Macomb, IL – An installation piece now on display at Western's art gallery focuses on contaminated water and how it affects children. The piece is called "All About Water." It was created specifically for the W.I.U. Art Gallery by New York artist Mary Giehl. She wants to motivate her audience to think about the 4,000 children who die each day because of unclean water. Giehl says the installation ties into Western's campus theme for the new school year, which is "Global Challenges and Personal Responsibility." The piece will remain on display until September 22.
Macomb, IL – McDonough County's new five-year health plan will look for ways to provide greater access to health care. Plan coordinator Marci Roberts says future meetings will determine how that might be done. Roberts also says the previous plan called for a focus on obesity and heart disease and those will continue to be concerns in the new plan. Roberts says the new plan will also look for ways to assist the county's aging population. The department plans to expand some of its educational and health screening activities.
Biggsville, IL – Highway 34 is a four-lane road from Interstate 74 to Monmouth, and it will soon be a four-lane highway from Burlington to Des Moines. That leaves a 22-mile stretch in the middle still in need of an upgrade. Supporters know the project won't get done overnight but they remain optimistic. Highway 34 Coalition Chairman Kurt McChesney says safety is the biggest concern. He also believes Henderson County's economy will be helped once the stretch becomes a four-lane highway. McChesney says the nation's new transportation bill includes more than $8 million for the road.
Hamilton, IL – Hamilton teachers were in the classroom for the first day of school after approving a new contract with the district early Friday morning. Teachers had threatened to begin the school year on the picket line if a deal was not in place. Details of the contract are not being released until the Board of Education ratifies it. The board is expected to hold a special meeting Monday night to vote on the contract. The deal was reached after a nine hour bargaining session that included a federal mediator.
Keokuk, IA – Residents within the Southeastern Community College District recently had the chance to share their thoughts on what they want in SCC's next president. The process to replace former President Jim Richardson is underway. Search consultant and Iowa State University Professor, Larry Ebbers, says more than 100 people attended four recent public forums. He says people want SCC's next president to have many positive qualities. A forum was held on each of SCC's four campuses. Applications are due September 2nd.
Keokuk, IA – The Keokuk City Council still has some questions about a proposal to sell part of a city park. The council has voted to sell more than 3 acres of Tolmie Park for about $400,000 dollars to a St. Louis-based development firm. One provision of the deal is that the council must approve the final agreement because aldermen have not seen that document. City Attorney Tom Marion says he is still reviewing the development group's response to the city's original proposal. You can hear Jason Parrott's entire report by clicking on the audio link above
Macomb, IL – The head of Macomb's Chamber of Commerce Transportation Committee believes it's time to raise the Illinois gas tax. Bruce Biagini says the additional money will be needed to cover matching funds for road projects in the new federal transportation bill. He says the gas tax is higher in Iowa, but gasoline is generally cheaper in that state. He says that shows distributors set a pump price that bears no relationship to tax levels. Biagini says Illinois must come up with at least a 20 percent match on more than $1.2 billion in road projects each year.
Rushville, IL – The Schuyler-Industry school district faculty might approve a tentative contract soon, but it can not be made official until next month. Superintendent Matt Plater says negotiations resulted in a pair of offers for faculty members to consider. However, the former teachers union ceased to exist when the Industry and Schuyler districts merged. Plater says the Illinois Education Association has applied to be the bargaining agent for the faculty, but it has not yet been approved by the Illinois Educational Labor Relations Board.
Macomb, IL – An update of the McDonough County Affirmative Action Policy will focus on notifying minority groups when there are job openings. Board Member Linda Jani says the update was a response to the NAACP appearing before the board to ask for more of an affirmative search for minority employees. Jani says representatives from any minority group can ask to be notified. However, given the county's tight budget situation, she expects few openings.
Hamilton, IL – Teachers within the Hamilton School District have voted to strike if a new working agreement is not reached by Friday morning. Hamilton Education Assoication President, Renee Zinnert, says the teachers weighed all of their options before taking the strike vote. More than 50 educators and community members attended Wednesday night's school board meeting to stress the importance of reaching a deal. The current contract between the district and its teachers runs out Thursday. Another negotiation session is scheduled for Thursday night.