April 17, 2014
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Virginia schools spring break shortened

By Leigh Morris
For the Star-Gazette
Virginia’s kids and parents can blame the loss of two spring break days on Old Man Winter.
“We’ve lost five student instruction days,” School Superintendent Brent O’Daniell told the board at its Feb. 18 meeting. O’Daniell stressed that he felt it was imperative to make up as many of those days as possible. Board members were in agreement.

School consolidation supporters hold last informational meeting

By Michael Kloppenburg
For the Star-Gazette
Finances, taxes, courses, and buildings were again the focus of discussion at the last consolidation informational meeting, which was held at PORTA high school. PORTA’s finances were again discussed with former Committee of Ten co-chair Allen Grosboll. Grosboll said that PORTA has a growing budget surplus. He said PORTA previously had financial difficulties, but the situation had improved. Grosboll has previously said PORTA and A-C Central have similar financial histories and again emphasized that all rural Illinois school districts faced similar problems due to state aid cuts.

Patterson vetoes council action

By June Conner
For the Star-Gazette
Mayor Steve Patterson has vetoed council action of February 18, allowing Public Works Director Gary Hamilton back pay for work he accomplished under the administration of former Mayor Bob Walters. Hamilton requested a $9,000 stipend for his appointed work as Zoning/Ordinance Officer for 18 months, a position now held by Alex DeSollar.

Reopening of marina main topic at city council meeting

By Steve Capps
For the Star-Gazette
Beardstown inched slightly closer to regaining access to the Illinois River during last week's meeting of the city council. The council voted to retain Hutchinson Engineering for the legwork to renew an existing permit to reopen the city marina.
Mayor Steve Patterson told the council that, despite rumors to the contrary, "nobody's been hired for anything." Patterson briefed the council on recent meetings with the Corps of Engineers, Congressman Aaron Schock, IDOT officials and others.  He then turned the presentation over to J.J. DeSollar who has served on the river access committee since its inception during the Bonansinga administration.

ICC decision moves FutureGen closer to reality

By Leigh Morris
For the Star-Gazette
An order issued last Thursday by the Illinois Commerce Commission (ICC) will allow the FutureGen Industrial Alliance to build an operate a carbon dioxide (CO2) pipeline from the generating plant in Meredosia to a permanent storage site southwest of Ashland in Morgan County.