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.

The Hancock County Economic Development Committee will host a county economic summit March 29th.  It hopes the summit will be the first step to reduce decades-long trends of job, business and population losses.

Committee Chairman Jerry Bartell said the county was home to about 30,000 people at the beginning of the 20th century.  He said the county population is down to about 19,000 people.

He said,  “But another alarming figure that got my attention was the fact that we lost 20% of our sales tax-paying businesses since 2000.”

Keeping up with new technology could require the Burlington School District to do more than just purchase equipment.

The school board unanimously approved the district’s latest technology plan.

The 12-page document focuses on hardware, content, access, professional development and support.

Superintendent Jane Evans says the district has consistently worked to add and/or upgrade its technology at each building.

She says that will require a review of Burlington’s staffing levels to see if additional employees are needed in the area of technology support.

Burlington is narrowing the field in its search for a new city manager.

The city council met behind closed doors for nearly an hour Monday night to discuss the candidates.

The panel emerged with a list of six finalists.

Interim City Manager Dan Luttenegger says the names of the candidates are expected to be made public later this week.

That would allow time for them to be notified.

Luttenegger says the finalists will visit Burlington on Friday, February 17 and Saturday, February 18.

Galesburg Mayor Sal Garza said the city is developing a strategy to avoid the same pension system headaches plaguing the state.

Illinois has billions of dollars in unfunded pension liabilities. While Galesburg's obligations are nowhere near those amounts, Garza is concerned that the police and fire pension systems are receiving less than 60% of what they should be getting from the city.

The city's IMRF (Illinois Municipal Retirement Fund) is at 90%, and Garza would like to bring the police and fire systems up to that level.

Colchester Faces Expensive Sewer Repairs

Jan 31, 2012

Colchester will have to make repairs to sanitary sewer lines in the southwest part of the city and repairs at storage lagoons to make sure it meets IEPA regulations.

Leaky sewer lines allow an influx of storm water and ground water into the sewer system. The extra water and waste overloads the system.

Engineer John Calise, of Benton and Associates, said, “Not only do we have some problems locally with basement back ups and some of the transportation of the wastewater out to the lagoons. But the lagoons themselves are also overloaded with regards to too much wastewater.”

New Director to Draw on Vast Experience

Jan 31, 2012

Carthage's new Community Development Director brings a lifetime of experience to the job.

Bob Livingston spent over five decades in the plumbing business in his home state of Pennsylvania. Since moving to Illinois, the 91 year-old has helped bring rural water service to Henderson County. He was a VISTA volunteer with that county's Economic Development Corporation for three years.

He said between his business experience and his work on the water district, he feels well-prepared for the new job.

Macomb's mayor hopes the city can “reinvigorate” its annual Heritage Days celebration.

Heritage Days is held the final weekend of June. It typically begins on Thursday at 5:00pm and concludes on Sunday morning with the fly-in and pancake breakfast at the airport.

Mayor Mike Inman said the Heritage Days committee is considering whether to extend the festival to include more activities on Sunday.

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.

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