Beardstown Police Position is in Limbo

Jun 12, 2012

Beardstown and its police union agree the department needs a second-shift supervisor. However, they disagree on the standing of the position. The union wants to see the position covered under its union contract with the city.

Mayor Bob Walters disagrees.

He says, “If it's filled, that person would not be allowed to patrol like a regular patrolman. I personally feel that it's a management position and not a union position.”

This week the city's police, fire and ambulance committees met together in an effort to find a solution. Instead they tabled the issue.

Future of Gardner Museum Remains in Doubt

Jun 11, 2012

A recent public hearing demonstrates support for re-opening the Gardner Museum of Architecture and Design It's not clear if the community will come through with the necessary funding.

The museum's board dissolved the non-profit corporation in March. It turned the building and assets over to the Historical Society of Quincy and Adams County at that time.

The society's Executive Director Reg Ankrom says it's a valuable resource. He also says the society cannot maintain it for very long.

Colchester Water Main Fix Might Cost $70,000

Jun 7, 2012

The six-inch water main that supplies residents in a subdivision north of Colchester and others near Lake Argyle is in need of repair. It lays across the supporting structure under a bridge on North Coal Street. The line is sagging 14 inches at two different joints, one of which is leaking.

The city will pay $7,000 for a short-term fix. Tharp Brothers of Oquawka will shore up the line within the next 10 days.

The city won't know the condition of the line until that work is completed. The location makes inspection difficult. The pipe is also covered in insulation.

Burned-out Restaurant is a Hazard

Jun 4, 2012

The Brickhouse Restaurant in Bushnell burned down in March of 2011.

Nothing has been done to the Main Street site since the fire. Debris remains in the alley behind it.

Mayor Steve Russell says the building is an eyesore and a safety hazard.

He says, “A lot of people say, 'You know, how much longer do we have to look at this mess? Can't we get it cleaned up? And, of course, if we condemn the property and the city goes in and does it it's going to cost several thousands of dollars.”

South Morgan Acres Permit is Approved

May 30, 2012

The Illinois Department of Agriculture has approved the permit for South Morgan Acres to be built in the northwest part of McDonough County.

The farm will be the home for up to 18,000 hogs. About 6,000 would be adults. The rest would be suckling pigs, many weighing less than 15 pounds.

Barbara Adams and her husband live less than 3,000 feet from the site. She says they already have one large hog farm about a mile away. She opposed construction of South Morgan Acres. The news the permit was approved made her “sick to her stomach.”

Bushnell Lands New Dentist

May 29, 2012

Bushnell will soon have a new dental practice to fill the office that has been vacant since the retirement of the city's only dentist, Dr. David Jameson.

Dr. Paige McCord came from Arizona. She expects to open her practice in mid-June.

The city initiated an active recruiting effort in March.  McCord says she heard about the opportunity at a high school reunion.

She will open a general dentistry practice and offer cosmetic dentistry. She has practiced for seven years.

McCord hopes many of Jameson's former patients will become part of her practice.

Carthage Park Needs Modernization

May 29, 2012

The World of Wonder Park has provided outdoor fun for children in Carthage for nearly 20 years. It's started to show  its age. The board for the private park wants to give it a facelift.

Board Chair Natalie Cole says the park's wooden structures require a lot of maintenance and a lot of volunteers to provide it. There aren't enough people to do the work to keep up the park's appearance.

Monmouth and Firefighters Ratify Contract

May 24, 2012

Monmouth's city council and the firefighters union each ratified the three-year contract by a unanimous vote.

Firefighters will receive a 2.5% pay raise each year of the deal.

The city and the union each wanted similar changes in the time-off policies. The city wanted to reduce overtime. The union wanted to reduce the likelihood firefighters would be called in on their days off.

City Administrator Eric Hanson said the major change was to vacation policy.

Hancock County Might Hire Ambulance Consultant

May 23, 2012

The Hancock County Board is looking at options including hiring a consultant to solve problems with ambulance service.

The county is under a “Plan of Correction” to fix a number of deficiencies. The county could be fined by the Illinois Department of Public Health if they are not corrected soon.

One of the biggest problems is that some crews are not doing a “rig check” to make sure their ambulances have all the supplies and gear they might need on a call.

Rally Protests Potential Pension Changes

May 16, 2012

A rally in Macomb's Chandler Park united public school teachers, professors and other union members. They oppose Governor Pat Quinn's proposal to change their pension plans.

Chanting “Protect Our Pensions” about 400 participants signed petitions and listened to several speakers.

John Miller, president of the University Professionals of Illinois chapter at Western Illinois University, helped organize the local rally.

Bushnell Recycling Schedule to Change

May 15, 2012

Bushnell has been gung-ho about recycling. The sheer volume will be reflected in a schedule change later this month.

Currently, Waste Management picks up all the city's recycling at curbside every other week.

Mayor Steve Russell said the company has asked to expand its schedule.

He said, “They said that they would have to make the change because the recycling was going so much better in Bushnell than it had been.”

Carthage Water Pressure Will Increase

May 15, 2012

Carthage residents will see a significant increase in water pressure by October. It's the result of a number of upgrades to the water system. They cost about $1 million.

Second-ward Alderman Gary Smith is recommending residents who are concerned about their pipes and water heaters to have them checked.

He said, “It'd give you a little time to save a couple of bucks. Maybe have a plumber come check things out if you're worried.”

Schock Says Provision Prevents Medicaid Reform

May 14, 2012

Illinois Congressman Aaron Schock (R-18) says a provision of the Affordable Care Act prevents Illinois from enacting serious Medicaid reform. That provision prevents states from reducing benefits or tightening requirements to qualify for Medicaid.

The House has passed a measure to repeal that provision.

Schock says, “They (federal government) have Illinois trapped right now in a situation where they can't reduce their budget deficit, reduce their spending.”

The oak tree planted in Macomb's Chandler Park this year has a plaque at its base. The plaque honors the late Bob Swanson.

Swanson was a nurseryman who grew his beyond his profession into volunteering to  plant trees in Macomb.

He was one of the original members of the city's Tree Board 20 years ago.

Former Mayor Tom Carper appointed him at that time.

Developer Plans $2 Million Project in Monmouth

May 9, 2012

Six buildings on the southeast corner of Monmouth's town square will receive a $2 million facelift.

Cedar Rapids, Iowa developer Frantz-Hobart will turn the buildings into condominiums and retail space.

City Administrator Eric Hanson calls it “the biggest development project” in the downtown area in decades. He says it advances the city's vision for the downtown area.