News

Thu
17
Jan
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Linn, Washington County J.H. football to merge

Both the USD 108 and USD 223 school boards approved on Monday night the consolidation of their junior high football programs effective this coming fall. The consolidated team name will be Washington County because, as USD 108 superintendent Denise O’Dea told the Washington County school board, “we are all Washington County.” The board also discussed the possibility of merging the high school football teams but took no action Monday night.

O’Dea said USD 223 approached her about merging the junior high teams, and several people from both school districts met last week to discuss it. According to O’Dea, Linn expects to contribute four junior high football players in the fall, and Linn will transport the kids to Washington for practice. O’Dea said Linn would pay a fee to USD 108 for each Linn player who plays on the team, and that fee would help cover things including equipment and coaching.

Wed
09
Jan
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A Barnes cattle drive

About 140 head of cattle belonging to Johnny and Colette Rothlisberger, of Barnes, were moved down the highway and through Barnes on Jan. 4. Seven people on horseback helped move the cattle two miles from corn stalks to the farm where the cattle will soon calve. The cattle have been moved this way each fall for about five years and will spend the summer in southern Kansas. (Contributed photo)

 

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Wed
09
Jan
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Farm Service Agency on furlough

Farm Service Agency in Washington, above, is closed because of the lapse in federal funding. About 10 employees have been furloughed, and lights in the FSA portion of the building are off. NRCS, which occupies part of the building, remains open. Those who want to make payments to FSA can mail checks, but payments won’t be deposited until the entity re-opens. Producers wanting endorsements on checks for commodities sold must wait until the government office re-opens. Signs on the office door, left, notify people of the furlough.

About 10 Farm Service Agency and ag credit employees were on furlough beginning Dec. 31, according to Dee Minge, who is the supervisory district conservationist for NRCS in Washington. The partial federal government shutdown began on Dec. 22, but local FSA employees were able to work through Dec. 30 because the department didn’t run out of money until the 31st, she said.

“Due to the lapse in federal appropriations FSA offices are closed,” read a sign on the FSA office door in Washington. “NRCS is remaining open using mandatory and previously appropriated funding.”

In this latest round of partial government shutdown, the four local NRCS employees in the Washington office plus the conservation district have not been on furlough because that department has funds to cover continued service. Federal entities receive funding various ways, and Minge said the recently passed Farm Bill was key to NRCS avoiding furlough.

 

Wed
02
Jan
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One last look at the season’s holiday lights

Christmas lights in Washington were still on full display the day after Christmas, although many people began taking down holiday decor over the weekend.

 

 

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Wed
02
Jan
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County employee gets raise a year early

An error caused a county department head to receive a near-double raise throughout 2018, according to county clerk Diana Svanda. She told the Board of County Commissioners last week that the error amounted to that employee receiving about 88 cents an hour more throughout the year than she was supposed to receive. The board then spent about 45 minutes deciding how to handle the overpayment.

The pay issue involves Health Department director Tiffany Hayman. Svanda told the board that the overpayment is not Hayman’s fault.

Commissioners David Willbrant and Raleigh Ordoyne – Tim Mueller did not attend the meeting – agreed that they didn’t want to cut Hayman’s pay and decided instead that she would not get the four-percent raise the other county employees are scheduled to receive in 2019 because she already got her raise a year early.

 

 

Wed
02
Jan
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CHANGING WITH THE TIMES

Brad Nelson tore pages from books during shredding day at Twin Valley Developmental Services in Greenleaf. About half of the consumers tear pages from books while the other half shreds the pages with small shredders. Nelson and his fellow consumers do a lot of shredding to keep busy, although they sometimes do work for an area Greenhouse or for Valley Vet.

Twin Valley consumers in Greenleaf spend many of their work days shredding paper. Justin Slater, above, feeds sheets of paper through the shredder one at a time while Phyllis Smerchek, left, tears sheets from books to add to the shredding pile. Twin Valley Development Services used to contract work with a variety of businesses in the area, but most of that work disappeared about seven years ago during the recession. Twin Valley lost three main sources of work in one week, Ed Henry said, and it has never gotten those sources back.

Twin Valley Developmental Services will likely see some changes in the next 10 years because about 70 percent of the clients are over age 65, according to director Ed Henry. The organization employs about 70 people between Beattie and Greenleaf and provides employment and housing for people with developmental disabilities. Twin Valley Development Services has about 70 consumers today, down from 80 at its peak.

Henry said that while Twin Valley would like to take on additional consumers – they have two housing vacancies now – there is an 8-to-10-year waiting list state-wide for people who want to get into a place like Twin Valley. Henry said Twin Valley can’t get any funding for those consumers on the waiting list until their names come to the top of the state-wide list.

Wed
26
Dec
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County fair to move back a week

The Washington County Fair will be a week later next year. The fair has been scheduled for Tuesday, July 23, through Saturday, July 27. Pre-fair judging will be July 16. According to fair board president Ethan Schuette the date was changed to get the fair off of the same week as the state Pee Wee baseball championship as well as the same week as the Clay County Fair. The past few years Washington’s Pee Wee team has spent much of fair week traveling to the state tournament.

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Wed
26
Dec
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911 texting now available

People can now text 911 in an emergency. Ranai Meier, who is a dispatcher at the Washington County Sheriff’s Office, said the office received the technology in September. She said texting 911 would be appropriate for someone having a medical emergency and can’t speak. Meier said texting would also be appropriate during a home invasion or burglary where the caller didn’t want to make noise.

Meier said the texting option is not for people to use simply because they’d rather text than make a phone call.

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Wed
26
Dec
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Home cookin’

The cooks at Washington’s Friendly Corners, which include Diane Hornbostel, Anita Martin and Helen Linenberger, arrive to work by 6:15 a.m. and often have the noon meal entree coming out of the ovens by 8 or 9 a.m. Most meals served at the meal sites are homemade and include dessert. The women make 50-to-70 meals a day, and nearly 18,500 meals were made between the Washington and Clifton meal sites last year.

Anita Martin trasnfeered baked salmon patties from the oven to a roaster to make room for batches of cookies in the oven.

Friendly Corners cooks meals for all of the county except Clifton. Some people pick up their to-go meals at the meal sites, and other to-go meals are delivered to the doors of people across the county who request meals.

Cooks have to have the noon meal ready by about 10 a.m. so that meals can be delivered to Hanover in time for lunch.

Come for the food, stay for the fellowship. Those who eat lunch at Washington’s Friendly Corners, Hanover’s Kloppenberg Center, or at the Clifton Senior Center aren’t just buying a $4 meal. They are getting fellowship, education, and sometimes entertainment. And the weekday meals are available to everyone: young and old, rich and poor.

“This is not charity,” director Kathie Otney said of the food served at the meal sites. “This is not just for poor people. It’s for everybody. It’s a way to get together.”

The cost of a meal goes up to $6 for those under age 60, but Friendly Corners staff still encouraged everyone to give the meals a try.

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Thu
20
Dec
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MUSEUM MUSINGS

From an unidentified newspaper article in our files, dated Dec. 4, 1991.

Germans formed gingerbread guilds

By the Associated Press

A child’s first experience with gingerbread probably comes while listening to the Grimm brothers’ tale of Hansel and Gretel and the witch. But, in fact, the tradition of making treats with this pungent spice dates back through many centuries and across several continents. It is quite a story in itself, according to Holiday Crafts, a Better Homes and Gardens magazine.

Ginger was a plant native to China and India — where much of the world’s supply is still grown. Arab traders introduced it to the Greeks. Like the Chinese, the Greeks appreciated ginger’s medicinal properties such as aiding digestion, preventing colds and restoring one’s appetite.

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