Fort Madison, IA – A legislative forum in Fort Madison focused on the future of thes maximum security prison within the city. Fort Madison Mayor Steve Ireland and Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Tracy Vance says keeping the prison in Fort Madison must be the top priority for city leaders this year. Democratic Senator Tom Courtney of Burlington says keeping the prison in Fort Madison must be a priority for all of Southeast Iowa. He says some lawmakers want to wait until Governor Tom Vilsack, who is from Southeast Iowa, is out of office before making a decision on the prison.
Macomb, IL – Some McDonough County Board members are unhappy with the way pay hikes were distributed in the new budget. Facing a lean year, the board budgeted a 33.3 percent pay hike for employees. However, Circuit Clerk Kim Wilson gave two of her employees ten percent raises, and she says others averaged about six percent. Wilson says she has long-term employees who were being underpaid. Her salary money comes from the county general fund and from office fee income. Harwick told Finance Committee members elected officers have a wide leeway in how they run their departments.
West Burlington, IA – Iowa's Governor says increasing the price of cigerettes will have a positive impact on the health of Iowa's residents. Governor Tom Vilsck wants the Iowa Legislature to hike the tobacco tax by $0.80. He says the proposal is about saving lives. Vilsack says the tax increase could generate $129,000,000, which he says would be used on health care issues. That includes helping small businesses provide better health insurance, funding the mental health system, and putting money back into the Senior Living Trust fund.
January 12, 2006 – Rich Egger talks to Macomb-based writer Jeff Biggers, whose new book is "The United States of Appalachia: How Southern Mountaineers Brought Independence, Culture and Enlightenment to America."
West Burlington, IA – Iowa's Governor says the Fort Madison Penitentiary should remain in the city. A special committee, formed by Governor Tom Vilsack, is looking into the future of the maximum security prison. The panel was formed after 2 inmates escaped in November from the 165-year-old prison. The committee is considering 3 options: building a new prison, repairing the current facility, or simply leaving the sit along. Governor Vilsack says that no matter what the decision, the maximum security prison should remain in Fort Madison.