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WIU Hopeful for CPA Money

Western Illinois University continues to bend the ears of state leaders regarding a major construction project planned for the Macomb campus: the Center for Performing Arts.

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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.

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.

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Folk Weekend Live in Concert

Mari Black, 7:00pm October 13, 2018 - Vallillo/Holtz Performance Studio

Multistyle violinist and champion fiddler Mari Black is rapidly building a reputation as one of the most dynamic young artists of her generation. Her energetic playing, engaging stage presence, and commitment to bringing people together through music have made her a favorite with audiences across the country and around the world. Equally at home in a wide variety of musical traditions, Mari is the 2015/2013 U.S. National Scottish Fiddle Champion, 2014 Glenfiddich Scottish Fiddle Champion,...

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TSPR wins a Regional Murrow Award

Harvest Public Media

U.S. REP. ROGER MARSHALL'S OFFICE

Held up over disagreements over federal food stamps, the first draft of the 2018 farm bill arrived Thursday, bearing 35 changes to that program, including starting a national database of participants.

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.

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