Thursday, May 28, 2009
Unemployment rates fell by more than half a percentage point last month in Washington County. Statistics gathered by the Iowa Workforce Development Board show Washingtons unemployment rate for March was 4.5%, and 3.9% in April. Statewide jobless claims dropped a tenth of a percent to 5.1%. last month. IWD Director Elisabeth Buck says the numbers suggest Iowas economy may be in the early stages of a turn. She cautions that the market is still very week and any recovery is expected to be modest and prolonged.
The economic recession has effected people and businesses in different ways. Riverside Casino General Manager Joe Massa says they have not been immune to the recession and have been hit just like everyone else. Massa says they have been able to maintain their level of employment and have not had to lay anyone off.
Washington County Supervisors have shuffled money around for the last time this fiscal year. At this week's meeting, they approved around $910,000 in additional expenditures, and about $452,000 in extra revenue. County Auditor Bill Fredrick says the money being spent comes mostly from house keeping items. He says the majority of the revenue is grant money the county is receiving.
The Healthy Kids Act goes into effect fall of next year. It removes junk food from schools and mandates exercise time. Washington County Hospital Dietitian Anne Sposato says the effort needs to be matched by parents in order to reduce childhood obesity. She says as more families have both parents working, kids are eating more fast food and unhealthy snacks while at home.
While students are enjoying their time outside the classroom this summer, they may still be expected to follow school policies. Mid Prairie Superintendent Mark Schneider says his districts policy runs through summer vacation and if a student breaks the rules, they'll be penalized once school begins. He says that includes missing out on all extra-curricular activities.
Air conditioning season is upon us, and there are a few things that can be done to save energy and money. J & S Heating and Air Conditioning owner Scott Wiles says units should be cleaned and inspected. He says that includes replacing filters and removing any debris. Wiles also says it's best to keep air conditioners running during hot humid stretches rather than turning them on and off.
The Washington County Riverboat foundation gave out just over $700,000 to area agencies as part of their spring grants. The Kalona First responders will receive $30,000 to finish their classroom addition to help improve the training and readiness The Kalona First responders have been trying to finish the classroom addition for several years.