Fort Madison, IA – The Lee County Board of Supervisors has a new chairman. The board used its first meeting of 2006 to promote Supervisor George Morgan from Vice-Chairman to Chairman. Morgan replaces Rick Larkin, who served as chairman during 2005, the first year the board expanded from 3 to 5 members. Morgan says, last year, the 5 supervisors decided they would elect a new chairman as the start of each new year. Supervisor Larry Kruse, the lone Republican on the board, was elected Vice-Chairman.
Nauvoo, IL – A group from Montrose has proposed the idea of ferry service between there and Nauvoo. Nauvoo Mayor John McCarty says the group was seeking interest and possible support, but did not have a cost for the needed feasibility study. He says the delegation will try to come up with a cost and return to the Nauvoo City Council with more specific figures. McCarty says the ferry could help develop part of the town's riverfront. He says a group of Nauvoo area businessmen is looking into developing a dinner-cruise boat service which could be based in Nauvoo.
Monmouth, IL – Now that the State of Illinois has approved a historic district for Monmouth, the town will try to be listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Linda Lee Blaine of the Western Illinois Economic Development Partnership says the attempt is designed to spur downtown redevelopment. The Courthouse Commercial District includes 72 buildings located within two blocks fo the square. Blaine says if the National Park Service lists the district, building owners could be eligible for up to a 20 percent tax credit if they remodel following historic preservation guidelines.
Keokuk, IA – Southeast Iowa businesses could have more access to low interest loans for improvements and expansions. The Southeast Iowa Regional Planning Commission has been operating 2 regional revolving loan funds in Lee, Des Moines, Henry, and Louisa counties for more than 10 years. Executive Director Brian Tapp says the 2 funds total about $1,700,000, though that money has all been loaned out to local businesses. He says the regional planning commission will apply for $600,000 more from the federal government for a 3rd regional fund.
Rushville, IL – The Rushville Rotary Club will help restock the library of an elementary school that was destroyed by Hurricane Rita. Club Vice President Walt Stephenson says half of the 14 schools in Vermillion Parish west of New Orleans were destroyed. Stephenson says the state will replace buildings and textbooks, but library collections are far down on the priority list of goods to be purchased. He says the club contacted Rotarians in the region who put him in touch with the Seventh Ward school in Abbeville.
Macomb, IL – Illinois State Representative Mike Boland wants owners held responsible for their aggressive dogs. He's introducing a bill which would make it a felony for a person's dog to attack and injure someone. Boland says current law requires that a dog be adjudged vicious in court before the owner can face charges. He says the bill he's proposing would apply from the first attack. He's also considering allowing fines under the law to go toward local animal shelters or humane societies. The bill would apply only to dogs which had not been neutered or spayed.
Macomb, IL – A sales tax referendum could appear on the ballot in Macomb next year. The city will seek permission to continue the half-cent sales tax that pays for infrastructure improvements such as street and sewer repairs. Mayor Mick Wisslead says the tax is set to expire in 2008. Wisslead hopes voters recognize how much has been accomplished with the $700,000 raised by the tax every year. The mayor thinks the sales tax is more fair than the property tax because it allows everyone who shops in town to contribute to maintenance of the infrastructure.
Macomb, IL – Even though Christmas is over for another year, blood collection agencies hope people are still in the mood to give. Jenny Garner of the Mississippi Valley Regional Blood Center says patients need blood every day of the year. But donations typically slow down during the summer months and again from Thanksgiving through mid-January. Garner says another challenge that's developed in recent years concerns who is allowed to give blood. She says blood collection agencies are coming across more potential donors who are either permanently or temporarily prohibited from giving.