Keokuk, IA – A new value-added agricultural plant is on its way to Lee County. Tri-City Energy has announced its plan to build a bio-diesel plant and a soybean curshing facility in Keokuk. The more than $50,000,000 project will be completed in 3 phases and will create about 60 jobs. Tri-City Energy General Manager, John Rothgeb, says his group consists of 4 local investors. He says this project could be a chance for even more residents to invest in Keokuk and Southeast Iowa. Rothgeb says the project has been in the works for more than 2 years.
New Boston, IL – A bi-state group is working to re-establish ferry service between New Boston, Illinois and Oakville, Iowa. Terry Elliot chairs the Illowa Ferryboat and Development Corporation. He says the group has $360,000 in federal and state grants to begin studies. He says engineering and environmental studies could be underway within the year. Elliot says ferry service began at New Boston before the Civil War. The last ferry made its run in 1973. He says a feasibility study done three years ago showe re-establishing the service would boost tourism and business.
Macomb, IL – McDonough County Circuit Clerk Kim Wilson wants the county board to increase two fees that are added to court cases when they're filed. Wilson says shke's running out of space to store the 10,000 or more documents that are filed with her office every year. She wants to increase to $10 from $5 the automation fee and the document storage fee. The former is to help cover the cost of computers and networks needed to handle the office operations.
Macomb, IL – The United States Department of Agriculture is touting the amount of money it invests in western Illinois. The agency presented a ceremonial check for $36.5 million at Western Illinois University on Wednesday. The check is payable to the people of the 17th Congressional District. The USDA says the figure represents the amount it invested in the district last year. USDA Illinois Director Doug Wilson says the agency helped 350 families buy or improve their homes in the district last year. The money was also used for business development, healthcare, and other needs.
Fort Madison, IA – Lee County's budget for next year could include plans to consolidate county government. Creating 1 Lee County seat has been a point of discussion for months, but no major action has been taken by the Board of Supervisors. The board has considered placing a public input question on the November ballot, but it now seems to be leaning away from that idea. Instead, the board now appears to be ready to simply pass a resolution stating its intention to create one county seat, and then work on the logistics of the plan.
Macomb, IL – Macomb is planning to add some parking near the Amtrak station. The city council has agreed to buy the one-acre site at 305 N. Randolph St. and convert it into a parking lot. The site once housed grain elevators, and Mayor Mick Wisslead says it will take a while to prepare it for parking. He says it could be next year before the property is ready. The city will pay $30,000 to acquire the land.
Macomb, IL – WIU Assistant Vice President for University Relations John Maguire, who serves as alderman in Macomb's fourth ward, is recovering from heart surgery in a Springfield hospital. Maguire underwent the procedure this week. It's possible he'll be released from the hospital in a few days. It's not known when he will return to his WIU job or his post on the city council. The Macomb native has Bachelor's and Master's degrees from WIU and earned a Ph.D from Illinois State University. He's currently the longest serving member of the Macomb city council.
Fort Madison, IA – Fort Madison's newest city leaders took the oath of office during Tuesday night's city council meeting. City Clerk Sue Mead opened the meeting by administering the oath of office to new mayor Steve Ireland. Ireland, in turn, swore in 2nd Ward Alderman Chris Greenwald and At Large Alderman Brad Randolph. Ireland, Greenwald, Randolph, and 4th Ward Alderman Neal Boeding were victorious in last November's city elections. Ireland says he wants to work on improving Fort Madison's image.