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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.

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."

Judge Sets Deadline in Watson Case

Mar 13, 2012

A McDonough County Judge has set a deadline for the pre-trial discovery process in the case of Daniel Watson.

Watson is a former Macomb High School teacher and former boys basketball coach. He is charged with one count of aggravated criminal sexual abuse for an alleged relationship with a female student.

The Keokuk School Board approved more than $600,000 in cuts to next year’s budget during last night’s meeting.  There was one exception, though, which earned the board plenty of applause.

The board met for about 2 ½ hours last night, in front of roughly 30 students, parents, and teachers at the former Torrence Elementary.

About a half-dozen of them spoke during the meeting, including three current students, with most calling for the board to not eliminate a half-time high school science position.

Lexington Square wants to join a lawsuit filed over its planned expansion in Keokuk.

The nursing home has filed a motion in District Court to intervene in a lawsuit against the Keokuk Board of Adjustment.

The commission is being sued by 17 individuals living on Greenbrier Court, which abuts Lexington Square.

They object to the fact that the Board of Adjustment issued a special use permit to the nursing home so it can expand its facility. 

Lexington Square would is looking to add private rooms without adding additional beds.

McDonough County won't have a web site right away. However, the board's Human Resources and Planning Committee is laying the groundwork for the project.

Chair Linda Jani said the current budget does not have any money for the project. She said the committee is looking at a number of issues and sees the website as a long-term goal.

She said, “We're trying to get some information together because then if we do get a website  there are legal requirements for what has to be on there.”

Survey Goal is to Boost Economic Activity

Mar 12, 2012

Monmouth is a partner in a new survey that will provide a snapshot of the job skills of the workforce in western Illinois-and the the skills they might need.

Community Development Director Paul Schuytema said the survey has two goals. One is to provide a detailed picture of the area in light of the 2010 census data. He said any large firm looking at locating in the area will be concerned with the regional workforce instead of just that in one city. He said the second goal is to discover skill sets that are lacking in the region.

Photo from the University of Nebraska

Insect scientists say federal regulators need to take action against a growing pest problem in biotech corn.

They say corn rootworm has started to become resistant to Monsanto’s Bt corn, which is genetically engineered to resist the damaging and costly pest.

The 22 scientists expressed their concerns in a letter sent to EPA last week.

End-of-life decisions can be the most difficult someone will make.

The need for hospice care and the people who provide it continues to increase, thanks to the “Baby Boomer” generation.

Jeri Welch with the Lee County Health Department describes hospice as comfort care provided at the end of someone’s life.

She says the service can be provided in the home, a nursing home, or a hospital.

Welch says eligibility is based on a doctor declaring a patient has six-months-or-less to live and the patient choosing to allow nature to take its course.

Burlington is trying to determine if Cascade Bridge can be restored.

The city council closed the bridge on South Main Street, several years ago, to both vehicular and pedestrian traffic.  The pedestrian ban was eventually rescinded.

The city was in the process of moving ahead with plans to tear down the roughly 115-year-old structure and build a new bridge.

The four-million dollar project was put on hold, though, after the State Historic Preservation Office stepped in.

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