Posted September 20, 2017
This is Miller Media Group president Randal J. Miller, here to remininise about our quarter century serving our listeners and advertisers in the Taylorville, Pana, and Shelbyville markets.
It was the day after Labor Day in 1992, that I took over management, then ownership, in WTIM Radio.
In the 25 years that have ensued, my wife and I have raised our 3 girls in Taylorville, they all graduated from Taylorville High School, and are now gainfully employed, I'm proud to say!
And, in those 25 years, our Taylorville group has grown from one station to 6.
We thank God for opening the door for our family to come to Taylorville, Pana and Shelbyville 25 years ago. We are blessed with countless friends, business relationships, and people that have been there for us in good and bad over this past quarter century.
There are 2 special relationships we've worked hard to build over this past quarter century, and that is with our listeners and our advertisers.
Every day, we strive to create compelling local content that attracts listeners. And, every day we offer the listenership we've worked hard to build, to local businesses in giving them an opportunity to effectively attract customers to their business.
As we begin the next quarter century of service, I want you to personally know how much YOU are appreciated, and that everything all of us at the Miller Media Group do every day, is to serve YOU.
THANKS for 25 great years...and here's to 25 more!
REPORT A BULLY
Bullying. A word all of us are, unfortunately, familiar with. Bullying can happen to anyone – someone who is the quiet one or even the tough guy in class. It can come from anyone also– girls, boys, preschoolers, etc. A sure thing is that no one deserves to be bullied. For those that get bullied, they need to know it’s not their fault. Bullying includes repeated behaviors that focus on making someone else feel inadequate or belittled. It comes in many forms, such as harassment, physical harm, and demeaning words. Bullying makes the person feel less about whom they are.
According to Teen’s Against Bullying, this year, 13 million students will be bullied, which is almost one of every four students. Because of bullying, teens who are bullied, and even those who are witnesses to bullying, are scared to go to school. This hinders the learning in our schools for students, which is another reason why it is time to have “all hands-on deck” when it comes to preventing bullying.
Who gets bullied and who does it?
As noted earlier, bullying can happen to anyone, but let’s focus on teenagers. Teens are the largest age group of getting targeted, but also of being the “bully”. The targets for teen bullying are those who are perceived to be different by a disability, race, sex, body shape, etc. It’s not about appearance as some might think. We may say, “it’s the kid in all black” or “the one who gets mad”. In all reality, it could be the kid at the top of the class or the star athlete. It’s about behavior. Teens who bully can be any size, age, race, gender, or in any social class. Bullying is becoming more common amongst younger teens. However, unlike older teens, the younger teens are using physical bullying, which is easier to see. Older teens are utilizing other methods like social media, which is harder to identify. Bullying trends can be seen by gender. Boys are more likely to use physical bullying and girls lean toward verbal and emotional, such as targeting others with nasty rumors.
How do people get bullied?
There are many forms of bullying:
Physical. This is self-explanatory. The instigator attempts to physically harm the other person by kicking, punching, shoving, etc. With this type, the instigator instills fear in the one being bullied and often, coerces the other person to do something.
Verbal. This is the use of demeaning language to tear down another person. Excessive teasing, belittling words and uses of sarcasm are common ways to hurt the other person’s feelings or humiliate them.
Emotional. This type of bullying is designed to get someone else to feel isolated and alone, which can often cause depression and is becoming frequent for teens.
Cyber. Electronic bullying is becoming a serious problem for teens. Through social media and text messages, bullies are humiliating and embarrassing others and can be extremely devastating to the one’s being bullied.
What can we do to stop teen bullying?
Teen bullying can be difficult to address, but there are things we can do as a community. To start, family members should discourage bullying. First, it’s important to understand that all bystanders, a person who witnesses bullying, have an opportunity to prevent this from happening. For example, if a teen is in a group of friends and one of the friends is bullying someone else in front of them, that group has a decision to make – to let this happen or stop the bully. This “group” is really important and their reaction has a direct impact on the bully, and the situation. As a community, we must work together to educate our teens about bullying. We need to show them how being a bystander only hurts someone else. Second, our teens should be encouraged to find friends who are supportive and kind. Having a strong friend network can minimize bullying, as bullies are targeting those who are alone. Supportive and diverse environments are crucial in the fight against bullying. Our community is enriched with different types of people, and with your help, we can be role models to show our teens that bullying shouldn’t happen.
If you have any questions about bullying or how you can help in our community with bullying prevention, please reach out to your local law enforcement for more information.
Letter to the Editor
Posted September 12, 2017
Educating kids should be a bipartisan issue. Two weeks ago, in the General Assembly, it finally was. After years of working on this issue and months of intense negotiations, the General Assembly passed a landmark school funding reform law that will fundamentally transform the way that Illinois funds our schools. This once-in-a-generation school funding reform legislation is the single most important, bipartisan reform Illinois has seen in decades. As Downstate legislators of different political parties, we were proud to work together on behalf of the schools and children we represent in negotiating the final agreement.
Illinois will go from having the worst school funding formula in the country to having one of the best. Students in school districts lacking local wealth will be prioritized regardless of zip code. That means underfunded Downstate districts will get the help they need.
There has been a lot of discussion about the imperfections of the bill. To paraphrase one of our colleagues, this is what compromise looks like. Neither side got everything they wanted but both sides got something. In the end, this is a transformative reform and a victory for every student in the state.
One main Republican concern under the previous version of school funding reform was that Chicago would have received their pension payment through the school funding formula - skewing education dollars to CPS first. Under this compromise Chicago still does well, like all other underfunded school districts. The bipartisan agreement pays Downstate teacher pension in full and moves Chicago’s pension costs out of the school funding formula treating them like every other school district in the state. Chicago is also given the ability to raise their property taxes so that they will support their own schools locally like every other district in the state.
One main Democratic concern under the Governor’s amendatory veto of a the previous version of school funding reform was his move to strike several provisions that protected underfunded schools in future years from potential cuts. The bipartisan agreement keeps these provisions intact. That will ensure that the state continues to make underfunded schools the highest priority with the goal of eliminating our worst-in-the-nation inequity gap.
In short, this compromise treats all 852 school districts the same and will benefit every school district and every student in Illinois.
We have had real disagreements on school funding reform along the way. You have probably heard our disagreements in your local paper and in the media. But at the same time, the well-being of the schools and students we collectively represent took precedent over partisanship. In the final school funding reform deal, the sponsors of the bill were both balanced and bipartisan - five democrats and four republicans including both of us. We believe this reform legislation represents what bipartisan compromise should look like.
In a state as regionally and economically diverse as Illinois, changing such a formula is a difficult proposition under the best of circumstances. Yet, under some of the most difficult circumstances, this summer state lawmakers and Governor Rauner came together to stand up for Illinois’ two million public schoolchildren by voting for and signing a comprehensive school funding overhaul.
SB 1947, the final compromise, is a landmark reform for school funding. It became possible because legislators from both parties and from all parts of the State decided to work together and compromise.
Kids took priority over politics and every student in Illinois is better off for it.
Senator Andy Manar is a Democrat from Bunker Hill. Representative Avery Bourne is a Republican from Raymond. They were part of the group of state lawmakers that negotiated the bipartisan school funding reform legislation signed into law Aug. 31.
Letter to the Editor
Posted September 5, 2017
Written In Opposition To Proposed Hog Confinement by Dereke Dunkirk & Borgic Farms
This letter is being written to you in opposition of the proposed new Dereke hog confinement facility proposed on E. 5th Road, Farmersville, and any expansion thereafter. All residents will be affected by this facility if constructed, either directly or indirectly.
My property is about a mile from the proposed site. Some residents are closer to the site, while others will be caught between the current hog confinement on Morrisonville Avenue, west, and the new proposed one to the east. They would be less than three miles apart. Two hog confinement facilities in our rural neighborhood is too many and puts us at severe risks.
It seems they are building all the hog confinements around Farmersville. We have at least three now. Residents had no prior notification of this concentrated hog facility or any information on it: wean to finish operation, waste application intentions, use of hormones or steroid feed additives, available water sources, etc. There are several environmental, financial and quality of life factors that put myself and my neighbors at risk if this facility can be built here.
The first major concern is our water and the flooding issues we have in this area by the proposed site and south, east, north, west of it and directly in front of the just recently sunk well. It is scientifically proven that hog waste, fumes, chemical applications, and various diseases will contaminate our water, air, and soil with field and ditch run off, leakage and spills. Last year a tanker carrying hog waste from outside of Farmersville had a large gash in the side of the tanker and the driver knew it but kept hauling several loads from Route 48 down E. 5th Road heading north. I could smell it from inside my home. Finally, a law enforcement officer stopped this. It was gushing from the tanker all over the road for over seven miles at least. The smell was the worst I have ever experienced in my life and it lasted for days! There wasn’t any clean up by anyone and it drained into the ditch when it rained.
I have hauled water on numerous occasions over the last few years during dry conditions and worry that our water table will not be able to support a facility of this size or smaller, because at times it cannot support us. When they have applied the manure application on the fields it does drain into our water supply and the stench alone keeps me confined to my home. The direct injection method some use does not prevent the run off that drains onto our properties and into our wells because some of the land is lower and more prone to flooding (coal mine/Gob Nob), in addition to lack of field tile or adequate drainage in the fields. This becomes a public health and safety concern.
Hog waste impacts our watershed and not just the areas immediately surrounding our neighborhood. Water flows as you well know. This contamination impacts waterways and pollutes our drinking water and the water for hundreds of residents downstream, many of whom do not know where this facility will be located. It is important to recognize the cumulative impacts of multiple hog confinements in our area. Two hog confinement facilities within three miles of our rural neighborhood is too many and puts us at severe risks. WE all need and deserve a sustainable and uncontaminated water source.
Flooding is an issue here, due to the low-lying round and absentee landlords who lease their ground and do not take care of it, nor do the farmers they lease to. I have had almost three feet of water in two acres of pasture, had my paddock flooded all the up to my barn, and this is after they sprayed the field with manure. It cost me several hundred dollars to haul dirt to build up where the farmers field would flood my property. The insurance company won’t cover it and would have to redo my entire fence line. The landowner assured me the farmer would make good for all the property destroyed. Not so.
The second major concern is our air. It is well known how horrific hog facilities, lagoons and manure field applications smell. It sickens you to the core. The odors and toxins emitted into our air will be detrimental to our health and our quality of life. Many of us spend more time outdoors than in – mowing, gardening, horseback riding, fishing, caring for other small livestock, camping, entertaining family and friends – and this facility would halt these activities, as it does when they liquid manure the fields. These odors impair our air quality which is a serious health hazard, not just a nuisance. Health issues from these fumes cause mucous membrane and throat irritation, respiratory conditions, stress, anxiety, reduced lung function and acute blood pressure elevation.
The dangerous and deadly effects of ammonia, hydrogen sulfide, methane, and other dangerous gases that rise from decomposing manure are associated with numerous diseases like E. coli, Salmonella, influenza, chronic respiratory problems and antibiotic resistant strains of MRSA and staph.
The third major concern is our land and soil. Antibiotic resistant bacteria can reach and infect us through consumption of contaminated food, through direct contact with animals, or through contamination of soil or water with the antibiotic resistant bacteria. These same bacteria are found in swine waste lagoons and on fields where manure is used as fertilizer. These residues have been found in both surface and groundwater supplies around the state of Illinois. Antimicrobials have also been found in private water wells, surface and groundwater supplies, demonstrating that contamination of drinking water is a reality and a threat to our health, not just a possibility.
The hog confinement will also damage our county roads and increase truck traffic on East 5th Road.
The fourth major concern is the damage to our property, its value, and the increased financial hardship this hog farm will cause. Damage to our properties is inevitable, due to the field spray which was used this spring and has rusted my barn already. Property values plummet to almost 40 percent in some areas, depending on the scale of the stench and the resale value can be less than what your paid for your home.
The county and Illinois need to implement sound AG policies and practices that protect the environment, human health and our rural quality of life from the impacts of these concentrated hog confinements.
Farmersville, IL 62533