Today's Local News

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.

Remember livestock during hot weather

Posted: Monday, July 13th, 2009 at 6:51 am

During summer months when the mercury can rise to almost unbearable levels, the Iowa Cattlemens Association urges farmers to think of the safety of their livestock. ICA Communications Manager Trent Wellman says some reports of cattle deaths due to heat this year have been as high as 40-80 head in some parts of the state. Wellman says with market-ready cattle selling for a relatively low price in the tough economy, unexpected loss of livestock can make matters even worse. He urges anyone who has experienced loss of cattle due to adverse weather to call the ICA at 515-296-2266.

Washington Co. Fair starts this weekend

Posted: Monday, July 13th, 2009 at 6:45 am

The Washington County Fair starts this Sunday (7/19). The festivities start Sunday afternoon at 4:00 with the 4-H and FFA Dog Obedience Show, followed by the garden tractor pull at 6:00. At 7:00 the Washington County Fair Queen contest starts. The fair continues all next week with 4-H and FFA events throughout the day, and grandstand entertainment in the evening. Week-long passes are $15, a one day pass is $6.

Audit shows revenue up, spending down

Posted: Saturday, July 11th, 2009 at 4:49 am

A report from State Auditor David Vaudt shows Washington County brought in nearly $26 million in tax revenue during the fiscal year that ended June 30th. The report shows the county retained 7.5% more revenue for county operations versus the last fiscal year. Washington County spent $15-million, down a little more than 16% versus last year. Transportation, public safety along with health and social services were the biggest expenses identified in the state report.

Washington Co. Dive and Rescue

Posted: Saturday, July 11th, 2009 at 4:48 am

Firefighters, EMT’s and police officers are all recognizable rescue workers. There is another group of individuals who serve in a different sort of environment. Tim Wells is head of Washington County’s Dive and Rescue team. He says they undergo rigorous training. Wells says they have a six person team, and are deployed to any situation that involves a body of water. He says they’ve also been deployed to neighboring counties.

Loebsack holds small business workshop

Posted: Saturday, July 11th, 2009 at 4:48 am

Eastern Iowa small business owners are invited to chat with U.S. Representative Dave Lobesack today (7/11). Loebsack is having a workshop to discuss provisions and avenues that could provide aid for struggling small businesses. The Mount Vernon Democrat says many businesses were hit hard by last year’s floods, and the declining economy. Loebsack says a number small business advocacy groups will be on hand. The workshop starts at 1:00 (7/11) this afternoon at the Cedar Rapids Chamber of Commerce Building.

Four Republicans vie for gubernatorial nomination

Posted: Saturday, July 11th, 2009 at 4:48 am

Four Republicans have declared they will seek the governor’s office in Iowa next year, and the executive director of the Iowa GOP says there could be even more. Jeff Boeyink tells KCII it’s better to have too many candidates, than not enough. So far, Sioux City businesses man Bob Vander Plaats, state Senate minority leader Paul McKinely, western Iowa State Representative Christopher Rants and Cedar Rapids businesses man Christian Fong have all tossed their hat in the ring for the Republican nomination in 2010.

Celebration Iowa

Posted: Saturday, July 11th, 2009 at 4:47 am

The city of Lone Tree will be celebrating what it means to be an Iowan next Monday. The traveling show group Celebration Iowa will make a stop in the southeast Iowa town and treat residents with a mix of singing, dancing, and a tribute to the people and history of the Hawkeye State. Celebration Iowa is a collection of high school students who tour the state and perform all summer long. The program started in 1982 and has grown into a non-profit outreach organization dedicated to helping residents in need across the state.

Corn Country Cruisers roll into Washington

Posted: Saturday, July 11th, 2009 at 4:47 am

The Corn Country Cruisers are back in Washington this weekend. Tonight they’ll have an Elvis impersonator along with a number of classic cars on display. The show runs from 6-9 this evening on the north side of the square. The pre-cruise is at the former Pamida parking lot on the east side of town. The next cruise night in Washington is August eight. For more information call Randy at 319-694-5603.

WMU School Board

Posted: Saturday, July 11th, 2009 at 4:47 am

The Winfield-Mt. Union School Board will have their hands full during their upcoming meeting (7/13). The board will face a number of issues ranging from bids for milk, bread, and fuel contracts for the upcoming school year, and even an early retirement policy for district employees. Other items on the agenda include the superintendents report, approval of substitute teacher pay for the upcoming year, and approval of the high school handbook. The meeting will be held at 6:30 Monday eveing in the media center.

Mikva Challenge Survey: Washington a pretty good place to call home

Posted: Friday, July 10th, 2009 at 4:55 am

Overall, Washington residents feel they have a pretty good place to live. That’s the assessment of a survey conducted by a group of Chicago high school students. The conducted the survey in conjunction with the Mikva Challenge and the University of Iowa’s political science department. Some concerns expressed include employment, shopping and street conditions. The results of the survey are preliminary at this point. The U of I will tabulate them and come back with more representative numbers. Mayor Sandra Johnson says they hope to take the survey questions and put them on the city’s website.

Special election set

Posted: Friday, July 10th, 2009 at 4:54 am

Voters in the Washington school district will be asked if almost 12-million dollars in bonds should be issued. School board members this week approved calling for the special election in September. Board President Eric Turner says if approved, the money will be used for the first phase of a massive facilities overhaul. Turner says this plan has helped mend divisions between groups that wanted to build a new high school, and those who wanted to renovate the old one. He says a citizens committee that’s campaigning for issuing the bond is comprised of both groups of people.

Mohling to have office in IC

Posted: Friday, July 10th, 2009 at 4:54 am

The recently appointed ISU regional director serving this area will have his offices located in Iowa City. Gene Mohling was appointed to the position as part of a statewide restructuring of the extension service. Prior to the shift, he was already serving as education director for Washington and Johnson Counties. He’ll now also be responsible for the Keokuk and Iowa County Extension Councils. His first official days as regional director will be August first.

First sweet corn of the season

Posted: Friday, July 10th, 2009 at 4:54 am

Area residents came out in droves to last night’s (7/9) farmer’s market in downtown Washington to get a hold of an Iowa favorite. Tom Vittetoe was one of the first local growers to have sweet corn this year. He says the first four of five days of the season are the best for sales. Vittetoe says the first picking wasn’t as good as usual due to cool wet weather. He says they also had some wind damage. The buyers didn’t seem to mind. Vittetoe says around 1,100 ears of corn were sold in less than 20 minutes.

Road closure update

Posted: Friday, July 10th, 2009 at 4:53 am

There are more road closures in Washington due to construction on the IC&E Railroad. City Engineer Rob McDonald says the Marion Avenue crossing between 3rd and 5th Streets are now closed. McDonald says they are attempting to improve ride quality by replacing the pavement near the crossing area. He says motorists should use the Iowa Avenue crossing as an alternative route. McDonald says theyre hoping to have all construction done by Wednesday.

Poet Laureate to visit Kalona

Posted: Friday, July 10th, 2009 at 4:53 am

The Poet Laureate of Iowa will be stopping by her summer home, Kalona, to share some of her newest poetry. Mary Swander makes her home in an Amish schoolhouse during the summer months and will be at the Kalona Library telling the story of a mother and daughter trapped on a roof during the flood of 1993. Swander says the story is a fun and funny tale of personal discovery, but one that is not geared towards children. Swander will be at the library Thursday, July 23.