A one-year old boy has died after an accidental drowning occurred at a farm pond near Leighton on Sunday afternoon. According to a release issued yesterday morning, members of the Mahaska County Sheriff’s Office and Mahaska Health Partnership Ambulance were dispatched to 2292 Adams Avenue at approximately 3 p.m. for a call of a possible drowning victim. Family members had started CPR prior to emergency crews arriving. Deputies and EMTs continued those efforts en route to the Mahaska Health Partnership Hospital, where the baby was declared deceased. An autopsy has been scheduled with the State Medical Examiner’s Office in Ankeny.
Over 100 people enjoyed the beautiful weather Sunday as they gathered at Indian Hills Community College to help raise funds for the National Kidney Foundation. Nine teams participated in what would be the sixth year for the Southeast Iowa Kidney Walk – this year participants raised over $8,500 at the time of the event, with the Community 1st Credit Union team gathering almost $2,500 of that amount. Almost 96,000 Americans need a kidney transplant, but only about 17,000 patients a year will actually get one.
It may have been wet and dreary, but the weather this past Saturday morning didn’t dampen the spirits of the men and women who gathered at the Tulip Toren to join the fight against breast cancer. Breast cancer survivors, their friends, families, and medical professionals all participated in the annual Pella in Pink 2K Saturday morning. Pella Regional Health Center held the walk and run in conjunction with Breast Cancer Awareness Month activities. Resident Becky Rozenboom was diagnosed earlier this year, and was overwhelmed by the support of those closest to her and all that turned out for the event.
More jobs are coming to South Central Iowa as Lely North America intends to continue growth at their facility in Pella. Vice President Chad Huyser says as the dairy industry becomes more automated, demand increases to provide up-to-date products to operations throughout North America, which also provides the opportunity to increase market share. Huyser says they are continuing to expand their staff and are in discussions to expand their facilities — both their location on Vermeer’s Campus and their recently-opened training facility, in the coming years.
Young people in Mahaska County got a taste of the outdoor life at the 14th annual Youth Outdoor Field Day. Nearly 300 people attended the event at the Russell Wildlife area; of those Mahaska County Conservation Naturalist Laura DeCook said 170 were local area youth. For the second year in a row participants were able to experience different activities by moving from one station to the next and staying as long as they liked. Some favorites for the day were a boat ride for bow fishing, retriever dogs, and clay pigeon shooting.
Another Oskaloosa event had folks going to the dogs as they raised funds for the Stephen Memorial Animal Shelter – the 6th annual Stephen Memorial K-9 5K took place this past Saturday at Lake Keomah, where approximately 40 runners participated in the Shelter’s largest fundraising event of the year. Shelter employee Connie Rodgers remarked that after a period of turmoil in leadership at the shelter, it feels like they’ve turned a corner, with operations steadily improving day by day.
The former Caseys store at the corner of Main and Washington Street has been sold – during a recent auction of the property Bank Iowa purchased the location for $210,000. CEO of Bank Iowa Jim Plagge says they’re expanding banking services to Pella; the bank intends to demolish the current structure, and is currently coming up with design documents to submit to the city of Pella for a new building. There is no timeline for completion, but Plagge says they intend to start working as soon as possible, with potential construction possible in early 2018.
The late Gary Vermeer, formerly of Vermeer Corporation in Pella, recently received the Posthumous Legends award during the Legends in Manufacturing event in Altoona. His daughter, Mary Andringa, accepted the award on Vermeer’s behalf. Andringa said she was honored that her father was recognized in this way, and that it proves Iowa is a great place to be a manufacturer. In 2018, Vermeer Corporation will celebrate it’s 70th year of operation. Next year will also mark what would have been Gary Vermeer’s 100th birthday.
The police department in Ottumwa is investigating a shooting incident that occured last night. Leon Laroy Stewart, 34, of 535 Ottumwa St., was hit in the hand after what police are calling “an altercation with another male near the intersection of Fourth Street and Ottumwa Street.” He was taken to Ottumwa Regional Health Center before emergency personnel arrived. The injury is not life threatening. Authorities say they did find the other man involved in the incident as well as the gun. He provided police with a statement and was released. There have been no arrests at this time.
Superintendent of the Pella Community School District Greg Ebeling has been named the 2017-18 Iowa Superintendent of the Year by the School Administrators of Iowa. SAI Executive Director Roark Horn said, “Greg exemplifies what all school superintendents aspire to be: a caring, compassionate leader who is able to motivate and inspire others through his excellent decision-making and personal modeling.” Ebeling says he is humbled by the recognition; he was nominated by his peers and selected for the award by a committee of Iowa superintendents.
Could drought in South Central Iowa finally be coming to an end? Much needed rain blanketed the area last night – Knoxville picked up nearly and inch and a quarter of rain, Pella just over three quarters of an inch, and folks near Bussey officially registered almost three and a half inches! Increased chances of multiple showers are in place all day Thursday and Friday; another 2-3″ of rainfall is in the forecast by Sunday morning, with locally higher amounts possible.