Two special measures were passed by voters in New Sharon on Tuesday; Public Measure A allows the city of New Sharon to give ownership and operation of the city’s water plant and infrastructure to Mahaska Rural Water with a 25-year franchise. Public Measure B allowed a special levy of 27 cents per $1,000 valuation to support an increased operating budget of Stillwell Library. Eighty-five percent of the 166 voters approved the movement of the water system, 142-24. The library measure was much closer with 165 votes, 92 in favor and 73 opposed for a 55-44 percent split.
Over in Newton, Mayor Mike Hansen will serve his third term after handily earning more than 70 percent of the votes Tuesday in the city election. His opponent Ron Bookout had 426 votes to Hansen’s 1,067, according to uncertified election tallies released by the Jasper County Auditor’s Office. Hansen has served as Newton’s mayor since 2012 when he was tapped to take over for then-mayor Chaz Allen, who stepped down to take a position at the Jasper County Economic Development Corporation. Hansen was then elected to the position in 2013 and 2015.
An organization in Ottumwa that serves people with disabilities in seven South Central Iowa counties is overjoyed after meeting an ambitious goal. Two years ago Tenco announced a $1.2 million dollar fundraising campaign to enhance services for the people with disabilities it serves. Last Thursday evening Kent Walker, Tenco capital campaign chair, announced the goal had been exceeded, allowing for several new investments, including a four-bay hydroponic greenhouse that provides paid vocational opportunities for people with disabilities – along with lots of fresh produce – and a new wheelchair accessible van.
Students from North Mahaska’s fifth an sixth grade classes toured the historic office of Secretary of State Paul Pate at the Iowa State Capitol last week. The students were provided an informational tour of the office by Secretary Paul Pate’s staff, which included examining the original handwritten Iowa Constitution, exploring the Capitol’s three-story vault and learning about the rich architectural history of the Iowa Secretary of State’s Capitol Office.
If you live in Ottumwa and want to help give someone in need a Merry Christmas, this Saturday the Northgate Alliance Church invites you to join a shoebox packing party. The church began collecting donations back in August for Samaritan Purse’s Operation Christmas Child – after a flood of donations they’re ready to start packing special Christmas shoe boxes that will bless families and children in over 100 nations. The shoebox packing event starts at 6pm this Saturday; Roger and Marilynn Russ are members of the church and excited to help pack the boxes and hope others will be excited to help as well.
Pella Regional Health Center provided nearly $4.4 million in community benefits last year, according to a recently completed assessment by the Iowa Hospital Association. That amount, based on 2016 figures, includes nearly $3.5 million in uncompensated care such as charity care, bad debt and unpaid costs of Medicaid. Pella Regional’s community benefit activities were estimated to serve nearly 30,000 people in the region.
What will happen to residents in the Christian Opportunity Center’s Sheltered Employment program come next May? For COC’s executive director Rod Braun, the answer to that question is filled with uncertainty as he prepares for the day when the Iowa Department of Human Services will no longer fund sheltered employment. Braun says the organization has increased its efforts to find jobs in the community for those who want them; the employees leaving the sheltered program has created a delicate balancing act with the businesses COC contracts with for work. For those employees who can’t – or don’t want to – leave the sheltered program, two options exist in May – enter the Life Skills program, allowing them to do unpaid volunteer work in the community, or simply stay at home, which Braun says can be an unhealthy option.
Dignitaries from around the State of Iowa gathered this weekend in Mahaska County for the 31st Annual Governor’s Pheasant Hunt. Oskaloosa Mayor Dave Krutzfeldt addressed the crowd, which included Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds, Senator Ken Rozenboom, and Mahaska County Supervisor Willie Van Weelden.
The Pella Dutch football team avenged its only loss this season, beating Dallas Center-Grimes 35-18 in the 3-A quarterfinal round of the playoffs this past Friday. After a rocky start in the first half, Pella took control after the break, scoring 14 points in just 70 seconds. After being held to just 14 rushing yards on 25 carries in the first meeting between the two teams, the Little Dutch ran for 203 yards in Friday’s victory. Quarterback Ryan Gustafson only completed 3-of-7 passes, and threw two picks, but had 124 yards and the two touchdowns to receiver Avery Van Zee. Fifth-ranked Pella improves to 10-1 on the season, and plays #6 Harlan this Thursday night at 5:36 in the class 3A semifinals at the UNI-Dome.
The Pella Christian Eagles football team continued their undefeated season on Friday, and in so doing punched their very first ticket to the UNI Dome, defeating Pleasantville 44-6 in their Class 1A quarterfinal game. The Eagles dominated from the first snap, scoring on their opening drive in just 67 seconds. Hayden Vroom finished with three rushing touchdowns and a passing score, while Moises Carballo had two sacks and a punt block. The undefeated Eagles head to Cedar Falls next Saturday to take on Iowa City Regina at 10 a.m., a rematch of the 2016 1A quarterfinals.
Some South Central Iowa high school students made a splash this past weekend at the state swim meet in Marshalltown – Pella’s Lindsey Blommers, swimming for Newton, placed tenth in the 100 breaststroke with a time of 1:07.45. Knoxville’s Taylor Purvis, along with fellow Panther Kinsli Cram, helped Indianola to a 24th place finish in the 200 medley relay; Purvis also finished 21st in the 100 backstroke in a time of 1:01.06.
A two-vehicle accident t occurred north of Pleasantville on the northbound lanes of Highway 5 and Business 5 just after 8am this morning. A semi pulled out in front of a pickup truck towing a trailer causing the pickup to rear end the semi. Thankfully no one was seriously hurt – the driver of the pickup was assessed by first responders with no life threatening injuries.
Students at Central College are hanging t-shirts all across campus in an effort to raise awareness about suicide prevention. Over 1,110 t-shirts have been spread across the campus in Pella; Assistant Director of Counseling George Clark sayst each shirt in the clothesline project was donated through various organizations to represent the lives lost annually to suicide on college campuses.
Nearly 2 years of planning, fund-raising, and hard work came to fruition recently in the city of Fremont when a group of volunteers gathered in late September to install playground equipment at the first of two planned parks. The Fremont Playground Rehabilitation Project began in September 2015; in that time citizens raised $64,000 of the needed $75,000 for the project, including $15,000 from the Wellmark Foundation.