Archive for July, 2009

Poet Laureate to visit Kalona

Posted: Friday, July 10th, 2009 at 4:53 am

The Poet Laureate of Iowa will be stopping by her summer home, Kalona, to share some of her newest poetry. Mary Swander makes her home in an Amish schoolhouse during the summer months and will be at the Kalona Library telling the story of a mother and daughter trapped on a roof during the flood of 1993. Swander says the story is a fun and funny tale of personal discovery, but one that is not geared towards children. Swander will be at the library Thursday, July 23.

Road closure update

Posted: Friday, July 10th, 2009 at 4:53 am

There are more road closures in Washington due to construction on the IC&E Railroad. City Engineer Rob McDonald says the Marion Avenue crossing between 3rd and 5th Streets are now closed. McDonald says they are attempting to improve ride quality by replacing the pavement near the crossing area. He says motorists should use the Iowa Avenue crossing as an alternative route. McDonald says theyre hoping to have all construction done by Wednesday.

WCEMC legal representation questioned

Posted: Thursday, July 9th, 2009 at 4:50 am

Some members of the Washington County Emergency Management Commission are expressing concern over how quickly county attorney Barb Edmondson can fulfill their legal needs. Edmondson says she is obligated to serve as their counsel, but also has a number of other responsibilities. Commissioners at last night’s (7/8) meeting wanted to know if they could seek other another attorney if Edmondson’s schedule prevented her from completing something in a given time frame. Edmondson says the only time they could legally hire outside counsel, is if Washington County and the emergency management commission found themselves on differing sides of a legal disagreement.

Results of poll of Washington to be released tonight

Posted: Thursday, July 9th, 2009 at 4:49 am

The group of Chicago teens that have been conducting a survey of Washington are taking in the sights this evening (7/9). Mayor Sandra Johnson says in addition to presenting the results tonight, they’ll also experience the farmer’s market and other Thursday Night Live activities. The Windy City high school students conducted their survey through the Mikva Challenge, which aims to involve inner city youth in politics. They worked with the University of Iowa’s political science department. They’ll announce the results during a special city council meeting this evening 6:30 at the YMCA.

M-P/Keota Supt: So far so good

Posted: Thursday, July 9th, 2009 at 4:49 am

With the upcoming school year, Mid Prairie Superintendent Mark Schneider will face the unique task of managing two schools at once. On July 1, Schneider took over as superintendent for both Mid Prairie and Keota districts and says so far his experience has been quite good. He says one of the most drastic changes is the size of the two schools, but he also says a good education is just as important for a smaller school as a big one. Schneider hopes his eight years of experience as a superintendent will give him an edge for managing the two schools.

New septic rules take effect

Posted: Thursday, July 9th, 2009 at 4:48 am

Washington County’s environmental health director says new regulations on rural septic systems should help bring more homes into compliance. Jeff Thoman says the rules require property owners to disclose whether or not a home’s septic system has been inspected by a person certified by the Iowa Department Of Natural Resources, before they could sell it. Thoman has previously told KCII that more than two thousand Washington County homes were using un-permitted septic systems.

Livestock Indemnity Program

Posted: Thursday, July 9th, 2009 at 4:48 am

Area farmers will soon be getting some help in protecting their livestock from natural disasters. Eligible farmers will be able to register for the Livestock Indemnity Program which will provide assistance to farmers who lose livestock due to floods, tornadoes, and other severe weather. State Executive of the Farm Service Agency Dave Olson says livestock deaths must be in excess of normal mortality and must have occurred between January 1, 2008 and October 2011.

Washington woman wins $25k from lottery

Posted: Thursday, July 9th, 2009 at 4:48 am

A Washington woman is $25,000 richer. Faye Scott won the Iowa Lottery’s “Wild Bingo” instant scratch game. She bought the ticket at the Corner Stop on east Madison Street in Washington. A news release from the Iowa Lottery says Scott claimed her prize this week in Cedar Rapids. She’s not the first Washington resident to get lucky with the lottery. In 1992, then Mayor Ed Brown split a $10.4 million Powerball prize with a woman from Missouri.

"Prairie Serenade" at TNL tonight

Posted: Thursday, July 9th, 2009 at 4:32 am

The sights and sounds of “Prairie Serenade” will fill Washington’s Downtown this evening (7/9). The musical group is performing for the weekly Thursday Night Live event. The chamber of commerce describes the music as a blend of American fiddle tunes, Irish and Celtic Melodies as well as French-Canadian pieces. The concert starts at 6:30. Other Thursday Night Live events include the farmers market starting at 5:00 and the Washington Municipal Band which takes the stage at 8:00.

Brighton braces for RAGBRAI

Posted: Wednesday, July 8th, 2009 at 5:31 am

As hundreds of bike riders gear up for the upcoming RAGBRAI, Brighton is preparing itself for the flood of people. Chamber President Brian Arnold says while the bikers wont be staying in Brighton for very long, the city still has plenty of entertainment and vendors for both participants and residents to enjoy. Arnold says the city has turned down a number of larger companies wishing to have booths during the event in favor of smaller, local vendor in an effort to help put money back into the community.

Supervisors renew garbage contract

Posted: Wednesday, July 8th, 2009 at 5:31 am

Washington County Supervisors yesterday (7/7) voted to renew the solid waste contract with Mark’s Sanitation. The per ton fee increased by less than a dollar. County Auditor Bill Fredrick reminded supervisors that such contracts need to be occasionally let for a bid. Fredrick says they don’t always seek bids when a contract expires because it can be a cumbersome process. He says there is a provision that allows them to simply renew as they did yesterday. He says they might look into creating multi-year contracts that would require bids when they expire.

Trails network envisioned

Posted: Wednesday, July 8th, 2009 at 5:30 am

Many Iowans are training for the annual RAGBRI event this month. Bicyclists in Washington County have plenty of places to practice. Lyle Moen, with the recreational trails committee says they get a lot of compliments. Moen says it’s their goal to link all the trails in the county and create a network. He says that could make the area a sort of bicycling vacation spot. Moen says the trails are also used by hikers, bird watchers and other nature enthusiasts.

Land shift expected to hinder conservation

Posted: Wednesday, July 8th, 2009 at 5:30 am

A joint study by Iowa State and Drake Universities shows a majority of Iowa’s farmland is owned by people on the brink of retirement. Richard Simms with the Natural Resource Conservation Service says the potential for a land shift could mean a a smaller number of people managing more acres. He says it would be challenging for NRCS because fall and spring are the times whens such techniques need to be implemented.

Crop Update

Posted: Wednesday, July 8th, 2009 at 5:30 am

Southeast Iowa farm fields finally got a chance to dry out last week, but were hit with another round of rainfall on Independence Day. USDA statistics show this part of the state’s corn stand at 90% as it enters the tassel stage, while 16 % of soybeans are blooming. Local alfalfa harvests continue to lag behind the rest of the state. The first cutting is at 77%. That’s compared with 94% statewide.

Sheriff warns drivers about tall vegetation

Posted: Wednesday, July 8th, 2009 at 5:29 am

The average corn height in southeast Iowa is just over four feet, and it’s approaching a level where it can obstruct motorists view. Washington County Sheriff Jerry Dunbar says people traveling in rural areas need to be extra cautious as roadside vegetation continues to get taller. Dunbar says even though many countryside intersections don’t have traffic control signs, it’s still a good idea to treat them as if there was a yield sign. He also says drivers need to be wary of slow moving farm implements such as hay racks and tractor driven mowers.

4-H Grant

Posted: Wednesday, July 8th, 2009 at 5:29 am

A new super-center on the east side of town isnt the only addition Wal-Mart is making in Washington. The Wal-Mart Foundation recently donated 1-million dollars to youth organizations in fifteen states, and in southeast Iowa that means 4-H clubs will begin new community wellness programs. National 4-H Councilman Kyle Jones says the new Youth Voice: Youth Choice program will get 4-Hers out into the local area to promote healthy living, nutrition, wellness, and physical activities. Jones says Iowa will receive $50,000 to implement the program.

Tipping fee hike spurs Washington to push reycling program

Posted: Tuesday, July 7th, 2009 at 4:31 am

An increase in the tipping fee at SEMCO Landfill has Washington’s Mayor urging residents to utilize the city’s recycling services. Sandra Johnson says it can save both the city and its residents money. She’s urging people to keep things like paper, clear glass and milk jugs separated from regular trash. Johnson says the city can provide a recycling cart to property owners free of charge. SEMCO’s tipping fee recently went from $45 to $50. The city of Washington and Washington County share the cost of the local recycling facility.
(Photo: SEMCO Landfill KCII stock photo)

Work release areas of jail to be completed soon

Posted: Tuesday, July 7th, 2009 at 4:30 am

The new Washington County Jail is nearly completed. Sheriff Jerry Dunbar says the two work areas that were purposely left unfinished should be completed by the end of the month. He says the contractors have done an excellent job and come in under budget. Dunbar hopes the new facility can serve as a place where 45-50 federal inmates can be housed. He says it could bring in more than one million dollars per year for Washington County.

Kalona tourism benefits from "Stay-cations

Posted: Tuesday, July 7th, 2009 at 4:29 am

As July kicks off, many families are beginning to think more about this years summer vacation. Nancy Roth with the Kalona Historical Village says the rough economy encourages travelers to stick close to home, and the village has seen a higher number of visitors due to this. Roth says tourism at the village was a little slow towards the beginning of the summer, but July is typically the hot month. She says tourism at the village helps the local economy by helping other area businesses see a greater number of visitors as well.

Washington Co. Fair 2 weeks away

Posted: Tuesday, July 7th, 2009 at 4:29 am

The Washington County Fair is less than two weeks a way, and organizers say this year’s entertainment should be one for the record books. Fair board Vice President Don Lewis says Washington County’s Fair has been named as a “blue ribbon fair” by the Iowa Association of Fairs. This year’s grandstand events include sanctioned tractor and truck pulls, rodeo riders, a demolition derby and up and coming country musician Jake McVey. The fair starts July 19 and runs through the 24th.