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Rich Egger

Dreamers & Immigration Reform

Many so-called Dreamers – people who were brought to the United States illegally as children -- have spent most of their lives in the U.S. They've grown up, attended school, and held jobs here. Some have even started families of their own.

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Rushville, IL – Rushville is having to adjust its current budget because of the state's decision not to open the newly-built juvenile prison. Mayor Ron Shepherd says the main gap in the budget is the $125,000 per year the city is spending in payments on the cost of preparing the site. He says Rushville is seeking a state grant to help cover what it spent to attract the prison. He says the city council's Finance Committee has been asked to trim from three to five percent from the budget's line items to help bring the document into balance.

Iowa City, IA – An advocate for open government in Iowa says everyone has the responsibility of ensuring public information is made available. Herb Strentz says the future of open government comes down to how much the news media and the general public are willing to fight for it. Strentz says reporters can do their part by communicating with elected leaders on a daily basis. He says the public must keep an eye on both the government and the media to make sure openness continues in Iowa. Strentz is the former executive secretary of the Iowa Freedom of Information Council.

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.

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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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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.