Today's Local News

Engineering is Elementary

Posted: Friday, June 5th, 2009 at 4:34 am

Today (6/5) marks the last day of a special event taking place at Lincoln Elementary in Washington. This week, the school paired up with the U of I College of Engineering to teach kids the ways in which engineering principles can be used in daily life. The project has been running all this week for 3-4 graders in the Washington School District. While today marks the end of Washingtons session, Ed Raber with the Washington Economic Development Group says similar programs will be held in Wellman, Kalona, and Riverside.

Kalona rockers at Hamakua this evening

Posted: Friday, June 5th, 2009 at 4:34 am

Hamakua Place youth center in Washington is having a free concert this evening (6/5). Center Director Deb Bodensteiner says the show will feature Kalona based Christian rockers The Ransom Project, as well as the Washington Faith Baptist Band. The show starts at 8:00 pm. Bodensteiner also says they'll be be kicking off a new program Tuesday (6/9) of next week at 7:00 pm called The Venturing. She says it's a young adult division of Boy Scouts, designed to help young people mature become responsible adults. For more information contact Hamakua Place.

One injured after Riverside crash

Posted: Thursday, June 4th, 2009 at 5:19 am

One person sustained minor injures after a two vehicle car crash in Riverside last night. 911 records show a vehicle driven by Jesse Fry of Muscatine failed to yield at the intersection of in front of the Travel Mart, and collided with Charles Scheer of Cedar Rapids. One of the two was transported to University Hospitals in Iowa city. It's unclear at this time which one. 

Car dealer talks about auto bankruptcies

Posted: Thursday, June 4th, 2009 at 5:18 am

A local car dealer says the restructuring of Chrysler and G-M shouldn't have a big impact on his business. Tom Buckwalter, with Buckwalter Motors in Wellman says concerns were high at first, but subsided when a formula for how the restructuring would work was developed. Buckwalter says he's keeping a closer eye on fuel prices. He says that often has a larger impact on the used car business. 

Washington Schools to receive $147K

Posted: Thursday, June 4th, 2009 at 5:18 am

Washington Schools are getting more than $147,000 in federal stabilization money. The funds are being allocated through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. The money is earmarked for improvements in teacher effectiveness, establishing pre-k to college data systems and gearing classes more towards college and career preparedness. Washington Schools could receive an additional $760,000, if the funding is approved by the federal government. 

Dispute over airport runway continues

Posted: Thursday, June 4th, 2009 at 5:18 am

Washington City Council members are again seeking public input on a possible land acquisition that would accommodate a new runway at the airport. Mayor Sandra Johnson says that would entail purchasing farmland from the Berdo family. There has been an ongoing legal dispute between the city and the Berdos. Public comment on whether tax payer money should be spent on the roughly 60 acre parcel of land will be taken at the July 15 council meeting. 

Program explores Iowa Underground Railroad

Posted: Thursday, June 4th, 2009 at 5:17 am

The Johnson County Senior Center recently received a grant to host a seminar on Iowas participation in the Underground Railroad. Questions surround Iowas involvement in the 1800s movement which helped escaped slaves find their way to free northern states and Canada. The seminar looks to answer questions such as whether or not Iowa participated at all, how the slaves were concealed from their pursuers, and whether or not some of these hideaways exist today. The seminar will be held on June 9 and is sponsored by Humanities Iowa.

Wild Edibles

Posted: Thursday, June 4th, 2009 at 5:17 am

Healthy nutrition may be found right outside your door. Naturalist Pam Holz with the Washington County Conservation Board says there are many common Iowa plants that, if prepared properly, provide an excellent source of nutrition. She says things such as thistles and dandelions, while commonly seen as a nuisance, are actually quite healthy. Holz says knowing what is healthy and what isnt is important should an emergency be encountered in the wild. Holz says more can be learned about nature nutrition at the Wild Edibles Program on June 27 at Marr Park.

Washington Co. to crack down on "mudrunning"

Posted: Thursday, June 4th, 2009 at 5:17 am

Washington County is cracking down on "mudrunners." Engineer David Patterson says the joyrides down class B and C roads create ruts that are costly to repair, and can make it difficult for farmers to access their fields. Patterson says people who go on "mudruns" could be charged with criminal mischief, failure to maintain control of their vehicle or trespassing, depending on what type of road is damaged. Anyone who sees "mudrunning" is encouraged to contact the Sheriff's Office. 

Washington pork producers utilize wind energy

Posted: Thursday, June 4th, 2009 at 5:17 am

Being environmentally and financially mindful can go hand in hand. ISU extension swine field specialist Tom Miller says many large scale pork producers are finding wind energy to be a viable way to cut down on electrical costs. Washington County pork producers, Andy McCall and Wayne Zeiser each use a wind turbine capable of producing 60-70 thousand kilowatt hours per year.

Historic Preservation distributes grants

Posted: Wednesday, June 3rd, 2009 at 5:10 am

The Washington County Historical Preservation Commission distributed $4,000 in annual funding at yesterday's (6/2) board of supervisors meeting. Commission chair Michael Zahs says they were able to support some non profit groups who hadn't previously benefited from the funding. Zahs says historical designations can be a draw for tourism and help boost the local economy. Next year Washington County will increase it's annual support for historic preservation to $4,700. 

Iowa Schools receive $316 million

Posted: Wednesday, June 3rd, 2009 at 5:10 am

The first round of school stabilization money has been released by the federal government and school's in Iowa are getting a $316-million slice of the pie. The funding comes with federal guidelines and local school administrators say it's unclear at this time what those are. WACO Superintendent Greg Ray says he hopes it will go to formative assessment. He says it's important for teachers to know how well their students are learning subjects say they can plan appropriately. 

Website features local contractors

Posted: Wednesday, June 3rd, 2009 at 5:09 am

For many, the summer months are a perfect time to get to projects around the house done. Louisa Builders Network dot com is a service designed to help home handymen find local contractors. The site features contractors from around the county listed by name and community. The website supports local workers and businesses and works to put money back into the community. The website has found support from various organizations such as the Community Foundation of Louisa County and Alliant Energy.

How to keep EAB at bay

Posted: Wednesday, June 3rd, 2009 at 5:09 am

The Emerald Ash Borer has devastated tree populations in many Midwestern states, but a local wildlife expert says Iowa has been spared thus far. The Department of Natural Resources' Don Pfeifer says in order to keep it that way, people need to use local firewood. He says the borer lays eggs under the bark of Ash trees and can be transferred to along with firewood. Pfeifer says anyone who has guests coming to the area needs to remind them to get firewood here, and not bring it from places effected by the beetle. 

Fee increases ease scheduling

Posted: Wednesday, June 3rd, 2009 at 5:09 am

Washington County Clerk of Court Julie Johnson says increases in court costs have cleared up a "scheduling nightmare." Johnson says before the hike, her office, and others across the state, were forced to take furlough days, which often backed up court schedules. The state legislature approved the increases this spring.

Two wheeled safety

Posted: Wednesday, June 3rd, 2009 at 5:08 am

Warmer weather means more two-wheeled vehicles on the roads. Washington Police Chief Greg Goodman says bicycles and motorcycles can be more difficult to see than passenger cars. He's urging drivers to use extra caution. Goodman says bikers can do their part to stay safe as well. He says there is no helmet law on the books in Iowa, or Washington. However, he encourages those who ride to wear one to add another level of protection.

PQAPlus training set

Posted: Wednesday, June 3rd, 2009 at 5:08 am

Iowa State Extension offices and the Iowa Pork Center are teaming up to offer Pork Quality Assurance Plus training sessions. In Washington County, swine field specialist Tom Miller is conducting the program. Miller says it's designed to certify safe pork products. He says it covers everything from proper use of medical equipment to humane treatment The Washington P-Q-A Plus session is June 16. It costs $25 and pre-registration is required.

Flood warning continues today

Posted: Tuesday, June 2nd, 2009 at 4:50 am

Portions of Eastern Iowa remain under a flood warning today as heavy rainfall continued in the area yesterday. The National Weather Service says the Iowa River was nearly half a foot above flood stage yesterday, and could rise high enough to effect agricultural land in Johnson and Iowa counties today. Motorists are reminded to never drive through flooded out roadways and bridges.

FEMA videos document flood, tornadoes

Posted: Tuesday, June 2nd, 2009 at 4:50 am

FEMA has complied a video documentary of last year's Iowa natural disasters. Videographer Mike Mancino says the "Triumph over Tragedy" series captures the recovery efforts in areas hit by flooding and tornadoes last year. They include such efforts in Iowa City, Muscatine and Cedar Rapids. They also feature first responders and a one year anniversary slide show. The videos can be viewed at FEMA's website.

Riverside could get new trails

Posted: Tuesday, June 2nd, 2009 at 4:49 am

The city of Riverside may be getting some brand new trails. At their Community Visioning meeting last week, representatives from various development organizations discussed the possibility of adding a trail that connects Riverside with Vine Avenue north of Highway 22. This trail would also link up with the Riverside Casino just east of town. Enthusiasm for the proposal was high from the various attending organizations, which included such groups as Trees Forever, the Iowa DOT, and city representatives.