Springfield, IL – US Senator Barack Obama (D-IL) says he will seek his party's nomination for president. He made the announcement in front of a large crowd in Springfield after being introduced by fellow US Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL). You can listen to Obama's speech by clicking on the audio button above and/or you can read the text below.
Let me begin by saying thanks to all you who've traveled, from far and wide, to brave the cold today.
Macomb, IL – When we think of competitions between schools, we often conjure images of gridiron glory or hardcourt heroes. But a competition held in Macomb over the weekend placed the emphasis on brains over brawn. The 20th Annual Western Illinois Regional Science Olympiad attracted teams from junior and senior high schools from throughout the region. The contest featured about 40 categories such as Robot Ramble, Don't Bug Me, and Science Crime Busters. The schools with the top scores from throughout the day's activities advanced to the state contest in Champaign in April.
Macomb, IL – The first of two finalists for the position of Macomb school superintendent met the community at an open meeting held at Spoon River College. Jane Michael is superintendent for the Little York district, which goes out of existence in a merger this summer. Mrs. Michael was assistant principal at the Macomb Junior-Senior High School until three years ago. She has also worked in the Roseville district. She says the major challenges of the district include financing and complying with all provisions of the No Child Left Behind act.
Beardstown, IL – Cass County leaders are trying to set up a meeting with the county's biggest industry about its tax status. The Cargill plant believed its assessed valuation of $26-million for the meat plant was too high. The county board chairman signed an agreement with the plant that will cut the value to 13-million over a five-year period. Beardstown mayor Bob Walters says the change should have been discussed with representatives of the different taxing districts in the county.
Rushville, IL – The FBI says it has apprehended a Schuyler County man who was convicted in absentia of abusing two children. Authorities say 55-year old Richard Kitch was caught this week on a Philippine island. He'll be held in federal custody until he can be brought back to Illinois to begin serving his sentence, which is nine life terms in prison. The victims were a 12-year old girl and an eight-year old boy. The attacks happened during a three-year period that began in 2000. Kitch was arrested in 2005 but was free on bond when he fled the country.
Macomb, IL – A project in Stark County to help small businesses use the World Wide web might spread to other parts of the state. Norm Walzer of the Illinois Institute for Rural Affairs says a Verizon grant funded the first group of small business persons from Toulon and surrounding towns. He says the web offers firms with unique products access to a much wider group of customers. He says if the project increases employment and helps businesses grow, the idea will be followed up in other Illinois small towns.
Lewistown, IL – Fulton and Mason counties are now part of a tourism project designed around natural attractions. The Illinois River Nature Trail has designated a Canton loop and a Havana loop as part of a series of destinations. University of Illinois economic development educator Kevin McGuire says he goal is to bring nature fans in for several trips radiating from the towns on the loop. Attractions include the Emiquon nature preserve and the Emiquon and Chautauqua national wildlife refuges. The River Nature Trail extends up the Illinois to Princeton and Ottawa.
Fort Madison, IA – The city council has approved Fort Madison's preliminary $30,000,000 spending plan for the upcoming fiscal year. City Manager Larry Dinwiddie says the property tax rate will increase by about $0.77. He says employee pay hikes, insurance premium increases, and energy costs led to the tax bump. Dinwiddie says no services have been eliminated and the staffing levels will remain the same in the police and fire departments. He says a full-time Old Fort manager will also be added.