South-Central Iowa is experiencing extreme drought, but relief may be on the way – that’s the word from the Jeff Johnson, meteorologist in charge of the National Weather Service Des Moines office, who says conditions may be favorable for more rainfall throughout most of central Iowa during the next two weeks. While the weather may be warmer than normal, Johnson says in the next 8 to 14 days there will also be more chances for precipitation. However, he says long-term the drought may stay in place as fall and winter tend to be drier times of the year.
A fifth-grade teacher from Pella has been named the state’s History Teacher of the Year and Iowa Council for the Social Studies Elementary Teacher of the Year. Rebecca Helland teaches at Jefferson Intermediate School and was nominated for both awards. She is also a mentor teacher for Pella Community Schools as part of Iowa’s teacher leadership system. Helland says she aims to engage students by asking questions worth exploring and give them a broad social studies experience in the classroom. Her favorite moments? Helland says she loves when students are leading the discussion in her classroom.
The Oskaloosa Police Department is pleased to announce that Officer Brandon Blanchard has been selected as the Oskaloosa Police Department’s 2017 Officer of the Year. Blanchard began his career with the Oskaloosa Police Department on November 12, 2013 and has worked as a patrol officer since joining the Department. Officer Blanchard was selected because of his tremendous work ethic, professionalism and caring compassion for his job and community.
Another black bear has been roaming around south-central Iowa – this time near Montezuma. Deputies from the Poweshiek County Sheriff’s Office and the State Game Warden officer positively identified a black bear southeast of Montezuma on the evening of September 12. Officials say the bear has shown no signs of aggressive behavior, and it not considered a threat to the public – however if you see this or any bear, keep your distance and let authorities know where you saw the animal.
Herfst Feest is back in the Tulip City! Shortly after autumn officially begins, Herfst Feest, Pella’s fall festival, will be held in Pella on Saturday, Sept. 23. While Pella’s Historical Society has hosted their own Herfst Feest in previous years, this is the third year that the Pella Area Community and Economic Alliance has hosted events during Herfst Feest. The festival begins at 7 a.m. as Pella’s Kiwanis Club will begin serving poffertjes at the Vermeer Windmill. Registration for the Many Hands for Haiti 5K Color Blast Run will begin at 7:30 a.m. The Historical Society will give tours and artisan demonstrations at the Vermeer Mill and Historical Village Museum, along with wagon rides. Live music by Ben Muller and a food competition will be offered at the Cellar Peanut Pub, and Pella’s Marching Dutch will host the Marching Dutch Invitational Competition at Pella Community High School’s stadium. Children will also be able to participate in face painting, caricature drawing and other activities.
If parenting is a struggle, help is coming – Families First of Pella is beginning their fall parenting programs this month. New Director Allison Kerndt says next Tuesday the 19th kicks off lunchtime “Meet and Eat” sessions; while Thursday evening “Parenting the Love & Logic Way” start September 28th. Kerndt says the program covers numerous tips and techniques for parents through the Love and Logic program.
A board member with access to Ottumwa Christian School’s checking account has plead guilty to felony theft. Joni Stinson formerly served as the OCS school board treasurer. She was accused last year of having written herself checks exceeding $160,000 over a six year period. As a Class C felony, Stinson could have faced 50 years in prison but instead was given a plea bargain. To avoid prison, Stinson will need to complete five years of probation; she’ll also need to get out the checkbook and pay $50,000 in restitution immediately, a payment plan will return the rest of the stolen funds.
An Oskaloosa resident organized a reunion 47 years in the making – Jerry Lenox was stationed at a fire base called Hawk Hill in Vietnam in late 1970. He recently joined 5 of his comrades in arms for a reunion in Rock Springs, WY. Over the course of his service from August 1970 to August 1971 in the Vietnam War, Lenox said he formed strong bonds with the other men with whom he served. On July 11-12, six men who hadn’t seen each other for 46 years gathered in Rock Springs and once again shared the bonds of brotherhood; Lenox’s wife Donna said the event was amazing, commenting that it was like the group of men were 20 years old again, laughing, sharing hugs and old stories as they shed a few tears.
Residents in Knoxville enjoyed tasty ice cream with all the toppings they pile on this past Sunday courtesy of the Knoxville Police Department. Lt. Aaron Fuller says turnout at the 2nd annual event was better than they expected, with 50-75 people in line when they started serving. The Ice Cream with a Cop event was held as a way to say thank you to the people of Knoxville for their support of their local law enforcement officers.
The Pella Fire Department is flipping flapjacks in an effort to raise funds for the American Lung Association – Firefighter Justin Trenkamp says the department is inviting the community to breakfast on Saturday, October 14th from 6 to 11 a.m. at the end of Fire Prevention Week. Trenkamp says in addition to food, the community can take tours of the Pella Fire Department and their trucks, as well as participate in a raffle for door prizes.
If you’re nearing retirement – or know someone who is – and are confused about the Medicare program, a local organization would like to lend a helping hand. Crossroads of Pella is hosting a Welcome to Medicare Seminar to educate seniors about their options in the program. The free seminar will take place at 5:30 p.m. on Tuesday, September 26th at Second Reformed Church and cover Medicare Parts A & B, Prescription Drug Benefits (Part D), Medicare Advantage Plans, and Medicare Supplement Insurance. Pre-registration is required by Monday, September 18th – you can call 628-1212 for more information.