The new Casey’s going up at Union and Main Street in Pella is hard to miss, and with construction nearing completion the convenience store company has announced official closure dates for the three existing stores in downtown Pella. The location at the corner of Washington and Broadway will shut its doors on Sunday, April 9th. This property will be donated to Pella Historical Society upon removal of the building and pumps. The Main and Washington Street location will be closed on Sunday, April 16th, and the store on Oskaloosa Street will shut its doors on Sunday, April 23rd – according to posts at those locations the new store will open in May. Main Street in Pella from Independence to Union will be closed while repairs are being completed at the Casey’s General Store construction site. The closure begins Monday, March 27th at 7 a.m., with plans to reopen the following Friday afternoon. Detour signs will be posted.
High school students in Knoxville can earn credits for graduation and learn valuable real-life skills at the same time thanks to the Career Exploration and Work Experience programs at the high school. The Career Exploration program allows students to receive work instruction on-site from actual employees at the businesses. Mr. C’s Steak House Cobblestone Hotel and Suites, Manny’s Diner, Knoxville Middle School, Raceway Tire & Exhaust, Hy-Vee, and Knoxville Farm & Home all participate in the program – the students get real jobs and earn income while they work at the locations during the school day when they aren’t in other classes.
The Knoxville Hospital and Clinics have a fun event for the kids tomorrow at the ISU Extension Office – they’ll be holding a Kid’s Health Fair, where kids can learn about a healthy future for themselves and their families and have a lot of fun at the same time. Your kids can try the fitness challenge, play the Operation game with Knoxville’s surgical team, chat with Miss Mary Strawberry, or step into a wind machine for a chance to win cash or a prize. Elly Shaw, Director of Quality and Compliance with the Knoxville Hospital and Clinics says families who show up early will be receiving a free meal that features hot dogs, side dishes as well as midwest stinky donuts. At the end of the night the Knoxville Hospital and Clinics will be giving away a free boy’s and girl’s bicycle. The fair is open to children of all ages.
If your drive takes you on G40 east of Pleasantville take note – construction on the S curve is about to begin. Marion County Engineer Tyler Christian says crews will be fixing up the pavement, widening the road and straightening out the curve a bit. Work starts on April 3rd and is expected to last about 2 months – most of the time there will be one lane of traffic, but you may need to detour down a gravel lane when the road is closed completely.
Pella Christian superstar Levi Jungling has received another award, this time from the Iowa Basketball Coaches Association. Jungling has been named the Player of the Year in class 2-A after helping the Eagles to a 22-5 record and the state championship game. He averaged 17.4 points per game and collected 116 rebounds, 83 assists and 54 steals on the season. The other Player of the Year winners were Iowa City West’s Connor McCaffery in 4-A, Austin Phyfe of Waverly-Shell Rock in 3-A and Jake Hilmer of North Linn in 1-A.
The Iowa Basketball Coaches Association will hold its annual all-star games this Saturday, and four area athletes and one coach will local ties will be participating. On the boys side, Pella’s Ryan Van Wyk is on the Southeast team, while Pleasantville’s Brady Elder will play for the Southwest team. The Southeast girls team feature’s Pella’s Kiara Bradley, Lynnville-Sully’s Brenna Lanser and is coached by Pella Christian alumni and current Montezuma coach Cory Nikkel. The all-star games will be played this Saturday at Dallas Center-Grimes High School. Semifinal games will be played in the morning, with consolation games in the afternoon and championship games Saturday night.
Kids and their parents had an opportunity to learn how to eat healthy and have fun at the same time thanks to the Knoxville Hy-Vee’s “Kids in the Kitchen” event yesterday. Local children were given the opportunity to learn new ways to eat healthy as well as make delicious snacks inside the Hy-Vee kitchen. Samantha Thomas, Registered Dietitian with Hy-Vee, feels the event is important for children because it shows children how to shop properly and work in the kitchen and allows them to see adults modeling good eating habits. The kids who attended learned to make green smoothies, lucky charms snacks and leprechaun dip during the event.
Some folks in Eastern Iowa and Polk County may have erroneously run for shelter after accidentally receiving an emergency notification on their cell phones. The message sent around 7:30 p.m. Monday read, “Civil Emergency in this area until 8:45 p.m. EDT” and “Take Shelter Now Polk-County.” Fortunately there was no real emergency; A news release from Johnson County Emergency Management says the message was supposed to be a follow-up on a missing person from Johnson County. The message system vendor is investigating how and why the erroneous message was sent and how it reached Polk County towers.
Three seniors on the Pella High boys basketball team finished their careers with their names dotting the team’s record book, which goes back 22 years to the beginning of Mark Core’s tenure as head coach of the Little Dutch. Nick Finney set the single season record for assists, with 163, shattering the previous mark of 132 dimes dropped by Nick Mulder during his sophomore season. Finney also rocketed to second on the all-time assist list with 276, trailing only Pierce Hibma’s 310. Ryan Van Wyk’s 514 points this season was the third best single season mark, behind Kyle Korver’s senior season and Hibma’s junior year. Van Wyk passed Korver on the career charts with 1,297 points, and finished his stint with the Little Dutch trailing only Hibma’s 1,301. He also made his mark on the rebounding chart, racking up 592 career rebounds, third best all-time behind only Korver’s 624 and Isaac Naaktgeboren’s 596. Donovan Holterhaus was Pella’s leading rebounder this year, with 194, and that number ranks eighth on the single-season list. And over at Pella Christian Levi Jungling wrapped up his career last weekend as the second all-time leading scorer in Eagles’ boys basketball history. The class 2-A first-team all-state selection tallied 1,620 points in his career, trailing only Eric Pothoven. Pothoven scored 1,675 from 1989-1992. Jungling piled up 229 three-point baskets for Pella Christian, a mark that leaves him 27th all time in the state of Iowa, regardless of class.
Ulrich’s Meat Market in Pella had a very special visitor yesterday afternoon – as part of a week long tour around the state, Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey made a stop at Ulrich Meat Market in Pella Monday afternoon. Northey said the purpose of his visit was to highlight Iowa-made products as part of National Agriculture Week. Ulrich’s Co-owner Jamie Veenstra says he was able share with Northey about what goes into making their business run. Northey will stop in over a dozen communities this week to showcase local agriculture and efforts made through the Iowa Water Quality Initiative.
Oskaloosa and Ottumwa are losing a familiar face soon – the JCPenney stores at Penn Central Mall in Oskaloosa and the Quincy Place Mall in Ottumwa will close in June. J.C. Penney announced earlier this year that it will close about 140 stores this year, as it aims to improve profitability in the era of online shopping. The closures represent about 14 percent of the company’s store count, and less than 5 percent of total annual sales. Two other Iowa JCPenney stores in Decorah and Fort Dodge are also slated to close – the last day of business for the Oskaloosa store is June 19th.
The William Penn Statesmen suffered a heartbreaking loss in overtime yesterday as they fell 83-82 to Texas Wesleyan in the semifinals of the NAIA Division I National Championships. Duer bracket champion WPU (33-4), which overcame an 18-point deficit two nights earlier to reach the semifinals, itself fell victim to a double-digit comeback Monday. The program, which also saw the only other remaining top seed LSU Alexandria be eliminated by Life in the night’s first contest, came one win shy of reaching its second-ever national title game. The team’s 33 wins are the second-most in program history; many other records and superlatives will also define the season. The Statesmen went to overtime for the third time this year (entered 2-0) and first time in the postseason since the 2013-2014 year (also won), but Monday did not continue the theme of happy endings. William Penn led by three at 82-79 with 19.7 seconds left in the extra session, but the Rams (28-7), winners of the Liston bracket, scored a quick layup and took advantage of a missed free throw by Lionel Ellison (Sr., New Orleans, La., Kinesiology). TWU then sprinted down the court and Dion Rogers knocked the eventual game winner with two seconds left. Unfortunately, the navy and gold failed to get off an answer before the buzzer sounded and its campaign suffered an abrupt conclusion.
The new Knoxville VA Outpatient Clinic is open for business today. The old VA Clinic closed their doors Friday to allow for the move and transition to the new facility. The new facility will start seeing their first patients today, but the official grand opening and ribbon-cutting ceremony will take place on Friday, April 7th at 1 p.m. The VA staff will be conducting tours of the facility at that time as well.
Some tough decisions need to be made in the Iowa Statehouse, where legislators are facing a lower budget forecast for this year and 2018, meaning they’ll need to find about $132 million dollars in cuts. Representative Guy Vander Linden says lawmakers will likely have to tap into reserve accounts for the current spending year, and make difficult cuts when it comes to appropriations for 2018. Vander Linden says Iowa House leaders have called for a review of the estimating process, as the Revenue Estimating Committee has come up short on predictions frequently over the past three years.
Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey today announced that the Neil Albertson family from Mahaska County has been named the winners of the Gary Wergin Good Farm Neighbor Award. Neil and his wife Lisa farm with their sons Travis and Casey and raise breeding stock for show pigs and commercial free range production. Northey will present the award to the family at the Fremont Community Center as part of the “Big Show,” which airs on both WHO and WMT radio live today from 11:30 – 12:30pm. The Wergin Good Farm Neighbor award recognizes Iowa livestock farmers who take pride in doing things right.
Defying all odds, the Statesmen men’s basketball team overcame incredible obstacles to erase an 18-point first-half deficit and defeat #6 seed Langston 84-80 in the quarterfinals of the NAIA Division I National Championships Saturday. Despite being whistled for 33 fouls (just 17 for its foe), which resulted in a 40-11 discrepancy in free throws, top-seeded WPU (33-3) won the Duer bracket to advance to the NAIA’s ‘Fab Four’ for the second time in school history (also in 2012-2013 as a member of D-II). William Penn started its NAIA national tournament experience with three consecutive losses, but since then (beginning in 2012-2013) has owned an 11-4 mark. William Penn will now face Texas Wesleyan Monday at 8 p.m. in the national semifinals. The Rams claimed the Liston bracket crown by knocking off #1 seed Dalton State (Ga.) 82-73. It will be the first ever meeting between the two programs.