Over 20 people in Knoxville needed a place to go last week when back to back fires affected their homes, and thanks to efforts from local volunteers, everyone had a place to stay for the night. In one of those fires residents in an apartment building were forced to leave their homes for 24 hours as smoke needed to be ventilated from the building. Chuck Reeves with the American Red Cross says every person affected by the fire had a place to go when tragedy struck, thanks to a collaboration among Marion County Emergency Management, Marion County Public Health and the Red Cross. Reeves says he’s thankful Kim Dorn and her staff at Marion County Public Health along with Marion County Emergency Management Coordinator Jeff Anderson for working together to help out the people in need.
Two Knoxville High School students accepted an invite to the Hawkeye Boys State Camp presented by the Batty Tucker Post 168 of the American Legion Thursday. Juniors Elliot Schmidt and Nyan Baker were chosen by the legion to attend the camp; The week-long event gives the young men a hands-on experience in the operation of the democratic form of government, the organization of political parties, and the relationship of one to the other in shaping Iowa government. Baker says learning about government is important to him and should be important to students today because they will shape the future and it’s important to continue to learn from their past. The camp will be held June 10th through the 15th at Camp Dodge in Des Moines.
The flu outbreak continues to be deadly, both across the nation and right here in the Hawkeye state. As of January 27th the Center for Disease Control and Prevention(CDC) reported 77 deaths in Iowa as a result of the flu. Nurse Judi Van Hulzen with Marion County Public Health says influenza usually lasts about seven days and includes symptoms such as fatigue, fever, congestion and cough, as well as body aches. Van Hulzen says the flu can result in pneumonia and sometimes death – She recommends people get the flu shot as well as cover their cough, wash their hands and stay home when sick. The CDC is also reporting 33 schools in Iowa that have 10% or more students absent due to the illness.
State Representative Guy Vander Linden (R-Oskaloosa) announced today that he will not seek re-election to the Iowa House in 2018. First elected in 2010, Vander Linden represents House District 79, covering portions of Mahaska and Marion counties, including Oskaloosa and Pella. Why quit now? After more than three decades of public service, Vander Linden felt the time was right to step aside and allow someone new to serve. Vander Linden serves as the Chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, a role he has held for the last two years. Prior to that, he was Chairman of the House State Government Committee from 2013-2014; he’ll will serve out the remainder of his term, which ends January 1, 2019.
Would you like to learn how to create your own prairie garden? The second installment in the new DIY Prairie Series will be from 10 a.m. Saturday at the Neal Smith National Wildlife Refuge. This program will give you the information you need to establish your own prairie. From seed cleaning and planting to weed control and using a prairie garden for educational purposes, learn a new skill every month in this series. The February topic will be “Garden Planting.” Early planning can make prairie garden creation a snap. Learn the steps of designing a successful garden. For more information, check out the KCWN Community Calendar at wherehopeshines.org.
For some Oskaloosa Middle School students the numbers added up at Southeast Iowa Chapter Math Counts Competition this past Friday. This year’s competition was held on the Central College campus in Pella; Seven schools and 65 students participated in three rounds of competition in which students solved different types of math questions. The first round was the sprint round – students had 40 minutes to solve 35-40 problems. Next was the target round – answering pairs of questions for 8 problems. The final was the team round, where a group of four students collaborated to solve problems and show mastery of math concepts. This year Oskaloosa took a group of ten students who are also part of the Talented and Gifted program – Andrew Drost came in first place overall in the individual competion. His Team of Drost, Roach, Linder, and Nelson came in second overall! Lawson Morris came away with a fourth place finish overall in the individual competition as well.
Winter is here in South Central Iowa – widespread snow blanketed the area yesterday; Pella picked up six inches, while over in Knoxville they were just shy of 5″ of the white stuff. Additional snow is possible this evening, with a dusting up to two inches possible with a system expected after 6 p.m.
It was a deadly day on Iowa roads yesterday – Seven people, including two teenage sisters, were killed in vehicle crashes Monday across Iowa as a winter storm blanketed parts of the state with up to 8 inches of snow. Across the state, law enforcement agencies reported dozens of crashes that damaged more than 150 vehicles. Sgt. Nathan Ludwig, who has worked for Iowa State Patrol for nearly 20 years, said he could not remember another day this deadly on the roads. One of the deaths yesterday happened in a massive 70-car pileup near Ames on I-35.
A local business in Oskaloosa was destroyed by fire over the weekend – a massive blaze swept through International Ingredients Corporation at 2389 Highway 23 in Oskaloosa yesterday morning. The call to the Oskaloosa Fire Department went out at 11:04 am, and firefighters were able to see the smoke from almost the moment they left the station. Oskaloosa Fire Chief Mark Neff said an “all in” page went out to every Oskaloosa firefighter to respond to the station and gear up, and mutual aid was then asked of numerous South Central Iowa fire departments. Fatigue started to set in on firefighters after hours of fighting the blaze which was nearly the size of a city block. In all, nine departments battled the blaze: Oskaloosa, New Sharon, Cedar Township, Pella, Eddyville, Sigourney, What Cheer, Hedrick, and Ottumwa. The cause of the fire at this time in unknown; International Ingredient Corporation provides animal feed for everything from bees to horses, swine to cattle and companion animals.
Dressed up young ladies along with their spruced up dads and father figures took part in the annual Sugar Plum Fairy Ball Saturday, at Celebrate Community Church in Knoxville. Girls aged five to 12 got a chance to spend a night out with their father figures while enjoying a craft event, bingo, prize drawings, a dessert bar and a DJ. Photographers were also on hand to memorialize the night with photos of dads and daughters as well as pictures of daughters with special guest Miss Iowa 2017 Chelsea Dubczak.