South Central Regional Airport Agency officials say plans for an airport between Pella and Oskaloosa face several hurdles before any offers can be made for land acquisition or FAA funding can be secured. Plans to build an airport between Pella and Oskaloosa remain in a holding pattern while Mahaska County leaders appeal a court decision that compels them to stick with the cities in that effort. The county’s fight leaves landowners, local corporations and government leaders in the dark about when — if ever — planes will land at and take off from the proposed site. Proponents and opponents of the airport are increasingly tight-lipped as litigation drags and speculation surges. Nothing will happen until Mahaska County gets its answer, the head of the agency overseeing the process said Tuesday. Jim Hansen, chair of the South Central Regional Airport Agency, said his panel is ready to start acquiring land for the airport, but it won’t get the money it needs from the Federal Aviation Administration until the lawsuit is settled. The latest delay came in July, when the Mahaska supervisors voted to appeal a Mahaska County district court judge’s June ruling that the county was in breach of the 28E agreement and could not leave SCRAA unless the two cities agreed to allow it. Mahaska County also was ordered to pay the cities’ legal costs.
The Well in Pella will be hosting an open house to educate the community on what resources currently exist at The Well, and which new programs are being added in the fall. All are invited to attend on Thursday, September 13th from 4:30 pm-6:00 pm, Light appetizers will be served, along with a brief program at 5:30 pm. The two greatest needs The Well sees are work and addiction related issues. The Well serves one thousand people a year – of those 70% have a job-related issue. This past year the Well Works program was created to address this pressing need. Rich Kacmarynski, a leader of the program, says the program is designed to help people learn skills needed to ensure long-term employment stability. It also allows participants to enjoy the dignity of work while earning a small income, with the long-term goal of gainful employment in area communities. Other programs of The Well that will be displayed at the open house will include: The Well Resource Center, Getting Ahead, Money and Me, Men’s breakfast, and its mental health programs. Partner resources will include: Pella Community Food Shelf, Good Samaritan Free Medical Clinic, Marion County Public Health, Vital Men Ministries, and Sprigs N’ Sprouts.
No major injuries were reported after a car struck the side of Pine Rest Christian Mental Health Services in Pella this morning. The Pella Police Department reports that someone visiting another office in the set of buildings appears to have accidentally accelerated past the curb and into the brick side of the structure at approximately 8:50 a.m. Numerous bricks and a window was damaged, as was the front windshield and front bumper of the Ford Taurus. There were numerous people inside of the waiting room on the other side of the wall at Pine Rest, however, nobody was transported to the hospital via ambulance. The area in front of Pine Rest is closed; however, afternoon appointments will continue as scheduled.
Over 100 local high school students gathered at an end-of-summer celebration for the Pella Youth Coalition Monday evening. Grayson Parisee with the Student Committee said dozens of participants enjoyed a night of fun before school starts Thursday, including a dunk tank featuring Pella Police Chief Robert Bokinsky and numerous teachers, coaches, and administrators from Pella High School and Pella Christian. Parisee says now that students are back in class, the goal of the Pella Youth Coalition is to engage all of them over the next nine months with a variety of activities and presentations, all in an effort to curb drug use among youth in the community.
Navigating the trails in Pella’s Big Rock Park should get a bit easier and safer thanks to Boy Scout Troop 373 – starting at 9am this Saturday the boys will begin installing four inch posts on the trails that will utilize a system of colors, shapes, and numbers to identify certain spots in the park. The markers will not only provide better direction on the trails, but help emergency responders locate individuals who may be injured or lost – if you’d like to lend a hand, feel free to stop by the park Saturday morning or call 780-8595 for more details.
High School athletes in Pella are out and about this week, hoping to make a difference for people with intellectual disabilities. Athletes from Pella and Pella Christian have been in front of local businesses in the Tulip city, collecting donations for the Pella and Pella Christian special education departments, Christian Opportunity Center, and the Iowa Special Olympics as part of the annual Knights of Columbus Team Challenge.
One month after a tornado destroyed two plants and several other buildings along the Vermeer mile, Vermeer Corporation announced this morning they are back at 100 percent staff. Vermeer has been rebuilding after an EF-3 tornado dropped on top of their campus July 19th, causing widespread damage to their facilities and to several vehicles belonging to Vermeer employees. Production has been phased back in over the last several weeks, with Plant 7 opening last week. Plants 5 and 6 remain closed for more extensive repairs. Equipment, resources and team members from those plants have shifted to other locations across their facilities. Jason Andringa, President and CEO at Vermeer Corporation said the following, “While this year served as a milestone – 70 years in business, it will be remembered for more. This is the year the Vermeer team came together, grew in ways we never imagined and rose to the challenge to bring our team back to work to meet our customers’ needs. Because doing more is what we’re all about. We are Vermeer Strong”
In Marion County, S71 will be one lane for concrete patching from today through Thursday. The Marion County Road Department asks that drivers please use caution in and around the work zone.