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Frank Morris for Harvest Public Media

Volunteer Firefighting Units Struggle to Recruit a New Generation

If you pull a fire alarm in any large U.S. city, it's likely that paid firefighters waiting at a nearby station will quickly respond. But seven out of ten American firefighters are volunteers. They cover vast sections of the country, making up an aging network that is increasingly understaffed and overworked.

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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.

Macomb, IL – McDonough County is changing its agreement with Macomb that covers support of the animal shelter. County Board Chairman Bob Harwick says the previous agreement had the city paying too much. Now each entity will contribute $27,000 per year. In addition, the budgeting process is being changed. Harwick says each year's budget will set aside a certain amount for eventual vehicle replacement. Beforehand, the cost of a new truck came out of one year's budget. Harwick says the change will make budgeting easier.

Macomb, IL – Rain did not stop more than 200 people from showing up for this year's "Relay for Life" at WIU. The event is usually held at Hanson Field, but was moved into the Student Recreation Center because of the weather. Cancer Survivor Kathy Little of Macomb was pleased with the number of college students who showed up to support the fight for a cure. She helped kick off the event by participating in the first lap of the relay, which is set aside for those who have survived cancer. The event raised more than $37,000 which will be given to the American Cancer Society for research.

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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

Frank Morris for Harvest Public Media

If you pull a fire alarm in any large U.S. city, it's likely that paid firefighters waiting at a nearby station will quickly respond. But seven out of ten American firefighters are volunteers. They cover vast sections of the country, making up an aging network that is increasingly understaffed and overworked.

Alex Smith for Harvest Public Media

Tammy Wilson loved the outdoors and was happy to spend her days working at Meramec State Park in the central part of Missouri.  Her family often stopped by to see her, most recently at the end of May.

Kristofor Husted / Harvest Public Media

Imagine going to the grocery store for dinner, not to pick up a rotisserie chicken to take home but to actually eat at the store. As online grocery shopping grows, many supermarkets are adding sit-down restaurants --  and the trend is changing how food retail and food service work together.

Kristofor Husted / Harvest Public Media

During the Aug. 21 solar eclipse, spectators will turn their eyes upward to see the moon pass in front of the sun. But many Midwest scientists will turn their eyes and cameras to the plants and animals here on the ground. And they're not sure what will happen.

File: Stephanie Paige Ogburn for Harvest Public Media

It has been a rough few months for the world's largest meat company.  Known for its rapid expansion across the globe, Brazil-based meatpacking giant JBS has been embroiled in scandal for much of 2017.

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