The Marion County Board of Supervisors voted Tuesday to accept a $700,000 bid for the county care facility site. Supervisors will hold a public hearing on it at their Feb. 27 meeting. The board had revealed a minimum expectation of $800,000 at its Feb. 13 meeting, but the highest bid was $590,000 from Synhorst. It lowered its asking price to $700,000 because of work that must be done at the site. Supervisor Steve McCombs said $700,000 is a fair number, adding that if the county had to demolish the building, it probably would cost about $100,000.
South Central Iowa residents beware – if someone calls claiming you have unpaid utility bills, it’s probably a scam. That’s the word from the Pella Police Department; in an official statement released yesterday, the department said they’ve received numerous calls about scammers – some successful – asking residents for money from what appears to be a local utility company. The scammers call residents claiming that there is an unpaid utility bill. They ask residents to purchase Green Dot cards or other prepaid cards from local stores to pay that outstanding bill. The Pella police department says scams like this increase during tax season when many people are receiving tax refunds.
Pella-area college bound seniors who hope to work in law enforcement now have a new scholarship opportunity – this year the Pella Police Department is sponsoring a Dollars for Scholars scholarship. Lt. Paul Haase says the “Pella Police Department Gateway to Excellence Award” will be given to a graduating senior going to college majoring in criminal justice or a related field. To help raise funds, the department will be holding an event at the Pella Pizza Ranch on Monday, February 26th from 5-7:30 P.M
In the wake of the recent tragedy at a Florida school, the Oskaloosa Community School District has scheduled a long-planned active-shooter drill on Monday, Feb. 26. According to a press release from Mahaska Count Emergency Management Agency, the training will include members of the Oskaloosa Police Department, Mahaska County Sheriff’s Office and Mahaska County Emergency Management. There is no school on Feb. 26, and no students will be participating. The training will test and evaluate current plans and see how they work in a controlled environment. Superintendent Russell Reiter said a similar drill was held last November; after the drill on the 26th the district will do a thorough analysis and see if any changes need to be made.
Want a historic home in Pella for free, and some cash to help move it? If so, here’s your big chance – Central College doesn’t have a good use for the home at 300 Broadway, and it would cost too much to bring it up to code for institutional purposes, so they’re giving it away. Last week the Historic Pella Trust posted on Facebook that the home would be demolished if it couldn’t be moved by June 1st – that post has since been shared 4600 times and received over 2600 “likes”. The historic trust’s move to publicize the over 100-year-old home came after approximately two years of Central College’s efforts to save the home. The 100+ year old home, known as the Waechter Home, will cost about $35,000-$40,000 to move; Central is selling it for just $1, and will give the buyer $10,000 to help move the structure – the amount it will cost them to tear it down. Anyone interested in learning more about this unique opportunity should e-mail Alice Claypool, at email@example.com.
Oskaloosa residents will soon be paying a bit more for water – the Oskaloosa Water Board met on February 12th and voted to increase the rates inside city limits by 5% to bring the minimum charge up to $14.14 per month, and in addition, consumers would pay $7.07 for 100 cubic feet of water beyond the first 200 cubic feet of water which is included in the minimum charge. Currently, the minimum charge in the city of Oskaloosa for water is $13.46, and double that amount for those outside the city limits.
A new way to help those needing employment has come to South Central Iowa as Well Works launched a new manufacturing program last week. Well Works, a part of The Well Resource Center and A Call to Serve Ministries of Iowa, launched the program in a building located at 107 Vermeer Road. Well Works provides short-term employment with the goal of finding that person long-term employment. Manufacturing officially begins today; Well Works employees will work 40 hours a week assembling hog catchers, a product of Ring-O-Matic. Eden Youngberg with Well Works says the goal of the program is o help fill the gap for individuals who have become unemployable, while teaching them to be good employees again. The program is intended to be short-term and provide Well Works’ temporary employees with an income and teach structured work place standards, while allowing them to get back on their feet, according to a statement released by The Well. About 70 percent of individuals who come to The Well Resource Center have a work-related issue, Youngberg said.
Pella’s two Recharged Robotics teams will advance to the FIRST-Tech Challenge–Iowa Championship in Coralville on Feb. 23-24. Recharged Robotics teams, Recharged Green and Recharged Organce, are comprised of students in the PEACE Homeschool Group in the Pella area. There are 22 total students participating with Recharged this year. Last year, Recharged Green made it to the world championship competition, and placed 11th in their division during the qualification rounds. This year, both Recharged teams were finalists in the Jan. 27 FTC– League Championship and the Feb. 3 FTC–Super Qualifier competitions. Both teams went undefeated in both previous competitions during the qualification matches.
There’s funny money circulating in South Central Iowa – Four Ottumwa businesses received counterfeit bills totaling $160 during the weekend, according to police. South Ottumwa Savings Bank reported Monday morning that a counterfeit $50 bill was used to pay for goods at North Hy-Vee in Ottumwa sometime over the weekend, according to an incident report from Ottumwa police. The same day, Murphy USA on Venture Drive reported that it had received a counterfeit $50 sometime before Sunday. Also Monday, the Owl’s Nest on South Court Street reported that two counterfeit $20 bills were used at the establishment sometime after Jan. 31. Early Tuesday police investigated the report of a counterfeit $20 bill used for a purchase at the McDonald’s restaurant on West Second Street sometime Monday.