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News 2/20/09


PHOTO: Tony Bokhoven (l) Award winner Ivan Vos (c) and Mike Schuring (r) at Pella Chamber Awards Banquet.

Ten individuals honored at chamber banquet 
The Pella Chamber of Commerce held their annual awards banquet Thursday night at the Pella Golf and Country Club. The Hall of Fame recipients included: Fred Kreykes for Lifetime Community Service; Vern Haagsma, Gordon Van Zanten and Ivan Vos for Education; Mike Lubberden for Industry Innovator; Bob Kroese and Betsy Roe for Professional Leader; Gerrit Vander Beek for Retail; Marv Tysseling for Tourism and Jerry Blom for Volunteer.

School board considers budget proposal later this month 
The Knoxville school district budget review committee made a $1.13 million reduction for next year’s budget. Superintendent Dr. Randy Flack says the teaching, staff, and spending cuts proposed were the most viable choices to keep the district financially sound and beneficial to students. However, Knoxville high school social studies teacher and Knoxville Education Association Leader Jim Nilles says the proposed cuts of 11 teaching positions and 10 associates, among others, will mean larger classroom sizes and less assistance for teachers. He says although he sees the value in some reductions, other sources of revenue could be used to offset costs. The school board will consider the proposal February 23rd.

Development agreement creates new jobs 
A Pella technology firm promises to create new jobs as part of a development agreement with the city. As a result of the agreement, ICE Technologies will receive tax-increment financing for their expansion in the Southgate Business Park. City Administrator Mike Nardini says this reimburses the cost for extending Roosevelt Road, or roughly $43,000. The agreement stipulates that ICE Technologies maintain current staffing levels and add 25 employees to the Pella site by 2015. 

Residents have coffee with the mayor 
The around $600,000 trimmed from the Knoxville budget, getting a progress update on the VA Campus, and discussing the importance of forming and maintaining area committees and groups were some of the issues discussed at Coffee With The Mayor Thursday.

Weekend snow straining public works budget 
Many of the snow storms earlier this year have hit the area on weekends, which is putting a strain on Knoxville’s Public Works Department budget. Knoxville City Manager Dick Schrad says the city hasn’t been removing the snow piles or clearing alleys until the weekdays in order to avoid paying overtime. 

Early childhood advocates encourage childcare providers to register with DHS 
Childcare providers are encouraged to register with the Iowa Department of Human Services. Amy Zuck with Marion County Child Care Resource and Referral says the program is currently optional for those caring for less than five children. Zuck says many early-childhood advocates would like to see registration become mandatory. According to Zuck, registration simply creates minimum health and safety requirements. 

RRRRT returns to the airwaves 
Marion County residents can hear the colorful characters, good music, and laughs of the Red Rock Retro Radio Theatre’s "Cruising Lake Red Rock" production during a re-broadcast on KNIA/KRLS Sunday from 5 to 6 p.m. The performance is also available by clicking on Community Content Connector on the KNIA/KRLS homepage. 

Pella hosts show choir invitational Saturday 
Pella Community High School
hosts the first-ever Dutch Masters Show Choir Invitational this Saturday. Vocal Director Michelle Chaplin says the event will feature groups from Iowa, South Dakota and one from Minnesota. A total of 20 show choirs will compete with exhibitions from three Pella groups: PellAdrenaline, Dutch Divas and AcaPella. Chaplin says performances start at 8 a.m. Saturday. Tickets are $8.

Students participate in FFA career development event 
Seven Knoxville students earned a bronze medal earlier this week at the FFA Career Development Event held at Twin Cedars. Freshmen Andy Smith, Maria Finan, Jen Kuenstling, Tanya Wilke, Wes Flattery, Chris Norman, and Nathan Dunaway earned the awards. Emily Klootwyk also earned a gold medal at the event. 

SOY Family Fun Day is tomorrow 
An area mentoring organization plans a day of family fun. Serve Our Youth will hold their annual Family Fun Day this Saturday. Executive Director Bernie Van Roekel says they’ll have inflatables, games, activities and food. Family Fun Day is from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday at the Vermeer Global Pavilion.