Friday, June 26, 2009

Washington School board approves $36-million plan

The Washington School Board is moving forward with a plan that proposes a $36-million overhaul of the district's facilities. Members last night unanimously approved the undertaking which calls for voter approved bond issuance. The board will meet on June 30th to draft petition language. If that petition receives enough signatures, it'll be put on the ballot this September. The measure would require at least 60% of voters to be in favor in order to pass.

DNR weighs in on Crawfordsville water

With the city of Crawfordsville under a boil order, much concern has been focused on keeping both city and private wells safe from contamination. The Iowa Department of Natural Resources says once a well is subject to flooding or another source of groundwater, bacteria and viruses can enter the water supply making it unsafe for consumption and bathing. Groundwater can also damage the wells pump components. The DNR says only a certified drinking water laboratory and a certified well contractor can determine if water has become safe for use again. For information, call the Iowa DNR.

School safety in wake of Parkersburg shooting

The shooting death of a prominent high school football coach has gained state and national attention, and might have some wondering what precautions exist to prevent such a tragedy in Washington. High school principal Shane Ehresman says the public has limited access to the building. Eheresman says they also keep in close contact with law enforcement and sometimes request police presence at extra-curricular activities. Other school district facilities have similar policies in place. Superintendent Dave Sextro says they can't go into too much detail about their emergency procedures, without jeopardizing their effectiveness.

New laws take effect July 1

The start of July marks a new fiscal year for Iowa. It's also when laws passed during this year's legislative session go into effect. Fairfield Senator Becky Schmitz says on of the biggest changes was to the state's sex offender law. The change creates exclusionary zones where offenders aren't allowed to loiter. It also prohibits them from being employed at places like schools, libraries and swimming pools.

Park board to discuss final bandstand plans

Washington Park Board members will be discussing final plans for the renovation of the Central Park Bandstand at a special meeting today (6/26). Park's Superintendent Tim Widmer says the architect will be on hand. A volunteer committee this spring set out on a fundraising effort for the project. It didn't take them long to reach their $330,000 goal. Former Washington resident and municipal band member John Jackson donated $175,000 in March. This combined with money from the Washington Betterment Foundation and a grant from the Riverboat Foundation helped them reach their goal in just a few weeks. Today's meeting (6/26) starts at 2:00 in city hall.

Hot weather means high attendance at local aquatc center

Hot and humid weather this week has been good for attendance at Washington's aquatic center. Manager Brendan McNulty says they've had roughly 300 to 400 swimmers each day in addition to sunbathers. He says during a regular day when the heat isn't as oppressive they might see a maximum of 150 people. The Washington Aquatic Center is open seven days of the week from 1-8 pm.

Trekkies gather in Riverside

Riverside will be the center of the sci-fi galaxy today (6/26) and tomorrow (6/27) with the annual Trek Fest event. This year the city will host three members of the original Star Trek cast, Nichelle Nichols, George Takei, and Walter Koenig. Carol Riggan, President of the Riverside Area Community Club, says both Trek fans and non-fans will have plenty of things to do and see at this years event, which is expected to be the biggest in its 25 year history. She says the community also received support from Paramount Pictures, owner of the Star Trek franchise.