Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Policy making and agriculture

As agriculture changes, many smaller operations are finding it more difficult to compete with larger ones. However, southeast Iowa's state representative says that's not necessarily a bad thing. Larry Marek says many smaller producers have begun turning to niche crops. Marek says without larger operations, there would be acres left unused. He also says commercial outfits provide much needed jobs.

Washington water rates likely to go up

A new waste water plant for the city of Washington could eventually mean higher utility prices. The new facility is being constructed as part of an agreement with the state Department of Natural Resources. City Administrator Dave Plyman says given the scale of the project, a price increase is almost inevitable. Plyman says the facility is scheduled for completion in 2011. He says the city is in the process of acquiring land and working out the engineering proposals. Plyman also says construction could start as soon as this year. The Washington City Council will meet this Wednesday night at 7:00 in the Public Library.

SEMCO Update

The manager of the Southeast Iowa Multi-County Solid Waste Agency says things have been getting expensive lately. Bill Fluke says they are in the process of expanding their landfill, which can be pretty pricey. Fluke says they plan on adding about one-and-a-half acres to their facility this year, then an additional four to five acres down the road. He says according to the current plan, SEMCO has a little more than 26-years of permitted space left, however that can be expanded as necessary.

Wind energy confrence

Farmers, landowners, businesses, schools and homeowners interested in learning more about wind power are invited to take part in the 2009 Wind Energy Conference coordinated by Iowa State University on Friday, March 20 at the Fairfield Arts and Convention Center in Fairfield. The day will include various exhibits, breakout sessions and panelists discussing the wind resources available in Iowa, the opportunities and threats related to the industry, and perspectives from current turbine owners and operators. Those wishing to participate should contact the Jefferson County Extension Office at (641) 472-4166. The cost is $20 per person and will be limited to the first 200 registrants.

Writing in School

With Computers and cell phones in everyones daily lives the art of writing is still an important topic in schools, Kalona Elementary School teacher Kerri Bell says they put a lot of time into teaching writing and making sure the students write as much as possible. Bell says technology has enhanced the way they teach and she believes that even though there are a lot of kids that would rather type an e-mail or text message, they make sure that the art of writing is not lost and it seems to working.

Girl Talk

Being a teenager can be a difficult time. Planned Parent of Southeast Iowa is hoping to make that time a little easier for young women and their parents in the Washington area. They'll be having a special half day program entitled Girl Talk this Saturday morning from 9:00 am to 1:00 pm at the Washington Public Library. It's designed to help mothers and daughters communicate about puberty and issues associated with being a teen. Workshops will focus on Self-Esteem, Body Image and Communication. For registration call Amanda Swan at 319-795-6774. Cost is 19-dollars for mother and daughter. Registration is due by tomorrow.

4-H Dodgeball

The Washington County 4-H County Council held a 4-H Dodgeball Tournament on Sunday, March 8th at Washington High School. There was a total of 17 teams that competed, with an approximate 102 4-Hers. Kati Peiffer, 4-H-Youth Coordinator says The Riverside Ramblers 4-H club, Cody Schneider, Colton Schneider, Ryan Schneider, Kyle Schneider, Brad Lampe and Brett Walsh, placed first in the Senior/Intermediate Division. The Washington County 4-H County Council planned the event as a way for 4-Hers to have fun and meet other youth. Peiffer wishes to thank those who helped with the tournament and to Washington High School for the use of the gym.