Pella’s FFA chapter was named the Champion Team at the annual Iowa FFA Horse Career Development Event held June 12. Members from the first place team include Camryn Norton, Zachary Thorson and Shianne Votava. They will represent Iowa at the National Horse Career Development Event at Indianapolis, Indiana in October. The team was also first in problem solving, first place halter team, second place oral reasons and fifth place in performance. In the overall individual category, Votava placed third, Norton placed seventh and Thorson placed 31st.
Authorities have found the body of a fisherman who went missing Saturday on the Des Moines River. The Wapello County Sheriff’s Department said a boater called at 8:30 a.m. Monday after finding a body in the river. The department and the Ottumwa Fire Department recovered the body, identified as Richard Lewis Mart, 79, of Ottumwa. Mart was found north of the Blackhawk Road Access northwest of Ottumwa. Mart’s boat was found Saturday wedged against the bank of Turkey Island. Authorities are not sure what caused Mart to go into the water from his boat; he was apparently not wearing a life jacket.
The Marion County Sheriff’s Office is thankful for the boater who saved numerous lives at a drowning incident at Lake Red Rock Friday. Lt. Brian Bigaouette with the Marion County Sheriff’s Office says a man from south central Iowa, who does not want to be identified, leaped into action while on his boat downstream from the Red Rock Dam after a family visiting the lake found themselves under duress just off the shore. Bigaouette says the man’s action saved many lives, although the day remains tragic due to the death of Cha Charles Lee, 42, of St. Paul, MN, who attempted to save his seven-year-old niece from drowning. Bigaouette adds that the girl was wading in waist-deep water, and stepped into a drop-off, where the currents caught her. Family members trying to rescue her stepped in as well. He says the Marion County Sheriff’s Office is also thankful for the efforts of rescue crews from Pella, Knoxville, and Pleasantville, who spent nearly two hours searching for Lee. The girl was last known to be Blank Children’s Hospital in Des Moines in stable condition, and is expected to recover.
Democratic Party nominee for Governor Fred Hubbell is traveling to Knoxville for a meet and greet at Corigliano’s Pizza on Wednesday, June 20th. Hubbell will be traveling with his nominee for Lieutenant Governor, who will be announced at the State Democratic Convention tomorrow in Des Moines. The meet and greet is open to the public, beginning at 11am.
A special presentation about the construction of the Lake Red Rock Dam is highlighted among the programs available at the lake this weekend. Park Ranger Tracy Spry says information and photos from the nearly 50-year history of the dam will be shown to those who attend. The program begins at 1:00 p.m. Saturday at the Red Rock Visitor Center.
While northern and central Iowa have faced heavy rains in the past week, southeastern Iowa took a step into severe drought. The U.S. Drought Monitor’s assessment was released Thursday morning and, for the first time, it showed portions of the area in more than moderate drought conditions. Most of Davis County is now in severe drought, along with significant portions of Wapello, Appanoose and Van Buren counties. There was some irony in the timing. Ottumwa received nearly an inch of rain from storms that hit about the time the new map was released, the most since May 2. A second round between 11 a.m. and noon pushed the total to more than 1.66 inches.
The Pella community is coming together to find ways to combat the alarming rise in drug use among area youth. Eric Nelson, Pella Community High School principal, says the changes he’s seen in recent years have him scared and worried; statistics confirm Nelson’s concerns as statistics from the Pella Police Department show drug-related juvenile cases in 2017 exceeding the five-year average by 155%. The Pella Youth Coalition launched recently in response to that jarring rise. The group consists of local organizations and families whose children attend Pella Community and Pella Christian schools, and those who homeschool. It has three subcommittees: the Student Action Committee, Parent Action Committee and the Resource Action Committee. The group’s goal – Finding a way to diminish the demand for marijuana, drugs and the use of tobacco among Pella’s youth.
Central College’s oldest Alumni recently met the college’s youngest – 106 year old Edna Van Zee, resident at Newton Village, received a visit from Monica Powers, who had just graduated from Central. 85 years separated the two grads, but they had plenty to share with each other, including the fact that they both lived in Graham Hall on campus. Van Zee became a teacher after graduating in 1931 – during the Great Depression her monthly salary dropped from $85/month to $35/month.
Good news for everyone heading out to Whitebreast Recreation area at Lake Red Rock – the beach is officially open again for swimming. The beach had been closed due to unusually high bacteria counts; the Army Corps of Engineers regularly tests the water at the Lake and is happy to report that bacteria counts are back within safe levels and have reopened the beach.
An organization working to secure housing for persons with disabilities is continuing to pursue their goal this summer. 818 Forward with Faith started in August 2016 to build homes where adults with disabilities can lead lives of dignity as their specialized physical, emotional and social needs are met. Pat Deur and Heidi Van Wyk, volunteers with the organization, say they’re in the process of securing a house on Lincoln Street for the first group of people they will serve.
Golfers took to the greens last week Friday in Oskaloosa to help raise funds in the fight against children’s cancer. The Danny Joe Memorial Golf Tournament, which started when Danny Joe Cornish lost his battle to cancer at the age of six, has been running for 22 years in a row; 22 teams were able to raise $8,500 for Camp Heart Connection, a special camp that allows kids with cancer and their families to have fun together.