Saturday, April 18, 2009

Legislative Day

State Senator Becky Schmitz, and Representative Larry Marek Will be in Washington today for the chamber of commerce's fourth legislative briefing. The two will field questions at the courthouse from 10 until noon. Tune in to KCII this afternoon at 1pm when we'll rebroadcast the event during a special edition news magazine. It will also be available at our website

Ridiculous Day

The annual Washington Ridiculous Day festivities will proceed this year whether or not construction in the downtown area is complete by this June. Amy Vetter, with Main Street, says Washington has the oldest Ridiculous Day Celebration in Iowa. Vetter says this year's festivities will include a singing contest, a pigtail contest and a cutie-pie contest. There was concern that the event would conflict with construction on the new library, Vetter presented an alternate plan to the city council this week to be used if that is the case. This will be the 69th annual Washington Ridiculous Day. It will be held June 6.

Share Iowa

In tough economic times, many people look for ways to trim their budgets. There's a program in Iowa known as Share. It's designed to help consumers save on food purchases. The group's Becky Newman stresses that this is not a handout. Share works like a food cooperative in that they buy their items in bulk. The difference is that they ask participants to complete two hours of community service, and share their time and talents to be a part of the food program. Share operates an office in Washington. To find out more call 1-800-344-1107.

Blood Award

Washington service organizations will be recognized for organizing and hosting blood drives this Thursday. Washington received a national award from America's Blood Centers. Chris Ciasto with the Mississippi Regional Valley Blood Center says it's remarkable, considering they were up against large corporate entities like Toyota. Ciasto and other representatives of the MVRBC will be in Washington this Thursday to hand the award off to the local service organizations during a blood drive at the U.P. Church.

Learn Sign Language

Three students from the University of Iowa will be offering an introductory sign language program at the Kalona Public Library on Friday, April 24th from 3:30-4:30PM. Youth Services Librarian Marissa Tartaglia says the program will focus on learning signing games and basic signs. They will also be taking suggestions from the participants regarding which signs they would like to learn. Tartaglia says no prior knowledge of sign language is necessary. This program is free of charge; no registration is necessary. For more information, please contact the library at 319-656-3501.

Tree Beautification

The Washington Tree Beautification Committee will have its annual tree giveaway and target street planting next Saturday. Committee member Linda Embree says they have variety of species up for grabs this year. Embree says they are also looking for volunteers as well. This year the organization's target street is South Marion. Embree says they will plant between 40 and 50 trees. To find out more contact Washington City Hall, or a Tree Beautification Committee member.

Quality Assurance Trust Fund

This week, the Iowa Senate voted to draw down millions in federal dollars to improve quality of care for nursing home residents and increase the pay of direct care workers. Senator Becky Schmitz says Senate File 476 creates a Quality Assurance Assessment Program, which will collect a fee from Iowa nursing homes. The new revenue would go into a Quality Assurance Trust Fund to draw down almost $40 million in matching federal dollars. The nursing homes in the area that will benefit are Halcyon House, Parkview Manor, Pleasantview Home, United Presbyterian Home and Washington Care Center.

National Minority Cancer Awareness Week

The American Cancer Society reports encouraging news in Cancer Facts & Figures for African Americans 2009-2010. Kierstan Peck, Community Relations with the American Cancer Society says African Americans are continuing to experience lower death rates from cancer. She says in honor of National Minority Cancer Awareness Week, April 19-25; take a few moments to talk to your friends and family members about what they can do to take charge of their health to reduce their cancer risk. Peck says nearly 50 percent of all cancer deaths might be prevented if we stopped smoking or using tobacco products, maintained a healthy weight by eating right and getting regular exercise, and got the recommended cancer screening tests. For more information call 1-800-227-2345 or visit