Fort Madison, IA – The newest member of the Lee County Board of Supervisors is trying to get a feel for how the panel conducts business. Democrat Ernie Schiller took the oath of office, yesterday, as the new district 3 supervisor. While he has been looking through a lot of information, the former educator says he has a lot to learn about county government. One of Schiller's initial goals is to focus on the Board's management techniques.
Fort Madison, IA – Despite 4 Democrats serving on the panel, a Republican is now the head of the Lee County Board of Supervisors. District 1 Supervisor, Larry Kruse, has been promoted from Vice-Chairman to Chairman for 2007. His nomination was approved by a slim 3-2 margin. County leaders are unsure when, or even if, a Republican has chaired the Lee County Board of Supervisors. Kruse says the move shows the county is interested in moving forward and not concerned with party politics. Kruse anticipates more positive economic development news for Lee County in 2007.
West Point, IA – One Southeast Iowa community hopes to complete a major park expansion by this spring. West Point has purchased 7 acres of land to add a soccer field and a softball diamond to the city's South Park. Expansion Committee member, Vern Meierotto, says the project is important to West Point. Meierotto says the fields are in place and the only work that must still be done is to add the lights, set up fences, and build concession stands. More than $200,000 has already been donated. Meierotto says West Point will apply for grants to cover the remaining $150,000.
Beardstown – Volunteers in Cass County will begin a program to address what residents believe are the county's top needs. Health department administrator Teresa Smith says the high percentage of rental housing in the county was a major concern. She says working groups will address ways to help more residents become homeowners. Other issues included transportation, education, health care and economic development. She says working groups will meet later this month
Monmouth, IL – A Monmouth group will use a $5,000 grant to help the town's Spanish-speaking community with health care problems. Cathy St. George of the Western Illinois Economic Development Partnership says training medical interpreters will be one goal. Another will be production of a Spanish-language newsletter outlining what health and social services are available where. St. George says the Hispanic Health Group will meet this month to begin its plans. It hopes to finish within the year.
Des Moines, IA – One Democratic candidate for President hopes to use new technologies to bring in young supporters. Governor Tom Vilsack's campaign website contains his most recent video blogs as well as links to his pages on websites such as "YouTube" and "MySpace." While the Iowa Democrat says he is still learning these technologies, he admits they are crucial to getting his message out to younger voters. Vilsack says he will use the internet to receive feedback on his campaign and to find out what younger voters, who can be ignored by candidates, are concerned about.
Montrose, IA – A write-in candidate has officially won the special election for a seat on the Montrose City Council. Kevin Hartman maintained his 4 vote victory over Mark Holland after the Lee County Board of Supervisors canvassed the election. Several votes were not counted election night. Hartman has already taken the oath of office in preparation for next week's council meeting. He received 60 votes while Holland, who was appointed to the city council, last month, received 56. Several other write-in candidates received votes.
Hamilton, IL – Hamilton could re-apply for some federal funding to build a housing development. Hamilton was one of three Hancock County communities to apply, last year, for a grant to build low-income housing for seniors. Since the city did not receive the funding, Mayor Steve Woodruff believes Hamilton will apply again. He says the city will offer the same site, which is near the former home of a junkyard, which could impact the city's application. Hamilton must apply by the middle of next month.
Macomb, IL – In looking to the year ahead, Macomb's mayor says the town could use more student housing. Mick Wisslead says developers showed interest during the past year and he expects that to continue. He thinks the new comprehensive plan will help provide a better zoning scheme for the city. The mayor also says Macomb could use some new single-family housing in the price range of $100,000-$185,000. He also says a developer is talking about building some upscale condominiums near the university. Wisslead says the city will also continue to focus on economic development during 2007.
Macomb, IL – Bridgeway's recycling center in Macomb could reopen by the end of January. The building was destroyed by a fire in July. Now, construction of the new facility is nearly complete. The main thing left to do is to move the new equipment into the building. The new recycling center will be slightly larger than the old one and will accept the same materials for recycling. Bridgeway took in about 300,000 pounds of recyclable materials per month before the fire. It's believed the new center might be able to handle a bit more than that.