Today's Local News

Washington Co. Attorney looks to cut down on paperwork

Posted: Thursday, March 19th, 2009 at 7:41 am

The Washington County attorney wants to cut down on paperwork. Barb Edmondson says her office will begin utilizing a computerized case management system. Edmondson says aside from being able to access local files more easily, it will also enable her to better communicate with other counties as well as police departments and other public agencies. She also says it will have a rather sizable startup cost but feels it will save money in the long run. Edmondson also says its hoped that one day every county in Iowa will participate in the program.

Northey-Land Values

Posted: Thursday, March 19th, 2009 at 7:40 am

The Secretary of the Iowa Department of Agriculture says the recent decline in farm land values is probably a normal fluctuation. Bill Northey says property prices are locked up in a long term view. He says last summer's flooding probably didn't have much to do with the drop. Northey says the prices are impacted by yields, and the expense a farmer pays to utilize the land. To hear more from Northey tune in to KCII this afternoon at 1:00, and again at 6:00 this evening for a special edition agriculture news magazine.

Washington Council tables outdoor liquor request

Posted: Thursday, March 19th, 2009 at 7:40 am

The Washington City Council wants some more time to consider a liquor license request. Cafe Dodici would like to serve alcohol at tables located on the sidewalk outside the establishment. Council members decided they would like to table the request at last night's meeting. Cafe Dodici co-owner Lori Williams says she understands their decision. She feels the sort of outdoor cafe she wants to establish would be a great addition to Washington's down town area. City council members say they want to make sure it wouldn't obstruct traffic. Mayor Sandra Johnson says they have to be mindful about what kind of precedent allowing the measure might set.

Origami for kids

Posted: Thursday, March 19th, 2009 at 7:38 am

The Kalona Public Library will be hosting an origami crafts event Friday, March 27 from 3:30 to 4:15PM in the Velma Skola Program Room. Youth Services Librarian Marissa Tartaglia says children ages 5 to 12 are invited to make a variety of origami crafts, such as a jumping frog, pinwheel star, and a flying crane. She says this program is free of charge and no registration is necessary. For more information call the library at 319-656-3501.

Mid Prairie exchange program

Posted: Thursday, March 19th, 2009 at 7:37 am

Mid Prairie schools have been hosting foreign exchange students for many years. One student, Katrina, came from the eastern part of Russia to live and learn in the Mid Prairie School District. Karina says she is really enjoying living here and getting to know many other kids but it is very different than the school she came from. She says it is very different than the part of Russia that she is used to because of the wide open spaces. Karina says this is an experience that she will take with her through out her entire life.

The rising cost of ambulance service

Posted: Wednesday, March 18th, 2009 at 7:23 am

The director of Washington County’s Ambulance Service says there needs to be some changes in certain laws, or many counties could find themselves doing without. Richard Young says they are mandated to do a lot of different things by the state and federal government, but are rarely given enough financial help. Young says this, combined with a lot of out of work people without insurance has created some hardships for the ambulance service. Right now counties in Iowa are not required to provide an ambulance. Young says if they were, it might take some of the burden off of individual counties, as the state might be more apt to help.

Former Washington resident makes generous donation to bandstand project

Posted: Wednesday, March 18th, 2009 at 7:23 am

An effort to raise enough money to renovate the city of Washington’s Central Park bandstand got a huge boost recently. Former Washington resident and Municipal Band member John Jackson has donated $175,000 to the effort. This, combined with money from the Washington Betterment Foundation, the City Park Board and the Washington County Riverboat Foundation puts the project in the realm of reality. John Jackson was a charter member of the Washington Municipal Band in 1932, and went on to be a member of the 34th Army Band, Iowa Army National Guard, where he served during World War-II. Organizers of the volunteer committee in charge of the fund raising effort say Mr. Jackson “now has the appreciation of 7,000 Washington city citizens and countless citizens throughout Washington County and beyond.” They say they will continue to solicit funds to make further improvements to Central Park.

Louisa Sheriff’s deputy makes daring rescue

Posted: Wednesday, March 18th, 2009 at 7:23 am

The Louisa County Sheriff’s office received a call of a person on the Iowa River Bridge on Highway 99 east of Wapello around 3:30 Monday afternoon. Chief Deputy Adam Claudle says he wasn’t too far away when the call came in and responded. He says he watched as the person went off the bridge then went into the water and got her out to safety. Claudle says the Wapello Rescue Unit and Ambulance responded and the person was transported to Great River medical Center for observation, he says that she is doing well and getting treatment.

Lone Tree starts its own stimulus program

Posted: Wednesday, March 18th, 2009 at 7:22 am

The Lone Tree City Council has passed a resolution giving a $2500 grant to first time home buyers on the purchase of a home in Black Otter Creek Addition, known as Finley Addition. City Councilor Helen Lemley says she wants to get Lone Tree building again. Lemly says at this time Yakish Construction, M & R Construction and Magruder Construction have agreed to a $5000 building credit. This is in addition to the American Recovery Act giving first time home buyers up to $8000 in tax credits, essentially giving qualifying home buyers a $20,500 credit toward the purchase of a home in the Finley Addition.

Washington County official thinks now is better than later for road repairs

Posted: Wednesday, March 18th, 2009 at 7:22 am

Transportation serves as a lifeline, keeping industries of all types running. Many parts of Iowa especially rural areas, are facing a huge decision…how to pay for road improvements. Washington County Engineer David Patterson says wherever the money comes from, it would be wiser to act sooner than later. Many people are against issuing bonds to pay for improved infrastructure because it would drive the state further into debt. Patterson says it might actually save money in the grand scheme. He says if policy makers continue to wait, construction prices will continue to go up. Patterson says issuing bonds would lock in those prices.

Kalona Parks gearing up

Posted: Wednesday, March 18th, 2009 at 7:21 am

The Kalona City Park and pool are getting ready to be used. Todd Fitzsenry , the Kalona Parks and Recreation supervisor says they are getting the parks ready for use by cutting grass and making sure everything is within there safety guidelines. He says the opening day will be April 15th.

Rain gardens

Posted: Wednesday, March 18th, 2009 at 6:54 am

Spring is in the air, and many people are getting their gardens ready. But, if there’s a spot on your property that always seems to hold water, and is too wet for even grass to grow, Linn County Master Gardener Judy Stevens can help. She will lead a program on rain gardens this Tuesday, March 24 at the Washington County Extension Office at 7:00 pm. She’ll discuss what flowers and plants you can use in low places that will thrive and grow. The event is free and open to the public. For more information contact the Washington County Extension office at 319-653-4811.

Washington water rates likely to go up

Posted: Tuesday, March 17th, 2009 at 7:50 am

A new waste water plant for the city of Washington could eventually mean higher utility prices. The new facility is being constructed as part of an agreement with the state Department of Natural Resources. City Administrator Dave Plyman says given the scale of the project, a price increase is almost inevitable. Plyman says the facility is scheduled for completion in 2011. He says the city is in the process of acquiring land and working out the engineering proposals. Plyman also says construction could start as soon as this year. The Washington City Council will meet this Wednesday night at 7:00 in the Public Library.

Policy making and agriculture

Posted: Tuesday, March 17th, 2009 at 7:50 am

As agriculture changes, many smaller operations are finding it more difficult to compete with larger ones. However, southeast Iowa’s state representative says that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Larry Marek says many smaller producers have begun turning to niche crops. Marek says without larger operations, there would be acres left unused. He also says commercial outfits provide much needed jobs.

Writing in School

Posted: Tuesday, March 17th, 2009 at 7:49 am

With Computers and cell phones in everyones daily lives the art of writing is still an important topic in schools, Kalona Elementary School teacher Kerri Bell says they put a lot of time into teaching writing and making sure the students write as much as possible. Bell says technology has enhanced the way they teach and she believes that even though there are a lot of kids that would rather type an e-mail or text message, they make sure that the art of writing is not lost and it seems to working.

Wind energy confrence

Posted: Tuesday, March 17th, 2009 at 7:49 am

Farmers, landowners, businesses, schools and homeowners interested in learning more about wind power are invited to take part in the 2009 Wind Energy Conference coordinated by Iowa State University on Friday, March 20 at the Fairfield Arts and Convention Center in Fairfield. The day will include various exhibits, breakout sessions and panelists discussing the wind resources available in Iowa, the opportunities and threats related to the industry, and perspectives from current turbine owners and operators. Those wishing to participate should contact the Jefferson County Extension Office at (641) 472-4166. The cost is $20 per person and will be limited to the first 200 registrants.

SEMCO Update

Posted: Tuesday, March 17th, 2009 at 7:49 am

The manager of the Southeast Iowa Multi-County Solid Waste Agency says things have been getting expensive lately. Bill Fluke says they are in the process of expanding their landfill, which can be pretty pricey. Fluke says they plan on adding about one-and-a-half acres to their facility this year, then an additional four to five acres down the road. He says according to the current plan, SEMCO has a little more than 26-years of permitted space left, however that can be expanded as necessary.

4-H Dodgeball

Posted: Tuesday, March 17th, 2009 at 7:48 am

The Washington County 4-H County Council held a 4-H Dodgeball Tournament on Sunday, March 8th at Washington High School. There was a total of 17 teams that competed, with an approximate 102 4-Hers. Kati Peiffer, 4-H-Youth Coordinator says The Riverside Ramblers 4-H club, Cody Schneider, Colton Schneider, Ryan Schneider, Kyle Schneider, Brad Lampe and Brett Walsh, placed first in the Senior/Intermediate Division. The Washington County 4-H County Council planned the event as a way for 4-Hers to have fun and meet other youth. Peiffer wishes to thank those who helped with the tournament and to Washington High School for the use of the gym.

Girl Talk

Posted: Tuesday, March 17th, 2009 at 7:48 am

Being a teenager can be a difficult time. Planned Parent of Southeast Iowa is hoping to make that time a little easier for young women and their parents in the Washington area. They’ll be having a special half day program entitled Girl Talk this Saturday morning from 9:00 am to 1:00 pm at the Washington Public Library. It’s designed to help mothers and daughters communicate about puberty and issues associated with being a teen. Workshops will focus on Self-Esteem, Body Image and Communication. For registration call Amanda Swan at 319-795-6774. Cost is 19-dollars for mother and daughter. Registration is due by tomorrow.

Lane Closure on Hwy 1

Posted: Monday, March 16th, 2009 at 7:47 am

March 16, 2009 Traffic will be restricted to one lane on Iowa 1 southbound from Iowa 92 to Iowa 78 in Washington County because of a culvert replacement project, according to the Iowa Department of Transportation. Two-way traffic will be maintained at all times during construction. Flaggers will be used to assist traffic through the work zone. The project is expected to be completed by 3 p.m. today.