Friday, April 10, 2009

Washington Schools Cut Custodians

The decision to eliminate custodial positions at the Washington School District drew some complaints at this week's board of education meeting. Superintendent Dave Sextro says its never easy to decide where to make cuts. He says their lawn care department was costing the district more than $40-thousand dollars per year. This week, board members approved a contract with a lawn care company for about $24-thousand dollars per year.

Groups Clash Over High School Rennovation

Major renovations at Washington High-School are causing some conflict between the board of education, and a local citizens committee. The citizen's committee wanted board members to commit to an architect at this week's meeting, but school board President Eric Turner says they didn't like the wording of the resolution. Turner says they've decided to wait on a report from the Iowa Construction Advocate Team, which is expected next month. The independent citizens committee wanted to put architect John Shaw's plan on the ballot for voters to decide on. Turner says that's still a possibility, but they want wait to see what ICAT has to say. 

E-911: the hub of communications

It takes a carefully coordinated effort to mobilize emergency personnel during severe weather. The hub of that effort is emergency telecommunications. Cara Sorrells is the supervisor at the Washington Safety Center. She says they have a rigorous procedure for such situations. Sorrells says while emergency officials rely on her office to serve as a relay point for information, she says they rely on those officials to serve as their eyes and ears in the field.

Washington Construction

Construction season is just around the corner, and the city of Washington is hoping to wrap up several projects this year. City Administrator Dave Plyman says they plan on finishing the new library, and the main street improvement project. He says they'll also start looking at a new water tower Plyman says they'll consider bonds this June to pay for the tower, as well as some of the initial costs of a much needed waste water plant. 

Kalona Roads

The Kalona city council has approved many road repairs. City Adminstrator Doug Morgan says they are also working on broken asphalt and crack filled repairs consisting of 27 sq. yards in several places. That includes a parking lot at 6th Street and B Avenue, paving intersection of A Avenue and 6th Street, as well as chip seal coat repairs to 2nd Street and 3rd Streets south of J Avenue.

Keokuk Learn at Lunch

With food prices on the rise, people are considering alternatives to the types of food they buy and where they eat. Gary Bickmeier, Keokuk County Extension Education Director, says the Iowa State University Extension has just launched the Spend Smart, Eat Smart website to help consumers make educated decisions on how and where they spend their food dollars. Keokuk County residents are encouraged to learn about the new interactive website at a Lunch and Learn program at the Keokuk County Health Center on April 28th in Sigourney. Reservations may be made by calling the Keokuk County Extension Office at 641-622-2680. The cost of the meal is $5.00 and reservations are limited to 30 and are due by Monday, April 20th.

Two cited under social host ordinance

A fairly new Washington County ordinance addressing adults, who provide a place for minors to drink alcohol has yielded two citations. County Attorney Barb Edmondson says Gary Don and Mary Lou Miller, both age 38, of Wellman were issued civil citations last month for knowingly permitting underage drinking on their premises. The social host ordinance was passed by the board of supervisors last year. Edmondson says it's aimed at "party houses" where adults host parties for underage drinkers, but may not directly supply the alcohol. Edmondson also says these are the first prosecutions under the ordinance.

Earth Day Louisa County