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David Keohn / NET News

Sex Trafficking In Small Towns: "It Happens Virtually Anywhere"

"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.

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Keokuk, IA – Keokuk residents could see an increase in their monthly bills in the near future. The city council approved the first readings of two separate ordinances. One measure would increase sewer rates by ten percent during the coming fical year. That would raise the minimum monthly rate by about 98 cents to $10.75 per month. The other proposal would incease the garbage rate by $1.50 to $13.50 per year. Aldermen say both increases are needed to help departments that are operating in the red right now. The increases must be approved two more times to take effect.

Fort Madison, IA – The Lee County Health Department is dealing with another outbreak of whooping cough. 17 cases have been reported since mid-April. 16 of those involve the Central Lee School District. Health Department Administrator Julie Schilling says the symptoms include a runny nose, prolonged coughing spells, and vomitting. She says people with these symptoms should contact their physician. Schilling says someone can remain contagious unless he or she receives antibiotics for five days.

Monmouth, IL – The Western Illinois Economic Development Partnership is gathering material to try for a historic district around the downtown square. Community Projects Planner Linda Lee Blaine says if the district is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, building owners could be eligible for tax credits if they do remodeling. Blaine says her group is hoping some of the unused second floors of the buildings could be turned into apartments. She says there's a shortage of affordable housing.

Macomb, IL – The Macomb School District is about to get bigger. The Regional Board of School Trustees agreed to allow several families to detach from the current Industry School District to join Macomb. The change takes effect July 1, which is when the rest of the Industry district will merge with Schuyler County schools. The detachment involves 15 students and 2,000 acres of land with an assessed value of more than $2 million. The regional board said Macomb would offer the students a greater scope of activities and classes. Industry has 35 days to appeal the decision.

Chicago, IL – Terry Scrogum is now the executive director of the Illinois Arts Council. He's been with the organization since 1991. Council commissioners chose him for the leadership position. Scrogum hopes to promote arts education and reach out to underserved regions by bringing arts events to new areas. He also wants to offer greater opportunities in the arts to people with disabilities. Scrogum was not paid when he served as a council member, but now he'll get about $95,000 a year and will operate out of Chicago.

Fort Madison, IA – The Board of Supervisors is considering an offer from a county resident who's willing to maintain the Commission of Veterans Affairs offices during the afternoons and/or evenings. Current office hours are 9:00 a.m. to noon Monday through Thursday. But Ron McKoon of Fort Madison says the office needs to be open more than 12 hours a week. He's willing to help out free of charge and says he is trained in processing claims for veterans. Supervisors took the offer under advisement.

Macomb, IL – McDonough County will hold a public hearing before deciding whether to move one of its polling places onto Western's campus. County Clerk Florine Miller says a delegation from WIU asked the county board for a bigger polling place that would be easier for them to get to. Part of Western Hall has been suggested because of its roominess and because of easy handicapped access. Last November's election was marked by a heavy turnout and long waits in the precincts that have mostly WIU students.

Hamilton, IL – New Mayor Steve Woodruff and new city council members Jesse Guymon, Shilea Wilson and Steve Schlatter have taken the oath of office. Two other new city leaders, Treasurer Cindy Dupree and Clerk Michelle Dorothy also took part in the swearing-in ceremony. The new council then approved the first reading of the city's proposed $6 million dollar budget for the coming year. That's up by about $1 million from last year, due in part to construction plans for the city's new water plant. The old council approved the EPA's offer of a $3.25 million loan for the new water plant.

Macomb, IL – Macomb will continue to be represented by the same law firm for another year, but not everyone on the city council supported the decision. The contract with March, McMillan & DeJoode was approved on a vote of 6-1. Alderman Tim Lobdell opposed it. He says $200,000 is too much to pay and he would like the city to explore other options. Alderman John Maguire says it would be nice if the city's legal representation cost less but feels that's not an option right now. He says the firm has done a good job of tackling a backlog of legal work that needs to be done

Des Moines, IA – The Iowa legislature is still at work after missing its scheduled adjournment date. Senators must still make decisions on several significant pieces of legislation. Those include a proposal to increase penalties for sex offenders and a plan to recreate the Grow Iowa Values Fund. In addition, the state's $5 billion budget must be approved. Senator Tom Courtney (D-Burlington) believes things will be wrapped up within the next few days.

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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

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.

Joe Wertz/StateImpact Oklahoma

On a brisk and busy January morning at the Oklahoma National Stockyards, cattle arrive for auction in trailers pulled by pickup trucks — and leave in double-decker cars towed by semis.

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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.