Carthage, IL – The Carthage YMCA will remain open for another three months while the board explores ways to keep it open permanently. Carthage board president Tyrone Jacoby says a fundraising campaign raised the $15,000 needed. He says during the three-month period the Carthage Y will continue to operate as a branch of the Hoerner YMCA in Keokuk. After that, he says the board is working to find a way to cooperate with other agencies such as the school district, the park district and the hospital to keep it open.
Macomb, IL – Macomb aldermen are considering the idea of extending and increasing the local option sales tax. The half-cent tax pays for street repairs and other infrastructure improvements. It's due to expire at the end of 2008. The city will need voter approval to extend it beyond then. Aldermen this week reviewed the idea of putting a referendum on the November ballot. First Ward Alderman Charles Gilbert also suggested the tax be increased to three-quarters of a cent.
Fort Madison, IA – Renovations to the new Fort Madison public library will get underway in the very near future. The city council has awarded the construction contract to Burlington-based Bi-State Contracting. The project will carry a price tag of just over $1.8 million. Library board president, Elaine Eschman, says the winning bid came in about $200,000 below estimate. Other than the impact of Hurrican Katrina on material prices, Eschman says the project is moving ahead smoothly. Eschman says the contractor will move in equipment, over the next few days and get to work after that.
Fort Madison, IA – Fort Madison has started tearing down some dilapidated structures. The Chamber of Commerce has targeted around 20 run-down buildings that it feels should be demolished. Executive Director, Tracy Vance, says 2 properties, along Avenue H, have come down and two more could be torn down next month. He says unsightly properties are having a negative impact on the city's image, especially in the eyes of potential investors or industries. The city will pay for the first few demolition projects.
Versailles, IL – A home-grown youth program in the Village of Versailles is successful enough that it might continue into the fall. Village Trustee Randy Hester says the idea came from a Brown Deputy. Hester says he and others from the village board volunteerecd and the program has grown from three participants to around 13 every Wednesday in the village of fewer than 600 residents. Hester attributes the success to heavy involvement in planning by the children, who suggested a fund-raising program to help replace equipment borrowed from the school system.
Macomb, IL – A circuit court judge says a lot of progress has been made to debunk myths about sexual assault and abuse victims, but there's still room for a lot more progress. For example, in numerous cases sexual assault victims do not immediately report the crime. Judge Charles Reynard says it's incorrect to then assume there must be something wrong with his/her story. He says the victim is simply acting like a victim. Reynard says handling such cases requires good, strong teamwork between victim advocates, police, prosecutors, and the courts.
Keokuk, IA – Keokuk is once again looking for some state grant money so residents can rehabilite their homes. The city will apply for funds through the Department of Economic Development's owner-occupied home rehabilitation program. More than a dozen homes, near Kaiser and Kilbourne parks, have already been renovated using a previously awarded grant. Mayor Dave Gudgel says the housing rehab program can really improve the look of an entire neighborhood. The city will apply for $400,000.
Meredosia, IL – A Meredosia man is using an Illinois Arts Council grant to pass on the little-used craft of making wooden fish traps. Earl Edlin is teaching the craft to James Mashburn, who does river fishing for himself and for his church. Edlin learned the craft from an uncle who was in his 90S. He used that skill during more than 50 years of commercial fishing. Strips of ash are steamed and then formed into hoops and covered to make a cylinder. Edlin says when the river was better-stocked, he could get 80 pounds of catfish per day out of the traps.