Wednesday, July 22, 2009

County engineers receive license

Washington County's two assistant engineers have reached a milestone in their careers. Jake Hotchkiss, and Jacob Thorius have each passed their licensure exams. Head engineer David Patterson says its akin to an attorney passing the Bar. Both Thorius and Hotchkiss are Iowa State graduates. Hotchkiss has been with Washington County since 2002, Thorius was hired in 2005.

2,300 entries in 40 categories at this year's fair

The Washington County Extension office expects around 2,300 entries in 4-H and FFA competitions in this year's fair. Extension Education Director Gene Mohling says that's fairly consistent with past year's fairs. Mohling says there's around 40 different categories that participants can enter in. He says in addition to livestock contests, there's also a number of static competitions. He says that includes things like wood working, photography and cooking. To hear more from Mohling tune in to KCII for the Morning Magazine when he'll be our guest during the Washington Page.

Rain doesn't damper fair

Despite rain and cloudy skies, day two of the Washington County Fair continued as planned. 4-H Youth Coordinator Kati Peiffer says the many kids participating in the fair have put in a tremendous amount of effort in preparing for the fair. Peiffer says they have many volunteers that have done a great job in making the events and activities run smoothly. She says while they are focusing most of their attention on this year, they are always making notes on what could be changed for next year. She says no matter how smoothly things run, there is always room to make improvements.

Wednesday at the Fair

The Washington County Fair continues today (7/22). Livestock shows start at 8:00 am with swine, at 9:00 it's the rooster crowing contest. At 3:30 pm the bucket bottle calf show starts, and at 7:00 pm the dairy and meat goat show kicks off. It's also "Kidz Day" at the fair, with a number of activities scheduled throughout the day. The State Fair Talent Search starts at 6:30 pm. Then at 8:00 country singer Jake McVey takes the stage at the grandstand. Stay tuned to KCII all week for live updates on the fair from the Big Red Radio

Unemployment up, but still behind the rest of the country

Iowa's unemployment rate hit a 22 year high at 6.2 percent last month. That's compared with 5.7 percent in May. Iowa Work Force Development Coordinator Kerry Koonce says the numbers are a reflection of the lingering economic recession. She says the numbers are still favorable when compared to the nationwide average of 9.5 percent. Washington County's unemployment rate was up nearly a percentage point in June, to 5.4 percent, but is still behind the statewide average.

Crop Update

Iowa crops are making good progress despite what has been one of the coolest Julys on record. USDA statistics show 51 percent of corn in the southeast part of the state has tasseled, that's slightly behind the average. The federal agency says 23 percent of corn has silked, that's compared to the 45 percent average. Soybeans are lagging behind a little as well. In southeast Iowa 46 percent are blooming, the average for this time of year is 71 percent. 14 percent of soybeans are setting pods, compared to the average which is 24 percent.

Pleasantview admin: firing wasn't arbitrary

The recent termination of an independent living nurse at Pleasantview Home in Kalona has been protested by some residents. Pleasantview Administrator Ray Poe says the termination of employment was by no means arbitrary and he understands the attachment some people had to the employee. Poe says he has been in dialogue with upset residents and their families and is working on getting things back to normal. He says whenever a sudden change is made, it can always be a little upsetting, but he says hes just praying they can get back to a positive attitude at Pleasantview Home.

River cleanups

Iowas rivers and waterways will soon be receiving funds to give them a good cleaning. The Iowa Whitewater Coalition recently announced the Clean Rivers Team Stewardship Program which will allow community groups to clean up local rivers. Rivers in southeast Iowa that could benefit from this program include the Iowa and Cedar Rivers, Crooked Creek, the English River, and the Skunk River.