Mcomb, IL – A Congressional candidate says rural areas must have broadband access if they want to keep or attract business. Andrea Zinga says Institute for Rural Affairs studies show that half of all small businesses order products over the internet, and one-fourth sell over the 'net. Zinga says the institute has stated that broadband, high speed internet access can "level the playing field" between rural and small town business and urban businesses. Zinga faces Brian Gillaland and Jim Mowen on the Republican primary ballot.
Keokuk, IA – After some recent problemsn during a bout of severe weather, Keokuk will conduct more tests of its tornado sirens. Keokuk's warning sirens were activated, last weekend, after reports came in of a tornado being spotted just miles from the city. Fire Chief Mark Wessel says all four of the city's sirens came online, initially, and were working. Early on, though, two sets failed. He says his department is working to fix them. Wessel says the city will now run monthly tests of the outdoor warning system, to make sure this does not happen again.
Keokuk, IA – A much-anticipated bio-diesel plant in Keokuk appears to be on schedule for completion. Tri City Energy began work on its 5,000,000 gallon/year bio-diesel plant in early Janary. Sales Manager Al Moander says the facility in downtown Keokuk is on pace to be completed in August. He says the funding is in place for this first phase. Phases 2 and 3 consist of building a new 30,000,000 gallon/year plant and a soybean crushing facility along the Mississippi River. The total financial investment in the project will be nearly $50,000,000.
Rushville, IL – Two regional school boards have trimmed a total of 13 teaching positions. This is the time when teachers who won't be hired for next year must be notified. The West Prairie district cut ten non-tenure positions and reduced the contrct for three others. In addition, the board eliminated all extra-pay positions until it has a better idea of what it will offer next year. In Rushville the board eliminated a full-time industrial arts position and eliminated half-time positions in speech and French.
Macomb, IL – The renovated ballpark at Western Illinois University now officially has a new name. The Board of Trustees approved a resolution to name it Alfred Boyer Baseball Stadium. Boyer graduated from WIU in 1972. He recently gave $300,000 to the university for sports construction work. Half of that money went to the baseball stadium project. The university says Boyer has also made other significant gifts in support of sports programs. The renovations to the ballpark include improvements to the playing field.
Des Moines, IA – A longtime Southeast Iowa lawmaker is seeking another term at the State Capitol. State Representative Phil Wise says Southeast Iowa is moving in the right direction. The Keokuk Democrat wants another 2 years in office so he can continue to help the region at the state level. Wise says his focus will remain on economic development and education. He says his ability to work with members of both parties is an asset for Southeast Iowa, with the legislature so evenly split. Wise is seeking his 11th term in the Iowa House of Representatives.
Macomb, IL – Colchester Police Chief Dan Kreps is McDonough County's new Emergency Services and Disaster Agency director. County Board Chairman Bob Harwick said Kreps' law enforcement training and background will be useful in his new half-time position. Harwick had said he wanted to avoid a conflict of interest in the emergency services post. However, since the police chief's job in Colchester is only a half-time post, he says Kreps will be available when the county needs him. Kreps received his bachelor's in law enforcement last year from WIU.