The first continental solar eclipse in 99 years couldn’t stop the clouds and rain on Monday, making it difficult for many in South Central Iowa to catch a glimpse of this once in a lifetime event. The poor weather didn’t dampen everyone’s spirits – Pella Historical Society says they had dozens of residents and visitors turn out to a viewing party during the peak obstruction of the sun just after 1 p.m. The next solar eclipse visible in the United States won’t happen until 2024.
A 39-year-old woman was found dead this past Sunday at Lake Keomah State Park – when the Mahaska County Sheriff’s Office arrived at site #48 they found the woman had passed away in her tent. After a preliminary investigation officials have ruled out foul play but the cause remains unknown; the body has been sent to Ankeny for an autopsy.
A recent Pella High School graduate earned a top honor at the 2017 Iowa State Fair. Ridge McGinley of Pella placed first in the senior division during the championship round of the 58th annual Bill Riley Talent Search Competition held earlier today. McGinley walked away with an $8,000 prize for his lyrical dance performance.
The Knoxville School District will host their Back to School Night this evening from 5-7pm at each of the local school buildings – parents, students and guardians can bring their school supplies to school, meet teachers and get prepared for the start of school on Thursday; middle schoolers and high schoolers will also receive a laptop computer at the event.
Are your kids having a hard time sleeping? If so, Mahaska Health Partnership has some tips that might help them get some zzz’s. Pediatrician John O’Brien, MD says having a set routine that ensures kids get 9 to 11 hours of sleep a day is critical. He also says screen time – the use of devices like televisions, smart phones, tablets, and computers, is the #1 reason kids have a hard time falling asleep – he says all devices should be off at least an hour before your little one’s head hits the pillow.
Ottumwa’s Jubilee Bible Church delivered free backpacks filled with school supplies to Wilson Elementary School Friday as it has for the past 13 years. Members donated money for the purchase of everything on Wilson’s school supply list. Church member Roxanne Anderson said the congregation has basically adopted Wilson Elementary, which pastor Randy Saylor said is the poorest school in the city.
Swimmers – stay away from North Overlook and Whitebreast beaches at Lake Red Rock – that’s the word from lake officials, who found potentially dangerous levels of bacteria in their most recent water sample tests. Sampling at the beaches is performed weekly by officials with the Corps of Engineers through a contract with Iowa State University. While water at the beaches may not be safe, officials say bacteria levels are low in the main body of the lake.
A house just north of the Pella City Limits was hit by lightning during early morning storms yesterday. At around 5:30am a bolt hit the back side of a home on 616 228th Place, which caused a fire. Emergency responders were called but thankfully the homeowner was able to put out the blaze before they arrived.
Despite some rain showers hitting dry areas throughout the state this week, drought continued to worsen throughout most of the region and Iowa. According to the latest U.S. Drought Monitor, almost all of Marion County is now under severe drought (D2), and nearby counties are now in extreme drought (D3) conditions. Most of Lucas, southern Warren, and central Wapello Counties have experienced prolonged dryness over the past two to four months that warranted degradation to that category, according to the report.
Sen. Joni Ernst said Thursday she wished President Donald Trump had “been more clear” in denouncing racism and hatred in his public comments during a visit to Wappello County this week. Ernst was in Ottumwa Thursday for a visit to the VA clinic. Ernst, herself a veteran, has made veterans’ issues a focus during her first term in office. She praised the Ottumwa clinic’s home-based patient care, a pilot program that helps get doctors and nurses to veterans who are not able to easily get to offices.
Plenty of change has come to Caldwell Park in Pella already this summer, and even more change is on the way starting this week – that’s the word from Community Services Director Jeanette Vaughan, who says the latest project includes significant improvements to the shelter house, including all new concrete, complete remodel of the restrooms, conversion of a storage area into a concessions kitchen, additional lighting, and electrical upgrades. The project also includes a backer board system that can be set up in the winter months to be able to use a 50’x120’ area under the shelter roof as an ice skating rink. Vaughan says the existing skate park area will be converted into six pickle ball courts and the skate park will be re-located to the green space area just west of the parking lot. Additional sidewalks and landscaping are also included in the project. Hopefully everything should be done by sometime in November.