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How Some Small Towns Are Achieving 'Brain Gain'

When communities watch young people grow up, go off and never return, remaining residents and politicians often bemoan there’s been a “brain drain” — especially when such population loss means schools and businesses close.

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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.

Macomb, IL – Macomb will continue to be represented by the same law firm for another year, but not everyone on the city council supported the decision. The contract with March, McMillan & DeJoode was approved on a vote of 6-1. Alderman Tim Lobdell opposed it. He says $200,000 is too much to pay and he would like the city to explore other options. Alderman John Maguire says it would be nice if the city's legal representation cost less but feels that's not an option right now. He says the firm has done a good job of tackling a backlog of legal work that needs to be done

Des Moines, IA – The Iowa legislature is still at work after missing its scheduled adjournment date. Senators must still make decisions on several significant pieces of legislation. Those include a proposal to increase penalties for sex offenders and a plan to recreate the Grow Iowa Values Fund. In addition, the state's $5 billion budget must be approved. Senator Tom Courtney (D-Burlington) believes things will be wrapped up within the next few days.

Carthage, IL – Carthage businessmen might add a play to their Monday night activities on the square. Tyrone Jacoby of the Chamber of Commerce says the performance will deal with Abraham Lincoln's visit to Carthage. He says the group should soon know whether the trial re-enactment will be ready by the first farmers market later this month. Jacoby says the merchants are trying to cross-promote Carthage activitiess with the more than 80,000 tourists who go through the Nauvoo visitors center each year.

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.

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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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Flyover: Down the Mississippi River

Get Your Very Own Stand With The Facts T-Shirt

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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