Ottumwa-based Food Bank of Southern Iowa is merging with the Des Moines Food Bank of Iowa; Spokesman Danny Akright says its southern Iowa counterpart has served as a redistribution organization for Food Bank of Iowa since 2012. Akright said the southern Iowa organization has around one dozen employees, while there are 25 in central Iowa – no one will lose their job because of the merger. Akright says the merger will benefit the Ottumwa food bank, which has struggled due to a lack of resources. He says the far greater resources available to the Des Moines operation will now be able to benefit its Southern counterpart as well. The merger is expected to be complete by the beginning of the new year.
If you’ve driven near Oskaloosa and New Sharon you’ve undoubtedly seen the new wind farms; now Mid American Energy is planning another wind farm in Poweshiek County. This is the third site in Iowa selected for construction as part of the Wind XI project. MidAmerican Energy has begun construction activity on the North English wind farm, with completion scheduled for December 2018. The wind farm will share an operations and maintenance building in Montezuma with the Prairie wind farm, currently under construction in neighboring Mahaska County. Altogether, the $3.6 billion Wind XI project will consist of up to 1,000 wind turbines and 2,000 megawatts of wind generation capacity in Iowa when complete in December 2019.
STEM, which stands for Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics is a tool school districts around the country are using to raise awareness about the importance of promoting competitiveness in science and technology development, and Newton High School is being recognized for its excellence in these subjects. Newton High School was selected as a STEM BEST award recipient this year, and will receive a $25,000 grant for the Governor’s STEM Advisory Council. STEM BEST, an acronym for Businesses Engaging Students and Teachers, is a program which aims to connect high school students with local businesses. NHS was one of 19 schools selected for the grant out of a pool of 31 schools.
“Fly Ottumwa” could become more than the name of an air show if new plans come together. As of yesterday, the Ottumwa Convention and Visitors Bureau began surveying residents about their desire for commercial flights from Ottumwa Regional Airport. Discussions between airlines and community leaders have already taken place; if started first flights would likely go to Minneapolis, Chicago, and St. Louis.
A historic Pella landmark was badly damaged by fire yesterday morning. Franklin Street and West 2nd Street west of downtown Pella were closed for over four hours as crews from Pella Fire, Pella Ambulance, and Pella Police responded to the blaze at 914 Franklin St. just after 9:10 a.m. According to Pella Fire Chief Doug Van Gorkum, the flames started in a shed behind the home. During the fire the roof collapsed, with flames and smoke billowing out of the top of the building for well over three hours. Val Van Kooten, director of the Pella Historical Society and Museums says the house was built in 1849 by Jacob Van Ham, and was one of the first permanent homes built in Pella.
The Wash n’ Dry Laundromat in Knoxville had an unexpected visitor yesterday morning when a vehicle drove into the building. The incident happened at about 9:30am when an elderly woman attempting to park lost control of her vehicle and drove through the windows on the left side of the entrance. One man was inside the building; when paramedics arrived he declined treatment.
Career Academy of Pella’s welding instructor Sheila Graham was recently named the “Iowa Welding Instructor of the Year” for her efforts in education. Graham received both the American Welding Society Iowa Section 066 Howard Adkins Instructor of the Year Award and the District 16 regional honors. She says she’s thankful for the recognition, and that her main goal in the classroom is to enrich the lives of every student who wants to learn welding.
Four south-central Iowa high school football teams are moving one step closer to the UNI dome, while two teams post-season dreams ended this past Friday night. The PC Eagles tallied an impressive win against Sigourney-Keota, with Junior Noah Treimer racking up 301 yards and 5 touchdowns. Over at Pella High, the Dutch defense brought Webster City’s offense to a screeching halt, coming up with a dominant 27-7 home victory. Lynville-Sully prevailed on Friday night as well, blanking New London at home 28-0, and the Plesantville Trojans came away with a 32-13 win over West Branch. Sadly the cold weather had no effect on the Cedar Rapids Xavier Saints, who brought the Oskaloosa Indians post-season hopes to an end with a 43-10 win, while the Williamsburg Raiders stunned the PCM Mustangs with a heart-breaking upset win of 18-17. Up next, Pleasantville faces Pella Christian in the quarterfinals, Pella heads to their 5th straight quarterfinal game vs. DCG, and Lynville-Sully Hawks square off against the Hudson Pirates.
They may have spent a night out in the cold, but 100 people in the Newton area scored a free Big Mac per week for a year thanks to a promotion at a local McDonalds. Cara VanStenis, owner of the Newton McDonalds, decided the old location needed to go and tore it down; to celebrate the opening of the new store, she gave away 100 cards good for a Big Mac a week for a year to the first 100 people through the door at 6am Thursday morning. A number of Newton high school students spent the night on lawn chairs with blankets outside the new McDonalds in 40-degree temperatures; they played tennis in the street and ran around the building to stay warm, and were very happy to be among the first to get their free Big Mac for a year cards.
Mahaska County residents – if you have unused prescription medication sitting in your cabinets, especially for controlled substances, this Saturday is your chance to dispose of them safely and anonymously. This Saturday any unused medications can be brought to Mahaska Drug at 205 North E Street, where they can throw away with no questions asked. Overall, in its 13 previous Take Back events, DEA and its partners have taken in over 8.1 million pounds — more than 4,050 tons — of pills.