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News 3/9/09

Posted: Monday, March 9th, 2009 at 5:34 am

Rain pelts Marion County over the weekend 
2.3 inches of rainfall hit Marion County over the weekend. Streams and Creeks overflowed their banks by several feet, including English Creek south of Knoxville, Cedar Creek south of Bussey and the South Skunk river north of Pella. Rains also damaged the 400-block of Quebec Street near Melcher-Dallas, closing one lane of traffic. Also for much of the weekend Highway 92 between Oskaloosa and Knoxville was closed or down to one lane, but it is now open. 

Pleasantville FD responds to fire early this morning 
The Pleasantville Fire Department responded to a fire in the 400 block of North Douglas in Pleasantville early this morning. No injuries were reported, and the situation was secured quickly.

Legislative Coffee generates lively discussion 
Residents discussed state and city issues at a Pella League of Women Voters Legislative Coffee Saturday. State Representative Jim Van Engelenhoven and Pella Mayor Darrell Dobernecker participated in the forum. The state budget became one topic of conversation. Van Engelenhoven told the crowd of about 25 that additional state budget cuts are likely following the next quarterly forecast from the Revenue Estimating Conference. On the city side, Dobernecker touched on issues ranging from Bos Landen Golf Course to Caldwell Park. 

School board to set hearing date on energy proposal 
Greening the school district is one topic on the Pella School Board agenda today. The board is scheduled to set a public hearing date on a proposal that aims to make the district more energy efficient. This has become an ongoing issue for the school district since a study was commissioned in August of 2006. In other business, the board will consider a staff development proposal and receive a legislative update. The Pella School Board meets at 4:30 p.m. at the administration office. 

Board to review budget recommendation 
The Knoxville School District Budget Review Committee will report to the School Board at their meeting today at 6:30 p.m. in the administration building. Superintendent Dr. Randy Flack says the committee will review the original recommendation, which includes reconfiguring kindergarten through 8th grade. A summary of alternative cuts will be presented at the March 25th school board meeting if the board does not approve the reconfiguration of grades K-8. 

Bald Eagle Day a success 
Organizers estimate that between 800-1000 people attended Bald Eagle Day this year. The 21st annual celebration of the Bald Eagle featured live eagle and raptor programs at Central College, eagle viewing below the Lake Red Rock Dam, an environmental fair and more. Park Ranger Tracy Spry says the turnout was comparable or even higher than previous years. Spry says the event helps remind us that we almost lost our national symbol. 

New electrical permits required 
Any Marion County residents doing major electrical work in their homes which are not in areas already conducting electrical inspections need to apply for an electrical permit for inspection. The Marion County Zoning Department says residents can check to see what kind of projects require a permit by visiting or calling 515-725-6147.

Choir students perform at Pella Cabaret Night 
Pella Cabaret Night drew large crowds to the high school Saturday as students performed two sold out shows. The catered candlelit dinner featured soloists, ensembles, choirs and show choirs. Director Michelle Chaplin says the event is a fundraiser for the vocal music department and helps pay for registration fees, music, platforms and more. 

Council to hold budget hearing tonight 
A public hearing for the 2009-2010 city budget is set during a special Knoxville City Council meeting this evening at 5:15 in City Hall. The budget must be submitted to the state by March 15th. 

Tassel Ridge Winery receives two awards 
Tassel Ridge has two more award-winning wines. The winery has announced that their 2007 Edelweiss won double-gold and their Prairie Snow won gold in the Best of Appellation Evaluation. According to Tassel Ridge, 20 wines from seven Iowa wineries were submitted in the competition. Appellation refers to winegrowing regions with officially recognized boundaries.