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News 3/9/09


Grass fire burns several acres 
For the second time in one day, the Knoxville Township Fire Department responded to grass fires on 108th Place Wednesday. First, a grassfire occurred over several acres on the 1700 block of 108th Place, then later in the day another blaze occurred at 108th Place and Perry Street, where smoke and orange embers on several fields greeted the crews. No injuries were reported in both instances. Columbia Fire Department and Melcher-Dallas Fire Departments also responded to the second fire, with crews at the scene for approximately one hour bringing the blaze under control. 

Firefighters respond to grass fires 
Firefighters responded to a small grassfire south of Pella Wednesday afternoon. Firefighters were able to quickly extinguish the blaze, which occurred approximately one mile south of Pella on Highway T-17. Crews were dispatched to another grass fire about two hours later near Holland Drive and Highway G-28. 

Budget contains funding for significant projects 
The city of Pella budget for next fiscal year contains funding for a number of major projects. City Administrator Mike Nardini says theyve allocated more than $4 million for a new Class C airport, a project awaiting approval from the Federal Aviation Administration. If approved, 95 percent of the cost of the new airport would be covered by federal funds. The budget also includes $1.7 million for reconstruction of North Main Street, among other projects. 

Cause of illness still unknown 
Residents from the Pleasantville school district who had an unknown illness earlier this week are recovering, although the cause remains unknown. On Monday 60 Pleasantville students and 17 teachers and staff were absent, reporting symptoms of vomiting and diarrhea. Marion County Public Health Director Kim Dorn urges residents to continue washing their hands, not to make food for others if feeling ill, and not share the same dishes or silverware. 

Republicans introduce job creation package 
State senator and Republican minority leader Paul McKinley shared the first specifics on a job creation package from Republican senators Wednesday. McKinley tells KNIA/KRLS News the plan proposes tax credits for job creation, creating a small business ombudsmen to investigate complaints made by job creators against the state government, and create a task force to inform Iowans of options if they’re thinking of starting a business, among other issues. 

Pella continues state tournament play 
The Pella Girls basketball team continues state tournament play tonight versus a familiar foe. Pella will play Sioux City Heelan in the Class 3A state semifinals, one year after meeting in the state championship game. Tip-off is at 7:30 and coverage begins at 7:15 on 92.1 KRLS. 

Food service director testifies in D.C. 
The food services director for the Knoxville School district was in Washington D.C. Wednesday, touting the positives of the schools nutrition program with the Senate Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry Committee. Knoxville Schools Superintendent Randy Flack says Connie Boldt was sharing how the district has taken steps to eliminate obesity, educate students on healthy eating and improve their overall health goals. He says Boldt is also expressing support for more federal nutrition dollars.

Pella Corp receives Energy Star Award 
Pella Corporation receives an award from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Energy. The company received a 2009 Energy Star Sustained Excellence Award. According to Pella Corporation, this is the third consecutive year they’ve received an award from the federal government for energy efficiency. Sources say Pella will be honored at an awards presentation March 31 in Washington D.C.

Budget review committee meets this morning 
The Knoxville School District Budget Review Committee is meeting at 7 a.m. today in the Board of Education meeting room. Identifying budget priorities, reviewing employee suggestions, and deciding what to keep or change are set. Last month the Knoxville School Board set a special meeting to consider the budget for March 25th.

Students to learn about agriculture 
About 400 Marion County students will spend today learning about agriculture. Ag in the Classroom is being held at the Vermeer Global Pavilion. The event is organized by the Marion County Farm Bureau and Vice-President Steve Kuiper says the event features live animals, food displays, and grain production equipment.