The landscape is changing quickly below Red Rock Dam now that powerhouse construction is underway and the hydroelectric project moves closer to an early 2019 completion date. Vern Cochran with Missouri River Energy Services said during a site tour this week that action is taking place above ground and progress can be seen daily. Cochran says the powerhouse is approximately halfway through completion, with work continuing on the intake structures and turbines. When complete, the station will generate enough power for approximately 18,000 homes, which is roughly the number in Marion County.
With summer here there’s plenty of road construction taking place in the Tulip City – yesterday construction began on East 3rd Street from Columbus to Lincoln and Lincoln Street from Hazel to East 3rd. City Administrator Mike Nardini says the project includes complete reconstruction of those sections of road. Work is also ongoing on Elm Street from West 3rd to Broadway Street, which includes underground utility upgrades as well. Both closures are expected to last until this fall.
A road worker was killed in Southern Iowa on Tuesday; The accident occurred Tuesday in northern Lucas County. The Iowa State Patrol says a motorist didn’t see 48-year-old Barbarella Moore, who was preparing to flag vehicles while another worker cut concrete. Moore, a Waterloo native, was pronounced dead at the scene. The motorist was identified as 32-year-old Brady Rasmus, who lives in Chariton.
The African Children’s Choir will make a stop in Pella on Sunday, June 18 to perform at the Liberty Evangelical Free Church. The choir is a part of the non-profit organization Music for Life, which helps provide education programs for children in impoverished areas in seven different African countries, including Uganda, Kenya, Rwanda, Sudan, Nigeria, Ghana and South Africa. The children within the choir only tour one year, and then fly back home to continue their education. This year’s touring choir will feature 19 children from Uganda. The money raised from the free-will offering concert will go to fund the education programs for the children. The concert will begin at 7 p.m on Sunday, June 18.
The Polk County Sheriff’s Office says it is investigating one of its officers for social media postings deriding Islam and calling the religion an “evil ideology.” Apparently a graphic on the Facebook page of Sgt. Dan Charleston said it included “verses from the Quran that inspire terrorists,” and that Sgt. Charleston accompanied the graphic with a comment: “No reasoning with this evil ideology.” The posting has been removed. Charleston has twice run unsuccessfully for sheriff. He’s been a member of the Polk County Sheriff’s Office for 19 years.
The Marion County Board of Supervisors has officially voted to restrict the use of fireworks in the area – the board met Tuesday, voting 2-1 to approve the 1st reading of the ordinance and waiving the 2nd and 3rd readings at the same time. When can fireworks in Marion County be used? According to the new ordinance, first and second-class consumer fireworks may be discharged within unincorporated areas of the county on July 4th between the hours of 6 p.m. and 11 p.m. You need to be at least 18 years old to discharge fireworks on the 4th of July, and you also need to be sober – no alcohol or drugs are allowed. Fireworks usage is also prohibited within 200 yards of any school, hospital, nursing home, veterinary clinic or animal shelter, and are prohibited within 200 yards of any utility such as waterworks, gasworks or sanitary sewage system.
The Wappello County Board of Supervisors has given their approval to a plan to help our veterans find a job. On Monday, the Board agreed to back the “Home Base” initiative, a statewide program that among other things allows military veterans to use their time of service towards college credits. According to paperwork supplied by Supervisor Jerry Parker, the board has now authorized the director of Veterans Assistance to take whatever action is necessary to get the program off the ground and get our veterans back to work.
The South Central Regional Airport is back in the news – the FAA has issued its final environmental assessment, saying that the proposed airport would have no significant impact on the environment in the area. The proposed airport would not be open to commercial air travelers, and would be utilized by regional corporate airplanes and jets as well as other pilots such as crop dusters. The plan includes constructing three runways, a terminal building and hangar space for as many as 52 aircraft. Once completed and open, the existing airports in Pella and Oskaloosa would be closed permanently. Next up – developing a land acquisition plan and funding plan for the nearly $25 million project.
A number of people gathered on Saturday to celebrate 25 years summer fun at the The Beach waterpark in Ottumwa. Gene Rathje, Ottumwa parks director and The Beach manager, said the facility has improved the quality of life in Ottumwa. Rathje said the park not only is a fun place for kids, it also helps keep them out of trouble; he also noted that people come to enjoy the water park from all the country, which provides Ottumwa’s economy with a much-needed shot in the arm. The $4 million park opened in 1992; it recently completed Phase I of a big renovation project; work on Phase II is set to begin in September.
Fine art is paying Oskaloosa a visit in the form of a sculpture tour – on Friday Fine Arts and Cultural Events (FACE) of Mahaska County unveiled the 2017 Oskaloosa Sculpture Tour. The sculpture tour will include 13 sculptures placed throughout the city where they will stay until May 2018 when they will be replaced. The mission of FACE is to provide exceptional art education and make art accessible and exciting to the community.
Up and coming young artists had a chance to showcase their outstanding talents this past Wednesday at the Skunk River Art Festival’s Up and Coming Art Display. The show took place at the new Oskaloosa Art Center and featured elementary and middle school children’s art. During the show, Brianna Bartlett, President of the Fine Arts and Cultural Events Board (FACE) of Mahaska County, announced the four young artists who were being recognized for their talents: third grader Caitlin Crile received best in show award, fourth grader Andrew Stodghill had a first place showing, first-grader Owen Johnson placed second, and kindergartener Syndee Silvers placed third.
If you have pets, take extra care this weekend during the extreme heat – that’s the message from Dr. Tim Yoder with Tri-County Veterinary Clinic, who reminds pet owners to pay extra attention to their animals as the weather heats up. Yoder says owners need to provide plenty of water and shade to outdoor animals and monitor for any behavior resembling heat exhaustion or heat stroke.