Today's Local News

U of I Prof recalls Apollo 11

Posted: Thursday, July 16th, 2009 at 4:54 am

Today (7/16) marks the 40th anniversary of the launch of the Apollo 11 mission, the first to put a human being on a planetary body other than the earth. Stephen Spanlger is a professor of astronomy at the University of Iowa. He doubts there will be another event that captures the world’s attention like the mission to the moon did. Spangler says he watched the Apollo 11 mission from his family farm in Henry County. He says interest in the space program has wained since the moon landing as the human race has become more people centered.

Richmond resident protests sewer system

Posted: Wednesday, July 15th, 2009 at 4:35 am

A proposed dual lagoon sewer system in Richmond has some community residents concerned. Bonnie Knutsen says it will be costly to scrap individual septic systems and hook on to the proposed lagoon operation. Knutsen says she favors allowing home owners to keep individual septic systems, and mandating that those who aren’t in compliance update their systems. County officials say while the lagoon was not mandated by DNR, it is the system recommended by the engineering firm they hired.

Crop update

Posted: Wednesday, July 15th, 2009 at 4:34 am

It’s been a very cool wet July which is exactly what Iowa farmers don’t need. The USDA says producers continue to struggle with bailing hay and draining excess water from low lying cropland. In southeast Iowa, 43% topsoil is listed as having surplus moisture, while 42% of subsoil moisture is in the excessive range. The federal agency says crop conditions are still in decent shape. Locally 19% of corn has tasseled, compared with 14% statewide. 23% of southeast Iowa soybeans are blooming, compared with 32% statewide.

Washington business owners invited to hear consultant

Posted: Wednesday, July 15th, 2009 at 4:34 am

Washington business owners are invited for a brown bag lunch with a little advice tomorrow (7/16). Business consultant Margie Johnson is will address a number of issues including sales and marketing, customer retention and team building. Johnson is being brought in through Main Street Washington’s downtown revitalization effort. She’ll be speaking at the Presbyterian Church from noon to 1:00. It’s free and open to the public.

City council preview

Posted: Wednesday, July 15th, 2009 at 4:34 am

Washington City Council members will hear about a proposal for Highway 1 and 92 intersection tonight (7/15). They’re having a special work session with representatives of the Iowa Department of Transportation. They could also reopen talks on setting cost of living salary adjustments for non union employees. This has been a contentious issue among councilors. They’re also expected to set a date for a public hearing for the Washington Bandstand renovation project. The workshop the DOT starts at 6:00. The regular meeting starts at 7:00 in the public library.

Washington identifies urban reserve district

Posted: Wednesday, July 15th, 2009 at 4:34 am

The city of Washington is identifying where they want, and expect future growth. The city council and planning and zoning commission held a special joint meeting last night. Mayor Sandra Johnson expects expansion towards Iowa City. The city is devising an urban reserve district as Washington County moves forward with a zoning ordinance. The district serves as an area set aside for expansion, and would be put in place as to not conflict with the counties zoning.

Policy changes at WACO

Posted: Wednesday, July 15th, 2009 at 4:33 am

The WACO School Board will have their hands full with a number of policy changes at next weeks meeting on Monday (7/20) at 7:00 in the high school library. The board will consider a grand total of four policy changes that will cover topics from home school assistance programs to even the schools policies on bomb threats. The public is invited to attend, however those wishing to speak must submit their request in writing to the superintendent no later than noon on Monday.

Summer travel not hindered by economy

Posted: Wednesday, July 15th, 2009 at 4:32 am

Despite a tough economy, it seems people still want to get out and see the world. Barb Arnold with Paradise Travel in Washington says while families are trying to budget their vacations, she has still seen interest in places like Italy, Mexico, and Hawaii. Arnold says even with internet travel booking popular, people still turn to travel agents to find the best overall deal when it comes to flights and hotels. She says summer is also a popular time for business travel and honeymoons.

Brighton Visioning

Posted: Tuesday, July 14th, 2009 at 4:46 am

Officials in Brighton are asking for the publics opinion on what changes should be made in the city. City Clerk Linda Burger says there are surveys now available for residents to complete and turn in by July 31 which will give planning committees an idea of where some areas of concern are. Burger says the Horizons project is in its third stage and has already worked on city beautification and child safety projects as well as a city resource guide. Surveys can be found at Brighton City Hall.

Land shift leads to more cash rentals

Posted: Tuesday, July 14th, 2009 at 4:46 am

A recent study indicates a majority of Iowa’s farmland is owned by people close to retirement. ISU Extension Farm Management Specialist Jim Jensen says this is leading to a decrease in share crop leasing, and more cash rentals. Jensen says as farmland values decline, more producers see leasing as a viable option. He says they’re are some things to keep in mind when considering leasing. Jensen will be having a series of seminars across eastern Iowa this month. Contact the Johnson County Extension Office for more information and to register.

County updating ordinances with state law

Posted: Tuesday, July 14th, 2009 at 4:46 am

Washington County is in the process of reviewing it’s code of ordinances. Auditor Bill Fredrick says they’ve hired a company to review the ordinances, and make sure there is no conflict with state law. The board of supervisors will have a public hearing on adopting the new ordinances at next week’s meeting. Fredrick says ordinances are usually only implemented for situations unique to Washington County.

Washington poll reached more women, elderly

Posted: Tuesday, July 14th, 2009 at 4:46 am

A public opinion poll indicates Washington residents are, for the most part, satisfied with their community. The numbers a preliminary at this point, and pollsters from the Mikva Challenge say they could be misleading. Nearly 67% of the more than 600 people surveyed were women, while more than half were over the age of 65. They say that compares with US Census numbers that indicate a median age of 42, with 30% of the population over the age of 65. The data is being processed by the University of Iowa, and will be adjusted to make it more representative.

14 vie for Fair Queen title

Posted: Tuesday, July 14th, 2009 at 4:45 am

Fourteen young women from around the area will compete in this year’s Washington County Fair Queen Contest. Coordinator Shirley Greiner says in addition to the competition, there be other entertainment. Greiner says this year’s contest will be emceed by Anne Michael Langguth, who was Miss Iowa 2008. She says one of this year’s judges is last year’s fair queen, Natalie Friese. The contest starts at 7:00 this Sunday (7/19) at the Washington Community Center.

4-Hers receive grants

Posted: Tuesday, July 14th, 2009 at 4:45 am

Four Washington County youth were recently honored with $2,000 scholarships from Hills Bank. Seneca Cuddeback of Brighton, Ryan Gent of Wellman, Lauren Moeller and Shelby Sieren of Keota were awarded the scholarships as part of the Hills Bank 4-H Leadership Grant program. ISU Extension Education Director Gene Mohling says the four recipients will receive $500 for each semester for two years. He says they can be used at any of Iowas accredited universities and colleges.

PAWS & More-Pizza Hut fundraiser

Posted: Tuesday, July 14th, 2009 at 4:43 am

Pizza lovers and animal lovers will have something in common in Washington this evening (7/14). From 5-8 the Washington Pizza Hut will donate a portion of it’s proceeds to PAWS and More Animal Shelter. If you can’t make it out for dinner, the non profit group is always looking for volunteers and animal foster homes. They also have a long list of items such as cat food, paper towels and pet taxis, they are in need of. For more information contact PAWS and More.

Corn acreage estimates up

Posted: Monday, July 13th, 2009 at 6:53 am

USDA corn supply estimates for the end of next crop year are up sharply compared to last month. The federal agency predicts there will be nearly half a billion more bushels than initially forecast. Iowa State University economist Chad Hart says the increase is due to more reported corn acreage. Hart says demand has been adjusted down, especially on the sweetener side. Hart says producers should take this into consideration as they decide whether or not to enter into the ACRE Farm Revenue Program.

Watercraft explodes in eastern Iowa

Posted: Monday, July 13th, 2009 at 6:53 am

Two eastern Iowans escaped serious injury Saturday when a personal water craft exploded on the Mississippi River near Muscatine. A news release from the Iowa Department of Natural Resources says 42 year old Robert Baenziger of Blue Grass and his 9 year old daughter Emily were boarding the 2001 Polaris Wave Runner on the ramp at the Shady Creek Recreation area. The DNR says Robert Baenziger was starting the craft at the time of the explosion. The two received only minor injuries, the Wave Runner was destroyed. The cause of the explosion remains under investigation, but Conservation Officer Tom Campbell says “it is believed that gas vapors collected under the cowling of the Wave Runner and were ignited by a spark as the vessel was being started.”

M-P School Board

Posted: Monday, July 13th, 2009 at 6:52 am

Maintenance and money will be the primary areas of discussion at todays meeting of the Mid Prairie School Board. The board will hear reports of general maintenance of district facilities as well as consider hiring a board treasurer and secretary. Other items on the agenda include a finance report, open enrollment requests, and administrator reports. The meeting will be held at 7:00 tonight (7/13) in the high school media center.

Sextro has less than 1 year left

Posted: Monday, July 13th, 2009 at 6:52 am

The Washington School District will soon be looking for a new Superintendent. Dave Sextro has been serving in the position on an interim basis. He has less than a year left. Sextro says now that the board’s policies have been updated, and the district’s business practices have been revised, he feels like he’s just about done with the tasks he was hired to perform. Sextro’s last school board meeting is in June of 2010.

BOS Preview

Posted: Monday, July 13th, 2009 at 6:52 am

Washington County Supervisors will get an overview of Richmond’s new sanitary sewer system project from Oskaloosa based engineering firm Garden and Associates at this week’s meeting. They’re also slated to approve a memorandum of understanding for substance abuse funding from the state department of public health. The meeting starts at 9:30 Tuesday (7/14) morning in the Washington County Courthouse.