Lewistown, IL – The Fulton County Board is expecting a sharp upswing in strip mining. It's formed an ad hoc committee that will try to protect the interests of the county and its residents. Board member Doug Manock chairs the group that will try to work with mining applicants. He says the applicants are likely to work with the committee because its support might help them get their state mining permit. Manock says the committee has now real power but can make recommendations to the county board and to the state's Office of Mines and Minerals.
Fort Madison, IA – Lee County and the State of Iowa are combining on a $5 million incentive package to lure a well-known company in the wind power industry. Siemens wants a new factory for manufacturing wind turbine blades and is looking at several sites around the country. One of those is the former Wabash National building between Fort Madison and Montrose. The state's share of the incentive package is $2 million. The rest of the money will come from local and private sources.
Macomb, IL – McDonough County will pay one of its employees for 1,700 hours of comp time. It's also updated personnel regulations so the situation can not come up again. Board Chairman Bob Harwick says mainenance worker Scott Adair began accumulating the extra hours in the late 1980s. He says much of it came in the late 1990s when Adair worked evenings to supervise installation of an energy-saving system in the courthouse. Harwick says it's time to square the books and move on.
Macomb, IL – Eight years ago, the Macomb Park District bought an 80-acre site on University Drive. The property has been largely unused since then, but now - for the first time - the park board has given its stamp of approval to a plan for the land. Half of the property will be used for ball diamonds, including those for youth baseball, adult softball, and girls fast pitch softball. The other half of the site will contain soccer fields and possibly a football field. That open space could also be used for special events.
Keokuk, IA – Keokuk might expand its ban on the use of large storage containers. It's already illegal to park a trailer in a commercially zoned district and store goods inside of it for an indefinite amount of time. Now, the city council is looking to extend that ban into residential neighborhoods. Alderman Bill Olmsted says many of these trailers are parked in yards or along the streets and damage the city's image. Olmsted says some exemptions might be established. For example, trailers could be used if a construction project is underway or someone is moving.
Rushville, IL – Rushville aldermen have rejected a proposed budget that was about $800,000 in the red. Mayor Ron Shepherd says he threatened to veto the measure, but aldermen voted against it. The council's Finance Committee will meet June 26 for further trimming. Shepherd says revenue estimates have been improperly boosted to help cover proposed spending. He says while the city has reserves which could cover the shortage, he does not believe they should be used for that purpose.
Busnell, IL – Bushnell aldermen want the proposed Route 336 to pass as close to town as possible. They've voted to ask the state for an alignment on the Canton to Macomb road that would roughly parallel Route 95 and come in just north of town. A group called Citizens for Responsible Alignment says that path would cost more and divide more farms. Mayor Steve Russell says he'll meet with that group and see if there's some compromise that would let them support Bushnell's push for the path along Route 95.
Macomb, IL – Macomb aldermen have given final approval to new boundaries for the city's wards. The new map will increase the number of wards from five to seven and will be in effect for next year's elections. Mayor Mick Wisslead says the new map can be viewed on the city's website or by visiting city hall. The city was required to increase its number of wards after a special census showed the population topped 20,000. There will be one alderman for each ward and the city will continue to have two aldermen at-large.