If you plan to hit the road this summer, local police have a bit of advice – make sure you buckle up. From May 22nd through June 4th, state and local law enforcement agencies across Iowa will be stepping up seat belt enforcement. Now fortunately here in Iowa the seat belt usage rate is 94%, one of the highest in the nation, but the remaining six percent of vehicle occupants account for approximately half of all traffic fatalities in the Hawkeye state. Nationwide, there were 12,797 traffic fatalities on rural roads compared to 8,262 on urban streets. Fifty percent of those killed in rural crashes were unbuckled compared to 46 percent in urban crashes.
Would you like to expand your child’s computer literacy beyond playing games, writing stories, and browsing the Internet? If so, there’s good news – William Penn University’s Computer Science Program is once again hosting two computer camp sessions on campus in June. Session I – where students will learn to create computer animations and simple games using Scratch visual programming – will be held Monday, June 19 – Friday, June 23 from 1:00–5:00 p.m., and is geared towards kids who’ve completed 2nd – 6th grades. Session II of the WPU Computer Camp is designed for students who have completed grades 7 & 8 or 6th graders with a good working knowledge of Scratch. Session II will be held Monday, June 26 – Friday, June 30 from 1:00–5:00 p.m. – This camp will teach children how to create mobile apps for android devices and make their own computing device using the BBC micro:bit microcontroller.
Residents in Pella and surrounding communities who are trying to stay cool this summer won’t have to wait too much longer to start swimming at the Pella Outdoor Aquatic Center – The facility opens on Memorial Day. New Aquatic Center Manager Alex Meyers says the city offers a wide range of programs throughout the summer as well – for more information check out cityofpella.com.
Students at Jefferson Intermediate recently completed their Water to Thrive fundraiser. This year, grades four through six helped raise $1,486.66 to fund a well in conjunction with Central College Students. The Water to Thrive committee from Central hosted an ice cream party for the winning 4th grade students, who collected $683.83.
The Mahaska County Conservation Board is trying to get families hooked on fishing – the morning of May 20th was cool and rainy, but that didn’t stop MCCB naturalist Laura DeCook, who welcome several people for her Fishing 101 class. The free class was an educational offering for adults or families to learn about fishing, whether by themselves or with their families. On Saturday, June 3, families will have a chance to try out their skills at the Family Fishing Day and Kids’ Fishing Derby from 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. at Russell Wildlife Area. The free event will include a casting contest and T-shirt printing, a campfire picnic and family fishing. There will be a fishing derby for kids age 18 and younger, complete with trophies for the largest and smallest fish caught during the event.
Pleasantville high school put on an outstanding production of “You’re A Good Man Charlie Brown” for their fall musical, and now their hard work is being rewarded – the school was recently notified the production will receive recognition at the 2017 Iowa High School Musical Theater Awards. In their first year entering submissions to the awards show, Pleasantville High School will be receiving awards for distinguished scene, as well as outstanding achievement in stage management for stage manager Jack Lauer. The musical also received special recognition for performance in a leading role for Jack Ray for his performance as Snoopy.
Giving young people a different view of the world is something a new Big Brothers and Big Sisters program aims to do when it hopefully gets underway this coming school year in Oskaloosa. Resident Steve Burnett says the new program will allow young men and women to become better prepared for life through relationships with mentors. The Oskaloosa Big Brothers/Big Sisters program hopes to eventually serve up to 50 youth at a time; right now the program – which is partnering with the Mahaska County YMCA – is in the initial fundraising stage – they need about $50,000 to get started and would like to have funding in place to cover the first 3 years of operation
A Pella native is heading back to Washington, D.C., where she will serve as the third-highest ranking official in the U.S. Attorney General’s Office. Rachel Brand, a 1991 Pella Christian graduate, has been confirmed as the Associate Attorney General. U.S. Senator Chuck Grassley is Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, and says Brand will do well in the role. Brand has previously served as an Assistant Attorney General for the Office of Legal Policy in the George W. Bush administration and was appointed by President Barack Obama to serve on the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board.
The Oskaloosa Music Festival (OMF) is gearing up for its eighth year of show-stopping classical music from May 31st through June 9th. OMF brings two back-to-back weeks of music performance and education to the city of Oskaloosa. The first week, “Mahaska Masterworks,” (May 31st – June 3) brings professional string players from across the country to Oskaloosa; some of their many activities include free lunchtime concerts. The second week, the “String Chamber Music Camp,” (June 5 – June 9) offers an opportunity to students from across the region to work directly with Lux String Quartet in an intensive day camp.
The estate of one of the victims in the Pella Walmart crash is suing the Walmart Corporation and the driver of the vehicle that slammed through the front of the store last December. According to court records, Kristine Kohrs is the executor of the Lindsey Rietveld estate, and through an attorney filed a civil suit in Marion County District Court today against Walmart, Dennis Mockenhaupt, Transystems Corporation, and BRR Architecture. The lawsuit claims Walmart and those in charge of designing the store were negligent in providing proper safety barriers. The document claims the bollards placed during the store’s construction were decorative in nature and spaced too far apart. It also says the design of the parking lot contributed to the speed the truck was able to gain before making impact. The suit also alleges that Mockenhaupt negligently operated his vehicle. The Rietveld estate is seeking monetary and punitive damage from the companies listed in the lawsuit. A total of seven counts were submitted by the Rietveld Estate. The plaintiff also requested a trial by jury.
The 14th-ranked class 1-A Pella Christian girls soccer team edged #15 in class 2-A Newton last night, 1-0, allowing Pella Christian to tie the school record for most victories in a season. The only goal of the game came in the 24th minute, when Lindsay Breon found a streaking Laura DeZwarte, who put the ball in the back of the net. With eight wins in their last nine matches, Pella Christian is 11-4, & 3-3 in the league. They’ll wrap up Little Hawkeye Conference play next Tuesday with a home match against Oskaloosa, then close out the regular season two nights later with another home contest against Des Moines Christian.
Several local athletes will be running for a state title on Saturday as the first day of the State Track and Field Meet got underway yesterday. Two Pella runners will go for the gold in the 200 meters as Emily Vos and Annika Pingel were second and third respectively in their preliminary race. Also running in the 200 was Knoxville’s Abbey Jackson. Her time of :22.62 was 18th and did not qualify her for the final. Pella Christian’s Evie Armstrong was able to qualify for the final in the class 2A girls 100 with the seventh best time of :12.88. Emily Vos will run for a state title in class 3A in the 100 as she set the sixth fastest time at :12.35. Knoxville’s Katie Keitges in her first career event at state nailed a tenth place in the 400 with a time of :59.75. PCM will have some qualifiers as Noah Anderson will run for a state title in the class 2A 200. His time was the eighth best during preliminary action at :22.68. Pleasantville boys shuttle hurdle relay squad will run in the finals after a heat time of 1:00.89 in 2A and Pella will also run for a state title in 3A with a time of :59.86. Twin Cedars’ Jake Crozier was the only class 1A participant from Marion County as he placed fifth in the shot put with a throw of 50 feet 8.5 inches.