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David Hightower

Burlington Public Library Reopens to Public Without Appointments

The Burlington Public Library is allowing people in without an appointment for the first time since November, when COVID cases were spiking in the community.

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Macomb, IL – The Macomb School District is about to get bigger. The Regional Board of School Trustees agreed to allow several families to detach from the current Industry School District to join Macomb. The change takes effect July 1, which is when the rest of the Industry district will merge with Schuyler County schools. The detachment involves 15 students and 2,000 acres of land with an assessed value of more than $2 million. The regional board said Macomb would offer the students a greater scope of activities and classes. Industry has 35 days to appeal the decision.

Chicago, IL – Terry Scrogum is now the executive director of the Illinois Arts Council. He's been with the organization since 1991. Council commissioners chose him for the leadership position. Scrogum hopes to promote arts education and reach out to underserved regions by bringing arts events to new areas. He also wants to offer greater opportunities in the arts to people with disabilities. Scrogum was not paid when he served as a council member, but now he'll get about $95,000 a year and will operate out of Chicago.

Fort Madison, IA – The Board of Supervisors is considering an offer from a county resident who's willing to maintain the Commission of Veterans Affairs offices during the afternoons and/or evenings. Current office hours are 9:00 a.m. to noon Monday through Thursday. But Ron McKoon of Fort Madison says the office needs to be open more than 12 hours a week. He's willing to help out free of charge and says he is trained in processing claims for veterans. Supervisors took the offer under advisement.

Macomb, IL – McDonough County will hold a public hearing before deciding whether to move one of its polling places onto Western's campus. County Clerk Florine Miller says a delegation from WIU asked the county board for a bigger polling place that would be easier for them to get to. Part of Western Hall has been suggested because of its roominess and because of easy handicapped access. Last November's election was marked by a heavy turnout and long waits in the precincts that have mostly WIU students.

Hamilton, IL – New Mayor Steve Woodruff and new city council members Jesse Guymon, Shilea Wilson and Steve Schlatter have taken the oath of office. Two other new city leaders, Treasurer Cindy Dupree and Clerk Michelle Dorothy also took part in the swearing-in ceremony. The new council then approved the first reading of the city's proposed $6 million dollar budget for the coming year. That's up by about $1 million from last year, due in part to construction plans for the city's new water plant. The old council approved the EPA's offer of a $3.25 million loan for the new water plant.

Macomb, IL – Macomb will continue to be represented by the same law firm for another year, but not everyone on the city council supported the decision. The contract with March, McMillan & DeJoode was approved on a vote of 6-1. Alderman Tim Lobdell opposed it. He says $200,000 is too much to pay and he would like the city to explore other options. Alderman John Maguire says it would be nice if the city's legal representation cost less but feels that's not an option right now. He says the firm has done a good job of tackling a backlog of legal work that needs to be done

Des Moines, IA – The Iowa legislature is still at work after missing its scheduled adjournment date. Senators must still make decisions on several significant pieces of legislation. Those include a proposal to increase penalties for sex offenders and a plan to recreate the Grow Iowa Values Fund. In addition, the state's $5 billion budget must be approved. Senator Tom Courtney (D-Burlington) believes things will be wrapped up within the next few days.

Carthage, IL – Carthage businessmen might add a play to their Monday night activities on the square. Tyrone Jacoby of the Chamber of Commerce says the performance will deal with Abraham Lincoln's visit to Carthage. He says the group should soon know whether the trial re-enactment will be ready by the first farmers market later this month. Jacoby says the merchants are trying to cross-promote Carthage activitiess with the more than 80,000 tourists who go through the Nauvoo visitors center each year.

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.

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Black History Month

TSPR and KGS present a virtual concert

Concert was orginally streamed on Feb 12th

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Harvest Public Media

The U.S. Department of Agriculture is extending the deadline for the largest private land conservation program in the country, following a shortfall in enrollment and change in the White House. 

The Conservation Reserve Program pays farmers and ranchers to preserve land for 10 to 15 years, but it saw a shortfall of 4 million acres under the Trump administration. As of December 2020, there are 20.8 million acres enrolled in the program. 

With President Biden’s focus on mitigating climate change, the USDA extended the deadline for enrollment. 

Steve Larimore was hoping to triple the size of his garden this year.

Once the seed catalog arrived at his home near Bend, Ore., Larimore excitedly got his order together. He then went online and began adding the different seed varieties to his cart, only to discover about a third of the items he wanted were unavailable. 

Tomatoes? Sold out. Kale? Gone. Sweet corn? Nope.

“I was pretty discouraged,” he says. “There were some things that I’ve grown before that I really like and I wanted to grow again and they didn’t have those.” 

Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, hundreds of meatpacking plants across the country have struggled to contain outbreaks.

Why Even Corn Can Get A Bad Night Of Sleep

Feb 1, 2021

In 2020, a stubborn enemy emerged for corn farmers across the Great Plains: drought. Today, about half of the U.S.

For more than a decade, Saraí has been a farmworker, cultivating corn and soybeans in the fields of central Illinois. She moved to the U.S. from Mexico to find work that would allow her to better support her family.

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