Macomb, IL – Western Illinois University is setting up a Homeland Security Research Program with the aid of a grant from Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity. Director Dean Alexander says a database will compile information on companies with products or services. He says the program will also analyze security programs and produce reports on issues and problems. He says the new group will also help the goal of producing certificate programs and a minor in homeland security for the Department of Law Enforcement and Justice Administration.
Hamilton, IL – Hamilton is finding it difficult to develop an adequate medical response team. Just a handful of residents turned out for a public meeting on the creation of a Hamilton first responder unit. A first responder is trained to provide various forms of treatment at an accident or a medical emergency. Hancock County E-M-S Coordinator, Joe Barlow, says Hamilton would need a large number of volunteers to develop and sustain an effective first responder unit. Barlow says lower numbers could result in volunteers working too many hours and eventually quitting.
Fort Madison, IA – A new tax incentive for rural Lee County residents and business owners is moving forward. The Board of Supervisors has approved the first reading of a proposal to create a tax abatement program in unincorporated Lee County. The measure allows for property taxes on new residential or commercial construction to be waived for 2 years. The incentive is already in place for industries. Vice-Chairman, Larry Kruse, says the county's goal is to attract economic development.
Bushnell, IL – Bushnell aldermen are looking into whether they should issue bonds for some long-range water system improvements. Mayor Steve Russell says the council found one state grant would replace about one-third of the city's cast iron water mains. The mains are coloring water red for some residents. In addition, he says the city should probably drill a new well to replace one of the three that's faltering. Russell says aldermen will see whether it might be better to issue bonds to make all of the improvements at once instead of stretching the projects over several years.
Macomb, IL – Macomb's new public works director did not quite walk in to the middle of a snow storm, but it was pretty close. Walter Burnett arrived in Macomb on Sunday, just a couple days after the season's first major storm. He began work on Monday as the city continued its cleanup efforts. Burnett is pleased with the work done by city crews. He says any city would face a challenge dealing with a winter storm of this magnitude.
Macomb, lIL – Republican Scott Schwerer is the new McDonough County Board Chairman. He was named at the organizational meeting. Glen Foster was re-elected vice chairman. Schwerer sees more intergovernmental cooperation as one way the board can save money as it faces several more years of tight budgets. He also wants to keep the board at 21 members to maximize the variety of suggestions to be considered. Schwerer served 10 years on the board until he lost a re-election bid in 2002. The last four years of his term were as vice-chairman.