On Tuesday Cargill in Eddyville recently donated $14,239 to make an impact on communities here in South Central Iowa. The funds raised by a golf tournament in July were matched by Cargill and will go towards United Way’s Operation Backpack/Back to School Fair and to the Mahaska County Homelessness Coalition.
In a joint-special election Thursday night, members of the Jasper and Polk County Republican Parties tapped State Rep. Zach Nunn to replace Tim Shay as the party’s candidate for Iowa Senate District 15. Nunn, seen by many as a rising star in the Republican Party, boasts an impressive resume. A two-term member of the Iowa House, the Altoona native is a combat veteran with over 700 hours of flight time. Nunn and his wife Kelly reside in Bondurant with their three children
Officer Hunter Boertje of the Pella Police Department has graduated from the Iowa Law Enforcement Academy. After swearing in Boertje, the latest hire for the Pella PD, said a he’s honored to serve in the community he calls home.
A Pella Christian senior spent a week at a prestigious college learning more about the political process. Lindsay Breon took part in the Junior State of America Institute on New Jersey Leadership & Politics at Princeton University. Breon said she was able to meet students from around the country with different political viewpoints and life experiences, and participated in workshops about writing bills and debating. Breon says she enjoyed the opportunity to meet people from other backgrounds and now better understands some of their political beliefs.
The Knoxville VA Community Based Outpatient Clinic is hosting an open house on August 21st. Maureen Nichols with the CBOC said the open house is a good opportunity to learn about the future of the VA, as there are a lot of new faces and programs that veterans can take advantage of – Staff will give tours during the open house, which will run from 4-6pm. The VA CBOC is located at 1607 N Lincoln St.
While the Pella School Board will deal with a spending authority shortfall in the upcoming fiscal year, brighter news may be ahead for the district overall. Superintendent Greg Ebeling says higher than normal preschool and kindergarten enrollment, as well as aggressive housing initiatives in the city of Pella, has the board preparing for what could be growth of 100 students over the next 10 years.
Small businesses in six south-east Iowa counties are now eligible to apply for low‑interest, federal disaster loans from the U.S. Small Business Administration. Tanya Garfield, director of SBA’s Disaster Field Operations Center-West, said the loans are meant to offset economic losses for businesses and non-profits dependent on farmers and ranchers because of reduced revenues caused by drought. The SBA program can impact any small non-farm businesses and some nonprofit organizations, who may qualify for loans of up to $2 million to help meet financial obligations and operating expenses which could have been met had the disaster not occurred.
Senator Chuck Grassley visited Knoxville Tuesday to talk with Marion County residents about their concerns. Grassley was asked about the future of the VA property, and if the Senator could think of any way to expedite the transfer of the property. Grassley shared that he thought local citizens and officials had done the best they could to come to a resolution, but he would ask his staff to determine if there was anything additional he could do to help. Local farmers shared concerns about the effects of tariffs imposed by the Trump administration, with one local farmer saying Iowa will lose a generation of young farmers because of the tariffs. Leslie Miller with Iowa State Savings Bank presented projections that a farmer with 1,500 acres under cultivation will lose $141,000 due to the tariffs. Grassley said he would like Congress to be able to better define their role in creating tariffs
There’s new leadership at Christian Opportunity Center – Rod Braun retired this summer after 31 years as executive director at the organization, which provides a wide range of services to persons with disabilities in south central Iowa. A succession plan has been in place at COC since 2005 when the Board of Directors named John Eilers as Braun’s successor; Jodi Tukker will put her 19 years at COC to use as she takes over Eiler’s role as the new Associate Director. Both say they look forward to strengthening the organization, with the aim of providing needed resources to a vulnerable population. Founded in 1969, COC’s mission is to integrate Christian values in teaching skills for life. COC provides residential and vocational support and services to nearly 300 people with disabilities in Dallas, Mahaska, Marion, Polk and Warren counties.
The Knoxville Airport will host their annual Fly-In/Drive-In Breakfast on Saturday, September 8th. The breakfast will include sausage, eggs, and biscuits and gravy and will be served from 7-11am. Children’s activities include inflatables, a petting zoo, and rides, while families will be able to enjoy airplane rides, classic cars, the Mercy One Helicopter, Remote Control airplanes, and more. Entry for adults costs $7, children cost $5, and fly-ins and children under the age of five are free.
One individual is in critical condition after a boating accident occured Sunday near the James Trail in Mahaska County. The incident took place around 7pm last night; The initial call said a boat had capsized on the Des Moines River and that one person was unconscious and another individual was missing. Mahaska County Sheriff Russ Van Renterghem said that a group of eight individuals left Eveland Access, with six of those individuals in tubes, while the other two took the boat, drifting with the tubes, with the intention of bringing everyone back when they finished floating. Just before 7 pm, the group decided they had enough, and started to enter the boat. Van Renterghem said it appears there were too many occupants for the boat and it capsized. One male was in critical condition at the river and was transported to Mahaska Health Partnership. An adult female that couldn’t swim clung to the overturned boat and was picked up by Eddyville Fire Department near Hardfish – no names have been released at this time.
Senator Joni Ernst toured the Weiler facility in Knoxville Saturday afternoon, followed by a meeting with community leaders to discuss the VA campus in Knoxville. Among the topics discussed was the need for housing in rural communities for companies like Weiler to expand their workforce, and the value of getting current students involved in STEM or other manufacturing fields. Senator Ernst shared the frustration with local community leaders about the VA campus, and said that something must be done.