Fort Madison, IA – The workweek for Lee County's union workforce should officially return to normal. The Lee County Board of Supervisors voted to cut the workweek for union workers by one hour to try to save the county money. That led to three prohibitive practice complaints being filed against the county. Union representative Randy Schultz says an agreement has been reached to restore the one hour to the workweek. He says the unions negotiated their current multi-year deal in good faith under the assumption that the workweek would remain the same.
Rushville, IL – Rushville aldermen have approved the second reading of a mandatory trash collection ordinance. Mayor Ron Shepherd says the individual house rate will be about $12 ... which is about $2 less than the current fee. He says exemptions will be available for senior citizens who generate little trash and who are living on a fixed income. He says one of the goals of the program is to eliminate the burning of trash in barrels throughout the town. The council must approve it one more time for the ordinance to take effect.
Rushville, IL – Rushville's mayor has been told by the state to expect partial recompense for infrastructure the city installed to get ready for its unused prison. Ron Shepherd says he has been told to expect between $70,000 and $80,000. He says that's well short of the more than $450,000 the city spent to construct water and sewer lines to the site northwest of town. However, he says any amount will help.
Macomb, IL – The city is trying to decide how to pay for two new pumper trucks for the fire department after bids came in higher than expected. The department estimated the trucks would cost a total of no more than $475,000, but the low bid is $545,000. The cost gets even higher if the city decides to buy the loose equipment that typically comes with such vehicles. City Administrator Mike Hays is now working out a financing plan. He's also looking for different ways of paying for the loose equipment, including selling a couple old fire trucks.
September 8, 2005 – Western Illinois University English professor Janice Welsch joins Rich Egger to talk about the 12th annual Dealing With Difference Institute. The conference will be held on the W.I.U. campus September 14 - 17.
Des Moines, IA – Iowa's plans to help Hurrican survivors are on hold. A temporary housing center at the Iowa State Fairgrounds has yet to be used. FEMA representatives say they have had a hard time getting people to leave the Houston evacuation centers. Lee County Emergency Management Coordinator Steve Cirinna says anyone who has come to the Tri-State region from the affected area must register with the Red Cross. He says they could be entitled to clothing, housing, or cash. He says cash donations are the best way local residents can help the victims.
Keokuk, IA – The Keokuk School District says it is making progress despite being placed on a federal academic watch list. Keokuk's High School and Middle School were among 94 Iowa school buildings on the "Schools in need of assistance" list. The buildings were designated if students did not reach achievement goals for two consecutive years. Assistant superintendent Lora Wolff says Keokuk's students are showing improvements on standardized state tests, even though both buildings showed up on the list.
Macomb, IL – McDonough County Sheriff's Deputies will be headed south to help during the Hurricane Katrina cleanup. Chief Deputy Rick Manser says his department got the call for help from the Illinois Law Enforcement Alert System, which is a mutual aid group. He says several deputies have volunteered. He has not yet chosen who will go or when. The alert asked for one deputy with a car for a two-week period. Manser says at the present time the county's Law and Legal Committee has endorsed having up to four officers serve over a two-month period. Manser says the need for help is great.
Macomb, IL – A Macomb alderman believes the city is headed in the right direction in its talks with the McDonough County NAACP. The two sides agreed last month to hold occasional meetings to discuss various issues. The first such get-together was held Tuesday. Alderman at-large Chris Senn says it was a positive meeting that focused on the hiring of minorities and police issues. He says they also talked about getting more minority representation on local boards.
Fort Madison, IA – County leaders took a step forward in trying to improve communication within Lee County government. The recent spat between the Board of Supervisors and a coalition of elected leaders developed, in part, over a lack of dialogue between the two sides. Board Chairman Rick Larkin says a department head meeting, which was held Tuesday to open the lines of communication, went very well. Much of the discussion focused on the budget, the response to property tax bills, and the future of the county jail. More than a dozen department heads attended the meeting.