- April 27, 2017
Several school districts in south central Iowa are continuing a sharing agreement that allow them to pool resources and save money – the Pella School Board recently voted to extend an agreement with the Knoxville and Lynnville-Sully school districts, which allows them to share a transportation director, human resources director, and business office person – Lynville-Sully receives maintenance assistance from Pella as well. Superintendent Greg Ebeling says the schools have agreed to share personnel not only as a means to save money, but due to incentives from the state the three districts also receive extra funding as well. Ebeling says they’ve implemented these policies more frequently as annual general fund increases have declined over the past few years.
A family in rural Mahaska county is trying to pick up the pieces after their home south of Oskaloosa was severely damaged in a fire Tuesday afternoon. Eddyville Volunteer Fire Department was paged to report of smoke coming from the windows of the home in the 2800 block of Kent Avenue around 3 pm Wednesday afternoon. Oskaloosa Fire Department was called as well; by the time they arrived flames were shooting from the 2nd story window of the home. Thankfully no one was harmed in the blaze – Steve Boender, father of owner BJ Boender, confirmed that everyone living in the home has been accounted for.
- April 26, 2017
State senator Ken Rozenboom feels the current legislative session has been a successful one for Republicans in the statehouse, saying the party has made significant progress on achieving their agenda. Rozenboom says he’s pleased with the legislative direction of both chambers over the last four months, saying the November election was a referendum for GOP priorities. There’s still work to be done however, particularly in the area of water quality in the Hawkeye state – Rozenboom believes water quality will be a top priority in both the Iowa Senate and House next year.
The Oskaloosa Public Library Reading Garden got some love this past Earth Day thanks to more than a dozen members of the Oskaloosa High School Key Club and the Friends of the Oskaloosa Public Library as they added new plants and fixed up the garden this past Saturday. Chandi Maleski, the youth services librarian with the Oskaloosa Public Library, said the clean-up effort was part of the groups’ spring clean up projects and an Earth Day public service project. The group was raking leaves, cleaning up small bits of trash, pulling out weeds and planting various plants.
Des Moines authorities have released the name of a man whose body was recovered from the Des Moines River. Police identified him as 52-year-old Robert Webb, who lived in Des Moines. His body was spotted around 7:30 a.m. Saturday. Police say an autopsy revealed no evidence that a crime was involved in Webb’s death.
- April 25, 2017
Pella Christian High grad Rachel Brand may be facing the same kind of delays that held up the recent appointment of Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court. Brand was nominated by president Donald Trump to serve as U.S. Associate Attorney General in his administration. U.S. Sen. Chuck Grassley isn’t sure why the nomination of Brand became a partisan issue; Brand’s nomination cleared through the judiciary committee on an 11-9 vote among party lines. Grassley said a filibuster could be on the horizon once her nomination hits the floor for confirmation. While that could bring further delay, Grassley said she will eventually make it through the Senate. The associate attorney general is the third-ranking position in the U.S. Department of Justice. The office handles policies for issues involving civil justice, public safety, and law enforcement on the federal and local level.
Third grade students in Oskaloosa got a taste of life on the farm when they visited the Southern Iowa Fairgrounds for Ag Day on Friday, April 21st. 14 different stations were setup in the barn, pavilion and outdoors at the fairgrounds- Agriculture in the Classroom Coordinator Karen Adams says the kids get to learn where our food comes from and see the variety of products, from biofuels to alternative clothing fibers, that come from the modern farm.
- April 24, 2017
The Pella High Dutch are saying goodbye to boy’s basketball coach Mark Core, who recently accepted the head varsity boys’ coaching position with the Des Moines East High Scarlets. Coaching the boys team since 1995, Core took the Little Dutch to the state tournament 11 times in his career, and has 488 career wins to his credit. The 2016-17 Pella Dutch squad was 22-3 overall last season, winning the Little Hawkeye Conference title with a mark of 12-2. Under the direction of Coach Core, the Dutch won back-to-back state titles in 2002 and 2003. In 2002 Pella tripped up Harlan 61-53. The 2003 championship game saw the Dutch knock off Harlan 66-52. Pella was also runner-up in 1997 and again in 2010.
A group of Little Critters is on the move in Oskaloosa and spreading the word to stop littering. The group, comprised of Oskaloosa Middle School student council members, recently visited the Oskaloosa elementary school, where they shared the message about cleaning up trash with three different classrooms. Some of the students portrayed characters from Cat in the Hat and Scooby Doo, while others shared their message through games or skits. Student Council advisor Kirsten Stek said “Litter Critters” is one of the many service projects the student councils do throughout the year.
- April 20, 2017
If you’ve ever tried to turn left when you’re coming off 163 near the airport in Pella, you know how dangerous that intersection can be – now the Pella City Council is working to make that intersection safer by implementing a traffic control system for the busy area. An engineering services agreement was approved Tuesday that begins designs for additional traffic control at the eastbound Highway 163 Exit 40 ramps on Washington Street. City Administrator Mike Nardini says more than $500,000 in improvements are in the works, including additional turn lanes and traffic lights at the intersection with West 15th Street. Once finished, the city will need to figure out how to fund the project – if the city self-funds the work could be done later this year; if they apply for a matching Iowa DOT grant they’ll need to tack on an additional year.
Folks in Oskaloosa are getting ready for the annual Chalk the Walk fundraising event this Saturday – The United Way of Mahaska County and FACE (Fine Arts and Culture Events) is teaming up with students in the Media Club during this event to raise money for Operation Backpack, where Oskaloosa residents will color the town square with chalk as they raise money for this great cause. Participants may purchase sidewalk squares for ten dollars to draw on and are encouraged to bring their own chalk – all proceeds will benefit Operation Backpack.