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News 3/12/09

Posted: Thursday, March 12th, 2009 at 5:32 am

Crash injures three 
A single-vehicle crash sent three Marion County residents to the hospital yesterday, with non-life threatening injuries, after the driver lost control of the vehicle, which went into a ditch around 6 p.m. The Melcher-Dallas Fire Department, Columbia Fire & Rescue and Marion County Sheriff’s Deputies responded to the scene northeast of Melcher-Dallas on 60th and 61st Place.

Cordova Center receives federal funds 
Federal funding is now approved to continue design of the Cordova Center near Lake Red Rock. According to Senator Tom Harkin’s Office, funds included in the 2009 omnibus spending bill will be used to continue pre-construction engineering and design activities. The project was unveiled in March of last year and called for a 70,000 square foot environmental learning center, performing arts amphitheatre and events plaza, among other features. The Cordova Center will receive a share of $3.8 million allocated for the Des Moines River Green Belt. 

Unemployment rate rises 
The Marion County unemployment rate climbed to 5.8 percent in January, according to figures released by Iowa Workforce Development. However, that still remains below the national average for January of 7.6 percent. Iowa Workforce Development spokeswoman Kerry Koonce says about 200 more people in Marion County began collecting unemployment in January compared to December. She says this is a combination of typical seasonal layoffs and the current economy.

Mayor visiting state capitol to discuss VA 
Knoxvilles mayor is traveling to the state capitol Thursday morning to speak with the chair of the House Iowa Veterans Committee about the future of the VA Campus. Mayor Harv Sprafka tells KNIA/KRLS News that both he and Knoxville city councilwoman Lori Beary are meeting with committee chair Ray Zirkelbach, as well as other legislative leaders and groups with an interest in veterans affairs.

City Council approves budget 
The Knoxville City Council approved the 2009-10 city budget earlier this week. Next years levy rate is slightly higher than last year at $15.04 per $1,000 of taxable valuation. Thats according to Knoxville City Manager Dick Schrad. He says the general fund budget is $3.17 million, up $40,000 from last year. Schrad says the increase is due to built in costs, including a 3.25% wage increase from a union labor contract for some city employees.

Pella Christian play for a spot in the championship 
Pella Christian continues state tournament play this afternoon. The Eagles will play Fort Dodge-St. Edmund in the semifinals of the Class 2A state boys basketball tournament. Tip-off is at 3:45 at Wells Fargo Arena with coverage starting at 3:30 on 92.1 KRLS. Pella Christian is 25-1 on the year.

Officials determine cause of Pleasantville illness 
An illness which affected over 70 Pleasantville residents last week was determined to be the norovirus, which can cause vomiting, diarrhea and fever to up to 48 hours, with no long term effects. That’s according to Kim Dorn, Marion County Public Health Director. She says the virus was spread by infected people not staying home from school or washing their hands, which transmitted the virus quicker. 

Pella FFA held their banquet this week
The Pella FFA held their banquet Tuesday night. FFA Advisor Mark Williams says about 124 students and parents attended the event held at the Pella Community High School cafeteria. He describes the banquet as a celebration of FFA and says students were recognized with various awards. Williams notes the meal was catered by the family and consumer science classes. 

Students donate blood 
137 Knoxville high school students volunteered to donate blood at a drive Monday, smashing school and regional student donation records. With a total of 124 units collected, sources say the drive saw the most high school students ever to donate within a six-county area for the Southeast Iowa Blood Center. 

Friday is deadline for Dollars for Scholars applications 
Friday is the deadline for Pella Dollars for Scholars applications. According to the scholarship organization, applications must be mailed to Pella Dollars for Scholars by tomorrow. Last year, 177 graduating seniors received a total of $70,000 from Pella Dollars for Scholars. Awards are given to students at Pella Community High School and Pella Christian High School.