Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Local drug task force looking to add officer

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.

Washington Jail almost complete

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.

Washington Mental Health lays out three year plan

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.

Empowerment could see funding cuts

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.

Marek, Schmitz question I-Jobs

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.

Severe weather season is here

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.

WACO students present Camelot

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.