Archive for May, 2009

Work Continues on Robinson Street

Posted: Saturday, May 30th, 2009 at 6:46 am

Crews on Robinson Street in Knoxville are pouring colored concrete and continuing paving, with the project set to be finished sometime in June, weather permitting.  Knoxville City Manager Dick Schrad says crews will also be working on intersection tie-ins and placement of streetlamps, as part of a design by the Streetscape Committee.  In related news, progress continues on South Fifth Street, and crews will be temporarily closing down sections of that area as they work. 


Pella students at Odyssey of Mind event

Posted: Saturday, May 30th, 2009 at 6:45 am

A team of Pella fifth-and-sixth-graders has been at Iowa State University in Ames much of this week for the World Finals of Odyssey of the Mind, a global problem-solving competition. The Pella team competed in a functional engineering category called Teach Yer Creature.

Its been one year since the Attica tornado

Posted: Saturday, May 30th, 2009 at 6:45 am

One year after an F-2 tornado tore through Attica and the surrounding countryside on May 30th, 2008, the area is seeing newly built homes and community growth. Thats according to Indiana Township Fire Chief Mike Legvold. He says although the twister destroyed the fire station, a new station is set to be built and a memorial dedication is being planned where the old station was.

Some airfares see drop in price compared to last year

Posted: Saturday, May 30th, 2009 at 6:44 am

Travelers are finding that some overseas airfares have dropped significantly in price since this time last year. Sherman Van Zee is the owner of Reiswinkel Travel Shoppe in Pella. Van Zee says travelers can find good deals on trips to Europe and notes that he recently booked a customer on a flight to Frankfurt, Germany at essentially half-price.

Report: county crop and livestock value on the increase

Posted: Saturday, May 30th, 2009 at 6:44 am

Marion County’s market value of crop and livestock increased 35% overall from 2002 to 2007.  A USDA census report released yesterday says the county’s market value increased to over $92 million, up from $68 million in 2002.  The census also shows a 10% decrease in the number of farms and 11% decrease in farmland in the county.  Government payments to farms in the county also saw an overall increase of 18% during that time, to over $5.5 million. 


Pella Christian coach retires

Posted: Saturday, May 30th, 2009 at 6:43 am

A 35-year teaching career at Pella Christian High School came to an end Friday for Mr. Gordon Van Zanten. The longtime English instructor and former basketball and baseball coach is retiring to Colorado with his wife after 40-years in the profession. Pella Christian High School Principal Darryl De Ruiter says Van Zanten will be greatly missed. The school even hired one of his former students Rachel Renaud to replace him.

Sprint Car Driver Dies in Crash

Posted: Saturday, May 30th, 2009 at 6:42 am

A sprint car driver from Concordia, Kansas died early Saturday morning after sustaining injuries in a crash during the Midget Nationals at the Knoxville Raceway Friday. Officials at Mercy Hospital in Des Moines tell KNIA/KRLS News that Chad McDaniel passed away at 12:37 a.m. Saturday.

Vehicle rollover on highway 163

Posted: Saturday, May 30th, 2009 at 6:27 am

One person was transported to Pella Regional Health Center following a single-vehicle rollover on Highway 163 near Otley Friday afternoon. Thats according to the Marion County Sheriffs Department. A deputy at the scene told KNIA/KRLS News that the injuries appeared to be minor. The Marion County Sheriffs Department, the Pella Fire Department and Pella Ambulance all responded to the scene.

House Fire in Knoxville

Posted: Saturday, May 30th, 2009 at 6:26 am

A house fire on the 500 block of East Madison Street in Knoxville Friday afternoon saw a quick response from crews and no reports of injuries. Knoxville Fire & rescue, Knoxville Township Fire Department and Knoxville Police Department all found plumes of smoke pouring out of the roof, doors and windows of the residence. Crews had the fire extinguished within 45 minutes, while remaining on scene to secure the area. Knoxville Fire Chief Mike Roberts says the cause of the fire appears to be accidental and remains under investigation.

Local banks hit less hard by economic conditions

Posted: Friday, May 29th, 2009 at 5:42 am

Although some banks in Iowa are seeing an increase of more than 2% of their loans as ‘nonperforming’, the stability of local banks in Marion County makes them less affected by potential dips in business.  That’s according to Stu Job, president and CEO of Iowa State Saving Bank in Knoxville.  He says Iowa State Savings Bank and area banks weren’t involved in the big commercial and real estate boons and busts more common in metropolitan areas, and therefore remained more salient once the national economy began to sag last year.  Denny Hanson of Valley Bank in Knoxville says the bank also has remained stable by working with customers and not financing large commercial real estate which was severely affected nation-wide.  Mark Prill, president of Pleasantville State Bank, says the bank has not seen an increase in nonperforming loans and continues to practice sound business practices. 

Commercial loans remain healthy for Pella banks

Posted: Friday, May 29th, 2009 at 5:42 am

In Pella, Marion County Bank President Pete Verhey says banks are paying attention to possible commercial loan losses with the current economic climate. However, Verhey says at this point he doesn’t foresee any grave problems with commercial loans. Community First Credit Union Branch Manager Ryan Doschadis says the credit union looks to keep their rate of nonperforming loans under one percent. MidWestOne Bank of Pella Vice President of Commercial Banking Carrie Ver Ploeg says they’re well within or below the peer group average as far as nonperforming loans. Leighton State Bank President Steve Fopma describes possible issues with commercial loans as a natural consequence of a depressed economy. As a community bank, Fopma says they work closely with people to address those situations and help them get through difficult times.

Marysville mayor faces sentencing today

Posted: Friday, May 29th, 2009 at 5:41 am

The mayor of Marysville—who pled guilty to one count of prescription drug violations—has sentencing set for Friday at 9:30 a.m.  Law enforcement charged Sherri Pettyjohn in January after pursuing reports of false prescriptions being given at multiple pharmacies.

Two people injured in crash

Posted: Friday, May 29th, 2009 at 5:41 am

Two people were transported by ambulance from the scene of a vehicle rollover on Highway 163 east of Pella Thursday afternoon. That’s according to the Mahaska County Sheriff’s Department, who told KNIA/KRLS News that the individuals sustained non-life-threatening injuries. The incident occurred near mile marker 51. Traffic eastbound was reduced to one lane as authorities cleared the scene.

Fire department seeks smaller rescue vehicle

Posted: Friday, May 29th, 2009 at 5:39 am

The Knoxville Fire Department continues looking into exchanging their heavy rescue truck for a smaller, more useful one.  Knoxville Fire Chief Mike Roberts says their current heavy rescue truck is excessively heavy, has a very wide turning radius, and is impractical to maneuver on city streets, among other factors. The department did receive one bid on the truck,  and at a special meeting earlier this week the city council gave the fire department direction to go back to the broker to make a counter offer of $174,000,  $10,000 more than the offered price, and then to bring back a contract of purchase for the truck if the broker agrees.

City to advertise for new community services director

Posted: Friday, May 29th, 2009 at 5:39 am

The city of Pella will be searching for a new community services director. Kevin Vos had been with the city since 2005. Vos starts his new position as superintendent at Bos Landen on Monday but says he will continue to oversee the annual flower program for the city. Pella City Administrator Mike Nardini says they plan to advertise for the community services position later this summer. The community services director oversees the parks, recreation and aquatics departments for the city of Pella.

ISU Extension prepares for reorganization

Posted: Friday, May 29th, 2009 at 5:37 am

ISU is set to begin interviews for the 20 state-wide Extension Office directors soon.  That’s according to Marion County ISU Extension Education Director Dale Miller.  He says once a director of field operations is selected, that person will join a team of interviewers for the 20 director positions: reduced from 97 directors as a way to deal with significant budget cuts for the university.  Each director would then be in charge of re-grouped extension “regions”, with Marion County grouped with Jasper, Mahaska, and Poweshiek counties. of re-grouped extension “regions”.

Organizers being planning Independence Day celebration

Posted: Friday, May 29th, 2009 at 5:35 am

Planning for the Pella Fourth of July celebration is already underway. The first meeting of the planning committee was held Wednesday. Festivities are likely to include games and activities at Central Park, food stands and entertainment on the Tulip Toren. Entries are being sought for the parade. Interested parties can contact Parade Organizer Merlyn Vander Leest at 628-2189.

Residents attend Lake Red Rock program

Posted: Friday, May 29th, 2009 at 5:34 am

Forty-seven area residents attended a program hosted by the Knoxville Historic Preservation Commission last night.  Commission member Carolyn Formanek says the program, by Will Prather and entitled “Historic Towns of Lake Red Rock”, was the second in a series of monthly programs relating to the history and heritage of Knoxville.  Prather spoke on a variety of subjects, including early Red Rock, the Red Rock Line, and early steamboats on the Des Moines River, among others.

Library prepares for summer reading programs

Posted: Friday, May 29th, 2009 at 5:32 am

The Pella Public Library is preparing for their busiest month of the year. Library Director Wendy Street says they’re looking forward to an influx of visitors with the summer reading programs. She says the adult summer reading program starts Monday. Street notes that adults can also participate in a book discussion on June 23 about “The Rope Walk,” by Carrie Brown, which is this year’s All Iowa Reads selection.

Crews replacing railroad bridge near Knoxville

Posted: Thursday, May 28th, 2009 at 5:45 am

Railroad crews are replacing the railroad bridge on the north side of East Main Street/T15 at Competine Creek on the east side of Knoxville.  That’s according to Knoxville Public Works Director Jeff May.  He says the project will require the closing of one lane of East Main Street/T15 at different times during construction and the pubic should expect delays when the road is restricted to one lane.  The project will be completed sometime in July.