Macomb, IL – One of the challenges Western Illinois University will face during the new school year is to successfully implement its new "First Year Experience" program. President Al Goldfarb says the university has guaranteed freshmen that there will not be more than 15-20 students in general education classes. The school is also requiring freshmen to attend three events outside the classroom each semester. Goldfarb says another challenge facing Western concerns finances.
Springfield, IL – While the Bush administration wants to virtually eliminate funding for Amtrak, the passenger rail service continues to be popular in Illinois. Amtrak says all four of the state-sponsored trains posted record levels of ridership during the fiscal year that ended June 30. Those trains include the Illinois Zephyr, which connects Chicago with western Illinois cities such as Macomb, Quincy and Galesburg. The Illinois Zephyr had 113,086 riders, which was an increase of 7.6%.
Donnellson, IA – Construction work did not hamper the start of school for one Southeast Iowa district. The Central Lee School District's classrooms are located along Highway 218, just a couple miles south of Donnellson. Construction work has been underway, this summer, to add right and left turn lanes to the highway where it meets the district's driveway. Superintendent Chuck Reighard says the district was worried about school starting on time after the project was delayed.
Havana, IL – Havana is establishing a new 20-acre Tax Increment Financing District that will include a $5.5 million dollar expansion in riverfront facilities. Mayor Dale Roberts says Sunrise Ag plans to build a dry fertilizer facility and a petroleum bulk plant. The firm will also rebuild a dock that will be available for public use. Roberts says the city will return $750,000 from the TIF district to help cover the cost of the dock. Roberts says the expansion will strengthen the town's riverfront industrial capability and should help attract industry.
Macomb, IL – Macomb plans to consolidate the county's public transportation into one system. Mayor Mick Wisslead says the state wants aldermen to pay more attention to how the Go West, Bridgeway, Red Cross, and taxi systems work together. Wisslead says since both federal and state funds go through the city, it is being expected to more closely govern the systems. He says the city has been receiving more than $300,000 dollars yearly for transit. That could increase to more than $1 million.