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News 2/26/09


County receives FEMA funds 
In response from last summers severe weather and flooding, Marion County has received over $500,000 in obligated public assistance funds from FEMA, with more expected to come. Marion County Emergency Management Coordinator Jeff Anderson says the county was approved for around $663,000 in assistance, although the numbers could change. He adds the county received $261,000 being used for individual and household programs. 

Properly dispose of analog TV sets 
The South Central Iowa Solid Waste Agency is seeing an influx of analog television sets due to the transition to digital TV. Spokeswoman Amber Alley says those sets need to be properly disposed of as they contain hazardous materials such as lead. Alley says the state requires these types of electronics to be recycled. In related news, an electronic recycling event sponsored by Vermeer Corporation, Pella Corporation and the city of Pella is planned for April 25.

Residents become lost in state forest 
The Marion County Sheriff’s Office helped Monroe County law enforcement search for and locate three Knoxville residents lost in Stephens State Forest early Wednesday morning. Monroe County Sheriff Daniel Johnson says the Marion County Communications Center began receiving calls from the residents, who said they were trying to film themselves surviving in the wilderness in imitation of a TV program, but became lost and called 911. The residents were located after a search in the area of 500th avenue and 130th street in Monroe County.

Delegation to travel to D.C. 
A delegation from Marion County will travel to Washington D.C. in about a month to meet with federal legislators. The annual trip is organized by the Pella Area Development Corporation. Director Karen Eischen says a new connection to Interstate 80 will be one topic of conversation. Eischen says additional federal funds would be needed to study a route extending from Highway 92 to Interstate 80.

County Board proposes lower overall salary increase 
The Marion County Board of Supervisors proposed a lower overall salary increase for county officials for the 2009-2010 county budget than what the county Compensation Board recommended earlier this year. Board of Supervisors chair Howard Pothoven says they proposed an overall salary increase 60% less than the proposed increase from the Compensation Board. 

Dollars for Scholars application deadline nears 
Pella Dollars for Scholars applications are due next month. The scholarship organization says applications must be mailed by March 13. Forms are available in the Pella and Pella Christian guidance counselor’s offices and also are available online through the Pella Dollars for Scholars and the Pella Community Foundation websites. Last year, the organization awarded a total of $70,000 to 177 graduating seniors. 

Officials balance county budget 
The 2009-10 proposed budget for Marion County is looking balanced. That’s according to Marion County Board of Supervisors Chair Howard Pothoven. He says finishing work on the $3.4 million courthouse remodeling project, window replacement project and having an increase in housing evaluations last year helped free up more funds for budgeting. 

Legislators again consider issue of cell phone use while driving 
A proposal to ban cell phone use while driving has scientific merit. Central College Professor of Psychology Peggy Fitch says research suggests that it is much more difficult than we originally thought to drive and use a cell phone. She says this also applies to hand-free devices. State legislators have offered bills in recent years that would limit cell phone use while driving. 

Cattlemens Association offers scholarships 
The Marion County Cattlemens Association is offering three $500 scholarships to qualified high school graduates planning to further their education this fall. Applicants must be the child of a parent who has been a paid regular member of the Marion County Cattlemens Association for at least two years including 2008 and 2009. The application form must be returned by March 6th. 

CSI program planned at library 
An upcoming event at the Pella Public Library is a glimpse into the world of crime investigation. According to the library, Lieutenant Shane Cox of the Pella Police Department will talk about crime scene investigation during a special program March 10 at 7:00 p.m. at the library.