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Dissapointing Fundraising Effort For Renovating Shelbyville Chautauqua Building

A hot button topic in Shelbyville has been the condition of the Chautauqua building. City Commissioner of Public Property Gib Smart says money for renovations to the building have been lacking, and until a solid fund-raising effort can raise a significant amount to go towards the renovations, he doesn't see the city spending money on the project.
 
Smart appeared on the Newstalk WTIM Morning Show Live from our Downtown Shelbyville studios, and discussed the building among other issues surrounding the city. Gib shared that fund-raising efforts have been disappointing, and haven't mustered the funds needed to repair the facility.
 
 
Shelbyville simply doesn't have the funds available to focus on the Chautauqua building over other infrastructure projects.
 
 
Gib also discussed several other projects the city is working on, including upgrades to the aquatics center, including painting the large slide at the center.

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Local Business Owner Mark Shanks Wants to Continue Growth of Shelbyville If Elected Park Commissioner

Local elections are quickly approaching, and in Shelbyville one of the positions up for grabs is the office of City Commissioner of Public Property, more commonly known as the Park Commissioner. Local business owner Mark Shanks, who owns Monicals Pizza in Shelbyville is running for the seat, and wants to be able to help grow Shelbyville.
 
Shanks has served as the President of the Shelbyville and Paxton Chamber of Commerce, and feels his experience in those positions can help him be a successful Park Commissioner.
 
 
Shanks discussed how he wants to grow the city of Shelbyville, and says the city has a lot of key resources to take advantage of. He does want to see the growth be moderate however, warning how growing too quickly can have a negative impact on a community.
 
 
Shelbyville business owner Mark Shanks appeared as a guest on the Newstalk WTIM Morning Show live from our downtown Shelbyville studios.

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Taylorville Police Department Partnering With Taylorville McDonalds For Coffee With A Cop Event

The Taylorville Police Department is partnering with McDonalds to give citizens a chance to get to know their local police department a little better. Coffee for Cops is an event where residents can join members of the Taylorville Police Department for free coffee, and discuss various subjects with officers in an effort to build a better relationship between the department and the community.

 

Taylorville Police Chief Brian Hile said the event, which will be on the morning of March 31st at the Taylorville McDonalds, is a chance to get to know the officers in the Taylorville Police Department a little better.

 

 

Hile encouraged the community to attend for a free cup of coffee and a chance to chat with the Department.

 

 

Along with building a better relationship within the community, the public is welcome to bring any concerns or questions to the department during the event as well.

 

 

The department encourages all to attend whether you have a question, concern, or just want to say hello and meet some of the officers.

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Lake Land College Community Choir Inviting Public to Its Annual Spring Concert March 26th

The Lake Land College Community Choir is inviting the public to attend their annual spring concert at 3 p.m. on Sunday, March 26th in the Lake Land College Theater. The event will feature several pieces, with guest appearances by Kevin Miescke (Miss-Key) from Eastern Illinois University, Bassist J.B. Faires, and Drummer Jay Ferguson.

 

Nancy Caldwell, Music Instructor at Lake Land College and Director of the Community Choir said the event is one of two concerts the choir performs per year, and invited the public to attend the event free of charge.

 

 

Caldwell had more information on the musical pieces being performed during the concert, including guest accompaniments on the french horn and Piano by Eastern Illinois Univeristy Instructor Kevin Miescke.

 

 

The choir is a community choir that the public can become involved in themselves. Caldwell said anybody can get involved as long as they’re 16 or older, and a part of the Lake Land College District.

 

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WIU School of Agriculture Hosts Open House This Week

The Western Illinois University School of Agriculture hosting an open house for prospective students this week. The Director--Dr. Andrew Baker says the school offers a strong pathway to many different ag careers. 



The open house is this Friday starting at 9 a.m. You can register on-line at wiu.edu and typing “School of Agriculture” in the search box. Two $250 scholarships will be awarded at the event. 

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Local Service Providers Hurt From Ongoing State Budget Stalemate

Local service providers feeling the sting of the ongoing state budget stalemate. Downstate’s Mercer County Family Crisis Center has a limited budget, but is currently owed more than $100,000 from the state says the agency’s Marla Reynolds.



The center offers services to child abuse and domestic violence victims. Last week, Illinois Comptroller Susana Mendoza announced the state’s bill backlog hit a record high of $12.8 billion. 

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Weaver Defends Work of Rauner Education Funding Task Force

State Senator Chuck Weaver applauds the work of Governor Bruce Rauner’s Education Funding Task Force. Although critics say the group stopped short of reaching a clear-cut solution, the Dunlap Republican says the task force’s report provides a great starting point for lawmakers.



Weaver believes a bill can be passed as a result of the task force’s work. 

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State Works To Improve IT Security

The state wants to get safer against cyber criminals. The Rauner administration has a new cyber security plan. The effort is devoted to boosting the states technology and protecting the state, the data it has and the citizens. Kirk Lonbom, the head of the Department of Innovation and Technology says that you can’t afford one slip up. 



The program and how it’s been paid for has drawn the ire of Comptroller Susana Mendoza. She claims the cash for the IT program is coming out of a fund that should be dedicated to paying healthcare providers. 

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Rauner Keeps Public Healthcare Stance Quiet For Now

A number of Republican governors have come out against the new plan for federal healthcare up for a vote in Congress. But don’t count Bruce Rauner among them. Changes that D.C. Republicans want include block granting Medicaid. Rauner’s withholding strong public criticism for now, instead saying he’s having a number of private conversations about the change and the impact to Illinois.



Rauner says any transition to the new system needs to be done carefully to avoid hurting people’s lives if they will be losing Medicaid coverage.

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Candidates For Taylorville City Clerk, Treasurer, and Ward Two Alderman Address Crowd at Taylorville Candidates Forum

The Taylorville Candidates Forum took place Wednesday night in the Taylorville Junior High School Gymnasium. Each candidate running for the offices of City Clerk, Ward 2 Alderman, and City Treasurer had a chance to address the crowd about why they felt they should be elected, and answer questions asked by the forum moderator.

 

After a short break, each candidate answered a “lightning round” of questions where they had five words to answer, as well as deliver their closing remarks. Newstalk WTIM broadcasted the forum live, as well as provided live video streaming of the event on the TaylorvilleDailyNews.com Facebook page. Watch for complete video coverage of the event on WTIMTV in the coming days.

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Taylorville Alderman Rob Heberling Wants to Continue City's Efforts Towards Fiscal Responsibility and Clean Up The Town If Elected Mayor

 

Election Day is nearly here and candidates are beginning to put the final touches on their campaigns for elected office. One of those candidates is Taylorville City Alderman Rob Heberling, currently running for Taylorville Mayor. Heberling says if elected, he wants to continue the city’s efforts towards fiscal responsibility and cleaning up abandoned property.

 

One of the biggest issues Heberling says he hears from Taylorville citizens is how the city often looks “tired” due to the condition of many properties in the city.

 

 

Recently the city has ramped up efforts to clean up and demolish cluttered and vacant property. Heberling wants to continue this effort moving forward,

 

 

Taylorville City Alderman and Mayoral Candidate Rob Heberling appeared on the Newstalk WTIM Morning Show.

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Social Security Administration Celebrating Women's History Month

March is Women’s History Month, and the Social Security Administration is taking the time to address women’s needs with social security. Nearly 60% of those who receive social security benefits are women, and the SSA has a number of programs on their website designed to help everyone receiving benefits, including women, to better plan their retirement.

 

Jack Myers, Public Affairs Specialist with the Social Security Administration appeared on the Newstalk WTIM Morning Show, and wanted to highlight Women’s History Month for several reasons. These include the contributions women have made throughout history, as well as how the majority of those receiving social security benefits are women.

 

 

Myers pointed out how today more women than ever are working and paying into social security. The SSA website has a variety of tools to help those better plan their retirement.

 

 

Myers encouraged younger workers to get involved and to take advantage of the tools on the SSA website to better plan for their retirement.

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Christian County Sheriff Fears For Future of Teens Should Taylorville School Tax Referendum Fail

 

The April 4th local election is right around the corner and one item that many figures in the community are still pushing for is the Taylorville School Tax Referendum. Should the referendum fail, it would lead to a reduction in staff at Taylorville Schools, and shuttering all extracurricular programs at the school.

 

Christian County Sheriff Bruce Kettelkamp is concerned about a possible rise in crime should the referendum fail, stating how an increase in free time for teens often leads to increases in local crime, and increased alcohol and drug abuse.

 

 

Christian County is attempting to quell a drug problem throughout the county. Sheriff Kettelkamp said he feels that problem may be getting worse, especially among teens. He fears that the issue will only get worse if extracurricular activities that help teens have to be canceled.

 

 

Christian County Sheriff Bruce Kettelkamp appeared on the Newstalk WTIM Morning Show.

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Newstalk WTIM To Broadcast Tonight's Taylorville Candidates Forum Live

NEWSTALK WTIM has announced it will broadcast the Taylorville Candidates Forum live on Wednesday night, starting at 6:30.

 

There are 4 candidates for Taylorville City Clerk, 3 candidates for Taylorville City Treasurer, and 4 candidates running for Taylorville Ward 2 Alderman.

 

The forum will be heard on 96.1 FM in Christian County, streamed live at taylorvilledailynews.com, and on the WTIM app on both iOS and Android platforms.

 

WTIM will also video stream the event live on its taylorvilledailynews.com Facebook page.

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Tempers Flare and Questions Asked During Christian County Board Meeting

Tempers were heated and many questions were asked during Tuesday night’s meeting of the Christian County Board as County payroll system issues continue to be a problem. The board was presented with their 2016 audit review, with an item of concern coming from an IRS penalty for failed tax deposits, and where the money came from to pay that penalty.

 

Fiance Committee Chair Becky Edwards presented the issues with the audit to the board, sharing how a failure to make a proper federal tax deposit resulted in a fee of nearly $13,000.

 

 

County Clerk Laurie Mense, who’s office is responsible for the failed deposits, informed the board how issues with the new payroll system the county converted to early last year was the reason behind the missed deposits.

 

 

The penalty was ultimately paid using an account known as an “agency account” or an “in/out account”, which takes money from employee deductions. Several members of the board had questions about a lack of transparency of the entire process, as well as using the agency account to pay the fees. Mense informed the board that the previous county board had in fact discussed the issues with the payments, and said she wasn’t trying to hide anything.

 

 

The money that had been taken out of the agency account to pay the penalty has to be replenished. To do so, the County Clerk’s Office makes a claim with the county board to replenish those expenses. A move which as of the Finance Committee Meeting, had not yet been done. Mense said she had not yet been made aware of the need to file a claim, however had one ready to be voted on.

 

 

A motion to table the vote on the claim ultimately failed, with a motion to pay the claim made by the County Clerk’s office narrowly passing by a 9-7 vote. The next meeting of the Christian County Board will take place on April 18th.

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Christian County Farm Bureau Hosting Coloring Contest To Spread Ag Awareness Among Families

The Christian County Farm Bureau is working to improve ag awareness with a fun project for third and fourth graders. Students will have the opportunity to enter a coloring contest, where the winner will have their agriculture related picture featured on a reusable canvas bag that will be handed out during local farmers markets this summer.

 

The Christian County Farm Bureau’s Melissa McMillan and Matt Heberling appeared on the Newstalk WTIM Morning Show to help spread the word for the contest. The winning entry to the contest will be featured on the bags that will be handed out at farmers markets in June.

 

 

The contest is a way to help spread awareness for agriculture, and is open to any third or fourth grade student.

 

 

The goal for the project is to have the bags at local farmers markets the morning of Saturday, June 3rd.

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4R4U Program Seeks to Increase Awareness of Benefits of Split Nitrogen Application

The Christian County Farmers Supply is working in conjunction with their parent company Growmark, and the Christian County Farm Bureau to help bring awareness to split application of nitrogen. The 4R4U program will involve 12 projects with strategies to highlight various 4R practices at the local level throughout Illinois.

 

Darin Hennings with the Christian County Farmers Supply wants more people to know that FS customers are making an effort to be more environmentally friendly. Several farm operations are working with the 4R4U program to show the difference between the old way of applying nitrogen, and split application.

 

 

The total amount of Nitrogen used will remain the same, but the idea is that splitting up the application of nitrogen allows crops to utilize more of the nitrogen, and reduce the amount of excess nitrates running off into local watersheds. It’s a practice that most farmers in the area are already implementing.

 

 

The program is in an attempt to avoid any further litigation of fertilizer application in Illinois.

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University Of Illinois Extension Office Secures Grant to Expand Research at Dudley Smith Farm

The University of Illinois Extension Office is working to better understand various strategies on the farm. The office recently received a grant they had applied for in conjunction with the Christian County Farm Bureau that will allow the Extension to expand their studies at the Extension’s Dudley Smith Farm.

 

Gary Letterly with the U of I Extension appeared as a guest on the Newstalk WTIM Morning Show’s live Ag Day coverage from the Christian County Farm Bureau and discussed the grant the Extension received. Several parties worked to secure the grant, which will help expand the research the Extension can do at the Dudley Smith Farm near Pana.

 

 

The farm recently began a project to study the impact of farmers implementing various nutrient loss reduction strategies on their operations.

 

 

The project will encompass around 40 acres of land, and will study how successful various nutrient loss reduction strategies are compared to the standard practice of nutrient application.

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Mendoza Offers Comedy in Her Feud With Rauner but Has Unfunny Numbers

Comptroller Susana Mendoza's war of words with Governor Bruce Rauner took a new turn as she addressed the City Club of Chicago. She turned to comedy to deliver her first jab.



But Mendoza says the latest numbers racked up last week on the state's bill backlog are no laughing matter.



Mendoza maintained Rauner is prepared for the state to collapse financially if he doesn't get his way on the budget and has begun squirreling away hundreds of millions of dollars in 'special funds' to protect his political back, Rauner's office says Mendoza has been cutting spending on programs for the elderly since she took office in December.

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Illinois Good Place For Wine Industry

Illinois continues to be a good location for the wine industry. John Mital has a family operation just south of Quad Cities, called Creekside Vineyards & Winery.

 


Creekside’s Preemption location has been in operation for three years. Creekside has many retailers they do business with, plus Mital says they travel to farmers markets during spring and summer. 


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IDNR Continues to Offer Hunter Education Safety Course

The Illinois Department of Natural Resources continues to offer hunter education safety courses throughout the state. Allen Henshaw of Keithsburg has served as a certified IDNR instructor for 40 years.



A 1996 state law requires that all hunters born on or after January 1, 1980 successfully complete the course before they can receive their first hunting license. You can find the location of a hunter safety education course near you by checking the IDNR website.

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Legislation Exempts Sales Tax On Farm Machinery Repairs

A state lawmaker wants to amend Illinois’ sales tax act as it relates replacement parts for farm machinery—already exempt from the state sales tax. State Representative Norine Hammond of Macomb says her legislation involves “goodwill repairs”.

 


House Bill 505 has been introduced in the House Revenue and Finance Committee. 

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Durbin Questions Gorsuch on Company Provided Health Care

The Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch endured hours of grilling by members of the US Senate Judiciary Committee today. Illinois Senator Dick Durbin grilled Gorsuch on a decision that protected companies, including Hobby Lobby, who didn’t want to make birth control part of their employee health plan. 



Gorsuch is up for 3 more days of questioning and testimony about his qualifications to be a Supreme Court Justice. 

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Taylorville City Council Allows Former City Employee to Rescind Resignation Letter

 

The Taylorville City Council held their regularly scheduled meeting on Monday night at the Taylorville Municipal Building. A short meeting was highlighted by motions addressing other municipalities borrowing city equipment, city employees, and remembering a prominent member of the community.

 

Taylorville Mayor Greg Brotherton spoke with WTIMTV following the meeting where he explained exactly what the city did when it comes to loaning city equipment to other municipalities.

 

 

Another motion came out of discussion during the personnel committee preceding the night’s city council meeting regarding a city employee who had handed in their resignation, but had since changed their mind. Mayor Brotherton explained in further detail what the situation entailed.

 

 

There was some concern from several alderman on allowing the employee to rescind the resignation. Mayor Brotherton shared why, and what the city ultimately elected to do.

 

 

The city also held a moment of silence for a former member of the community, as well as a former city Alderman.

 

 

To view the complete interview with Taylorville Mayor Greg Brotherton, click on the WTIMTV icon at TaylorvilleDailyNews.com

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Burglary in Taylorville This Week's Christian County Crimestoppers Crime of the Week

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

 

Sometime between Thursday, March 16, 2017 and Friday, March 17, 2017, person or persons unknown made entry onto Laker Petroleum Services, located at 101 Baughman Road.  While there, the unknown subject or subjects took an all steel, red, 20 foot trailer.  The trailer was parked in the back area of the business at the time of the incident.

The total dollar amount of the theft 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 Christiancountycrimestoppers.org, or by texting CRIMES (274632) and then your tip.  As always, you will remain anonymous.  

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Rodney Davis Pushing Bill to Reauthorize Process of Registering Pesticides

 

Congressman Rodney Davis pushing a bill to help reauthorize the process of registering pesticides coming to the market. The bill has gained unanimous support so far at the committee level, and Davis hopes that the bipartisan support continues into the house and senate.

 

Congressman Davis appeared on the Newstalk WTIM Morning Show, where he said this bill is unique in how it brought industry and environmentalist groups together in support of a common cause.

 

 

The process for the bill has moved forward smoothly, and Davis explained how those involved in this bill managed to make that happen.

 

 

Davis said this bill benefits both the environment, as well as industry, as it allows the EPA to continue to monitor what pesticides make it to market, and industry to continue to manufacture and sell pesticides to the parties that use it.

 

 

Davis stressed the importance of the bill, considering pesticide's use in agriculture.

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National Nutrition Month Encourages Everyone to Put Your Best For Forward Towards Good Eating Habits

It’s National Nutrition Month and the St. Louis Dairy Council wants to help you celebrate health, and make changes to your diet that result in more nutritious eating. The effort which was originally dubbed “National Nutrition Week” has evolved into a month long effort to promote better dietary choices.

 

Joyce Fikri with the St. Louis Dairy council while appearing on the Newstalk WTIM Morning Show had more information on the history of National Nutrition Month, and said it’s a great time to take a look at what you’re eating.

 

 

Each year the event has a theme, with this year’s theme being “put your best fork forward”. The theme emphasizes that every single snack and meal is a chance to make small changes to your nutrition. Fikri said you should try working in several food groups into your diet each time you eat.

 

 

Fikri emphasized that it’s better to try to make small changes to your diet that lead to big results, rather than trying to change too much at once.

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Registration Now Open for LLCC College for Kids Program

Lincoln Land Community College is hosting their College For Kid’s program, and registration is now open for the summer day camp classes. The classes are designed as a way to for students from kindergarten through eighth grade to learn more about a variety of different subjects.

 

Jamie Stout, Director of Community Education at LLCC said some of the classes in the College for Kids program fill up fast, but many spots are still available.

 

 

The classes meet throughout the week, and will allow the kids to focus on three different subjects throughout the day.

 

 

Stout had information on how parents can register their children.

 

 

A full listing of offerings and registration information is available on the LLCC Community Education website.

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Federal Judge Dismisses Iowa Water Lawsuit

A federal judge last week dismissed a lawsuit from Des Moines Water Works, which was seeking damages from drainage districts in northern counties for nitrate loads in the Raccoon River. The federal judge upheld an Iowa Supreme Court ruling that the matter should be resolved through its state legislature.

While the ruling is viewed as a victory for farmers in and beyond Iowa, nitrate loads and water quality will continue to be points of discussion. Lauren Lurkins is director of environmental and natural resources for Illinois Farm Bureau.



Jean Payne, president of Illinois Fertilizer & Chemical Association, echoes those remarks, saying farmers must continue to keep their nutrients for the crops and prevent them from leaving their fields.



Groups like the Illinois Nutrient Research Education Council are conducting research to provide farmers practical ways to make environmental improvements without losing production and incurring significant costs.

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Durbin Lays Groundwork For His Questions in Gorsuch Hearing

Senator Dick Durbin plans to ask Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch about his independence from the White House if his nomination is confirmed.



 

Durbin says being in lockstep with Trump would be bad for the high court.
 


 

Durbin is a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee. 

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Underwood Takes Over Illinois Basketball

The Athletic Department at the University of Illinois introduced their new head basketball coach today. Brad Underwood was at the State Farm Center. He said that once he found out the U of I was interested in him as a coach Athletic Director Josh Whitman didn’t need to sell him on taking the job. Underwood has ties to the state, having been a 10 year assistant at Western Illinois University. He says it’s great to recruit the state because of top talent and coaches.




The contract will pay Underwood more than $3 million a season for 6 years. He was making a little more than a million a year coaching at Oklahoma State. Underwood will be introduced to Illini fans at halftime of tonight’s NIT game against Boise State. 

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Biss In For Governor Run

Another Democrat is up for running for Governor. State Senator Daniel Biss announced today that he’s a candidate, calling his campaign one “for the rest of us.” Biss made the announcement on Facebook Live and then took questions. He says that the state needs to break free from the way it’s been run for years.



The Biss diss could be seen as referencing not only Governor Bruce Rauner and Speaker Mike Madigan but also wealthy Democrat candidate Chris Kennedy and JB Pritzker who’s thinking about running for Governor. The Republican party wasted no time in calling Biss the North Shore branch of the Madigan Machine.

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Shelby County Sheriff Says Scammers Coming Up With New Ways To Get Your Money

Security is a top priority for everyone but “scammers” seem to always found new ways to cause problems. Shelby County Sheriff Don Koonce says the newest trend is an attack on those who pay their bills online. Sheriff Koonce said “hackers” and “scammers” will try to confuse someone to make them think they owe money when in reality, they are all paid up.  
 
 
Sheriff Koonce says a lot of times people get into bad habits, not on purpose, but out of a daily routine or they do things they've always done and never saw any bad consequences. This, says Koonce, is where the “scammers” will get someone without that person even knowing what happened.
 
 
Sheriff Koonce appeared on the NEWSTALK WTIM Morning Show from our downtown Shelbyville studios. 

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4-H Values Key to Moweaqua Rustlers 2017

The largest youth development group in America is the 4-H. The members of 4-H base their principles on the 4-H's of head, heart, hands, and health. Lisa Mott, 4-H Leader with the Moweaqua Rustlers, says 2017 is a year where the organization is focusing on a key element, rooted in 4-H's values.
 
 
4-H week was this past week and the Moweaqua Rustlers participated in multiple events that will go hand-in-hand with their goal to focus on community service this year, according to Mott, especially on the Saturday and final day of 4-H week. 
 
 
Mott was a guest on the NEWSTALK WTIM Morning Show from our downtown Shelbyville Studios. 

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Christian County LEAD Program Learns About Parliamentary Procedure

The Christian County LEAD program had their most recent meeting this past week, where the class got to learn about parliamentary procedure. Parliamentary procedure can be a great tool to help with how a meeting is run.
 
Patty Hornbuckle, CEO of the Greater Taylorville Chamber of Commerce discussed who the guest speaker was for the LEAD program, and how parliamentary procedure gets use with the Taylorville Chamber.
 
 
Hornbuckle also had several other examples of how parliamentary procedure can help in various aspects in the community.
 
 
The LEAD program also got a tour of the Taylorville Fire Department at their latest session.

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Lake Land College Inviting Students to Broadcasting Open House For First Hand Look At Their Radio and Television Program

Lake Land College is inviting students to their Radio and Television open house on March 31st. The open house is designed to give students an opportunity to get first hand knowledge on the broadcasting field so they can see what the broadcasting program at Lake Land has to offer.
 
Greg Powers, a broadcasting instructor at Lake Land College said the program wanted to give students a chance to see for themselves what the broadcasting field has to offer.
 
 
Powers said those who attend the open house will not only get a chance to see the field in action, but a chance to get some first hand experience with it as well.
 
 
Attendees will be treated to lunch at the open house as well. The open house will run from noon until two, and those interested in getting more information on the broadcasting program can contact Powers at 234-5335.

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Rauner Urges Action on Pension Reform

Governor Rauner is urging lawmakers to take swift action on pension reform legislation. State Senators Jill Tracy and Michael Connelly have moved to separate the issue from previous Grand Bargain discussions, where pension reform was debated along with multiple budget bills. Rauner released a video message via Facebook that also called for lawmakers to approve $215 million dollars to help Chicago Public Schools with teacher pension costs. The pension proposal recently came within four votes of passage.

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Metro East Deaths and Incidents Appear Related

The Madison County Sheriff's office is investigating two incidents that are described by that office as inter-related. Two death investigations are underway in the Highland, and Glen Carbon area. Authorities have not yet identified the two people who are deceased.

At about 5:30am, authorities responded to a fire in Glen Carbon where one person died, and six children escaped. At about the same time as the fire, a passerby reported a vehicle in a lake just off of Illinois Route 143 in Highland. An infant was pulled from that vehicle and flown to a St. Louis hospital, and Madison County Sheriff John Lakin credits Highland EMS Paramedic Todd Zobrist with saving the baby's life. 
 

Authorities later pulled a body from the lake. Neither of the deceased have been identified yet. Autopsies on the victims from both scenes are scheduled for Friday. 

Madison County Sheriff John Lakin says documents were found in the submerged vehicle linking it to the house where the fire had occurred.

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Good Credit News for Illinois

It might sound as rare as man bites dog. Illinois has good news when it comes to its credit rating. S&P Global Ratings has issued The Illinois Funds investment pool a AAA-m credit rating, the highest mark available. State Treasurer Michael Frerichs says the rating reflects his office's approach to investing taxpayer dollars. Frerichs said “The rating shows our success at balancing the access and availability of funds while receiving a strong return on investment for this type of product.” The Illinois Funds is a local government investment pool that invests dollars from local units of government such as counties, municipalities, and school districts. Investing together generates rates of return typically not available if participants invested alone.

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Cops Will Be Out Looking For Too Green Drivers Over St. Pat's

The St. Patrick’s Day celebrations started last week and will continue today and into early Saturday morning. And local police are taking notice. The Illinois Department of Transportation says that enforcement efforts surrounding drunken driving will ramped up again this weekend. 



Last year 4 deaths statewide were connected to drinking and driving around St. Patrick’s Day weekend.

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U of I Wants Dedicated Funding to Support In State Students

Often in state high school seniors are picking someplace else to go to college. And the University of Illinois is proposing something to do about it. The Invest in Illinoisan’s fund or the Triple I fund would give $170 million each year to in-state college undergrads. The spending is part of a larger financial package from the state to the university. And it’s the amount of aid that the U of I already gives students. But the university says that moving forward it would give that and 85 percent of any growth in financial aid resources to students from Illinois. University President Tim Killeen says they need to be able to do more to keep students in Illinois and at the U of I. 



The overall funding package the university is looking for would be guaranteed based on the U of I meeting benchmarks and other goals. In 2015 about 45 percent of students picked another state to go to school in, that number was 29 percent in 2002.

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Christian County 4-H Program Sign-Up Still Open

 
4-H Enrollment is closing soon for the kids of Christian County. But there is still one month left to contact the University of Illinois Extension and find out how the 4-H Program will benefit your kids, and how to sign them up.
 
4-H is no longer just about agriculture, although it does play a large part in it, it's also about many other skills such as gardening, cooking, carpentry, and even robotics.
 
Alicia Gullidge, 4-H youth and Development Coordinator at the U of I Extension in Taylorville said enrollment is open all year, but there is a deadline just a month away for those who want to show animals at the fair.
 
 
Gullidge said one other thing to sign up for by the deadline in April is their 4-H Day with the St. Louis Cardinals, where the Christian County Club will get together and Watch a Redbirds game that's totally dedicated to the 4-H'ers.
 
 
Gullidge appeared on the NEWSTALK WTIM Morning Show.

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Crop Photo Contest Opens Entries

The State Treasurer's Office opened entries for the Cream of the Crop Photo Contest this past Monday. The contest is open for children from 8-18 who are broken up into three more groups. The purpose of the contest is to get Illinois kids out of the house and to see agriculture in a different way than they may have before.
 
State Treasurer Michael Frerichs said through this contest, it gets children of Illinois interested in the agriculture industry by exploring the farmlands in the state.
 
 
Frerichs said the hope of this contest is to continue generations of farmers and keep the interest of the agriculture industry thriving in the state as new generations come along.
 
 
State Treasurer Frerichs appeared on the NEWSTALK WTIM Morning Show.  

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Christian County CEO Readies for Trade Show

 
The Christian County CEO Program is wrapping up their third nine weeks and their stint with the Greater Taylorville Chamber of Commerce. Each nine weeks, the CEO students change locations to a new business in the county, to get a different perspective and get adjusted to a new business environment.
 
Patty Hornbuckle, CEO of the Greater Taylorville Chamber of Commerce, said the move will put the program closer to Lincoln Land Community College which will beneficial to the students.
 
 
Hornbuckle said the trade show kicks off on May 18th from 6:00-7:30. She said the students have already decided their business.
 
 
Hornbuckle appeared on the NEWSTALK WTIM Morning Show.

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WTIM People's Bank and Trust March 2017 Students of the Month Announced

The NEWSTALK WTIM and People's Bank and Trust Taylorville Students of the Month for March were presented with their awards recently.

 

Pictured left to right are Senior Gunder Reese, Junior Audra Boehme, Sophomore Olivia Hadley, Freshman Emily Leers, and Judy Prasun with Peoples Bank and Trust.

 

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Biss Not Ready to Jump in Just Yet

State Senator Daniel Biss is one of the most talked about names among potential Democratic candidates for Governor, but Biss isn't doing much of the talking. Despite a recent poll that put him well ahead of potential contenders to face Bruce Rauner next year, Biss doesn't sound ready to jump in just yet.



 

The Illinois Democratic County Chairmen’s Association online straw poll saw 25 percent of respondents surveyed supporting Biss. The closest potential competitor was Chicago Alderman Ameya Pawar, who received 15 percent of the poll votes.

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Watchdog Group Fights for Landlines

AT&T is backing two bills in the Illinois General Assembly that the Citizen's Utility Board is against. S.B. 1381 and H.B. 2691 would kill traditional home phone service in Illinois, according to a spokesman with the utility watchdog, who says AT&T wants to force customers to use computer-based or wireless substitutes. Jim Chilsen of the Citizens Utility Board says there are millions of both residential and business landline customers across the state.



People who live in rural areas with spotty cell phone coverage could be affected, with their landline service made either unavailable or the price going up. The phone industry says there are many options now, including landline service from the unregulated cable TV providers. 

Jim Chilsen of the Citizens Utility Board says this proposal comes back to lawmakers in Illinois every couple of years.

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Durbin Says Proposed Medicaid Cuts Would Hurt Illinois Hospitals

Senator Dick Durbin had plenty to say about Republican efforts to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act. He told lawmakers on the Senate floor that he is concerned about the potential economic impact on the healthcare industry, with hospitals getting less medicaid reimbursement from patients.

 


Durbin says the GOP bill provides tax breaks for the wealthiest individuals and largest corporations in America while increasing out-of-pocket health costs and leaving 24 million Americans without insurance. 

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Garth Still Has It

Garth Brooks retired for years to raise his daughters and he has struggled to chart new hits this century but no country act can touch his power as a concert draw. The country superstar added two shows today to his stay at Champaign's State Farm Center. He crossed the 50-thousand mark in tickets sold for the fourt concerts that will kick off Friday, April 28th. Today shows were added Saturday April 29th at 3pm and Sunday, April 30th at 7:30 PM.

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Durbin Wants Cameras in Supreme Court

Meanwhile, Durbin is reaching across the aisle in a bid to bring cameras to the nation's most important courtroom. Durbin has joined Republican Senator Chuck Grassley of Iowa, the Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman, in offering legislation that calls for televising open proceedings of the Supreme Court. The bipartisan Cameras in the Courtroom Act would allow Justices to shut down the cameras if they believe coverage would violate the due process rights of or more parties appearing in court.

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Taylorville Kiwanis Club Learns About Sleep Disorders At Weekly Meeting

 

The Taylorville Kiwanis Club held their weekly meeting Tuesday afternoon at the Taylorville Memorial Hospital Auditorium. This week’s guest speaker was Dr. Pavinderpal Gill, a Physician with the Springfield Clinic in Taylorville.

 

Dr. Gill took the opportunity to discuss sleep disorders with Kiwanis members, and shared some of the history of sleep disorders.

 

 

Dr. Gill discussed some of the newest research when it comes to sleep disorders, saying how studies are showing just how important sleep is to the brain.

 

 

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

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Annie's Project Educating Women Looking to Have A Bigger Role in Agriculture

 

The Christian County Extension Office in Taylorville recently wrapped up Annies’s Project, a program that empowers women in agriculture and educates participants in many farm related areas. Participants engage in workshops designed to highlight different aspects of farm related business.

 

Andrew Holsinger, Horticulture Educator at the University of Illinois Extension Unit 18 says the project is a well rounded offering for participants who want to become more involved on the farm.

 

 

Holsinger discussed several topics the students heard about during the course of the project.

 

 

Holsinger says the Extension Office was quite pleased with the project, and will consider bringing it back in the future.

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Ameren Illinois Offers Several Tips On Putting Together A Disaster Preparedness Kit

Spring is around the corner and along with the warmer temperatures comes an increased chance of severe weather as well as power outages that go along with that weather. Ameren Illinois wants it’s customers to be prepared for when the power goes out, and suggests that everybody take proper precautions such as putting together a disaster preparedness kit.

 

Angie Ostaszewski, with Ameren Illinois had several tips for putting together a disaster preparedness kit, and said how customers can get help with putting together their kits.

 

 

Ostaszewski commented on some of the often overlooked items that people forget when putting together their kits, and why customers should put together a kit in the first place.

 

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Taylorville School Board Suing State Board of Education for Lack of Funding

After not receiving a single categorical payment for FY17, the Taylorville School Board is fed up with the state. The board unanimously decided to sue the State Board of Education because of their lack of funding, and their continued rulings for schools who are already struggling.

 

Dr. Gregg Fuerstenau, Superintendent of Taylorville Schools, said the state is failing their schools because they can't get things done and move the budget process forward.

Fuerstenau said, they aren't upset because more standards are being placed on the schools, they're upset and taking action because more standards are required from the schools with no additional funding to support them.

Fuerstenau appeared on the NEWSTALK WTIM Morning Show.  

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Billie Heberling Hopes to Become New Taylorville Treasurer to Make Water Payments Easier and More Efficient

The Taylorville City Treasurer’s Office is one that may not change after the city elections this year, but Billie Heberling hopes that isn't the case. As a lifelong native to the city she wants to watch it continue to grow and be a great place to live and she thinks she can give it a great chance if she becomes the next Treasurer for Taylorville. Heberling said her experience both personally and professionally makes her the right fit for this position.

Heberling said if she becomes City Treasurer, she won't make changes to water bills and how often they're being paid, because if it changes to a required monthly pay system it will cost the city thousands.

Heberling appeared on the NEWSTALK WTIM Morning Show.

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Madigan Assembles School Funding Reform Panel

A new Illinois House education funding reform panel has gone to work. House Speaker Mike Madigan says the 26 member panel, split evenly between Republicans and Democrats, will pickup where a commission formed by his political rival, Governor Rauner, left off. Legislation will be drafted this spring to try to overhaul the current funding model. The Rauner appointed commission made reccomendations on altering the school funding schematics but that effort didn't lead to legislation.

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Speaker Wants Closer Look at Medicaid Cut Impact

House Speaker Mike Madigan is taking a closer look at proposed Medicaid cuts by the Trump Administration and Congressional Republicans. He has directed state Rep. Greg Harris to hold a hearing Thursday on how proposed cuts could impact children, families and others in Illinois. Harris heads up the House Appropriations-Human Services Committee. Madigan's office says the proposed changes could have a significant effect on the state budget and the state would be forced to cut critical care for strugglies families and disabled residents or pass on the cost to state taxpayers.

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Duckworth Joins Dem Senators in Promoting Paid Family and Medical Leave

Senator Tammy Duckworth has joined colleagues in promoting majjor paid family and medical leave legislation. Their proposal, labeled the FAMILY Act, would provide up to 12 weeks of paid leave for workers who need time to care for a newborn or adopted child, a seriously ill family member, or their own serious health condition. Duckworth says after her husband helped care for her after she lost her legs in a war zone helicopter crash, she doesn't need a focus group to understand the issue. She says families and taxpayers would benefit.



 

The Senators note less than 40 percent of American workers have access to personal medical leave, and just 14 percent have access to paid family leave. 

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Last Gasp of Winter Throws A Scare at Some Illinois Crops

The unusually warm winter caused wheat to green and some fruit trees to bloom earlier than normal, at least in some parts of mid-to-southern Illinois. That was before snow that many hope is the last gasp of winter 20-17. Dan Hicks with Freese-Notis Weather offers his prediction on when it might warm up and if that will stick;



Temperatures in the teens overnight have some Illinois wheat and fruit growers concerned about damage to their crops. Hicks says some areas of the state can still use some additional moisture too;



Spring officially begins Monday and Hicks calls for typical weather for the season, including some swings between warm and cool. Overall, the meteorologist expect temperatures to hover at slightly above-normal levels.

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Taylorville Mayoral Candidate Bruce Barry Hoping to Cut Costs to Citizens if Elected

Taylorville will have a new mayor in less than a month, and the April 4th election date is creeping up fast. Bruce Barry is a candidate for mayor and is focused on his commitment and staying involved with the city as well as finding alternative forms of revenue to donate to current and future city projects.

 

Barry said his campaign expresses how he wants to cut costs to the citizens, clean up the town, and above all else, help the city continue to grow and thrive.

 

 

Barry said one of his campaign points deals with having things privately funded to save taxpayer money for things such as city improvements or city government departments.

 

 

Barry appeared on the NEWSTALK WTIM Morning Show.

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Dr. David Gill Discusses Reasoning Behind His Decision for 2018 Congressional Run

Dr. David Gill, a Bloomington Physician has announced his intentions to once again challenge incumbent Congressman Rodney Davis for the Illinois 13th Congressional District, this time as a Democrat. Gill previously ran for the seat in 2012, losing to Davis by one of the closest margins in that election. Gill attempted another run in 2016 as an independent, however was kept off the ballot due to petitioning requirements.

 

Dr. Gill said he feels there is a need for someone in congress who truly represents the needs of the citizens in the Illinois 13th Congressional District.

 

 

Dr. Gill discussed his attempted run at the seat as an independent for the 2016 election, and how that race fueled his decision to run once again as a democrat.

 

 

Anyone who would like to learn more about Dr. Gill can visit his website at DavidGill2018.com, visit his campaign on Facebook, or send an e-mail to davidgill2018@gmail.com.  

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Congressman Rodney Davis Discusses Differencess Between New American Health Care Act, and Current Affordable Care Act

 

There has been much discussion over the unveiling of the American Health Care Act, which is intended to be the replacement to the Affordable Care Act, largely known as “Obamacare”. Congressman Rodney Davis spoke with Regional Radio News and said the bill will serve as a tool to fix what he called a broken system.

 

Congressman Davis said if changes aren’t made to the current health care system, Illinois will pay the price.

 

 

One area many Central Illinois residents have struggled with in the current system is the rising cost of premiums. Davis echoed those concerns, and said he feels the architects of the affordable care act drew it to fail.

 

 

One goal of the new American Health Care Act Davis shared is to increase the amount of options citizens have for health care coverage, while bringing down the overall cost of coverage.

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Christian County TRIAD Invites Public to Severe Weather Preparedness Presentation by JC Fultz

With spring right around the corner, Central Illinois faces an increased chance of severe weather. Because of this, the Christian County TRIAD program is hosting a presentation by WAND Chief Meteorologist JC Fultz, with the goal of better preparing citizens on how to deal with the weather on March 23rd.

 

Brian Hile with the Christian County TRIAD program says the presentation that is open to the public will help attendees know what to do when severe weather strikes.

 

 

Later in the afternoon the public is invited to the Walgreens in Taylorville, where they can either purchase a weather radio, or bring in their own and have it programmed for free.

 

 

Hile had information on where residents can go if they have any questions on the event, and reminded that it is an open event where the public is welcome.

 

 

The event will begin on March 23rd at 9:30 in the lower level of the Taylorville Municipal Building. Refreshments will be served.

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Push for $15 Minimum Wage is On

The 15 dollar minimum wage movement is now in writing in Illinois. Chicago based State Representative Will Guzzardi is drafting legislation to boost the state's starting wage to fifteen bucks, although it won't reach the mark until 2022. Guzzardi says the minimum wage is no longer just about summer jobs for young people.



 

Guzzardi's legislation also offers a cushion for small businesses who will struggle to cough up extra wages.
 


 

Under the five year phase in, the minimum wage would jump from $8.25 now to $9 next year. Business groups remain opposed. 

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Trump Interested in Boosting Illinois Rivers Navigation and Ecosystems

President Trump's talk of a massive infrastructure plan could benefit Illinois Rivers. The Administration is reportedly considering seven locks and dams on the Mississippi and Illinois rivers for improvements. Plans to improve the locks system and perform ecological restoration of the rivers passed through Congress ten years ago, but funding was never provided. The pricetag at the time was set at 4.2 billion dollars.

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Crop Insurance Deadline is Wednesday

The deadline to purchase or modify crop insurance coverage for spring-planted crops is Wednesday, the 15th. Doug Yoder, crop agency manager for Country Financial, says even though crop insurance is a continuous program, it’s always a good idea for farmers to meet with agents to ensure that they have the best available coverage.



Yoder is a member of an American Farm Bureau Federation farm bill working group. He says crop insurance is the most important risk management tool for farmers and explains the importance of government assistance in paying those premiums.



Yoder traveled to dozens of meetings in Illinois this winter, and he says members rank crop insurance as the federal ag program that needs to be protected the most.

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Davis Says Mandatory Aspect of Obamacare has Flopped

Congressman Rodney Davis continues to be at the forefront of efforts to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act. Critics have often pointed to the mandatory aspect of the health insurance law as one of their complaints. Congressman Rodney Davis says there's an added wrinkle.



 

Davis says hospitals are also dealing with a growing number of writeoffs of bills for insured customers.

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Taylorville School Board Elects to Join Other Illinois Schools In Lawsuit Against ISBE

 

The Taylorville School Board unanimously elected Monday night to participate in a lawsuit that a group of Illinois Schools are filing against the state board of education, based on a lack of funds the state has paid to the schools, as well as unfunded requirements the state continues to place on Illinois school districts. As part of joining, the Taylorville School Board elected to use non-tax payer funds to pay the associated legal fees as part of the lawsuit.

 

Taylorville Superintendent Dr. Gregg Fuerstenau spoke with WTIMTV following the meeting, and said the list of schools filing suit against the state is growing.

 

 

Dr. Fuerstenau said a big part of the reasoning behind the lawsuit was the continued unfunded mandates the school continues to place on already struggling school districts.

 

 

School board member Bruce Barry asked the board to elect to not use any taxpayer money on the legal fees associated with joining the lawsuit, and offered that the fees be paid through the Quarterback Club, which passed along with the decision to join the suit.

 

The board also viewed a presentation put together by Taylorville School District Business Manager Colene German highlighting some of the financial figures the district has seen since 2005. Dr. Fuerstenau said one of the most important figures of that presentation was one that showed how Taylorville Schools spends less per student than much of the state. He said this is due to the district having to make tough funding decisions due to the financial situation the district has been in.

 

 

It’s not all bad news however for Taylorville Schools, as Dr. Fuerstenau highlighted some of the accomplishments that students in the Taylorville School District have achieved.

 

 

The Taylorville School Board will meet again on April 10th, where they will discuss the results of the tax referendum vote.

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TMH Foundation Accepting Applications for John H. Butterfield Scholarship

The Taylorville Memorial Hospital Foundation is now accepting applications for the John H. Butterfield Agriculture and Nutrition Scholarship. The scholarship will award $1,000 to a student enrolled in a two or four year college or university, with the intent to pursue a career in agriculture or food nutrition.

 

Raedena Ryan, Executive Director of the Taylorville Memorial Hospital Foundation shared the story behind the founding of the scholarship, and how it reflects what the TMH Foundation is all about.

 

 

The scholarship is different in that it’s a post-secondary scholarship. Ryan shared what students should apply.

 

 

The deadline to apply for the scholarship is March 31st. Students can get an application through the TMH Foundation website, or by contacting the Foundation Office at 824-1651.

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Rep. Bourne Optimistic Budget Will Be Passed, Writing Bill to Continue State Worker Pay

The state budget is on the mind of Illinois state legislators, especially since Governor Bruce Rauner just proposed a possible budget that is still $4 billion  out of balance. Another thing on the mind of Illinois lawmakers is state worker pay since court battles are taking place to see if Illinois state workers will be paid for their services.

 

State Representative Avery Bourne has thoughts on both of these issues. She said, regarding a budget, she remains optimistic a new budget will be in effect by the time June gets here, but it will be up to the General Assembly if it passes.

Bourne also said she is pushing to allow state workers to continue to be paid as Attorney General Lisa Madigan is in the courts trying to prevent it. Bourne said the bill she has drawn up has bipartisan support as she attempts to keep state working families out of the political battles.

Representative Bourne appeared on the NEWSTALK WTIM Morning Show. 

 

 

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University of Illinois Extension Master Gardener Help Desk Re-Opening in Mid-April

While the snow and frigid temperatures are still hitting central Illinois, it doesn't mean spring isn't soon on the way. The Master Gardeners at the University of Illinois Extension in Taylorville will be ready and prepared to give help to anyone who needs it as their Help Desk will once again re-open in April.

 

Master Gardeners Gwen Podeschi and Sharon Hill said the Help Desk is the backbone of the Master Gardeners and they will integrate their new trainees into the system starting when it opens on April 17th.

Podeschi and Hill also mentioned their plant sale coming to the area on May 6th at the Extension Office. They said they will be selling budding flowers, bushes, and trees, among various other things.

Podeschi and Hill appeared on the NEWSTALK WTIM Morning Show.  

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Early Registration for Illinois History Symposium Soon Coming to a Close

The Illinois History Symposium is just a month away, and focuses on two monumental events in the country and the state, Women's Suffrage, and World War I. Early registration is coming to a close, and for those who would want to get a discounted price on attending the symposium should move fast.

 

Gwen Podeschi, from the Illinois State Historical Society said on the Friday evening of the event there will be a reception at Camp Lincoln with a presentation focusing on the 8th Illinois Regiment.

Podeschi said on Saturday they will have their annual awards banquet giving out scholarships and other awards for things such as books, programs, and high school student projects.

Podeschi appeared on the NEWSTALK WTIM Morning Show.

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Damage to Vehicle This Week's Crimestoppers Crime of the Week

This week Crimestoppers is seeking information in regards to criminal damage that occurred in Taylorville.

 

Sometime during the overnight hours between Sunday, March 5, 2017 and Monday, March 6, 2017, an unknown subject used an item to break out the passenger’s side window of a vehicle parked at 2100 Grand Blvd.  The vehicle a gray, 1988, Cadillac, was parked in front of the E building.  A wrench was located on scene and may have been used to do the damage. 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 Christiancountycrimestoppers.org, or by texting CRIMES (274632) and then your tip.  As always, you will remain anonymous.  

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Garth Brooks Hasn't Lost His Touch as Demand Overwhelms U of I Ticket Office

At State Farm Center, University of Illinois ticket office officials were bracing for the demand of Garth Brooks tickets that went on sale this morning. The 11th hour announcement that a second show would be added next month, did nothing to slow the demand. The ticket office shut down the sale of tickets to shows April 28th and 29th because the system was not able to handle the sale due to high demand. Those who were able to purchase tickets will be able to keep them. Ticket office officials will announce soon when sales will resume.

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Candidates For Taylorville Mayor Get Chance to Address Citizens At Mayor Forum

 

Each candidate running for the position of Taylorville Mayor had a chance to address the public last Wednesday during the Taylorville Mayoral Forum, put on by the University Women of Christian County, Taylorville Professional Firefighters, as well as local media outlets WTIM, who also broadcast the forum live, and the Taylorville Breeze Courier.

 

Each candidate had five minutes to outline their vision for Taylorville to the crowd of about 150 people in the North School Gymnasium. The candidates also answered questions from each local media outlet, as well as questions submitted from the crowd, and Taylorville students.

 

Citizens will have the chance to vote for the candidate they feel will be the best leader for Taylorville on April 4th. The Taylorville Mayoral Forum is available for viewing in it’s entirety by clicking on the WTIMTV icon at TaylorvilleDailyNews.com

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