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Around the Tri States: Gannett to lay off more journalists; Bushnell man arrested for sexual assault

Jane Carlson
Tri States Public Radio

A weekly roundup of news from around the region.

Gannett to lay off more journalists

Gannett Media, the country’s largest newspaper chain, announced it will lay off more journalists in early December.

This comes after Gannett let go of hundreds of newsroom employees across the country in August, including reporters and editors at newspapers in west central Illinois and southeast Iowa.

Then in October, Gannett implemented mandatory furloughs for remaining employees and suspended the company’s match for employees’ 401(k) plans.

Gannett owns the Galesburg Register-Mail, Monmouth Review Atlas, McDonough County Voice, and the Burlington Hawk Eye.

The Prairie Review was also owned by Gannett, but that newspaper has ceased publication.

According to Gannett executives, the company’s news costs are higher than the revenue its news operations generate.

They hope the cuts will help the company enter the new year in a better financial position.

Bushnell man arrested for sexual assault

A Bushnell man who is already a registered sex offender is now accused in an assault that happened over the Fourth of July weekend.

Thomas Hardi, 26, is charged with criminal sexual assault for an attack on a girl under the age of 17. The alleged assault happened near Bushnell.

The McDonough County Sheriff’s Department said Hardi was arrested at his home on Friday evening, Nov. 11.

His bond is $50,000.

Western Illinois man sentenced in sex crime case

A federal judge sentenced Michael Kamphaus, 34, of Payson, to more than 11 years in prison after Kamphaus pleaded guilty to a charge of attempted enticement of a minor.

Prosecutors said that in March of this year, Kamphaus spoke with someone who he thought was the father of a 12-year old girl. The person offered Kamphaus a chance to have sex with the girl in exchange for money.

They worked out details, and Kamphaus later drove to meet the father and daughter in Peoria, where federal agents arrested him.

The U.S. Department of Justice said the case was part of Project Safe Childhood, which is an effort to combat child sexual exploitation and abuse.

MCPT buses headed to museum

Two buses used by McDonough County Public Transportation are being retired. But they are not headed to the scrap heap.

Instead, they will be donated to the Midwest Bus Museum in Richmond, Illinois. The community is located in far northern Illinois, not far from the Wisconsin border.

The museum was incorporated in 2020. Its website said the museum preserves transportation history one bus at a time, with an emphasis on North American school buses.

Fire damages garage in Good Hope

A fire caused significant damage to a garage on Highway 67 in Good Hope on Thursday morning.

The homeowner told firefighters that a space heater caught on fire. He tried to put it out with an extinguisher before crews arrived.

No injuries are reported.

Tri States Public Radio produced these stories.  TSPR relies on financial support from our readers and listeners in order to provide coverage of the issues that matter to west central Illinois, southeast Iowa, and northeast Missouri. As someone who values the content created by TSPR's news department please consider making a financial contribution.