Macomb, IL – Congressman Lane Evans believes workers and farmers in his district will be hurt by the president's decision to sign the CAFTA bill into law. The Central American Free Trade Agreement is similar to NAFTA. Supporters say it will open international trade by leveling the playing field for exporters. Democratic Congressman Evans says that like NAFTA, CAFTA will cost American workers jobs. He does not believe the bill will strengthen young democracies in Central America. He does believe American farmers will be hurt because of unfair foreign subsidies on foreign goods.
Fort Madison, IA – A new line of communication appears to have opened in the recent war of words between elected leaders in Lee County. The Board of Supervisors used its public workshop to discuss a few budget cutting efforts with the county's five other elected leaders. The coalition has objected to the board cutting the workweek for some workers, increasing insurance costs for others, and limiting the spending authority the elected leaders currently have. Both sides say the meeting was a good first step.
Bardolph, IL – The village of Bardolph has its first new storm siren in 80 years. Village Board President Tom Ford says the old siren was not reliable. It also did not have the battery backup that the new $13,000 siren has. The new one will also be triggered from the county dispatch center by radio. That eliminates the cost of a telephone line.
Hamilton, IL – The Illinois Department of Transporation may make changes to a tricky stretch of Highway 136 between Keokuk and Hamilton. Hamilton Mayor Steve Woodruff says a DOT representative told the city that the agency would look into the how a merge lane just before the southeast entrance to Hamilton is labeled. He says the need for an improvement is apparant. Woodruff says the state has discussed painting arrows on the road, setting up larger signs, or even moving the merge lane.
Macomb, IL – The world's largest retailer is giving up its battle against a small western Illinois town. Wal-Mart is voluntarily withdrawing its lawsuit against Macomb. The retailer filed the suit in an attempt to have a liquor license created for its store on East Jackson Street. The battle began nearly two years ago when Macomb aldermen voted against creating the license. The company petitioned the state for a rehearing but was turned down. Wal-Mart then filed its lawsuit about one year ago, saying the city had no good reason to deny its application.
Des Moines, IA – Iowa's governor says the state's new anti-meth legislation is producing positive results. Governor Tom Vilsack says the number of clandestine meth labs found across the state during the last three months is down 75%. That includes a nearly 90% drop in July, according to preliminary reports. Vilsack says the measure allows more law enforcement resources to be used for local security. Iowa's law is considered the toughest in the nation. Keokuk Police Chief RL Dobson says the number of meth labs in Lee County is also down during that time.
Rushville, IL – Rushville's mayor is trying to find specialists for a newly-formed committee. Ron Shepherd says it's hard to find people with expertise in construction, history, finance, or architectural design in a small farming community. He's seeking members for the Rushville Historic Preservation Committee. It will guide those who seek help restoring buildings authentically. It will also evaluate structures and sites in the town to recommend which should be preserved or refurbished.
Macomb, IL – The Western Illinois Museum in Macomb will showcase farm equipment from the late 1800s through the 1930s. It hopes to provide a glimpse into the life of the early 20th century farmer. Museum curator Jennifer Ring Edwards says the exhibit will focus on the life of farmers from the region. In addition, she says some of the equipment on display will be from regional manufacturers. The exhibit, "Down on the Farm," opens next week and will be on display through the end of October.
Carthage, IL – Carthage aldermen will consider changing policy to have new stray cats that are picked up taken directly to a veterinarian for euthanasia. City Clerk Katherine Graham says the policy would not be popular. However, the city's shelter has reached capacity for cats. A privately-run no-kill shelter called My Matthew's House is also nearing capacity. Martha Anderson of My Matthew's House says she will propose the idea of having those volunteers screen cats picked up by the animal control officer. Those deemed adoptable could be taken to the volunteer shelter.
Monmouth, IL – Monmouth is moving ahead with plans to build a skywalk over Highway 34. The city's share of the estimated $1.4 million project would be about $280,000. The city hopes to get the rest through an Illinois Department of Transportation grant. Mayor Rod Davies says the skywalk would provide a safe way to get pedestrians over a busy bypass to the Citizen's Lake recreation facilities. The skywalk could be used by bike riders and would be handicapped accessible. The city hopes to know by December whether it will receive the grant.