Today’s Local News

Loebsack Stimulus

Posted: Saturday, May 30th, 2009 at 4:09 am

Some school administrators have expressed concern over how Iowa is using federal stimulus money. The state is using the funds to back fill cuts made by the Iowa legislature this spring. Congressman Dave Loebsack says it’s meant to preserve jobs until the economy turns around. Iowa is getting $54-million in economic recovery money. Loebsack says in education, most of that money is going to title-1 programs, special education and reduced cost lunches.


Posted: Saturday, May 30th, 2009 at 4:08 am

Washington County will continue to contract out certain mental health services to Southeast Iowa Case Management. Supervisors this week approved the new arrangement. Case Management Director Marcy Murphy says her agency acts as a sort of liaison. Her company provides services for 12 other counties in the region.

Kill A Watt

Posted: Saturday, May 30th, 2009 at 4:06 am

Washington County’s Extension office is inviting area residents to see how much energy specific appliances in their homes use. The agency has partnered with the Iowa Energy Center to provide a meter that measures voltage, amperage, wattage, run time and total kilowatt-hours of electricity being consumed. The device works by plugging it in to any household outlet, and then plugging a 12 volt appliance into the meter. The extension has the devices for Washington County residents to check out free of charge for a one week period of time.

Family Wellness Carnival

Posted: Saturday, May 30th, 2009 at 4:06 am

Summer vacation is a time for fun in the sun and for families to take part in activities together. Bright Futures Chiropractic in Kalona is holding a Family Wellness Carnival today so that parents and kids can understand the importance a healthy lifestyle. Dr. Chris Grier says that the event will feature various games and activities as well as opportunities to learn about good health choices. Grier says the summer months provide the perfect time for families to begin a wellness routine that they can build on once school begins again.

Antique Show

Posted: Saturday, May 30th, 2009 at 4:05 am

On June 12, vendors from over eight states will be gathering in Kalona for the 6th annual Antique Show. Sponsored by the Kalona Historical Society, the show features items such as furniture, books, fine china, toys, jewelry, and more. Unique to this years show is a dealer on hand to buy your gold and silver and give you cash. The show will be held in the Kalona Historical Village and proceeds will go towards a new addition to the main building.

MCC Sale

Posted: Saturday, May 30th, 2009 at 4:05 am

Mennonite Churches from all across southeast Iowa assembled at the Johnson County Fairgrounds for the annual MCC Sale. The event kicked off yesterday (5/29) with the opening of food, craft, and plant booths and continued with a marinated turkey or pork loin dinner. The two day event will also include live music as well as a quilt auction. Proceeds from the MCC Sale will go to support relief programs sponsored by the Mennonite Central Committee.

Washington residents invited to SWEEP

Posted: Friday, May 29th, 2009 at 5:19 am

Washington's Centennial Fountain is being celebrated with a SWEEP this morning (5/29), or Supporting Washington Economic Enhancement. Main Street's Amy Vetter says the Central Park centerpiece is 70 years old, and has been a major focal point of the downtown. She says residents are invited to the park this morning (5/29) at 8:30 and encouraged to bring a broom.

SE Iowa crop update

Posted: Friday, May 29th, 2009 at 5:19 am

USDA statistics show 93% of corn in Southeast Iowa is in the ground, while 60% of the crop has emerged. The federal agency's report indicates 21% of soybeans have emerged while 67% have been planted. Corn planting was delayed in some areas as due to wet weather, prompting more soybeans. State Climatologist Harry Hilaker says last week's weather was welcomed by southeast Iowa farmers as temperatures were more than 5 degrees above average, and rainfall was well below normal. 

Local banker says they have the capital to weather commercial loan decline

Posted: Friday, May 29th, 2009 at 5:19 am

Almost a third of Iowa's banks reported two percent or more of their loans as non performing last quarter. That's a mark not seen in more than 15 years. Federation Bank President Dale Torpey says his institution is among those feeling the sting of the commercial loan market. He says while there is some trouble, they have plenty of capital to weather it. He also says Their portfolio is diverse enough to keep them protected. 

VB Co Relay 4 Life

Posted: Friday, May 29th, 2009 at 5:18 am

Van Buren County residents are invited to help in the fight against cancer. Kierstan Peck Community Relations with the American Cancer Society says the American Cancer Society Walk/Run of Van Buren County is a unique fundraising event in which participants walk or run a 3 mile or 1 mile course. She says this years walk/run will take place on Saturday, June 6 at the Van Buren County Fairgrounds. If you are a cancer survivor and would like to take part in the Walk/Run of Van Buren County please call Wanda Clemenson, walk/run chairperson at 319.293.6209. All survivors receive a 2009 Walk/Run of Van Buren County t-shirt.

DNA samples needed for Ak-Sar-Ben

Posted: Friday, May 29th, 2009 at 5:18 am

All youth intending to exhibit swine or feeder calves at Ak-Sar-Ben 4-H Livestock Exposition in Omaha, Nebraska in September must have DNA samples collected by June 15th. Kati Peiffer, 4-H/Youth Coordinator says DNA samples must be collected by an Extension staff member. She says nominating through the Iowa State Fair process is not acceptable for Ak-Sar-Ben. An additional sample must be collected. Contact the Washington County Extension Office, 319-653-4811 to schedule a time for your samples to be collected. 

Study: nearly 1/2 of Louisa Co residents are commuters

Posted: Friday, May 29th, 2009 at 5:18 am

A recent study by Iowa Workforce Development shows almost half of Louisa Countys 12,000 citizens seek employment in other counties. Elias Gutierrez with Louisa County Development says the countys proximity to larger working zones and bigger employers make it easy for residents to find suitable employment there. Despite the exodus of workers, however, Gutierrez says many still find Louisa a great place to live, which gives the county a competitive advantage.

Kalona Cash

Posted: Friday, May 29th, 2009 at 5:17 am

People can use more than just money in Kalona. The chamber of commerce says Kalona Kash is a great way to get what you want while supporting Kalona businesses. They say during Kalona Days many of the prizes will be large amounts of Kalona Kash. She says Kalona Kash can be used in any business in Kalona and is treated the same as regular money. 

Employment stable at casino

Posted: Thursday, May 28th, 2009 at 5:15 am

The economic recession has effected people and businesses in different ways. Riverside Casino General Manager Joe Massa says they have not been immune to the recession and have been hit just like everyone else. Massa says they have been able to maintain their level of employment and have not had to lay anyone off. 

Unemployment numbers fall in April

Posted: Thursday, May 28th, 2009 at 5:15 am

Unemployment rates fell by more than half a percentage point last month in Washington County. Statistics gathered by the Iowa Workforce Development Board show Washingtons unemployment rate for March was 4.5%, and 3.9% in April. Statewide jobless claims dropped a tenth of a percent to 5.1%. last month. IWD Director Elisabeth Buck says the numbers suggest Iowas economy may be in the early stages of a turn. She cautions that the market is still very week and any recovery is expected to be modest and prolonged.

Healthy Kids Act

Posted: Thursday, May 28th, 2009 at 5:14 am

The Healthy Kids Act goes into effect fall of next year. It removes junk food from schools and mandates exercise time. Washington County Hospital Dietitian Anne Sposato says the effort needs to be matched by parents in order to reduce childhood obesity. She says as more families have both parents working, kids are eating more fast food and unhealthy snacks while at home. 

BOS makes final adjustments of fiscal year

Posted: Thursday, May 28th, 2009 at 5:14 am

Washington County Supervisors have shuffled money around for the last time this fiscal year. At this week's meeting, they approved around $910,000 in additional expenditures, and about $452,000 in extra revenue. County Auditor Bill Fredrick says the money being spent comes mostly from house keeping items. He says the majority of the revenue is grant money the county is receiving. 

Before you turn on the A/C…

Posted: Thursday, May 28th, 2009 at 5:13 am

Air conditioning season is upon us, and there are a few things that can be done to save energy and money. J & S Heating and Air Conditioning owner Scott Wiles says units should be cleaned and inspected. He says that includes replacing filters and removing any debris. Wiles also says it's best to keep air conditioners running during hot humid stretches rather than turning them on and off. 

Schools out, but policy still applies

Posted: Thursday, May 28th, 2009 at 5:13 am

While students are enjoying their time outside the classroom this summer, they may still be expected to follow school policies. Mid Prairie Superintendent Mark Schneider says his districts policy runs through summer vacation and if a student breaks the rules, they'll be penalized once school begins. He says that includes missing out on all extra-curricular activities.

Kalona 1st Responders Grant

Posted: Thursday, May 28th, 2009 at 5:11 am

The Washington County Riverboat foundation gave out just over $700,000 to area agencies as part of their spring grants. The Kalona First responders will receive $30,000 to finish their classroom addition to help improve the training and readiness The Kalona First responders have been trying to finish the classroom addition for several years.