Thursday, April 9, 2009
A Sigourney man accused of killing his father has waived his preliminary hearing. Keokuk County AttorneyJohn Schroeder, says that means his office does not have to prove that they have enough evidence to continue with a trial. Schroeder says it is not uncommon for the preliminary hearings to be waived in cases such as this. Kenneth Lundy is accused of shooting and killing his father on April 2nd after getting into a heated argument over money. Schroeder says they have until May 17th to submit all pertinent Information for trial. Lundy is being held in the Keokuk County Jail on a $50,000 bond. Lundy cannot plead guilty or not guilty until the trial because of due process, he is considered innocent until proven guilty.
Washington Community School Board members approved a roughly $23-million dollar budget at last night's meeting. A major point of contention for members of the public who attended offer comment was the $1.58 increase in the district's tax levy. School board members pointed to the fact that the state is taking corrective action against the district for exceeding their budget during the 2007-2008 school year. They also says financial experts suggested increasing the levy by $1.90 to $2.00.
Keokuk County has implemented the CodeRED Emergency Notification System. Larry Smith, the Keokuk county emergency managemet coordinator says it is known as a reverse 911 system. He says it is an ultra high-speed telephone communication service for emergency notifications. The system is capable of dialing 50,000 phone numbers per hour. It then delivers a recorded message to a live person or an answering machine, making there attempts to connect to any number. Smith says the system will only be used for emergency purposes. He says to be safe everyone needs to make sure they are in the database. Smith says Louisa County has been using this system for a while now and it has saved lives and is proud that Keokuk County has CodeRED. To make sure you are in the Database log onto the Keokuk county website at www.keokukcountyia.com
Severe weather strikes without regard to man made boundaries, so it's important for emergency personnel to work together. Washington County Sheriff Jerry Dunbar say his agency uses cell phones to keep in contact with other emergency entities. He says that can present a problem if a cell tower is damaged, or the system is overwhelmed. He says law enforcement agencies do have a preferred channel that can override non emergency cell phones. He says they only use it if it's absolutely necessary.
In recognition of National Public Safety Communications week, the Washington Safety Center will have an awards banquet this weekend. Supervisor Cara Sorrells says being an emergency communicator can be a demanding job. She says they get a variety of calls...from the mundane...to the hysterical...and sometimes humorous. Sorrells says despite the challenges associated with her line of work, she and her colleagues enjoy what they do, and the fellowship they have. Sorrells says they'll be giving out awards for things like perfect attendance, and longevity at this weekend's banquet. It will be held at the Washington County Conservation Center at 11:00 Saturday Morning. She says the event is open to the public.
The City of Wellman is ready for severe weather. City Administrator Dave Ross says they bought a new tornado siren last year and has it connected to the Washington County Safety Center. He says they can also set it off manually if necessary. Ross says they have a storm shelter in the basement of city hall so when the weather is calling for severe weather including tornadoes they will open it up for anyone who wishes to use it.
Legislation pending in Des Moines could threaten Iowa's Home School Assistance Program. Andrea Farrier is a teacher at Mid Prairie Schools and a lobbyist for HSAP. She says the measure would allow school district's to get rid of the program. Last year the state cut the amount of HSAP money district's get in half, but stipulated that they couldn't reduce funding. A measure pending at the State House would allow them reduce, and even eliminate their funding. While this worries Farrier about what the implications would be statewide, she doesn't feel any local school districts would pursue such action. Riverside State Representative Larry Marek has said he would oppose any such legislation.