In Other Words, “Put on Your Seatbelt or Pay a Fine”

State and local law officers are beginning a “Click it or ticket” effort tomorrow(Saturday) that will carry through this Memorial Day weekend.  

Iowa Highway Patrol Trooper Vince Kurtz says the goal is simple — to make sure everyone is buckled up. Iowa currently has a 93-percent statewide, daytime seatbelt average, ranking Iowa in the top ten in the nation. The nighttime seatbelt average is only 39-percent. It is the start of the summer driving season and that leads to more vehicles on the road, and the possibility of more accidents. Continue Reading


Iowa Falls in Latest Health Foundation Rankings for Seniors

Iowa has dropped a few spots in an annual ranking of the states on the health of adults aged 65 and older. The United Health Foundation’s report places Iowa 13th in the nation for senior health, down from 7th last year. Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH) medical director Dr. Patricia Quinlisk says there’s plenty of positive news in the report, such as Iowa’s best-in-the-nation influenza vaccination rate among seniors.  The report shows just over 70-percent of Iowans 65-and-older got the flu vaccine last year. Nearly 30-percent of Iowa seniors are listed as being obese, placing the state as one of the worst in the nation in that category, but she notes the IDPH has several programs in place that are designed to improve older Iowans’ health. Continue Reading


Illinois Schools Told What to Expect if Legislature Doesn’t Extend Income Tax Hike

Illinois schools would be allowed to stop teaching things like physical education, drivers’ ed and black history under a proposal that has cleared a state Senate committee. The panel approved the amendment to a school funding bill and could make more changes. Illinois schools say they are underfunded at a time when they’re being forced to teach more topics. And speaking of that, the state’s Budget Office has released a list of all Illinois districts and how much it says each would have to raise property taxes to offset the loss of state income tax, if it falls to its previous (3.75%) rate, as it’s scheduled to do in January. Here’s how it looks in our area, if the legislature doesn’t keep the rate at five percent:

In the West Central combined district…the school board would have to raise the property tax 7.8 percent. Continue Reading


UPDATED: Fire Crews Extinguished Grain Bin Fire

They couldn’t use an auger and they couldn’t use water, so crews in Adair Illinois this afternoon cut four holes into the large grain bin to remove the smoldering corn. Officials were called to the grain storage bin, which is operated by Western Grain Marketing, Monday afternoon at around 2:30, and had to wait until today to receive additional resources to begin removal of the grain. The bin, located at the intersection of Illinois Route 136 and Illinois Route 41 in McDonough County was reported to have had about 700,000 bushels of dried corn inside. As of 3:30pm, and after an entire day of figuring out how to battle the fire, it was extinguished and US Route 136 has been opened for normal traffic. Continue Reading

Muscatine, Washington(IA) Nursing Homes File for Bankruptcy

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Two Iowa nursing homes run by a man who once declared he was a candidate for governor have filed for bankruptcy protection. The Des Moines Register reports All-American Restorative Care of Washington and All-American Care Center in Muscatine are owned by Jerry Rhoads, a Muscatine accountant. Rhoads claims $7.2 million in debt and $889,000 in assets including two homes each worth more than $360,000 and $35,000 in equity in a Mexican beach resort timeshare. Potential liabilities are five wrongful-death claims filed against an Arkansas facility Rhoads once operated. Rhoads, who said last September he would run for governor, says he is not a bad person. Continue Reading

W. IL Site Considered for Nat’l Park

CHICAGO (AP) — Illinois’ U.S. senators want the federal government to consider national park status for the site of the first town founded and built by a freed slave before the Civil War.  


U.S. Sens. Dick Durbin and Mark Kirk say the New Philadelphia archaeological site in western Illinois has “exceptional historical significance.” They say designating it as part of the national park system would ensure the area is protected. New Philadelphia was plotted in 1836 as the first fully racially integrated community before the Civil War. Continue Reading

Nat’l Safe Boating Week Underway

With the Memorial Day holiday nearing, many Iowans are getting their boats ready for launch and National Safe Boating Week starts this weekend.  

Susan Stocker is the boating law administrator and education coordinator with the Iowa Department of Natural Resources. Stocker says the numbers of boating-related arrests, injuries and deaths were all down in Iowa last year compared with 2012.  In 2012, there were 95 B-W-I arrests, 21 personal injuries and 10 fatalities.  

Stocker says all boaters need to follow the rules and regulations while enjoying the water. Continue Reading


One Door Closes While Another Opens: Local Jobs

In the wake of DuPont-Pioneer’s announcement that it’s closing its Mt. Pleasant seed production plant, a western Iowa-based company says it’s opening a large-scale facility in the Monmouth area.  

The DuPont-Pioneer move will idle about 50 employees, but the Cloverleaf Cold Storage news, to be officially announced today, will bring an estimated 150 jobs to Warren County, Illinois.  

In fact, Illinois Governor Pat Quinn will travel to west-central Illinois today to discuss the project and campaign on behalf of Illinois’ economy. Continue Reading

Cedar Rapids Officials Not Done with Casino Push

Cedar Rapids Mayor Ron Corbett says the next stop in trying to win a casino for his city could be in Des Moines.  

State regulators voted 4-1 last month against awarding a license to developers for a proposed casino in downtown Cedar Rapids. Corbett is a former legislator, and says getting such issues passed in the legislature isn’t always easy, though he says lawmakers have recently reached agreement on things like property tax reform and education reform. Racing and Gaming commissioners said they feared the impact of a new casino on existing facilities and Corbett sees that argument coming up again at the capitol. He says they would push the case for a more open system of handing out gambling licenses. Continue Reading