Fort Madison, IA – The Fort Madison Chamber of Commerce wants to improve the appearance of the city by cleaning up several properties. Executive Director Tracy Vance says the Chamber's beautification and image program was started, last fall, to help clean up dilapidated properties around Fort Madison. Vance says the Chamber is working with the city to do something about these properties through the current building codes pertaining to run-down structures. He says that once the owner of a property is identified, they will have the opportunity to work with the city to clean up the site.
Beardstown, IL – Beardstown's city council is urging the Senate to pass the Water Quality Bill of 2005. Mayor Bob Walters sayss the bill contains a provision that would require the Corps of Engineers to keep a channel dredged to the town's silted-in marina. When the Corps moved the mouth of the Sangamon River eight miles closer to town, cropland silt has filled in the bay that was a wildlife habitat. it also is silting in the town's riverfront. Walters says the economic impact on the town has been devastating.
Augusta, IL – The removal of an eyesore is about to begin in downtown Augusta. State money will allow the village demolish and clean-up the former Weinberg building site at Main and Center. The building began to cave-in more than four years ago, but the town could not afford to do anything about it. Now the state is giving Augusta more than $131,000 on top of an earlier grant of $70,000 to take care of the site, which is considered a brownfield. Illinois EPA Director Doug Scott visited Augusta on Thursday to present a ceremonial check to Village President Sean Eifert.
McDonough County – McDonough County's assessments office must clear up a backlog of land transfer records if the county tax bills will go out on time. Supervisor of Assessments Tammy Camp has been without a technician to update and make changes in the county's computerized land records. Camp is interviewing applicants, but she says when a new person is hired, they will have at least two months of work to catch up with. Camp says unless the records are up to date soon, the state could prevent the county from sending out its property tax bills.
Macomb, IL – A Cargill spokesman outlined his problems with statements in the book "Fast Food Nation" in an appearance at WIU. Mark Klein is director of communications for the firm which owns the Excel packing plant, among others. Klein praised the "tinge of outrage" and writing style of Eric Schlosser. However, he qestioned some of the statistics given, and said the book contained no new charges against the meatpacking industry. Klein says there's sometimes a tendency in the media to take a formulaic approach to an issue and to view an issue involving corporate America as "David v.
Fort Madison, IA – Fort Madison residents may soon pay more for city water. The city council has approved the first reading of a measure that would substantially increase the city's water rates. City Manager Bill Kelly says residential and commercial customers would see a monthly increase of about 24%, if approved. Industrial and wholesale water rates would also increase. Kelly says the city will have to replace the current water plant, in the near future, to keep up with the demand for service.