Macomb, IL – Dr Martin Luther King Jr dreamed of a time when people would be judged by the content of their character rather than by the color of their skin. While that dream is still a long way from becoming reality, there are many people hoping to keep it alive. That spirit was on display at the King Day march in Macomb. Around 100 people of all colors took part in the march from the McDonough County Courthouse to the Vineyard Community Church on University Drive. At the church, a diverse crowd of about twice as many people gathered for music, speeches, and a free breakfast.
Keokuk, IA – Keokuk could soon finalize a new multi-year deal with one of the unions representing city workers. The city has reached a tentative three-year contract with the firefighters' union. The agreement includes varying wage hikes for all members. Newer firefighters would receive annual pay hikes of roughly 2% while veterans would receive about 4.5% increases. Finance Committee Chairman, Doug Matlick, says the raises were prompted by a wage study that showed Keokuk's experienced firefighters are paid less than those in similar communities.
Colchester, IL – The West Prairie school district will offer freshmen a broader range of science courses to choose from. Superintendent Dr. Jonathan Heerboth says the district found some of thel younger students were taking advanced courses without the needed preparation or background. He says the change will let freshmen choose from a broader range of courses and help them decide which branch of science they will study later. Heerboth says the courses will make sure students are prepared for the Prairie State exams.
Keokuk, IA – Keokuk could spotlight vacant buildings in an effort to create new businesses and developments. Main Street Keokuk now has 10 large window signs that read Main Street Opportunity . They will be rotated throughout the empty downtown buildings. Executive Director, Joyce Glasscock, says an accompanying sign, complete with cost, size, and taxes, will allow building owners to sell their properties 24/7. Glasscock says the focus signs can be placed in a window for 2 months before they are rotated out. She says there are more than 40 vacant properties in downtown Keokuk.
Fort Madison, IA – Lee County will not be adding a gravel road to its road improvement plan. More than three dozen residents signed a petition calling for Otte Road to be paved within the next five years. The road is east of West Point, connecting Highways 103 and X-23. County Engineer, Dennis Osipowicz, says Otte Road does not score high enough, using a state formula, to be paved. Several other projects on Lee County's five year plan will be pushed back, even though they score high enough, because of funding issues.
Bushnell, IL – A special Bushnell City Council committee will evaluate the bids on a new roof for the Cultural and Recreation Center. Mayor Steve Russell says the five bids covered different types of roof replacement. He says the committee will evaluate the bids to see what the city can afford ... and what would last the longest. He says the committe is expected to make a recommendation to the council within a couple of weeks. The work is not expected to begin until late spring.
Macomb, IL – A McDonough County board member is calling for elimination of the county's senior citizen transportation tax. The levy was approved in a mid-1980s vote to support senior citizen transportation services. Brown says since the senior program has become part of the county's public transportation system, there is no need for the special levy. McDonough County Transportation Director Gary Ziegler says without that tax money, senior transportation would have to be scaled back.