Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Marek hopeful legislature will adjourn this week

A state lawmaker from Southeast Iowa is hopeful the legislature will end its session this week. Representative Larry Marek says they hope to have a budget in place. He says one area of uncertainty for him is a proposed middle income tax break. Marek says the legislation would save money for about 75% of the population, but would also cost the other 25% more. Marek, along with Fairfield State Senator Becky Schmitz will be in Washington this Saturday morning at 10:00, for a legislative briefing at the courthouse. 

SE Iowa receives EFSP money

Congressman Loebsack announced that $49,191 has been awarded to the Second District by the Emergency Food and Shelter Program (EFSP) through the Recovery Act. These funds will bring immediate relief to communities to address unemployment, poverty, and unmet needs. The second District includes Washington, Louisa, Henry and Jefferson County. After the floods of 2008, our local emergency shelters were overburdened and overstretched. Congressman Loebsack says as we continue to bring in funds for disaster relief, it is important not to let our families who were spared from the floods fall by the wayside as they struggle with the current economic downturn. The funds will be distributed to support social service agencies and will be used to supplement food, shelter, rent, mortgage and utility assistance programs for people with non-disaster related emergencies.

Washington Co. to charge for fireworks permit

Washington County residents who want a fireworks permit will soon have to pay for it. County Auditor Bill Fredrick says the board of supervisors recently approved the $10 fee. Fredrick says the fee will help them recover costs from long distance phone calls, and postal costs associated with granting fireworks permits. The new rule goes into effect tomorrow 

Washington Supervisors discuss new state regulations

Washington County's board of supervisors are going to be brushing up on some procedures that deal with appointing people to commissions and committees at this morning's meeting. A recently passed state law requires government leaders to strive to have an equal number of men and women serve on such commissions. It allows them to have an uneven ratio in the event that a position sits vacant for an extended period of time. Some Washington County Supervisors have previously stated that they are against the law, because it can sometimes be difficult to fill such positions. They'll meet at 9:30 this morning in the lower level of the courthouse. 

Local honey farmer favors new pesticide rules

A local bee keeper says he likes new regulation dealing pesticide applicators and apiaries. Ron Wehr operates a honey farm near West Chester. He says under the old law, some bee keepers might not have been protected. Wehr says the new regulation doesn't allow pesticide spraying near apiaries between 8:00 am and 6:00 pm. He says that's the time frame when bees are most active, therefore most susceptible to the chemicals. 

Washington Council to revisit outdoor liquor request

Whether or not a restaurant in Washington can serve alcohol outdoors could be decided at tomorrow's city council meeting. The request is from Cafe Dodici. Some councilors, such as Mike Roth, are concerned over what kind of precedent allowing such a license would set. Cafe Dodici co owner Lorraine Williams says in an ever changing business world, policy makers need to be ready to adjust rules and regulations. The city council has tabled the outdoor liquor license request twice. If it's allowed, the new ordinance would likely be modeled after another community's code. The meeting begins at 7:00 pm in the public library

Kalona Council matches fund raising effort

The Kalona City Council has approved a 10% match to all funds raised by the Kalona Elementary School playground committee up to $250,000 or a maximum of $25,000. Jan Knebel says the committee has raised enough to purchase the playground equipment but still needed to raise $208,000 for a safe surface under the equipment. Knebel says they are looking for volunteers to help build the equipment in June. Knebel says she is very proud to be a part of something that the entire community has embraced and cant wait to see it through to the completion.

MP School Board

The Mid Prairie School Board met last night and discussed a number of topics. The board focused on curriculum, finance and short and long term planning. The board spent 10 minutes adopting a certified budget for the 2009-2010 School Year. They spent 45 min hearing a technology report.