Today’s Local News

Spring Cleanup

Posted: Sunday, April 19th, 2009 at 4:25 am

All items for Washington’s city wide clean up need to be out at the curb by no later than 6:00 am tomorrow. Mayor Sandra Johnson says this is not an amnesty period for regular garbage. She says residents will still need to purchase stickers to have it hauled away. She says they will not be taking hazardous materials such as household chemicals, paint or pesticides. She says they will also not accept electronics such as computers and televisions. Such items can be disposed of at the recycling center for a fee. For full details on the city wide cleanup visit our website at

Exchange Students

Posted: Sunday, April 19th, 2009 at 4:24 am

Want to open your home to an exchange student or do you know someone who would? Marcia Miller with the Lower Deer Creek Church in Kalona says Iowa Resource for International Service is looking for host families for their exchange program. She says students are English-speaking high school juniors from Nigeria and Tanzania. IRIS works through the Youth Exchange and Study program funded by the State Department. If you have any questions or would like some more information, please contact IRIS directly at 515-292-7103 or check the website at

Legislative Briefing

Posted: Sunday, April 19th, 2009 at 4:24 am

Between 30 and 40 people came to the Washington County Courthouse yesterday to hear comments from State Senator Becky Schmitz, and Representative Larry Marek. Gay marriage, the middle income tax break and economic stimulus money were some of the most frequented topics. There was also a group of students from the Maharishi University of Management in attendance. They say they want to see the legislature support more sustainable farming methods. The briefing was sponsored by the Washington Chamber of Commerce.

Local Artist

Posted: Sunday, April 19th, 2009 at 4:23 am

Local Artist Paulette Buckingham will be offering Art Composition and Interpretation programs at the Kalona Public Library for adults and children. Youth Services Librarian Marissa Tartaglia says the Adult Program will be held Monday, April 27th from 7-8PM and will focus on identifying the elements of a work and how those elements determine its quality. The Childrens Program will be held on April 30th from 1:30-2:30pm in the Velma Skola Program Room. The Childrens Program will include a hands-on art activity. . For more information, please contact Youth Services Librarian Marissa at 319-656-3501.

Legislative Day

Posted: Saturday, April 18th, 2009 at 4:51 am

State Senator Becky Schmitz, and Representative Larry Marek Will be in Washington today for the chamber of commerce's fourth legislative briefing. The two will field questions at the courthouse from 10 until noon. Tune in to KCII this afternoon at 1pm when we'll rebroadcast the event during a special edition news magazine. It will also be available at our website

Ridiculous Day

Posted: Saturday, April 18th, 2009 at 4:50 am

The annual Washington Ridiculous Day festivities will proceed this year whether or not construction in the downtown area is complete by this June. Amy Vetter, with Main Street, says Washington has the oldest Ridiculous Day Celebration in Iowa. Vetter says this year's festivities will include a singing contest, a pigtail contest and a cutie-pie contest. There was concern that the event would conflict with construction on the new library, Vetter presented an alternate plan to the city council this week to be used if that is the case. This will be the 69th annual Washington Ridiculous Day. It will be held June 6.

Blood Award

Posted: Saturday, April 18th, 2009 at 4:50 am

Washington service organizations will be recognized for organizing and hosting blood drives this Thursday. Washington received a national award from America's Blood Centers. Chris Ciasto with the Mississippi Regional Valley Blood Center says it's remarkable, considering they were up against large corporate entities like Toyota. Ciasto and other representatives of the MVRBC will be in Washington this Thursday to hand the award off to the local service organizations during a blood drive at the U.P. Church.

Share Iowa

Posted: Saturday, April 18th, 2009 at 4:50 am

In tough economic times, many people look for ways to trim their budgets. There's a program in Iowa known as Share. It's designed to help consumers save on food purchases. The group's Becky Newman stresses that this is not a handout. Share works like a food cooperative in that they buy their items in bulk. The difference is that they ask participants to complete two hours of community service, and share their time and talents to be a part of the food program. Share operates an office in Washington. To find out more call 1-800-344-1107.

Tree Beautification

Posted: Saturday, April 18th, 2009 at 4:49 am

The Washington Tree Beautification Committee will have its annual tree giveaway and target street planting next Saturday. Committee member Linda Embree says they have variety of species up for grabs this year. Embree says they are also looking for volunteers as well. This year the organization's target street is South Marion. Embree says they will plant between 40 and 50 trees. To find out more contact Washington City Hall, or a Tree Beautification Committee member.

Learn Sign Language

Posted: Saturday, April 18th, 2009 at 4:49 am

Three students from the University of Iowa will be offering an introductory sign language program at the Kalona Public Library on Friday, April 24th from 3:30-4:30PM. Youth Services Librarian Marissa Tartaglia says the program will focus on learning signing games and basic signs. They will also be taking suggestions from the participants regarding which signs they would like to learn. Tartaglia says no prior knowledge of sign language is necessary. This program is free of charge; no registration is necessary. For more information, please contact the library at 319-656-3501.

National Minority Cancer Awareness Week

Posted: Saturday, April 18th, 2009 at 4:48 am

The American Cancer Society reports encouraging news in Cancer Facts & Figures for African Americans 2009-2010. Kierstan Peck, Community Relations with the American Cancer Society says African Americans are continuing to experience lower death rates from cancer. She says in honor of National Minority Cancer Awareness Week, April 19-25; take a few moments to talk to your friends and family members about what they can do to take charge of their health to reduce their cancer risk. Peck says nearly 50 percent of all cancer deaths might be prevented if we stopped smoking or using tobacco products, maintained a healthy weight by eating right and getting regular exercise, and got the recommended cancer screening tests. For more information call 1-800-227-2345 or visit

Quality Assurance Trust Fund

Posted: Saturday, April 18th, 2009 at 4:48 am

This week, the Iowa Senate voted to draw down millions in federal dollars to improve quality of care for nursing home residents and increase the pay of direct care workers. Senator Becky Schmitz says Senate File 476 creates a Quality Assurance Assessment Program, which will collect a fee from Iowa nursing homes. The new revenue would go into a Quality Assurance Trust Fund to draw down almost $40 million in matching federal dollars. The nursing homes in the area that will benefit are Halcyon House, Parkview Manor, Pleasantview Home, United Presbyterian Home and Washington Care Center.

MP Board approves pay hike

Posted: Friday, April 17th, 2009 at 5:26 am

A 2.2% across the board pay hike for certified and non-certified staff in the Mid-Prairie Community School District was approved for the 2009-10 fiscal year by the M-P Board of Education Monday evening. Superintendent Mark Schneider says that the projected certified salaries, including benefits, would increase from $4,415,051 to $4,512,240, a hike of $97,189. Schneider says he estimated that the district would save about $51,000 in difference in salaries between long time employees who retired and their replacements.

Washington hotel tax considered

Posted: Friday, April 17th, 2009 at 5:26 am

Should the city of Washington have a hotel tax? Local tourism officials say yes, but hotel owners say no. Tim Coffee, with the chamber of commerce says its not actually a tax on the hotel owners, or Washington residents. Hawkeye Motel Owner Gordon Olberding says this is not a good time to be considering such a tax. He also says there’s no plan for what the money would be spent on. Olberding and other local hotel owners came to this week’s city council meeting to express opposition to a measure that would put the tax on the ballot for voters to decide on. They say Washington isn’t a tourist attraction, and most of their business comes from people coming to the area to work. The council tabled the measure.

Much Ado About Nothing

Posted: Friday, April 17th, 2009 at 5:25 am

This evening is opening night for the Washington High School Drama Department's Spring production. Actor Ben Tebockhorst says even though "Much Ado About Nothing" is a Shakespearian piece, it provides plenty of opportunity for some laughs. Tebockhorst is playing the lead male role, alongside leading lady Regan Loula. They say the play is about their characters being adverse romance, while their friends try to get the pair to fall in love. Doors open at the Washington Community Center this evening at 7:30. Admission is $7 for adults and $5 for students.

Auto body industry doing well

Posted: Friday, April 17th, 2009 at 5:25 am

The Auto Body industry does not seem to be declining during this recession. Chris Swartzendruber, with C.S Auto body in Kalona, says he is seeing more and more people come in to get their car worked on, rather than just trading it in for a new vehicle. He says the Auto Body Industry is not recession proof, but it is in no danger of collapsing. Swartzendruber says in most cases it will cost less to fix a vehicle rather than add a new set of payments onto a new vehicle. He says if a vehicle is treated well it can last a decade or more. 

F-16 symbolizes the near end of a generation

Posted: Friday, April 17th, 2009 at 5:25 am

A U-S Military F-16 fighter jet passed over Washington at about noon yesterday as World War II veteran John Butler was laid rest in Elm Grove Cemetery. Mike Voght is curator of Iowa's Gold Star Military Museum in Fort Dodge. He says Butler is part of a rapidly disappearing generation. Voght says its important to maintain contact with our remaining World War II vets who are willing and able to share their stories. John Butler was 90 when he passed away. He was 23 years old during the attack on Pearl Harbor that thrust the United States into the conflict.

’08 floods highlight wetland’s importance

Posted: Friday, April 17th, 2009 at 5:24 am

Earth Day is this Wednesday and the naturalist at the Washington County Conservation board says it's important to keep Iowa's wetlands in mind. Pam Holz says Iowa has lost 90-percent of its wetlands, and last year's flooding was a stern reminder. Holz says they will have an Earth Day scavenger hunt tomorrow (4/18) afternoon from 1:00 to 3:00 at Marr Park for families to learn about Iowa's native wetlands. In case of inclement weather, there will be nature bingo inside the conservation center building. For more information contact the conservation board at 319-657-2400. 

Bittersweet day for WHS Physics teams

Posted: Friday, April 17th, 2009 at 5:24 am

Washington High School students were unsuccessful in their bid to bring home a first place team trophy from the Iowa Physics Olympics in Des Moines yesterday. They did capture first place in the water heater competition. Team member Caleb Boyd says they used a bicycle to turn a pulley inside of a thermos of water. He says the pulley had an abrasive brush attached to it that caused friction on the side of the thermos, and heated the water to 125 degrees Fahrenheit. 

Lake Belvedere Booked

Posted: Friday, April 17th, 2009 at 5:14 am

With the spring here, the park attendants in Lake Belvedere are looking back on the winter. Dave Long, Executive Director with Keokuk County Conservation, says the winter season went extremely well. Long says they are not taking any reservations for camping this year because they are completely booked through the fall, he says it wont hurt to call and make sure if a weekend you like is available because due to a cancellation.