Tuesday, April 28, 2009

WPH monitoring for swine flu

A local health official says her department is monitoring reports on swine flu from state and federal agencies. Washington County Public Health Adminstrator Edie Nebel recommends, as with any influenza, frequent hand washing and covering your mouth when you cough. She also says if you do feel ill, to stay home. There have been no cases of swine flu reported in Washington County or Iowa.

Columbus Jct man home after Friday crash

A Columbus Junction man is back home after being hospitalized over the weekend following a car accident on the Highway 92 bridge over the Iowa River. University of Iowa Hospital officials say 50 year old Manuel Martinez was discharged, after being airlifted to their facility Friday. According to a report from the Iowa State Patrol, Martinez's vehicle smashed into a trailer being pulled by a tractor, driven by 27 year old Benjamin Lacina of West Branch. The report indicates Martinez's vehicle then collided with a pickup truck driven by 52 year old Peggy Griffin of Lets. Police say charges are pending.

Washington Recorder receives anti-gay marriage petition

At least 100 area residents believe the Washington County Recorder shouldn't issue same sex marriage licenses. That's how many signatures were on a series of petitions left at Connie Pence's office yesterday (4/27). Pence says things have been quiet despite the fact that yesterday was the first day that gay couples could obtain marriage licenses in Iowa. She says no one came in to apply for such a license, and there have been no protesters. Pence has previously said she will issue same sex marriage licenses to those who seek them, in accordance with the law.

Mostly quiet on first day of gay marriage

The Louisa County Recorder says things were quiet yesterday, despite it being the first day that recorders could issue same sex marriage licenses. Recorder Leanne Black says she's heard of problems in other areas. Black says if any couple wishes to obtain a marriage license, she will do her job. She says they don't have any hard copies of the licenses, but do have digital copes ready to print out. Black says she has yet to see the first same sex marriage license request.

Pure Water for All

More than 20 people were on hand at the Halcyon House yesterday to hear about the Pure Water for All Foundation from John and Mary Jo Hays. The Washington couple formed the non profit organization in 2005. Mary Jo says its rewarding to bring safe water to underdeveloped parts of the world. If you'd like to get involved, contact John and Mary Jo Hays. Monetary donations can be sent to the Pure Water for All Foundation, at 403 West Main Street in Washington.

Kalona Quilt Show

The Kalona Quilt Show brought thousands of people to the community over the weekend. Katie Karnes with the Wooden Wheel in Kalona says they had over 1000 people visit the quilt show. She says people come from all over to view the quilts, including Texas, California and Utah. Two-thirds of the quilts on display were new, meaning they haven't been part of the show before, and the rest are antique quilts. Karnes says all in all it was a good 3 day event with the weather steady and many nice people enjoying not only the quilts but Kalona as well.

Kalona Arabic program grant runs out

The Kalona Elementary Arabic Program federal Grant is running out. Zahra Alattar is the Arabic Teacher and says that this year will be the last for the program. She says the students have been learning more than just a language. She says it teaches students to open their minds to other cultures in the world and to look at things a different way. Alattar is hopeful the district can find an alternative funding source.

Early childhood

A traumatic event can impact a child for the rest of their life. Likewise, healthy activities can have a positive effect. Shalon Hoyle, with the YMCA of Washington's early childhood program, says having kids just play together can be significant. Hoyle says they one of their biggest goals is to have preschoolers learn how to interact socially with their peers, so they are more comfortable when they get to kindergarten.