Today’s Local News

June Fatalities

Posted: Saturday, July 4th, 2009 at 6:18 am

The number of fatal crashes on Iowa highways this year was the lowest in almost three decades. District 13 Trooper Jason Marlow says one possible reason for the decline was an increased police presence on the Hawkeye State’s roads. Marlow hopes motorists will continue to make good decisions. Marlow expects increased traffic throughout this holiday weekend and reminds drivers to be alert, obey the speed limit and never operate a vehicle while impaired.

4th of July

Posted: Saturday, July 4th, 2009 at 6:18 am

There’s a birthday party going on today, and everyone in the U.S. is invited. The country is 233 years old today, and several area communities have celebrations planned. Some kicked off the festivities with fireworks last night, but there’s still some local displays set for tonight. The city of Washington’s are at dusk at the county fairgrounds. Wellman’s will be at 9:35 in the downtown area. Wayland’s are at dusk at the football field. Richland’s are at 9:30 at Alumni Park. Sigourney’s are at dusk at the expo. Shiloh’s fireworks were postponed from last night, they will now be tonight at 9:00. For patriotic music this holiday weekend keep it tuned to KCII.

Kids Day

Posted: Saturday, July 4th, 2009 at 6:17 am

Kids Day at this year’s Washington County Fair will have some south of the border flare. The theme is fiesta fun. The day will feature activities like maraca making, the cactus limbo and the fiesta duck dive. Kids day is July 22 from 9:30 ’till noon at the Washington County Fairgrounds. All kids are welcome to attend, and come and go throughout the morning.

Stay-Cation

Posted: Saturday, July 4th, 2009 at 6:17 am

Lt. Governor Patty Judge is encouraging Iowans to take a stay-cation this year and enjoy the sights and destinations of Iowa. Steve Reif with the Kalona Historical Village says in tough economic times people recognize the importance of tourism in eastern Iowa. He says the Historical Village is one of the top tourist destinations in Iowa, boasting two quilt galleries and a number of historical buildings. Reif says tourism is important to places such as the village because it keeps the culture and heritage of Iowa alive.

Workforce Grant

Posted: Saturday, July 4th, 2009 at 6:16 am

The severe weather that swept through southeast Iowa last year has left a positive note. The Department of Labor recently awarded Iowa Workforce Development over 11-million dollars to create almost 650 temporary jobs to aid in cleanup efforts from last years tornadoes and floods. Senator Tom Harkin says this grant will kill two birds with one stone, rebuilding Iowa communities and creating more jobs for Iowans.

State Patrol on Special Detail

Posted: Friday, July 3rd, 2009 at 6:43 am

AAA expects fewer motorists out on the roads this holiday weekend. However, the Iowa State Patrol will still have an increased presence. Safety education officer Jason Marlow says the nice weather forecast will likely mean a higher volume of traffic. Marlow says they’ll be keeping an eye out for speeders, aggressive drivers, and motorists under the influence. The Iowa State Patrol’s special holiday detail kicked off yesterday (7/2) and runs until Monday (7/5)

Washington Gets a Jump on the 4th

Posted: Friday, July 3rd, 2009 at 6:43 am

Washington residents kicked off 4th of July festivities last night with patriotic music from the municipal band, and blasts from a homemade cannon. Retired Army Artillery Commander Wayne Gamon constructed the cannon. He says it’s in his blood, and was fun to build. The cannon fire accompanied the “Stars and Stripes Forever.” Municipal band conductor Tom Macnimar says their annual “Liberty Concert” just wouldn’t be complete without it The festivities continue this weekend in Washington County. Our website has a listing of Fireworks displays, and stay tuned to KCII for patriotic music this 4th of July weekend.

IFB on Cap and Trade

Posted: Friday, July 3rd, 2009 at 6:37 am

The Iowa Farm Bureau says the current cap and trade bill moving through Congress could have a devastating impact on Agriculture. IFB national policy advisor Marty Schwager says higher energy prices, would lead to increased production costs. Schwager says the Farm Bureau estimates that if the cap and trade bill passes, U-S farmers will see production costs go up by five-billion dollars by the year 2020. He says they would favor a voluntary, market based way to reduce greenhouse gases.

Fireworks Safety

Posted: Friday, July 3rd, 2009 at 6:37 am

Most types of fireworks are illegal in Iowa, unless part of an organized display with properly trained personnel present. Assistant State Fire Marshal Jeff Quigle says things like sparklers and snakes are legal, but can still pose a safety hazard. He recommends keeping a coffee can, or a can of water nearby so remnants can be disposed of and extinguished properly.

Local Fireworks

Posted: Friday, July 3rd, 2009 at 6:37 am

Fireworks are a staple of any 4th of July celebration, and there are many displays in the area this weekend. The city of Washington’s will be at Dusk tomorrow (7/4) at the county fairgrounds. Wellman’s will be at 9:35 in the downtown area. Wayland’s are at dusk at the football field. Richland’s are at 9:30 at Alumni Park. Sigourney’s are at dusk at the expo. There will also be fireworks in association with races as the Columbus Junction Speedway this evening (7/3). Shiloh Church near Kalona will also have a display tonight. The gates close at 8:45 and the cost is five dollars per car.

Walmart Hiring for New Facility

Posted: Friday, July 3rd, 2009 at 6:37 am

Washington’s Walmart is relocating to it’s new facility on the east side of town soon, and looking to make some hires. According to the company’s website, both full and part time positions will be available. There will be openings for cashiers, as well as in the grocery and photo lab departments. The store is also in need of overnight associates temporary setup crews. Those interested can apply at Walmart’s current location, or online at www.walmart.com

RR Xings closed in Washington

Posted: Friday, July 3rd, 2009 at 6:36 am

Railroad crossings on Avenue B and 12 Avenue will be under construction beginning Monday most likely causing road closures. Rob McDonald, Washington City Engineer, says motorists should expect to run into road closures on Avenue B, as work will be done there first, followed by 12th Avenue later in the week. He says the work may not be fully completed until the following week.

Smoking Ban 1 year later

Posted: Friday, July 3rd, 2009 at 6:36 am

A year after the passing of the Smokefree Air Act, reports from Louisa County say businesses are enjoying the clean air. Kaitlyn Wintermeyer with the county extension says while less than two percent of businesses have violated the law, they are still open to changing policies in order to comply. Since the law applies to outdoor public areas as well, Wintermeyer says shes interested in seeing how Louisa County residents act during the summer festivals in public parks. She says her department has had no trouble in responding to further violations from businesses.

County Engages IC Law Firm

Posted: Thursday, July 2nd, 2009 at 4:45 am

The stage has been set for a legal showdown between Washington County and the city of Riverside. Supervisors this week formally engaged Iowa City based Meardon, Sueppel and Downer as their representative in the revenue sharing dispute. The conflict stems from an arrangement forged when the Riverside Casino was built. Attorney’s for the city have said the contract is void under state law, because it creates constitutional debt. County Attorney Barb Edmondson has said she feels the agreement is legal and enforceable. The deadline for Riverside to make an annual payment was yesterday (7/1).

Alliant: Cap and Trade Means Higher Energy Costs in Midwest

Posted: Thursday, July 2nd, 2009 at 4:45 am

Alliant Energy says the current cap and trade bill moving through Congress could mean double digit bill increases for their customers. Company spokesman Scott Drzycimski says Midwesterners are very dependent on coal, which means companies like Alliant won’t receive as many carbon credits. He says this will force them to purchase these credits from other utilities, ultimately driving energy prices up.

Crop Duster Crashes Near Ainsworth

Posted: Thursday, July 2nd, 2009 at 4:45 am

A Mt. Pleasant man was hospitalized yesterday (7/1) after a crop duster he was piloting went down north of Ainsworth. 39 year old John Koehn Newton was taken to University Hospital in Iowa City by Washington County Ambulance personnel. 911 supervisor Cara Sorrells says officials from the Sheriff’s Office, Ainsworth Fire Department and the Ainsworth First Responders were also called to the scene. Sorrells also says the fuel was reported to be leaking from the plane, and a hazardous materials crew was called to assist.

911 Commission Moves Forward With Building Study

Posted: Thursday, July 2nd, 2009 at 4:43 am

Washington County’s 911 Board is moving forward with a study that will explore a new location for the communications center. Their splitting the cost with the Communications Commission. Minnesota based engineer Leonard Kohnen (cane-inn) will conduct the study. The communications center is currently located in the old jail. Center Supervisor Cara Sorrells says one potential hang up is the radio tower. She says if they move too far away from it, they’d have to build a new one.

4th of July Closures

Posted: Thursday, July 2nd, 2009 at 4:42 am

The 4th of July falls on a Saturday this year, but many government offices will be closed tomorrow (7/3) in observance of the holiday. Most Post Offices will close at noon, and the Washington County Mini Bus will not be running. The 4th of July has been celebrated since 1776. It commemorates the first Continental Congress adopting the Declaration of Independence. Although the signing of the Declaration was not completed until August, the 4th of July holiday has been accepted as the official anniversary of U.S. independence and is celebrated in all states and territories of the U.S.

Harkin Touts Student Loan Measure

Posted: Thursday, July 2nd, 2009 at 4:42 am

Iowa students and college graduates will be getting some much-needed help in repaying student loans. Senator Tom Harkin announced as of yesterday (7/1) the income-based repayment option will become available. Students who chose to pay their loans using this method will make smaller payments if their income is less, and larger payments when their income increases. Harkins says this option will be very helpful for students struggling to find employment after graduation.

Washington Council Approves 2 Downtown Events

Posted: Thursday, July 2nd, 2009 at 4:42 am

The Washington City Council has approved two downtown events for next year. Relay for Life, and The Corn Country Cruisers are again making the square their home. Mayor Sandra Johnson says it’s important to maintain activity in the city’s heart. Johnson encourages any organization planning a special event to put together a proposal and visit with the council about it. Johnson says when the new library and the downtown enhancement project are completed, it should make the area even more attractive for such events.