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Jane Carlson

The Patron Saint of Cornfield Commuters

Jeanie Plate, known to many commuters as the Good Hope crossing guard, passed away on the final day of February. She was 73. She became popular because of a simple gesture – she waved to each and every person driving by.

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Macomb, IL – McDonough County board members asked for an ordinance that would let the animal control officer issue tickets. State's Attorney James Hoyle says he's prepared a comprehensive one based on state statutes. He says it covers all aspects including dangerous dogs, required shots, and provisions for impounding animals. The measure is slated for committee discussion before it goes to the full board. The ordinance would cover rural areas of the county. Hoyle says most towns and villages in the county have their own ordinances.

Macomb, IL – East Moline State Representative Mike Boland wants to keep medical volunteers from being fired for their service. The East Moline Democrat's bill has passed the house and is now being considered by the state senate. Boland says the bill would protect workers who are late to work or who miss a shift because of their involvement with ambulance services. Boland says they could be docked or disciplined, but they could not be fired. He says volunteer ambulance services cover 80 percent of the state, and measures are needed to maintain coverage.

Fort Madison, IA – Sewer rates could be on the rise in Fort Madison. The city council approved the first reading of an ordinance that would increase sewer rates by about 15 percent. The measure, which would take effect July 1, must still be voted on two more times. City Manager Bill Kelly says the revenue will be used to upgrade the city's westerly pump station. Kelly says that will bring the facility up to code. Keokuk Contractors won the contract with a bid of about $1.3 million. Construction is expected to begin this summer.

Macomb, IL – A judge heard attorneys' motions regarding a suit to overturn the Industry-Schuyler County schools merger. Defense attorneys said the suit should be dismissed because it's too late for the Industry school board to operate for another year. It will have no superintendent, board members, teachers or money. Speaking for the plaintiffs, Scott Jones says his group just wants a fair consideration of possible merger partners. He says opponents were denied a fair chance to oppose the merger with Schuyler County.

La Harpe, IL – A business group in LaHarpe is beginning a campaign to attract tourists and shoppers. Jennie Miller says the merchants' group "The Golden Rule Club" is working with the economic development association on a booklet listing all the businesses. The booklet will be distributed to hotels and motels throughout western Illinois. Miller says future versions will include tourism activities, including the town's major car show and collections at the town's museum.

Keokuk, IA – A Lee County employee might have to give back vacation time. The Board of Supervisors might soon act on a recommendation from two of its members that an employee in the recorder's office give back more than 129 hours of vacation time. A report from Supervisors Larry Kruse and George Morgan says the employee was earning too much vacation time after switching from part to full-time status. Kruse says this was the lone case where an error like this took place after employees switched job status.

Springfield, IL – Illinois might soon have a ban on the so-called "Yo-Yo Water Balls." The toy is like a water-filled marble on a rubber string. Consumer groups says the toy has caused more than 300 injuries. They say it is a choking hazard and can cause eye injuries. The bill would provide a $1,000 fine for those who sell the toys. The bill has been sent to the Governor for action.

Raritan, IL – On May 13, 1995, an F-4 tornado whipped through parts of western Illinois. The National Weather Service says since the advent of Doppler radar, this has been the most violent tornado to impact its Quad Cities service area, which covers 20,000 square miles in three states. Public Radio's Rich Egger talked to some of the survivors from Raritan, which was the town hardest hit by the storm. He shares their stories during the 6:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. newscasts Friday on Tri States Public Radio.

Macomb, IL – The value of Illinois farmland has dropped about 10 percent yearly for the past three years. Now it's about to fall even more. The Illinois Department of Revenue is issuing a lower productivity index on some farmland. The index rates the potential of the more than 700 soil types in the state. McDonough County Supervisor of Assessments Tammy Clamp says the change might cut the income of taxing bodies with a lot of rural property. Her office is preparing letters to notify landowners of the coming change.

Carthage, IL – Closing procedures for Carthage's landfill might help the expansion of housing in that part of the city. Mayor James Nightingale says original plans called for trucking collected groundwater from near the landfill to the sewer plant for treatment. Now he says aldermen are considering extending a sewer line to the landfill site. He says that could eliminate trucking costs. It could also allow homes near the fill to gain access to the city sewer plant and could allow the extension of other services as well.

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Celebration Concerts

Don Stiernberg Trio, 7:00pm March 4, Vallillo/Holtz Performance Studio

While still in his teens, Don Stiernberg learned to play the mandolin from the innovative and influential virtuoso Jethro Burns. Jethro referred to Don as his "graduate student", hired him to play in his band, and guided him to a career as a professional musician which has already lasted for decades.

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Harvest Public Media

USEMBASSY_MONTEVIDEO/FLICKR

President Donald Trump's pick to lead the U.S. Department of Agriculture, former Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue, testified in a confirmation hearing before the Senate Agriculture committee today, but remains far from the head job at USDA.

David Keohn / NET News

"For most of our trafficking victims this is kind of where we're going to start," says Jamie Manzer, as she gives a tour of the SASA (Spouse Abuse Sexual Assault) Crisis Center, where she worked until recently.

File: Grant Gerlock/Harvest Public Media

After court documents unsealed Tuesday raised questions about its research methods, chemical giant Monsanto said it did not ghostwrite a 2000 study on the safety of glyphosate, the active ingredient in its flagship pesticide Roundup.

Grant Gerlock/Harvest Public Media

This story is part of the special series United And Divided, which explores the links and rifts between rural and urban America.

Rural voters overwhelmingly chose President Donald Trump in the presidential election. But when it comes to the central campaign promise to get tough on trade, rural voters are not necessarily in sync with the administration.

Amy Mayer/Harvest Public Media

Farmers in the U.S. like to point out that their products feed people all over the world. And while this is a diverse country, the people working on farms and elsewhere in agriculture often don't reflect the nation's demographics. Changing that is becoming a priority, in hopes new people will bring fresh ideas to meet some of our food system's greatest challenges.

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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.