Riverboat Foundation gives spring grants
RIVERSIDE—The Washington County Riverboat Foundation (WCRF) presented 54 grants totaling $998,443 Wednesday evening at the casino.
The highest amount was given out at the end of the evening to Filmscene for $145,000. Filmscene is beginning to film a documentary about the Brinton Film Collection and Mike Zahs work with the restoration process.
Before the amount was announced, the beginning of the documentary was shown to the crowd. Mike Zahs’s spoke about the Brintons being from Washington and how he felt it was very important to preserve this part of history.
After the film clip was done playing, the amount was announced. Zahs, along with Andrew Sherburne and Tommy Haines from Northland Films in Iowa City, and John Richard accepted the grant.
Filmscene is the fiscal sponsor of Northland Films and the Brinton Documentary Film project, Sherburne said. They first found about Zahs last summer and began a dialogue with Zahs and decided to work on the project.
“We’ve been following Michael since about last August,” Haines said,” and then I hopped onto the project, but we’ve only been seeing him once in a while—but mainly the majority of the project starts now as we start following Michael with these premieres of the films.”
One of the premieres is scheduled for next March in Washington, Sherburne said.
The second highest amount of the night was $135,000, which was awarded to the Washington County Hospitals and Clinics for a new machine that the radiology department will be able to use.
“The machine is a radiographic and fluoroscopic machine and it will take live X-rays and pictures that radiologists will need to diagnose [patients],” said Angie Atkins, supervisor of the radiology department at the hospital.
Atkins said the current machine the radiology department has is outdated. This new machine will let radiologists see things in patients better and will use live digital technology that will produce images right away.
The next highest grant was awarded to the Washington County Fair Association for its solar energy project. The amount awarded to the group was $73,081.
Jarrod Horning, president of the Washington County Fair Association, said the fair board has been working on this project at the fairgrounds for almost three years.
Most of the solar panels were installed last summer at the fairgrounds, Horning said. There are 12 to 13 meters running from the four panels, which is helping the fairgrounds to become more energy efficient.
“It’s controlling our energy costs,” Horning said. “It’s going to save us about $6,000 a year.”
Also, receiving a sizable grant were both the Washington Community School District (WCSD) and the Highland Community School District.
WCSD received $60,000 for the 1:1 program launch at Washington Middle School next fall. WCSD superintendent Dr. Mike Jorgensen said this would help fund a third of the 1:1 program at the school.
“Anytime you get that boost it takes pressure off of the funding in some other part of the school district’s budget,” Jorgensen said. “We can use that amount [$60,000 the district would have to spend if they didn’t get the grant] to go toward other technology needs we may have in the district.”
WCSD also received a $1,900 grant for new computers for the Talented and Gifted (TAG) students program at Lincoln.
“We’re very grateful,” Jorgensen said. “They [WCRF] usually are very consistent on how they treat the schools. Most of the grants were related to technology, and technology is very expensive and hard for the schools to keep up with.”
Highland received two grants from WCRF. One was for $50,000 for the Apple lab and second grant was for $25,000 for wireless solutions.
Highland Superintendent Chris Armstrong said the Apple lab would be at the middle school and high school, which doesn’t have one currently.
“This is a $62,000 project,” he said. “They funded $50,000 of that. With this grant we will be able to buy 32 computers and 30 ipads.”
The grant for the wireless solutions will also help the middle and high school get ready for the new computers next fall.
“This will get our wireless to where it needs to be for those computers coming next fall,” Armstrong said. “We definitely wouldn’t have the technology in our buildings if it weren’t for the generosity of the foundation.”
Before presenting the grants the WCRF held a meeting about the grants. WCRF board members who abstained from voting on grants included: Brenda Herrington abstained from voting on the Kalona Public Library, the City of Kalona grant, and Kalona Historical Society grants; Ed Raber abstained from voting on the WEDG grants and the Washington Community Schools grant; John Conway abstained from voting on the grants awarded to St. Joseph’s Catholic Church; Patty Koller abstained from voting on the grants awarded to the Washington Community Schools; Stephanie Schlabaugh abstained from voting on the grant awarded to the City of Kalona; and Teri Fisher and Tracy Ousey abstained from voting on the grant awarded to the Washington County Hospital.
A regular meeting was held before the grants presentations Wednesday evening.
Executive assistant Jim Logan said he has only received one application for mini-grants. He asked the board members to help spread the word about the applications being due June 18.
Koller also said she would like a work session to be held to help review board policies and to see if anything needs to be changed.
The next WCRF board meeting is scheduled for June 18 at 6 p.m. The location of the meeting will be determined at a later date.