Macomb, IL – The first milkweed harvest at WIU was less than expected, but enough to continue interest in research. Alternative crops Professor Win Phippen says he harvested about 1,000 pounds of pods per acre from the three-acre test plot. He says that's about two-thirds of what he expected. He's researching the plant as a source of floss for comforters and insulation, and of the vitamin E-rich oil from the seeds. Research during the coming year will focus on drying the pods, and on developing a better machine to process dried pods into seeds, floss, and the waste biomass.
Macomb, IL – The people who pilot hot air balloons are known as aeronauts. About 30 of them descended on western Illinois over the weekend for the 19th Annual Macomb Balloon Rally. The two-day event concluded with the Balloon Glow, which drew thousands of people to Vince Grady Field on the Western Illinois University campus. News Director Rich Egger talked to some of the aeronauts during the balloon glow. Listen to his feature about the pilots by clicking on the audio button above.
Macomb, IL – Planning students from the University of Illinois will make a project of development for the Route 336 intersection at the western edge of Macomb. Kathie Brown of the Extension Service says the project will include architecture and landscape architecture students. This will add visuals to the plan they develop. Brown says the final product will not be a finished plan, but it will have the basics that will allow it to be finished locally.
Macomb, IL – A combination of private and public money will be used to complete improvements to Western's baseball stadium. The park will get new bleachers, concession stands, and restrooms. In addition, a gated entrance will be built. Vice President for Student Services Garry Johnson believes these will enhance the appearance of the facility and the campus. The low bids for the work add up to $681,000, which is almost $200,000 more than anticipated. Johnson says the Board of Trustees approved the bids because the university wants the work done before next baseball season.
Macomb, IL – There will soon be another vacancy on the Western Illinois University Board of Trustees. Dace Richardson says he will resign because he's leaving Illinois to take a job in North Carolina. Richardson has served on the board for four years. He says the presidential search that resulted in the hiring of Al Goldfarb was one of the highlights of his time on the board. Richardson has not yet resigned. He won't move for another few months and he plans to attend the board's next meeting in November before stepping down.
Keokuk, IA – Local leaders have begun coordinating a larger hurricane relief effort in Keokuk. Churches, service clubs, and organizations like the Red Cross and the Salvation Army have all been accepting donations for the victims of Hurricane Katrina. An attempt to centralize the relief efforts is underway in Keokuk. Mayor Dave Gudgel says a community-wide relief response will make it easier for residents to donate by providing one central location: Keokuk's HyVee grocery store.
Lee County, IA – Lee County voters have few choices on Tuesday when they vote to fill seats on the school boards of the three public school districts. Of the 8 seats open throughout the county, six feature uncontested contests. That includes 3 on the Fort Madison School Board, 2 on the Keokuk School Board, and 1 on the Central Lee School Board. There are two other contested races for seats on the Central Lee School Board. The polls close at 8pm on Tuesday.
Candidates: Fort Madison (3 seats) Dan Davis Judy Gerdes Donald Ward
Bath, IL – Saturday's "Redneck Fishing Contest" in Bath will be an attempt to reduce the number of Asian Carp in that stretch of the Illinois River. Organizer Betty DeFord says the carp jump out of the water when a boat passes, sometimes injuring fishermen. No rods or reels will be allowed. Contestants must catch the carp in a dip net, and they're forbidden from releasing any back into the river. The winner will be whoever catches the greatest nubmer. The afternoon contest follows a regular fishing contest Saturday morning.
Canton, IL – Retiring Fulton County Clerk Randy Rumler says changes in election procedures are the major change he's seen in 23 years in office. Rumler says technology changes have made it easier for a voter to be sure that he or she is casting the ballot desired. Rumler says the machines can catch overvoting, which prevents a ballot from being thrown out for errors. However, he's insistent that machines should have a paper trail that can be checked in case of questions.
Fort Madison, IA – The workweek for Lee County's union workforce should officially return to normal. The Lee County Board of Supervisors voted to cut the workweek for union workers by one hour to try to save the county money. That led to three prohibitive practice complaints being filed against the county. Union representative Randy Schultz says an agreement has been reached to restore the one hour to the workweek. He says the unions negotiated their current multi-year deal in good faith under the assumption that the workweek would remain the same.