Canton, IL – Illinois has released more than $6 million in Opportunity Returns grant money to help build a Canton, Illinois ethanol plant. Manager Mike Smith says the grant is part of more than $13 million in state funding for the $100 million plant. Construction began this year. The plant is expected to be producing ethanol by next May, with construction complete a few months later. The Central Illinois Energy plant will employ abouat 45 people, use more than 13 million bushels of corn and produce about 37 million gallons of ethanol each year.
Macomb, IL – McDonough County will not take up an employee residence policy at this time. Board Chairman Bob Harwick told the Government Integrity and Oversight Committee such a policy would affect few workers and could reduce the pool of applicants. He said the issue might come up again in contracts with sheriff's deputies and highway department workers. He says the county counts on members of both groups to be able to report in a hurry in a time of emergency. However, he says the requirement would be subject to negotiations when a new contract is worked out.
Keokuk, IA – One Lee County community is getting some law enforcement assistance from the sheriff's department. Lee County has reached an agreement with West Point that would allow the department to supervise the city's reserve officers, until a new police chief is hired. West Point has been without an active police chief for several weeks. Sheriff Buck Jones, who will serve as interim chief, says under Iowa law, a reserve officer has no authority if they are not under the supervision of a certified officer.
Macomb, IL – Macomb aldermen are now at a point where they will need to make decisions that will determine the fate of a proposed housing complex. Aldermen listened to another round of comments on the issue during an annexation hearing Monday night. The city council chambers were packed for the meeting. The development would be marketed to WIU students and would contain enough space to house about 500 people. It would be built at Ward and Piper Streets. People who live near the site oppose it. Their main concerns are noise and traffic.
Carthage, IL – The Hancock County Economic Development Association is changing the focus of its director. Extension Director Deb Pflasterer says the new title will be coordinator, instead of educator. She says members wanted someone who could work more on business rentention and attracting new firms to the county. The former title required the job position to be more closely coordinated with the University of Illinois. Pflasterer says the opening will be posted shortly, and the group hopes to have a candidate selected by October.
Lewistown, IL – The Dickson Mounds Museum near Lewistown plans to expand its focus to do more with nearby sites. Director Michael Wiant envisions a "museum without walls." He says visitors could come to the museum for an orientation on the collection, and on what's at nearby sites. Then using GPS and other technology, visitors could drive to the sites and hear a narrative to learn more. Wiant says the museum might also create a burial mound or a reconstructed village. He says the museum is also discussing an archaeological field school in cooperation with Western Illinois University.
Hamilton, IL – The site of Hamilton's old covered bridge is in line for a makeover. Volunteers have spent many hours clearing brush, picking weeds, and planting seeds at the site along Highway 136. The next step is to build a walking bridge, where the covered bridge once stood. Hamilton Community Development Coalition President, Dick Hartweg, says the wooden bridge will stretch 168 feet, across an old creek. He says the project could carry a price tag of about $15,000.
Monmouth, IL – US Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) thinks Congress will agree to provide more than $1 billion for Amtrak next fiscal year. Durbin says the Senate and House conference committee still needs to work out the final figure. But he believes it will be close to the $1.4 billion he has proposed. He says that will give Amtrak enough money to maintain its current level of service at the federal level. Durbin also praised Illinois lawmakers for providing more money for in-state routes.
Fort Madison, IA – Another coalition of Lee County residents wants to see a county road upgraded. The Board of Supervisors received a petition, from a group of homeowners fom Wever, asking for 1 mile of 345th Avenue to be paved. Brian Stone says the project should be placed on the 5-year road plan because new businesses and homes, along the road, have led to increased traffic. Chairman George Morgan says the board will discuss the petition with County Engineer, Dennis Osipovitz, to see what can be done in the midst of a budget crunch.