Augusta, IL – Fire heavily damaged a Hancock County high school on Friday, but no students or teachers were injured. Augusta Fire Department Public Information Officer Don Arnold says the call from Southeastern High School came into the department shortly before noon. He says the south part of the building was engulfed in flames when firefighters arrived. At least part of the roof collapsed. Principal Todd Fox says 184 students attended classes at the school. There were nine classrooms in the red brick part of the building where the fire occured. It's believed it was built in 1920.
Colchester, IL – Colchester city leaders met with consultants and an EPA representative to discuss ways to improve the sewage treatment lagoon. Mayor Joe Wetzel says the city has fielded several complaints about odor from the lagoons. In addition, he says the filters are not working as they should. Wetzel says the meeting suggested some short-term, "band-aid" solutions the city will try. In the meantime, the council will begin investigating alternatives and their costs.
Keokuk, IA – An effort to reform high schools across Iowa appears to be on hold at the Iowa Capitol. This week marked the deadline for proposals to move out of committee and onto the floors of either the Iowa House or Senate. An effort to enhance high school curriculums, by creating financial incentives for districts offering advanced placement courses, is not in limbo as it did not move forward. The bill's sponsor, State Representative Phil Wise (D-Keokuk) says the future of the measure does not look good.
Keokuk, IA – The Keokuk City Council has approved the city's budget for next year. The spending plan for the fiscal year that starts in July includes a 40 cent increase in the property tax rate. Despite the hike, a change in the state tax formula will lead to a decrease in some homeowner's property tax bills. The tax bill for a $75,000 home in Keokuk would actually decrease by about $7 next year, compared to the current fiscal year. The city council transferred thousands of dollars and put a 5% cap on increases in departmental budget requests to balance the spending plan.
Macomb, IL – An event this week at WIU celebrated rice and the culture that surrounds it. Students, faculty, and members of the community gathered in the University Union Lamoine Room for "A Culture of Rice: An International Feast." Presentations offered information about the history of rice and the geography of rice. There were also paintings on rice paper, dances, and a presentation on the fashion trends in India.
Macomb, IL – The three new trustees at WIU were on-campus recently for a briefing and meetings with campus constituencies. Steven Nelson is an attorney in Moline. Bob Cook and Bill Griffin are retired professors from the Macomb campus. All three believe much of their focus in coming board meetings will be on developing the Quad Cities campus, where they believe much of the university's growth will occur. Cook says a state grant for planning a performing arts center is a good indication that construction funds will come.
Macomb, IL – Last fall, the Chicago White Sox won the World Series for the first time since 1917. Baseball fans got a chance to share in the celebration when the World Series trophy came to Macomb. It was on display for several hours at the US Cellular store on East Jackson Street and was later displayed at Western Hall. The trophy stands two feet tall, weighs 30 pounds, and is donned with 30 flags representing each team in Major League baseball. Fans began lining up outside the the US Cellular store more than an hour before the trophy was scheduled to go on display.