A fire destroyed a home just north of Knoxville Tuesday evening. Just before 7:30 p.m. a garage fire was reported at 1293 Illinois Drive in rural Knoxville. Upon arrival fire crews witnessed smoke coming from the garage and around the roof of the home, which spread to the rest of the home as crews tried to extinguish the blaze. The home owner said he’d just returned home with his wife when he smelled something burning coming from the garage as fire alarms in the home began to go off. Thankfully no one was hurt in the fire; property records show the home is owned by Michael and Jill Romick.
Downtown Ottumwa will soon have a bit more sizzle as Joe Burger plans to make its new home there sometime in January. Owner Brad Debner says the popular burger joint will occupy the former La Cabana restaurant – he said he’s been keeping his eye on downtown for some time and sees great opportunities for his restaurant there. His current location at the intersection across from the Quincy Place Mall has plenty of traffic, but there’s several other chain fast food restaurants nearby and on top of that he’s running out of space. What makes Joe Burger different? Debner says that while it certainly isn’t health food, everything served in his restaurant is fresh – nothing is frozen, including the hand-cut french fries and freshly batter-dipped onion rings. He says there’ll never be a freezer at Joe Burger – in his opinion once something hits a freezer it never again tastes the same.
Mid-American Energy customers in the Oskaloosa area are invited to drop by the Penn Central Mall on Friday, December 8th from 10am to 12pm. What’s going on? The Mid-American Energy office in Oskaloosa is officially closing, and in its place the company is rolling out a brand-new payment kiosk where customers can now pay their bills. Individuals interested in attending the event can stop by and grab a free cup of coffee, take a picture with Louie the Lightning Bug and speak with one of MidAmerican Energy’s customer service representatives to learn about the new, easy-to-use payment kiosk. If you have questions about the new kiosk, visit www.midamericanenergy.com or call 888-427-5632.
While the temperatures are definitely more like December, this past Monday it certainly didn’t feel like it, with at least one previous record high temperature for that date shattered in Marion County. The daytime high mark of 70 in Knoxville broke the previous record of 66 set in 2001. According to the National Weather Service, much cooler temperatures will be in place through the weekend, with daytime highs around the freezing mark and overnight lows in the teens.
If you don’t drive, make sure to check your mail; the state is sending free voter ID cards to 120,000 Iowa citizens. Six percent, or about one of every 20 Iowa voters, are on the list put together by Iowa Secretary of State Paul Pate. If those numbers hold true locally, it means for example over a thousand voter IDs are in the mail Wapello County. Getting one requires no action on the part of a resident; they’re sent to a registered voter who doesn’t have a driver’s license or an official state ID card.
Two young entrepreneurs from Oskaloosa are quickly garnering national attention for their respective work. Matthew Rooda and Dalton Shaull were both recently named to the Forbes 30 Under 30, Class of 2018, an unheard of accomplishment for two people from the same small town. Rooda grew up in Oskaloosa and graduated from Pella Christian High School. A student at the University of Iowa, he founded SwineTech and developed the SmartGuard system, along with partner Abraham Espinoza. Shaull, an Oskaloosa High School graduate, co-founded HealthTech Solutions with Eric Paul. They developed an app called TXP Chat, which allows doctors to coordinate transplants more quickly by streamlining secure communication.
Hundreds of children and their families flocked to Franklin Street on Saturday morning as Sinterklaas made his annual pilgrimage to Pella. The red-robed holy man and his Pieten floated west along the south side the square before joining the Burgermeister, town crier, Tulip Queen and her court on the Tulip Toren for proclamations and applause. The Burgermeister expressed thanks that he didn’t need mittens on the mild December day. Free hot chocolate, horse carriage rides and other attractions kept visitors on the square and browsing local shops well into the afternoon.
A high speed chase in Mahaska County ended with a vehicle rollover Saturday night. The incident occured around 11:15pm along Highway 92 west of Sigouney, with speeds clocked near 100mph. The suspect’s vehicle crashed into a field east of the Skunk River on Hwy 92. The driver was airlifted to a nearby hospital; their name and condition are not known at this time.
The 2020 presidential election may be three years away, but potential candidates are already making rounds here in Iowa; at 3pm on Sunday, US Congressman John Delaney is holding a meet and greet event at the Brew Coffehouse in Pella. Democratic candidate Delaney represents Maryland’s Sixth Congressional District in the House of Representatives.
Iowa’s Golden Dome has a different kind of glow after sundown. The high-pressure sodium lights that cast an orange tint on the state capitol at night are gone; in their place is a new L-E-D system, courtesy of Oskaloosa-based Musco Sports Lighting. Jim Berns, Musco’s international engineering manager, was at the capitol Thursday night – he said the long process began with a demonstration on the West side of the building in April 2016. Musco installed similar lighting systems at the White House in 2008 and the Statue of Liberty in 2015; they’re currently working on L-E-D systems at sports stadiums in the Middle East and Europe as well.