Friday, August 21, 2009
The first ever emergency text message was sent this month in Iowa during a test in Black Hawk County. Washington County 911 Supervisor Cara Sorrells says it's the next logical step in emergency communications. Sorrells says the desire to be able to send text messages stem from campus shootings, and other situations where a person can't actually talk on a phone. Sorrells attended the test in Black Hawk County as part of her duties as president of the Iowa National Emergency Number Association.
A local wildlife expert expects the pheasant population to be down again this year. Don Pfeifer with the Iowa Department of Natural Resources says part of that is to blame on harsh weather, and diminishing grassland. Pfeifer just got done with the DNR's annual pheasant count. The numbers are expected to be out soon. The first day of pheasant hunting is October 31.
Many counties in Iowa have seen a jump in the assessed value of farmland. Washington County Assessor Lil Perry says that's not the case here. She says the reason for increases elsewhere comes from state equalization orders. She says her office applied those at the beginning of the year. Perry says ag land assessed values increased by 46-percent this year, but she expects the rollback to be in the 30-percent range
The Washington County Auditor is encouraging residents to vote early for the upcoming school board election. Bill Frederick says people will have the option to vote absentee by using satellite polling locations around town in the coming weeks. He says polling locations will be setup beginning next Tuesday at Lincoln and Stewart Elementary and later at Case Field during a football game. Frederick says the his office is accepting applications for absentee ballots by mail if residents are unable to go to the polls.
Birth rates have historically dropped during recessions. The Center for Health Statistics says the recent downturn was no exception. The federal agency says there were 68,000 fewer births in the U-S last year, versus 2007. However, that hasn't been the trend locally. Washington County Hospital CEO Don Patterson the number of births was up slightly this fiscal year, versus last.
The annual Iowa SIDS Foundation Walk for the Future is being held tomorrow (8/22) in locations across Iowa, including Washington. Tricia Lipski is the local walk coordinator. She says SIDS, or Sudden Infant Death Syndrome is defined as the death of any child from one month to one year old, where no other cause of death can be determined. Registration for the walk starts at 8:00 am. The walk itself starts as 9:00 in Sunset Park.
Seventeen Washington County 4-Hers are bringing home ribbons from this years State Fair. Projects cover a range of subjects such as livestock, photography, cooking, and horticulture. 4-H Youth Coordinator Kati Peiffer says the participants have shown exceptional learning and ability. A full list of State Fair participants is available on our homepage.
The Iowa Pork Producers Association will hold its Pork Youth Team Leadership Conference next month. Washington County 4-H Youth Coordinator Kati Peiffer says the conference gives youth a head start in becoming a leader in Iowas pork industry. She says all junior and high school students are welcome. To register for the program, call the Washington County Extension Office at 653-4811.