Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Brighton braces for RAGBRAI

As hundreds of bike riders gear up for the upcoming RAGBRAI, Brighton is preparing itself for the flood of people. Chamber President Brian Arnold says while the bikers wont be staying in Brighton for very long, the city still has plenty of entertainment and vendors for both participants and residents to enjoy. Arnold says the city has turned down a number of larger companies wishing to have booths during the event in favor of smaller, local vendor in an effort to help put money back into the community.

Supervisors renew garbage contract

Washington County Supervisors yesterday (7/7) voted to renew the solid waste contract with Mark's Sanitation. The per ton fee increased by less than a dollar. County Auditor Bill Fredrick reminded supervisors that such contracts need to be occasionally let for a bid. Fredrick says they don't always seek bids when a contract expires because it can be a cumbersome process. He says there is a provision that allows them to simply renew as they did yesterday. He says they might look into creating multi-year contracts that would require bids when they expire.

Trails network envisioned

Many Iowans are training for the annual RAGBRI event this month. Bicyclists in Washington County have plenty of places to practice. Lyle Moen, with the recreational trails committee says they get a lot of compliments. Moen says it's their goal to link all the trails in the county and create a network. He says that could make the area a sort of bicycling vacation spot. Moen says the trails are also used by hikers, bird watchers and other nature enthusiasts.

Land shift expected to hinder conservation

A joint study by Iowa State and Drake Universities shows a majority of Iowa's farmland is owned by people on the brink of retirement. Richard Simms with the Natural Resource Conservation Service says the potential for a land shift could mean a a smaller number of people managing more acres. He says it would be challenging for NRCS because fall and spring are the times whens such techniques need to be implemented.

Crop Update

Southeast Iowa farm fields finally got a chance to dry out last week, but were hit with another round of rainfall on Independence Day. USDA statistics show this part of the state's corn stand at 90% as it enters the tassel stage, while 16 % of soybeans are blooming. Local alfalfa harvests continue to lag behind the rest of the state. The first cutting is at 77%. That's compared with 94% statewide.

Sheriff warns drivers about tall vegetation

The average corn height in southeast Iowa is just over four feet, and it's approaching a level where it can obstruct motorists view. Washington County Sheriff Jerry Dunbar says people traveling in rural areas need to be extra cautious as roadside vegetation continues to get taller. Dunbar says even though many countryside intersections don't have traffic control signs, it's still a good idea to treat them as if there was a yield sign. He also says drivers need to be wary of slow moving farm implements such as hay racks and tractor driven mowers.

4-H Grant

A new super-center on the east side of town isnt the only addition Wal-Mart is making in Washington. The Wal-Mart Foundation recently donated 1-million dollars to youth organizations in fifteen states, and in southeast Iowa that means 4-H clubs will begin new community wellness programs. National 4-H Councilman Kyle Jones says the new Youth Voice: Youth Choice program will get 4-Hers out into the local area to promote healthy living, nutrition, wellness, and physical activities. Jones says Iowa will receive $50,000 to implement the program.