Wednesday, June 24, 2009
Washington County's Extension Education Director has been tapped to serve in a regional position for the extension service. Gene Mohling will serve Washington, Keokuk, Johnson and Iowa Counties. Iowa State is selecting 20 regional education directors as part of a statewide restructuring. University Vice President for Extension and Outreach Jack Payne says these positions were created to facilitate an issue based approach to delivering programming and resources.
A round of severe thunderstorms rolled through the area last night knocking out power to thousands of customers across southeast Iowa. KCII received scattered reports of downed trees and flooded out roadways. WeatherEye and National Weather Service personnel reported a majority of the most severe weather stayed north of Washington County, although there were local reports of motorists being pushed around roadways by high winds. The KCII Severe Weather Action Team went on the air at about 5:30 last night and finished their broadcast a little after 7:00.
Washington County's road department has gone into recovery mode in the wake of recent severe weather. Engineer David Patterson says heavy rainfall and high temperatures have taken their toll on local roadways. Patterson says they've put other projects on hold while repairing weather damaged routes. Over the weekend, some parts of eastern Washington County saw four to five inches of rainfall.
Last year's record flooding has many thinking about flood insurance. However it's different than most other types of insurance. Paul Horak, with Horak insurance, says the federal government is the only provider of this type of coverage. He says if it were privately administered, the price would be sky high, because of there is a very small group of people to spread a high risk around on. Horak says most of Washington County does not participate in the National Flood Insurance Program. But he says there are some other options for those who want flood protection.
Hot, summer like weather is coming as welcome news to Iowa farmers, however heavy rainfall and damaging winds and hail are not. USDA statistics show some parts of southeast Iowa are struggling with flooding, which is hampering hay harvest weed control efforts. While there were scattered reports of crop damage from severe weather, the start of summer brought more than favorable conditions for corn and soybean growers. Corn in the southeast part of the state should have no trouble reaching the knee high by the 4th of July benchmark. Its average height is at 18 inches, while the average tallest height is 32 inches.
The Washington County Health Department could be moving. Supervisors have approved seeking an engineer to study a building at the Orchard Hill Complex as a potential new location. Many on the board say it makes financial sense to have a county agency in a county owned building. However, some residents say it's easier for people with disabilities to access a building in the city of Washington's downtown. The health department currently rents space in the Federation Bank Building.
The effect of weekend storms are still being felt in Washington. A blood drive was scheduled tomorrow (6/25) at the United Presbyterian Church. The church was also scheduled to have vacation bible school outside this week, but high winds damaged their tents and other outdoor equipment, forcing them inside. The blood drive will now be held at the Knights of Columbus Hall from 1:30 to 6:30 Thursday afternoon.
The city of Wellman will be host to one of Congressman Dave Loebsacks top aides tomorrow (6/25). Sabrina Siddiqui, communications director for Loebsack, says the aide will be on hand to discuss issues such as healthcare, the recovery act, and any other concerns citizens might have. Siddiqui says Loebsack routinely sends aides out to hold these meetings in order to find out what issues matter most to Iowans. The meeting will be held in Wellman City Hall from 1-3 pm.