If you’d like to get a taste of life on the farm and get some hands-on experience using antique tools, Blue Gate farm will be the place to be on Sunday, 21st from 2-5pm. Jill Beebout, of Blue Gate Farm, will be hosting a Practical Farmers of Iowa field day event on her farm in southern Marion county. At the field day, Jill and nationally known antique implement expert Jeff Lauber, of Columbus Junction, will share their experience using vintage-era two-wheel tractors, a tool once common on small farms across the U.S. and still used in Europe. Beebout and Lauber will discuss their implements, as well as the benefits and challenges of specific models for vegetable production. Another exciting feature – the event will also feature a demonstration and hands-on portion where guests will get to try different models out in the field.
Picture-perfect weather helped drive attendance numbers up at one of the most highly-attended days ever during the 82nd annual Tulip Time celebration in Pella. Valerie Van Kooten with Pella Historical Society says the crowd Saturday was among the biggest she’s ever seen. The weekend parade included Lt. Governor Kim Reynolds as the dignitary of Saturday’s Volks Parade. This year’s festival also included a group of high school students from the Netherlands, who spent two weeks in the Tulip City thanks to a program organized by Central College Graduate Kate Van Wijck and host family coordinator Carrie Andringa. Van Wijck says the community’s Dutch hertiage made it a great fit for an educational opportunity.
Attempts to revitalize the downtown area of Oskaloosa are continuing as the city is about to embark on project that will rehabilitate the facades of 16 buildings in heart of the community. This project builds on the momentum of the many other revitalization efforts in the community, which include the development of “The Alley”, the “Christmas in July” celebration, and the holiday-themed “Painting with Lights.” Construction will begin on approximately May 10 and is expected to last through the end of the calendar year – the Sherwin Williams and Hunter’s buildings will be some of the first to get a much-anticipated face lift.
The first parade of Tulip Time was highlighted by surprised tears of joy as a military couple stationed in Germany made an unexpected visit to Pella for Tulip Time. Sgt. Brian Bushnell of the U.S. Army his wife Tiffany, and daughter Emma surprised Brian’s parents Ruth and Michael during the afternoon Volks Parade Thursday. Brian has been stationed in Germany since June 2014 and around the globe since 2010; this was the first time he’s been home for Tulip Time in seven years. The American Legion in Pella helped pull off the surprise on their parade float near the Pella Ambulance building, where Mike Bushnell serves as an EMT.
A Pella High School alumna, her friends, and family are rallying to find hope for those suffering from various blood disorders this Tulip Time. Isabelle Hall graduated from Pella in 2016 and started classes at the University of Northern Iowa this past fall. She began experiencing extreme fatigue, and over Christmas break she was diagnosed with Aplastic anemia, a condition that occurs when the body stops producing enough new blood cells. A marrow donor registry drive will be held today from 3 to 5 p.m. and Saturday from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Sequoia Fitness through emBellish on 605 Franklin Street in Pella. Family friend Lori Parisee says all that is needed is a cheek swab to begin the process of finding matches for those waiting for marrow donations.
Picture-perfect weather greeted thousands of runners and walkers in downtown Pella for the 24th annual Klompen Classic 5k race last night. More than 2000 runners and walkers participated in the annual fundraiser for Crossroads of Pella. The overall winner was Central College distance runner Jamie Vander Veer of Harvey; Valerie Keegan won the women’s division, and Lance Bergeson and Robyn Friedman won the Masters categories. Crossroads of Pella Director Jim Hibma says there were enough registrants to cross over the 30,000 participant mark over the 24 years of the race. An Iowa sports legend participated in the event as well -Former Iowa Hawkeyes Quarterback and Executive Director of the Iowa Sports Foundation Chuck Long joined in the Tulip City fun as well.
Travel on Highway T-17 might be slow at times over the next couple weeks thanks to construction – if weather cooperates the Marion County Road Department says T17 pavement rehabilitation will continue for approximately two weeks. You can expect lane closures with delays between IA Hwy 92 and G46 and between Keokuk Dr. and the Clark Street-Highway 163 interchange in Pella. Patch work is also underway on Lisbon Drive as well as portions of McKimber Drive between Knoxville and Pella. If your drive takes you on those roads, expect traffic to be reduced to one lane , starting at the intersection of Highway G44 and McKimber Drive and ending at the intersection of Lisbon Drive and Old Highway 92. Work on this project should take about a week.
A local business leader is taking part in a global business summit this week – Vermeer Chair of the Board Mary Andringa is in Germany participating at the Business 20 (B20) Summit. Taking on the theme, “Resilience, Responsibility, Responsiveness – Toward a Future-oriented, Sustainable World Economy,” the B20 is working to create an environment fostering innovation, economic growth and job creation. Andringa accepted her advocacy role in March 2015 as a coordinating chair for the Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SME) task force; Her group specifically focuses on improving access to markets for smaller businesses, reducing complex regulations and increasing the availability of capital.
Patients at Mahaska Health Partnership are staying a bit warmer these days thanks to some beautiful hand-made quilts – The Helping Hands Quilt Group gets together once a month and donates their finished quilts to various non-profit organizations in the area; the group recently donated 44 beautiful quilts to MHPto be distributed to patients in the Cancer Care and Infusion Center (CCIC), the Emergency Department, the Birthing Center and Surgical Services. The quilts are made of all sizes and tailored to patients; including longer ones to fully cover the legs of patients receiving treatment in CCIC. The group meets in a home owned by Central Reformed Church and has 9 official members.