Archive for July, 2009

Council approves non union pay hikes

Posted: Thursday, July 16th, 2009 at 4:56 am

The city of Washington’s non-union employees are getting a pay raise. Councilors voted 3-2 last night in favor of the hike. Mayor Sandra Johnson says it would be difficult not to offer some kind of increase. Non union employees making less than $40,000 per year will see a two percent increase, those making more than $40,000 will get a one percent raise.

Tall corn monument

Posted: Thursday, July 16th, 2009 at 4:56 am

A monument to the world’s tallest corn stalk will be erected at the Washington County Fairgrounds this morning (7/16). In 1946 local farmer Don Radda captured the record at just over 31 feet. His daughter, Julie will be joined by a number of community supporters at the fairgrounds at 10:00 to set up a metallic replica of the monster corn stalk.

Thursday Night Live

Posted: Thursday, July 16th, 2009 at 4:56 am

Tonight’s (7/16) Thursday Night Live activities in Downtown Washington will have a double feature. “Second Hand Toes” is described by the chamber of commerce as a group of “mature” ladies who love to tap dance. They’ll tell the story of their dreams and goals. They’ll be tapping to some old favorites. Gary McCurdy, also known as “The Tubador” will also be entertaining with his 100 year old tuba. The festivities kick off tonight with the farmer’s market at 5:00 in Washington’s Central Park. Entertainment begins at 6:30, with the municipal band on stage at 8:00.

Methodist Church to serve Iowa favorites

Posted: Thursday, July 16th, 2009 at 4:56 am

Two Iowa favorites are on the menu tonight (7/16) at the Methodist Church in Washington. Pork sandwiches, and a buffet of sweetcorn are being served from 4-7. Organizers say there will also be chips, bar desserts and drinks. Tickets are six dollars in advance or seven dollars at the door. For more information or to get advanced tickets call 653-5466.

Meditation seminar

Posted: Thursday, July 16th, 2009 at 4:55 am

If youve ever been interested in different treatments for stress-related illnesses, you may be a perfect candidate for transcendental meditation, or TM. Dr. Serena Grosswald, an expert on TM and ADHD will be in Washington today (7/16) to tell residents about the benefits of this effortless and highly beneficial treatment. She says meditation helps clear the mind and relax the patient. Grosswald says there has been nearly 27-million dollars in research of TM and the treatment is also highly beneficial for things like ADHD and post-traumatic stress disorder. The meeting will be at the library at 7:00 pm tonight.

Earwigs, don’t actually attack ears

Posted: Thursday, July 16th, 2009 at 4:55 am

Contrary to popular belief and the urban legend, one summer pest is more interested in your plants than your ears. ISU Extension insect clinician Laura Jesse says earwigs have begun their feast of southeast Iowas plants. Jesse says while there is probably no way to completely rid a yard of earwigs, there are still some methods of containing the bugs. She recommends placing boards or newspapers on the ground and daily collecting the earwigs that gather underneath. Jesse says insecticides should only be a last resort and advises avoiding flowers so as not to harm the helpful pollinating insects.

U of I Prof recalls Apollo 11

Posted: Thursday, July 16th, 2009 at 4:54 am

Today (7/16) marks the 40th anniversary of the launch of the Apollo 11 mission, the first to put a human being on a planetary body other than the earth. Stephen Spanlger is a professor of astronomy at the University of Iowa. He doubts there will be another event that captures the world’s attention like the mission to the moon did. Spangler says he watched the Apollo 11 mission from his family farm in Henry County. He says interest in the space program has wained since the moon landing as the human race has become more people centered.

Richmond resident protests sewer system

Posted: Wednesday, July 15th, 2009 at 4:35 am

A proposed dual lagoon sewer system in Richmond has some community residents concerned. Bonnie Knutsen says it will be costly to scrap individual septic systems and hook on to the proposed lagoon operation. Knutsen says she favors allowing home owners to keep individual septic systems, and mandating that those who aren’t in compliance update their systems. County officials say while the lagoon was not mandated by DNR, it is the system recommended by the engineering firm they hired.

Washington identifies urban reserve district

Posted: Wednesday, July 15th, 2009 at 4:34 am

The city of Washington is identifying where they want, and expect future growth. The city council and planning and zoning commission held a special joint meeting last night. Mayor Sandra Johnson expects expansion towards Iowa City. The city is devising an urban reserve district as Washington County moves forward with a zoning ordinance. The district serves as an area set aside for expansion, and would be put in place as to not conflict with the counties zoning.

City council preview

Posted: Wednesday, July 15th, 2009 at 4:34 am

Washington City Council members will hear about a proposal for Highway 1 and 92 intersection tonight (7/15). They’re having a special work session with representatives of the Iowa Department of Transportation. They could also reopen talks on setting cost of living salary adjustments for non union employees. This has been a contentious issue among councilors. They’re also expected to set a date for a public hearing for the Washington Bandstand renovation project. The workshop the DOT starts at 6:00. The regular meeting starts at 7:00 in the public library.

Washington business owners invited to hear consultant

Posted: Wednesday, July 15th, 2009 at 4:34 am

Washington business owners are invited for a brown bag lunch with a little advice tomorrow (7/16). Business consultant Margie Johnson is will address a number of issues including sales and marketing, customer retention and team building. Johnson is being brought in through Main Street Washington’s downtown revitalization effort. She’ll be speaking at the Presbyterian Church from noon to 1:00. It’s free and open to the public.

Crop update

Posted: Wednesday, July 15th, 2009 at 4:34 am

It’s been a very cool wet July which is exactly what Iowa farmers don’t need. The USDA says producers continue to struggle with bailing hay and draining excess water from low lying cropland. In southeast Iowa, 43% topsoil is listed as having surplus moisture, while 42% of subsoil moisture is in the excessive range. The federal agency says crop conditions are still in decent shape. Locally 19% of corn has tasseled, compared with 14% statewide. 23% of southeast Iowa soybeans are blooming, compared with 32% statewide.

Policy changes at WACO

Posted: Wednesday, July 15th, 2009 at 4:33 am

The WACO School Board will have their hands full with a number of policy changes at next weeks meeting on Monday (7/20) at 7:00 in the high school library. The board will consider a grand total of four policy changes that will cover topics from home school assistance programs to even the schools policies on bomb threats. The public is invited to attend, however those wishing to speak must submit their request in writing to the superintendent no later than noon on Monday.

Summer travel not hindered by economy

Posted: Wednesday, July 15th, 2009 at 4:32 am

Despite a tough economy, it seems people still want to get out and see the world. Barb Arnold with Paradise Travel in Washington says while families are trying to budget their vacations, she has still seen interest in places like Italy, Mexico, and Hawaii. Arnold says even with internet travel booking popular, people still turn to travel agents to find the best overall deal when it comes to flights and hotels. She says summer is also a popular time for business travel and honeymoons.

Washington poll reached more women, elderly

Posted: Tuesday, July 14th, 2009 at 4:46 am

A public opinion poll indicates Washington residents are, for the most part, satisfied with their community. The numbers a preliminary at this point, and pollsters from the Mikva Challenge say they could be misleading. Nearly 67% of the more than 600 people surveyed were women, while more than half were over the age of 65. They say that compares with US Census numbers that indicate a median age of 42, with 30% of the population over the age of 65. The data is being processed by the University of Iowa, and will be adjusted to make it more representative.

County updating ordinances with state law

Posted: Tuesday, July 14th, 2009 at 4:46 am

Washington County is in the process of reviewing it’s code of ordinances. Auditor Bill Fredrick says they’ve hired a company to review the ordinances, and make sure there is no conflict with state law. The board of supervisors will have a public hearing on adopting the new ordinances at next week’s meeting. Fredrick says ordinances are usually only implemented for situations unique to Washington County.

Land shift leads to more cash rentals

Posted: Tuesday, July 14th, 2009 at 4:46 am

A recent study indicates a majority of Iowa’s farmland is owned by people close to retirement. ISU Extension Farm Management Specialist Jim Jensen says this is leading to a decrease in share crop leasing, and more cash rentals. Jensen says as farmland values decline, more producers see leasing as a viable option. He says they’re are some things to keep in mind when considering leasing. Jensen will be having a series of seminars across eastern Iowa this month. Contact the Johnson County Extension Office for more information and to register.

Brighton Visioning

Posted: Tuesday, July 14th, 2009 at 4:46 am

Officials in Brighton are asking for the publics opinion on what changes should be made in the city. City Clerk Linda Burger says there are surveys now available for residents to complete and turn in by July 31 which will give planning committees an idea of where some areas of concern are. Burger says the Horizons project is in its third stage and has already worked on city beautification and child safety projects as well as a city resource guide. Surveys can be found at Brighton City Hall.

4-Hers receive grants

Posted: Tuesday, July 14th, 2009 at 4:45 am

Four Washington County youth were recently honored with $2,000 scholarships from Hills Bank. Seneca Cuddeback of Brighton, Ryan Gent of Wellman, Lauren Moeller and Shelby Sieren of Keota were awarded the scholarships as part of the Hills Bank 4-H Leadership Grant program. ISU Extension Education Director Gene Mohling says the four recipients will receive $500 for each semester for two years. He says they can be used at any of Iowas accredited universities and colleges.

14 vie for Fair Queen title

Posted: Tuesday, July 14th, 2009 at 4:45 am

Fourteen young women from around the area will compete in this year’s Washington County Fair Queen Contest. Coordinator Shirley Greiner says in addition to the competition, there be other entertainment. Greiner says this year’s contest will be emceed by Anne Michael Langguth, who was Miss Iowa 2008. She says one of this year’s judges is last year’s fair queen, Natalie Friese. The contest starts at 7:00 this Sunday (7/19) at the Washington Community Center.