Wednesday, July 29, 2009
Around 50 people last night (7/28) attended a public meeting on a long range plan for Washington School Facilities. Some of the biggest question areas included city infrastructure, a timeline and financing. The overall response from those in attendance was positive. The meeting was put on by the "Common Ground for Washington Schools" political action committee. Co-chair Joe Mcconnell says he was happy with the turnout. A vote on issuing bonds which would pay for the first phase on the plan is set for this September.
A mobile memorial to those who lost their lives during the Vietnam War was escorted through the area by the Washington Patriot Guard Riders yesterday (7/28). The wall is a half scale replica of the Vietnam Memorial in Washington D.C. It met up with Washington's Patriot Guard Riders in Ainsworth, went through the city of Washington on its way to Richland. It'll be set up there until Sunday (8/2).
Officials in several Midwestern states, including Iowa, are lobbying the federal government for a high speed rail system. Riverside State Representative Larry Marek says the rail link between Chicago and Iowa City would be a great asset for commuters and travelers who frequent the Windy City. He says in the days of high gas prices, a 40-dollar round trip train ticket is a significant advantage over driving to Chicago. Marek says while some switch tracks need to be repaired, they are hopeful the project can be completed in the next two years.
Washington County Supervisors are holding off on making a decision on whether to allow a tax suspension. County Treasurer Jeff Garrett says the request was made under a state law that allows suspension if a person is "unable to contribute to the public revenue." Supervisors agreed to delay making a decision so they could further investigate the issue. Garrett says last year's taxes for the petitioner are paid, and this would allow them to have a sort of forebearance on paying property taxes this October.
Iowa's farming season started out too wet, but now some producers are asking for rain. The USDA says cool temperatures have kept most crops healthy. In southeast Iowa, 85 percent of topsoil moisture is in the adequate range, while 91 percent of subsoil moisture is adequate. 55 percent of local corn has silked, that's about 20 percent behind average. 20 percent of southeast Iowa soybeans are setting pods, that's nearly 26 percent behind normal.
Congressman Dave Loebsack wants to see more money go towards disaster relief in Iowa. Loebsack says the current system presents too many problems and hurdles for individuals looking for relief and flood recovery. He says confusing regulations, slow response times, and inadequate help are making it hard for individuals to receive proper funds. Loebsack says while many Iowans have done well in restoring many neighborhoods, there is always room for more help.
The University of Iowa is getting high marks for being environmentally minded. The Environmental Protection Agency recently honored the Big Ten school as being one of the top 20 organizations which runs on its own green power. The Universitys Liz Christiansen says they strive to integrate renewable energy and sustainability with education. One hallmark of the Universitys green program is the use of oat-based hulls in its boilers. The oat hulls reduce the amount of CO2 emissions and remove the need to use coal.
Main Street Washington's Celebrate your Senses event is coming up this weekend, and they're looking for some crayons. Executive Director Amy Vetter says they'll use them for children's activities in Central Park Saturday. She says donations need to be dropped off at the chamber building by 4:30 Friday afternoon. Celebrate your Senses is a day long street festival featuring art displays and live music.