Today's Local News

Tax Preparation Awareness

Posted: Saturday, February 21st, 2009 at 6:51 am

As you prepare your taxes this year, there might be a few credits you are able to claim that you might not have known about. ISU Extension Family Resource Management Specialist Mary Wienand says one you want to be aware of is the earned income credit. She says because people’s situation may change, such a change may have put them within the requirements to be able to claim the earned income credit which can be worth as much as $4800. She also says some tax payers are unaware there is a $500 credit for childcare on your state taxes. Finally you might be eligible for free tax preparation assistance. You can learn more at

Stimulus Money for Education

Posted: Saturday, February 21st, 2009 at 6:51 am

Earlier this week Iowa Congressman Dave Loebsack reported to the Washington School District, they’d get around $500,000 from the stimulus package, but it may not be that simple. Interim Superintendent Dave Sextro says the Iowa Department of Education says that the money will be earmarked for title one education. Sextro says the department is urging districts to sit back and relax until they get final notification on how much will be coming. According to Sextro title one is a program that gives students who struggle with reading and math extra help to bring them up to their grade levels.

Read Across America

Posted: Saturday, February 21st, 2009 at 6:50 am

Students in Kalona Elementary School will join millions of their peers across the country to celebrate the ninth annual National Education Association’s Read across America Day on Monday, March 2. Second Grade Teacher, Kerri Bell says NEA’s Read Across America Day, which falls on Dr. Seuss’s birthday, expects more than 45 million readers, both young and old, to pick up a book and read. Kalona Elementary Family Literacy Night will be Monday, March 2 from 6-7:00p.m. in the Kalona Elementary Media Center

Wellman House Fire

Posted: Saturday, February 21st, 2009 at 6:49 am

The investigation into a Wellman house fire has been concluded. The fire seriously damaged a home owned by Tim Hathaway. Wellman Fire Chief Jeff Fair says the home was engulfed in flames before they arrived on the scene. Fair says the home was so badly damaged there was no way to conclude what had started the fire. The home is considered a complete loss. He says the investigation has been closed.

Senator Grassley visits

Posted: Friday, February 20th, 2009 at 10:34 am

U.S. Senator Chuck Grassley held a town hall meeting in Washington, and talked a little about congressional efforts to address the economy. Senator Grassley says the government is not wanting to be in the bank investment business, so the hope is banks will buy back the stocks the government has purchased in the next two years. He says the government did something similar with Chrysler about thirty years ago. Yesterday's meeting was part of a bigger series of meetings Grassley is holding to gather input from constituents.

County Attorney vs. Underage Drinking

Posted: Friday, February 20th, 2009 at 10:33 am

Washington County's Attorney was recently at the State Capitol talking about ways Washington has fought underage drinking. Barb Edmondson spoke at a press conference sponsored by Iowa Alliance of Coalitions for Change. It's a youth coalition formed to fight underage drinking. Edmondson describes strategies to reduce underage drinking such as social host ordinance passed both by the City of Washington and the county. She also serves on state and national committees that address juvenile issues such as underage drinking.

Schmitz Labor

Posted: Friday, February 20th, 2009 at 10:33 am

The recent discovery of the activities at the Atalissa turkey processing plant and at the meat packing plant in Postviille, has State Senator Becky Schmitz calling for stronger enforcement. At Atalissa it was discovered mentally disabled men were living in poor conditions and at Postville, child labor laws were being violated. Schmitz says the state needs to address these problems. She says failure to enforce labor protection laws especially those concerning wages, cheats workers, drives down wages and is unfair to those businesses compliant to labor laws.

Valentine Craft Event

Posted: Friday, February 20th, 2009 at 10:32 am

The Kalona Library held a Craft Event on Valentines Day. Youth Services Coordinator
Marissa Tartaglia says on Valentines Day kids came to the library to make different things. Tartaglia says youth have been coming to the library more and more, she says every week it seems that more kids are attending the library and participating in different events such as the craft event and reading groups.

Paving Work

Posted: Friday, February 20th, 2009 at 10:32 am

Kalona will be getting new paving work done. The Kalona City Council approved moving ahead on paving 10th Street from Highway 22 to the middle school by beginning to bid for design work. One block of F Avenue would also be paved. City Administrator Doug Morgan said the engineers had given the probable cost at $149,000. The street would most likely have 7 inches of concrete at 31 feet in width. He noted the entrance to the school was currently 25 feet wide, so the last block of the paving project would narrow to conform to the school entrance. The City Council agreed that this paving work should be number one priority this year.

Demon Dash for Cash

Posted: Friday, February 20th, 2009 at 10:32 am

Washington Community Schools and Bodywrx are putting on a 5K Run/Walk and Mile Run/Walk to raise money for local schools. They are calling Demon Dash for Cash, Teri Hartzler is the chair of the event. She says it will be April 18th at the Washington Junior High. The proceeds go towards the purchase of books for the media centers and libraries for the four schools in the district. Hartzler says there are sponsorship packages available.

ISU Crawfordsville Research Farm Educational Meeting and Annual Meeting

Posted: Friday, February 20th, 2009 at 10:31 am

Everyone is invited to the ISU Crawfordsville Research Farm Educational Meeting. The annual meeting for the SE Iowa Agricultural Research Association will begin at 10:00 a.m. on Thursday, March 5 in the Washington County Extension office in Washington. Gary Bickmeier, the Keokuk County Extension Education Director says after a short business meeting, Kevin Van Dee, farm superintendent for the SE Iowa Research & Demonstration Farm will give an update on research occurring on the farm. Again the event will be 10:00 a.m. on Thursday, March 5 in the Washington County Extension office in Washington.

Washington Y Director

Posted: Thursday, February 19th, 2009 at 9:36 am

The Washington Community Y will be looking for a new director. Darren Pickles has accepted a job in the Lancaster metro area in Pennsylvania. He will be the branch director for the Lancaster Y which is opening a new 45,000 square foot facility on 10 acres of land. Pickles says this opportunity just kind of fell on him and it was the toughest decision he's had to make. Pickles last day at the Washington Community Y is March 6th.

Kalona Days

Posted: Thursday, February 19th, 2009 at 9:35 am

Kalona days aren't far off and they'll need a new committee chair. Dave Finley says because of the lack of support from the chamber he has resigned from the Kalona Days committee. Finley says he thought the chamber would give the committee the money they raised last year to help with this year's Kalona Days, but that doesn't seem to be the case. Finley says they have been invited to a special Kalona Chamber of Commerce meeting to be held in the chamber building, tomorrow morning at eight to discuss the funding of Kalona Days.

Prevailing Wage

Posted: Thursday, February 19th, 2009 at 9:35 am

One Washington County Supervisor is opposed to the idea of requiring prevailing wage on state funded projects. Supervisor Wes Rich says lawmakers are looking at requiring the area's prevailing wage be used on projects that involve state money. Rich says the requirement of using prevailing wage will likely force projects to cost more which could lead to higher taxes.

Flood Rebuilding Seminar

Posted: Thursday, February 19th, 2009 at 9:34 am

Louisa Count Extension is putting on a seminar geared towards homeowners rebuilding or remodeling after the summer flood. The Flood Rebuilding Seminar is sponsored by Iowa State University and Louisa County Extension. Louisa County Extension Education Director Kathy Vance says the all day seminar will bring together specialists from Iowa State University and Iowa Community College to provide the latest information in their fields. The seminar will be held at the Oakville Community Building in Oakville on Monday, March 2. To register or for more information contact the Louisa County Extension office at 319-523-2371.

Kalona Elementary Playground

Posted: Thursday, February 19th, 2009 at 9:34 am

The Kalona Elementary Playground Improvement Committee is asking the Kalona City Council for help with their project. Kerri Bell says they started raising money to improve the playground at Kalona Elementary in 2006 and they have raised over $86,000. She says they still need to raise up to $250,000 to complete the project.

All-State Showcase

Posted: Thursday, February 19th, 2009 at 9:34 am

The Washington High School Speech team is sending three events to Ames to perform at the All-State Speech Festival, and they are asking for your help. The students are heading up Friday and will perform on Saturday. To help with costs for the trip they will be performing for local residents tonight at the high school auditorium. They'll take donations at the door to help with the costs of the trip. The performance starts at 7:30pm.

$500,000 to Washington Schools

Posted: Wednesday, February 18th, 2009 at 10:20 am

The national stimulus bill President Obama signed yesterday should be sending extra money to Washington schools. U.S. Representative Dave Loebsack of Iowa visited Washington school district yesterday and reported the district would receive an estimated $500,000. He says the district can use the money as it sees fit.

City Council Meeting

Posted: Wednesday, February 18th, 2009 at 10:19 am

The Washington City Council has a public hearing tonight on allowing the city to guarantee the repayment of capital loans using property taxes. City Administrator Dave Plyman says they are looking at issuing $3.5 million in bond notes for a project. This tells the investor that the city guarantees the note will be repaid and if needed, the city will levy property taxes to repay the loan. The hearing will be part of the council's meeting tonight at seven at the Washington Public Library.

New Chamber Director

Posted: Wednesday, February 18th, 2009 at 10:19 am

The Washington Chamber of Commerce has named a new director. The board has hired Tim Coffey as their new executive director. Coffey moved to Washington in 2001 from Mason City and opened Coffey and Associates, which is a fund raising consulting business. Chamber Board President Sue Basten says Coffey brings an incredible amount of non-profit experience and will bring a new type of energy and enthusiasm to the chamber. Coffey replaces Susan Wellington who left to become the executive director of Lending Hands Adult Day Care.