Burlington, IA – The Burlington School District will use eminent domain to obtain land for its new middle school. The district plans to build the school on 18 acres of land on the city's north side. Business Manager Chris Van Meter says the district is close to finalizing deals to secure nearly 10 acres of the necessary property. She says negotiations have stalled, though, in efforts to obtain the final 8 acres of undeveloped woodland. Van Meter says a hearing will be held to determine the fair market value of the property.
Rushville, IL – Spoon River College will add an extra levy to the taxes to be paid next year. Spokeswoman Anna Buehrer says the college's levy was 25-cents per $100, which is .0063 perecent below the state average. The additional levy will raise $41,000, or add about $1.58 to the tax bill on a $75,000 house. Buehrer says the additional funds are not earmarked for any special purpose, but will be used in the operations, education or maintenance funds. The board also learned this week that more room will be needed in the Rushville Center.
October 26, 2006 – Rich Egger talks to Peter Cole and Nancy Kwang Johnson, who are on the organizing committee for the first Western Illinois African Film Festival. The program also includes an interview with filmmaker Manthia Diawara.
Macomb, IL – After a lengthy search, Macomb has selected its new public works director. Aldermen this week unanimously approved hiring Walter Burnett. He's currently the Maintenance Operations Manager for Beverly Hills, CA. Burnett has 32 years experience in public works. He says there are a couple challenges facing the Macomb department. One is to stretch the available resources. The other is to replace the numerous employees who have retired or will soon retire. Burnett is looking forward to a move back to Illinois.
Keokuk, IA – Keokuk is offering a wage hike to members of its fire department. The increase isn't as high as what the firefighter's union is asking for. THe city's 3-year offer calls for a 1.5% hike in year 1, 2% in year 2, and 2.5% in year 3. Finance Committee Chair, Doug Matlick, says those figures do not take into account a wage analysis that is currently underway. The firefighters are asking for a $1/hr, each year, for three years. The city's offer also includes a reduced bonus for HAZMAT certification, no shift differential pay, and no increase in longevity pay.
Rushville, IL – The Schuyler-Industry school detachment case has been transferred from Schuyler to McDonough County Circuit Court. The school board had asked there for a decision that would let it hold the detachment hearing in front of the Fulton-Schuyler regional school trustees. However, Judge David Slocum transferred the issue to the McDonough court. Schuyler-Industry Superintendent Matt Plater says the board believes the Hancock-McDonough school superintendent should not have allowed the 15 students to transfer to Macomb schools.
Findlay, IL – An Illinois-based government watchdog group says it's become very difficult for a regular citizen to recieve public records from their local governments. The Better Government Association says roughly 60% percent of recently audited agencies, such as cities, counties, and school districts, failed to comply with Freedom of Information Act requests. Investigator Dan Lombard says most of the entities failed because they did not even acknowledge the fact that John Q. Public was requesting the information. This past summer, the BGA sent out more than 400 FOIA requests.