Today's Local News

Economic turnaround not significant for Midwest

Posted: Thursday, May 7th, 2009 at 6:21 am

A local banker says recent reports about the economy improving don't have a lot of bearing in the Midwest. Brandon Long is a loan officer at Washington State Bank. He says the local economy hasn't been significantly impacted by the recession, and isn't as influenced by the reported turnaround. He says the community banking model has kept many smaller institutions shielded from the downturn, as more aggressive methods have hurt larger ones.

Columbus Jct keeps a watchful eye on river

Posted: Thursday, May 7th, 2009 at 6:21 am

With the forecast calling for severe weather, many towns affected by last years flooding are preparing. Julie Hiendel, city clerk for Columbus Junction, says they have all their pumps ready and are keeping an eye on the Iowa river and making sure the same thing doesnt happen again. She says they are more prepared this year and learned a lot from last year's events.

Wellman hires public works director

Posted: Thursday, May 7th, 2009 at 6:21 am

The Wellman City Council has hired their first public works director. This week, Aaron Shoemaker was appointed to the post. City Administrator Dave Ross says he has the experience and knowledge needed. Ross says the city council gave him the ok to hire Shoemaker but the council still needs to approve a resolution for his salary. He says Shoemaker started his new job on Tuesday.

Washington engineer goes plastic

Posted: Thursday, May 7th, 2009 at 6:20 am

Cash or check? is a question seldom asked these days. It's now, what type of card? Washington County Engineer David Patterson says his office needs their own credit card, because they are doing more business online. The board of supervisors this week approved giving the engineer's office their own credit card. Patterson says this will reduce potential conflicts and confusion when other departments need to use the county credit card designated for use by all departments.

Marek expects rail service in SE Iowa

Posted: Thursday, May 7th, 2009 at 6:20 am

A southeast Iowa legislator says this part of the state could see passenger rail service in the next two to three years. Riverside's Larry Marek says he's spoken with Governor Chet Culver about the possibility. Marek says Iowa would likely partner with Illinois on the project. He says they need to discuss the option with Amtrak and freight rail owners.

Dental-phobia

Posted: Thursday, May 7th, 2009 at 6:19 am

A non profit group in Iowa is trying to raise awareness about dental-phobia. Dr. Ed Schooley, with Delta Dental of Iowa says some studies indicate there are 30-40-million people who harbor a fear of the dentist. Schooley says the industry is developing guidelines to ease dental-phobia. He says oral care is vital, because many health problems have been linked to a lack of proper mouth care.

Local schools rank high in AP testing

Posted: Thursday, May 7th, 2009 at 6:19 am

Two area schools were among the top 50 schools in Iowa based on the opportunities for students to take advanced placement exams. Mid-Prairie High school ranked 9th while Iowa Mennonite School ranked 36th. The index assesses AP participation among public and private schools in Iowa, and ranks schools on ratios based on AP exams given and the number of graduates in a given year. The top 25 schools will be honored during the annual Belin-Blank Recognition Ceremony on Oct. 18 at the University of Iowa.

Washington Council revisits liquor request

Posted: Wednesday, May 6th, 2009 at 5:45 am

Washington City Council members are again revisiting an outdoor liquor license request at tonight's meeting. Cafe Dodicci co-owner Lorraine Williams says she's been trying to obtain such a permit for a long time, and feels she should get it. Some city council members have expressed concern over what kind of precedent allowing the license would set. The meeting begins tonight at 7:00 in the Washington Public Library. 

Severe weather possible today

Posted: Wednesday, May 6th, 2009 at 5:45 am

Severe weather could be in Washington County's future today. The National Weather Service says intense thunderstorms are possible from mid afternoon through early evening, along and ahead of an advancing cold front. The storms could bring quarter sized hail and wind gusts of up to 70 miles per hour. Stay tuned to KCII during severe weather for Severe Weather Action Team Coverage. 

Building collapse lawsuit resumes

Posted: Wednesday, May 6th, 2009 at 5:45 am

Testimony continues this morning in a civil trial centered around a 2006 building collapse in Washington's downtown area. Eight jurors are hearing cases against Iowa City based Apex Construction and Coralville based VJ-Engineering. Alfonso Raymundo owned the South Marion street property at the time of the collapse. The law suit he filed in 2007 alleges fault against the two eastern Iowa businesses. Yesterday, jurors heard testimony from city building inspector David Bruns, and Apex co-owner Steve Schmidt. One point of contention is how preliminary, and more advanced plans for structure's remodeling were handled by the city, and the two defendants. At the time of the collapse, Raymundo had hired Apex to overhaul the building. The city required Apex to submit the plans, with a certified engineer's approval. At that point, Apex consulted-VJ Engineering. The city later approved the plans. Testimony in the trial will continue at 9:00 this morning (5/6) at the Washington County Courthouse. 

Federal deductibility tough for economic development

Posted: Wednesday, May 6th, 2009 at 5:44 am

Economic development officials say Iowa sometimes gets a bad wrap because they say taxes look higher than they are. Ed Raber, with the Washington Economic Development Group, says since businesses and individuals can claim federal taxes as a state deduction, it often makes Iowa's tax rate look high, and might scare away potential businesses.

Washington Co to help DOT

Posted: Wednesday, May 6th, 2009 at 5:44 am

Washington County's engineering department is helping out the Iowa Department of Transportation on a couple of local construction projects. County Engineer David Patterson says they'll provide inspection services on the repaving of old Highway 218, as well as the bridge at Coppock. He says both of those projects are expected to be completed by this summer. He says the state will reimburse Washington County for these services. 

Marek pleased with historical tax credits

Posted: Wednesday, May 6th, 2009 at 5:33 am

A Southeast Iowa lawmaker says he was glad to see Governor Chet Culver sign into law, a measure that more than doubles the amount of tax credits available for renovation of historic sites. Representative Larry Marek says it should help invigorate small town Iowa. The city of Washington recently took a number of awards home from Main Street Iowa, an organization that helps orchestrate historical renovations. 

Skunk River canoe trip

Posted: Wednesday, May 6th, 2009 at 5:32 am

The Washington County Conservation Board is having a canoe trip this month. Naturalist Pamela Holz says they'll travel down the Skunk River from McKain's River access, to the Brighton access. Holz says they'll canoe through some scenic woodland tracts including Brighton Timber. The trip is May 16, and costs $5. Holz says canoeists must be at least 10 years old and have some prior experience. To register call the Washington Kirkwood Center. For questions call the Washington County Conservation Board. 

Keeping A/C running properly

Posted: Wednesday, May 6th, 2009 at 5:32 am

As the mercury rises, many Iowans might be kicking on their air conditioners. A local heating and cooling company says its important to keep A/C units in proper working order. Denise Wiles, with J and S Heating and Air Conditioning says you need to keep the unit's air filter clean. She says many people don't even realize there is an air filter. Wiles says the filter will needed to be changed periodically, depending on where you live. She says it will be more often if you live near gravel or dirt roads. Wiles also says air conditioners should be inspected and given a "tune up" at least once a year.

Economy down…crime up

Posted: Tuesday, May 5th, 2009 at 5:47 am

A local law enforcement official says there has been a slight crime increase in Washington County. Sheriff Jerry Dunbar says the economy is partially to blame. He says some turn to crime as they struggle to pay bills and put food on the table. Dunbar says as pressure mounts on people, they are more likely to commit crime of passion, rather than a planned out act of violence. The Sheriff encourages all residents to check their security measures. He also urges anyone who sees suspicious activity to contact his department, or the appropriate law enforcement agency. 

Washington Council to revisit hotel tax

Posted: Tuesday, May 5th, 2009 at 5:47 am

Voters in Washington could be given a hotel tax option at tomorrow's city council meeting. The Chamber of Commerce is hoping councilor's will put the item on the ballot for the next election. City council members tabled the request at the last meeting in the midst of strong opposition from local hotel owners. The meeting begins tomorrow (5/6) night at 7:00 in the Washington Public Library. 

Fatal crash remains under investigation

Posted: Tuesday, May 5th, 2009 at 5:47 am

A car accident near Wellman that resulted in the death of a local man remains under investigation. Washington County Sheriff Jerry Dunbar says his department and the Iowa State Patrol are looking into whether or not charges will be filed against 15 year old Jared Gent. Dunbar says Gent failed to yield at the intersection of 170th and Juniper Avenue, and collided with a vehicle driven by 24 year old Ryan Detweiler. Detweiler was taken to University Hospitals in Iowa City, where he remained until he passed away Sunday. 

Positive parenting

Posted: Tuesday, May 5th, 2009 at 5:46 am

The Louisa County Extension office is offering several positive parenting seminars this summer. Spokeswoman Kaitlyn Wintermeyer says the "Great Beginnings for Families" five part session will focus on growth and development, as well as building confidence in children. It's being offered through the Stork's Next of Louisa County. Wintermeyer says classes will be held from 4-5 pm on Tuesdays at the Methodist Church in Columbus Junction. In Wapello, the sessions are on Wednesdays from 4-5. Wintermeyer says anyone interested in participating should contact the Stork's nest at 319-527-6378, or the Extension Office at 319-653-2371.

Letter carriers hope to "Stamp out Hunger"

Posted: Tuesday, May 5th, 2009 at 5:46 am

Washington letter carriers are participating in the "Stamp Out Hunger" food drive this weekend. Andy Miller, with the Washington Post office, says they're asking residents to put non perishable food donations outside their house this Saturday morning to be picked up along with the mail. This is the 17th year the National Association of Letter Carriers has conducted the food drive.