Fire broke out early this morning at the West Ridge Nursing and Rehab Center in Knoxville; firefighters were called around 3:45 a.m. – apparently a light fixture had started on fire and spread to the ceiling; firefighters and Knoxville Police worked together to contain the fire in the area where it started, and put it out. Residents were sheltered in place for the duration of the fire, and crews ventilated smoke from the area of the flames; thankfully no injuries were reported.
If you’re planning to drive across the Red Rock dam this weekend, you’ll need to think ahead – County Highway T-15 at the Red Rock Dam will be closed until at least the end of next week. According to the Marion County Road Department, the stretch of highway over the dam will remain shut down until at least Friday, September 28th–and possibly longer, due to delays with the pavement replacement related to the hydroelectric project. A detour has been posted for those who need to travel between Pella and Knoxville on Elevator Road (T-17) and Highway G46. Local traffic trying to get to on to T-15 the north side of the project should use G-28/Washington Street from Pella for access.
The Pella City Council is moving ahead with two key housing projects after approving planned unit development agreements at their meeting Tuesday. Assistant City Administrator Corey Goodenow says the Vintage Cooperative housing development at Bos Landen and the Webster Park project south of downtown Pella on Main Street will bring diversified housing for a wide range of citizens. Goodenow says the zoning change to a planned unit development will allow the city and developer to bend some of the regulations in order for the unique projects to better fit into the adjacent neighborhood and the parcels of land they will sit on.
Gubernatorial candidate Fred Hubbell visited Oskaloosa for a roundtable discussion regarding mental healthcare in Iowa. Imagine the Possibilities CEO Todd Seifert, Chief Human Resources Officer Jeff Morris and COO Wendy Malone described the challenges the organization faces in aiding those with mental healthcare needs: lack of facilities, caregivers and resources. Mahaska County magistrate Diane Crookham-Johnson and Oskaloosa attorney Eric Palmer discussed with Hubbell similar concerns, with no treatment facilities to care for those with substance abuse and mental health issues. Crookham-Johnson said Law enforcement officials end up driving those who need help all over the state – all in attendance agreed services need to be brought to rural Iowa areas.
Lightning struck a house at 1018 210th Place in Pella Tuesday evening. Flames were visible from an upper floor bedroom, and significant damage was reported in a bedroom next to the east-most point of the roof, where the lightning appeared to strike. According to the Pella Fire Department, the homeowners were returning from an out-of-state trip when they saw flames shooting from the upper floor at approximately 5:10 p.m; thankfully there were no injuries reported.
The Iowa Department of Natural Resources is hoping you can lend a hand this weekend at Elk Rock State Park – Saturday is a statewide Volunteer Day in Iowa; the DNR is looking for people who can help paint buildings, repair picnic tables, pick up litter, trim trees and perform other necessary tasks in the popular recreation area; about a dozen volunteers are needed from 9am to noon – the designated meeting spot is 811 146th Avenue in Knoxville; anyone wanting to help out should bring gloves – trash bags will be provided.
Vermeer Corporation is hosting a parent and high school students’ manufacturing night this week. Students are invited to the Career Academy of Pella next to Pella High School from 6 to 8 p.m. this Thursday to learn about the industry through hands-on simulators, meeting with Vermeer staff, and a presentation by Vermeer Chair Mary Andringa at 7 p.m. Additionally, information about college debt compared to earning potential and details about the growth of manufacturing in Iowa will be shared. Students and parents who would like to attend should RSVP to Susan Beaird at Vermeer Corporation at firstname.lastname@example.org or 641-621-8805.
Beautiful weather offered young and old alike the opportunity to attend the 53rd Annual Fall Festival held at Nelson Pioneer Farm on Saturday. Hosted by Nelson Pioneer Farm and the Mahaska County Historical Society, the family-friendly festival is the biggest community event of the year held at Nelson Pioneer Farm and celebrates the rural heritage of Mahaska County. Throughout the day visitors enjoyed live music, historical interpretations and demonstrations, hand corn picking, corn shelling, wagon rides, pony rides, a vintage tractor show, a parade and so much more. This was the first festival for the new curator, Margaret Spiegel, who said she was excited to have such a wonderful turnout and felt it was a successful event.
The Marion County Development Commission and the Pella Area Community & Economic Alliance are asking parents, legal guardians and future parents to give insight on both their current and future childcare needs in Marion County. Executive Director of Marion County Development Commission Carla Eysink said that to better understand current needs, the organizations, along with several community partners are working with First Children’s Finance to study the supply and demand for child care in Marion County. Eysink says a component of the research is to gain input from parents that live or work in Marion County, that have children age 12 or younger. Through an online survey, parents have an opportunity to share any challenges they may have experienced in finding child care, their preferences for child care, how child care affects their job, or if child care is keeping them from working. Local child care providers and employers will also be asked to give input as well. All three surveys can be accessed through the marioncountyiowa.com website until October 15.