Thursday, July 2, 2009
A Mt. Pleasant man was hospitalized yesterday (7/1) after a crop duster he was piloting went down north of Ainsworth. 39 year old John Koehn Newton was taken to University Hospital in Iowa City by Washington County Ambulance personnel. 911 supervisor Cara Sorrells says officials from the Sheriff's Office, Ainsworth Fire Department and the Ainsworth First Responders were also called to the scene. Sorrells also says the fuel was reported to be leaking from the plane, and a hazardous materials crew was called to assist.
Alliant Energy says the current cap and trade bill moving through Congress could mean double digit bill increases for their customers. Company spokesman Scott Drzycimski says Midwesterners are very dependent on coal, which means companies like Alliant won't receive as many carbon credits. He says this will force them to purchase these credits from other utilities, ultimately driving energy prices up.
The stage has been set for a legal showdown between Washington County and the city of Riverside. Supervisors this week formally engaged Iowa City based Meardon, Sueppel and Downer as their representative in the revenue sharing dispute. The conflict stems from an arrangement forged when the Riverside Casino was built. Attorney's for the city have said the contract is void under state law, because it creates constitutional debt. County Attorney Barb Edmondson has said she feels the agreement is legal and enforceable. The deadline for Riverside to make an annual payment was yesterday (7/1).
Washington County's 911 Board is moving forward with a study that will explore a new location for the communications center. Their splitting the cost with the Communications Commission. Minnesota based engineer Leonard Kohnen (cane-inn) will conduct the study. The communications center is currently located in the old jail. Center Supervisor Cara Sorrells says one potential hang up is the radio tower. She says if they move too far away from it, they'd have to build a new one.
The Washington City Council has approved two downtown events for next year. Relay for Life, and The Corn Country Cruisers are again making the square their home. Mayor Sandra Johnson says it's important to maintain activity in the city's heart. Johnson encourages any organization planning a special event to put together a proposal and visit with the council about it. Johnson says when the new library and the downtown enhancement project are completed, it should make the area even more attractive for such events.
Iowa students and college graduates will be getting some much-needed help in repaying student loans. Senator Tom Harkin announced as of yesterday (7/1) the income-based repayment option will become available. Students who chose to pay their loans using this method will make smaller payments if their income is less, and larger payments when their income increases. Harkins says this option will be very helpful for students struggling to find employment after graduation.
The 4th of July falls on a Saturday this year, but many government offices will be closed tomorrow (7/3) in observance of the holiday. Most Post Offices will close at noon, and the Washington County Mini Bus will not be running. The 4th of July has been celebrated since 1776. It commemorates the first Continental Congress adopting the Declaration of Independence. Although the signing of the Declaration was not completed until August, the 4th of July holiday has been accepted as the official anniversary of U.S. independence and is celebrated in all states and territories of the U.S.
The Fourth of July weekend has always been a popular weekend for fishing, boating, and swimming. Dave Long with the Keokuk County Conservation Board says this year is no exception. He says Belva Deer Recreation Area outside Sigourney has seen a high number of visitors due to the nice weather and upcoming holiday. Long says the lake always hosts a great deal of visitors around this time, and even heavy road construction was not enough to deter patrons this year.