Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Building collapse lawsuit resumes

Testimony continues this morning in a civil trial centered around a 2006 building collapse in Washington's downtown area. Eight jurors are hearing cases against Iowa City based Apex Construction and Coralville based VJ-Engineering. Alfonso Raymundo owned the South Marion street property at the time of the collapse. The law suit he filed in 2007 alleges fault against the two eastern Iowa businesses. Yesterday, jurors heard testimony from city building inspector David Bruns, and Apex co-owner Steve Schmidt. One point of contention is how preliminary, and more advanced plans for structure's remodeling were handled by the city, and the two defendants. At the time of the collapse, Raymundo had hired Apex to overhaul the building. The city required Apex to submit the plans, with a certified engineer's approval. At that point, Apex consulted-VJ Engineering. The city later approved the plans. Testimony in the trial will continue at 9:00 this morning (5/6) at the Washington County Courthouse. 

Severe weather possible today

Severe weather could be in Washington County's future today. The National Weather Service says intense thunderstorms are possible from mid afternoon through early evening, along and ahead of an advancing cold front. The storms could bring quarter sized hail and wind gusts of up to 70 miles per hour. Stay tuned to KCII during severe weather for Severe Weather Action Team Coverage. 

Washington Council revisits liquor request

Washington City Council members are again revisiting an outdoor liquor license request at tonight's meeting. Cafe Dodicci co-owner Lorraine Williams says she's been trying to obtain such a permit for a long time, and feels she should get it. Some city council members have expressed concern over what kind of precedent allowing the license would set. The meeting begins tonight at 7:00 in the Washington Public Library. 

Washington Co to help DOT

Washington County's engineering department is helping out the Iowa Department of Transportation on a couple of local construction projects. County Engineer David Patterson says they'll provide inspection services on the repaving of old Highway 218, as well as the bridge at Coppock. He says both of those projects are expected to be completed by this summer. He says the state will reimburse Washington County for these services. 

Federal deductibility tough for economic development

Economic development officials say Iowa sometimes gets a bad wrap because they say taxes look higher than they are. Ed Raber, with the Washington Economic Development Group, says since businesses and individuals can claim federal taxes as a state deduction, it often makes Iowa's tax rate look high, and might scare away potential businesses.

Marek pleased with historical tax credits

A Southeast Iowa lawmaker says he was glad to see Governor Chet Culver sign into law, a measure that more than doubles the amount of tax credits available for renovation of historic sites. Representative Larry Marek says it should help invigorate small town Iowa. The city of Washington recently took a number of awards home from Main Street Iowa, an organization that helps orchestrate historical renovations. 

Keeping A/C running properly

As the mercury rises, many Iowans might be kicking on their air conditioners. A local heating and cooling company says its important to keep A/C units in proper working order. Denise Wiles, with J and S Heating and Air Conditioning says you need to keep the unit's air filter clean. She says many people don't even realize there is an air filter. Wiles says the filter will needed to be changed periodically, depending on where you live. She says it will be more often if you live near gravel or dirt roads. Wiles also says air conditioners should be inspected and given a "tune up" at least once a year.

Skunk River canoe trip

The Washington County Conservation Board is having a canoe trip this month. Naturalist Pamela Holz says they'll travel down the Skunk River from McKain's River access, to the Brighton access. Holz says they'll canoe through some scenic woodland tracts including Brighton Timber. The trip is May 16, and costs $5. Holz says canoeists must be at least 10 years old and have some prior experience. To register call the Washington Kirkwood Center. For questions call the Washington County Conservation Board.