolds. Jayson Henry has been named to the Workforce Development Board. The unpaid position, which requies Iowa Senate confirmation, has a number of duties – a big task includes the development and implementation of a 20-year comprehensive workforce development plan.
Despite a hard-charging comeback, the Pella Christian football team’s season ended for the second straight year with a gut-wrenching loss to Regina. The Eagles fell to the Regals 37 to 35; both teams traded big plays in the first half, but Regina pulled away in the 3rd quarter and had a 16 point lead late in the period. Pella Christian came roaring back in a similar fashion to their 2016 game, with the Eagles scoring twice in the final period to bring the score within two, and Hayden Vroom intercepting a pass with over four minutes left in regulation. But the Eagles dropped a pass in the endzone and missed two field goals in the final minutes. Pella Christian ends at 11-1 and with a final four finish for the first time in program history.