Carthage, IL – Charles Bair is the new Econonomic Development Educator for the Hancock County Extension Service. He'll work with the Hancock County Economic Development Association. Bair plans to work with a regional focus on business retention and expansion. He says attracting new businesses will be his third priority. Bair has worked for more than 30 years in manufacturing and finance before moving to Carthage. He says his first priority will be developing a work plan and meeting other economic development staffers in the region. Bair is under a one-year contract renewable annually.
Macomb, IL – After many months of discussions, Macomb aldermen have unanimously approved the city's new liquor code. It will go into effect October 1. Among other things, it will increase the cost of obtaining or renewing a liquor license. Bar and restaurant owner Roger Ward wishes the new code had been completed more quickly. But he also thinks the city did a good job of making sure license holders were involved in the process. Macomb resident Merv Roth, who's vocally anti-liquor, is glad that license fees will be increased.
Lee County, IA – Some Lee County residents will be voting at a new location during Tuesday's school board elections. Two of Fort Madison's polling locations are being replaced. The permanent changes take effect during these school board elections. County Auditor Anne Pedersen says residents who normally go to Lincoln School to vote will now cast their ballots at Saint Mary's Parish Center. She says the change is needed because Lincoln School does not have the handicapped accessible parking requireed by the Help America Vote Act.
Macomb, IL – The first milkweed harvest at WIU was less than expected, but enough to continue interest in research. Alternative crops Professor Win Phippen says he harvested about 1,000 pounds of pods per acre from the three-acre test plot. He says that's about two-thirds of what he expected. He's researching the plant as a source of floss for comforters and insulation, and of the vitamin E-rich oil from the seeds. Research during the coming year will focus on drying the pods, and on developing a better machine to process dried pods into seeds, floss, and the waste biomass.
Macomb, IL – The people who pilot hot air balloons are known as aeronauts. About 30 of them descended on western Illinois over the weekend for the 19th Annual Macomb Balloon Rally. The two-day event concluded with the Balloon Glow, which drew thousands of people to Vince Grady Field on the Western Illinois University campus. News Director Rich Egger talked to some of the aeronauts during the balloon glow. Listen to his feature about the pilots by clicking on the audio button above.
Macomb, IL – Planning students from the University of Illinois will make a project of development for the Route 336 intersection at the western edge of Macomb. Kathie Brown of the Extension Service says the project will include architecture and landscape architecture students. This will add visuals to the plan they develop. Brown says the final product will not be a finished plan, but it will have the basics that will allow it to be finished locally.
Macomb, IL – A combination of private and public money will be used to complete improvements to Western's baseball stadium. The park will get new bleachers, concession stands, and restrooms. In addition, a gated entrance will be built. Vice President for Student Services Garry Johnson believes these will enhance the appearance of the facility and the campus. The low bids for the work add up to $681,000, which is almost $200,000 more than anticipated. Johnson says the Board of Trustees approved the bids because the university wants the work done before next baseball season.
Macomb, IL – There will soon be another vacancy on the Western Illinois University Board of Trustees. Dace Richardson says he will resign because he's leaving Illinois to take a job in North Carolina. Richardson has served on the board for four years. He says the presidential search that resulted in the hiring of Al Goldfarb was one of the highlights of his time on the board. Richardson has not yet resigned. He won't move for another few months and he plans to attend the board's next meeting in November before stepping down.
Keokuk, IA – Local leaders have begun coordinating a larger hurricane relief effort in Keokuk. Churches, service clubs, and organizations like the Red Cross and the Salvation Army have all been accepting donations for the victims of Hurricane Katrina. An attempt to centralize the relief efforts is underway in Keokuk. Mayor Dave Gudgel says a community-wide relief response will make it easier for residents to donate by providing one central location: Keokuk's HyVee grocery store.
Lee County, IA – Lee County voters have few choices on Tuesday when they vote to fill seats on the school boards of the three public school districts. Of the 8 seats open throughout the county, six feature uncontested contests. That includes 3 on the Fort Madison School Board, 2 on the Keokuk School Board, and 1 on the Central Lee School Board. There are two other contested races for seats on the Central Lee School Board. The polls close at 8pm on Tuesday.
Candidates: Fort Madison (3 seats) Dan Davis Judy Gerdes Donald Ward