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.
Recent rainfall has eliminated most drought conditions in the area, according to the latest U.S. Drought Monitor Report. Between three to seven inches of rain fell over Marion County and the region from August 28th through September 7th. That rainfall made up deficits throughout most of south central Iowa, although moderate drought and abnormally dry conditions remain in Lucas County.
The Well in Pella hosted an open house Thursday to educate the community on what resources currently exist and new programs coming this fall. Executive Director Jayson Henry was excited to welcome the 160 visitors to the event, saying it was incredible to look back at the growth of the organization since they opened at their current location. Programs featured at the open house included he Well Resource Center, Getting Ahead, Money and Me, Men’s breakfast, and its mental health programs. Partner resources also on hand were: Pella Community Food Shelf, Good Samaritan Free Medical Clinic, Marion County Public Health, Vital Men Ministries, and Sprigs N’ Sprouts. Also announced was the arrival of the Celebrate Recovery program for those seeking freedom from addictions – the kickoff event will take place from 6:30 to 9:00pm on Thursday, September 27th.
Flower beds in the Tulip City are getting a makeover soon – the City of Pella Parks Department will be renovating and adding street flower beds beginning next week. Community Services Director Jeanette Vaughan says the city maintains 129 street flower beds located in the public right-of-way areas on Washington Street, Franklin Street and Main Street. Vaughan said with new construction and buildings being removed, the condition of the flower beds has not remained consistent – when the project is complete Pella will have 145 uniform and consistent street flower beds.
In Mahaska County the Environmental Learning Center at Caldwell Park is inching nearer to completion. Mahaska County Conservation Director Dave Sedivec said the project was slated to have been done June 19; they are now hoping for a mid-October launch date. Displays at the center will be done in three phases; Phase 1 will be accessible on opening day; Phase 2 includes a life-sized mammoth skeleton replica, thanks to a generous grant from MidWestOne Bank. Also coming is a 1,000 gallon aquarium filled with fish that are native to Mahaska County, as well as wildlife and timber displays.
It is that time of year again, when the monarch butterflies are heading south for the winter. The Neal Smith National Wildlife Refuge will be celebrating this incredible migration with a special event called Monarch Madness from 9 to 11 a.m. Saturday. During this event, participants will help refuge staff catch, tag, and release monarch butterflies. This event is free and open to the public of all ages. You may borrow a net or bring your own. No prior experience is necessary but, space is limited. For information on how to register, check out the KCWN Community Calendar!
Fire ended education at the site of the former Lincoln Elementary School, but Water may be its future. The school, then occupied by the Ottumwa Christian School, burned in August 2016. While many were watching the opening of the Rio Olympics, firefighters were trying to extinguish an arsonist’s work. A plan to turn the site into apartments never came to fruition; Ottumwa Water and Hydro now owns the site. Their plans – turn the former school into a fresh water reservoir. Production Manager Tim Albert said the city needs more fresh water storage capacity and the old school is an ideal site for a new reservoir since it is so close to existing infrastructure and on higher ground.
The second annual Marion County Public Safety Night is scheduled this evening in commemoration with 9/11. First responders from around the county will be available on the downtown Knoxville square from 5:30 to 8:30pm to interact with the public and show off their equipment, and food will be available as well courtesy of Hy-Vee. Marion County Emergency Management Coordinator Jeff Anderson says if you’re curious at all about what first responders do, you should come out to the event.
A new walk-in clinic will be available at the Pella Regional Health Center starting this weekend – patients can be seen Mondays – Saturdays from 8 am – 7 pm and on Sundays from noon – 7 pm to better serve their needs. Some conditions that generally don’t call for an emergency visit, and can be handled in the Walk-In Clinic include: Upper respiratory problems, Sore throat, Ear infection, Sinus infection, Minor injuries, Urinary tract infection, Allergic reactions, Minor rash or skin infection, Minor burns, Insect bites, minor animal or human bites, Minor cuts, scrapes, Fever, Pink eye, Flu symptoms, and Sprains. Patients are also able to reserve a spot for an appointment online. The system works similar to call-ahead seating at a restaurant, as they can choose an “approximate visit time” and hold their place in line. After an online reservation is made, the patient receives a reminder via text message to ensure they do not miss the appointment.