Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Iowa Schools receive $316 million

The first round of school stabilization money has been released by the federal government and school's in Iowa are getting a $316-million slice of the pie. The funding comes with federal guidelines and local school administrators say it's unclear at this time what those are. WACO Superintendent Greg Ray says he hopes it will go to formative assessment. He says it's important for teachers to know how well their students are learning subjects say they can plan appropriately. 

Historic Preservation distributes grants

The Washington County Historical Preservation Commission distributed $4,000 in annual funding at yesterday's (6/2) board of supervisors meeting. Commission chair Michael Zahs says they were able to support some non profit groups who hadn't previously benefited from the funding. Zahs says historical designations can be a draw for tourism and help boost the local economy. Next year Washington County will increase it's annual support for historic preservation to $4,700. 

Fee increases ease scheduling

Washington County Clerk of Court Julie Johnson says increases in court costs have cleared up a "scheduling nightmare." Johnson says before the hike, her office, and others across the state, were forced to take furlough days, which often backed up court schedules. The state legislature approved the increases this spring.

How to keep EAB at bay

The Emerald Ash Borer has devastated tree populations in many Midwestern states, but a local wildlife expert says Iowa has been spared thus far. The Department of Natural Resources' Don Pfeifer says in order to keep it that way, people need to use local firewood. He says the borer lays eggs under the bark of Ash trees and can be transferred to along with firewood. Pfeifer says anyone who has guests coming to the area needs to remind them to get firewood here, and not bring it from places effected by the beetle. 

Website features local contractors

For many, the summer months are a perfect time to get to projects around the house done. Louisa Builders Network dot com is a service designed to help home handymen find local contractors. The site features contractors from around the county listed by name and community. The website supports local workers and businesses and works to put money back into the community. The website has found support from various organizations such as the Community Foundation of Louisa County and Alliant Energy.

PQAPlus training set

Iowa State Extension offices and the Iowa Pork Center are teaming up to offer Pork Quality Assurance Plus training sessions. In Washington County, swine field specialist Tom Miller is conducting the program. Miller says it's designed to certify safe pork products. He says it covers everything from proper use of medical equipment to humane treatment The Washington P-Q-A Plus session is June 16. It costs $25 and pre-registration is required.

Two wheeled safety

Warmer weather means more two-wheeled vehicles on the roads. Washington Police Chief Greg Goodman says bicycles and motorcycles can be more difficult to see than passenger cars. He's urging drivers to use extra caution. Goodman says bikers can do their part to stay safe as well. He says there is no helmet law on the books in Iowa, or Washington. However, he encourages those who ride to wear one to add another level of protection.