The University of Iowa University of Iowa

Morning Newscast July 25


By reporter Betsy Penisten

Fair Queen Crowned

The Johnson County Fair officially crowned its queen Monday.  Out of 8 contestants, 18-year-old Rebecca Haugland from Solon, was awarded the crown.

Haugland was just a young 4-Her when she watched her first queen competition, she says, “Being in 4-H, I always watched the queen competition. So when I got that old, I knew I wanted to compete.”

Monday’s competition marked Haugland’s third year taking part in the contest.

The running for the crown includes undergoing a personal interview with the judges a week before the fair, then from that point, the judges take into consideration their answers during the contest before reaching their decision at the end of the show. Contestants were judged on attributes that included leadership, citizenship, personality, attitude, poise and appearance.

Haugland is a member of Macbride’s Pride 4-H club and will represent Johnson County at the Iowa State Fair in just a few days in Des Moines.

City dizzy during drought

Businesses in the Iowa City area continue to feel the burn of the triple digit temperatures hitting the town this week. Johnson county lawn and land care professionals have had to adapt to the drought conditions by cutting back on mowing and increasing the watering efforts to ensure the trees and plants stay alive.

Vice president of Coralville’s Qualtiy Care Geoff Wilming said “Our concern remains keeping the total landscape alive and health, we have a much bigger watering department than in past years.”

With no significant chance of rain in the past few weeks, dangerously high temperatures have, according Wilming, caused grass to go into dormancy—a slowed growing period when water supplies are low and the grass fades from green to lighter yellows and browns.

The sidewalks around town may resemble the wonderful season of fall with the leaves blowing across the cement, but Wilming said although mature tress can handle the heat, trees younger than 10 to 15 years old have been exhibiting noticeable signs of stress as leaves curl, brown and even fall off.

Other area lawn care companies that have taken a hit from the heat include Iowa City’s Precision Lawn Care with mowing operations coming to a complete stand still.  The University of Iowa’s Landscape services have even been forced to pull the flower-planting crew from typical summer duties in order to help maintain the campus’s trees in need of watering—a list containing more than 500 tress in fact.

According to superintendent of Parks and Forestry, Terry Robinson, the lack of mowing around the area has enabled Iowa City’s Parks and Forestry Department to get a head start on other projects that usually wait until the fall, including trail repairs, building maintenance and concrete work on sidewalks.

Robinson said “We’ve gotten a lot more done than we by far expected to at this time.” He also noted that by the end of July, the city will have kept water flowing on trees for almost three months.

Fair fireworks may be cancelled due to heat

This significant lack of rain is also taking a toll on county fair fun.

Iowa’s drought may cause Johnson County Fair organizers to call off the fireworks display scheduled for Thursday, the last day of the fair.

Fair facilities manager Gary Shemanski said “It’s just too big of a risk of setting something on fire with the burn ban in Johnson County, it just isn’t worth burning up half the county.”

Fair organizers will make the decision today on whether or not to cancel the display.

Sources: Iowa City Press Citizen