Pella Christian High grad Rachel Brand may be facing the same kind of delays that held up the recent appointment of Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court. Brand was nominated by president Donald Trump to serve as U.S. Associate Attorney General in his administration. U.S. Sen. Chuck Grassley isn’t sure why the nomination of Brand became a partisan issue; Brand’s nomination cleared through the judiciary committee on an 11-9 vote among party lines. Grassley said a filibuster could be on the horizon once her nomination hits the floor for confirmation. While that could bring further delay, Grassley said she will eventually make it through the Senate. The associate attorney general is the third-ranking position in the U.S. Department of Justice. The office handles policies for issues involving civil justice, public safety, and law enforcement on the federal and local level.
Third grade students in Oskaloosa got a taste of life on the farm when they visited the Southern Iowa Fairgrounds for Ag Day on Friday, April 21st. 14 different stations were setup in the barn, pavilion and outdoors at the fairgrounds- Agriculture in the Classroom Coordinator Karen Adams says the kids get to learn where our food comes from and see the variety of products, from biofuels to alternative clothing fibers, that come from the modern farm.
The Pella High Dutch are saying goodbye to boy’s basketball coach Mark Core, who recently accepted the head varsity boys’ coaching position with the Des Moines East High Scarlets. Coaching the boys team since 1995, Core took the Little Dutch to the state tournament 11 times in his career, and has 488 career wins to his credit. The 2016-17 Pella Dutch squad was 22-3 overall last season, winning the Little Hawkeye Conference title with a mark of 12-2. Under the direction of Coach Core, the Dutch won back-to-back state titles in 2002 and 2003. In 2002 Pella tripped up Harlan 61-53. The 2003 championship game saw the Dutch knock off Harlan 66-52. Pella was also runner-up in 1997 and again in 2010.
A group of Little Critters is on the move in Oskaloosa and spreading the word to stop littering. The group, comprised of Oskaloosa Middle School student council members, recently visited the Oskaloosa elementary school, where they shared the message about cleaning up trash with three different classrooms. Some of the students portrayed characters from Cat in the Hat and Scooby Doo, while others shared their message through games or skits. Student Council advisor Kirsten Stek said “Litter Critters” is one of the many service projects the student councils do throughout the year.
If you’ve ever tried to turn left when you’re coming off 163 near the airport in Pella, you know how dangerous that intersection can be – now the Pella City Council is working to make that intersection safer by implementing a traffic control system for the busy area. An engineering services agreement was approved Tuesday that begins designs for additional traffic control at the eastbound Highway 163 Exit 40 ramps on Washington Street. City Administrator Mike Nardini says more than $500,000 in improvements are in the works, including additional turn lanes and traffic lights at the intersection with West 15th Street. Once finished, the city will need to figure out how to fund the project – if the city self-funds the work could be done later this year; if they apply for a matching Iowa DOT grant they’ll need to tack on an additional year.
Folks in Oskaloosa are getting ready for the annual Chalk the Walk fundraising event this Saturday – The United Way of Mahaska County and FACE (Fine Arts and Culture Events) is teaming up with students in the Media Club during this event to raise money for Operation Backpack, where Oskaloosa residents will color the town square with chalk as they raise money for this great cause. Participants may purchase sidewalk squares for ten dollars to draw on and are encouraged to bring their own chalk – all proceeds will benefit Operation Backpack.
A student in a crosswalk was hit yesterday morning by another student driving their vehicle by Pella High School, but thankfully no one was seriously injured. Pella Police Lt. Paul Haase says the driver was turning left and didn’t see the girl in the crosswalk. Haase says both are fortunate to be okay, and reminds everyone on the road that as the weather warms up, it’s especially important to pay extra attention. Haase says the police department has officers stationed and patrolling daily at the Pella School District’s main campus during the morning pick-up and afternoon drop-off times.
A small airplane crashed just south of the Knoxville airport yesterday – at approximately 1:40pm emergency crews responded to what at first was thought to be a helicopter crash. It turned out the aircraft was actually a small gyroplane – two people later identified as pilot Miles Loomis of Des Moines and passenger Jeffrey Lee Jorgenson of Pella were treated by emergency crews and declined to be transported to the hospital. Chief Jim Mitchell with Knoxville Fire and Rescue said shortly after takeoff the gyroplane lost power and went down, striking a powerline during descent. That sparked a small grass fire, which was extinguished quickly by Knoxville Township Rural Fire Department. The FAA is investigating the incident.
Scammers are on the prowl in South Central Iowa, and they’re once again going after elderly residents via telephone – The Oskaloosa police force reports numerous elderly residents being scammed recently out of thousands of dollars via the “grandparent” scheme. Here’s how it works – someone calls, claiming to be a grandchild, nephew, niece, or other relative, in need of emergency cash. The callers try to convince their victims to immediately wire a large amount of money to help pay a sudden personal crisis, such as a car accident, medical emergency or even bail money, using the leverage of being family to manipulate the victims. Police advise everyone to follow some basic principals – NEVER wire money to someone you don’t know, especially someone on the phone, and report anything suspicious immediately to authorities.