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Venise McWard Sworn In to Christian County Board, Filling Seat Vacated by Ashley Linton


Christian County’s newest board member was sworn into office at Tuesday night’s county board meeting. Venise McWard is filling the seat vacated by Ashley Linton, and she will serve Christian County’s first district.


McWard, a Stonington native, says the support she has received from her friends and family has been overwhelming.



McWard will be up for re-election next spring, so she looks forward to meeting her constituents during the next several months.



Other actions items at Tuesday’s meeting included motions to approve the purchase of a Jumping Jack Compactor for the highway department, and two culvert projects were approved. The board also approved the contract with AFSCME for the county’s probation officers, giving the officers an equity adjustment in their pay making it more in line with the other probation officers in the Fourth Judicial Circuit.



Morrisonville Teen Shows His Barrow at Governor's Sale of Champions at State Fair

Being in the Governor’s Sale of Champions is something all livestock exhibitors dream about, and one Morrisonville teen got to participate in the event on Tuesday. 13-year-old Cooper Bertilino showed his grand champion barrow at this year’s Sale of Champions.


Bertilino says the barrow got it’s name for a special reason.



Bertilino says although presenting in the collesium was nerve-wracking for him, his barrow behaved just as he expected.



As one of the ten Sale of Champions participants, Bertilino will receive $6,000 in scholarships from AT&T and the CME group.


Effingham Chamber of Commerce Representative Selected for National Fellowship


An area Chamber of Commerce employee has been selected to a national fellowship to study education attainment and workforce development. The Effingham County Chamber of Commerce’s Director of Workforce Development JoAnn Sasse Givens has been selected to the fellowship by the Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives (ACCE).


Other chamber of commerces represented include Brooklyn, New York, Detroit and Atlanta. Sasse Givens says it’s an honor for her and the chamber to be selected to a group with many bigger communities.



Through the fellowship, each participant is required to come up with a regional action plan that focuses on addressing specific education attainment or workforce development issues in their communities. Sasse Givens says she has some ideas for Effingham that she will research through the fellowship.



Sasse Givens is one of 21 chamber of commerce professionals from communities throughout the United States to be selected for the fellowship.


Greater Taylorville Chamber Chillifest Chilli, Salsa, Verde Cook-Off Registration Form Now Available

-The form to enter this year's chilli, salsa, and verde cookoffs at the 32nd annual Greater Taylorville Chamber of Commerce Chillifest on the square October 7th and 8th, is now available.

The form can be downloaded from the event's web site, chillifest-dot-info, that's chillifest with 2-L's, or can be picked up at the Chamber office on the 2nd floor of the U-S Bank building on the south side of the Taylorville square.

The are actually 2 cookoffs:  The Chill-inois Regional Cook-Off Saturday, October 7th, and the Central States Regional Cook-Off Sunday, October 8th.  Both cook-offs are sanctioned by the International Chilli Society.

Any registration fees must be paid at the time the application is submitted.

For more information on this year's Greater Taylorville Chamber Chillifest Cook-offs, contact Cook-off chair Tom Calvert at 565-2791.


Fuerstenau Among Education Leaders to Testify on SB1 to House Panel Wednesday

The Illinois House will start the proceedings on Senate Bill 1 Wednesday morning, and many area school leaders will be in Springfield to testify on the bill and education funding reform.


Taylorville Superintendent Dr. Gregg Fuerstenau is among the education officials that will be in the state capitol for the proceedings. He says he doesn’t have a clear idea when the house will take any kind of vote on SB1.



Fuerstenau says lawmakers and education leaders have committed too much time to give up on school funding reform.



Fuerstenau says as of Monday, SB1 had not been recorded in the house log. He says once it is in the log, the Illinois House has 15 days to act on Governor Rauner’s veto.


Congressman Rodney Davis Says Tax Reform Is Long Overdue

After several failed attempts at heath care reform, Congress is now shifting gears and setting their sights on tax code reform. Illinois Congressman Rodney Davis says tax reform is essential to helping middle class families, and helping small businesses grow.
Davis recently kicked off a “tax reform tour”, where he's getting input from businesses in Central Illinois on how legislators can change the tax codes to help businesses and it's employees. Davis says tax reform is an issue that's long overdue.
According to Davis, there are elements in the current tax codes that are keeping small businesses from continuing to grow.
Illinois Congressman Rodney Davis appeared as a guest on the Newstalk WTIM Morning Show.


Illinois State Historical Society Working to Preserve Illinois History

The Illinois State Historical Society is working to preserve history in the state, and holds several fundraisers throughout the year to help financially back their mission. The group publishes two history related publications, as well as supports students of history through scholarships, and local historical societies with projects they may have.
Gwen Podeschi with the Illinois State Historical Society appeared as a guest on the Newstalk WTIM Morning Show to help share the mission of the ISHS. One way they try to promote Illinois history is through various publications, such as their Journal of the Illinois State Historical Society.
The ISHS also gives scholarships to students of history, as well as supporting local historical societies.
To learn more about the Illinois State Historical Society, visit them online at


Bill Allows for K9 Cops to Get Ambulance Transport

Police dogs are in line to receive faster care when they get injured on the job. A bill signed by Governor Bruce Rauner will allow EMS crews to put a police dog in an ambulance for transport to a veterinary hospital. Illinois State Police Trooper Justin Royer says it will allow for speedy care in case his partner was ever injured on the job.

The bill does set precedence for humans to be transported first for emergency care if needed.


Davis and Bustos talk locks and dams at State Fair Ag Day

Even on the Illinois State Fairgrounds in Springfield the aging Lock and Dam system getting attention. The topic was addressed during State Fair Ag Day by two members of Illinois’ Congressional delegation. Democrat Cheri Bustos of Rock Island says investment is long overdue.

And Republican Rodney Davis of Taylorville is on board with significant federal dollars going to locks and dams and other infrastructure. 

Both Davis and Bustos serve on the House Ag Committee. 


Harold Making a Run for AG

Former Miss America Erika Harold is taking another shot in the political arena. After facing off against Congressman Rodney Davis in the 2014 GOP primary, Harold is now making a run for Illinois Attorney General. Barring a challenger, she will face four term AG Lisa Madigan next year.


Christian County TRIAD Senior Police Academy Approaching

The Christian County TRIAD program's Senior Police Academy is coming up, and the program has many different activities for seniors in Christian County to expand their knowledge of a number of different subjects.
Rich Peters with the Christian County TRIAD Program says the program has several field trips lined up, as well as a guest speaker.
The program's graduation ceremony will also have a guest speaker, with a resume that includes time with the FBI.
Peters appeared as a guest on the Newstalk WTIM Morning Show.


Chamber of Commerce Welcomes Central Counties Health Centers to Taylorville


The Greater Taylorville Chamber of Commerce officially welcomed Central Counties Health Centers to Taylorville Tuesday morning with a ribbon cutting ceremony. Business members from around the community were in attendance to welcome the CCHC’s third location in Taylorville. CCHC also has locations in Springfield and Jacksonville.


Heather Burton is the President and CEO of Central Counties Health Centers. She says anyone and everyone is welcome to be treated at CCHC.



Burton says behavioral health care will be added to their services in Taylorville this fall, and dental care will also be added further down the road. She says CCHC wants to be a part of the Taylorville community and give back to the community as they can.



Central Counties Health Centers’ Taylorville location is open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to noon and 1 to 5 p.m. For more information, you can give them a call at 287-7477.




Crimestoppers Crime of the Week - August 15, 2017

This week Crimestoppers is seeking information in regards to a theft that occurred in Taylorville.


Sometime around 4:00 pm on Tuesday August 8, 2017, an unknown subject made entry onto a property located at 403 East Park Street.  While there, the unknown subject took a LG Vista 2 cell phone.  The phone was sitting on the back of a vehicle that was parked at the residence.  No other items appeared to have been taken during the incident.  The total amount of the theft is over $800.


Please contact Crimestoppers if you have any information on this crime or any other crimes or wanted persons.  Crimestoppers will pay cash rewards of up to $1,000.00 for information that leads to an arrest and you do not have to give your name.  Crimestoppers will pay double the normal reward for information that leads to an arrest for the crime of the week.


You can contact Crimestoppers at 824-9100, at our website, or by texting CRIMES (274632) and then your tip.  As always, you will remain anonymous.  


Taylorville Police Remind Motorists to Drive Carefully as Students Return to School

Taylorville kids head back to class Wednesday, which means the normal school day traffic will return from its summer vacation as well. The Taylorville Police Department wants to remind all motorists to be careful with the extra traffic on the roads, especially near area schools.


Taylorville Police Chief Brian Hile says the school traffic can be frustrating, so take an alternate route if possible.



Hile says motorists should keep their eyes on the road and keep their speed down, as police will have extra patrols around Taylorville’s schools.



Hile says even with hands-free devices, talking on the phone or changing the radio dial can be a distraction while driving a vehicle. He says keeping your mind on the road is as important as keeping your hands on the wheel.


University of Illinois Extension Master Gardeners Open to Suggestion for Future Program Subjects

The University of Illinois Extension Master Gardeners recently partnered up with the Illinois State Historical Society to put on a program centered around heirloom seeds. The Master Gardeners say they would like to put on more programs in the future, and are open to suggestion of what residents in Central Illinois would like to learn more about.


Master Gardeners Gwen Podeschi along with Jim Daughtery both appeared as guests on the Newstalk WTIM Morning Show. Podeschi says the heirloom seed program had a great turnout.




Podeschi and Daughtery both say the Master Gardeners at the Extension are open to suggestions from the community as to what subjects they'd like to see future programs discuss.



If you'd like to suggest a program for the Master Gardeners, contact the Christian County Extension Office.


Rauner Changes Mind on What Is A Terror Attack

The Governor had to walk back comments surrounding the car attack that has left three dead in Charlottesville. Initially Republican Bruce Rauner wouldn’t call the act terrorism. Beginning this weekend Rauner chose not to use the term over and then again at press conference on Monday. Rauner tussled with reporters saying the attack was outrageous and horrible but at the time he wouldn’t call it a terrorist attack. 

Rauner also called Senate President John Cullerton asking for a meeting before his education funding veto outrageous. 

Rauner began taking heat over not having a stronger stance on the car attack from civic groups and Democratic candidates for Governor. A few hours later he issued a statement by email denouncing the attack calling it an act of domestic terrorism. 


Bill Prevents Preschoolers From Being Expelled

A new bill designed to keep young students in schools and not expelled picked up the Governor’s signature on Monday. The bill protects preschoolers from being kicked out critical early childhood education programs. The bill instead asks the school to document steps they will take to help correct the bad behavior. Democrat State Rep. Juliana Stratton says shocking as it may seem expulsion of preschoolers happens and it impacts some communities more than others. 

The bill will allow for children to be taken out of school setting if safety is a concern. 


Illinois Fairgrounds Foundation Hopes to Have Naming Rights Deal in Place for Several Buildings Next Year

The price tag is just shy of $200 million. That’s the kind of “tender-lovin” care both the Illinois State and Du Quoin Fairgrounds need and the not-for-profit Illinois Fairgrounds Foundation was created last year to lead fundraising efforts for the long overdue repairs says the group’s John Slayton.

The foundation has created a website and information on making donations is available at “”

The foundation hopes to have a naming rights deal in place for next year’s state fair involving the Coliseum, Grandstand, Livestock Center and Swine Building. 


SB1 Implications Loom Large at Monday's Taylorville School Board Meeting


As it is across the state, implications of the status of Senate Bill 1 played a big part in Monday night’s Taylorville School Board meeting. The biggest reason for SB1 looming over the meeting was the first presentation of the school district’s budget for the ‘17-’18 fiscal year.


In some good financial news, Illinois comptroller Susana Mendoza sent a categorical payment to districts across the state. Taylorville Superintendent Dr. Gregg Fuerstenau says the payment is a missed payment from the last fiscal year, and he appreciates the comptroller doing something as districts wait for the budgeted state aid.



The budget presented has the district bringing in roughly $20.9 million in revenue, with about $22.7 million in expenditures. Although there is about a $1.8 million deficit, the revenues budgeted do not include multiple categorical payments or any increase in general state aid.


Fuerstenau says with the numbers as tight as they are, that is why state money is so important to the district.



Monday’s meeting was the final board meeting before classes start Wednesday. Fuerstenau says the district is prepared to start another school year.



There will be a special hearing for the fiscal year ‘17-’18 budget at 6:45 p.m. on September 11th, right before the next regularly scheduled board meeting is set to begin at 7 p.m. at the Taylorville School District administration building.


The Taylorville School District has 14 new teachers this year across the district. They met school board members at a social held before the August 14th school board meeting.


Husband and Hog Calling Contest

The legendary Husband and Hog Calling Contest returned to the Illinois State Fair Sunday. A new approach paid big dividends for the winner in the Husband Calling Contest, Lisa McLaughlin of Petersburg. She turned to song to the get the victory.

Andrew Matheny of Georgetown went back to back collecting the win in the hog calling contest.

Matheny edged out ten time champ Chris Karr.


Representative Bourne Doesn't Think House Will Override SB1

All eyes now move to the Illinois House of Representatives as they will now look to vote to override Governor Bruce Rauner's veto on Senate Bill One, a school funding reform bill built on an evidence based model. State Representative of the 95th District Avery Bourne says she doesn't support SB1 in it's current form, saying it gives a disproportional amount of money to Chicago schools.
Bourne appeared as a guest on the Newstalk WTIM Morning Show and says both parties from both houses want to find a solution to the school funding problem in the state, but a last minute change to SB1 sent money money to Chicago.
The Illinois Senate voted to override the Governor's veto of the bill, however Representative Bourne says she doesn't think the house will do the same.
Per a stipulation in the Illinois budget, a new funding formula must be put in place before Illinois Schools can receive state aid appropriated in the budget.


$1 Million Powerball Ticket Sold in Raymond

If you bought a Powerball ticket for Saturday’s drawing in Raymond, you need to check that ticket. Someone bought a one million dollar winning ticket from a grocery story in the small Montgomery County community.


The winning Quick Pick ticket was purchased at West End Food Mart and matched the five numbers 20 - 24 - 26 - 35 – 49, but not the Powerball number 19 -- to win a $1,000,000 prize in Saturday's drawing. The retailer will receive a bonus of $10,000, or one percent of the prize amount, for selling the winning ticket. No one won Saturday’s Powerball drawing, and Wednesday’s jackpot currently stands at 430 million dollars.


The Illinois Lottery urges the lucky winner to immediately sign the back of the ticket and keep it in a safe place until they visit one of the Lottery’s five Prize Centers in Chicago, Des Plaines, Rockford, Springfield or Fairview Heights. Winners have one year from the original drawing date to claim their prize. 


Lone Republican to Vote to Override SB1 Veto Speaks Out

One Republican in the Senate broke party lines and voted to override the Governor’s veto of Senate Bill 1, and he is now speaking out. 50th district State Senator Sam McCann of Plainview was the lone Republican to keep Senate Bill 1, the school funding formula bill, as is.


McCann says at the end of the day, he’s only trying to do what’s best for the people of Illinois.



McCann says what has transpired in Springfield with Senate Bill 1 is not how lawmakers should have put the bill together.



The bill now is in the Illinois House’s hands, and representatives are scheduled to meet in Springfield on Wednesday.


Illinois Senate Overrides Governor's SB1 Veto

The Illinois Senate voted 38 to 19 to override Governor Bruce Rauner’s veto of Senate Bill 1, the school funding formula bill.


48th District State Senator and SB1 co-sponsor Andy Manar says overriding the govenor’s veto and keeping the bill in tact is what is needed for long-term funding stability for Illinois school districts.



Manar says preserving Senate Bill 1 keeps funding flowing to downstate schools long-term because it keeps the minimum funding levels for school districts in place and doesn’t take money away from districts losing enrollment.


Not everyone in the Senate is happy with Sunday’s vote. 51st District State Senator Chapin Rose says the veto override hurts the wide majority of Illinois students.



The bill now goes to the Illinois House, which will reconvene on Wednesday.


Andra Ebert named WTIM and Central Illinois Smiles Family Dentistry "Big Smile for The Community" August Award Winner


This month’s Newstalk WTIM Central Illinois Smiles Family Dentistry “Big Smile for the Community” honoree is Andra Ebert. Ebert and her family have made happiness their lives’ mission through their non-profit organization Heartland Mini Hoofs. The organization has three miniature horses it takes all over to put a smile on people’s faces.


Ebert says she read an article about equine therapy when her daughter used to ride horses and that piqued her interest.



Ebert gives credit to her whole family for the honor, because all of them play a role in the organization’s ministry.



To nominate someone for the Newstalk WTIM Central Illinois Smiles Family Dentistry “Big Smile for the Community” award, send your nominations to


TMH Hosts Babysitting Clinic for Area Youth


The Taylorville Memorial Hospital Auxiliary held a babysitting clinic to teach pre-teens and teenagers important safety, health, and other lessons for when taking care of another younger child.


Penny Shehadeh is an Educator at TMH. She says the Taylorville Police and Fire Departments provided some lessons for the participants.



Shehadeh says participants spend the afternoon learning CPR, but before that, lunch is provided by the hospital. Shehadeh says although the meal is provided, the participants have to cook their own lunch as a lesson in health and nutrition.



You must be age 11 or older to participate in the babysitting clinic. The next babysitting clinic will be held towards the end of the year.


20% of the Students See a 2% Raise Under Rauner

Governor Bruce Rauner wanted the Senate to approve his amendatory veto on school funding reform but they refused. Rauner’s plan would have increased funding for nearly every school district. But the massively complicated funding formula shows that Rauner’s plan seems to cut Chicago Public Schools funding by more than $450 million from the original Senate Bill 1. Yet the administration claims it’s closer to a $240 million cut. Any way you slice it the district that has 20 percent of the state’s students would only receive a 2 percent boost in education funding from the Republican. Rauner contends that Chicago has been running an unchecked education system for years and now will be forced to live within its means.

Critics of the plan point out that those districts that are losing students right now will face large cuts in funding in two years, when parts of Rauner’s plan begins to alter funding formulas. 


WMKR Genuine Country 94.3 Celebrates 21st Anniversary

Miller Media Group radio station WMKR Genuine Country 94-point-3 held its 21st Anniversary Party on the air on Saturday afternoon.  The show, hosted by WMKR president Randal J. Miller, featured his 3 girls that the station is named after—Michelle, Sheri Kathaleen, and Ramey—as well as listener calls.

Daughter Ramey Miller talked about how her experience growing up on the air has helped her in her career.

And, daughter Sheri echoed Ramey's comments, saying that growing up in a radio family made it easy to be behind the microphone.

WMKR signed on July 12th of 1996 featuring a lite rock format.  The station switched to its country format on April First, 2002.  It's been under the same ownership all 21 years, being one of the 6 Miller Media Group stations that operate from studios at 918 East Park Street in Taylorville.


Christian County Starting to Use Video Appearances in Some Criminal Court Proceedings

The Christian County Court System and Christian County Sheriff’s Office are working together to incorporate video teleconferencing in for some criminal court appearances. The system was tested for the first time during court proceedings on Wednesday.


Christian County Resident Circuit Judge Brad Paisley played a big role in putting the system in place. He says video court appearances have been in the works since the beginning of the year, and there is no cost to the Christian County taxpayers for implementing the service.



Paisley says the use of video will save some Sheriff’s Department manpower needed to transport those people from the jail to the courthouse. There are also safety issues that can be resolved through video court appearances.



Paisley says defendants have the right to be in court for certain types of appearances, but he hopes when the video system can be used, it will streamline court proceedings.


Christian County 4-H Members Heading to Illinois State Fair

The Christian County Fair has come and gone, but that doesn't mean the work is over for the Christian County 4-H program. The focus for many of the kids involved in 4-H now shifts to the state fair, and the competitions the 4-H members are participating in.


Rebecca Livingston is the Program Coordinator for the Christian County 4-H Youth and Development program, and appeared as a guest on the Newstalk WTIM Morning Show. She said she felt things went smoothly at the Christian County Fair all things considered.



35 kids from Christian County will be showing at the various competitions at the Illinois State Fair. Livingston says the competitions are essentially the same as what they saw at the county level, but with increased competition.



One difference Livingston mentioned between the Christian County Fair and the Illinois State Fair, is that kids can only show one project on the state level, where they could show several on the county level.


Shelby County Preparing for Visitors for Next Monday's Eclipse

Many across the country are getting ready for the total solar eclipse taking place on August 21st across much of the continental United States. Those in Shelby County are also preparing for the eclipse, and the influx of visitors to the area due to the event.


Freddy Fry is with the Shelby County Office of tourism, and said although Shelbyville won't get the total eclipse, those in the area will still get to see a large portion of the sun be covered by the moon.



Fry says the eclipse should start just before noon that day, and warned viewers to make sure they have the proper eye protection to view the eclipse.



Eclipse viewing glasses are available at many locations across the region. Fry also warned against using your cell phone to try to take pictures.


Mattoon's GE Lighting Plant Closing Its Doors

The GE Lighting Plant in Mattoon closed its doors for the final time Friday. The plant has been in Mattoon for more than 70 years, and about 130 people will be out of a job with the closure.


Mattoon’s mayor Tim Gover says a closure like the GE Plant closure is always felt in the community.



Gover says although GE is shutting its Mattoon plant down, the city is not hurting economically.



Gover says the city has been working with GE to see what will happen with the plant, but that there are no plans in the works at this time.


Crimestoppers Crime of the Week - August 11, 2017

This week Crimestoppers is seeking information in regards to a burglary from that occurred in Taylorville.


Sometime between 9:00 pm on Sunday, July 23, 2017 and the morning hours of Monday, July 24, 2017, person or persons unknown forced their way into a garage at a residence located at 704 East Elm Street.  While inside, the unknown subject or subjects went through items inside.  Nothing appeared to be missing at the time of the report.  A door was kicked in to make entry.  The total dollar amount of the damage is unknown at this time.


Please contact Crimestoppers if you have any information on this crime or any other crimes or wanted persons.  Crimestoppers will pay cash rewards of up to $1,000.00 for information that leads to an arrest and you do not have to give your name.  Crimestoppers will pay double the normal reward for information that leads to an arrest for the crime of the week.


You can contact Crimestoppers at 824-9100, at our website, or by texting CRIMES (274632) and then your tip.  As always, you will remain anonymous. 


State Senator Andy Manar Working on SB1 Compromise with Lawmakers Following Governor's Veto


There's been a lot of debate surrounding the school funding reform bill Senate Bill 1, which the Illinois Legislature passed, and Governor Rauner recently amendatory vetoed. Illinois State Senator Andy Manar (D-Bunker Hill) says he was disappointed by the Governor's veto, and is working with lawmakers to come to a compromise.


Senator Manar says he thinks the Governor vetoing the bill was a mistake, and that his changes go too far.



One element the Governor did not veto was a measure that funds the Chicago Public School Pension system. This element of the bill has caused controversy among many, and Manar says he doesn't support any bill that gives Chicago a special deal, and that he's working towards fair funding for all.



Senator Manar appeared as a guest on the Newstalk WTIM Morning Show.


Taylorville Teen to Show 4-H Work at State Fair Friday

UPDATE: Baker received an award of excellence and a superior award for her photograph, the highest award you can receive at the state level.


A Taylorville teen is one of many 4-H members from across the state of Illinois to be showing their work at the Illinois State Fair. 17-year-old Hayden Baker will be showing her one of her photographs in Springfield today.


The photograph was selected at the Christian County Agricultural Fair to be shown at the Illinois State Fair. Baker says she originally joined 4-H to show horses.



Baker says she’s very happy she joined the 4-H program 6 years ago. She says the program has had a big impact on her life.



Baker encourages younger kids to find a way to join the 4-H program. 


Rauner Could Have Handled SB1 AV in Different Manner

The pressure is mounting around the state when it comes to education funding. This week schools missed their general state aid payment for the first time ever. As the Senate waits to meet on Sunday to consider the Governor’s amendatory veto, Bruce Rauner is still facing criticism over not being open about what changes he wanted to make to Senate Bill 1. Rauner left the door open to sound like he’s considering the fact that he could have done things differently but he’s still upset that Democrats held the funding bill for 2 months before sending it to his desk.

This week ends with the specter of the Senate back in session on Sunday, setting the stage for the House to do the same next Wednesday.


Manar, Scherer Rally for Senate Bill 1

Backers of the school funding reform bill gathered outside a Springfield Elementary School this morning.with the architect of Senate Bill One, State Senator Andy Manar, and State Representative Sue Scherer. An emotional Scherer called on Governor Rauner to drop his amendatory veto.

Manar is hopeful Republicans join the cause.

Manar says Rauner's amendatory veto leaves Senate Bill One virtually unrecognizable with roughly one hundred changes. The Senate reconvenes Sunday to discuss school funding, the House will come back to the Capitol on Wednesday.


WMKR is Turning 21, Anniversary Show Tomorrow

Tomorrow's a big day for WMKR Genuine Country 94-point-3....the station is celebrating turning 21 in a 3-hour special Saturday afternoon from one til 4.


WMKR president Randal J. Miller will host the show, and feature Miller's 3 daughters whom the station is named after—Michelle, Sheri Kathaleen, and Ramey. Each will have their own hour, and audio from past years will also be featured.


The public is invited to tune in and be a part of WMKR's 21st Anniversary show Saturday from one til 4.


Pana Community Hospital Breaks Ground on $20.1 Million Expansion


Many staff members and Pana residents came together Thursday afternoon to celebrate the groundbreaking of a $20.1 million dollar addition and renovation project to Pana Community Hospital.


The project will include a patient services addition to the back of the hospital, an addition to the main entrance to the hospital, and renovations to the basement, first floor, and third floor of the building. It is the biggest construction project Pana Community Hospital has taken on since 1976.


Hospital CEO Trina Casner says this project has been in the works for five years.



Casner says with the addition to the main entrance to the hospital, the entrance will be handicap accessible.



The biggest addition will be in the back of the building, where Casner says several departments and hospital functions will be housed in the new addition.



The project is broken down into two phases. The first phase, the big addition to the back of the building and basement and third floor renovations, are expected to be completed next summer, with the main entrance and first floor renovations beginning once those projects are completed. The entire project is expected to be completed by March of 2019. 






Christian County FS Donates $15k to Local Ag Programs

Christian County FS has donated $15,000 to area agriculture programs. Representatives from CCFS presented the check at Ag Day of this year’s Christian County Fair.


Mark Bauman is the General Manager of Christian County FS. He said the donation was made possible by working with their partners.



The money donated will be split between the Morrisonville, Taylorville, Central A&M, and Pana FFA organizations, and the Christian County 4-H program. Bauman says it’s important for CCFS to support local ag-related programs because their business is built on local agriculture.



Bauman says it’s important to CCFS to give back to the local farmers and the community in any way they can.


Ameren Illinois Utilizing Drone Technology to Help Improve Worker Safety and Efficiency

Ameren Illinois is always looking for new and innovative ways to improve the services they provide to their customers in Illinois. One way they're doing this is by implementing the use of drones to help create a more efficient and safe work environment for their workers, allowing them to get the power back on in a quicker and safer manor.
Riley Adams is the Manager of Electric Initiatives at Ameren Illinois, and says one way these drones will help their workers by giving their workers a birds eye views on potential problems with the regions power lines.
One thing that helps improve the efficiency of the drones is that the pilots are from the area, and know where to look already for potential problems.
Adams appeared as a guest on the Newstalk WTIM Morning Show.


Upcoming Holiday Season Important Time for Central Illinois Food Bank

Summer is quickly coming to an end, which means the holidays will be here before you know it. For the Central Illinois Food Bank, this means an influx of donations and fund raising efforts to help feed the region's hungry.
Krista Lisser with the Central Illinois Food Bank says the Holidays are an important time of the year for the Food Bank.
The CIFB will be holding their annual fundraiser on September 28th. The event serves as a way for the food bank to celebrate the work they've done, while helping to raise funds for the coming year.
Lisser appeared as a guest on the Newstalk WTIM Morning Show.


Christian County YMCA Preparing To Welcome Area Kids To The Y With Before And After School Programs

Summer is winding down and area kids are getting ready to head back to school. The Christian County YMCA is also making preparations for their before and after school programs, along with their teen center to give kids a place to go.
Chris Weittenhiller, Executive Director of the Christian County YMCA appeared as a guest on the Newstalk WTIM Morning Show and says the Y's before and after school program will take students in the program to school.
The program will also in turn, pick the kids up from school, and bring them back to the YMCA where they can stay as late as 6pm for their parents to pick them up.
The Y is also offering their Teen Center, to give local teens a safe place to spend time on Friday nights.
Weittenhiller says the first YMCA Teen Center will be held on Friday, August 18th, with a slightly later start time, running from 7 until 11pm.


New Recycling Center Opens in Taylorville

The Indoor Storage Shed Temporary Signing. The recycling center is located at Suite C, 115 S. Clay Street in Taylorville, just a couple of blocks from where the county recycling bins used to be.


Taylorville residents have a new option for getting rid of recyclable items. The Indoor Storage Shed is open from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. seven days a week for those that are looking to recycle items.


Indoor Storage Shed owner Pam Moses says after the county pulled out of recycling, she wanted to help fill a hole in the community.



Moses says she hopes the hours are as convenient as possible for Taylorville residents to bring their recyclable items to the location. She says those people who are bringing items don’t need to worry about the elements.



For more information on the Indoor Storage Shed, you can visit their Facebook page here.


Summer Taking Its Toll on CICBC Blood Supply

The Central Illinois Community Blood Center is bringing the Bloodmobile to Taylorville on August 25th to collect much needed blood for area hospitals. The Bloodmobile will be outside the U.S. Bank building on the Taylorville Square from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on the 25th.


CICBC Donor Relations Coordinator Caleb Parker says this summer has taken its toll on the blood supply.



With high school football kicking off that night with Taylorville’s home opener against Mt. Vernon, Parker says each presenting donor can get their choice of a football-themed t-shirt. One of those t-shirt options will be purple and gold to represent the Tornadoes.


Frerichs Previews State Fair Auction

The Illinois State Treasurer's Office is offering a large number of items at this year's State Fair auction. Among the items are a Mickey Mantle baseball card, coins, jewelry, and more. Frerichs notes a big showstopper is Spanish coins from the 1622 shipwreck of the Atocha.

The auction is set for August 19th at the Lincoln Stage at noon. 


Classic Car Business Suffers Significant Damage After Fire

For gearheads and fans of muscle cars and other Detroit masterpieces over the years, a Staunton fire was enough to bring tears to their eyes. 13 fire departments turned out to battle a blaze that took out a large building and more than a hundred cars inside at Country Classic Cars on Route 66. Staunton Fire Chief Rick Haase says it was no easy firefight.

In addition, all of the water for the firefight had to be trucked in to the site. Haase said there was help for firefighters from mother nature in avoiding the toxic strew of the fire.

There's no word on a cause. No one was injured. The Illinois State Fire Marshall's office is leading the investigation.


Special Anniversary Show Planned for Saturday on WMKR

The public is invited to tune into Miller Media Group radio station WMKR Genuine Country 94.3, this Saturday from one til 4, when station president Randal J. Miller hosts a 3-hour special to honor the station's 21st anniversary.


The show is calleed "WMKR TURNS 21" and will feature Miller's 3 daughters that the station is named after. Michelle, Sheri Kathaleen, and Ramey will each be featured in their own hour during the afternoon, and audio from past years will also be heard.


WMKR went on the air July 12th, 1996, and serves a 40-mile radius of Taylorville.


Christian County Prevention Coalition Again Putting On Hope for Recovery Event


Many parts of the United States are facing a drug epidemic and Christian County is facing its share of challenges. The Christian County Prevention Coalition wants to help the struggle, and is hosting a “Hope for Recovery” event on Saturday, September 23rd at 10 a.m. in the Taylorville Memorial Hospital auditorium.


Lori Younker is a volunteer for the CCPC, and co-chair of the “Hope for Recovery” event. She says the event serves two major purposes.



Younker says a wide majority of court cases in Christian County involve drugs and addiction, and there were 16 drug related deaths in the county. She says people that need help don’t realize how many options they have, and she hopes the event will educate those that are struggling with addiction.



For more information on the event, you can visit the CCPC's website here.


Antique Tractors on Display at Illinois State Fair

The Illinois State Fair is just around the corner, and those interested in antique farming equipment have a place to check out a variety of neat vintage tractors at the fair. A number of antique tractors will be on display at the Antique Tractor Display, next to the Ag Media Tent at the fair.
Mike Hall is the Coordinator for the Antique Tractor Display at the fair, and gave a preview of some of the machines that fair goers will have the chance to view.
Inside the tent fair goers will be able to see a selection of older, restored and un-restored tractors.
Meanwhile the group will also be providing ag tours of the various agriculture exhibits at the fiar. Hall says these tours will give those unfamiliar with agriculture a decent understanding of what they're seeing in the agriculture section of the fair.
Hall appeared as a guest on the Newstalk WTIM Morning Show.


Central A&M Schools To Receive Grant for STEM Lab

The Central A&M School District is ramping up for another school year, and has received some exciting news for the coming year. The district is going to receive a grant to add a STEM lab to the high school.


Central A&M Superintendent Dr. DeAnn Heck says the district is calling their STEM lab a STEAM lab, for Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math.



Students in the Central A&M School District start school on Monday, August 22nd. Heck says it’s an exciting time for education because they are preparing students future jobs that may not exist yet.



Students in Moweaqua and Assumption can register for this school year on Thursday, August 10th from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Students can also register online at the school district’s website.


City Cleanup Committee Finalizing New Monthly Award To Recognize Residents Cleaning Up Taylorville

The mayor’s cleanup committee is in the final stages of putting together a new monthly award that will honor a resident going above and beyond in the ongoing process of cleaning up Taylorville. The mayor announced the new award at Monday night’s city council meeting.


Taylorville mayor Bruce Barry says the committee wants to have a way to recognize those people that are going the extra mile for cleaning up the city.



Barry says cleaning up Taylorville was a top priority for him coming into office. He hopes seeing people clean up the city encourages their neighbors to do the same.



The cleanup committee has a few final details to work out before making the new award official. Barry would like to honor the award’s first recepient at the next city council meeting on August 21st.


Christian County Historical Society Hosting "Night At The Museum" on August 25th

The Christian County Historical Society is looking to get local kids interested in the history of Christian County. One way they're doing this is by holding a “Night at the Museum” event on August 26th, where kids will team up for a scavenger hunt, and learn more about Christian County in a fun and interactive way.
Maureen Bruns with the Historical Society appeared as a guest on the Newstalk WTIM Morning Show, and shared the theme of the event.
Participants will also be treated to food and drink, and will have the chance at winning a prize should they do well on the scavenger hunt.
To register for the Night at the Museum, contact the Christian County Historical Society at 217-824-6922


Governor Signs Cybersecurity Legislation

Legislation that requires all state employees to receive annual cybersecurity training has been signed by Governor Bruce Rauner. Rauner says the issue is becoming more and more crucial.

State workers will undergo the annual training to learn the best way to defend against cyber threats, which will in turn help safeguard the state's information systems that contain sensitive information. 


Rauner Says "No" to Mendoza and Frerichs Push to Borrow

Gov. Bruce Rauner is rejecting calls from Democrats like Treasurer Michael Frerichs and Comptroller Susana Mendoza to turn to borrowing to reduce the state's $14.4 billion dollar backlog of overdue bills. Rauner says the state should not seek more credit. Mendoza and Frerichs both called for selling up to $6 billion in bonds. Mendoza says borrowing could kill two birds with one stone.

Mendoza says bonds can be paid back at a lower interest rate than the current 12 percent interest rate the state is paying on its overdue debt.. 


August Brings Cooler Temps

The month of August has ushered in cooler temperatures for much of Illinois, but certain areas of the Midwest could use a rain shower says meteorologist Dan Hicks with Freese-Notis Weather.



Hicks expects the cooler temps to continue over the next seven days with relatively light rainfall. He says warmer temperatures and high humidity should return in the third and fourth weeks of August. 


Special Day Saturday for WMKR

This Saturday is a special day for Miller Media Group radio station WMKR Genuine Country 94-point-3. The station is turning 21 this year, and to celebrate, will present a 3-hour special featuring station owner Randal J. Miller's 3 daughters—Michelle, Sheri Kathaleen, and Ramey that the station is named after—from one to 4 this Saturday afternoon.


Each daughter gets their own hour to talk about their involvement in WMKR, and we'll catch up with them on what they're doing today.


Audio from WMKR's past will also be a part of the special.


Tune in this Saturday from one til 4 on WMKR Genuine Country 94-point-3, as the station celebrates its 21st anniversary.


Taylorville Kiwanis Hears About In-Home Health Care at Weekly Meeting


Caption to pix:  Nancy McGeath of Springfield (left), representing Christian Horizon Living's Carelink in-home health care service, was Tuesday's guest speaker at the weekly meeting of the Taylorville Kiwanis Club.  Will Perkins (right), president of the club, presided at the meeting.




The Taylorville Kiwanis Club heard about in-home health care, during their Tuesday luncheon at the Taylorville Memorial Hospital auditorium.

Nancy McGeath of Springfield, representing Christian Horizon Living's Carelink in-home health care service, was guest speaker and highlighted some of the services her agency provides.

Christian Horizon Living was founded in 1962, and its Carelink division was founded in 1999, serving some 18 states.  Carelink's main goals are to provide in-home health care to allow patients' personal freedom, provide companionship, and help with early detection of acute symptoms.

McGeath added that Carelink also reduces stress for the patient and their family, and is an alternative to institutions.

The Taylorville Kiwanis Club reminds the public, that members will be on the streets of Taylorville September 22nd and 23rd asking for donations, and in exchange giving a package of peanuts, during its annual Peanut Days fund-raiser.  Proceeds benefit local Kiwanis programs for children and youth such as Coats for Kids, Kiwanis Park, YMCA and high school scholarships.

The Taylorville Kiwanis Club is part of global organization of volunteers dedicated to improving the world one child and one community at a time.  Weekly meetings are held Tuesdays at noon at the Taylorville Memorial Hospital auditorium.  For information on the club, go to


Blue Mound Fall Festival Kicking Off August 10th through the 12th

The Blue Mound Fall Festival begins this Thursday in Blue Mound. The festival has been around since 1910, and will feature a number of fun attractions designed to help get people to Blue Mound.
Roberta Gordon, Secretary of the Fall Festival Association that helps put on the Festival appeared as a guest on the Newstalk WTIM Morning Show, and explained why a festival held in August is called the “fall festival”.
The festival will kick off on Thursday with a series of pageant contests, along with a number of other fun activities.
The Blue Mound Fall Festival will also feature a parade, a number of various contests and games, and a number of other fun activities for the family to enjoy.


Moweaqua Resident Takes Home $500,000 Top Prize on Illinois Lottery Scratch-Off


A Moweaqua resident has hit it big on an Illinois Lottery scratch-off ticket. Alvin Butler won half a million dollars on a a scratch-off he bought at Raiders Marathon in Moweaqua.


Butler says he is going to pay bills with the money, and he says it will feel great to be out of debt. Raiders Marathon will receive $5,000 for selling the winning ticket. The $500,000 top prize is one of three available through the scratch-off game Butler played.


U.S. Agriculture Secretary Visits Central Illinois Monday


Secretary Perdue made several stops across Illinois Monday, the first of which was on the Larry and Diane Beaty farm just outside of Rochester. At the event hosted by the Illinois Farm Bureau, Perdue and IFB President Rich Guebert spoke with around 50 farmers in attendance. Perdue explains the purpose of his tour across the Midwest is to gather input on the 2018 Farm Bill.



The event allowed central Illinois farmers a chance to talk intimately with the Secretary. One of the main topics of conversation was the continued need for a strong crop insurance program. Shelby County producer, Troy Uphoff, was one of several to bring that up.



Sangamon County farmer, Mark Richert, would like to see some changes to the details of the ARC safety net program. Secretary Perdue feels the primary goal of any program should allow farmers to farm for the markets...not the program.



In addition to the 2018 Farm Bill, Secretary Perdue touched on several other topics during the hour long discussion. Some of those were the importance of trade and the renegotiating of NAFTA; the repeal of the controversial Waters of the U.S. regulations; and the importance of strong conservation programs. Perdue expects to see Congress begin real work on the 2018 Farm Bill later this year.



Morrisonville Schools Prepare for First Year Under New Superintendent

As school districts across the state are preparing to start a new school year, the Morrisonville Community Unit School District is getting ready to go under new leadership. This is the first school year under new superintendent Dave Meister (MY-ster) in Morrisonville.


Meister says he has heard plenty of good things about the Morrisonville community.



Meister says the district will be able to open their doors, and he is optimistic that they will be able to keep their doors open until there is a funding formula resolution in Springfield.



Morrisonville students’ first day of school is Thursday, August 17th.


Christian County Senior Center Holding Several Upcoming Fundraisers to Help Raise Money For Senior Center Programs

The Christian County Senior Citizens Center is planning several upcoming fundraiser events to help raise some extra money for the various programs that the center provides to seniors in Christian County. The Senior Center will be hosting a book sale throughout the week, and is also planning a fundraiser breakfast later on this month.
Gerry Mahr is with the Christian County Senior Center, and says the book sale has many different books available for a reasonable price.
The Senior Center is also planning a fundraiser breakfast that will be held at the Applebees on Dirksen in Springfield on August 19th.
Gerry Mahr and Judy Gates both appeared as guests on the Newstalk WTIM Morning Show.


Frerichs Feels for School Districts

State Treasurer Michael Frerichs can't get funds moving to schools until lawmakers override the Governor's veto of the school funding bill or Rauner and Democrats reach a deal. Frerichs doesn't envy the position schools are in with state funds locked up for the timebeing.



Frerichs says some of the changes made through Governor Rauner's amendatory veto will be costly to some school districts. He notes Peoria Schools alone would lose about a million dollars a year. 


House Flipping Seminar Warning

Have you seen house-flipping shows on television and thought it's something you might want to try? The Better Business Bureau is advising caution when signing up for seminars using well-recognized names to endorse the product. Some consumers have filed complaints with the agency saying they didn't get what they paid for. BBB Investigator Don O'Brien says most complaints to the Better Business Bureau are from customers claiming they felt the business mislead them about the potential value of its programs, trying to up-sell them once they got to the event.

These programs can cost several thousands of dollars. O'Brien says before paying anything, know what you are getting for your money, and pay by credit card if possible in case you need to challenge the charge.


This is National Immunization Awareness Month

This is National Immunization Awareness Month. It serves as a perfect reminder for back to school shots, but adults may want to take notice also says Sue Grant with the McLean County Health Department. 

Grant also recommends adults over 60 get the shingles vaccination. Contact your local health department for more information on immunizations. 


WMKR Turning 21 This Year

One of the Miller Media Group radio stations is 21 this year, and is celebrating this Saturday with an on-air special.


WMKR Genuine Country 94.3 went on the air July 12, 1996, and was named after owner Randal J. Miller's 3 daughters—Michelle, Sheri Kathaleen, and Ramey.


Each of the daughters will be featured in their own hour Saturday afternoon. Listeners will find out how they were involved in WMKR, and what they're doing today.


Audio from WMKR's past, as well as country music, will also be a part of the afternoon.


Tune into WMKR Genuine Country 94.3 this Saturday from one til 4 as we celebrate the station turning 21 years old.


City Council Looks to Legalize Golf Carts on Streets, Tear Down Derelict Buildings at Monday's Meeting


The Taylorville City Council took another step towards cleaning up Taylorville at Monday night’s meeting. It’s also possible you could see golf carts on city roads in the future.


A motion was passed to give the Health and Zoning Office permission to post that five derelict buildings across Taylorville would be demolished. The notice has to be posted for 34 days so previous owners or lean holders could reach the city if necessary.


Third Ward Alderman Ernie Dorchinecz says Mayor Bruce Barry has put plenty of time and effort into cleaning up Taylorville since taking office.



The council also passed a motion for the city attorney to prepare an ordinance to make Taylorville a golf cart community, allowing golf carts to be driven on city streets. Golf carts are currently only allowed to be driven on streets around Lake Taylorville.


Dorchinecz says golf carts are growing in popularity, and the city would like to model a possible ordinance for Taylorville after another city seeing success with golf carts in their community.



Other action items included the swearing in of new Taylorville police officer Christian Nelson, a motion to approve a purchase of a new dump truck for the Street Department, and a motion to amend an existing ordinance to raise the spending limits without needing city council approval for the Superintendents, Committee Chairmen, and the Mayor. The next scheduled meeting is set for August 21st at 7 p.m. at the Taylorville Municipal Building.


Pana Man Convicted of Sexually Abusing Young Girl Sentenced


A Pana man has been sentenced to four years probation for sexually abusing a girl between the ages of 10 and 13. 64-year-old Keith E. Budds was sentenced Monday afternoon at the Christian County Courthouse.


Budds originally pled guilty to the Aggravated Criminal Sexual Abuse of a Minor charge on April 13. Pana Police Chief Dan Bland says the Department of Children and Family Services came to his department with the allegation, and the two organizations partnered to investigate the matter.



Bland says any case like this where a child is involved ramps up the urgency to bring the offender to justice.



Budds could have faced between three and seven years in prison for the conviction, but as per the plea agreement, Budds could not be sentenced to more than four years in the Department of Corrections. State’s Attorney Mike Havera sought prison time for Budds, while Budds’ attorney asked for probation only. Budds was also sentenced to 180 days in the Christian County jail, but with 333 days credit for time served, he will not serve any more jail time.


CEFS Holds Annual Board of Directors' Meeting, Honors Great Work Done the Past Year

The C.E.F.S. Economic Opportunity Corporation held their annual board meeting Thursday in Effingham, where the organization got to showcase the huge impact they have on many residents’ day-to-day lives.


C.E.F.S. CEO Kevin Bushur says over 16,000 people from across the area used the corporation’s wide variety of services in the past year.



Bushur says C.E.F.S. also offers programs for daycare and preschool, utility bill help, worker training, and many other services through the C.E.F.S. outreach program. He says it’s through the help of many volunteers that keeps C.E.F.S. running and touching so many lives.



For more information on C.E.F.S. or their services, you can visit their website here.


Shelby County Community Service Providing Life Skills Training For Region's Developmentally Disabled

Community service programs across the country help it's local residents in a number of different ways, and one local community service center is helping the areas developmentally disabled residents. Shelby County Community Service offers training programs to give the disabled essential skills to make life easier.
Karen Mulholland is the Director of the program, and says they hope to give the program's participants more than just skills to help their day to day lives.
There are several different levels of care in the program, to fit the different needs of the developmentally disabled.
If you'd like to know more about the program, contact Prairieland Service Coordinator at 1-800-866-8779.


Positions Open for Vendors in 2017 Shelbyville Scarecrow Daze Parade

The Shelbyville Scarecrow Daze is right around the corner and those looking to get involved still can. There are still spots available to participate in the Scarecrow Daze Parade for venders who would like to showcase themselves to the community.
Vonda McConnell is with the Shelbyville Chamber of Commerce and says the parade offers a unique opportunity to get your business in front of hundreds of onlookers.
The parade used to take place on Main Street in Shelbyville, however had to change it's route on order from IDOT. McConnell shared the route the parade will be taking this year.
McConnell appeared as a guest on the Newstalk WTIM Morning Show live from our downtown Shelbyville Studios.


Nokomis School District Completing $3 Million Renovation For Upcoming School Year

The Nokomis School District took on a major summer project this summer to be ready for the 2017-18 school year. The district took on a three-million dollar renovation project at Nokomis High School, so students will be starting school about a week later than expected.


Nokomis Superintendent Dr. Scott Doerr says there are many upgrades being made at the high school with this project.



Doerr says the renovations will enhance the learning experience for students in the Nokomis school district.



Nokomis students start classes for the upcoming school year on August 28th. 


Shelby County Relay For Life Event This Saturday

The Relay for Life of Shelby County is this Saturday, and everyone is welcome to attend. The event will start at noon and end at midnight at Forest Park in Shelbyville. This year’s theme is “Wish Upon a Cure.”
Sarah Lucht is the Senior Community Development Manager with the American Cancer Society. She says with so many children that attend each year, they wanted to give kids an opportunity to be a prince or princess.
The event will include multiple live performances throughout the day, carriage races, minute-to-win-it games, and much more. Lucht says with all the fun extra events planned, the main mission is still to come together, celebrate survivors, and raise money to beat cancer.
For more information, you can visit their website here and their Facebook page here.


Illinois & Iowa Corn Growers Highlight Aging Lock and Dam System on Barge Tour

The Illinois Corn Growers Association and Iowa Corn Growers Association bringing attention to the aging lock and dam system on the upper Mississippi River. They hosted a barge tour last Friday with the featured stop--Lock and Dam 15 in Rock Island--built in 1934—it’s suffering from a crumbling guide wall. Paul Rohde of the Midwest Waterways Council moderated the tour. He says funds for both operation and maintenance and construction are crucial for inland waterways.

If you think Lock and Dam 15 is in poor shape, you should see the La Grange Lock and Dam on the Illinois River near Meredosia. Not pretty says Marty Hettle—chairman of the Inland Waterways Users Board.

Illinois Senator Tammy Duckworth and Iowa Congressmen Rod Blum and Dave Loebsack participated in Friday’s barge tour. 


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