Archive for March, 2009

WHS Speech team headed to state

Posted: Friday, March 20th, 2009 at 4:53 am

Three members of the Washington High School Speech Team will be competing in the All-State Individual Speech showcase later this month. Andrew Schneider will be performing radio news, While Brian Langr and Nolan Bread will compete in storytelling. An all state performance is the highest individual speech award in Iowa. Breard and Langr also received All-State honorable mentions for their acting performances. The All-State contest will be held March 30 at the University of Northern Iowa in Cedar Falls.

WJH Band awards

Posted: Friday, March 20th, 2009 at 4:53 am

Washington Junior High band students recently earned high marks in two major contests. In the large group concert band competition in Ottumwa, they received an overall rating of one, which is the second highest score on a scale of eight. Band members also recently participated in the solo and ensemble night. Members played as duets, trios or quartets. There were three elementary solos, and and two junior high solos. 7th grade pianist Madeline Hora, 8th grade clarinet player Keri Murphy and elementary clarinet player Cathy Meserole received the title of Oustanding Performers.

Kalona Playground Committee receives more money

Posted: Friday, March 20th, 2009 at 4:52 am

The Kalona Playground Improvement committee is receiving donations from many area businesses. Jan Knebel with the committee says she received a call from the Iowa City Wal-Mart. She says they are giving the playground project a check for $1000. Jan will be going to their morning meeting next Tuesday, March 24th to receive the check. Knebel says the donations helps to bring them closer to their goal of a fun and safe playground for all the kids in the community.

IMS to host concert

Posted: Friday, March 20th, 2009 at 4:52 am

IMS will host the annual Midwest Regional Mennonite Orchestra Festival this weekend. IMS Principle Tony Miller says the Festival is comprised of Bethany Christian, Central Christian, and Iowa Mennonite and will culminate with a concert Sunday afternoon at 3:00 p.m. Miller says each individual orchestra will perform a selection, followed by the Festival Orchestra combining all schools together. An offering will be taken to help defray festival costs.

Purple Martin workshop

Posted: Friday, March 20th, 2009 at 4:51 am

A workshop-seminar on attracting Purple martins will be held next Saturday, March 28, beginning at 9:10 A.M. at the CAM Iowa Clothing Center, 1005 Nutmeg Ave in Kalona. Jim Walters is one of the coordinators and says the Purple martin is one of our most wanted songbirds since a well-maintained colony brings joy to any neighborhood. He says martin populations are rebounding across North America as people put up improved housing and learn proper monitoring techniques. There will be a $2.00 registration fee and lunch will be available at the site. The event will be held next Saturday, March 28 at the CAM Iowa Clothing Center in Kalona.

Washington Schools to receive stimulus money

Posted: Thursday, March 19th, 2009 at 7:45 am

The Washington Community School District is getting almost $140,000 dollars in Title I funds from the Economic Recovery package. According to a release from Senator Tom Harkin's office, the money can be used to hire teachers and teacher assistants, provide tutoring, create school computer labs, fund parent involvement activities, purchase instructional materials, host professional development for teachers and create pre-kindergarten classes. In all, Iowa schools are expected to receive more than $50 million in stimulus money. Washington Schools could see their slice of the pie as early as this month.

Sigourney students put stimulus money to work

Posted: Thursday, March 19th, 2009 at 7:45 am

The Sigourney Schools are helping students to learn about starting and operating their own business. Superintendent Todd Abrahamson says they received money from the Harkin new construction grant. He says they will be opening Keokuk County Career Academy for high school juniors and seniors, and interested adults next fall. Abrahamson says they have a lot of students that are well on there way to becoming successful entrepreneurs. He says they already have one student who has developed and patented a product that has a company from West Des Moines looking at it and working with the student.

Washington Co. Attorney looks to cut down on paperwork

Posted: Thursday, March 19th, 2009 at 7:41 am

The Washington County attorney wants to cut down on paperwork. Barb Edmondson says her office will begin utilizing a computerized case management system. Edmondson says aside from being able to access local files more easily, it will also enable her to better communicate with other counties as well as police departments and other public agencies. She also says it will have a rather sizable startup cost but feels it will save money in the long run. Edmondson also says its hoped that one day every county in Iowa will participate in the program.

Washington Council tables outdoor liquor request

Posted: Thursday, March 19th, 2009 at 7:40 am

The Washington City Council wants some more time to consider a liquor license request. Cafe Dodici would like to serve alcohol at tables located on the sidewalk outside the establishment. Council members decided they would like to table the request at last night's meeting. Cafe Dodici co-owner Lori Williams says she understands their decision. She feels the sort of outdoor cafe she wants to establish would be a great addition to Washington's down town area. City council members say they want to make sure it wouldn't obstruct traffic. Mayor Sandra Johnson says they have to be mindful about what kind of precedent allowing the measure might set.

Northey-Land Values

Posted: Thursday, March 19th, 2009 at 7:40 am

The Secretary of the Iowa Department of Agriculture says the recent decline in farm land values is probably a normal fluctuation. Bill Northey says property prices are locked up in a long term view. He says last summer's flooding probably didn't have much to do with the drop. Northey says the prices are impacted by yields, and the expense a farmer pays to utilize the land. To hear more from Northey tune in to KCII this afternoon at 1:00, and again at 6:00 this evening for a special edition agriculture news magazine.

Origami for kids

Posted: Thursday, March 19th, 2009 at 7:38 am

The Kalona Public Library will be hosting an origami crafts event Friday, March 27 from 3:30 to 4:15PM in the Velma Skola Program Room. Youth Services Librarian Marissa Tartaglia says children ages 5 to 12 are invited to make a variety of origami crafts, such as a jumping frog, pinwheel star, and a flying crane. She says this program is free of charge and no registration is necessary. For more information call the library at 319-656-3501.

Mid Prairie exchange program

Posted: Thursday, March 19th, 2009 at 7:37 am

Mid Prairie schools have been hosting foreign exchange students for many years. One student, Katrina, came from the eastern part of Russia to live and learn in the Mid Prairie School District. Karina says she is really enjoying living here and getting to know many other kids but it is very different than the school she came from. She says it is very different than the part of Russia that she is used to because of the wide open spaces. Karina says this is an experience that she will take with her through out her entire life.

Louisa Sheriff’s deputy makes daring rescue

Posted: Wednesday, March 18th, 2009 at 7:23 am

The Louisa County Sheriff’s office received a call of a person on the Iowa River Bridge on Highway 99 east of Wapello around 3:30 Monday afternoon. Chief Deputy Adam Claudle says he wasn’t too far away when the call came in and responded. He says he watched as the person went off the bridge then went into the water and got her out to safety. Claudle says the Wapello Rescue Unit and Ambulance responded and the person was transported to Great River medical Center for observation, he says that she is doing well and getting treatment.

Former Washington resident makes generous donation to bandstand project

Posted: Wednesday, March 18th, 2009 at 7:23 am

An effort to raise enough money to renovate the city of Washington’s Central Park bandstand got a huge boost recently. Former Washington resident and Municipal Band member John Jackson has donated $175,000 to the effort. This, combined with money from the Washington Betterment Foundation, the City Park Board and the Washington County Riverboat Foundation puts the project in the realm of reality. John Jackson was a charter member of the Washington Municipal Band in 1932, and went on to be a member of the 34th Army Band, Iowa Army National Guard, where he served during World War-II. Organizers of the volunteer committee in charge of the fund raising effort say Mr. Jackson “now has the appreciation of 7,000 Washington city citizens and countless citizens throughout Washington County and beyond.” They say they will continue to solicit funds to make further improvements to Central Park.

The rising cost of ambulance service

Posted: Wednesday, March 18th, 2009 at 7:23 am

The director of Washington County’s Ambulance Service says there needs to be some changes in certain laws, or many counties could find themselves doing without. Richard Young says they are mandated to do a lot of different things by the state and federal government, but are rarely given enough financial help. Young says this, combined with a lot of out of work people without insurance has created some hardships for the ambulance service. Right now counties in Iowa are not required to provide an ambulance. Young says if they were, it might take some of the burden off of individual counties, as the state might be more apt to help.

Washington County official thinks now is better than later for road repairs

Posted: Wednesday, March 18th, 2009 at 7:22 am

Transportation serves as a lifeline, keeping industries of all types running. Many parts of Iowa especially rural areas, are facing a huge decision…how to pay for road improvements. Washington County Engineer David Patterson says wherever the money comes from, it would be wiser to act sooner than later. Many people are against issuing bonds to pay for improved infrastructure because it would drive the state further into debt. Patterson says it might actually save money in the grand scheme. He says if policy makers continue to wait, construction prices will continue to go up. Patterson says issuing bonds would lock in those prices.

Lone Tree starts its own stimulus program

Posted: Wednesday, March 18th, 2009 at 7:22 am

The Lone Tree City Council has passed a resolution giving a $2500 grant to first time home buyers on the purchase of a home in Black Otter Creek Addition, known as Finley Addition. City Councilor Helen Lemley says she wants to get Lone Tree building again. Lemly says at this time Yakish Construction, M & R Construction and Magruder Construction have agreed to a $5000 building credit. This is in addition to the American Recovery Act giving first time home buyers up to $8000 in tax credits, essentially giving qualifying home buyers a $20,500 credit toward the purchase of a home in the Finley Addition.

Kalona Parks gearing up

Posted: Wednesday, March 18th, 2009 at 7:21 am

The Kalona City Park and pool are getting ready to be used. Todd Fitzsenry , the Kalona Parks and Recreation supervisor says they are getting the parks ready for use by cutting grass and making sure everything is within there safety guidelines. He says the opening day will be April 15th.

Rain gardens

Posted: Wednesday, March 18th, 2009 at 6:54 am

Spring is in the air, and many people are getting their gardens ready. But, if there’s a spot on your property that always seems to hold water, and is too wet for even grass to grow, Linn County Master Gardener Judy Stevens can help. She will lead a program on rain gardens this Tuesday, March 24 at the Washington County Extension Office at 7:00 pm. She’ll discuss what flowers and plants you can use in low places that will thrive and grow. The event is free and open to the public. For more information contact the Washington County Extension office at 319-653-4811.

Policy making and agriculture

Posted: Tuesday, March 17th, 2009 at 7:50 am

As agriculture changes, many smaller operations are finding it more difficult to compete with larger ones. However, southeast Iowa’s state representative says that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Larry Marek says many smaller producers have begun turning to niche crops. Marek says without larger operations, there would be acres left unused. He also says commercial outfits provide much needed jobs.