The Iowa Department of Natural Resources is hoping you can lend a hand on Saturday, September 30th for their annual Volunteer Day. The goal each year is cleaning up our state parks, and this year efforts will be focused on picking up trash along trails in Elk Rock State Park. The clean-up will begin at 8:30am; anyone interested in volunteering can meet at the campground check-in station prior to the event. Trash bags will be provided but volunteers are asked to bring gloves. There’s no limit on the number of people or groups who can volunteer; you are asked to contact the park office to RSVP if you intend to help. For more information pleae contact the Elk Rock State Park Office at 641.842.6008
Vermeer Corporation employees took a break from their normal duties yesterday to teach students about the different job skills needed to run a modern manufacturing company. An estimated 700 students from local and surrounding schools participated in Manufacturing Day. Students were guided to several different booths teaching them about various jobs within science, engineering, math, technology and art. Booths were divided into sections like Technology Town, Math Maze, Engineering Expanse, Science Spot, among others. The goal of this year’s manufacturing day was to get students thinking about how their interests might be used in a specific job at a company like Vermeer.
A veteran running across Iowa to raise awareness about suicide prevention recently made his way through South Central Iowa. Moving about 30 miles a day, Josh Jorgensen, a resident of Adel, started his run last week in Council Bluffs and hopes to finish in Burlington this Friday. Jorgensen is wearing a gas mask as he runs, and says its a metaphor for life – when suffering seems too much you just need to put one foot in front of the other and keep moving. Jorgensen says he’s overwhelmed by the support he’s received during the run, and says it is proof people care about veterans.
Three children abducted from Clay County Tuesday morning have been found – an Amber alert went out Tuesday morning when 8-year-olds Adia Johnson-Enos and Lillian Johnson-Enos and 4-year-old Olivia Sophia Arzaga were abducted at 7:30 a.m. from Royal, Iowa. The Clay County Sheriff’s Office said the children were found abandoned in Sanborn, Iowa, late Tuesday afternoon. The warning claimed the mother of the children, Danica Noel Arzaga, 25, was the suspect in the abduction – she is still at-large and believed to be driving a 2003 Cadillac with plate number 561XEY.
Trees don’t just provide shade – they can also save money on your energy bills, and residents in South Central Iowa can get help buying new trees as part of Operation ReLeaf. The Jefferson County Extension Office in Fairfield will host Operation ReLeaf on Sept. 23. The program offers Alliant Energy customers the ability to purchase trees for shade and windbreaks at discount prices through a partnership between Alliant Energy and The Iowa Department of Natural Resources. Tree pick-up is scheduled for 9-10:30 a.m. on Saturday Sept. 23, at the Jefferson County Fairgrounds. The event will also include a workshop at 9:45 a.m. on taking care of the trees.
An Iowa couple is having a sweet celebration for their 50th wedding anniversary – Bob and Kate Shaw of Spirit Lake decided to make their 50th extra-special by driving around Iowa handing out free ice cream. On Monday, September 11th the couple made stops at the Mahaska Health Partnership, Mahaska Communication Group, and Oskaloosa Pizza Ranch, where they distributed free treats from an ice cream storage unit on the back of a 1967 Ford pickup.
Habitat for Humanity is known for building new homes, but in Pella the organization is trying something different – moving an existing home to a new location. Joel Verhoef, community development and volunteer coordinator for Habitat, says the non-profit was gifted a two bedroom, one bath bungalow built in 1926. Originally located at 905 Union St, the home will move to property owned by Habitat at 412 E 1st St. Construction on the foundation on the new lot will begin in the next few weeks, Verhoef said. Habitat is looking to move the home before the middle of November, and is in the process of accepting bids for the project.
Folks in Texas were recently hit with a flood of water from Hurricane Harvey; now they’re about to get hit by a flood of love thanks to students at Jefferson Intermediate School in Pella. Teacher Matt Raucsh, a former resident of Dickinson, Texas, says students and staff are sending a “Flood of Love” to a district in Texas, which includes $1,800 raised by the school and dozens of green hearts containing encouraging notes from 4th – 6th graders at the school.
The Color Blast 5k fun run and walk isn’t the only race this weekend in south central Iowa – the 7th annual “Nana Jana” 5k fun run is also taking place this Saturday at the Dan D Farm five miles south of Knoxville. Each year runners take part in the event to help raise awareness of ovarian cancer. Creator of the run Dan Dennison says the run started seven years ago after the passing of his wife from ovarian cancer. Dennison says at that time they were doing a corn maze and figured a fun run would be a good way to bring awareness to ovarian cancer. The run begins at 9 a.m. with registration beginning at 8 a.m. The cost is $25 for adults and $15 for children 12 and under.
A driver involved in An early morning accident north of Ottumwa was killed last Thursday – Around 1 AM on the morning of September 14, the Wapello County Sheriff’s Office received a 911 call of a single motor vehicle accident on Hwy 63 northeast of Ottumwa. Upon arrival Deputies located a 1997 Isuzu Trooper in the median on its top – Leslie Palmer Lane Age 59 of Fairfield, IA. Lane was deceased at the scene.
South-Central Iowa is experiencing extreme drought, but relief may be on the way – that’s the word from the Jeff Johnson, meteorologist in charge of the National Weather Service Des Moines office, who says conditions may be favorable for more rainfall throughout most of central Iowa during the next two weeks. While the weather may be warmer than normal, Johnson says in the next 8 to 14 days there will also be more chances for precipitation. However, he says long-term the drought may stay in place as fall and winter tend to be drier times of the year.
A fifth-grade teacher from Pella has been named the state’s History Teacher of the Year and Iowa Council for the Social Studies Elementary Teacher of the Year. Rebecca Helland teaches at Jefferson Intermediate School and was nominated for both awards. She is also a mentor teacher for Pella Community Schools as part of Iowa’s teacher leadership system. Helland says she aims to engage students by asking questions worth exploring and give them a broad social studies experience in the classroom. Her favorite moments? Helland says she loves when students are leading the discussion in her classroom.