Today's Local News

Study: nearly 1/2 of Louisa Co residents are commuters

Posted: Friday, May 29th, 2009 at 5:18 am

A recent study by Iowa Workforce Development shows almost half of Louisa Countys 12,000 citizens seek employment in other counties. Elias Gutierrez with Louisa County Development says the countys proximity to larger working zones and bigger employers make it easy for residents to find suitable employment there. Despite the exodus of workers, however, Gutierrez says many still find Louisa a great place to live, which gives the county a competitive advantage.

Kalona Cash

Posted: Friday, May 29th, 2009 at 5:17 am

People can use more than just money in Kalona. The chamber of commerce says Kalona Kash is a great way to get what you want while supporting Kalona businesses. They say during Kalona Days many of the prizes will be large amounts of Kalona Kash. She says Kalona Kash can be used in any business in Kalona and is treated the same as regular money. 

Employment stable at casino

Posted: Thursday, May 28th, 2009 at 5:15 am

The economic recession has effected people and businesses in different ways. Riverside Casino General Manager Joe Massa says they have not been immune to the recession and have been hit just like everyone else. Massa says they have been able to maintain their level of employment and have not had to lay anyone off. 

Unemployment numbers fall in April

Posted: Thursday, May 28th, 2009 at 5:15 am

Unemployment rates fell by more than half a percentage point last month in Washington County. Statistics gathered by the Iowa Workforce Development Board show Washingtons unemployment rate for March was 4.5%, and 3.9% in April. Statewide jobless claims dropped a tenth of a percent to 5.1%. last month. IWD Director Elisabeth Buck says the numbers suggest Iowas economy may be in the early stages of a turn. She cautions that the market is still very week and any recovery is expected to be modest and prolonged.

Healthy Kids Act

Posted: Thursday, May 28th, 2009 at 5:14 am

The Healthy Kids Act goes into effect fall of next year. It removes junk food from schools and mandates exercise time. Washington County Hospital Dietitian Anne Sposato says the effort needs to be matched by parents in order to reduce childhood obesity. She says as more families have both parents working, kids are eating more fast food and unhealthy snacks while at home. 

BOS makes final adjustments of fiscal year

Posted: Thursday, May 28th, 2009 at 5:14 am

Washington County Supervisors have shuffled money around for the last time this fiscal year. At this week's meeting, they approved around $910,000 in additional expenditures, and about $452,000 in extra revenue. County Auditor Bill Fredrick says the money being spent comes mostly from house keeping items. He says the majority of the revenue is grant money the county is receiving. 

Before you turn on the A/C…

Posted: Thursday, May 28th, 2009 at 5:13 am

Air conditioning season is upon us, and there are a few things that can be done to save energy and money. J & S Heating and Air Conditioning owner Scott Wiles says units should be cleaned and inspected. He says that includes replacing filters and removing any debris. Wiles also says it's best to keep air conditioners running during hot humid stretches rather than turning them on and off. 

Schools out, but policy still applies

Posted: Thursday, May 28th, 2009 at 5:13 am

While students are enjoying their time outside the classroom this summer, they may still be expected to follow school policies. Mid Prairie Superintendent Mark Schneider says his districts policy runs through summer vacation and if a student breaks the rules, they'll be penalized once school begins. He says that includes missing out on all extra-curricular activities.

Kalona 1st Responders Grant

Posted: Thursday, May 28th, 2009 at 5:11 am

The Washington County Riverboat foundation gave out just over $700,000 to area agencies as part of their spring grants. The Kalona First responders will receive $30,000 to finish their classroom addition to help improve the training and readiness The Kalona First responders have been trying to finish the classroom addition for several years.

Loebsack tours WCHC

Posted: Wednesday, May 27th, 2009 at 4:32 am

U.S. Representative Dave Loebsack is gearing up for the debate on health care. Loebsack is touring medical facilities in Southeast Iowa. The Mount Vernon Democrat says health care needs to be a careful blend of private and public efforts. Loebsack says the federal S-CHIP program, or HAWK-I as it's known in Iowa is one sign of progress. He made his comments yesterday (5/26) while touring Washington County Hospital.

Washington Co renews fuel contract

Posted: Wednesday, May 27th, 2009 at 4:31 am

Agri-Land Farm Service will continue to provide fuel for Washington County's road department. Supervisors approved a new contract with the Winterset based cooperative at yesterday's (5/26) meeting. County Engineer David Patterson says Agri-Land will provide ethanol blended gasoline, two types of standard diesel fuel and bio-diesel. The only other bid for the contract came from Brighton based Cobb Oil. Their's was higher by $2,000.

Grassley on health care

Posted: Wednesday, May 27th, 2009 at 4:31 am

Senator Chuck Grassley says there are problems with the states current healthcare policies. One of his biggest concerns is the fact that many lower-income families are unable to afford insurance coverage which results in poorer health conditions. Grassley says people with preexisting medical conditions are often disqualified from coverage. He says even if they are allowed to join a plan, they often can't afford. The New Hartford Republican says his goals for health care reform would include making insurance "affordable and accessible."

Ending Polio

Posted: Wednesday, May 27th, 2009 at 4:30 am

Washington County residents are being invited to Bike to End Polio. Myron Graber from the Washington Rotary Club says the event has a ride for everyone, ranging from short rides to even a 56 mile trek along county roads. Graber says 100 percent of the 25 dollar entry fee goes to polio fighting efforts, and the entry cost covers both snacks and a t-shirt. The Biking to End Polio Now event will begin with registration at 6:30 am on June 6. For information contact Myron Graber at 653-1674.

Winter pushes back last day of school

Posted: Wednesday, May 27th, 2009 at 4:30 am

With the ice and snow of winter the Mid Prairie School District had to cancel many days of school. Because of the canceled school days the last day of school for students was pushed back. The last day of school for students will be next Tuesday, June 2nd and they will be released one hour early. As it stands right now, the first day of school for the 2009-2010 school year will be Wednesday, August 26th.

WHS student receives Alliant scholarship

Posted: Wednesday, May 27th, 2009 at 4:30 am

A student at Washington High School is getting a $1,000 scholarship from the Alliant Energy Foundation. Kelsey Bishop graduated this year and is one of twenty five students receiving the community service based scholarships. Bishop plans to study nursing at Mount Mercy College this fall. She's the daughter of Cameron and Kathy Bishop. Alliant says they considered leadership, volunteerism and the content of a 300 word essay when they selected the recipients.

Cash up for grabs at Kalona parade

Posted: Wednesday, May 27th, 2009 at 4:29 am

There will be several ways to win money at this years Kalona Days. Kalona Days Director Dave Finley says cash prizes of $150, $75 and $50 will go to the top three entries in the Kalona Days parade. He says the parade will start at 10 a.m. and line up will be on the west ends of C and B Avenue and proceed east on B Avenue to 7th Street.

When to spray for bagworms

Posted: Wednesday, May 27th, 2009 at 4:29 am

The Keokuk County Extension is urging property owners to hold off on spraying for bagworms. Education Director Gary Bickmeir says there has been considerable interest in Southern Iowa as people worry about the caterpillars defoliating their trees. For more information contact the Keokuk County Master Gardeners, or the Keokuk County Extension office.

Loebsack in Washington today

Posted: Tuesday, May 26th, 2009 at 4:12 am

Congressman Dave Loebsack will be in Washington this afternoon (5/26). The Mount Vernon Democrat will be at Washington County Hospital and Clinics at 2:15 as part of his Healthcare Reform Tour. He’ll be meeting with health care providers to get a better understanding of the services they provide and their payment delivery systems. Loebsack will also visit University Hospitals in Iowa City and Unity Healthcare in Muscatine. He says he’s gathering information for the upcoming health care debate in Washington D-C.

Washington BOS slated for closed session

Posted: Tuesday, May 26th, 2009 at 4:12 am

Washington County Supervisors are slated to go into closed session this morning (5/26) to discuss an ongoing legal dispute with the city of Riverside. County Auditor Bill Fredrick says they helped levy funds for several infrastructure projects when the casino was built, and as a result Riverside is supposed to pay the county $175,000 per year out of the revenue they receive from the casino. Attorney’s for Riverside say the contract caused the city to exceed its debt limit, therefore making in void under state law. The meeting starts at 9:30 this morning in the Washington County Courthouse.

Liquor request in limbo

Posted: Tuesday, May 26th, 2009 at 4:11 am

Whether a Washington restaurant can serve alcohol in an outdoor setting is still up in the air. City councilors have left the item tabled at the past couple of meetings. Mayor Sandra Johnson says the ordinance committee is looking into the request from Cafe Dodici. Johnson says if the ordinance committee drafts guidelines to allow the restaurant’s request the item will likely be un-tabled. She says if they don’t come up with anything she’ll ask councilors to take it off the table and put the issue to rest.