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Keokuk Teachers Accused of Fraud; State Board Seeks License Surrender

Two teachers at Keokuk Middle School are accused of fraud by the Iowa Board of Educational Examiners (BOEE) . The board is asking the two to surrender their teaching licenses.

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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.

Springfield, IL – A group of southern Illinois lawmakers is pushing a package aimed at changing the state's medical malpractice system. The bills would limit damage payouts to $250,000 in suits against physicians and $500,000 in suits against hospitals. Kevin Conway of the Illinois Trial Lawyers Association says the bills would curtail the ability of people to seek redress. Supporters believe the measures would cut medical malpractice insurance costs.

Macomb, IL – McDonough County will cut down on the amount of compensatory time for employees that it carries forward. Board Chairman Bob Harwick said some employees had accumulated 1,600 hours, or more than three fourths of a year. He says that's too much of a liability to carry on the books. Harwick says department heads will be asked to set up records to track compensatory time they award and keep the county's payroll office informed. He says if the amount of comp time gets too large, the county will buy it out from the employee.

Keokuk, IA – Students in the Keokuk school district might have to pay more money to get their drivers licenses. The school board discussed the creation of a drivers ed fee. Principal Dave Keane suggested $100, with reduced levels for lower-income students. He says the idea is to bring more money into the classrooms. Drivers education now takes up to one-fourth of the school's education budget. Keane says Keokuk is the only Iowa school district in the area not charging a fee. The board will discuss the proposal at its next meeting.

Macomb, IL – Macomb aldermen are not ready to jump on board yet with plans to close some rail crossings. City staff and Burlington Northern Santa Fe have reached a tentative agreement to shut down the crossings at Clay, Campbell, and Madison Streets. BNSF would pay the city $145,000 and make improvements to the remaining crossings. But aldermen say they should have been included in the negotiations and they feel the city is not getting enough out of the deal. They're also concerned about the impact the closings would have on the remaining crossings and other nearby streets.

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.

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Celebration Concerts

The Deep Hollow, 7:00pm March 3, 2018 - Vallillo/Holtz Performance Studio

This break-out folk trio from Springfield, IL started out in a big way, with their song "Devil" winning the American Songwriter Magazine's Grand Prize before their debut album was released.

The wonderfully crafted songs and tight harmonies of their self-titled debut album have been showing up on many folk charts during the past year. "Wonderfully original mountain music" -Martin Anderson, WNCW 88.7FM Tickets may be ordered online here , or call 800-895-2912 between 8:00 am and 4...

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Closings/Information

Weather Related School Closures and Delays

-- Closings, Cancellations, and Early Dismissals. Updated 6:00 a.m. on Tuesday, (2/21/18).

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McDonough County Sheriff's Race - March Primary 2018

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Illinois Issues

Harvest Public Media

Amy Mayer/Harvest Public Media

As agriculture intensified in the 20th century, summers in the Midwest became wetter and cooler.  An MIT study published this month looked at whether vegetation from crop production, rather than greenhouse gas emissions that are an established source of climate changes, could have driven these regional impacts.

Ben Kuebrich/Kansas News Service/Harvest Public Media

A new, widely debated federal mandate requires truckers to electronically track the number of hours they're on the road — a rule that is meant to make highways safer. But there is a big difference between hauling a load of TVs and a load of cattle destined for meatpacking plants.

DARRELL HOEMANN / FILE/MIDWEST CENTER FOR INVESTIGATIVE REPORTING

Lawsuits filed in Illinois, Missouri, Kansas, and Arkansas against the makers of the herbicide dicamba will be centralized in the federal court in St. Louis.

Amy Mayer/Harvest Public Media

In the coming months, Congress will map out how it will spend upwards of $500 billion on food and farm programs over the next five years.  The massive piece of legislation known as the farm bill affects all taxpayers -- whether they know it or not.

Amy Mayer/Harvest Public Media

The federal government wants to revamp hog slaughter inspections, proposing changes that were more than 15 years in the works and are being touted as ways to improve food safety. Critics argue they hand too much responsibility to meatpackers and might put workers' safety at risk.

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