Governor Kim Reynolds paid a visit to the Tulip City this morning, holding a press conference and Q&A session at 11am this morning at the Career Academy of Pella. Reynolds discussed the new welding apprenticeship program in the Pella Community School District, an opportunity developed by administrators and staff from Pella, in conjunction with DMACC, Vermeer, and the Governor’s STEM Advisory Council.
Dozens of local high school students from the Pella, Knoxville, Pella Christian, Twin Cedars and PCM teams from 20 area communities took part in the state Scholastic Clay Target Program state trapshooting championship event at the ISTA home grounds just north of Cedar Falls over the weekend. Pella Christian finished 6th in the intermediate entry division, and Mason Walters finished in 6th place in the intermediate boys advanced division for Pella Christian. Knoxville was 17th out of 52 teams in the intermediate entry division as well. Erica Bracken of Pella, Jasmine Holbrook of Knoxville, and Emily Sytsma of Pella Christian finished in the top 21 of the girls advanced ranks. Emily Uitermarkt of Pella Christian and Paige Wood with PCM placed 5th and 6th in the Girls Junior Varsity event, with Josie Brooks and Mackenzie Blackford of the Knoxville Shooting Club placing 20th and 21st.
A vehicle reported stolen from Mahaska two years ago was found Saturday at the bottom of the Mystic Reservoir. In a press release, the Appanoose County Sheriff’s Office says a fisherman reported the discovery of what they believed to be a submerged vehicle at approximately 1:31 p.m. Saturday. Authorities assembled a dive team and recovered a 2000 Chevrolet Suburban from the water. The vehicle identification number came back to a stolen vehicle from Mahaska County in 2016. The Mystic Reservoir is located north of Mystic on Highway T14, roughly 3.5 miles from Rathbun Lake.
Two local police lieutenants were among a group of law enforcement officers participating in Relay Iowa over the weekend, running for a cause close to their hearts. Pella Police Lt. Paul Haase and Marion County Sheriff’s Office Lt. Andrew Schuchhardt were among representatives from Iowa Concerns of Police Survivors (C.O.P.S), raising awareness and funds for their organization through Relay Iowa. Haase was running in honor of John Van Haaften, the Pella Police officer killed in the line of duty in 1980. Schuchhardt ran for Deputy Mark Burbridge of the Pottawattamie County Sheriff’s Office, who was shot and killed last year while completing a prisoner transport. Both were part of a team that ran 339 miles across the state as part of the experience from Sioux City to Dubuque.
After a third attempt to bid the Sunken Gardens windmill renovation project, Pella’s city council approved spending $214,000 to restore the historic landmark. Originally built in 1930, the interior and exterior of the building will be overhauled along with the electrical systems, and new access ladders and platforms will be added as well. When complete a new door will allow the public to access the platform on the windmill. Previous bids in the fall of 2017 and spring 2018 came in too high and were rejected by the city council.
One of Iowa’s most successful and longest running art festivals is celebrating it’s 50th birthday this summer as Art of the Square returns to Oskaloosa today and tomorrow. Oskaloosa’s historic downtown provides a unique atmosphere for as many as 70 exhibitors and thousands of spectators. In celebration of 50 Years of Art on the Square, this year’s event will feature art vendors, live performances, interactive art exhibits, and more, with a little something for everyone, including the kids.
A strong line of severe thunderstorms brought damaging winds and heavy rainfall to the entire county Wednesday evening. Two severe thunderstorm warnings were issued from 6:43 to 8:07 p.m. Multiple areas reported damage, including downed trees and limbs in Pella, downed power lines and trees in Knoxville, damaged outbuildings near the intersection of T-17 and Highway 92, downed power lines near Howell Station Campground, and a 62 MPH wind gust in Pella recorded at 7:02 p.m. About 1″ of rain fell near downtown Pella, and .67″ fell in Knoxville, as of 8:30 p.m.
A South Skunk river rafter was exhausted but otherwise unharmed after going into the water Sunday afternoon. A capsized raft was reported as being tangled in a logjam on the South Skunk River between Hwy 63 and Glendale Access at around 4:30 p.m. on Sunday. The raft belonged to Nathan Washburne – rescue crews found him along the north side of the river around 5:20 p.m. Several minutes after Washburne entered the river, the raft was punctured, forcing him to exit the raft and swim to shore. After being transported to Glendale Access, Washburne was examined by paramedics who thankfully found no injuries.
Lake Red Rock is hosting a special program about the historic town of Cordova this Saturday. Park Ranger Tracy Spry says Bill and Darlene Karr, longtime residents of the now gone community, will share stories and reminisce about their past experience. They will also be available to sign copies of their Memories book, which is available in the visitor center store. The program is free to attend and begins at 1 p.m. Saturday in the Red Rock Visitor Center.
The Madison Elementary Mileage Club in Pella completed its seventh year with record-breaking success. Mileage Club is a program promoted by PE teacher Katie Gravert to give every Madison student the opportunity to be active and set goals by running during lunch recess. The 2017-2018 school year was a milestone year, with students running a combined 3,795 miles, the most ever at the school.
The issue of how to handle fireworks this 4th of July is making sparks fly in Ottumwa; the city council recently proposed an ordinance to allow people to use fireworks from 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. on July 4 and through the Saturday following the holiday. Several council members questioned this move, saying the majority of calls from constituents opposed the expanded use of fireworks, with many reporting children kept up by fireworks and disturbed pets.