Around the Tri States: Fire damages home in Macomb; WIU discontinues SHIELD testing; Route 336 reconfiguration project underway
A weekly roundup of news from around the region.
Fire damages home in Macomb
The Macomb Fire Department reported no injuries from a house fire at 1020 E. Carroll St. on Tuesday night.
The department said it appeared the fire was caused by an electrical problem in the attic.
The roof sustained fire damage, and the house sustained smoke and water damage throughout, causing an estimated $20,000 damage.
It took less than two hours for crews to extinguish the fire.
WIU discontinues SHIELD testing
Western Illinois University is discontinuing SHIELD Illinois saliva testing for COVID-19 on its campuses.
Western will continue to follow Governor JB Pritzker’s executive order requiring COVID-19 testing for all unvaccinated employees and students who are physically on campus. But instead of the saliva tests, antigen nasal swab testing will be used and appointments will no longer be required.
The self-administered simple swab tests will be available from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesdays and Wednesdays at the University Union’s Sandburg Lounge in Macomb, and from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Thursdays at the Riverfront Hall Reception Desk on the Quad Cities campus.
Meanwhile, most area counties remain at medium level of coronavirus spread as of Thursday, according to the Illinois Department of Public Health.
That includes McDonough, Fulton, Knox, Warren, and Henderson. The CDC recommends at this level that those who are high risk or live with people at high risk wear masks indoors.
Hancock County is at low risk level, as are Lee and Des Moines counties in southeast Iowa.
But Adams, Schuyler and Brown counties are at a high level of spread. Residents in those counties are advised to wear masks indoors regardless of vaccination status.
Route 336 reconfiguration project underway
Road construction crews began work on Wednesday to reconfigure an intersection in McDonough County.
The Illinois Department of Transportation said it is making the change because there have been nine crashes and four fatalities since 2015 at Route 336 and County Road 600 East near Colchester.
The transportation agency said the intersection will be converted into a partial restricted crossing U-turn intersection, also known as a J-turn.
When complete, southbound traffic on County Road 600 East wanting to head east on Route 336 will first turn right onto westbound Illinois 336. Drivers will use the existing left-turn lane to make a U-turn onto eastbound Illinois 336.
The agency said this configuration increases safety by reducing the number of conflict points in the intersection.
The project will begin with construction of a concrete median, which will close northbound County Road 600 East between Route 336 and County Road 900 North for a week.
Motorists can expect delays and should allow extra time for trips through this area. To avoid the work area, when feasible, use of alternate routes should be considered.
IDOT expects to finish the entire project in August.
Astoria, East Galesburg secure federal funds
A federal transportation, housing and urban development bill includes projects for a couple of small towns in the area.
The bill secures over $1 million for Martin Park in the village of East Galesburg.
Upgrades will include a splash pad, patio, benches, a building for events, and new fencing and sidewalks.
It also secures around $500,000 for Astoria to acquire and demolish adjoining buildings in the downtown business district that are rapidly deteriorating.
Sandburg approves balanced budget
Carl Sandburg College has approved a $30.4 million budget for fiscal year 2023.
The balanced budget includes almost $7 million in the building bonds fund to go towards construction of a new science and technology building and other campus projects.
The new building will be the first major construction on the Galesburg campus in 15 years.
“Overall, the College remains financially healthy with revenues projected over expenses for the next five years,” said Cory Gall, Vice President of Administrative Services and CFO.
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