Archive for June, 2009

Fire destroys barn in rural Ainsworth

Posted: Tuesday, June 30th, 2009 at 4:54 am

A barn was lost, but no injuries were reported after a fire in rural Ainsworth. The Washington County Safety Center says they received a report Sunday night indicating the barn at 3270 185th street was “fully engulfed” in flames. Personnel from Ainsworth and Riverside Fire Departments as well as the Washington County Ambulance Service, Rural Electric Cooperative and the Sheriff’s Department all responded to the blaze. The safety center says the value of the structure is unknown.

portion of 218 closed today

Posted: Tuesday, June 30th, 2009 at 4:54 am

One southbound lane of U-S 218 will be closed in Washington County today. The Iowa Department of Transportation says the right lane will be closed between County Road G26 and Iowa 22 near Riverside while crews conduct patching operations. Motorists are asked to use caution near on and off ramps, and to watch for workers and equipment. The maintenance work is expected to be completed by 4:00 tomorrow (7/1) afternoon.

Washington School Board to talk petition language

Posted: Tuesday, June 30th, 2009 at 4:52 am

The Washington School Board is discussing bond petition language at a special meeting tonight (6/30). Last week members approved a $36-million facilities plan that was developed by representatives from the state association of school boards. In order to come up with the money for the plan, voters will have to approve issuing bonds. Before that can happen, a petition with enough signatures has to be submitted to election officials. Tonight’s meeting starts at 6:30 in the school administration.

Weather favorable for corn, soybeans

Posted: Tuesday, June 30th, 2009 at 4:52 am

Warm, dry weather is in the forecast this week, and that’s coming as welcome news to southeast Iowa farmers. Washington County Extension Education Director Gene Mohling says much of the region saw excessive amounts of rainfall in the past few weeks, making weed control difficult. Mohling says the wet weather has also hampered hay harvests. He says in some spots the first cutting was completely lost. High temperatures are expected in the low eighties this week with little or no chance of rainfall.

Fireworks permits down this year

Posted: Tuesday, June 30th, 2009 at 4:52 am

With the Fourth of July this weekend, the auditors office has been busy issuing permits for private fireworks displays. County Auditor Bill Frederick says his office this year has issued 18 permits to residents, as opposed to 25 issued last year. Despite this drop, he says there are some issued after the holiday for special celebrations, such as weddings or reunions. Frederick says the process to receive a permit is long, and at this point it is impossible to get one in time for the holiday.

Supervisor concerned with minibus during winter

Posted: Tuesday, June 30th, 2009 at 4:52 am

A Washington County supervisor is concerned with how reliable the county minibus is during the winter months. Jim Rosien says a great deal of people rely on the service to get them to and from work, and it creates a hardship when the service stops during inclement weather. Rosien says they’re fortunate to have Washington County Developmental Center to serve as a back up for area residents with disabilities.

Washington Library gearing up for move

Posted: Tuesday, June 30th, 2009 at 4:51 am

The Washington Public Library is gearing up for it’s move to the new building. Director Patrick Finney says one of the biggest challenges will be keeping things organized during the transition. He says it won’t be a fun process, but will be worth it once their settled in. Construction at the new library is expected to be complete by August. Finney says they hope to set a grand opening date in the near future.

57 hoof it in 5-H run/walk

Posted: Tuesday, June 30th, 2009 at 4:51 am

Some residents of Washington County got a sneak peak of the upcoming Washington County Fair this past weekend at the 4-H sponsored 5k run/walk. Originally slated for June 19, rain and severe weather postponed the first annual event until this past Friday. Kati Peiffer, 4-H Youth Coordinator says 57 people participated in the inaugural run, and were able to catch a glimpse of fair preparations as animals were already being assembled for the July 19-24 county fair.

Washington man pleads guilty to stealing guns from flooded homes

Posted: Monday, June 29th, 2009 at 4:17 am

(AP) – A Washington man has been sentenced to more than four years in prison for stealing guns from homes that had been evacuated during last year’s floods. 21 year old Benjamin Willett pleaded guilty in U-S District Court in Davenport for unlawful possession of firearms. The U-S attorney’s office says Willett, and two other men broke in to at least four Coralville homes that had been evacuated and stole at least 25 guns. Police searched the men’s apartments and found 16 stolen guns, after an undercover officer bought one of them from the men.

Supervisors talk wind energy

Posted: Monday, June 29th, 2009 at 4:16 am

Washington County Supervisors are talking wind energy at this week’s meeting. They’ll hear a presentation from Assessor Lil Perry on how land that wind turbines go on will be valuated. Kansas City Based TradeWind Energy has been working with local officials on developing a plan for what could be the largest wind farm in Iowa. It would most likely be located in the northern part of the county and stretch from Riverside, to the Keokuk County line.

BOS’s asked to support overturn of SC ruling allowing same sex marriage

Posted: Monday, June 29th, 2009 at 4:16 am

Conservative groups are urging county boards of supervisors to pass resolutions supporting a constitutional amendment that would overturn Iowa’s Supreme Court Decision allowing gay marriage. Washington County Board Chair Jim Miksch says it is not something they’re looking in to. Miksch doesn’t see much of a future for Washington supervisors to be involved in such an issue. A Handful of boards in other parts of the state have passed the non-binding resolution.

Schmitz expects more budget cutsSchmitz expects more budget cuts

Posted: Monday, June 29th, 2009 at 4:16 am

A southeast Iowa state lawmaker says the legislature is looking at more “belt tightening” in the next fiscal year. Fairfield Senator Becky Schmitz hopes they can get by without a special session, but says it might be necessary. Schmitz expects the sting of the economic downturn to be felt into next year. She anticipates the state’s needs will outlast the federal stimulus money.

Washington in high compliance with SmokeFree act

Posted: Monday, June 29th, 2009 at 4:15 am

Nearly a year after the passing of the Smokefree Air Act, many Washington area businesses say the law has had an overall positive effect. In the past year only three businesses have received a notice of violation from the Iowa Department of Public Health, none of those three has received a second notice. Sarah Yoder with Washington County Tobacco Use and Prevention says businesses who do allow smoking see higher costs, higher insurance premiums, and lower employee productivity.

Tristate Local Food Conference

Posted: Monday, June 29th, 2009 at 4:15 am

Southeast Iowa will be host to this year’s Tri-State Local Food Conference. Elizabet Humbe is a local food coordinator for Hometown Harvest. She says this year’s conference will focus on sustainability. The event is a collaborative effort by a range of educational institutions, local food proponents, and economic and financial entities. It’ll be held this September in Fairfield. To find out more visit

4-H Alumni

Posted: Monday, June 29th, 2009 at 4:15 am

Although the Washington County Fair is about a month away, preparations are already well underway to make this years event something special. 4-H Youth Coordinator Katie Peiffer says one event she is very excited for is the alumni steer show, where the past and present of 4-H will come together. Peiffer says the event is not just beneficial for the youngsters in the organization. She says current members can share stories and helpful advice to the alumni as well. Even though some of the alumni may not have dealt with cattle during their years, she still says it will be a fun way to get past members interested and involved with 4-H again.

Washington Superintendent worked with Parkersburg football coach

Posted: Saturday, June 27th, 2009 at 6:49 am

Washington’s Schools Superintendent says the death of Parkersburg football coach Ed Thomas is a great loss to Iowa’s education system. Dave Sextro worked with Thomas on the state high school athletic association. Sextro says Thomas “was an icon for the school, and will be greatly missed.” Thomas was shot to death this week by a former player at a weight room facility next to the school. He’d served as football coach for Aplington-Parkersburg for 34 years.

10 positions up for election on school boards

Posted: Saturday, June 27th, 2009 at 6:49 am

Ten board positions in three school districts will be up for election this September in Washington County. Three of those are in Highland, three in Mid Prairie and Four in Washington. Every position is for a four year term that ends in 2013, with the exception of Washington’s district 5, which is to fill a vacancy ending in 2011. The first day for candidates to file with school board secretaries is July 6. The deadline to file is July 30. Each position requires a certain amount of signatures to file, although the county auditor’s office suggests exceeding that minimum.

Lone Tree subdivision home buyers to receive tax credit

Posted: Saturday, June 27th, 2009 at 6:47 am

First time homebuyers may be getting some help in finding a house in Lone Tree. A meeting will be held on Tuesday to discuss $20,000 in tax credits for buyers in the citys Black Otter Subdivision. These tax incentives range from a $2,500 loan from the city itself, and an eight-thousand dollar grant from the Recovery and Reinvestment Act. The USDA is currently holding similar meetings across the state in an effort to encourage the growth of rural homeowners in Iowa.

Bandstand project moves forward

Posted: Saturday, June 27th, 2009 at 6:47 am

Architectural plans for renovating Washington’s Central Park Bandstand are complete, and almost ready for city council approval. Moline, Illinois based architect John Mahon presented the blue prints at yesterday’s (6/26) park board meeting. He says maintaining the structure’s historic charm will be one of the biggest challenges. The city council is expected to set a public hearing date at their next meeting. After that they would approve the plans. Construction could start as early as this August.

30,000 kids to enter Hawk-I program

Posted: Saturday, June 27th, 2009 at 6:45 am

Laws passed by the Iowa Legislature go into effect next month. Fairfield State Senator Becky Schmitz says one of the most sweeping changes provides health insurance to more children through the Hawk-I program. Hawk-I is partially funded through the federal State Children’s Health Insurance Program. It provides coverage based on income.