Fort Madison, IA – An effort is underway to create a national historic district in Fort Madison. City Manager Bill Kelly says the proposed section of town would run from Avenue H to Avenue F, between 5th and 10th streets. He says the city council has authorized a proposal to seek out state grant money to survey the buildings within the selected downtown area. Kelly says that must be done before an application can be filled out. He says the buildings are a mix of residential and commercial properties.
Macomb, IL – The Western Illinois Regional Council has received $80,000 to help low income residents pay summer electric bills. The help is available to people in Hancock, Henderson, McDonough and Warren counties. The money comes from state and federal sources. Tina Lovejoy of the council says the assistance will be available through next Friday. Eligibility for the assistance can be determined by contacting the regional council.
Fort Madison, IA – The Lee County Board of Supervisors is moving ahead with a plan to create several new voting precincts. The board has approved the second reading of a measure that would create three larger voting precincts by combining several rural townships. The proposal could save the county about $40,000 because fewer new voting machines would be needed. The supervisors approved a bid of nearly $225,000 for new touch-screen voting machines and for vote-counting machines. Lee County is in line for more than $200,000 in grant money for the purchase.
Rushville, IL – Rushville plans to have its first city-wide trash pickup program operating by October. Street Committee Chair Karen Diseron says the council approved a bid from the company, "Area Disposal." She says the council lmust approve the new ordinance three times before the contract can begin. Residents will pay just under $12 per month. There will be no cost to the city. Diseron says the contract was negotiated to include weekly pickup and bi-weekly recycling. She says there will also be a yearly clean-up day.
Keokuk, IA – A recent retail event brought an artistic atmosphere to downtown Keokuk. For the last 50 years, Crazy Days has given local merchants a special weekend to cut prices on goods to get ready for new merchandise. As part of this year's event, local artists displayed their works within the downtown businesses. Main Street Keokuk Inc's Joyce Glasscock says the response to the Art in the Marketplace has been positive. More than 30 artists took part in the event. You can hear more on Jason Parrott's report on the Art in the Marketplace by clicking on the audio link above.
Macomb, Il – Grants to help recycling will go to two operations in the western Illinois region. Disposal Pro of Carthage will receive $50,000 to extend recycling into rural areas of Hancock County. Owner Barry Cozart says the money will also allow the firm to hire and retain local workers. The Tri-County Resource and Waste Management Council will receive $63,000 to create an electronic waste collection recycling facility in Macomb. It will collect computers, televisions and other items from at least seven western Illinois counties.
Carthage, IL – The Extension Service in Hancock County has been without a Community Economic Development Educator since January. Deb Pflasterer with the Extension Service says a search committee is looking for someone who can work with businesses and local governments. It also wants someone who can cooperate with other development staffers in the county. She says the county position should complement the work of others and there should be no overlap. Four candidates are scheduled to be interviewed Monday. Pflasterer says a choice could be announced by mid-month.
Galesburg, IL – When the U.S. Senate returns from its August recess, it will be asked to approve the appointment of John Roberts to the Supreme Court. The debate could become heated, though that's nothing new. Knox College political science professor Lane Sunderland says there were numerous battles over nominees during the 19th century. But he believes the most contentious hearings happened during the 20th century, including those for Louis Brandeis, Robert Bork, and Clarence Thomas. Sunderland is an expert on the U.S. Supreme Court and the U.S. Constitution.
Macomb, IL – Congressman Lane Evans believes workers and farmers in his district will be hurt by the president's decision to sign the CAFTA bill into law. The Central American Free Trade Agreement is similar to NAFTA. Supporters say it will open international trade by leveling the playing field for exporters. Democratic Congressman Evans says that like NAFTA, CAFTA will cost American workers jobs. He does not believe the bill will strengthen young democracies in Central America. He does believe American farmers will be hurt because of unfair foreign subsidies on foreign goods.
Fort Madison, IA – A new line of communication appears to have opened in the recent war of words between elected leaders in Lee County. The Board of Supervisors used its public workshop to discuss a few budget cutting efforts with the county's five other elected leaders. The coalition has objected to the board cutting the workweek for some workers, increasing insurance costs for others, and limiting the spending authority the elected leaders currently have. Both sides say the meeting was a good first step.