A tornado directly hit the Vermeer Mile and touched down numerous times from near Altoona and Bondurant all the way to northwest of Leighton Thursday afternoon. Extensive damage was reported at Vermeer Plant 5 and 6, as well as their Waste Management Facility. Lesser impacts were seen at Plants 4 and 7, and the rest of Vermeer’s campus remained relatively untouched There were 400 additional customers on-site for an appreciation celebration of Vermeer’s 70th anniversary, but only seven with injuries were reported at Pella Regional Health Center as of Thursday evening. Numerous farm buildings, power poles, and trees were destroyed by the tornado from near Highway T-14, along 228th Place, on 240th, all the way through Vermeer and just over Old Highway 102. The National Weather Service will conduct a survey of the impacted areas today to determine the strength of the confirmed tornadoes in central Iowa. Vermeer and Lely are closed today to allow time to assess damage and begin clean up. According to the Pella Police Department, the Vermeer Mile will remain closed by law enforcement in between the intersections of Vermeer Road and 240th Avenue, as well as Vermeer Road and 250 th Avenue. Authorities are unsure how long this section of Vermeer Road will be closed in between these two intersections.
Lake View Camp held a groundbreaking ceremony Thursday to begin a $5.5 million expansion to their location at 1797 Highway T17 in Tracy. Camp and campaign leadership, including Honorary Chairs Bob and Lois Vermeer, were in attendance for the ceremony. Executive Director Diana Brummel said they are launching the New Home, Same Foundation Campaign, to build a new camp to expand their ministry. Brummel says they intend to create a space that can gather the hundreds of children who participate. To date the campaign has raised approximately half of the $5.5 million needed to complete the project.
Another dry week in southern Iowa has allowed extreme drought to creep across the state line and into southern Davis County. For now, the area under extreme drought is a tiny sliver of Iowa, just eight one-hundredths of a percent of the total area. But it illustrates the progress of a drought that continues to deepen and illustrates the extremes of weather Iowa has experienced this summer. Much of northern Iowa continues to hope for dry weather as it recovers from weeks of abnormally heavy rains. The drought currently hitting the Midwest is centered just to the south of Iowa, in northern Missouri. Much of the state north of the Missouri River is in extreme drought, and it is part of that area which has begun to move into Iowa. Most of the rest of the region has little concern, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor.
Nothing is better than receiving a warm welcome to a new community, and that’s exactly what Newton’s RAGBRAI committee is hoping to give to riders on July 25th. For the five blocks spanning West Eighth Street North to West Third Street North on North Second Avenue, the committee is asking community members to line the streets for a big “Aloha” to Newton. Organizer Chantelle Lundberg expects the bulk of the riders will arrive starting at 11 a.m. Wednesday, July 25 and continue until 6 p.m. Those wanting to participate are asked to park in the north lot adjacent to the Innovation Center to keep vehicles clear of the route. Decorations such as beach scenes and beach ball towers and arches will be on display, and volunteers are encouraged to get in the spirit any way they can.
The Pella City Council passed the first reading of an ordinance allowing minors into microbreweries with restrictions at their meeting Tuesday evening. If adopted, anyone under the age of 21 who wants to enter the establishments would have to do so with a parent or legal guardian over the age of 21, and can only be inside microbreweries from opening until 9 p.m. — both of which were amendments added after the council expressed concerns with allowing any adult to bring a minor in.
The Iowa Hawkeyes are hosting Oskaloosa Community Day during the Iowa vs. Northern Illinois game on Saturday, September 1. Kickoff has been set at 2:30 p.m. Any member of the Oskaloosa community can purchase an unlimited number of $35 group rate adult tickets and $25 youth tickets. The single game ticket price is $50 per seat. The record for ticket sales by one community was set several years ago by Grinnell when they sold 526 tickets. If you would like tickets please call (319) 626-8286.
An accident took the life of a Pleasantville man yesterday afternoon – 93 year old Carroll Clark Phillips was heading eastbound on Highway 92 when he was hit from behind by a 2004 Chevy Silverado driven by Erwin Eugene Sanders, 49, of Knoxville, near the intersection of 92 and McGregor Drive at 3:15 Monday afternoon. Officers indicate in the report that Sanders looked down to grab a bottle of water and slammed into the back of the tractor, which threw Phillips off of his vehicle. Phillips was flown to Mercy Hospital to Des Moines by helicopter, where he was pronounced dead. Sanders was transported by Knoxville Fire and Rescue, and was alert and made communication with emergency personnel on scene. The Iowa State Patrol report says possible charges for Sanders are pending upon further investigation, which would be handled by the Marion County Sheriff’s Office.
Widespread storm damage was reported in and around Pella after an unexpectedly strong thunderstorm blew threw the area Friday afternoon. A reported wind gust close to 60 miles per hour swept through the community, especially south of downtown and near Highway T-17. A tree was uprooted at East 1st and Peace Street, and numerous large tree branches snapped at Caldwell Park and at numerous houses. Extensive tree damage was also reported in New Sharon and in northern Mahaska County for a severe thunderstorm warning issued just after the storm passed through Pella. Additional damage was reported around Pella Corporation and Central College.
Vermeer Corporation celebrated the company’s 70th anniversary with a dedication ceremony at the home of Vermeer Founders Gary and Matilda Vermeer Friday afternoon. Gary and Matilda’s children Stan and Bob Vermeer, as well as Chair of the Vermeer board Mary Andringa, and grandchildren Vermeer CEO Jason Andringa and Forge Channel Advancement Manager Mindi Vanden Bosch all spoke in front of the Founder’s House to remember the legacy of the family. The Founder’s House is currently under final consideration by the National Park Service in Washington D.C. for the National Register of Historic Places.