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Local News Coverage:

  • Morning Edition: Mon.- Fri. 4:00am- 9:00am with Morning Edition Host and Reporter Emily Boyer.
  • Afternoon Edition: Mon.- Fri. 4:00- 4:30pm with News Director Rich Egger.

Local New Updates also at 5:35pm and 6:35pm Monday- Friday.

After months of study, the Spurgeons building on South Main Street in Monmouth was selected to house artist studios and a retail shop to sell their work.

The choice was made by city representatives and members of ArtSpace, which is a non-profit arts development and consulting organization from Minneapolis.

The Spurgeons building has a limestone front and was built in 1940.

FEMA Comes up with Money for Warsaw

Mar 22, 2012

The Federal Emergency Management Agency has agreed to compensate Warsaw for some of the money it paid to repair its  water treatment plant after it was badly damaged by the 2008 flood.

At the time, the city expected to be reimbursed 100% for the repairs. FEMA later decided the city was due 75% of the repair costs because the county didn't meet its poverty guidelines.

City finances were strained to come up with the $285,000. The city has tried to recoup that money ever since.

County Board Chairman said FEMA has agreed to pay two-thirds of the city's share.

Photo from The Zephyr

Galesburg city council members approved a resolution in support of naming facilities, parks and streets in honor of notable women.

More than 50 women are listed in a document provided to aldermen. They are community organizers, athletes, artists, educators, and more from throughout Galesburg's 175 year history.

The document will be used when the city considers naming and renaming things.

Mayor Sal Garza said too few women have been recognized by the city.

The U.S. Department of Education’s National Center for Education Statistics conducted national adult literacy assessments in both 1992 and 2003. 

They were designed to judge literacy proficiency for the nation and for large sub-groups.

The results showed that 14 percent of the adults did not have more than the most simple of literacy skills.

Paula Faulkner says she is seeing examples of this in her role as volunteer literacy coordinator for Southeastern Community College.

Fort Madison Mayor Steve Ireland, 53, died Tuesday, March 20 at 1:54 P.M. at Fort Madison Community Hospital.

Ireland's family will receive friends on Friday, March 23 from 4:30 P.M. to 7:00 P.M. at the King-Lynk Funeral Home and Crematory in Fort Madison.

The funeral service will be held Saturday, March 24 at 10:00 A.M. at the First Baptist Church in Fort Madison.  Burial will be held at the Claypoole Cemetery in Wever, IA.

“Green” Roof will Save Money

Mar 21, 2012

The Macomb School District will save nearly $125,000 on a roof repair project on the oldest section of Lincoln School. The savings comes from re-using some of the roofing material, which is also good for the environment.

The estimated cost was nearly $420,000. The bid was based on a “green” option that will re-install much of the same material.

Superintendent Alene Reuschel said the district can set an example.

Turnout was fairly light across west-central Illinois. The biggest snafu in the region happened in McDonough County, where Clerk Gretchen DeJaynes ran hair dryers out to a few polling places that had damp ballots. It's not known what caused the dampness. DeJaynes said she planned to speak to the vendor about the issue.

School Day Will Start Later Once a Week

Mar 20, 2012

School bells will ring an hour later on Wednesdays next year in the Monmouth-Roseville School District.

Students might see it as recreational time. Superintendent Paul Woehlke said teachers will be hard at work. They will spend the extra time collaborating to make sure they are all on the same page when it comes to common core standards. The state has adopted the standards with testing of students to begin in 2014.

Aldermen unanimously agreed to donate $800 to the Cornfed Film Fest, which will take place April 13 - 15, 2012 in Macomb.

Film festival co-founder Sue Scott said $600 of the money will be spent on a "Welcoming Package" that will include a program that lists the movies and the community sponsors.

"We'll use a local printer. Our business partners will have special deals for ticket holders ... so we're really promoting the businesses as well as the festival," Scott said.

New Dentist Could Re-open Old Office

Mar 19, 2012

Dr. David Jameson's retirement left Bushnell without a dentist. The city has moved to fill the cavity in the community.

Mayor Steve Russell said, “We had a team of people here made up of several interested people that might like to work with us and get the word out there that we were interested in having a dentist in Bushnell.”

Representatives from the Bushnell Chamber of Commerce and the Economic Development Corporation pitched in. He said Kim Pierce of the Macomb Area Chamber of Commerce also helped with the search.

***SOME OF THE CONTENT IN THIS STORY MAY NOT BE SUITABLE FOR CHILDREN***

 

Former Hamilton School Board member August Dion Gregory, 44, has been found guilty of sexually abusing a minor.  His sentencing is scheduled for Friday, May 18th at the Hancock County Courthouse in Carthage.

Gregory was arrested in December and charged with multiple felonies involving a minor: criminal sexual assault, aggravated criminal sexual abuse and criminal sexual abuse.  He was scheduled to go on trial this week.

Monmouth Prepares for Higher Energy Costs

Mar 19, 2012

Monmouth residents often see a bright flare in the north part of town. It's a burner that keeps excess methane from building up at the city's waste water pre-treatment facility.  Someday, it might produce electricity.

City Administrator Eric Hanson said the 15 year-old burner had to be replaced recently. He said the city has installed one that could be part of an energy-generating system.

Although the Occupy Wall Street movement is not involved in conventional campaigning, a political expert says it could have a dramatic effect on a second Obama administration.

Keith Boeckelman is chair of the political science department at Western Illinois University.

He says the president had to toe a moderate line after Republicans took control of the House of  Representatives and the Tea Party movement played a major part in House politics.

The Keokuk School District could soon know if it should expand its preschool program. 

The district currently serves 30 four-year-olds.  Half of them meet in the morning while the other half attends preschool in the afternoon.

Superintendent Lora Wolff says sign-up for next year is already underway.  She says more than 40 applications have already been returned to the district.

Iowa’s June 5 primary will feature multiple contested races in the southeast corner of the state.  Friday, March 16 marked the end of the filing period for state and federal office.

Four men beat the deadline to enter the race in Iowa’s 2nd Congressional District, which includes 24 counties in southeast, south-central, and east-central Iowa.

Congressman Dave Loebsack (D-IA2) is being challenged in the primary by Joe Seng of Davenport.  On the Republican side, John Archer of Bettendorf will square off with Dan Dolan of Muscatine.

Former Fort Madison Police Officer William Bowker will not be returning to the department.  He was fired by City Manager Byron Smith on Feb. 25, 2010.

Smith cited various acts of misconduct.  They include falling asleep and/or missing phone calls while serving on the Southeast Iowa Narcotics Task Force and having an affair with the wife of Police Chief Bruce Niggemeyer.

Bowker appealed the ruling to the Fort Madison Civil Service Commission.  That panel sided with the city in mid-2010, prompting Bowker to sue the city and the commission in district court.

The Irish poet and playwright William Butler Yeats said “Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire.” That pretty well sums up the thinking behind a concept often referred to as progressive education.

One of the concept's biggest advocates is Amy Valens. Her final year in the classroom is the subject of the documentary film August to June, which was screened at Western Illinois University.

West Prairie Gets Ready for New Technology

Mar 16, 2012

The West Prairie School District will begin incorporating wireless devices into classes at the high school next year.

Superintendent Jonathan Heerboth said the district is studying the best way approach the change.

He said one class at the high school has been testing the “one-on-one” technology. The students preferred devices that use a regular keyboard over tablet devices that use a keyboard on a touchscreen He said the students found they do so much typing the regular keyboards were much easier to use.

Bushnell Mayor Steve Russell said the city is “very frugal” when it comes to street repairs. He said the city has a long-term plan to fix streets, sidewalks and gutters. All it needs is a new source of revenue to make that happen.

The city is putting a half-cent sales tax increase before voters next Tuesday. If approved, the city's sales tax would increase to 7.25%.

Several members of the Keokuk City Council are looking for some compensation for its generosity in regards to a new ordinance.

The panel has approved the first reading of an ordinance providing a special encroachment for Roquette America.

The company would be able to build its own road on an unused portion of Railroad Street between “F” Street and “H” Street once the ordinance is approved.

Around The Region

Mar 16, 2012

FORT MADISON, IA

The Lee County Narcotics Task Force has arrested six Fort Madison residents in connection with a methamphetamine manufacturing ring in the city.  They range in age from 21 to 55.

They each face one count of felony conspiracy to manufacture more than five grams of meth.  Several have also been charged with maintaining a drug house and a 24-hour pseudoephedrine violation.

If convicted, the six could each be sentenced to more than 20 years in prison.  Three simultaneous search warrants were executed on Tuesday, March 13.

 

BURLINGTON, IA

Congressman Dave Loebsack (D-IA2) says the United States should consider pulling its military forces out of Afghanistan sooner than currently scheduled. 

He says he does not have a specific date in mind for a withdrawal at this point.

“The President has already moved up his timetable from 2014 to the goal of late 2013,” says Rep. Loebsack, “I think we should move it up even sooner than that.  There is no way around that.”

The Burlington School District wants to balance its elementary school enrollment.

The administration says nearly 200 students attend an elementary school that is outside of their neighborhood.

Superintendent Jane Evans says this is likely the result of families moving within the city but choosing to remain a part of their previous school. 

She says the district wants to balance the enrollment at its five elementary schools: Blackhawk, Corse, Grimes, North Hill and Sunnyside.

Schools Will Increase Network Capacity

Mar 15, 2012

The Macomb School District will spend $204,000 to increase its computer network capacity tenfold in time for next school year.

Superintendent Alene Reuschel said the extra capacity will allow greater use of wireless technology at the junior-senior high school next year.

She said, “We will make sure that every classroom-grades 7-12-will have the equivalent of 30 access points within a room which means you can have 30 units needing wireless service of some kind in a room.”

A watchdog group says Illinois is doing better at making government spending more transparent to the public, but more can be done.

This is the third year the Illinois Public Interest Research Group has studied state's openness to show where money is going.

I-PIRG's Brian Imus said in the Internet age, taxpayers expect increasing access to information. He said other states are doing a better job than Illinois.

The Lee County Sheriff’s Office is ready to provide additional coverage to Montrose on a temporary basis.

The Lee County Board of Supervisors has signed off on a 28E agreement between the county, sheriff’s office and the city for law enforcement services.

The deal runs from March 14, 2012 to March 13, 2013.

Montrose has been without a police chief since Karl Judd resigned to join the Fort Madison Police Department.  The city’s two reserve officers also resigned around the same time as Judd.

The Illinois State Board of Education is getting feedback on a possible change to the way it calculates reimbursements to districts.

Districts are supposed to be paid the actual costs of busing students to and from school.

Monmouth-Roseville Superintendent Paul Woehlke said that would change if the ISBE has its way.

A federal judge struck down part of Illinois' campaign finance law.

Judge Marvin Aspen said Illinois cannot enforce contribution limits on independent political action committees. Aspen issued his ruling on March 13.

Supporters and opponents of a three-district consolidation proposal agree kids should have access to a broader curriculum.

The measure would combine the Avon, Abingdon and Bushnell-Prairie City districts into one.

Shannon Price opposes the consolidation. She loves the proposed curriculum for the new district. She says the B-PC district should investigate other options, including use of the Internet to provide those classes.

Macomb City Administrator Dean Torreson this week gave aldermen an overview of the city's proposed new budget, which will go into effect May 1.

He said the budget includes money for fixing several streets. The money comes from a one-cent sales tax. Voters agreed in February 2011 to increase that tax from half-a-cent to a full cent.

"Our sales tax revenue has been coming it at the projected rate," Torreson said. "It did double so we're right on target there."

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