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Rich Egger

A Message from Macomb Mayor Michael Inman & WIU Interim President Martin Abraham

So goes Western Illinois University, so goes the City of Macomb. Western Illinois University and the City of Macomb have a longstanding partnership, and together we work to ensure the town and gown relationship remains steadfast.

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Macomb, IL – Representatives from Pella Corporation were kept busy during the first day of handing out applications for the company's new plant in Macomb. The business says more than 800 cars came through its application distribution site at the former ShopKo building and more than 2,000 forms were given out. Pella says applicants came from Illinois, Iowa, Missouri, Texas, and Washington state. Pella plans to distribute applications at the site for the remainder of the week. The company says its plant will initially employ around 250 people.

Macomb, IL – The parent company for Citizens National Bank is being acquired by a suburban Chicago company. The transaction between Citizens Central Bancorp and JGS Investments of Oak Brook should be completed by early next year. It's subject to shareholder and regulatory approval. Citizens Central Bancorp President and CEO Tim Fleming says his company's name will not change, there will be no loss of or change in personnel, and there will be no changes to accounts. He says both companies stand to benefit from the transaction.

Carthage, IL – The Carthage Chamber of Commerce is rescheduling its Farmers Market in hopes of bringing in more vendors and customers. Committee Chairman Dave Ard says last year's market got a late start with few vendors. He says the market is being moved to Monday evenings from 3 to 7 p.m. in combination with Chamber promotions. He says several stores have agreed to stay open late to take advantage of the crowds he hopes will fill the downtown square. Ard says they're trying to bring in between 10 and 15 vendors each week. The market begins May 23 at 3 p.m.

Niota, IL – Commercial fishermen in Illinois are going to the state for help with marketing and rules changes. President Kirby Morrison of the Illinois Commercial Fishing Association says a marketing grant could help his members sell more than the three million pounds per year they're now selling. In addition, he says a committee will approach the Department of Natural Resources to ask for an easing of some of the conservation regulations. He says the point system can cause someone to lose their livelihood for what would be a minor violation.

Fort Madison, IA – Iowa's ombudsman says Lee County Auditor Anne Pederson violated the state's open meetings law. In March of last year, Pederson gave reporters a recording of a Board of Supervisors closed door meeting from September 2003. But Ombudsman Bill Angrick says the Board of Supervisors is the legal custodian of the recording and should have been contacted about a request for the tape. The violation carries no penalty, but Pederson's name will be included in a published report from the state ombudsman.

Macomb, IL – Macomb is suing a pair of property owners who agreed to annex to the city and then failed to do so. The suit in McDonough County Circuit Court says Barbara and Eldon Morrison had indicated a willingness to be annexed when their property adjoined the city. The lawsuit says that promise was made in 1994. The lot now touches the city border, but the couple has refused annexation. The agreement was a condition of getting city water to the home on the south edge of Macomb.

Springfield, IL – The fund Illinois uses to pay repair costs for vehicles involved in accidents is empty. Now the governor's office wants the schools and other state agencies to take the custs out of their current budgets. Universities see this as a funding cut. They are concerned what other costs they might have to pay out of their current budgets. The Governor's office insists the cost will be small, and the money will not come out of appropriations slated for education.

Macomb, IL – WIU art students get a chance to see how their work stacks up against others in the annual juried student awards show. Every year the art department allows its students to enter up to three works. The jury commonly consists of artists from other colleges. The works of winning students are purchased by the university or independent buyers. Art work bought by the university will go on display at the University Union.

Macomb, IL – During this week's committee meeting, aldermen indicated support for increasing the city's water and sewer fee rates. First reading of the ordinance changes is scheduled for next week. The 5% water rate hike would generate an extra $92,166. The proposed 2.5% increase in the sewer rate would bring in an additional $38,250. Aldermen also indicated support for increasing the minimum water and sewer bills by 75-cents, bringing it to $2.75 The city is concerned that fund balances will be too low without the added income.

Fort Madison, IA – Fort Madison is getting ready to make improvements to the wastewater treatment plant on the city's west side. The city council will hold a public hearing next week before deciding whether to borrow up to $2.1 million for the project. City Manager Bill Kelly says the work is needed because of changes in state regulations that will be implemented in about one year. Kelly says the city is also considering several options to provide more water for residents. Those include building a new water plant, renovating the current facility, and purchasing water from Keokuk.

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Harvest Public Media

As the price of gasoline plummeted amid COVID-19 restrictions, so has the price of ethanol.

 

Iowa Learning Farms and Practical Farmers of Iowa conducted a 10-year study on the conservation benefits of planting cereal rye as a cover crop on corn and soybean fields. Their results show the practice improves soil health. The cover crop may cause a slight dip in yields the first year or two, but that can be overcome and eventually small increases in soybean yields may occur.

After the day’s meals are done on a recent Tuesday, Gilbert Community Schools director of food service Deb Purcell shuffles through a stack of papers. Gilbert, a town north of Ames in central Iowa, serves about 1400-1600 meals a day. 

“This is what I do, planning for a week,” Purcell says pointing to columns on a page. “And there's actually seven pages minimum that go with each day.”

She’s counting cups of vegetables and documenting other details about every meal she’s served to comply with stringent federal rules. Her job could soon get easier.

For many farmers, 2019 was the first year of growing hemp, since it became legal under the 2018 Farm Bill. In addition to the normal challenges of farming, hemp growers have had to deal with a different kind of problem: theft.

 

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