Controversy continues to swirl around the proposed new airport between Pella and Oskaloosa; however that hasn’t stopped airport officials from moving forward with their plans to get the much-maligned project off the ground. On Wednesday at 6pm the South Central Regional Airport Agency, or SCRAA, will hold a meeting in the Public Safety Complex to approve legal counsel as the land aquisition phase of the project approaches. During the meeting the procurement process for engineering services will also be discussed.
Thousands of people arrived on the Oskaloosa square Saturday evening to hear some of the best local and national Christian music performers around. Malea Trainer, coordinator for the event, said that despite the large crowd, a few raindrops and so many moving pieces, overall planning and execution for the event went very smoothly. Organizers estimate this year’s crowd was a record, with over 3,000 people showing up to hear Tim Timmons, Ryan Stevenson, and a host of local performers. Central Reformed Church was the event’s main sponsor, but Trainer said a host of individuals and area churches played an important role in making the big day happen.
An arrest was made in a nearly 2-year old arson case – On December 25, 2015 at approximately 10 PM, the Wapello County Sheriff’s Office received a call of a house fire at 116 E Main Street in Agency, IA. Investigators found the cause to be intentional arson, and now they have a suspect in custody – David Latham, age 47 of Ottumwa, was charged with Arson 2nd – a Class C Felony and Burglary 3rd – a Class D Felony
A woman was shot in the leg early Saturday morning at the Elk Rock State Park at Lake Red Rock. The Marion County Sheriff’s Office received multiple calls at 2:26 a.m. Saturday from the Elk Rock State Park reporting a “verbal altercation” between campers had escalated, and a firearm was discharged. The firearm was reported to have struck a female victim in the leg. The woman was treated by EMS personnel who worked up the wound on her leg. She was later air lifted to Des Moines for non-life threatening injuries and was released later that day, according to the Marion County Sheriff’s office. The suspect has been identified as Joshua Scott Keubler, 21, of Dallas Center.
Young people in south central Iowa had a chance to soar this past weekend as part of the Aviation Youth Rally on Saturday at Ottumwa Regional Airport. The event, hosted the airport and helped by instructors from Indian Hills Community College, gave kids a chance to participate in four aviation related modules, including a flight simulation experience, a demostration showing the science of aviation, and an actual trip up into the skies in a small airplane.
Thursday’s U.S. Drought Monitor update told farmers in the Ottumwa area something they already knew – the region is experiencing a severe drought. The change in Wapello county from moderate to severe drought comes as no surprise, although not without a bit of irony since Thursday was the first time the area saw significant rains in quite some time. Welcome as the rain was, it wasn’t nearly enough to put a dent in the deficit. Ottumwa is more than eight inches short of normal rainfall this year, and a solid 20 inches short dating back to the beginning of 2016.
Students at Pella High School will find a mostly completed campus when they return for classes in the fall – The art room and health science areas will be the only areas left to complete as the new year begins. The front entrance and the entire school will be open to students and staff when the first bell rings according to Jeff Michels, project manager for Estes Construction who is overseeing the project. The art and health science areas ran into unexpected issues during renovations – work on those rooms will hopefully be done sometime in October.
Mahaska County residents – if you’re planning on lighting up that brush pile, put down the matches – as of 3pm Tuesday all of Mahaska County has been placed under a burn ban that will remain in place until further notice. S’mores lovers it’s not all bad news – recreational fires within a burn ring will still be permitted within campgrounds and in areas meeting minimum requirements. If you have questions, please contact the Oskaloosa Fire Department at 641-673-3541.
The residents of Marion County came out in full force during the first annual Marion County Public Safety Night Out Tuesday evening to show their appreciation for the men and women who work each day to make Marion County a safe place to live and work. Marion County Emergency Management, the Knoxville Hy-Vee, and KNIA/KRLS hosted the event, which featured displays from different agencies throughout the county and a free will donation dinner provided by the Knoxville Hy-Vee. Marion County Emergency Management Coordinator Jeff Anderson was beyond happy with how the event turned out, thanking everyone who came to show their support.
Community leaders from around the county are gathering in Pella Thursday to continue to find ways to combat alcohol and drug abuse in the region. Sgt. Melissa Welsh with the Iowa Counterdrug Taskforce and the Iowa Air National Guard says the purpose of a Substance Abuse Coalition meeting Thursday is to uncover reasons why drug use is on the rise and develop strategies to lower substance abuse. The group will meet at 3pm this Thursday at the Pella Police Department; anyone is welcome to participate.
Construction continues on a new facility next to the Pella Regional Hospital aimed at expanding orthopedic surgery and rehabilitation services in the region. Christopher Vincent with Iowa Ortho says the building next to Pella Regional on Jefferson Street will be complete at the end of the year. He says the facility will house both Iowa Ortho and Pella Regional’s Rehab Department.
After serving residents for 101 years, the local JC Penny’s in Ottumwa closed its doors for good this past Monday. Greg Martin, store manager at the location for 15 years, said it was a very hard day for everyone, including Associate Pauline C. Yencsik, who’d worked at the store for over 35 years.