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News 4/8/09



Apartment fire sends one person to the hospital 
Plumes of smoke greeted first responders at an apartment building near the corner of Marion and 4th Streets in Knoxville blast night, where an apartment fire sent one resident to the hospital with burn injuries. Knoxville Fire Department Chief Mike Roberts tells KNIA/KRLS News that the cause of the fire remains under investigation. He says the Red Cross found temporary shelter for displaced residents.

Fire destroys barn near Harvey 
An early morning blaze destroyed a barn at 1990 Oklahoma Drive southwest of Harvey. The structure was a total loss, with crews containing the blaze when they arrived on scene around 12:30 a.m., preventing it from spreading to surrounding agricultural buildings. Mid-American Energy crews arrived on scene and worked on a nearby power line which appeared to have caught fire, and was sparking. 

Local banks have money to loan 
The national credit crunch hasn’t put a hold on local lending. Marion County Bank Vice President David Greving says they’re experiencing record loan demand right now fueled in large part by home refinancing. He says many homeowners are taking advantage of low-interest rates. Bob Wims is executive vice-president of Iowa State Savings Bank in Knoxville. He says Iowa State Savings Bank has money available and will meet with residents looking to apply for a loan. 

Council decides to re-bid waste collection contract 
The Pella City Council chose to re-bid the city solid waste collection contract at their meeting Tuesday night. The city received bids from Midwest Sanitation and Waste Management of Iowa, with Waste Management as the low bidder. After two attempts to award a contract – first to Waste Management and then to Midwest Sanitation each failed – council voted unanimously to re-bid the contract. 

Increase in business reduces 3M layoffs 
Layoff numbers at 3M Co. in Knoxville are not as high as originally anticipated. 3M spokesperson Jeff Horacek tells KNIA/KRLS News that six of the 20 production employees scheduled to be laid off are going to remain working for the next month, following an increase in business last week. However, Horacek also says two salaried employees have been offered severance packages. 

Electrical fire closes HyVee briefly last night 
A minor electrical fire caused a brief closure of the Pella HyVee late last night. The small fire near an electrical outlet was quickly extinguished by an employee with no damage to the building. Assistant Manager Scott Vandenberg told KNIA/KRLS News as a precaution they asked employees and customers to leave but the store was only closed for about 10 minutes. 

Library Director to retire 
The Knoxville Public Library Director is retiring at the end of May, after 14 years of holding the position. Jan Behrens tells KNIA/KRLS News that she enjoys serving the community, and will continue to remain involved in the library after her retirement. Behrens says the library board is already in the process of selecting a new director. 

Several institutions receive gifts from Huyser estate 
Several local institutions have received generous gifts from the estate of Francis G. and Jeanette Dekker Huyser. Sources say Central College was given over $1 million to be used for scholarships. Other organizations that were awarded gifts include Pella Regional Health Center, First Reformed Church, Pella Historical Society, Christian Opportunity Center, Pella Community Foundation and Crossroads of Pella.

KNIA/KRLS to participate in mock tornado drill 
Severe Weather Awareness Week continues Wednesday with an annual statewide tornado drill being issued by the National Weather Service. The drill is set to take place at approximately 10:15 this morning, and KNIA/KRLS will also conduct a mock tornado drill with our Severe Weather Action Team at that time. 

Asphalt overlay project to begin this month
An asphalt overlay project is set to start later this month. Pella Public Works Director Denny Buyert says the contractor Norris Asphalt will likely start work the week of April 20, provided the weather cooperates. Buyert says the project includes an asphalt overlay for sections of West Fourth, Edgewood, Brook Circle, Boone and Carson streets.