Keokuk, IA – The Keokuk School District's enrollment is down this year. Business Manager Greg Reynolds says Keokuk's official count is around 2,350 students. He says that is a 45-student decrease compared to last year. Reynolds says the decrease means the district will lose about $220,000 in state aid. School districts receive state dollars based on their enrollments. Reynolds says the school board will have to address the loss in its budget for the next school year.
Keokuk, IA – The Lee County Board of Supervisors may look at cross training county employees to try to save money. The board voted against hiring a real estate clerk for the Recorder's office to replace an employee who is leaving. Supervisor Joe Kowzan says with the county facing a difficult budget process next year, the board must save money wherever it can. The board plans to discuss the cross training opportunities during next week's scheduled department head meeting.
Macomb, IL – McDonough County's deputy assessor hopes to switch offices. 30-year old Susie Brown of Bushnell says she will seek the Republican nomination for county clerk. Brown has never worked in the clerk's office but believes she can adapt to it. She wants to protect property rights, provide educational resources, and establish an all-inclusive county website. But Brown says she will need to get into the office before she can determine the biggest challenge facing it. Brown says Florine Miller, who is retiring as clerk, provided strong leadership.
Lee County, IA – The recent "Buy Fresh Buy Local" tour through Lee County showcased locally grown foods. The stops included Dave's Old Fashioned Meats, Kathy's Pumpkin Patch, and Faeth Orchards. Those taking the tour could sample products at each site, talk to the producers, and even place an order. The Southeast Iowa "Buy Fresh Buy Local" campaign has been active for about a year. Nearly 40 producers take part in the program. Local co-chair Mallory Smith says organizers hope to attract more local producers next spring.
Macomb, IL – An updated set of aerial photos is helping the McDonough County assessor's office find new construction to go on the tax rolls. Supervisor of Assessments Tammy Camp says some people voluntarily report when they build something. Others are more willing to tell her office only when they take down a structure. Camp says the photos not only show new construction, but whether something reported as being torn down actually has been. Camp says after appeals are resolved, staffers will compare old and new photos, section by section, to look for changes.
Macomb, IL – Water quality has been an issue in Macomb's northeast quadrant for several years. Now the city is hoping to resolve the problem. Aldermen will be asked next week to approve hiring McClure Engineering to draw up design plans and specifications for a water main replacement project. Those design plans will cost more than $30,000. In addition, the water main replacment work could cost close to $600,000. City Administrator Mike Hays says Macomb will seek federal grant money to help offset the cost.
Macomb, IL – Discarded electronic goods from eight western Illinois counties are being consolidated in Macomb for recycling. An EPA grant is helping the Tri County Resource and Waste Management Council with the project. Manager Eric Anderson says a truck collects the gear from drop-off centers and brings it to Macomb, where a full truckload goes to a Peoria de-manufacturer. Anderson says three other states have banned discarded electronics from landfills, and Illinois is expected to follow suit. The center also hopes to begin recycling discarded paint to keep it out of landfills.
Macomb, IL – A weekend bowling tournament to benefit the Big Brothers / Big Sisters of McDonough County brought out hundreds of bowlers. Program Coordinator Brian Todd says more than 13-hours of sponsored bowling raised more than $23,000 for the program. He says that is about what was raised during last year's bowling fundraiser. Todd says while the annual bowling event is the group's biggest fundraiser, it does not bring in enough to cover the organization's expenses for a full year. A "Texas Hold-Em" night is planned for November.
Macomb, IL – Some farm land is being removed from the expanded enterprise zone being proposed for McDonough County. Macomb Area Economic Development Corporation Director Kim Pierce says the decision is not a surprise. She says the state Department of Agriculture generally tries to protect farm land where possible. Pierce does not believe the change will effect economic development. The application to the state asks to extend thke life of the current enterprise zone by ten years and add parts of Bushnell and Colchester. The state will decide whether to approve the expansion.