Today's Local News

Marek: More Cuts Likely

Posted: Wednesday, July 1st, 2009 at 4:52 am

An Iowa lawmaker from Washington County expects more state cuts this fiscal year. Representative Larry Marek says all arms of government are exploring ways to save money. He says the legislature is trying to keep next year’s session as short as possible, while the judicial branch is looking at more furlough days. Iowa’s new fiscal year started today (7/1).

Washington Council to Talk Personnel

Posted: Wednesday, July 1st, 2009 at 4:52 am

Personnel issues are on the table for Washington City Council members tonight (7/1). They’re slated to continue discussions on setting cost of living salary adjustments for non union employees. This was a contentious issue at the last meeting. They’ll also consider establishing a new supervisory position in the water and waste water departments, and confirm an appointment to a city accountant position. The meeting starts 7:00 tonight (7/1) in the Washington Public Library.

Extension Offers Food Safety Training

Posted: Wednesday, July 1st, 2009 at 4:51 am

With the threat of food-borne illnesses always an issue, the ISU Extension will be offering a way to prevent these diseases. On July 21, the extension will be holding a food safety seminar in Burlington which will teach participants the proper ways to clean, prepare, and handle foods which could potentially carry bacteria. The program is being offered as part of the National Restaurant Association and the Iowa Food Code.

Dr. Plattenberger Contracted for Jail Services

Posted: Wednesday, July 1st, 2009 at 4:51 am

The Washington County Jail has hired a doctor to provide health care to inmates. Sheriff Jerry Dunbar says they’ll continue their contract with Washington County Hospital. He says Dr. Robin Plattenberger is a good fit for the position. Dunbar says it will cost them a little more per visit. However he says Dr. Plattenberger can offer them a wider range of services.

Wapello Student Appointed to Leadership Role

Posted: Wednesday, July 1st, 2009 at 4:50 am

A Wapello High School student was recently appointed to a leadership in a prominent anti-smoking organization. Bailey Wonders was elected to the executive council of Just Eliminate Lies, and Kaitlyn Wintermeyer, tobacco control project coordinator in Louisa County says Wonders is perfect for the job. Wintermeyer says the JEL chapters in southeast Iowa high schools focus mainly on raising awareness of the tobacco industrys influence on youth. She says as part of the executive council, Baileys duties will include a lot of meetings and organizing statewide events.

portion of 218 closed today

Posted: Tuesday, June 30th, 2009 at 4:54 am

One southbound lane of U-S 218 will be closed in Washington County today. The Iowa Department of Transportation says the right lane will be closed between County Road G26 and Iowa 22 near Riverside while crews conduct patching operations. Motorists are asked to use caution near on and off ramps, and to watch for workers and equipment. The maintenance work is expected to be completed by 4:00 tomorrow (7/1) afternoon.

Fire destroys barn in rural Ainsworth

Posted: Tuesday, June 30th, 2009 at 4:54 am

A barn was lost, but no injuries were reported after a fire in rural Ainsworth. The Washington County Safety Center says they received a report Sunday night indicating the barn at 3270 185th street was “fully engulfed” in flames. Personnel from Ainsworth and Riverside Fire Departments as well as the Washington County Ambulance Service, Rural Electric Cooperative and the Sheriff’s Department all responded to the blaze. The safety center says the value of the structure is unknown.

Supervisor concerned with minibus during winter

Posted: Tuesday, June 30th, 2009 at 4:52 am

A Washington County supervisor is concerned with how reliable the county minibus is during the winter months. Jim Rosien says a great deal of people rely on the service to get them to and from work, and it creates a hardship when the service stops during inclement weather. Rosien says they’re fortunate to have Washington County Developmental Center to serve as a back up for area residents with disabilities.

Fireworks permits down this year

Posted: Tuesday, June 30th, 2009 at 4:52 am

With the Fourth of July this weekend, the auditors office has been busy issuing permits for private fireworks displays. County Auditor Bill Frederick says his office this year has issued 18 permits to residents, as opposed to 25 issued last year. Despite this drop, he says there are some issued after the holiday for special celebrations, such as weddings or reunions. Frederick says the process to receive a permit is long, and at this point it is impossible to get one in time for the holiday.

Weather favorable for corn, soybeans

Posted: Tuesday, June 30th, 2009 at 4:52 am

Warm, dry weather is in the forecast this week, and that’s coming as welcome news to southeast Iowa farmers. Washington County Extension Education Director Gene Mohling says much of the region saw excessive amounts of rainfall in the past few weeks, making weed control difficult. Mohling says the wet weather has also hampered hay harvests. He says in some spots the first cutting was completely lost. High temperatures are expected in the low eighties this week with little or no chance of rainfall.

Washington School Board to talk petition language

Posted: Tuesday, June 30th, 2009 at 4:52 am

The Washington School Board is discussing bond petition language at a special meeting tonight (6/30). Last week members approved a $36-million facilities plan that was developed by representatives from the state association of school boards. In order to come up with the money for the plan, voters will have to approve issuing bonds. Before that can happen, a petition with enough signatures has to be submitted to election officials. Tonight’s meeting starts at 6:30 in the school administration.

57 hoof it in 5-H run/walk

Posted: Tuesday, June 30th, 2009 at 4:51 am

Some residents of Washington County got a sneak peak of the upcoming Washington County Fair this past weekend at the 4-H sponsored 5k run/walk. Originally slated for June 19, rain and severe weather postponed the first annual event until this past Friday. Kati Peiffer, 4-H Youth Coordinator says 57 people participated in the inaugural run, and were able to catch a glimpse of fair preparations as animals were already being assembled for the July 19-24 county fair.

Washington Library gearing up for move

Posted: Tuesday, June 30th, 2009 at 4:51 am

The Washington Public Library is gearing up for it’s move to the new building. Director Patrick Finney says one of the biggest challenges will be keeping things organized during the transition. He says it won’t be a fun process, but will be worth it once their settled in. Construction at the new library is expected to be complete by August. Finney says they hope to set a grand opening date in the near future.

Washington man pleads guilty to stealing guns from flooded homes

Posted: Monday, June 29th, 2009 at 4:17 am

(AP) – A Washington man has been sentenced to more than four years in prison for stealing guns from homes that had been evacuated during last year’s floods. 21 year old Benjamin Willett pleaded guilty in U-S District Court in Davenport for unlawful possession of firearms. The U-S attorney’s office says Willett, and two other men broke in to at least four Coralville homes that had been evacuated and stole at least 25 guns. Police searched the men’s apartments and found 16 stolen guns, after an undercover officer bought one of them from the men.

Schmitz expects more budget cutsSchmitz expects more budget cuts

Posted: Monday, June 29th, 2009 at 4:16 am

A southeast Iowa state lawmaker says the legislature is looking at more “belt tightening” in the next fiscal year. Fairfield Senator Becky Schmitz hopes they can get by without a special session, but says it might be necessary. Schmitz expects the sting of the economic downturn to be felt into next year. She anticipates the state’s needs will outlast the federal stimulus money.

BOS’s asked to support overturn of SC ruling allowing same sex marriage

Posted: Monday, June 29th, 2009 at 4:16 am

Conservative groups are urging county boards of supervisors to pass resolutions supporting a constitutional amendment that would overturn Iowa’s Supreme Court Decision allowing gay marriage. Washington County Board Chair Jim Miksch says it is not something they’re looking in to. Miksch doesn’t see much of a future for Washington supervisors to be involved in such an issue. A Handful of boards in other parts of the state have passed the non-binding resolution.

Supervisors talk wind energy

Posted: Monday, June 29th, 2009 at 4:16 am

Washington County Supervisors are talking wind energy at this week’s meeting. They’ll hear a presentation from Assessor Lil Perry on how land that wind turbines go on will be valuated. Kansas City Based TradeWind Energy has been working with local officials on developing a plan for what could be the largest wind farm in Iowa. It would most likely be located in the northern part of the county and stretch from Riverside, to the Keokuk County line.

4-H Alumni

Posted: Monday, June 29th, 2009 at 4:15 am

Although the Washington County Fair is about a month away, preparations are already well underway to make this years event something special. 4-H Youth Coordinator Katie Peiffer says one event she is very excited for is the alumni steer show, where the past and present of 4-H will come together. Peiffer says the event is not just beneficial for the youngsters in the organization. She says current members can share stories and helpful advice to the alumni as well. Even though some of the alumni may not have dealt with cattle during their years, she still says it will be a fun way to get past members interested and involved with 4-H again.

Tristate Local Food Conference

Posted: Monday, June 29th, 2009 at 4:15 am

Southeast Iowa will be host to this year’s Tri-State Local Food Conference. Elizabet Humbe is a local food coordinator for Hometown Harvest. She says this year’s conference will focus on sustainability. The event is a collaborative effort by a range of educational institutions, local food proponents, and economic and financial entities. It’ll be held this September in Fairfield. To find out more visit

Washington in high compliance with SmokeFree act

Posted: Monday, June 29th, 2009 at 4:15 am

Nearly a year after the passing of the Smokefree Air Act, many Washington area businesses say the law has had an overall positive effect. In the past year only three businesses have received a notice of violation from the Iowa Department of Public Health, none of those three has received a second notice. Sarah Yoder with Washington County Tobacco Use and Prevention says businesses who do allow smoking see higher costs, higher insurance premiums, and lower employee productivity.