Hamilton, IL – Hamilton is a step closer to identifying the flood risk faced by some of its residents. The city's current flood plain map has been in place for neary 25 years. About 5 years ago, the city started working to upgrade that document. The Federal Emergency Management Agency has unveiled its new preliminary flood insurance rate map. The primary focus is on the areas where Railroad and Chaney creeks branch into the city. FEMA spokesperson Eric Kuklewski says this map will show residents the flood risk facing their properties.
Macomb, IL – Macomb aldermen are beginning their budget process with a hole to fill and a request from police for more officers. The first draft of the budget shows expenses outpacing revenues by $188,000, and Mayor Mick Wisslead says capital requests have already been pared down through staff meetings. In addition, Police Chief Mike Galloway says he would like to increase the department's authorized size from 26 sworn officers to 28. Galloway says there is a transition of two to six officers every year so he doubts there will ever be 28 officers on staff.
Macomb, IL – Illinois Transportation Secretary Tim Martin spoke in Macomb to drum up support for the governor's proposed capital spending bill. Martin told the audience the bill would provide more than $2 billion for road projects including four-laning part of Route 34 and a bypass around Macomb. Martin said unless the state buys bonds fund the capital spending bill, it could lose much more money that was allotted to it in the most recent federal transportation bill. He said unless the state provides the match money, it will have to leave federal dollars on the table.
Monmouth, IL – The Western Stoneware pottery factory in Monmouth will close in a few weeks. The move will put about 40 employees out of their jobs. Owner Jim Hutchins says most pottery comes into this country from overseas. He says labor costs are part of the reason. In addition, he says where are fewer small stores which will sell his wares. He says fewer bulk purchasers are already used to going overseas for shoes or apparel or other items. Thke firm was formed in 1906 with the consolidation of seven smaller pottery makers.
Macomb, IL – Macomb aldermen are reviewing another request to add lighting in the area of the bridge on Wigwam Hollow Road. Ari Briskman of WIU's Student Government Association says the issue is a matter of safety. He says it's a heavily populated and traversed area. Briskman told the city council that the SGA measured the distance between street lights near the bridge and found they were 652 feet apart. He says municipal code allows for a distance of no more than 450 feet. Briskman says another street light is needed to provide sufficient illumination on the bridge itself.
Colchester, IL – Colchester aldermen are putting the final touches on a survey to see if residents would support starting a park district for the town. When he took office last fall, Mayor Joe Wetzel said he wanted to do something for the children. He says a park district could have its own levy, and could get state grants for maintenance and upkeep. The survey results should be in by the end of March. Wetzel says if sentiment is against forming the district, the idea will be dropped.
Bushnell, IL – Bushnell's city council is preparing two buildings to handle emergency power so they can be used as shelters. A powerful portable generator has been ordered. Mayor Steve Russell says the buildings will be re-wired to accept a sub-panel of the electrical system that will be powered by the generator. Bushnell says the buildings were chosen because both have kitchens. Each also has a gymnasium or multi-purpose rom which could be used for sleeping or other shelter activities.
West Burlington, IA – Elite athletes from across the midwest could soon be training in Southeast Iowa. West Burlington's Great River Medical Center has been named USA Triathlon's first regional training center. The triathlon is an olympic event that combines a one mile swim, 25 mile bike ride, and 6 mile run. Hospital spokesperson Craig Borchard says GRMC has been working for nearly 20 years for this distinction. He says 9 staff members are USA Triathlon-certified coaches. Athletes from across the Midwest will be able to train at the hospital's rehabilitation center.