Saturday, February 21, 2009

Legislative Briefing

State Senator Becky Schmitz and Representative Larry Marek are coming to Washington to update residents on issues state lawmakers are working on. The Chamber is putting on the Legislative update which will be in the county courthouse this morning at 10. If you can't make it, you can listen to KCII at 1pm as we will broadcast a recording of the update on the radio and online

Parents as Driving Teachers

The Mid Prairie Home School Program is trying to get a bill passed through legislation. Home School Supervising Teacher Andrea Farrier says it looks like they have democratic sponsorship in both the house and the senate for parent-taught driver's education for home schooling families. She says things are not finalized yet but the bills have been submitted to LSA, and she is very hopeful about their potential to get out of the transportation committees and to the floor for debate.

Prevailing Wage

Two Washington County Supervisors went to Des Moines to voice their opposition to the prevailing wage bill. Supervisors Adam Mangold and Wes Rich left yesterday. Mangold says after reading the proposed legislation, his interpretation is that a wage would be set by the state from information they gather from workers around the state, and that would be applied to all projects in which state money is used. Mangold says he feels this will increase the costs of projects to local governments. Mangold says according to Iowa Republican Party officials, they believe State Representative Larry Marek from Riverside will be the deciding vote. Marek said last Saturday he planed to vote against, then this week it is Mangold's understanding he changed his mind. Now after talking to constituents again, Mangold believes Marek will vote against it. 

Stimulus Money for Education

Earlier this week Iowa Congressman Dave Loebsack reported to the Washington School District, they'd get around $500,000 from the stimulus package, but it may not be that simple. Interim Superintendent Dave Sextro says the Iowa Department of Education says that the money will be earmarked for title one education. Sextro says the department is urging districts to sit back and relax until they get final notification on how much will be coming. According to Sextro title one is a program that gives students who struggle with reading and math extra help to bring them up to their grade levels.

Tax Preparation Awareness

As you prepare your taxes this year, there might be a few credits you are able to claim that you might not have known about. ISU Extension Family Resource Management Specialist Mary Wienand says one you want to be aware of is the earned income credit. She says because people's situation may change, such a change may have put them within the requirements to be able to claim the earned income credit which can be worth as much as $4800. She also says some tax payers are unaware there is a $500 credit for childcare on your state taxes. Finally you might be eligible for free tax preparation assistance. You can learn more at

Read Across America

Students in Kalona Elementary School will join millions of their peers across the country to celebrate the ninth annual National Education Association's Read across America Day on Monday, March 2. Second Grade Teacher, Kerri Bell says NEA's Read Across America Day, which falls on Dr. Seuss's birthday, expects more than 45 million readers, both young and old, to pick up a book and read. Kalona Elementary Family Literacy Night will be Monday, March 2 from 6-7:00p.m. in the Kalona Elementary Media Center

Wellman House Fire

The investigation into a Wellman house fire has been concluded. The fire seriously damaged a home owned by Tim Hathaway. Wellman Fire Chief Jeff Fair says the home was engulfed in flames before they arrived on the scene. Fair says the home was so badly damaged there was no way to conclude what had started the fire. The home is considered a complete loss. He says the investigation has been closed.