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Grant Gerlock/Harvest Public Media

Help Wanted Signs Dot Rural Areas. The Catch? Housing is Hard to Come By

In places where the unemployment rate is well below the national average — states such as Iowa, Nebraska, and Colorado — one would think it would be easier for communities to recruit new residents to fill open jobs. But that's not always the case.

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Brian Mackey

A new law allowing public funding of abortion in Illinois will take effect as scheduled on January 1, 2018. That's after a judge on Thursday ruled against anti-abortion groups who sued to block it.

Amy Mayer/Harvest Public Media

The U.S. Department of Agriculture predicts consumers will be paying less for beef, pork, lamb, chicken, and turkey in early 2018 than at the start of 2017. Not so for eggs.

Giving Back

Dec 29, 2017

On Saturday night, I dreamed I was in the living room of an older wealthy woman. I stood next to her delivering an emphatic, tearful plea, insisting, "When you are born into privilege it is your responsibility to help others less fortunate than you." Man, I was really crying.

Rich Egger

Teachers and some staff at Western Illinois University will begin the new year without a new contract.  They're in mediation with the administration and are working under terms of the previous contract, which expired over the summer.

John Lovretta / Burlington Hawkeye

Ben Trane was found guilty Friday morning of child endangerment, sexual exploitation of a child by a counselor, and assault with intent to commit sexual abuse. He is the former owner of Midwest Academy, a boarding school for troubled teens that was located near Keokuk.  He will be sentenced in about eight weeks.

Jury deliberations will resume Friday morning in the criminal trial of Ben Trane. He is the former owner of Midwest Academy, a shuttered boarding school in Lee County for troubled teens, who is charged with sexual abuse and child endangerment.

Many rural businesses and farms will benefit from the tax overhaul passed Wednesday by Congress. But there’s a catch: If the changes fail to spur economic growth as intended, programs that rural areas rely on could be on the chopping block.

One provision in the massive bill, which President Trump has yet to sign into law, allows small business owners to deduct 20 percent of their business income. It also expands the deduction for small business investment — a popular provision among farmers, who can write off the cost of things like a new tractor.

Advanced biofuels have been touted as the next step beyond the corn-based ethanol that’s the bulk of the country’s renewable fuel for cars and trucks. These next-generation options were supposed to bring jobs to rural communities and provide farmers with fresh revenue sources, in addition to reducing the carbon footprint of vehicles.

Nearly a decade of federal incentives encouraged companies to invest in cellulosic technology, which produces ethanol from crop waste such as stalks, cobs and leaves left on fields after harvest, and at least three plants were built in the Midwest since 2014.

But cellulosic ethanol is harder to make than grain ethanol because it uses the inedible and irregular parts of the plants, meaning it was tough for machines to chew up the wet, heavy material. And companies faced other challenges, such as a steady supply, fluctuating markets and stalled policy decisions.

John Lovretta / Burlington Hawkeye

Ben Trane testified for nearly 3 ½ hours Wednesday afternoon in his criminal trial in Keokuk. He’s accused of sexual abuse and child endangerment during his time as owner of Midwest Academy, a shuttered boarding school for troubled teens in Lee County.

Rules I Try to Live By

Dec 20, 2017

Since I promised to do these commentaries, I decided to use the opportunity to organize.

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Celebration Concerts

Amy Andrews, 7:00pm February 3, 2018 - Vallillo/Holtz Performance Studio

Amy Andrews has received numerous awards and honors for her songwriting and what one audience member has deemed her ability to "transport" listeners with her performances, and befriend them with her unassuming wit, charm, and candor. In the last year, Andrews has gone solo, received national press, chatted with the good folks of National Public Radio, and completed an international tour.

She has had the honor to share stages and open for artists from Glen Phillips, of Toad the...

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Closings/Information

Weather Related School Closures and Delays

-- Closings, Cancellations, and Early Dismissals. Updated 7:00 a.m. on Tuesday (1/16/18).

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Donate Your Vehicle

Illinois Issues

Harvest Public Media

Grant Gerlock/Harvest Public Media

In places where the unemployment rate is well below the national average — states such as Iowa, Nebraska, and Colorado — one would think it would be easier for communities to recruit new residents to fill open jobs.  But that's not always the case.

File photo/Grant Gerlock/Harvest Public Media

As President Donald Trump and Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue made the rounds this week to reiterate their commitment to rural communities and farmers and ranchers, the federal agency that President Abraham Lincoln established still lacks top appointments.

FILE/GRANT GERLOCK / HARVEST PUBLIC MEDIA

Shoring up rural America's economy must start with broadband access and technology, a federal task force said in a report released Monday.

Kristofor Husted/Harvest Public Media

Peyton Manning, the NFL quarterback-turned-pitchman, apparently has another side hustle: Certifying shipments of grain as organic for a Nebraska-based agency called OneCert.

Amy Mayer/Harvest Public Media

The U.S. Department of Agriculture predicts consumers will be paying less for beef, pork, lamb, chicken, and turkey in early 2018 than at the start of 2017. Not so for eggs.

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The Forgottonia Files

Tri States Public Radio introduces you to the people, the places, the rich history, and the ongoing struggles that make the Forgottonia region remarkable.