Today's Local News

Keeping cool…and efficient

Posted: Thursday, June 18th, 2009 at 4:36 am

As the temperature heats up, many across southeast Iowa are concerned with maintaining a cool, comfortable home without raising utility bills. Gary Bickmeier with the Keokuk County Extension says there are many federal tax credits available for people looking to become energy efficient. He says these tax credits can be used to purchase items to make the home greener, which will pay off even more due to lower utility bills. To find a list of available credits and qualifications, visit

Dense fog advisory in effect

Posted: Wednesday, June 17th, 2009 at 5:08 am

Washington County and much of Southeast Iowa are under a dense fog advisory this morning. The National Weather Service says visibility will be reduced to less than a quarter mile in areas. They advise that motorists slow down, use their headlights and leave plenty of stopping distance in front of them. The fog advisory is expected to expire at 8:00 this morning (6/17)

Loebsack rep visits Washington

Posted: Wednesday, June 17th, 2009 at 5:07 am

A representative of Congressman Dave Loebsack will be in Washington today (6/17) to field questions on the American Recovery and Reinvestment act. Jared Hershberger will be at the chamber of commerce building from from 1-3 pm. Loebsack says he wants to ensure accountability, transparency and oversight with the distribution of recovery act funds. Hershberger will also be visiting Mt Pleasant this morning. 

BOS sets wages

Posted: Wednesday, June 17th, 2009 at 5:07 am

Washington County Supervisors have approved wage increases for next fiscal year. Board Chairman Jim Miksch says they had instructed all departments to try to keep their overall budget increases to less than 1.5%. However, he says they wanted to allow for 3.5% pay increases. Miksch says they have a number of union employees scheduled for such an increase, and the board wanted to be fair to the non union ones. 

Property tax delinquencies up

Posted: Wednesday, June 17th, 2009 at 5:07 am

The number of delinquent property taxes is up this year in Washington County. Treasurer Jeff Garret says his office sold 47% more certificates at this year's tax auction, while the total dollar amount was up by a around 19%. Garret says the numbers suggest fewer high dollar parcels were delinquent. Garret says the tax auction gives investors a chance to buy up delinquent certificates, therefore keeping tax funding to various government bodies stable.

Thoroughly Modern Millie opens tomorrow

Posted: Wednesday, June 17th, 2009 at 5:06 am

The Washington Community Theater's production of "Thoroughly Modern Millie" opens tomorrow (6/18). Director Ben Bentler says this is a fun play that takes place in the 1920's. He says a large cast, lots of interesting sets and dancing are some of the highlights. Curtain time is 7:30 tomorrow (6/18) evening at the Washington Community Center. The show runs through Sunday (6/21). 

Kalona Days this weekend

Posted: Wednesday, June 17th, 2009 at 5:06 am

A 40-year old celebration will be having its 41st anniversary in Kalona this weekend. Dave Finley with the Kalona General Store says Kalona Days has been going on annually since 1968 and there are plenty of activities to get all members of the family involved. Finley says one of the biggest highlights for the event is the parade on Saturday morning. He says they usually have a big turnout for the parade and once people show up, they will see how much more there is to do at the event. Finley says Kalona days is a fun and economical way for a family to spend a Saturday.

Bagworm spraying

Posted: Wednesday, June 17th, 2009 at 5:06 am

Along with the common summer pests of mosquitoes, ticks, and gnats, area residents are also concerned about bagworms. Gary Bickmeier with the Keokuk County Extension says that the large number of bagworms in 2008 has created high interest in spraying for them this year. However, Bickmeier says not to spray too early, but to wait until bagworm eggs hatch and small larvae appear on trees. He recommends inspecting trees, especially ones where the insects were present last year, and if caterpillars and tiny bags are present, now is the time to spray.

New PT at WCHC

Posted: Wednesday, June 17th, 2009 at 5:06 am

Washington County Hospital and Clinics is increasing the size of it's physical therapy department. CEO Don Patterson says they've hired Breena Luers as a full time physical therapist. He says she will work with both inpatients and outpatients. Luers has a Doctorate in Physical Thereapy from Des Moines University. She says she looks forward to working with patients of all ages, but takes a special interest in children. Luers, and her husband Justin reside in Keota. 

Relay For Life 5k Results

Posted: Wednesday, June 17th, 2009 at 5:04 am

The Relay For Life of Washington County 5k race took place Friday, June 12th. 

More Information Click here for results

Loebsack announces loan program

Posted: Tuesday, June 16th, 2009 at 5:32 am

More help for Iowas citizens and businesses from Capitol Hill. Congressman Dave Loebsack recently announced the Americas Recovery Capital, or ARC, program to allow small businesses to take out 35 thousand dollars to pay down existing business debts. Loebsack says the economic downturn and last years record floods are major reasons for putting forth this program. The act went into effect yesterday and is expected to help many areas, especially Columbus Junction whose downtown area was nearly completely submerged by floodwaters.

Schmitz wants to "wait and see" before special session

Posted: Tuesday, June 16th, 2009 at 5:32 am

A Southeast Iowa State Lawmaker wants to avoid a special session to address budget shortfalls. Fairfield Democratic Senator Becky Schmitz says holding a special session might cost taxpayers more than it's worth. A legislative panel recently slashed the branch's budget by four-million dollars. Republicans have reluctantly backed the plan saying it doesn't go far enough. 

Funding shortfalls could effect Washington Co.

Posted: Tuesday, June 16th, 2009 at 5:32 am

A shortfall in state funding could mean fewer jobs at the University of Iowa. U of I spokesman Tom Moore says around 130 positions could be eliminated. Moore says they hope that number will come down due to retirements and a higher freshmen enrollment this fall. 750 Washington County residents work for the University of Iowa.

ISP Safe Saturdays

Posted: Tuesday, June 16th, 2009 at 5:31 am

The Iowa State Patrol is stepping up it's weekend presence. Jason Marlow is a safety education officer for District 13 in Mount Pleasant. He says the "Safe Saturdays" will put every uniformed officer out on the roadways. Marlow says statistics show accidents are more likely to happen at night. He says 65-percent of alcohol related fatalities in Iowa last year, happened at night. Staffing levels for District 13 we're up 41% this weekend. Unfortunately their was a fatal accident in Jefferson County. 

Supervisors to talk pay roll

Posted: Tuesday, June 16th, 2009 at 5:31 am

Washington County Supervisors are talking payroll at this morning's (6/16) meeting. They're slated to approve next year's wage and step wage recommendations. They also sign off on three withdrawls from agricultural districts, and appoint additional members to the eminent domain commission. The meeting starts at 9:30 in the lower level of the Washington County Courthouse. 

Report card A’s earn free movie rentals

Posted: Tuesday, June 16th, 2009 at 5:30 am

Report card A's will pay off in more than one way for area students this summer. The Washington Family Video is giving free rentals for A's in core classes. They say that includes math, language, reading, history, geography, science and spelling classes. The free rentals are offered to any student kindergarten through high-school, and can be redeemed until the end of this month. 

Keokuk Co. BOS

Posted: Tuesday, June 16th, 2009 at 5:30 am

Administrative employees for Keokuk County may be getting added benefits. Headlining yesterdays (6/15) board of supervisors meeting was a proposal for a premium only plan which would allow pre-tax deduction of employee contributions to insurance premiums. The Keokuk County Courthouse was also an area of interest, as the board also considered allowing two area organizations use of the building for the weekend of July 3-5. Those two groups were the First Christian Church, and Youth United.

M-P among top schools in country

Posted: Monday, June 15th, 2009 at 4:24 am

Mid Prairie is one of the top high schools in the nation, according to a recent issue of Newsweek. The news magazine published a list of its top 1500 schools and high school principal Gerry Beeler says its the goal of all schools to put students first, but its always nice to get a little recognition. Beeler says its not uncommon for them to be recognized as a top high school. He says the University of Iowas Bell and Blank Center runs a similar study of top schools in Iowa, and Mid Prairie consistently ranks in the top ten.

Sheriff Dunbar: remember the fireworks permits

Posted: Monday, June 15th, 2009 at 4:23 am

Washington County Sheriff Jerry Dunbar says residents who want to have fireworks displays this 4th of July need to remember to get a permit. Dunbar says applications for the permits need to be received at least two weeks in advance. He says it's best to have someone who's been properly trained shoot off fireworks. Dunbar also says people need to be mindful of where the debris is going to land. To obtain an application contact the county auditor's office.

Supervisors seek candidates for eminent domain commission

Posted: Monday, June 15th, 2009 at 4:23 am

Washington County Supervisors are looking for bankers, auctioneers, property managers, appraisers and loan issuers to serve on the eminent domain commission. Supervisor Adam Mangold says people who serve on the commission can excuse themselves from hearing a case if they feel there is a personal conflict. He also says they have enough volunteers from the city of Washington, and are looking for people from other communities to serve.