Monday, June 29, 2009
(AP) - A Washington man has been sentenced to more than four years in prison for stealing guns from homes that had been evacuated during last year's floods. 21 year old Benjamin Willett pleaded guilty in U-S District Court in Davenport for unlawful possession of firearms. The U-S attorney's office says Willett, and two other men broke in to at least four Coralville homes that had been evacuated and stole at least 25 guns. Police searched the men's apartments and found 16 stolen guns, after an undercover officer bought one of them from the men.
Washington County Supervisors are talking wind energy at this week's meeting. They'll hear a presentation from Assessor Lil Perry on how land that wind turbines go on will be valuated. Kansas City Based TradeWind Energy has been working with local officials on developing a plan for what could be the largest wind farm in Iowa. It would most likely be located in the northern part of the county and stretch from Riverside, to the Keokuk County line.
Conservative groups are urging county boards of supervisors to pass resolutions supporting a constitutional amendment that would overturn Iowa's Supreme Court Decision allowing gay marriage. Washington County Board Chair Jim Miksch says it is not something they're looking in to. Miksch doesn't see much of a future for Washington supervisors to be involved in such an issue. A Handful of boards in other parts of the state have passed the non-binding resolution.
A southeast Iowa state lawmaker says the legislature is looking at more "belt tightening" in the next fiscal year. Fairfield Senator Becky Schmitz hopes they can get by without a special session, but says it might be necessary. Schmitz expects the sting of the economic downturn to be felt into next year. She anticipates the state's needs will outlast the federal stimulus money.
Nearly a year after the passing of the Smokefree Air Act, many Washington area businesses say the law has had an overall positive effect. In the past year only three businesses have received a notice of violation from the Iowa Department of Public Health, none of those three has received a second notice. Sarah Yoder with Washington County Tobacco Use and Prevention says businesses who do allow smoking see higher costs, higher insurance premiums, and lower employee productivity.
Southeast Iowa will be host to this year's Tri-State Local Food Conference. Elizabet Humbe is a local food coordinator for Hometown Harvest. She says this year's conference will focus on sustainability. The event is a collaborative effort by a range of educational institutions, local food proponents, and economic and financial entities. It'll be held this September in Fairfield. To find out more visit www.travelfairfieldiowa.com.
Although the Washington County Fair is about a month away, preparations are already well underway to make this years event something special. 4-H Youth Coordinator Katie Peiffer says one event she is very excited for is the alumni steer show, where the past and present of 4-H will come together. Peiffer says the event is not just beneficial for the youngsters in the organization. She says current members can share stories and helpful advice to the alumni as well. Even though some of the alumni may not have dealt with cattle during their years, she still says it will be a fun way to get past members interested and involved with 4-H again.