Springfield, IL – Illinois' governor wants to ban assault weapons, but state lawmakers from western Illinois say they do not support the plan. Governor Rod Blagojevich used his State of the State speech to say no law-abiding citizen needs an Uzi or AK-47 to be safe or to hunt. However, State Senator John Sullivan (D-Rushville) and State Representative Rich Myers (R-Colchester) believe the ban is not needed. Both say they know people who use the weapons for target practice or who simply enjoy collecting them.
Fort Madison, IA – The Fort Madison City Council is once again working at full strength. The city council has appointed Greg Smith to the post of at-large council member. Smith replaces Steve Ireland, who resigned with 2 years remaining in his term. Ireland was elected mayor last November. Smith is an educational consultant with Great River AEA #16 in Burlington. He says he is excited about the opportunity to serve. Smith says he wants to improve Fort Madison so that residents will stay in the community and make it their home. The city received 4 applications for the at-large post.
Macomb, IL – This semester's International Film Series in Macomb will include movies from several different countries, plus a documentary and a reissue of a 1970s film. The series resumes Wednesday with "Oliver Twist." This latest adaptation of a Charles Dickens novel was directed by Roman Polanski. Carmike Cinemas I & II Manager Larry Jarvis says it's one of the best adaptations of a Dickens novel that he's seen. Jarvis says next week's film will be "Junebug." The documentary is "Protocols of Zion," which explores a resurgence of anti-Semitism in the post-9/11 world.
Macomb, IL – Macomb aldermen will wait a little longer before deciding whether to increase the city's telecommunications tax. Mayor Mick Wisslead asked for the delay because he wants the entire city council to tackle the issue. Aldermen John Maguire and Tim Lobdell were absent from Tuesday night's meeting. If the tax is increased, the city would need to file a resolution with the state by March 20. The city is considering the tax hike as a way of generating more revenue. Right now, the 2% tax brings in $155,000 per year.
Carthage, IL – A state grant will help the city of Carthage rehabilitate up about ten homes owned by low-income residents. The $380,000 from the Illinois Housing Development Authority will be used for improvements such as heating, plumbing, wiring or roof replacement. Community Developer Brenda Pyatt says the work is to improve the livability of the homes and improve the community's housing stock. The city will work with the Western Illinois Regional Council to help identify homeowners who qualify. Pyatt says a meeting will be scheduled later to outline the applications process.
Keokuk, IA – The Lee County Board of Supervisors has started focusing on the spending portion of the county's budget for next year. The board has scheduled day-long workshops with elected leaders and department heads for the next 3 days. These open workshops will focus on the budget requests for each department, and on how well the current budget is being followed throughout the county. Last year, the board raised property tax rates by more than 30% to help fill a more than $1,000,000 shortfall in the county's 2 general funds.
Galesburg, IL – The western Illinois One Stop employment and training centers wil soon have an internet-based system to augment their offices. The Workforce Inveestment Board has scheduled a series of workshops about its new WorkNet system. Director Blanche Shoup says WorkNet will offer the same information that's available at the One-Stop offices in Quincy, Macomb and Galesburg. However, it will be available over the internet to high school counselors or job seekers using their local library computers. It's also available to those using a home computer.
Macomb, IL – About 100 people gathered in Macomb for the annual rally and march in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Blacks and whites got together outside the courthouse, where they held hands and formed a large circle for the opening prayer. They then marched from that downtown location to Mount Calvary Church of God in Christ on the city's east side.