Saturday, April 4, 2009

Gay Marriage

A local state senator doesn't expect any immediate legislative action on yesterdays Supreme Court ruling which essentially allows gay marriage in Iowa. Becky Schmitz says they are very bogged down with the state budget and a proposed middle income tax break. Schmitz says lawmakers will take a careful look at 70 page ruling and possibly address it during the next session. Schmitz and State Representative Larry Smith are tentatively scheduled to be in Washington for a legislative briefing on April 18.

National Media Driven Recession

A loan officer at a local bank says bad times on Wall Street can actually be good for institutions like his. Brandon Long with Washington State Bank says their deposits have gone up as people begin to pull their investments out of the stock market. Long says like most small town banks, they have money to lend. He says people have begun to seek loans for home improvement projects as the weather starts to warm up. Long also says many Midwestern banks have been shielded from the mortgage crisis because they tend to be more financially conservative.

DHS Volunteers

The local volunteer coordinator for Iowa's Department of Human Services is looking for some help in the Washington area. Janet Ford says they are looking for people to drive DHS clients to medical and therapy appointments. Ford says volunteer drivers will be reimbursed 34-cents per mile. She says they are also looking for clerical volunteers. To learn more contact Ford at 319-863-0049.

Sharing Superintendent

Boards for both the Mid-Prairie Community School District and the Keota Community School District voted unanimously Monday, March 30, to approve sharing a superintendent. Keota board president Jared Lyle says they first approached Mid-Prairie three months ago. He says they wanted someone who they felt would be a good fit with the Keota School District. Lyle says he is looking forward to the new school year and moving forward with Mid Prairie Superintendent Mark Schneider.

Relay for Life

The American Cancer Society urges local companies to take up the fight against cancer in their community by becoming sponsors of Relay for Life. Kierstan Peck with the American Cancer Society says cancer touches everyone, and involvement in Relay for Life is a great way to show that a company cares. Peck says 32,538 people will participate this year in 87 Relay for Life events across Iowa. If you would like to become a corporate sponsor or find out how to build a team for the American Cancer Society Relay for Life of Louisa County, call 319.653.3768 or visit

Kalona Days Celebration

The Kalona Days Celebration takes place on Friday and Saturday June 19 and 20 in Kalona. Dave Finley, Kalona Days Co-Chairperson says the streets will be filled with food, arts & crafts vendors, a parade, games, contests, rides and childrens activities. He says this year marks the celebration of Kalona's 130th birthday, in honor of this occasion, and because Kalona is the Quilt Capital of Iowa as well as the largest Amish settlement west of the Mississippi we will be attempting to make the worlds largest quilt cake. Finley says a standard 9 x 13 decorated sheet cake will be used as individual quilt squares. The cake squares will be assembled into large quilt patterns. The Kalona Days team will seam the many cakes together with colored icing piped on to tie the quilt squares together. Finley says after assembling the quilt, judges will award 1st, 2nd and 3rd place cash awards to the most creatively decorated cakes.

New Doctor

Washington County Hospital and Clinics are saying goodbye to a doctor, but welcoming a new one. CEO Don Patterson says Nathan Thomas is leaving Women's Health Care of Washington in July to move to Texas with his family. He says Lloyd Holm, who is an experienced and Board Certified OB/GYN, will be joining the hospital's medical staff. Doctor Holm is from Omaha, where he is an associate professor of obstetrics and gynecology at the University of Nebraska, where he also received his education.

WHS Vocals

13 students from Washington High School's Vocal Music Department brought home top marks at statewide competition recently. The results were announced this week. WHS also earned the second and third highest ratings. Categories included soloists, duets and Quartetts. Brad Crone, Brian Langr, Tyler Lynch and Jacalyn Walsh all scored a Division I rating for their solo performances. Division I is the highest rating. Darrale Ross and Gregory Schneider received a Division II ranking for their solos. While Kathleen Kennedy, and Ashley Roate were rated in Div. 3.