Archive for June, 2009

Iowa Schools receive $316 million

Posted: Wednesday, June 3rd, 2009 at 5:10 am

The first round of school stabilization money has been released by the federal government and school's in Iowa are getting a $316-million slice of the pie. The funding comes with federal guidelines and local school administrators say it's unclear at this time what those are. WACO Superintendent Greg Ray says he hopes it will go to formative assessment. He says it's important for teachers to know how well their students are learning subjects say they can plan appropriately. 

Historic Preservation distributes grants

Posted: Wednesday, June 3rd, 2009 at 5:10 am

The Washington County Historical Preservation Commission distributed $4,000 in annual funding at yesterday's (6/2) board of supervisors meeting. Commission chair Michael Zahs says they were able to support some non profit groups who hadn't previously benefited from the funding. Zahs says historical designations can be a draw for tourism and help boost the local economy. Next year Washington County will increase it's annual support for historic preservation to $4,700. 

Fee increases ease scheduling

Posted: Wednesday, June 3rd, 2009 at 5:09 am

Washington County Clerk of Court Julie Johnson says increases in court costs have cleared up a "scheduling nightmare." Johnson says before the hike, her office, and others across the state, were forced to take furlough days, which often backed up court schedules. The state legislature approved the increases this spring.

How to keep EAB at bay

Posted: Wednesday, June 3rd, 2009 at 5:09 am

The Emerald Ash Borer has devastated tree populations in many Midwestern states, but a local wildlife expert says Iowa has been spared thus far. The Department of Natural Resources' Don Pfeifer says in order to keep it that way, people need to use local firewood. He says the borer lays eggs under the bark of Ash trees and can be transferred to along with firewood. Pfeifer says anyone who has guests coming to the area needs to remind them to get firewood here, and not bring it from places effected by the beetle. 

Website features local contractors

Posted: Wednesday, June 3rd, 2009 at 5:09 am

For many, the summer months are a perfect time to get to projects around the house done. Louisa Builders Network dot com is a service designed to help home handymen find local contractors. The site features contractors from around the county listed by name and community. The website supports local workers and businesses and works to put money back into the community. The website has found support from various organizations such as the Community Foundation of Louisa County and Alliant Energy.

PQAPlus training set

Posted: Wednesday, June 3rd, 2009 at 5:08 am

Iowa State Extension offices and the Iowa Pork Center are teaming up to offer Pork Quality Assurance Plus training sessions. In Washington County, swine field specialist Tom Miller is conducting the program. Miller says it's designed to certify safe pork products. He says it covers everything from proper use of medical equipment to humane treatment The Washington P-Q-A Plus session is June 16. It costs $25 and pre-registration is required.

Two wheeled safety

Posted: Wednesday, June 3rd, 2009 at 5:08 am

Warmer weather means more two-wheeled vehicles on the roads. Washington Police Chief Greg Goodman says bicycles and motorcycles can be more difficult to see than passenger cars. He's urging drivers to use extra caution. Goodman says bikers can do their part to stay safe as well. He says there is no helmet law on the books in Iowa, or Washington. However, he encourages those who ride to wear one to add another level of protection.

FEMA videos document flood, tornadoes

Posted: Tuesday, June 2nd, 2009 at 4:50 am

FEMA has complied a video documentary of last year's Iowa natural disasters. Videographer Mike Mancino says the "Triumph over Tragedy" series captures the recovery efforts in areas hit by flooding and tornadoes last year. They include such efforts in Iowa City, Muscatine and Cedar Rapids. They also feature first responders and a one year anniversary slide show. The videos can be viewed at FEMA's website.

Flood warning continues today

Posted: Tuesday, June 2nd, 2009 at 4:50 am

Portions of Eastern Iowa remain under a flood warning today as heavy rainfall continued in the area yesterday. The National Weather Service says the Iowa River was nearly half a foot above flood stage yesterday, and could rise high enough to effect agricultural land in Johnson and Iowa counties today. Motorists are reminded to never drive through flooded out roadways and bridges.

Iowa’s housing market still positive

Posted: Tuesday, June 2nd, 2009 at 4:49 am

With news of big bailouts, corporate reorganizations, and layoffs all over the country, its hard to find a light at the end of the economic tunnel. But Steve Olson with West Chester Savings Bank says the housing loan situation in Iowa is quite positive. He says a recent 8-thousand dollar tax credit as well as low mortgage rates makes now an ideal time for first-time buyers to start looking to buy a home. He says both of these factors make Iowa unique from the rest of the nation when it comes to finding a loan.

Wellman City Council

Posted: Tuesday, June 2nd, 2009 at 4:49 am

Council members, as well interested members of the general public, met for the Wellman City Council meeting yesterday (6/1). One of the highlights of the meeting was a proposition to enter into a contract agreement for law enforcement with Washington County for the 2009-10 fiscal year. Other topics included the sheriffs report, approval of the agenda, Aprils financial statement, and an approval to close a city road. The meeting was held yesterday at the Wellman Municipal Building.

Washington Park Board

Posted: Tuesday, June 2nd, 2009 at 4:49 am

Washington Park Board members will be discussing a new sound system for the Central Park Bandstand at tonight's (6/2) meeting. They'll also continue talks on whether the city's aquatic center should be renamed after former YMCA swim coach Milo Steele. Also on the docket is a progress report on construction at Water Tower Park. The meeting starts 6:30 this evening in Washington City Hall.

Riverside could get new trails

Posted: Tuesday, June 2nd, 2009 at 4:49 am

The city of Riverside may be getting some brand new trails. At their Community Visioning meeting last week, representatives from various development organizations discussed the possibility of adding a trail that connects Riverside with Vine Avenue north of Highway 22. This trail would also link up with the Riverside Casino just east of town. Enthusiasm for the proposal was high from the various attending organizations, which included such groups as Trees Forever, the Iowa DOT, and city representatives.

How to avoid Ticks

Posted: Tuesday, June 2nd, 2009 at 4:48 am

As the weather warms up, and schools let out, more people are enjoying the great outdoors. Outdoor activities do pose certain risks, one of which is ticks. Don Pfeiffer with the southeast Iowa district DNR says it's important to check for ticks after venturing into the woods. Pfeiffer says it's best to use insect repellents that contain DEET in order to ward of ticks and other bugs. He also says vanilla extract, Absorbine Junior and Avon Skin So Soft work to deter the pests.

WJH report cards

Posted: Tuesday, June 2nd, 2009 at 4:48 am

Report cards for Washington Junior High Students are available. The school's Cathy Kleese says they can be picked up during regular office hours from 8-noon and 1-4 until June 19. Questions can be answered by calling the junior high office at 653-5414.

Cheese maker to establish milk transfer station in Washington

Posted: Monday, June 1st, 2009 at 11:18 am

Washington's Industrial Park is getting a new business. The Washington Economic Development Group says Wisconsin based Montchevre produces goat cheese and is establishing a transfer station for milk in Washington. Montchevre President Arnaud Solandt says Washington is a good location because it's in the middle of their milk routes. Solandt says they hope to one day make a full scale production facility in Washington. Construction on the 2.75 acre site is expected to start this summer. To learn more about the company visit:

Washington Pork

Posted: Monday, June 1st, 2009 at 4:17 am

The H1N1 virus and a slumping economy haven’t been kind to the pork industry. However some Washington County hog farmers seem to be growing. Board of Supervisors Chairman Jim Miksch says they’ve seen a lot of expansion requests lately. Supervisors this week are slated to sign off on such an expansion. The meeting starts tomorrow (6/2) morning at 9:30 in the Washington County Courthouse.

Kewash Enhancement

Posted: Monday, June 1st, 2009 at 4:17 am

An enhancement project is being proposed for the Kewash Trailhead. The plan would revamp the landscape of a two block section of trail at north Avenue D and west to north F. It would remove some or all of the second growth trees and replace them with a preferred. The effort could take place over the next year or two.

School’s out safety

Posted: Monday, June 1st, 2009 at 4:17 am

Area schools will be out for the summer soon and that means more kids out during the day. Washington Police Chief Greg Goodman is reminding residents to use extra caution as there will be increased pedestrian and vehicular traffic. Goodman says it’s easy to get distracted by cell phones and car stereos. He urges drivers to focus on driving while behind the wheel.

Washington Co. Historical Society launches website

Posted: Monday, June 1st, 2009 at 4:16 am

Washington County’s Historical Society is launching a website. Board member Terry Oneill says they decided to put some of their content online so tourists can plan a trip through Washington County’s historical landmarks. Oneill says there’s no real centralized archive of historical information about Washington County. He’s hoping this website will change that. The site can be visited at