Monday, May 11, 2009
Despite recent media coverage of swine flu, Hy-Vee says they haven't noticed any sharp decline in pork sales. Chris Freisleben, with Hy-Vee's corporate office, says people in this region are more attuned to agricultural issues, and likely had a better understanding of how the H1N1 virus spread. She says they don't have any concrete numbers at this point, but nothing has set off any warning signals regarding a decline in pork sales.
An economist at Iowa State University says unfounded concerns that pork products may be tied to the H1N1 influenza outbreak are starting to be reflected in the market place. John Lawrence is director of ISUs Beef Center. He says the market price of hogs has declined by nearly $5, per hundred weight since late April. Lawrence says the decline comes at a time of year when pork prices usually rise, and continue to increase into the summer. He says biosecurity is a high priority for Iowa Pork producers, and the outbreak will reinforce the awareness of tactics needed to ensure safety in U.S. products.
There's a petition going around Washington asking residents to support naming the city's aquatic center after former YMCA swim coach Milo Steele. Parks Superintendent Tim Widmer says the name would be appropriate, but they want to consider everyone's opinion. Widmer says any decision on the matter would not be solely up to the park board. He says it would also require city council approval. He asks anyone with an opinion on the matter to express it to the park board.
In an effort to boost confidence, the federal government has increased the amount of money they'll cover through the Federal Deposit Insurance Company. Washington State Bank loan officer Brandon Long says that's a double edged sword for smaller banks. He says more than 30 banks have failed during this recession, but no one has lost money in an FDIC insured account. He says the coverage increase is tentatively set to expire in December, but there have been rumors of the federal government extending it.
Washington County Supervisors will appoint a weed commissioner at this week's meeting. Auditor Bill Fredrick says this person will be in charge of controlling noxious plant life this summer. The supervisors will also make an appointment to the Board of Health. Several road related items are also on the agenda, including contracts for culvert projects and surface overlays on Vine Avenue, and establishing a bid letting date for the annual fuel contract. The meeting starts at 9:30 am this Tuesday in the lower level of the Washington County Courthouse.
Washington's first farmer's market of the season is this Thursday. Market Master Bob Shepherd says despite this spring's wet weather, asparagus, rhubarb and radishes are sure to be available. Shepherd says there will also be bedding plants, hanging potted plants and baked goods. He says "Bits 'n Blades" will be on hand weather permitting to sharpen scissors, knives and other tools. The farmer's market starts at 5:00 pm in Central Park.
Theres going to be a new event at this years Kalona Days. $50 in Kalona cash, as well as bragging rights, will go to the person who makes the best salsa. JWs Foods is sponsoring the first ever salsa contest during the early summer Celebration. A panel of judges will rate salsas on a scale of 1-10 in appearance, balance of flavor and texture. Entry forms and rules are available by through Kalona Days Director Dave Finely.
A local law enforcement official wants area residents to remember what it was like when they approached high school graduation. Sheriff Jerry Dunbar says its a time when young people realized they are now considered adults. He says the new graduates this year have the same thoughts. Dunbar encourages residents to take the time, and shake the hands of the new graduates while wishing them well. He says its up to all of us to give our future leaders the confidence and support they need to be successful.