Friday, February 20, 2009

Senator Grassley visits

U.S. Senator Chuck Grassley held a town hall meeting in Washington, and talked a little about congressional efforts to address the economy. Senator Grassley says the government is not wanting to be in the bank investment business, so the hope is banks will buy back the stocks the government has purchased in the next two years. He says the government did something similar with Chrysler about thirty years ago. Yesterday's meeting was part of a bigger series of meetings Grassley is holding to gather input from constituents.

Schmitz Labor

The recent discovery of the activities at the Atalissa turkey processing plant and at the meat packing plant in Postviille, has State Senator Becky Schmitz calling for stronger enforcement. At Atalissa it was discovered mentally disabled men were living in poor conditions and at Postville, child labor laws were being violated. Schmitz says the state needs to address these problems. She says failure to enforce labor protection laws especially those concerning wages, cheats workers, drives down wages and is unfair to those businesses compliant to labor laws.

County Attorney vs. Underage Drinking

Washington County's Attorney was recently at the State Capitol talking about ways Washington has fought underage drinking. Barb Edmondson spoke at a press conference sponsored by Iowa Alliance of Coalitions for Change. It's a youth coalition formed to fight underage drinking. Edmondson describes strategies to reduce underage drinking such as social host ordinance passed both by the City of Washington and the county. She also serves on state and national committees that address juvenile issues such as underage drinking.

Demon Dash for Cash

Washington Community Schools and Bodywrx are putting on a 5K Run/Walk and Mile Run/Walk to raise money for local schools. They are calling Demon Dash for Cash, Teri Hartzler is the chair of the event. She says it will be April 18th at the Washington Junior High. The proceeds go towards the purchase of books for the media centers and libraries for the four schools in the district. Hartzler says there are sponsorship packages available.

Paving Work

Kalona will be getting new paving work done. The Kalona City Council approved moving ahead on paving 10th Street from Highway 22 to the middle school by beginning to bid for design work. One block of F Avenue would also be paved. City Administrator Doug Morgan said the engineers had given the probable cost at $149,000. The street would most likely have 7 inches of concrete at 31 feet in width. He noted the entrance to the school was currently 25 feet wide, so the last block of the paving project would narrow to conform to the school entrance. The City Council agreed that this paving work should be number one priority this year.

Valentine Craft Event

The Kalona Library held a Craft Event on Valentines Day. Youth Services Coordinator
Marissa Tartaglia says on Valentines Day kids came to the library to make different things. Tartaglia says youth have been coming to the library more and more, she says every week it seems that more kids are attending the library and participating in different events such as the craft event and reading groups.

ISU Crawfordsville Research Farm Educational Meeting and Annual Meeting

Everyone is invited to the ISU Crawfordsville Research Farm Educational Meeting. The annual meeting for the SE Iowa Agricultural Research Association will begin at 10:00 a.m. on Thursday, March 5 in the Washington County Extension office in Washington. Gary Bickmeier, the Keokuk County Extension Education Director says after a short business meeting, Kevin Van Dee, farm superintendent for the SE Iowa Research & Demonstration Farm will give an update on research occurring on the farm. Again the event will be 10:00 a.m. on Thursday, March 5 in the Washington County Extension office in Washington.