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Emily Boyer

Macomb Historian & Activist Killed in Crash with Train

Gil Belles, age 76, professor emeritus of Western Illinois University's Recreation, Park, and Tourism Administration (RPTA) department, was killed when his car collided with an Amtrak train.

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By Frode Ramone from Oslo, Norway - DSCF0673.jpg, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=46979581

Lee County Scaling Back Proposed Animal Control Ordinance

Macomb, IL – Representatives from Pella Corporation were kept busy during the first day of handing out applications for the company's new plant in Macomb. The business says more than 800 cars came through its application distribution site at the former ShopKo building and more than 2,000 forms were given out. Pella says applicants came from Illinois, Iowa, Missouri, Texas, and Washington state. Pella plans to distribute applications at the site for the remainder of the week. The company says its plant will initially employ around 250 people.

Macomb, IL – The parent company for Citizens National Bank is being acquired by a suburban Chicago company. The transaction between Citizens Central Bancorp and JGS Investments of Oak Brook should be completed by early next year. It's subject to shareholder and regulatory approval. Citizens Central Bancorp President and CEO Tim Fleming says his company's name will not change, there will be no loss of or change in personnel, and there will be no changes to accounts. He says both companies stand to benefit from the transaction.

Carthage, IL – The Carthage Chamber of Commerce is rescheduling its Farmers Market in hopes of bringing in more vendors and customers. Committee Chairman Dave Ard says last year's market got a late start with few vendors. He says the market is being moved to Monday evenings from 3 to 7 p.m. in combination with Chamber promotions. He says several stores have agreed to stay open late to take advantage of the crowds he hopes will fill the downtown square. Ard says they're trying to bring in between 10 and 15 vendors each week. The market begins May 23 at 3 p.m.

Niota, IL – Commercial fishermen in Illinois are going to the state for help with marketing and rules changes. President Kirby Morrison of the Illinois Commercial Fishing Association says a marketing grant could help his members sell more than the three million pounds per year they're now selling. In addition, he says a committee will approach the Department of Natural Resources to ask for an easing of some of the conservation regulations. He says the point system can cause someone to lose their livelihood for what would be a minor violation.

Fort Madison, IA – Iowa's ombudsman says Lee County Auditor Anne Pederson violated the state's open meetings law. In March of last year, Pederson gave reporters a recording of a Board of Supervisors closed door meeting from September 2003. But Ombudsman Bill Angrick says the Board of Supervisors is the legal custodian of the recording and should have been contacted about a request for the tape. The violation carries no penalty, but Pederson's name will be included in a published report from the state ombudsman.

Macomb, IL – Macomb is suing a pair of property owners who agreed to annex to the city and then failed to do so. The suit in McDonough County Circuit Court says Barbara and Eldon Morrison had indicated a willingness to be annexed when their property adjoined the city. The lawsuit says that promise was made in 1994. The lot now touches the city border, but the couple has refused annexation. The agreement was a condition of getting city water to the home on the south edge of Macomb.

Springfield, IL – The fund Illinois uses to pay repair costs for vehicles involved in accidents is empty. Now the governor's office wants the schools and other state agencies to take the custs out of their current budgets. Universities see this as a funding cut. They are concerned what other costs they might have to pay out of their current budgets. The Governor's office insists the cost will be small, and the money will not come out of appropriations slated for education.

Macomb, IL – WIU art students get a chance to see how their work stacks up against others in the annual juried student awards show. Every year the art department allows its students to enter up to three works. The jury commonly consists of artists from other colleges. The works of winning students are purchased by the university or independent buyers. Art work bought by the university will go on display at the University Union.

Macomb, IL – During this week's committee meeting, aldermen indicated support for increasing the city's water and sewer fee rates. First reading of the ordinance changes is scheduled for next week. The 5% water rate hike would generate an extra $92,166. The proposed 2.5% increase in the sewer rate would bring in an additional $38,250. Aldermen also indicated support for increasing the minimum water and sewer bills by 75-cents, bringing it to $2.75 The city is concerned that fund balances will be too low without the added income.

Fort Madison, IA – Fort Madison is getting ready to make improvements to the wastewater treatment plant on the city's west side. The city council will hold a public hearing next week before deciding whether to borrow up to $2.1 million for the project. City Manager Bill Kelly says the work is needed because of changes in state regulations that will be implemented in about one year. Kelly says the city is also considering several options to provide more water for residents. Those include building a new water plant, renovating the current facility, and purchasing water from Keokuk.

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Celebration Concerts

The Yellow-Bellied Sapsuckers, 7:00pm, October 7, Vallillo/Holtz Performance Studio, Macomb

The Yellow-Bellied Sapsuckers perform original songs and fiddle tunes inspired by the classic hillbilly, western-swing, and old-time fiddling traditions—and they also mine this same repertoire for forgotten gems that deserve to be heard again. The duo performs frequent concerts at a variety of venues and events and are known for engaging their audiences and putting them at ease with their light-hearted stage presence. They also regularly perform as a dance band for square and contra dances....

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Harvest Public Media

File: Abbie Fentress Swanson / Harvest Public Media

As the Trump administration takes the initial steps toward renegotiating one of the country's most influential and controversial trade deals, groups that represent farmers and ranchers are already waving a caution sign.

Amy Mayer / Harvest Public Media

This summer in cornfields in Iowa and Nebraska, about a thousand small point-and-shoot digital cameras will be enclosed in waterproof cases, mounted on poles, and attached to solar-powered battery chargers. They will take pictures every ten minutes as plants grow; all part of a plan to create better seeds.

Luke Runyon / Harvest Public Media

Farmers and ranchers, with their livelihoods intimately tied to weather and the environment, might not be able to depend on research conducted by the government to help them adapt to climate change if the Trump Administration follows through on campaign promises to shift federal resources away from studying the climate.

Frank Morris / For Harvest Public Media

There have always been Americans worried about some pending religious, social, or natural cataclysm. The business of catering to those fears and helping people prepare to survive the next big calamity, though, has changed substantially in the age of President Donald Trump.

Luke Runyon/Harvest Public Media

At the public library in the rural Morgan County town of Brush, Colorado, Marissa Velazquez welcomes her students to class. It's a sunny Saturday morning, and today marks the halfway point in Velazquez's class, a ten-week crash course on American history, civics and English.

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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.