An Ottumwa organization serving people with disabilities may be against the ropes, but they’re not throwing in the towel just yet – revenue at Tenco Industries has been in a freefall since the privitization of Medicaid, a funding source they now recognize is not viable. Board member Kent Walker said the services Tenco provides are too important to let fade away; for now the organization has taken out an emergency loan to keep going. The board continues to search for long-term solutions; for now the Tenco Foundation has established an Endow Iowa Account with the Community Foundation of Greater Des Moines, providing an avenue to create a perpetual endowment for Tenco and the people with disabilities they serve. Iowans who give to the fund are eligible to receive a 25% state tax credit, in addition to any federal tax benefits – if you’d like to give, you need to make your gift through the the Community Foundation of Greater Des Moines.
Home-school based Recharged Robotics teams Recharged Green and Recharged Orange will move onto the FIRST Tech Challenge–North Super Regional competition March 15-17. Both teams recently competed with over 200 other teams at the Iowa Championships in Coralville on Feb. 23-24; they’re two of 13 teams advancing to the super regional competition. Recharged Robotics will host a tip night at Pella’s Pizza Ranch from 5 p.m.-7:30 p.m. on Wednesday, March 7 to help with the cost of going to Super Regionals; they’ll also bring their robots to Pizza Ranch so patrons can view the robots and see what they do.
Multiple emergency crews responded to a house fire in Flagler yesterday afternoon; Neighbors called 911 after they spotted smoke rising from the house at 1371 169th Ave, which soon turned to visible flames. The residents were inside the home and asleep when the fire started; fortunately they were able to make it outside safely and without injury. The cause of the fire is currently unknown; Significant damage was caused to the interior and exterior of the home, which may be a total loss.
Students at Knoxville High school will be busy tomorrow as they help pack 50,000 meals to help feed hungry people around the world. Meals from the Heartland is working with the high school on the volunteer project; Knoxville High School Agriculture Teacher and FFA Advisor Tiffany Johnston shared that every student who attends Knoxville High School will be involved, working 1 hour shifts in an assembly line process. The event kicks off in the Knoxville Performing Arts Center at 8:20 a.m. with an assembly to explain the process and recognize any donations; packaging will run through 2:30 p.m.
Both Pella and Pella Christian classes visited the Pella Opera House on Monday to learn about “The Story of Anne Frank: An Exhibit.” The exhibit has been at the Pella Opera House for nearly one month, and according to executive Cyndi Atkins has been very well received by the community, families, teachers and individuals who have stopped by. The exhibit shows two timelines simultaneously, both starting right after World War I. One timeline shows current events in Europe and the rise of the Nazi regime. The other timeline follows Anne’s father, Otto Frank, and his family, and continues after Otto publishes Anne’s diary. The timeline was surrounded by Nazi propaganda, which featured posters and other various media that would have been seen during Anne Frank’s life. Students also watched a short video corresponding with the exhibit.
Pella has been ranked as the second safest city to live in Iowa, according to the National Council for Home Safety and Security. The study, based on data from 2017, identifies the safest cities to live in by the number of violent crimes and property crimes per 1,000 people from 2017. Pella was placed among other high ranking cities including Norwalk, North Liberty, Johnston and Ankeny. Chief of Police Robert Bokinsky said the rating provides a good reputation for Pella to attract business and population. Bokinsky said the community likes to give the police department credit when a report like this comes in, but the results speak more about the community than the police, he continued.
MidAmerican Energy Company has announced that it has completed two new wind farms in Iowa that add 338 megawatts of wind generation capacity, with one of those farms located in Mahaska County. According to a news release sent by MidAmerican, the Beaver Creek Wind Farm in Boone and Greene Counties as well as the Prairie Wind Farm in Mahaska County are now in operation. The 168-megawatt Prairie Wind Farm began generating electricity in the Fall 2017, with the final four megawatts put into service Jan. 2018. Construction started in the spring of 2017, following approval by the Iowa Utilities Board in 2016. MidAmerican Energy anticipates that renewable generation will equate to more than 90% of its customers’ annual retail electricity usage by 2020.
Longtime Marion County Treasurer Denise Emal has decided to not run for re-election after her term ends. An emotional Emal said she wanted to retire to spend more time with her grandkids and travel with her husband. She also says she’s enjoyed working with the public and her coworkers during her time in county government. Emal spent a total of 37 years in the department, including 20 as treasurer. Current Deputy Treasurer Michaela Bigaouette has announced her plans to run for the office of treasurer in hopes of succeeding Emal.
New transportation legislation could mean a big win for local rural schools. File 455 would provide funds for transportation that usually aren’t accounted for in school budgets. Rural schools have farther to drive and more miles to pick up and drop off students. This bill would account for the extra funds needed in those cases. Eddyville-Blakesburg-Fremont and Pekin school districts are two on the list of those receiving additional transportation funds. Districts have varying transportation costs, and a flat $6,700 per student is not enough to cover transportation in rural areas. Pekin principal Tim Hadley said the bill will provide much-needed relief to rural schools and allow more money to be funneled back into the classroom.