Illinois

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.

Colchester will have to find $100,000 to pay for the design of a large-scale sewer upgrade. It's hoping to get some help to prevent dipping into its reserves.

The city's new budget does not have enough revenue to pay for the project.

The state turned down the city's application for a grant last year. The grant would have covered the design cost.

Mayor Danny Bice hopes the EPA will change its mind.

Another rejection would leave the city few options.

McDonough County Residents Health Ranks High

May 7, 2012

McDonough County residents rank among the healthiest in West-Central Illinois.

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation has ranked counties on the health of their residents in each state for the last three years.

McDonough County has improved its ranking in life expectancy and quality of life. The county moved up from seventh to sixth in Illinois this year. The county also moved up in the ranking for factors that contribute to a healthy life from 32nd to 28th in the state. They include the obesity rate, economic conditions and alcohol and tobacco use.

McDonough County Residents Health Ranks High

May 7, 2012

McDonough County residents rank among the healthiest in West-Central Illinois.

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation has ranked counties on the health of their residents in each state for the last three years.

McDonough County has improved its ranking in life expectancy and quality of life. The county moved up from seventh to sixth in Illinois this year. The county also moved up in the ranking for factors that contribute to a healthy life from 32nd to 28th in the state. They  include the obesity rate, economic conditions and alcohol and tobacco use.

Water Rate Hikes Are Becoming a “Hardship”

May 2, 2012

The mayor of Colchester says the rise in water rates from the city's supplier, Macomb, is becoming a “hardship” for residents.

Macomb will raise the water rates for Colchester 5% effective August 1.

Mayor Danny Bice says water rates have skyrocketed since the city started receiving its water from Macomb about nine years ago.

He says, “Sooner or later there has to be a stopping point on the water increase. Because it's (gone) up 150% since we hooked on (to Macomb service).”

Enterprise Zones in Illinois Near End

May 1, 2012

The legislation that established Enterprise Zones in Illinois was passed in the mid-1980s. Many are nearly at the end of their 30 year lifespan.

Enterprise zones abate the property taxes on improvements for up to 10 years. The zones also offer a state sales tax exemption on building materials that are purchased in the state and are used in an enterprise zone.

Carthage Will Rehabilitate Six Homes

Apr 30, 2012

Carthage will receive a $252,000 federal Community Development Block Grant to rehabilitate up to six homes.

Mayor Jim Nightingale said, ”It's a good program if the house is not in too bad a shape. You
just can't take a really old run-down house. There's not enough funds to fix those up.”  

The repairs can be fairly extensive. They can include electrical upgrades, plumbing, and weatherization.

The homes have not been selected.

The Western Illinois Regional Council will supervise the process.

The homes have not been selected.

Carthage Hopes to find Landfill Solution

Apr 25, 2012

Carthage is hopeful a switch of contractors will lead to the end of its responsibility for the old municipal landfill.

Indianapolis-based American Environment will take over monitoring the site. The company was the low bidder at $43,000 per year. It will also try to find a way to bring groundwater pollution levels into compliance with federal EPA regulations

Mayor Jim Nightingale hopes the firm brings " some new ideas out there that down the road we can present them to the EPA and get us out of the landfill business.”

Rentals of Senior Center Will Cease

Apr 24, 2012

Beardstown will no longer  rent out the Golden Age building for special events.

The city has charged a $50 rental fee for the building's use. City Clerk Brian Ruch said the low fee has made it very popular for parties and special events.

He said, “Over the last few years it's being rented out quite often. The extra traffic is (creating) wear and tear on the building.”

Events that have already been booked will be allowed.

Ruch said the building was built in the late 1990s but is showing signs of advanced age.

World Book Night Comes to Macomb

Apr 23, 2012

Devotees of the written word will share their passion and free books April 23rd. It's the first World Book Night in the United States.

Macomb is one of 5,000 U.S. communities chosen to take part. The city's public library and New Copperfield's Book Store were selected as distributors. World Book Night is sponsored by a consortium of book publishers and authors who donate the books.

Linda Cox of New Copperfield's said “book givers” each have 20 books to give away.

World Book Night Comes to Macomb

Apr 23, 2012

Devotees of the written word will share their passion and free books April 23rd. It's the first World Book Night in the United States.

Macomb is one of 5,000 U.S. communities chosen to take part. The city's public library and New Copperfield's Book Store were selected as distributors. World Book Night is sponsored by a consortium of book publishers and authors who donate the books.

Linda Cox of New Copperfield's said “book givers” each have 20 books to give away.

Macomb's Earth Day Celebration will bring the public close to nature with several birds of prey on display.

Veterinarian Drew Kaiser is head of the Raptor Rehabilitation Center in Quincy. He will bring a red-tailed hawk, a kestrel, a barn owl and a screech owl to the event.

People love to watch the magnificent birds.  However, he says we are not their best friends.

He says, “80% of the time the trauma that we see are man-made. Whether that's your posts, telephone poles, fences, automobiles, things like that.”

Carthage Budget Might Require Cuts

Apr 17, 2012

Carthage Mayor Jim Nightingale said budget projections for the general fund next fiscal year are lower than he would like.

He said, “That's something that we will have to address and present to the council. I think there's some items we're going to have to reduce the expenditures.”

Nightingale likes to see between $250,000 and $300,000 in the general fund. The projections are closer to $260,000.

He said the overall budget will be $1.2 million.

The Hancock County Economic Development Committee has formed three task forces composed of 25 volunteers each.

They are looking for ways to encourage future economic development in the county.

An initial meeting of selected three priorities; job creation, vocational training and entrepreneurship and encouraging residents to shop at local businesses. Each task force will hold an initial meeting in the next few weeks. They will then meet on a quarterly basis.

McDonough County employees have expressed interest in a wellness program during a meeting of the employee health insurance committee.

Finance committee chair Alice Henry said  the county is interested in offering such a program. She said the county will start small to make sure the interest will continue.

She said, “We're going to start very economically and being to build interest in wellness. So, we'll start with some paycheck stuffers.”

Those items would include flyers on healthy eating and exercise.

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