Mount Vernon, IA – A college professor from Eastern Iowa plans to run for Congress next year. Dr. David Loebsack teaches political science at Cornell College in Mount Vernon. He says he will run as a Democrat for the 2nd district seat Republican Congressman Jim Leach has held for nearly 30 years. Loebsack says he chose to run because voters have told him that a change is needed in Washington DC. He says he supports at least a $2 increase in the federal minimum wage. The general election is more than a month away.
Macomb, IL – Macomb has started the process of redrawing its wards, though the most difficult work is still ahead. The city must add two wards to its current total of five because its official population now tops 20,000. Attorney John McMillan has talked to aldermen about some of the issues related to the topic, but it will now be up to the city to deal with the tough task for drawing the new boundary lines. First Ward Alderman Charles Gilbert would like to see the project completed well in advance of the next city elections.
Macomb, IL – Western Illinois University is opening its doors to college students who are affected by Hurricane Katrina. Displaced students from storm ravaged areas who wish to be admitted to Western will receive the in-state tuition rates and will be eligible for Western's Cost Guarantee program. President Al Goldfarb says "It's essential for colleges and universities to open their doors to help in any way possible." Goldfarb says Western will also help its students who are members of National Guard and Military Reserve units being called to duty for hurricane relief efforts.
Quincy, IL – A workforce consultant believes schools must focus on a more general approach to education. Former Congressman Steve Gunderson says future jobs will be knowledge-based, so schools must prepare all of their students for continual learning. Gunderson believes America can develop the talent need to maintain the lead it holds in the world's workforce. However, he says students must learn a different set of skills. Gunderson shared his insights with the Western Illinois Workforce Investment Board.
Keokuk, IA – The impact of Hurricane Katrina is creating uncertainty at the gas pumps for residents across the Tri-State Region. By Wednesday afternoon, gas prices varied from town to town and from pump to pump. In Hamilton, IL, a gallon of unleaded plus was about $2.85 while in Alexandria, MO, it was about $2.74. Several gas stations in Keokuk were right in between those prices. The highest price was at the Keokuk Hy-Vee Station, where a gallon of unleaded cost $3.20. Taped to each gas pump was a note explaining the increase.
Macomb, IL – This year's liberal arts lecture at Western Illinois University will examine why the humanities matter in a science-dominated world. The speech will be given by English professor Karen Mann, who will use film clips to illustrate her points. She believes scientists and humanists see the world differently, but she says there are similarities between the groups. Her presentation will begin at 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday September 7 at the University Union Grand Ballroom. The annual presentation is now named the John Hallwas Liberal Arts Lecture.
Macomb, IL 61455 – Low-income households in four western Illinois counties can apply for heating assistance beginning Sept. 1. The Western Illinois Regional Council is taking appointments for residents in Hancock, Henderson, Warren and McDonough counties. Coordinator Tina Lovejoy says the assistance levels will be about the same as last year's, even though the cost of fuel is expected to increase. Emergency assistance is available for those who have been disconnected by a utility firm or for those whose heating fuel suppliers refuse to deliver.
Keokuk, IA – Several Southeast Iowa school districts are included on a federal academic watch list. The Keokuk, Fort Madison, and Burlington school districts are on the 2005 "Schools in Need of Assistance" list based on last year's test scores. Schools are placed on the federal list if a portion of their students fail to meet proficiency standards for two years in a row. Iowa Department of Education spokesperson Kathi Slaughter says schools will have a more difficult time getting off the list as standards continue to increase. Listed below are those on the list from Southeast Iowa.
Mt. Sterling, IL – Two federal grants will help Brown County firefighters and ambulance personnel. Fire Chief Brian Gallaher says $114,000 from the Federal Emergency Management Agency will replace or update the breathing apparatus for the county's fire protection district. He says some new masks will be purchased, while others will be updated to meet current standards. Gallaher says the second grant, for $110,000, will purchase a new ambulance for the Brown County Ambulance Service. It will replace a van-type ambulance with more than 200,000 miles on it.
Blandinsville, IL – Blandinsville's village president is being remembered as someone who always kept active. Fred Hofmeister, 66, was pronounced dead Monday night at St. John's Hospital in Springfield. He had been flown there after complaining of chest pains. McDonough County Sheriff Mike Johnson considered Hofmeister a close personal friend. Johnson says Hofmeister was an avid golfer who kept his yard in great shape. Johnson says Hofmeister's death is a tragic loss for the village. Hofmeister had served as Blandinsville's village president since 1997.