Fort Madison, IA – The Lee County Board of Supervisors wants to open up the debate on consolidating county operations. Chairman George Morgan says the board will hold several workshops in the coming weeks and months to move the discussion forward. Morgan expects elected leaders, department heads, and members of the public to be involved in the workshops. Lee County's 2 largest cities have already weighed in on the issue. The Keokuk City Council has called on the board to only consolidate operations if approved by the citizens.
West Point, IA – Business leaders from one Southeast Iowa community are pushing for major changes in a scheduled transportation project. The current layout of the proposed Highway 61 bypass around Fort Madison includes 3 seperate interchanges. Spokesperson Vern Meierotto says a 4th interchange, at the point where the bypass will cross Highway 103, needs to be returned to the plan. He says the only way to add the interchange to the design is to purchase nearly 16 acres of land for the project. He says the price tag could be anywhere from $60,000 to $90,000.
Rushville, IL – The Schuyler County Board has voted 6-1 against establishing a hog operation in the northern part of the county. Chairman Brian Peak says members expressed two major concerns. One was liability in case there was a spill or the 15-thousand pig operation went out of business. The other was the effect of construction on roads in Oakland Township. Peak says the township is not a wealthy one and would have a hard time repairing major damage. Peak says the board will ask the Illinois Department of Agriculture for a bond if it approves the hog operation.
Augusta, IL – The head of Illinois' education department says his office is prepared to help the Southeastern School District recover from this month's fire at the high school. State Superintendent Randy Dunn hopes there will be some money available to help pay for the temporary relocation of students, who will attend classes at the Bowen Methodist Church for the remainder of the school year. The district hopes to have temporary portable classrooms in place for next school year, and Dunn says his office will work with the state's Capital Development Board to help pay for those.
Carthage, IL – Carthage might quadruple the amount of water it buys from Hamilton. Mayor James Nightingale says the city has a contract to buy 20,000 thousand gallons a day to supplement what it draws from its lake. However, he says the lake is as low as he's ever seen it and the supply is inadequate. He says the city is considering buying up to 80-thousand gallons per day. He says the city uses almost 300-thousand gallons each day. Nightingale says the lake might become full after spring rains, which could cut the amount the city would have to buy.