Fort Madison, IA – A proposal to increase sewer rates by 15% took effect July 1. The rate hike is expected to help pay for a major renovation to the city's westerly pump station. The Idol Rashid Library has also closed its doors for good. The Cattermole Memorial Library will be Fort Madison's only library until its new facility is finished next year. The Rashid Library was open for more than 20 years.
Carthage, IL – A Carthage group is working on plans for development in the area where a new four-lane highway will pass near town. John Huston chairs the 336 Impact Study Committee. He says the group is compiling maps of present land use, including infrastructure and utilities. When that's done, he says suggestions from a survey of residents will go to a firm that will prepare a retail analysis of the proposed development. Huston says those will be compiled and outlined at a public hearing.
Montrose, IA – Lee County has one of the highest unemployment rates in the state, but the rate appears to be going down when compared to previous year. Economic Development Director Lowell Junkins says Lee County has turned the corner after losing thousands of industrial jobs over the last few decades. He says that over the last year, more jobs have been created in Lee County than have been lost, even when anticipated closures of Sheaffer Pen and Metso Minerals are factored in.
Burlington, IA – The SCC Board of Trustees has started the search process to replace out-going president, Jim Richardson. Board Secretary Sherry Zeller says advertisements for the opening are expected to be sent out to higher education publications over the next week. She says the rough timeline that has been established calls for the college to accept applications until early September and hold interviews in October. Zeller says the board hopes to have a new president selected by November and in place by the first of the year.
Beardstown, IL – A two-county Habitat for Humanity group has the foundation in for its first home. The Chapter for Schuyler and Cass Counties is building a two-bedroom house near the Beardstown Square. Member Sylvia Herr says the almost-20 volunteers have been working weekday evenings to prepare for a full day Saturday. She says the group hopes to have the home done by the end of August. Herr says the chapter was started when church groups studied the 2000 census and found the counties have little affordable housing and many low-income families.
Springfield, IL – Illinois schools are now required to teach athletss about the dangers of steroids under a measure the governor has signed into law. Students already get some exposure to the topic, but the measure calls for more training for athletes. Legislators suggest coaches are universally-admired figures in most schools and their teaching would be taken to heart more by most athletes.
Keokuk, IA – An effort to cut the budget in Lee County will have an effect on the county's workforce. The Board of Supervisors voted to cut the workweek by one hour. Chairman Rick Larkin says the measure will take a little time for employees and department heads to get used to. The board also approved a proposal to have non-union workers pay for part of their health insurance coverage. Beginning Aug. 1, these employees will pay $25 toward a single plan per month and $50 toward a family policy.
Keokuk, IA – The Lee County Board of Supervisors has approved a reduction of the workweek by one hour for union workers starting July 16. It also voted in favor of having non-union workers pay for a portion of their health insurance coverage. Board Chairman Rick Larkin says these steps could save the county as much as $100,000 in the upcoming fiscal year. The cost-cutting manuevers will likely negate 3% pay hikes set to take effect for all county workers and elected leaders on July 1.
East Moline, IL – A bill awaiting the governor's signature would probhibit Illinois from buying any products made with child labor. East Moline Democratic State Representative Mike Boland says the measure not only would work to keep children in school, but would prevent unfair competition to Illinois businesses. Penalties for violating the provisions of the law could include a fine of up to the value of the product, along with a prohibition on doing state business for up to a year.
Springfield, IL – A new law requires a dental exam by the end of the Kindergarten, second and sixth grade students in Illinois. The bill covers both public and private school students. Gary Johnson of the Illinois Dental Society says the measure could help prevent absences. Parents will have until the end of the school year to have the exams completed. The state is preparing forms that will be used in the program.