Macomb, IL – The McDonough County Board has approved a $13 million dollar budget for the fiscal year that begins Thursday. The spending plan does not include using some of the public safety sales tax money to offset property taxes. Board Chairman Bob Harwick says the money was needed to allow an end-of-year balance of about $400,000. Without that, he says the county could end the year with only about four days of operating funds. Harwick says the county is expecting a major drop in farmland assessment values.
Macomb, IL – McDonough County is urging its supervisors to take a look at workplace conditions. Board member Alice Henry says the county's risk management plan suggests having ergonomic studies done for courthouse employees. Henry says making the workers more comfortable and efficient is the right thing to do. In addition, she says it could eventually cut the cost of the county's workers compensation insurance. The county budgeted about $700,000 for premiums in the new budget year. The insurance cost is adjusted yearly depending on the county's payout over the previous three years.
Rushville, IL – A Schuyler County man convicted of sexually assaulting and abusing children has been sentenced to nine consecutive terms of life in prison. However, 54-year old Richard Kitch remains at large. Police believe he fled to Korea and is now in Hong Kong. Authorities say his attacks on two children happened between March 2000 and March 2003. Kitch was arrested in March of this year. He was released after paying his $20,000 bond in cash. Authorities discovered Kitch had fled when he failed to appear for a court date in September.
Carthage, IL – Backers of a school convergence in Hancock County will have a little more time to polish their presentation. A hearing before the regional board of school trustees has been re-scheduleld for Dec. 8 at 6:30 in the Hancock County Courthouse. A Committee of Ten from the Carthage, LaHarpe and Dallas City districts wants to form a single high school district and maintain each town's elementary district. Committee member Pat Dietrich says she has seen no opposition yet. The new high school district would begin with almost 500 students.
Carthage, IL – A convergence hearing for three Hancock County school districts has been delayed until Dec. 8. A Committee of Ten from the Carthage, LaHarpe and Dallas City school districts hopes to convince voters to form a single high school district, with an elementary district remaining in each town. The hearing before the Regional Board of School Trustees was delayed to to an error in the publication of the hearing notice. Committee member Pat Dietrich says members of her group and the general public will be invited to speak at the hearing.
Macomb, IL – Macomb aldermen are taking a look at how the city deals with property maintenance violations. At their November 28 meeting, aldermen reviewed a list of more than one dozen recent examples of properties with violations. They were also given an update on the status of each case. Fourth Ward Alderman John Maguire says he's heard comments from residents about maintenance violations and says the city needs to pay attention to the issue. The building and zoning office will share more information about the process at the next city council committee meeting.
Rushville, IL – The Schuyler-Industry school board is proposing a tax levy about seven percent higher than last year. Superintendent Matt Plater says much of the increase will go to the tort levy fund, which has been shorted by years of tax caps. Plater says residents in the Industry portion of the district will see an increase in their tax rate, but will still be paying a lower rate than when they were in the Industry school district. Plater says at next month's meeting the board will begin a discussion of which classes will be taught in what location.
Rushville, IL – A natural resources group wants to encourage more recreational boating on the LaMoine River. The LaMoine Valley Ecosystem Partnership has discovered that the river is not on the state's list of navigable waters. That means landowners own the river bed and can prevent boaters from using the river. The group is researching Illinois state regulations to see how the river could be declared navigable and open to recreational boating. The partnership is working with the Department of Natural Resources to improve habitat and improve opportunities for recreation in the valley.
Keokuk, IA – Several communities within the Tri State region are looking for grant money to upgrade their sewer systems. Keokuk is applying for a $520,000 state grant to remove and replace the Bank Street Lift Station. Public Works Director Bill Richards says the station is nearly 50 years old and is in need or repairs. He says the city would also use the money to eliminate 3 combined sewer overflows from the Victory Park area. Keokuk's local match would be $100,000 dollars.
Macomb, IL – The students at Project Insight have designed and created a mandala, which is a geometric symbol of the universe. The piece is on the resurfaced asphalt behind the Project Insight building in Macomb. Student Shasha Guilliams says it will provide a perfect outlet for stress. Project Insight is part of the West-Central Special Education Cooperative. It provides low-incident services for students from five counties.