Keokuk, IA – Business did not go on as usual for Keokuk's city council last night. The city council was forced to cancel its meeting because it did not have enough members in attendance. Since there are 9 seats on the council, 5 members must be present to hold an official meeting. Last night, just 4 showed up. Mayor Dave Gudgel says that while the cancellation will be forgotten in a couple of months, it is agrevating. The council has come close to cancelling meetings in recent months due to a lack of attendance. One contributing factor is a pair of vacant seats.
Versailles, IL – As part of its new franchise agreement, the Versailles village board will gain access to a cable television channel. Village Board member Randy Hetzel says there will be no live broadcasts for the moment, but the village will be able to post safety warnings or general information on the government access channel. He says the franchise also includes broadband internet for the city building, which could lead to a web home page for the village. Hetzel says this will let the village attract more people from the surrounding area to village events.
Macomb, IL – Those who love jazz will love being in Macomb this weekend. The annual Al Sears Jazz Festival will be held Friday through Sunday, September 16 - 18. The event will begin with Jazz In The Clubs on Friday night. Four venues in downtown Macomb will feature live music. The festival will continue on Saturday with Jazz In The Park. There will be performances in Chandler Park from 12:15 p.m. until well into the evening. The fest wraps up on Sunday with Jazz On Campus, which will feature a jazz brunch. All of the events except the brunch are free.
Fort Madison, IA – Two Lee County Supervisors have been tapped to explore the county's options when it comes to the future of its jail. The special committee will initially consist of Supervisors Larry Kruse and George Morgan. It could expand to include other county leaders and residents. The group will look into whether the county shoudl build a new jail, expand the current facility, or join with other counties to form a regional jail. Lee County Sheriff Buck Jones says the county's main jail facility is still in good condition.
Carthage, IL – Carthage city leaders will meet with property owners next week to discuss upgrading a west-side alley to full street width. City Clerk Kathy Graham says a group of businesses are clustered near the alley now, but having it as a street could bring more businesses. However, she says existing businesses would have to transfer 25-feet of property to the city for the street, and agree to set future buildings back another 25 feet. Graham says some business owners are not sure they want to give up that much land.
Keokuk, IA – Several U-S Coast Guard members that have been rescuing survivors of Hurricane Katrina are back in the tri-state region. A regional disaster response team, which included 8 Keokuk-based officers, spent two weeks in New Orleans conducting search and rescue missions. Chief Petty Officer Brett Wickett says that despite the harsh conditions, the team rescued about 500 residents. He says the disaster response team spent 10 to 12 hours a day in their boats searching for people, neighborhood by neighborhood.
Lee County, IA – Voter turnout was very low for school board elections in Lee County's 3 public school districts. About 8% of the registered voters within the Central Lee School District made it to the polls. In Keokuk, turnout was around 2% while it was just 1% in Fort Madison. Seven of the nine races on the ballot in the county were uncontested.
Central Lee District 1 Robert Bryant (Inc) - Unopposed
District 3 Bob Galle - 57% Brenda Knox - 26% Doug Hopp (Inc) - 17%
Macomb, IL – Illinois Poet Laureate Kevin Stein says he's been surprised to learn how much interest there is in poetry. The Bradley University English professor was named Poet Laureate in 2003. Since then, he's been asked to speak at numerous schools, libraries, and public forums. In fact, he will give a presentation in the Tri States Public Radio performance studio Thursday September 15 at 7:00 p.m. Stein says it's gratifying to realize there is so much interest in his craft. Stein also says he's been allowed to shape his role as Poet Laureate as he sees fit.
Carthage, IL – Charles Bair is the new Econonomic Development Educator for the Hancock County Extension Service. He'll work with the Hancock County Economic Development Association. Bair plans to work with a regional focus on business retention and expansion. He says attracting new businesses will be his third priority. Bair has worked for more than 30 years in manufacturing and finance before moving to Carthage. He says his first priority will be developing a work plan and meeting other economic development staffers in the region. Bair is under a one-year contract renewable annually.
Macomb, IL – After many months of discussions, Macomb aldermen have unanimously approved the city's new liquor code. It will go into effect October 1. Among other things, it will increase the cost of obtaining or renewing a liquor license. Bar and restaurant owner Roger Ward wishes the new code had been completed more quickly. But he also thinks the city did a good job of making sure license holders were involved in the process. Macomb resident Merv Roth, who's vocally anti-liquor, is glad that license fees will be increased.