Today's Local News

$500k for passenger rail

Posted: Friday, August 14th, 2009 at 5:53 am

$500,000 of Governor Culvers I-JOBS funds will be going to passenger rail efforts. Riverside State Representative Larry Marek says hes highly in favor of the proposed Chicago to Iowa City rail link. He feels it would be a great alternative mode of transportation. He says with gas prices rising, the $40 round trip ticket would make it a more economical way of traveling. He says if all goes well the rail link could be completed in two years.

State Empowerment considering regional shift

Posted: Friday, August 14th, 2009 at 5:53 am

Community Empowerment agencies could be shifting to regional system. Tasha Beghtal serves as program coordinator for both Henry and Washington Counties. She says the state is looking at moving away from county by county management. She says as a result, Henry and Washington Counties have been considering merging. They’ll be discussing the proposal at a meeting next Thursday (8/27) at 4:30 PM in the Federation Bank building in Washington

DNR investigating fish kill

Posted: Friday, August 14th, 2009 at 5:53 am

The Iowa Department of Natural Resources is investigating fish kills in Johnson and Keokuk Counties. The first happened in German Creek near Sigourney. The DNR says workers saw fish trying to leap out of the water, which indicates a toxic substance in the stream. That evening they found dead catfish, bluegills and minnows. They say initial water samples show low levels of ammonia. DNR says another kill happened in the Picayune creek near Kalona. A specialist found high levels of ammonia after a property owner reported manure odors late Tuesday night. Dead Suckers, Chubs and Minnows were found. The state agency says the investigations are ongoing.

Loebsack in CJ

Posted: Friday, August 14th, 2009 at 5:52 am

Congressman Dave Loebsack will be in southeast Iowa next Saturday. He will be stopping in Columbus Junction to discuss cost and access to healthcare. Loebsacks Communications Director Sabrina Siddiqui says the congressman will be holding a series of these meetings across southeast Iowa in order to gauge residents feelings.

Fair review

Posted: Friday, August 14th, 2009 at 5:52 am

There will be a Washington County Fair evaluation meeting at the fairgrounds August 27 in the upstairs meeting room. 4-H Youth Coordinator Kati Peiffer says 4-Hers, parents, leaders, committee members, and the Fair Board are all invited to attend. She says they will discuss positives from this past year and take suggestions for next years fair.

34 municipal positions up for election in November

Posted: Thursday, August 13th, 2009 at 4:50 am

Eight Washington County communities will hold elections for mayor and city councilors this November. The Washington County Auditors Office says 34 positions will be up for election. The first date to file is August 24, the deadline is September 17.

City waiting on test results to lift boil order

Posted: Thursday, August 13th, 2009 at 4:50 am

The city of Washington is waiting on test results before it lifts a boil order on the north side of town. Last week a water main burst causing water to flow into the sanitary sewer which backed up into at least half a dozen homes. City Administrator Dave Plymann says insurance companies for the city, a contractor working near the water main, and homeowners will determine who’s at fault, and who has to pay the claim.

Keota man killed in crash

Posted: Thursday, August 13th, 2009 at 4:50 am

A 72 year old Keota man was killed in a Tuesday crash in Mahaska County. The Iowa State Patrol says James V. Bowen was driving westbound on Highway 92 when he crossed the center line and collided with a semi tractor. The semi then collided with a third car. The State Patrol says the driver of the semi was transported to a hospital while the driver of the third car was not injured. Funeral arrangements for Bowen are pending with the Powell Funeral Home and Cremation Service in Keota.

Garden Crops

Posted: Thursday, August 13th, 2009 at 4:49 am

Corn and soybeans could be hurt by an early frost, but that’s not the case for certain garden crops. Keokuk County Extension Director Gary Bickmeier says things like lettuce, broccoli, and spinach are slightly behind the average, but remain hearty during colder weather. Bickmeier says other things like tomatoes must be picked once they turn green and then ripen indoors.

Nature Loop started

Posted: Thursday, August 13th, 2009 at 4:49 am

A new barn quilt loop got started this week in Washington County. Barn quilt committee co-chair Julie Mangold says the “Crow’s Nest” quilt on the side of Steve Greiner’s barn is the kick off of the nature loop, which will run through the southwest part of the county. Mangold says the nature loop is the third barn quilt trail the county has to offer. There’s also the Amish loop through the northeast part of the county, and the liberty loop through the southeast. She says they also hope to develop the agriculture loop in the northwest.

Grassley refutes "Iowans for Tax Relief"

Posted: Thursday, August 13th, 2009 at 4:49 am

Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley is refuting claims by the group “Iowans for Tax Relief” that he’s working with Democrats on a healthcare bill. Grassley says he’s there to ensure that the country doesn’t end up with a “government run” system. The New Hartford Republican says the country’s healthcare system does need some work, but feels congress could make it worse if they’re not careful. The “Iowans for Tax Relief” began circulating an email this week urging people to politely voice their concerns over the single payer system at Grassley’s town hall meetings. Meanwhile, a Democratic state lawmaker from eastern Iowa is calling on Grassley to dispel what he calls myths about the healthcare debate. Iowa City State Senator Joe Bolckom says Grassley should focus on healthcare consumer reforms.

TNL

Posted: Thursday, August 13th, 2009 at 4:42 am

This evening’s (8/13) Thursday Night Live activities in downtown Washington will feature the music of Patrick Hazel. The Chamber of Commerce says Pat has traveled with world with his unique style of music. They say he’s “classical trained and Mississippi River raised.” He uses a harmonica, keyboard and his voice for an earthy blues sound. Pat takes the stage at 6:30. The farmer’s market starts at 5:00

Rubio sewer system update

Posted: Wednesday, August 12th, 2009 at 4:58 am

Plans for a new sewer system in Rubio are moving slowly. County Supervisor Wes Rich says the Regional Utility Services System is trying to implement new cluster-based septic systems for the town, but is first required to obtain permission from residents. He says they currently have approval from 65-percent of the residents and are working on the rest. He says these improvements would help create a healthier environment and improve quality of life for residents.

Riverside could take over county park

Posted: Wednesday, August 12th, 2009 at 4:58 am

Riverside could be taking over a Washington County park. Conservation Director Steve Anderson says the city is in a better position to care for the park than the county is. He says the entire park is actually in the city limits. There will be a public hearing tonight (8/12) at 4:30 at the Marr Park Conservation Center on the proposal.

Loebsack starts E. Iowa tour

Posted: Wednesday, August 12th, 2009 at 4:58 am

Congressman Dave Loebsack began his month-long tour of town hall meetings yesterday (8/11) which will eventually bring him to Washington, Columbus Junction, Fairfield and Mt. Pleasant. Loebsack says these meetings are held so he can discuss topics and issues important to Iowans. The congressman will hold the Mt. Pleasant meeting Saturday at the Civic Center at noon. There is a complete schedule on the main page of this website

Engineer discusses bike ban

Posted: Wednesday, August 12th, 2009 at 4:58 am

A group calling itself the “Citizens for Safety Coalition of Iowa” is advocating a bicycle ban on the state’s farm to market roads. Washington County Engineer David Patterson says about one-third of roads in the county are farm to market routes. He says the state has a map showing preferred bicycle routes for both county and state roads.

Hamakua seeks donations for rummage sale

Posted: Wednesday, August 12th, 2009 at 4:57 am

Hamakua Place Youth Center in Washington is planning a garage and bake sale in late September. Center Director Deb Bodensteiner says they are looking for donations of gently used household items such as furniture. She says they do have space to store it if people want to move items now. Bodensteiner says donations are tax deductible.

M-P teachers starting soon

Posted: Wednesday, August 12th, 2009 at 4:57 am

Students at Mid-Prairie don’t start classes for two more weeks, but teachers will be back next week. Superintendent Mark Schneider says the new year will kick off for new teachers on August 18 with an orientation day. New teachers will review school policies and go over important dates and events for the upcoming year.

Area schools starting soon

Posted: Wednesday, August 12th, 2009 at 4:57 am

Area schools are starting up this month, some as early as this week. Washington County Sheriff Jerry Dunbar says this will mean an increase in both pedestrian and motor vehicle traffic. Dunbar says people also need to mindful of school buses. He says it’s illegal to pass a stopped school bus with it’s flashing stop signals extended.

WCT presents Frankenstein

Posted: Wednesday, August 12th, 2009 at 4:34 am

The Washington Community Theater is putting on a production of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein this October. It’s described as a rescue of the classic story from simplistic notions of horror and fear. Auditions for the production will be held the first two days of September at the Washington Community Center. Scripts are available at the Public Library. Roles are available for eight men three women and one boy.