Today's Local News

Local doctor expects macular degeneration to increase

Posted: Friday, March 27th, 2009 at 7:30 am

As the Baby-Boomers enter their golden years, a health issue is becoming increasingly common…macular degeneration. Doctor Rob Negrete, with Washington Eye Care Center, describes the affliction as the erosion of a part of the retina, which can cause vision loss. Negrete says one of the most difficult aspects of macular degeneration, is its difficulty to identify. He says it doesn’t cause any pain, which is why he recommends people over the age of 60 who experience changes in their vision should see an eye doctor. He says there is no cure for the disease, but studies suggest certain multi vitamins combined with a healthy diet can help.

Band members grateful for donation

Posted: Friday, March 27th, 2009 at 7:30 am

Members of Washington’s Municipal Band say they are very grateful for the recent donation of 175-thousand dollars to improve the Central Park Bandstand. Wayne Brock, and John Winga are two members of the band who have been playing for 60 years. They visited John Jackson in Fairfield to ask for help renovating the bandstand. Winga and Brock say they plan on having Mr. Jackson come to Washington for the opening night of Band season, which will be the first Thursday in June.

Columbus Junction Athletics

Posted: Friday, March 27th, 2009 at 7:29 am

Many students in Lousia County were impacted by last year’s record flooding. Mike Jay, Columbus Junction Athletics Director thinks sports programs gives students a good avenue to let loose. Jay says not only do athletics help students to vent any frustration they may have, but it helps them with their academics.

Study shows 4-H’s positive impact

Posted: Friday, March 27th, 2009 at 7:29 am

A new study suggests 4-H can help make young people better citizens, leaders and communicators. 4-H Youth Development State Specialist Kelli Tallman says she asked a random selection 4-H’ers to rate themselves on those skills before, and after joining the program. Tallman says 4-H also helps hone conflict resolution skills through group projects and various presentations. She also says those who take part in the program also display less risky behavior such as underage drinking.

News Update: North Liberty man leads police on chase

Posted: Friday, March 27th, 2009 at 7:28 am

A North Liberty man is facing a laundry list of charges after allegedly leading police on nearly an hour long chase in Washington County last night. 20 year old Steven Lee Myers Junior is charged with Operating While Intoxicated, Driving Under Suspension, Failure to Yield to Emergency Vehicle, Eluding, and multiple traffic violations. According to a release from the Washington Safety Center, officers tried to stop Myers south of Riverside. Myers refused to do so. They say the chase ended with myers striking a patrol car and hitting a ditch at 230th street and Washington Avenue. Myers is presumed innocent unless proven guilty.

Congrats to Donna Rinner!

Posted: Friday, March 27th, 2009 at 7:27 am

KCII announced their radio active bingo winner this morning. Donna Rinner, of Wayland says she turned in four bingo cards per week since the contest started on January 26th. When informed of the news, Rinner was pleasantly surprised. Since the contest started, KCII gave away $800 in gift certificates to weekly bonus bingo Winners. Rinner’s name was randomly selected out of 2300 qualifying bingo cards. The contest had listeners fill out the cards when they heard sponsor’s commercials and programs on KCII. Congratulations to Donna, and thanks to all the sponsors who made our radio active bingo contest a huge success.

Washington to crack down on trash ordinance

Posted: Thursday, March 26th, 2009 at 7:26 am

The city of Washington is going to start cracking down on people who leave trash in their yards. Ordinance committee chairman Mike Roth says the city has been, quote too soft on nuisance abatement in the past, and it shows in several areas of Washington. Roth says the city will aggressively address complaints. He says property owners will first be contacted about addressing the problem. He says if they choose to ignore the notice, they could be subject to a $250 dollar fine. Roth says residents can file a complaint, and keep their identity confidential by calling 653-6584. There will be a chance to get rid of unwanted items during the city wide clean up the week of April 20th. Roth says they will also be notifying residents who own dangerous buildings, and informing them that arrangements need to be made to have the structure fixed, or demolished.

The city of Washington is going to start cracking down on people who leave trash in their yards. Ordinance committee chairman Mike Roth says the city

Posted: Thursday, March 26th, 2009 at 7:26 am

More than 200 area high-school students, and a few parents came to Washington High School yesterday for college prep day. Among them was W-H-S junior Joey Villalpando. He says despite the current economic environment, he’s confident he’ll find work after college. Villalpando says he’s interested in finding a career in computers. William Mcconnell is another student interested in electronics. He also says he’s not worried about finding a job. Washington High guidance counselor Kathy Stender described the event as an excellent showing. She says she’s very pleased to hear about the students optimistic attitudes. She also says they know if they can find the means to go to college, there will be a job for them when they graduate.

Bandstand project expected to get started by summer

Posted: Thursday, March 26th, 2009 at 7:25 am

A plan to renovate the city of Washington’s Central Park Bandstand is expected to get underway by the end of this summer. That news comes after former Washington resident John Jackson made a 175-thousand dollar donation to the project. Washington Parks Superintendent Tim Widmer says one of their goals is to keep the bandstand’s historic look. Widmer says even though Mr. Jackson’s generous donation gives them enough money to start on the bandstand, they’ll continue to raise money for other Central Park needs. He says that includes maintenance funds for the fountain and money to remodel the bathrooms. The volunteer committee spearheading the project will meet this evening at 7:00 at the Washington Public Library.

Kalona is prepared for severe weather

Posted: Thursday, March 26th, 2009 at 7:25 am

The City of Kalona is one of the few cities in the area that have manually operated alarms instead of an automated system. Fire Chief Steve Yotty says they test the alarm every day to make sure they stay in working order. Yotty says it is very important to know what to listen for. He says the tornado warning signal is a steady 3 minute siren and the all clear is a minute and a half signal that gives everyone the all clear.

Post Office cutbacks

Posted: Thursday, March 26th, 2009 at 7:24 am

Faced with new technology, and private package delivery services, the U.S. Postal Service isn’t doing as well as it once did. Many have been forced to cut services and reduce routes. John Marshall is the Post Master in Washington. He says two people at his Post Office have chosen to take early retirement. Marshall says there are no immediate plans to cutback on services, but he admits having fewer people does put them behind schedule from time to time. He says some Post Offices have begun to utilize automation systems, which has spurred a reduction in employees elsewhere. He says right now, there are no plans for such an operation in Washington.

Science education

Posted: Thursday, March 26th, 2009 at 7:24 am

The Obama administration sees science education as key to economic recovery and American prosperity. That’s an assessment Washington High School biology teacher Diane Gray agrees with. She feels students at W-H-S are given ample opportunity. Gray says science education is also valuable for a few other reasons. She says the emphasis on math and critical thinking helps them in other coursework. She also says being well informed on emerging science issues, helps them to become better citizens as many of those issues have begun to enter the political arena.

IA City Walmart donates $1,000 to local playground

Posted: Thursday, March 26th, 2009 at 7:22 am

Iowa City Wal-Mart has given $1,000 dollars to the Kalona Elementary Playgournd Improvement Project Committee. Store Manager, Kurt Penfold presented a check to Committee Chairperson, Jan Knebel. Knebel says the money will be used to purchase new equipment for the large playground which will be installed on June 12 and 13th.

Local drug task force looking to add officer

Posted: Wednesday, March 25th, 2009 at 6:57 am

The Washington-Lousia County Drug Task Force could be getting an additional officer. Currently one officer is shared between the two counties, as well as the cities of Washington and Columbus-Junction. Washington Sheriff Jerry Dunbar says whether or not it happens, depends on if one of those agencies is able to hire on an additional officer. Dunbar says his department lacks the financial resources to hire additional personnel at this time. He says another agency might be able to. Dunbar feels the extra officer could cut down on overtime costs and make area drug enforcement more effective.

Empowerment could see funding cuts

Posted: Wednesday, March 25th, 2009 at 6:56 am

Iowa's fledgling financial situation could mean some rather drastic cuts for certain early childhood programs. Tasha Beghtol with Washington County Empowerment, says her organization could be looking at a nearly 15-percent cut in state funding. She says no decisions have been made as to what areas would suffer due to such cuts. Empowerment covers a wide array of early childhood needs from education to healthcare. Beghtol says locally, the organization provides things like the Parents as Teachers program, dental programs and preschool scholarships.

Washington Mental Health lays out three year plan

Posted: Wednesday, March 25th, 2009 at 6:56 am

Washington County's Mental Health and Disability Services agency is laying out its three year strategic plan. Director Bobbi Wolf says the plan is required by the state, and lays out the agency's goals and plans for that three year period. She says that includes a recovery center. Wolf says they will try to fund the recovery center through grants from the state, and the local river boat foundation. The Strategic plan also provides a way for Wolf's department to lay out its services and access points.

Washington Jail almost complete

Posted: Wednesday, March 25th, 2009 at 6:56 am

A contractor from Mount Pleasant will put the finishing touches on the renovations at the Washington County Jail. The Board of Supervisors voted yesterday to award the the job to H-E-S construction for at total cost of just over 192-thousand dollars. Sherrif Jerry Dunbar says this will essentially make the project complete. Dunbar says H-E-S will complete the work release areas which were purposely left unfinished,one for men and one for women. He says this adds another 24 beds to the facility. He also says this is not an addition to what Washington County voters approved for the new jail.

Severe weather season is here

Posted: Wednesday, March 25th, 2009 at 6:55 am

Recent tornadoes in Iowa are a reminder that severe weather season can arrive without warning. Tornado Season is starting and many people do not know what to do when a tornado warning is in effect. Weather Eye Meteorologist Nicolle Morock says it is important to know the difference between a watch and a warning. She says a tornado warning means there is rotation in the weather system or weather spotters have seen a tornado touch the ground. Morock says when a warning is in effect the best thing to do is to find cover and put as many walls between you and the storm as possible. She also says if a sturdy shelter isn't avaliable, the best thing to do is find a low laying area. She says you never want to stay in a vehicle or manufactured home during a tornado or strong straight line winds, because they can be tossed very easily.

Marek, Schmitz question I-Jobs

Posted: Wednesday, March 25th, 2009 at 6:55 am

Governor Chet Culver has proposed issuing around 750-million dollars in bonds for projects around Iowa designed to create jobs and jumpstart the economy. However, two southeast Iowa legislators say the I-Jobs program isn't as "shovel ready" as some might think. State Senator Becky Schmitz and Representative Larry Marek say there's still a lot more to find out about the proposal. The Governor spent yesterday traveling around eastern Iowa to pitch his bonding plan.

WACO students present Camelot

Posted: Wednesday, March 25th, 2009 at 6:54 am

The WACO High School Music and Drama Department in association with Tams-Witmark Music Library will present Lerner and Loewe's CAMELOT this weekend, March 27 and 28, in the high school gym. Performances will begin at 7:30 p.m. each evening with an admission charge of $6 for adults and $4 for students. Tom Ferguson is the stage director and Millie Youngquist is the vocal director. There is also an eight member pit band complete with strings to provide music for the show. Students from the high school and junior high are combining for this show, with the lead roles being performed by Mason Ferguson as King Arthur, Bekah Kennelly as Queen Guinevere, and David Woods as Lancelot.