Picture-perfect weather greeted thousands of runners and walkers in downtown Pella for the 24th annual Klompen Classic 5k race last night. More than 2000 runners and walkers participated in the annual fundraiser for Crossroads of Pella. The overall winner was Central College distance runner Jamie Vander Veer of Harvey; Valerie Keegan won the women’s division, and Lance Bergeson and Robyn Friedman won the Masters categories. Crossroads of Pella Director Jim Hibma says there were enough registrants to cross over the 30,000 participant mark over the 24 years of the race. An Iowa sports legend participated in the event as well -Former Iowa Hawkeyes Quarterback and Executive Director of the Iowa Sports Foundation Chuck Long joined in the Tulip City fun as well.
Travel on Highway T-17 might be slow at times over the next couple weeks thanks to construction – if weather cooperates the Marion County Road Department says T17 pavement rehabilitation will continue for approximately two weeks. You can expect lane closures with delays between IA Hwy 92 and G46 and between Keokuk Dr. and the Clark Street-Highway 163 interchange in Pella. Patch work is also underway on Lisbon Drive as well as portions of McKimber Drive between Knoxville and Pella. If your drive takes you on those roads, expect traffic to be reduced to one lane , starting at the intersection of Highway G44 and McKimber Drive and ending at the intersection of Lisbon Drive and Old Highway 92. Work on this project should take about a week.
A local business leader is taking part in a global business summit this week – Vermeer Chair of the Board Mary Andringa is in Germany participating at the Business 20 (B20) Summit. Taking on the theme, “Resilience, Responsibility, Responsiveness – Toward a Future-oriented, Sustainable World Economy,” the B20 is working to create an environment fostering innovation, economic growth and job creation. Andringa accepted her advocacy role in March 2015 as a coordinating chair for the Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SME) task force; Her group specifically focuses on improving access to markets for smaller businesses, reducing complex regulations and increasing the availability of capital.
Patients at Mahaska Health Partnership are staying a bit warmer these days thanks to some beautiful hand-made quilts – The Helping Hands Quilt Group gets together once a month and donates their finished quilts to various non-profit organizations in the area; the group recently donated 44 beautiful quilts to MHPto be distributed to patients in the Cancer Care and Infusion Center (CCIC), the Emergency Department, the Birthing Center and Surgical Services. The quilts are made of all sizes and tailored to patients; including longer ones to fully cover the legs of patients receiving treatment in CCIC. The group meets in a home owned by Central Reformed Church and has 9 official members.
Knoxville city council meetings have been packed lately as the city grapples with issues much like Pella did recently with the new Caseys as a developer in that city plans to build a new, 4-story apartment complex on East Main St. After voting to approve and then swearing in new council member Megan Suhr, the council held first consideration to adopt an amendment to the city’s zoning code to allow the new apartment complex at 401, 409, and 413 E Main St. The rezoning would require a larger setback that the zoning commission felt would best protect the interests of adjacent property owners. During the meeting members of the public voiced both approval and concerns about the project with the majority agreeing the development was a good idea for the city but that the concerns of the adjacent property owners needed to be addressed before moving forward.
The rodeo is coming to town in Oskaloosa – but this one doesn’t have in horses! This Saturday from 9-11am the annual Oskaloosa Bike Rodeo will be held at the Urban Park near Penn Central Mall. Officials and volunteers from the Mahaska Health Partnership, MCG, Wyndell Campbell State Farm Insurance, Mahaska Wellness Coalition and the Oskaloosa Police Department will be on hand to teach kids the importance of bike safety. The bicycle rodeo is a hands-on learning opportunity for your kids – they’ll learn the basics of bike rules and safety from experts while having fun, receive a free bike light, eat great snacks, and have a chance to win one of two bikes at this free event.
Many local businesses are gearing up for what will surely be their most important week of the year with Tulip Time in Pella just around the corner, and now a study shows just how much of an economic impact the popular festival has on the community and its businesses. In 2014, the Pella Historical Society and Museums (PHSM) commissioned a study by MBA students at the University of Northern Iowa to look at the economic impact of Tulip Time; their research found that on average the festival brings in $1.9 million in sales to local businesses, $700,000 to local non-profits, and $200,000 to hotels and motels.
A star football player from William Penn University is getting a chance to play in the big leagues – Antonio Brown, captain of the Statesmen football team for the past two years, just signed an undrafted free agent contract with the Green Bay Packers and will check in to rookie camp this coming Thursday. Brown is still having a hard time believing this is all really happening – he says the opportunity has been a dream of his for a long time that is now actually coming true. Brown thanked William Penn Head Coach Todd Hafner, who gave him a spot on the William Penn team after being out of college and football for three years.
It may be soggy out there, but that’s not stopping plans to start the big phase three of the Pella Christian Grade School construction project, where a ground breaking ceremony took place at 8:40am this morning. Head of Schools David Te Grotenhuis says construction crews are ready to begin work on the bulk of the school’s overall $13.5 million project. The next stage is what Te Grotenhuis says is the bulk of the expansion project. Pella Christian’s building project committee selected Lang Construction from eight other contractors as part of the process.
It was a record-breaking day for south central Iowa high school athletes at the Drake Relays this past weekend. Knoxville freshman Katie Keitges and the Pella High girls 4×100 meter relay each set school records Saturday on the final day of the 108th Drake Relays. Keitges ran the 1,500 meters in 4:51.96, good enough for 11th place in the event. Meanwhile, in a race where half a second separated first and last place, Pella’s four-by-one squad came in eighth. The quartet of Emma Thoreson, Annika Pingel, Paighton Malek and Emily Vos clocked in a 49.47 seconds. Also, former Knoxville athlete Jacob Moats won the men’s high jump with a leap of seven feet one inch, a new career best. And its a busy night in soccer for the Tulip City, as all four high school teams face off against opponents – the Pella High boys will look to snap their eight game losing streak when they travel to Winterset for non-conference action. Pella’s second-ranked girls will play an LHC match at Newton. Both Pella Christian squads also have conference contests tonight against Grinnell. The Eagle boys travel to Grinnell. They’re 6-3 and have won back-to-back games since losing 9-0 to defending state champion Norwalk. Coach Gerritt Brouwer says that they used the aftermath of that match as a learning opportunity. On the girls side, Pella Christian is in the class 1-A rankings after three straight wins have moved the Eagles to 5-3 on the season. They’ll travel to Grinnell tonight to take on the Tigers.
Two men arrested in May of 2016 for an attack in rural Marion County were sentenced on Thursday. Keaton Armstrong, 19, of Indianola and Dalton Sharp, 20, of Melcher-Dallas were both sentenced to 30 years in prison for Robbery in the Second Degree, Willful Injury Causing Serious injury, Conspiracy to Commit a Forcible Felony and Possession with intent to deliver Methamphetamine. A third man, Justin VanderEcken of Melcher-Dallas, pled guilty to willful injury causing serious injury and conspiracy to commit a forcible felony and was sentenced to 10 years in prison in August of 2016. Armstrong and Sharp were offered a reward from VanderEcken in April 2016 for the robbery and murder of Kenyon Reed. Armstrong and Sharp attacked Reed on the morning of April 30th last year – Reed was hospitalized but thankfully survived the attack. Marion County Attorney Ed Bull says the defendants won’t be eligible for parole until 2027, and he sincerely hopes they’ll use their time in prison to take advantage of educational, substance abuse treatment, and any other opportunities their counselors suggest.
The Oskaloosa trio of Alexis Westercamp, J’Von Harris and Jack Moore competed at the Drake Relays on Thursday. Westercamp finished fifth in the discus with a throw of 126-feet, 9-inches. The senior had four throws in the 120-foot distance. Harris won the high jump as he was the only jumper to clear 6-9. Moore came in eighth in the high jump as he cleared 6-5. Harris was back in action in the long jump at 9:30 a.m. this morning; he joined Seth Howard, Bennett Spry and Carter Huyser in the distance medley at 10:37 a.m. Harris will close of the day in the 4×100-meter relay preliminaries at 6:05 p.m. He will be running with Howard, Spry and Casey Hill.
Pella High’s Paighton Malek finished eighth in the long jump and Pella Christian’s Lizzy Van Manen was ninth in the discus as high school athletes got started at the 108th annual Drake Relays yesterday afternoon. Malek’s second jump was 16 feet 11-and-a-half inches, and it was her best of six attempts. Van Manen’s first effort was her best, firing the disc 120 feet two inches. The bulk of the action on the blue oval takes place today and tomorrow, with Pella and Pella Christian well represented in this year’s event.