TSPR Local

Local News Coverage:

  • Morning Edition: Mon.- Fri. 4:00am- 9:00am with Morning Edition Host and Reporter Emily Boyer.
  • Afternoon Edition: Mon.- Fri. 4:30- 5:00pm with News Director Rich Egger.

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

Illinois legislators face more bad budget news. 

A report from Chicago's Civic Federation said the massive backlog of unpaid bills is about to get much worse.

Illinois is expected to owe more than $9 billion by this summer. The figure is expected to continue rising and could hit nearly $35 billion within five years.

Civic Federation president Laurence Msall said the state must  act quickly.

Illinois public school districts are preparing next year's budgets. It's a difficult undertaking with state aid still up in the air.

The legislative session will begin several weeks later than usual. It's not known when the governor and the lawmakers might agree on education funding.

General State Aid to school districts was cut 5% for the current fiscal year.

West Prairie Superintendent Jonathan Heerboth said the cuts for next year could be worse.

Iowa Governor Terry Branstad says a trip through Lee County shows his economic development policies are working.

The Governor and Lt. Governor Kim Reynolds spent several hours talking to executives at employees at Pinnacle Foods and at Siemens on Friday.

They also toured both facilities and even participated in a ribbon-cutting ceremony for a nearly 18,000 square foot expansion at Pinnacle.

The company spent roughly $20-million to build a new production line, which led to the creation of about 65 new jobs and the retention of several hundred more.

Illini West Exceeds State Benchmark

Jan 30, 2012

Illini West High School is exceeding a state standard for special education students.

The State of Illinois wants schools to place at least half of their special education students in general education classes for half the school day.

Just two years ago, the high school had only 30% of those students in regular classes. The district rate is up to 56%

Superintendent Kim Schilson said the district decided to start evaluating special education students during their first semester at the school.

The State of Illinois is again making an effort to get more people to pay taxes they owe for on-line purchases.

It was an unwelcome surprise for many when they filled out their income taxes last year.  Illinois' forms specifically asked filers to come clean about how much they'd shopped on-line.

The requirement to pay state sales taxes on Internet purchases is nothing new but it wasn't well known.

Calling attention to it changed that somewhat. Illinois received an extra $11 million last year after adding the high profile line on the forms.  

The wintery weather is blamed for two fatal crashes in western Illinois.

One of the crashes happened on McDonough County Road 2000 East, just north of County Road 1700 North near Bushnell.

Illinois State Police said 14-year old Remington Neeley of Macomb was killed when the car she was riding in went out of control due to the snowy conditions Friday evening. The Chevy Impala left the road, became airborne, and struck a grain bin.

Carthage is working with the Western Illinois Regional Council to secure a grant for home rehabilitation. The city hopes to secure at least a $250,000 grant.

Mayor Jim Nightingale said the city has successfully applied for federal Community Development Block Grants on three occasions. He said the program does more than spruce up a home.

He said, “It seems like it gives people a little bit more pride and they tend to keep their homes up after they get these improvements. So I think it's a big plus for our community.”

The Keokuk School District is proposing some major language changes in a new contract with its teachers.

The initial offer from the district to the Keokuk Education Association calls for a freeze in the base pay for new teachers.

It also seeks no movement on the salary schedule for experience or education.

The district also wants KEA members to start using direct deposit.

The most significant changes, though, come in the area of insurance.

Special events including alcohol can now be held at any public location in Keokuk.

An application for such events is now being developed.

The proposed application would be fairly simple.

It requires the name of the organization holding the special event, contact information, date, time and location.

Mayor Tom Marion says the idea is to help city staff keep track of event requests.

“(It would) give us advance notice so everything can be considered prior to the event itself,” says Marion, “because it would give us at least 60 days before the event.”

Just in time to finish out the Spring Membership Campaign, we received the thumbs-up from the FCC to turn the power up on our new antenna.  Everyone should now be hearing us loud and clear.  There are a few details left undone at the tower site (fencing, final generator installation, etc.), but the most important part of the project -- the part that brings a clear signal to 20 counties in the tri state region is DONE! 

The newest flood map from the Federal Emergency Management Agency expands the flood plain in Carthage. FEMA has been taking advantage of satellite photography and GIS technology to update its flood maps.

Mayor Jim Nightingale said some residents will be surprised by the results.

He said,  “There's a lot of questions on this, you know.   It's a big part of the center of the city and I think there's people that didn't think they were in a flood plain, which they are.”

Wednesday night’s Keokuk Board of Adjustment meeting centered on two concepts: neighborhood integrity vs. business growth.

The board ended up signing off on an proposed expansion for Lexington Square, but the issue appears far from settled.

Julie Totten says her family bought its home at 17 Greenbrier Court in March of 2009.

Lee County’s public libraries are looking for a funding increase from the county.

There is not a single library that serves rural residents.

Instead, they can visit one of the five libraries located in Keokuk, Fort Madison, Montrose, Donnellson, and West Point.

Keokuk Library Director Emily Rohlfs says that allows more rural Lee County residents to take advantage of the facilities.

“We are seeing an increase in the number of items borrowed, the number of patrons we have, and the number of people who are coming to library programs.”

Carthage Can't Pass up Deal on new Police Car

Jan 25, 2012

Carthage planned to replace one of its police cars in the next fiscal year. Chief Gary Waddell found a deal the city couldn't pass up. He found a dealer with a properly-equipped vehicle in stock. The city found the savings attractive.

Mayor Jim Nightingale said, “We probably could have got by until next budget year. But this is a 2011 (model). There was a considerable discount on it. I think we probably saved close to $3,000 so we decided to go ahead.”
 
The city took delivery of the new squad car this week. The total cost was approximately $24,000, fully-equipped.

The Illini West School Board will advertise for prospective locations for a new high school.

The board signed a contract late last year with Klingner and Associates for site selection and evaluation.  The district expected to choose from four or five sites.

Superintendent Kim Schilson said the board wants a greater selection of sites to choose from.

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