Macomb, IL – One of the keynote speakers at this year's "Dealing with Difference Institute" at WIU says America shares diversity issues with other countries. Benjamin Barber has been dealing with issues of diversity since the 1950s, when he attended school with children from around the world. Barber told the audience local conflicts have global implications. He says this is why he is working with Howard Dean start a Truth and Reconciliation Commission in Sarajevo. Barber says helping Bosnia solve its problems prevents them from becoming the world's problems.
Rushville, IL – Rushville aldermen plan to send a letter to state leaders endorsing the opening of the unused prison near town. The state is investigating using it to house sexual offenders who have served their sentences, but who are considered too violent to be released. Mayor Ron Shepherd says the aldermen also plan to show up for public tours of the prison complex early next month to help answer questions. He says a public meeting last week allayed many fears that the prison would be a dangerous neighbor.
Macomb, IL – Some city workers in Macomb will be granted extra powers to deal with certain code violations. The three inspectors in the Building and Zoning office will have the authority to write tickets for offenses such as trash violations and cars parked on the sidewalk. Previously they could only issue warnings. The change was approved by the city council Monday night and could free up police officers to deal with other issues. Nonetheless, Community Development Coordinator Bob Mahrt says the inspectors will continue trying to resolve problems without writing tickets.
Keokuk, IA – The United States Department of Agriculture has designated 26 Iowa counties as agricultural disaster areas. After a summer of little rainfall and high temperatures, 16 counties including Lee, Henry, Des Moines, Louisa, and Van Buren, have been classified as primary disaster areas. Ten others were designated because of their proximity to the affected primary counties. Henry County farm loan manager Garry Movall says farmers in these counties are eligible for emergency loans through their local farm service agencies.
Montrose, IA – One Southeast Iowa community is a step closer to being considered one of the state's "great places." Montrose was one of about 150 communities to invite the state to partner with it through the Iowa Great Places Initiative. The town has now moved on to the next step in the process. 3 members of the Great Places Citizen Advisory Board recently toured Montrose, to see if it will be considered one of the 3 "Great Places" pilot projects. Dave Bernstein of Souix City says there are no set requirements that the board looks for in each community.