Archive for May, 2009

City plans to attack weed problem

Posted: Friday, May 22nd, 2009 at 5:41 am

The Knoxville City Council is looking to tackle weed problems at Auld Park and near the Recreation Center.  City Manager Dick Schrad says the council received a proposal on getting a professional to apply weed killer to those areas.  But Schrad says the council wanted to compare that cost with the city getting its own equipment and having city employees certified to apply the chemicals.  Schrad says a proposal on the estimated “in-house” weed killer application is expected in the future.

Pella students graduate tonight

Posted: Friday, May 22nd, 2009 at 5:41 am

One-hundred-forty-two Pella High School seniors will graduate tonight. Assistant High School Principal Eric Nelson says the ceremony is at 7:30 p.m. at the Central College Kuyper Fieldhouse. Nelson says many students are pursuing some form of continuing education with ISU being the most popular university and Central being the most popular private college. In related news, Pella Christian High School will hold their graduation Saturday at 3:00 p.m. at Pella Christian.

Fire department seeks smaller vehicle

Posted: Friday, May 22nd, 2009 at 5:40 am

The Knoxville Fire Department is looking to exchange their heavy rescue truck for a smaller, more useful one.  Knoxville Fire Chief Mike Roberts says their current heavy rescue truck, which was purchased in 2004, is excessively heavy, has a very wide turning radius, and is impractical to maneuver on city streets, among other factors.  Roberts says they hope to exchange the truck for a smaller 4-wheel-drive rescue truck at half the size but with the same equipment.  The department did receive one bid on the truck, but the city council wants more information on other potential bids and the financing cost for the truck, which will be presented in the future.

Poppy Days have arrived

Posted: Friday, May 22nd, 2009 at 5:40 am

The American Legion Post 89 Auxiliary has 1,000 poppies to distribute this year. That’s according to Marcie Vander Leest with the local American Legion Auxiliary. Each year around Memorial Day weekend the organization distributes poppies at various locations in the community. Vander Leest says free will donations are accepted with all proceeds benefiting veterans. In related news, a Memorial Day Service is scheduled for 2 p.m. Sunday at the Pella Memorial Building.

Council approves amendment to leash law

Posted: Friday, May 22nd, 2009 at 5:39 am

The Knoxville City Council approved an amendment to the city “Animals Running at Large” ordinance.  City Manager Dick Schrad says the old ordinance charged dog owners with a simple misdemeanor if owners “allowed” their animal off their property or off a leash.  Schrad says the amendment takes out the phrase “to allow”, so the owner will be held more directly responsible.  Schrad says this will not change how the city will enforce the ordinance, which is primarily on a complaint basis, but would hold owners more responsible in the court system if they are charged with “Animal Running at Large.

Corps begins summer programming season

Posted: Friday, May 22nd, 2009 at 5:39 am

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers kick-off their summer programming season this holiday weekend. According to Park Ranger Tracy Spry, bird hikes will be offered at 7:00 p.m. today and Saturday. The group will meet tonight at the North Overlook Campground and the Wallashuck Campground Saturday night. Also, a wetland exploration is scheduled for 2:00 p.m. Saturday at North Overlook Campground.

Microbrewery planned for Knoxville

Posted: Thursday, May 21st, 2009 at 5:31 am

A microbrewery is coming to downtown Knoxville this fall. That’s according to Megan McKay Ziller with McKay Insurance. She says Dan McKay, Scott Ziller and herself plan to open the White Breast Brewing Company in the old Eagles Building on Main Street. McKay Ziller says the micro-brewery, which will feature varieties of craft brewed beers, will have a small tap room open in the fall with full production and packaging set to take place in spring, 2010.

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Knoxville students honored at awards night

Posted: Thursday, May 21st, 2009 at 5:30 am

The 6th Annual Knoxville High School Scholarship Recognition Program was held Wednesday night.  Eighty-two students were recognized with local scholarships, with many through Knoxville Dollars for Scholars.  Knoxville senior Ashley Larson is one recipient of the 2009 KNIA/KRLS Business and Broadcasting Scholarship, and is attending Loras College in Dubuque, and Karlie Monsma of Pella Christian High School is the other recipient of the annual KNIA/KRLS scholarship.  Monsma is attending Trinity Christian College in Chicago.

Local dealer sees Ford as well-positioned for the future

Posted: Thursday, May 21st, 2009 at 5:30 am

Two of the big three automakers have recently announced plans to close dealerships while Ford Motor Company has announced no such plans. Chuck Vander Waal is the owner of Ulrich Motor Company in Pella. Vander Waal say while this is one of the most difficult times he’s seen in the auto industry, he believes the Ford Motor Company is well-positioned for the future. As a dealer, Vander Waal says the service aspect has become even more important as people delay new vehicle purchases.

Pella Christian holds awards night

Posted: Thursday, May 21st, 2009 at 5:29 am

Pella Christian High School held their annual awards night Wednesday. Students were recognized with awards and scholarships, many of them through Pella Dollars for Scholars. According to Guidance Counselor Dan Van Kooten, 73 students received scholarships and 67 of those were through Pella Dollars for Scholars.

School district forum is tonight

Posted: Thursday, May 21st, 2009 at 5:28 am

The Knoxville School District is looking for input from residents on the district’s declining enrollment.  That’s according to Superintendent Randy Flack.  He says residents are encouraged to attend a public forum at 7 p.m. in the high school commons. 

Officials release more details about Lake Red Rock celebration

Posted: Thursday, May 21st, 2009 at 5:28 am

Officials have released more details about the Lake Red Rock 40th anniversary celebration. Marion County Development Commission Executive Director Carla Eyesink says the festivities start June 12 with a performance by the Pella Shakespeare Festival and continue the following day with a variety of activities ranging from a 5K Walk/Run to a kayaking adventure.

New county service fees take effect

Posted: Thursday, May 21st, 2009 at 5:27 am

New increases in county service fees are helping shift the burden of payment from   the taxpayers to the individual using the services.  That’s according to Cory Frank, Environmental Public Health Manager with the Marion County Public Health Department.  He says the changes, which took effect last week, include a fee increase to $200 for a permit to install a new septic system. 

Shop local campaign underway

Posted: Thursday, May 21st, 2009 at 5:27 am

Pella residents may have noticed some shop local window clings at various local businesses. The Pella Chamber of Commerce is in the midst of a yearlong shop local campaign. Director Karen Eischen says the “Go Local/Grow Pella” lightpole banners will be placed around the community in June. She says each banner is adopted by a local business.

Have coffee with the mayor

Posted: Thursday, May 21st, 2009 at 5:26 am

Area residents are invited to bring their ideas, comments and concerns to Coffee With the Mayor today from 4 to 5 p.m. at the Knoxville Public Library.  Knoxville Mayor Harv Sprafka encourages residents to attend this informal town meeting, which is held on the second floor of the library.

Soccer club offers tryouts

Posted: Thursday, May 21st, 2009 at 5:26 am

The Pella Soccer Club will hold tryouts next week for two girls’ soccer teams. Sources says the tryouts are to form U14 and U12 girls’ premier soccer teams, which is program designed for serious youth who are looking to play at a higher level of competition. Tryouts are May 26 and May 28 at the Pella High School soccer practice field. For more information, visit or call 641-780-5964.

Pella Corp announces leadership transition

Posted: Wednesday, May 20th, 2009 at 5:44 am

Pella Corporation has announced that Pat Meyer will succeed current President and CEO Mel Haught on December 1. Sources say Meyer, who joined Pella Corp in 1990, will now serve as Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer until becoming President and CEO upon Mel Haught’s retirement. Meyer most recently served as Corporate Vice President, overseeing operations of EFCO and the company’s Wylie, Texas Operations and Project Management Office.

Hospitals want more details on heath care reform

Posted: Wednesday, May 20th, 2009 at 5:44 am

As the Obama administration pushes for national health care reform, local hospitals say they’d like to see more details.  Ann Helwig, CEO of Knoxville Hospital & Clinics says although its unclear how health care reform will affect local hospitals, the current system seems to be difficult for people to afford and access.  She says the hospital has implemented a Sensitive Times Economic Program”, which gives qualifying residents a discount on the patient portion of their bill from the hospital.  Pella Regional Health Center also has the Good Samaritan Free Clinic to help those without health insurance, and CEO Bob Kroese says there’s no quick fix for health care reform.  He says factor like cumbersome paperwork requirements and supply prices both have contributed to increased costs.  But Kroese says Iowa Hospitals are consistently ranked among the best in the nation in providing high quality health care, an could be a model for the rest of the country to look to for reform.  

One person injured in crash

Posted: Wednesday, May 20th, 2009 at 5:43 am

One person was brought to the hospital following a one-vehicle accident Tuesday morning on Highway 163 near Exit 42. Officer Chad Hardman with the Pella Police Department says the vehicle was originally traveling eastbound when the driver lost control and crossed lanes. The vehicle eventually came to rest in the westbound ditch. Hardman says the driver was transported by Pella Ambulance to Pella Regional Health Center with non life-threatening injuries.

Historic Preservation Commission receives grant

Posted: Wednesday, May 20th, 2009 at 5:42 am

The Knoxville Historic Preservation Commission received $4,400 in a grant to help supply paint for sprucing up downtown Knoxville businesses.   Commission co-chair Carolyn Formanek says they received the grant from “Keep Iowa Beautiful” through the “Paint Iowa Beautiful Program” for a half block of downtown Knoxville between His & Hers Fitness to the This, That and the Other Consignment Shop.  She says volunteers will be beginning the painting process June 4th through 6th.  Formanek adds the paint scheme will be in an historic downtown pallet.