West Point, IA – Business leaders from one Southeast Iowa community are pushing for major changes in a scheduled transportation project. The current layout of the proposed Highway 61 bypass around Fort Madison includes 3 seperate interchanges. Spokesperson Vern Meierotto says a 4th interchange, at the point where the bypass will cross Highway 103, needs to be returned to the plan. He says the only way to add the interchange to the design is to purchase nearly 16 acres of land for the project. He says the price tag could be anywhere from $60,000 to $90,000.
Rushville, IL – The Schuyler County Board has voted 6-1 against establishing a hog operation in the northern part of the county. Chairman Brian Peak says members expressed two major concerns. One was liability in case there was a spill or the 15-thousand pig operation went out of business. The other was the effect of construction on roads in Oakland Township. Peak says the township is not a wealthy one and would have a hard time repairing major damage. Peak says the board will ask the Illinois Department of Agriculture for a bond if it approves the hog operation.
Augusta, IL – The head of Illinois' education department says his office is prepared to help the Southeastern School District recover from this month's fire at the high school. State Superintendent Randy Dunn hopes there will be some money available to help pay for the temporary relocation of students, who will attend classes at the Bowen Methodist Church for the remainder of the school year. The district hopes to have temporary portable classrooms in place for next school year, and Dunn says his office will work with the state's Capital Development Board to help pay for those.
Carthage, IL – Carthage might quadruple the amount of water it buys from Hamilton. Mayor James Nightingale says the city has a contract to buy 20,000 thousand gallons a day to supplement what it draws from its lake. However, he says the lake is as low as he's ever seen it and the supply is inadequate. He says the city is considering buying up to 80-thousand gallons per day. He says the city uses almost 300-thousand gallons each day. Nightingale says the lake might become full after spring rains, which could cut the amount the city would have to buy.
Monmouth, IL – Sixty buildings around Monmouth's downtown square have been named to the National Register of Historic Places. Linda Lee Blaine of the Western Illinois Economic Development Partnership says the designation is expected to boost tourism. She says it can also help spur downtown renovation. Building owners who fix up their buildings according to guidelines can be eligible for a 20-percent tax credit. Blaine says the next step will be further research on the architectural style and history of each building.
Keokuk, IA – A proposal to borrow millions of dollars to repair Keokuk's streets is closer to becoming a reality. The city council used its recent workshop to review the potential cost of borrowing $3,000,000 every 3 years for the next 12 years. Mayor Dave Gudgel expects the first step in the borrowing process to take place soon. If the current council moves ahead and borrows the $3,000,000; Gudgel says future councils will have to decide if they want to continue the borrowing program.
Macomb, IL – A judge has sent a possible school detachment back to the starting point. Dissatisfied with rulings prepared by attorneys, a McDonough County judge has said a group of parents who want their students to attend Macomb Schools must prepare a new petition. He says it must ask that the students transfer from the Schuyler-Industry district, Instead of just from Industry. Judge David Stoverink also told the regional school superintendent, Bob Baumann, that if the petition is not amended, the regional school board must turn it down.
Macomb, IL – Health care professionals estimate more than 800,000 people in the United States are living with HIV/AIDS. Another figure is even more alarming: up to one-third of those people do not know they are infected. However, there are ongoing efforts to raise awareness about the disease. In Illinois, the Public Health Department's "Wellness on Wheels" van offers free AIDS testing. The vehicle has made stops in a number of cities and was recently at WIU for a day.
Macomb, IL – It will soon cost more to earn a degree at Western Illinois University. The Board of Trustees on Friday approved a 9.5% tuition increase. The change is for new students only and begins this summer. The board also hiked room and board by 4.93% and fee rates by 2.87%. Those increases also impact new students only. However, Board Chairman Michael Houston says it's important to remember that costs will not rise for those students during the next four years because of the school's Cost Guarantee program.