Macomb, IL – W.I.U. kicked off its homecoming weekend by announcing it will bring home a big chunk of change for a much-delayed construction project. It's been several years since Western was told it would get money for renovating Memorial Hall. Now, the state says it will release the $12 million needed to upgrade the electrical and heating systems, remove asbestos, and complete other improvements. A ceremony was held outside the building Friday morning to make the announcement. The state says its tight budget prevented it from releasing the money sooner.
Keokuk, IA – The city of Keokuk will soon begin infrastructure work at the site of a future hotel. The city will build an entrance road, add sewer and water lines, and remove trees from the old Joyce Park, which is the future home of a Hampton Inn Hotel. During yesterday's special meeting, the council awarded the construction contract to Keokuk Contractors, who bid more than $350,000. Mayor Dave Gudgel says the city will not spend its own money on this project. The council held off on awarding the contract until adequate work had begun on the hotel site.
Keokuk, IA – The Keokuk City Council will vote next week on whether to make its annual payment to the Lee County Narcotics Task Force. Police Chief RL Dobson says Keokuk's share, about $15,000, is due now. Much of the Task Force's money comes from a federal grant. Keokuk, Fort Madison, and Lee County split the cost of the cash match for that funding. If approved, Keokuk's share will have to be transfered in from the general fund, because the city did not budget for the expense. The council appears to be in favor of paying the bill with the general fund money.
Burlington, IA – Musician Patrick Hazell is well known around the region for playing the blues. But he's also grabbed the spotlight the past couple years for ringing the bells. He's conducted a half-dozen Hawkeye Valley Bell Projects in his hometown of Burlington and has also overseen a bell project in a Russian city. Dozens of volunteers help Hazell with the Burlington ringings. He hopes the performances inspire people to ring the downtown bells more often. The latest version of the Hawkeye Valley Bell Project was held on a warm, humid early autumn evening.