Illinois now has a budget, but it’s the state’s backlog of bill that has the Christian County Health Department in a dire financial situation. The department has nearly depleted its reserve the past two years that Illinois has not had a budget, and now the department needs the promised state money to come through.
Nancy Martin is the county’s public health administrator. She says other counties have had to cut back services, but she’s doing everything she can to not have to cut back on services in Christian County.
Martin says the health department plays an important behind-the-scenes role for quality of life in Christian County.
Martin says just under $400,000 of their approximately $560,000 operating budget this year comes from grant money, and the department does not receive any county tax dollars. She says they do accept donations, for more information, you can give a call to 824-4113.
Governor Bruce Rauner has been crunching the numbers on what it will take the state to pay overdue bills and he doesn't like what he sees.
Rauner says a review of the current spending plan will be needed to move forward.
6 billion dollars in state bonds are expected to go to the market next month and close by mid November. House Speaker Michael Madigan released a statement.
“Contrary to reports, I have received no requests from Governor Rauner for further meetings on the budget or to work towards reducing the spending levels contained within the budget. The bipartisan budget enacted in July, despite the governor’s refusal to negotiate, included nearly $3 billion in cuts to government bureaucracy. Even as Republicans and Democrats came together to make cuts and enact a budget based on the governor’s own revenue projections, Governor Rauner refused to participate in the process despite our repeated requests. As was true then, I remain ready to work with the governor to make further adjustments to the budget.
“I believe Representative Greg Harris’ budget working group, who was largely responsible for crafting the budget we passed, is best equipped to continue discussion on the budget. Therefore, I have directed Representatives Harris, Carol Ammons, Kelly Burke, Kelly Cassidy, Fred Crespo, Will Davis, Robyn Gabel, Will Guzzardi, Lisa Hernandez, Elaine Nekritz, Elgie Sims and Mike Zalewski to work with the governor’s budget office and our House and Senate colleagues.”
The Shelbyville Senior Center is offering a way for local citizens to purchase low cost items they may need, as well as raise money for the Center. The Senior Center Plaza Boutique is a general thrift store in Shelbyville, offering a number of different items, with the proceeds going to the Shelbyville Senior Center.
Mary Beth Massey is the Director of the Senior Center, and says the store is the senior center’s version of an upscale thrift store.
Massey says the store gets a wide variety of items throughout the year.
Massey appeared as a guest on the Newstalk WTIM Morning Show live from our downtown Shelbyville Studios.
The Christian County 4-H program is starting another year of helping to educate local youth on a number of different subjects. The program is open to anybody, and provides educational opportunities in a wide array of subjects from agriculture to rocketry.
Rebecca Livingston is the Program Coordinator for the 4-H Youth and Development program at the Christian County Extension Office, and says the beginning of the year is packed full of activities that keeps the program busy.
Livingston says for those interested in signing up their children for the Christian County 4-H program, there is a number of different ways to learn how to do so.
Livingston appeared as a guest on the Newstalk WTIM Morning Show.
Every young person has a different idea of what they want to be when they grow up, but the Christian County CEO program is teaching those students involved the aspects of business and leadership needed for nearly all professions.
Taylorville High School Senior Carrie Denning says she wants to go into wedding planning and photography, and the CEO program will give her an opportunity to start that business.
Riley Matheny is also a senior at THS in the CEO program this year. He says he believes the program will help him build skills and relationships in Taylorville that he will need in his future.
The Christian County CEO program has 15 students this school year, which is the most in one year since the program started two years ago.
95th District State Representative Avery Bourne will hold traveling office hours in Taylorville Tuesday. She will be at Congressman Rodney Davis’s office from 10:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Tuesday. The office is located on the second floor of the U.S. Bank building on the Taylorville Square.
Bourne says her priority is giving her constituents as much accessibility to communicate with her as possible.
Bourne says communicating with those people she represents is critical for her to be able to represent the district in Springfield.
She says if you cannot attend the office hours Tuesday, there are many other ways to reach her. You can get that contact information at her website by clicking here.
Today At 5:18am by Jim Taylor, RFD Radio Network
Before help arrives, what should farmers do if an accident occurs on their farm?
That’s Amy Rademaker, the Rural Health and Farm Safety Specialist for Urbana based Carle Foundation Hospital.
She says farmers should also have a first aid kit available at all times in their work/farm truck. Carle is promoting an itemized list of what should be in the kit at “carle.org” and then typing “farm safety” into search box.
ABATE typically focuses on preventing Illinois from adopting motorcycle helmet requirements, but they have other safety issues in mind too. They are expressing concerns about drivers who lose their licenses yet continue to get behind the wheel. 29-year-old Justin Heath of Springfield was killed and his girlfriend 23-year-old Samantha Clardy was seriously injured when their motorcycle was struck in May by Doris Fisher. Fisher has been unable to drive legally for 14 years, but ABATE says she was behind the wheel thanks to the help of her daughter. Witkowski is calling for Sangamon County Sheriff Wes Barr to arrest Fisher's daughter.
Witkowski believes charging Fischer's daughter will send a message to others.
Clardy has undergone extensive surgeries and faces at least three more as her recovery continues.
The Christian County CEO program is in it's third year, and this year's class is settling into the program, and beginning to learn from various entrepreneurs in the area. The class offers area students the opportunity to network, and learn valuable skills in a non-traditional learning environment.
Several of the students in the Christian County CEO Program appeared as guests on the Newstalk WTIM Morning Show, to discuss their time in the CEO program so far. One of those students, Reese Bergschneider says he feels what he learns in the CEO program will be more useful to him than what he might learn in a traditional classroom setting.
Taylorville High School Senior Jordan Moats says he decided to get involved with the CEO program from a friend, and fellow CEO student Kyle Woods.
To learn more about the Christian County CEO program, visit ChristianCountyCEO.com.
It was recently announced that Litchfield would receive a $2.1 million grant from the EDA but right now, it is not known what that means for Taylorville’s EDA grant application. U.S. Congressman Rodney Davis made the announcement Wednesday.
Christian County Economic Development Corporation Executive Director Mary Renner says she found out about Litchfield’s award at yesterday afternoon’s meeting. She says she doesn’t know what that means for Taylorville’s chances of receiving grant money.
Renner says the application they have put together is exceptionally well done, but the Taylorville application has one flaw.
Renner says that have a company ready to build is considered optional in the application. The CCEDC will be re-filing their application at the end of October to try to tap into a new pot of federal funds with the new fiscal year.
Also at Thursday’s meeting, they discussed other possible projects in Taylorville, including the EmberClear project. Pawnee has made some headway in getting a plant to that area, but Renner says that doesn’t mean anything for a possible Taylorville project.
Renner says what will determine the size of the plant and if Taylorville gets a EmberClear power plant is the number of customers EmberClear will need to provide power for and the company’s location preference.
The AWANA youth program at Evangelical Free Church continues teaching area kids the power of the scripture along with letting kids meet, play games, and have fun together. AWANA stands for Approved Workmen Are Not Ashamed, and comes from the 2 Timothy 2:15.
The program’s secretary Dotty Taylor says upwards of eighty kids have been a part of the program at once over the years, and AWANA is 3-year-olds all the way through 5th grade.
The church and youth invite all kids out to their youth group each Wednesday at 6:30 and their Harvestfest coming up on October 25.
Taylorville Memorial Hospital has once again received the distinction of being an “Acute Stroke Ready Hospital.” The hospital has met and exceeded guidelines set by the Illinois Department of Public Health for the designation.
Kristy Cesaretti is the Emergency Room Nurse Manager at the hospital. She says this distinction means the hospital can provide some of the best care necessary for when someone has a stroke.
Cesaretti says it is a team effort throughout the hospital to make this care possible.
The designation is a three-year designation. The hospital received the designation for the first time in 2014.
FFA chapters across Illinois are participating in National Farm Safety Week this week. One FFA representative says all chapters in the state are incorporating farm safety into their curriculum this week and throughout the year.
Katie Burns is the Communications Specialist for the Illinois Association FFA. She says there is a wide variety of ways that the different FFA chapters are teaching kids farm safety.
Burns says Illinois FFA chapters have kids who compete in different farming areas that go through specific safety training courses.
Burns says it’s not just important to teach youth about farm safety. She encourages anyone who sees farm equipment on to slow down and keep a safe distance so everyone can get home safely.
The Christian County CEO program is in it's third year, and this year's class is settling into the program, and beginning to learn from various entrepreneurs in the area. The class offers area students the opportunity to network, and learn valuable skills in a non-traditional learning environment.
Several of the students in the Christian County CEO Program appeared as guests on the Newstalk WTIM Morning Show, to discuss their time in the CEO program so far. Jessica Parsons, a senior at Taylorville High School says she saw how the program helped her friends, and provided a learning environment that better fit how she wants to learn.
Taylorville High School Senior Kyle Woods is in the program for the second year. Woods said he felt he still had some skills that needed polishing before heading to college.
To learn more about the Christian County CEO program, visit ChristianCountyCEO.com.
With Wednesday's school shooting at Mattoon High School many are reminded of one of the key elements in many school shootings, bullying. According to Teen's Against Bullying, this year 13 million students will be bullied, which is nearly one of every four students.
Christian County Sheriff Bruce Kettelkamp says one of the types of bullying his office sees regularly is cyber-bullying, which can have major consequences by those on the receiving end of the bullying. He recalled the story of a young girl, who was cyber bullied to the point of committing suicide, and some of the things she was told on social media.
Kettelkamp reminds everyone that bullying can come from anybody, as well as what kind of things constitute bullying.
Kettelkamp urged that should you see bullying, to do your part to stop the bullying.
Christian County Sheriff Bruce Kettelkamp appeared as a guest on the Newstalk WTIM Morning Show.
The St. Louis Dairy Council is urging people to eat healthier, to help live a better and healthier life. The Council has provided the public with several tips to healthy eating, including planning your meals out, as well as preparing meals ahead of time.
Joyce Fikri with the St. Louis Dairy Council appeared as a guest on the Newstalk WTIM Morning Show and says healthy eating can not only benefit your health, but your wallet as well.
There are several things people can do to help eat healthier, including planning your meals, and preparing things ahead of time.
Friday Morning by Seth Laurence, WHOW Radio
An annual event set for this weekend in DeWitt County draws between 75,000 and 100,000 people. Director of the DeWitt County Museum Joey Woolridge says the festival started in modest fashion with just a couple of booths.
The Victorian mansion, the CH Moore Homestead, is the benefactor of the Festival and its grounds are full of non-profit groups that do fundraising for the weekend.
The Apple and Pork Festival is this Saturday and Sunday in Clinton, Illinois.
Illinois Transportation officials and AAA are marking Naitonal Child Passenger Safety Week with nearly 100 free car-seat safety checks throughout the state. Most of them will take place on National Seat Check Saturday. IDOT's Rich Brauer.
The focus of the car-seat safety checks is eight car seat mistakes. IDOT Occupant protection coordinator Jessi Hopkins talks about the issue that tops the list.
You can find out about car safety seat checks near you at BuckleupIllinois.org.
IDOT says other mistakes include: Not adjusting the harness snugly against the child. Not securing the car seat in the vehicle properly. Forgetting to register the car seat for recall notifications. Having toys or other items unsecured in the vehicle. Not using the lower anchors/LATCH system as approved. Not using the top tether on a forward-facing car seat. Moving to the next car seat or booster seat too soon.
Illinois employment security officials have released a breakdown of local unemployment figures across the state. The lowest rate in the state in August was seen in Springfield and Bloomington-Normal with a rate of 4.2 percent. The highest rate was seen in Danville, where the jobless rate was 6.9 percent. Every region of the state has seen improvement compared to August of last year.
The tragic deaths of a Bloomington man and his two sons in a Tuesday house fire has taken on a sadder note. Bloomington Police reveal 33-year-old Eric Ringenberg strangled his sons to death before setting fire to the residence. The young victims were listed as a 2-year-old boy and an infant. A female family member suffered smoke inhalation. Police say the murders of the children were captured on home surveillance video.
The Taylorville Development Association Board of Directors this morning voted to resubmit an application denied by the Economic Development Administration in July, for 537-thousand dollars in matching grant monies to build infrastructure at Taylorville's new Industrial Park along Illinois Route 104 on the city's west side.
Executive Director Mary Renner told Regional Radio News that even though local officials felt the application initially submitted this summer was complete, it was ultimately denied by the E-D-A Regional Office in Chicago.
Renner said T-D-A is working on reapplying in October, when the new federal budget year will provide the federal agency with new funds to provide local communities such as Taylorville.
Renner added the the E-D-A executive director in Chicago offered to meet with the local group to review their revised application, before it's actually sent.
Today's T-D-A meeting was to formally authorize the resubmitting of the application that will go to the Economic Development Administration in October.
The Taylorville Development Assocication owns around 32 acres that the entity wants to build infrastructure on, as the town's new Industrial Park.
T-D-A originally purchased over 90 acres, but sold off some of the parcels that won't be used. Those monies, plus financial contributions from a number of government entities and businesses, have provided T-D-A with the matching monies to go with the grant money being applied for, to build infrastructure at the new location.
Taylorville High School students and staff show support for Mattoon High School after Wednesday's shooting at the school. You can also find this video at Taylorville High School's website. Posted with permission of THS administration.
With the Mattoon High School shooting Wednesday morning, most students and staff at Taylorville High School have recognized just how close to home this has hit. The high school administration is taking a closer look at its safety procedures and the student body is showing their support for the students in Mattoon.
THS Principal Matt Hutchison says the school recently completed a round of safety drills for situations like an active shooter, but they will be reviewing their procedures after what happened just an hour away.
Hutchison says the school made an announcement last night for students to wear green in solidarity with Mattoon, and another idea came about this morning as well.
Hutchison says this shooting hits too close to home, so they want to do everything they can to show their support for Mattoon and ensure the safety of those at THS.
Bond reduction was denied for a Rosamond man charged with attempting to kill his wife.
51-year-old Markes N. Rodgers appeared in Christian County court Thursday morning. He is accused of shooting at his wife three times during an altercation on Saturday, September 9th, which led to a standoff with police that lasted into the morning on September 10th. The original bond was set at $500,000.
Rodgers’ counsel, public defender Greg Grigsby argued that Rodgers has no criminal history of any kind before the shooting and standoff with police. Grigsby said in court if bond could not be reduced, he asked that Rodgers at least be furloughed to an alcohol addiction rehab facility for treatment. Christian County State’s Attorney Mike Havera had previously told the court that Rodgers was believed to be intoxicated at the time of the shooting and standoff, and Rodgers has acknowledged in court that he has a drinking problem. Havera said in court Thursday morning that Rodgers’ mother-in-law has reported receiving phone calls from the jail since Rodgers’ arrest, and she is afraid for her and her family’s safety if Rodgers is released.
Judge Brad Paisley did not hear the case in Rodgers’ first appearance, but said given his training as a sheriff’s deputy and reviewing a risk assessment done by probation, he would not reduce the current bond.
Rodgers is set to have a preliminary hearing on Tuesday October 3rd, at 10 a.m.
The annual Taylorville Kiwanis Peanut Days fundraiser is here once again. Kiwanis members from the local Taylorville chapter will be taking to the streets of Taylorville this Friday and Saturday accepting donations, and in turn handing out a package of peanuts for those who donate.
Will Perkins and Bill Kerns with the Taylorville Kiwanis Club appeared as guests on the Newstalk WTIM Morning Show. Perkins says the event's main goal is to raise funds to benefit children in the community.
In years past the club has been able to donate roughly 80 coats to children in the community.
Kerns says the community has stepped up in other ways to support the Kiwanis club during the fundraiser as well.
Again, the Taylorville Kiwanis Club Peanut Days fundraiser will be taking place this Friday and Saturday at the corner of Webster and Main Cross Streets as well as Walmart.
It may not be that unusual these days to see multiple combines in a field at harvest time, however to see multiple makes and models harvesting the same field together is a bit more rare.
Several family farm operations from the Niantic area put their own harvest plans on hold Wednesday in order to help out a neighbor. Dan Stohl is just a few weeks removed from quadruple bypass heart surgery, and was unsure of how he would get his 600-plus acres harvested this fall, but then the community came to his aide. Dan's cousin, Steve Stohl, organized a community harvest, and says the farming community in western Macon County really stepped up.
Craig Moore was one of the farmer's cutting soybeans in the 90-degree heat. He thought it was great to see the community effort, and emotionally noted that you never know when you might be the one in need.
Ed Leonard Jr. was one of several farmers harvesting corn as part of the effort. He too feels the day was just an example of what farming neighbors do.
The Stohl's were grateful for the support of the community. Steve says Dan is on the mend, and was even able to watch a bit of the harvest.
The group was pleasantly surprised with both the bean and corn yields they were seeing especially considering the challenging growing season western Macon County saw this year.
The Christian County Prevention Coalition wants those looking to recover from an addiction to know that they have hope. The coalition will be hosting an “End the Trend” community forum on addiction recovery Saturday at 10 a.m. at Taylorville Memorial Hospital. Nick Dyer was addicted to meth and heroin for many years.
He will be telling his full story at the forum. Again, the “End the Trend” community forum on drug addicition will be Saturday at 10 a.m. sharp at Taylorville Memorial Hospital.
Data from the Department of Agriculture shows exports of farm goods will push higher in 2017. A forecast compiled by USDA predicts the value of agricultural exports in fiscal year 2017 will hit nearly $140 billion, up $10 billion from fiscal year 2016. With stronger exports and modest import increases in 2017, the U.S. will have an agricultural trade surplus of roughly $23 billion compared to $7 billion last year. USDA says the increase reflects the improvement in the global economy, and it represents a lower value for the U.S. dollar to make a better deal for foreign buyers to purchase U.S. agricultural products, according to Farm Journal's AgWeb. The initial fiscal year 2018 forecast shows exports will reach $139 billion, slightly lower than the current level.
The state is billions behind in paying bills and some lawmakers and constitutional officers are asking the Governor to borrow to help pay down the backlog. Bruce Rauner says much has been made out of using bonds to dig out of the hole but that doesn’t fix the fundamental problems of being more than $16 billion behind.
Rauner says current state budget is going to run a $1.7 billion deficit and so cuts will have to be made before going to make a bond offer.
Thursday Morning by Jim Taylor, RFD Radio Network
The words “local government” are big words in Illinois. That’s because there are nearly 7,000 units in the Land of Lincoln, most of any state in the nation. The Illinois Farm Bureau offers a resource for the local taxpayer—to help them understand or get involved in the local government process. It’s called LINK—Local Information, News and Know-How says Kevin Rund, Senior Director of Local Government for IFB.
LINK is distributed electronically at the county farm bureau level or the latest edition can be accessed by going to “ilfb.org” and type the word “LINK” in the search box. Topics addressed in the last release included such issues as local government accountability, landowner rights, rural development and strategic planning.
Hurricane Irma’s destruction is putting the iconic Thanksgiving pecan pie at risk. The storm ripped through pecan orchards in Georgia, the number one grower of pecans in the nation, just weeks before harvest. The University of Georgia estimated that 30 percent of production may have been lost after high winds sent pods flying off branches and blew down trees. Bloomberg News reports that while pecans are a niche crop, the nuts are often associated with holiday desserts, and they’re among Georgia’s top agricultural commodities. Prices were already at the highest on record, averaging $2.59 a pound in the marketing year that ended in August 2016. Supply damage from Irma could mean even pricier pies for Thanksgiving. Pecan trees can produce for decades and some in the state are 100 years old, but any new trees planted won’t bear a crop for about five to seven years.
The opioid epidemic across the country continues to grow, and the Christian County Board recognizes the issue here at home. The county board passed a resolution declaring the unlawful distribution of prescription controlled substances has created a serious public health and safety hazard in the county. Christian County is the third county in the state to make this resolution.
Christian County State’s Attorney Mike Havera says the crisis is depleting valuable local and county resources that are already hard to come by.
Havera says part of the reason opioids have become such a big problem is because prescription wholesalers have never reported spikes in opioid prescription sales to the government as required by law. With the resolution, Christian County will be joining in lawsuits against these wholesalers for damages caused from the epidemic. Havera says money recovered from these lawsuits could be substantial, and the county has lagged behind in facilities to combat the opioid epidemic.
Havera says the county will only pay the law firm representing the county in these cases on a contigency basis, or if the county wins the case. So it will come at no cost to the county. Havera says the wholesalers not reporting the problem has put counties across the United States in an unfair position of combatting the problem without the resources to do so.
Wednesday Afternoon by Michael Pickett & Kyle Norris
UPDATE 8:25 a.m. Thursday - The district has released a statement in part that says the high school will hold classes Thursday, but students will be dismissed at 12:09 p.m., and lunch will not be served.
All other schools in the district will keep their regularly scheduled hours. Counselors, clergy, and police officers will be available for students and staff to provide comfort and counseling.
UPDATE 2:10 p.m. - The Mattoon School District has released the following statement regarding the shooting earlier today.
Mattoon High School officials were made aware of an active student shooter at approximately 11:33 a.m. this morning on the Mattoon High School campus.
The School Resource Officers and school officials headed to the cafeteria where they heard shots fired.
The suspect fired shots in the school cafeteria, before he was subdued and disarmed.
Emergency procedures were activated and students and staff exited the high school. As a result of shots being fired, one student was injured.
First responders arrived, secured the facility, and transported the student to the hospital. The injured student’s parents were notified and all students were transported to Riddle Elementary School to be released to their parents.
We are saddened that this event has happened and we will provide counseling to students in need. We will continue to work with emergency personnel to determine what happened.
We appreciate the quick response of school staff and first responders. Most importantly, we offer our thoughts and prayers to the injured student and all who are affected by this tragedy.
12:25 p.m. - Regional Radio News has received reports of an active shooter situation at Mattoon High School.
A suspect is reportedly in custody, with the school on lockdown, and students being evacuated to Riddle Elementary School. Parents are asked to pick up their children there. Initial reports are stating that shots were fired, with at least one person injured.
Regional Radio News will have more updates as they become available.
Nearly half of all Americans are a victim of the recent Equifax breach, but the Christian County TRIAD doesn’t want you to become a victim of the breach again. There is already a new phone scam as people posing that they are from Equifax.
Rich Peters and Brian Hile with the Christian County TRIAD program both appeared as guests on the Newstalk WTIM Morning Show. Peters says Equifax has already announced that they are not calling people about the breach.
Peters says there is a simple way to check to see if you have been impacted by the breach.
Peters says he was a victim of the Equifax breach. He says any victim should call one of the three credit reporting agencies and put a fraud alert on their account. He says you only need to call one agency and the other two will be notified.
Student loan debt is a huge problem that continues to grow in the United States as college degrees become more essential to get jobs. Illinois’ 13th District U.S. House Rep. Rodney Davis wants to see that change.
Davis is sponsoring House Bill 795, which would encourage private businesses to aid in helping their employees pay off their student loans. Davis says he got the idea from the federal government’s program.
Davis says it’s not just an important issue for the country’s younger generation, it’s an issue for the financial stability of the country.
Davis says the student loan debt issue will be a key issue as lawmakers look at federal tax reform in the coming weeks. Davis appeared as a guest on the Newstalk WTIM Morning Show.
Pana Community Hospital is giving patients all of the time they need to recover through the hospital’s swing bed program. The program also allows patients who may have had procedures or operations done elsewhere to get extra care at the hospital if they still need it upon release from the other facility.
Melissa Rybolt is the Marketing Manager at Pana Community Hospital. She says the program provides the extra care in a time when most hospitals can’t let you have an extended stay.
Rybolt says these programs are common in smaller hospitals so patients can recover closer to home.
Rybolt appeared as a guest on the Newstalk WTIM Morning Show.
Internet retail giant Amazon is looking for a location to build a second headquarters. It’s seen as a huge opportunity to land thousands of high paying white collar and technical jobs. Governor Bruce Rauner and others from Chicago are working on a bid to bring them to the city. But Rauner says he will also be working to see that other parts of the state are being supported.
Rauner says a group of industry and state leaders are in Seattle today laying groundwork to support bids made on behalf of Illinois.
The sudden pending opening in the Attorney General's office has set off a flurry of activity. Chicago Tribune columnist Rick Pearson reports one of Chicago Alderman Ed Burke's two lawyer daughters is circulating petitions to run for the Democratic nomination for AG now that Lisa Madigan has announced she won't seek another term. Burke informed the Cook County Democrats his daughter was circulating petititions but wouldn't identify which one. State Representative Elaine Nekritz, a Northbrook Democrat, who recently announced she was leaving the General Assembly, is also circulating petititons. There is also word State Rep. Scott Drury could leave the race for Governor and run for Attorney General instead. Reports out of Chicago also indicate former Comptroller and one time Democratic rising star Dan Hynes could rise from the political ashes and make a run for AG.
On a day when an earthquake shook Southeastern Illinois and a major quake has caused destruction in Mexico City, the Illinois Emergency Management Agency is asking residents to prepare for a potential earthquake with a statewide drill one month from now. On Oct. 19 at 10:19 a.m., Illinois will join other states and countries in practicing three simple actions that could save your life in a major quake: drop, cover and hold on. Next month's drill is dubbed The Great ShakeOut earthquake drill. Southern Illinois has two seismic zones, making it the biggest area of concern. A half million people took part in the drill last year. 300,000 people are signed up so far this year. Schools, businesses, government agencies, families and others can register to participate in the drill at www.shakeout.org/centralus.
Christian County continues to make necessary cuts in its budget, and the county’s audit, finance, and purchasing committee chairperson is pleased with the progress so far.
With pay raises included, the county has still cut its budget by 280 thousand dollars. That is still about 220 thousand short of the county’s deficit.
Audit, Finance, and Purchasing Committee Chairperson and Fourth District County Board Member Becky Edwards says cuts have been made across the board.
Edwards says further cuts will be made in 2019, and the state of Illinois isn’t helping matters.
Other action items at Tuesday’s Christian County Board meeting include an increase to environmental food permit fees from the county health department and a resolution was approved declaring the unlawful distribution of prescription controlled substances has created a public health and safety crisis. The next Christian County Board meeting is set for Tuesday, October 17 at 6:30 p.m. at the county courthouse.
The Taylorville Kiwanis Club heard about Christian County coal mining over the past 100 years, and the Coal Mining Museum on the east side of the Taylorville square, during their Tuesday luncheon at the Taylorville Memorial Hospital auditorium.
Chuck Martin is executive director of the Christian County Coal Miner's Museum, a non-profit entity that began due to the efforts of the late Will Stone. After Stone's passing, Martin has overseen the continued operation and growth of the museum, which documents the long tradition of coal mining in Christian County dating back to 1884 when the first mine was sunk near Pana.
Martin told the Kiwanis members that at its peak, coal mining employed some 3400 people in Christian County. The largest single mine that operated in the county was Peabody Mine # 10, which was open from 1951 to 1994 and employed as many as 1,000 persons.
Martin added that coal mining was not without its dangers. He described the harsh conditions miners had to endure to provide for their families.
The Christian County Coal Miner's Museum on the east side of the Taylorville square, is open to the public on Thursdays of each week.
The Taylorville Kiwanis Club reminds the public, that members will be on the streets of Taylorville this Friday and Saturday 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 taylorvillekiwanis.com.
Grain buyers from across the globe have converged on Illinois for the Illinois Grain tour, and one of their stops Tuesday morning was GSI in Assumption. About 30 people from all over the world got to see a short presentation on the history of GSI and take a tour of the Assumption facility.
Terry English is an International Marketing Representative with the Illinois Department of Agriculture. He says the stop at GSI is just a part of the statewide tour that shows these people the process of producing the grain from planting to harvesting to consumption.
GSI’s North American Director of Commercial Ag Scott Becker says it’s always a big deal to have international visitors at your business, and he believes helping the customers have an understanding of how the product is made makes for a more loyal customer.
The tour started Monday at the Melvin Price Lock and Dam in Alton, and will end Thursday in Chicago, with other stops in Edwardsville, Auburn, Decatur, Hennepin, and Des Plaines in between.
Doing business locally was a theme throughout Monday night’s Taylorville city council meeting. The city agreed to a contract with CTI and a Springfield roofing company at the meeting and will be looking for loan bids from all Taylorville banks.
The new roof comes after what is acknowledged as a mistake by past city leadership to work with an Indiana roofing company on the last municipal building roof about six years ago. Taylorville mayor Bruce Barry says the contract includes a 30-year warranty, which he says is in part to a great job by the public facilities chairman.
The city council also approved a new contract with CTI that includes automatic backups done by the company to prevent lost data like what happened with the July city computer system crash. Barry says in the case of CTI and working on a loan for the roof, it’s great to keep Taylorville business in the city limits.
The city tore down it’s first blighted building under Barry’s leadership Tuesday morning at 805 East Esther Street. Barry also announced at the meeting that $600,000 in IEPA loans the city has have been forgiven thanks to work done in Springfield. The council also went into closed session for negotiations with the police union, which Barry says are coming along but more talks will be done at the next city council meeting October 3rd at 7 p.m. at the Taylorville Municipal Building.
School is back in session, and that also means area kids are getting involved once again in a number of different programs such as fall sports, and other extracurricular activities designed to teach children beyond the classroom.
Denise Bence, Superintendent of the Shelbyville School District says although football is the fall sport that gets the most attention, the district offers a number of other sports programs as well.
Along with sports, several students in Shelby County are part of the inaugural class for the Shelby County CEO program. Bence says the CEO program helps students learn more about the world of business.
Bence appeared as a guest on the Newstalk WTIM Morning Show live from our Downtown Shelbyville Studios.
The United Way of Christian County’s 2017 Campaign is underway, and has gotten off to a great start. The Campaign serves as a way for the organization to fund-raise for it’s member agencies, as well as to raise awareness for the United Way, and what it and it’s members do.
Susan Lawrence is the Executive Director for the United Way of Christian County, says this year’s campaign was extended to allow for more flexibility.
Along with raising funds for the United Way’s member agencies, the Campaign serves as a way for the United Way to inform the public on the organizations involved.
Lawrence appeared as a guest on the Newstalk WTIM Morning Show.
This week is National Farm Safety Week and Ameren Illinois wants to keep all farmers safe out on the fields.
George Justice is the Senior Director of Operations for Ameren Illinois. He says some power lines can contain so much energy that you don’t have to touch it to feel the affects of the electricity in the line.
Justice says all farmers or anyone looking to dig should always call 8-1-1 because it could save lives.
Calling the Julie 8-1-1 system is free, and Justice says it’s important to call if you haven’t before because there could be underground lines that you aren’t aware of.
Gov. Bruce Rauner has wrapped up a nine-day trade mission to Japan and China. Rauner said Illinois faces familiar obstacles to business investment from overseas.
Illinois continues to get face time with top Chinse officials. This week, Congressman Darin LaHood is visiting China. The Peoria Republican will lead Members of Congress on a trip to promote trade, business, and cultural exchange between the United States and China. He serves as co-chair of the US-China Working Group . The trip’s 8 day itinerary includes high level meetings with government officials and U.S. companies operating in China, including the Ministry of Agriculture, Ministry of Defense, U.S. embassy in China, and Boeing.
The labor dispute between AFSCME represented state workers and Governor Bruce Rauner has gone quiet of late and it will remain that way a while longer. A court decision that blocked Governor Rauner from imposing labor terms has been on appeal for sometime, but it appears oral arguments won't occur until early next year. AFSCME has been working on an expired contract since mid 2015.
A Taylorville High School athlete was recognized for his state record-breaking performance at Monday night’s city council meeting.
Tornado wide receiver Justin Wright was honored for his performance in the football game vs. Effingham on September 1. Wright had 390 yards receiving in the game, which is the most ever in a game by an Illinois high school football player, and 12th all-time nationally. Taylorville quarterback Brandon Odom threw for 513 yards in the game, with more than 3/4 of those yards to Wright. Mayor Bruce Barry honored Wright as this month’s Youth of the Month in the city of Taylorville.
Ward One Alderman Larry Budd praised the team for their performance so far this season, although he jokingly says the team has one flaw.
The Taylorville Tornadoes football team is 3-1 on the season. They face the Lincoln Railsplitters Friday night at home. Kickoff is at 7 p.m., and you can hear the game on Newstalk WTIM.
From Left to Right: Brooke Bates, Allie Olive, Kamilla Allen, and Anna Reever.
This month’s NEWSTALK WTIM Central Illinois Smiles Family Dentistry “Big Smile for the Community” honorees are Kamilla Allen, Brooke Bates, Anna Reever, and Allie Olive, the four seniors on the Taylorville High School Dance Team. The girls saw a family in need and stepped up to help by bringing members of the community together to support the “Hornbuckle Warriors.”
Allen says they wanted to do something because one of their family members, Kyle Woods, is in their senior class.
The group collected t-shirts, a chair, thumbprints, and tornado wear for the family. Reever says the community did their part in supporting the Hornbuckle family.
To nominate someone for the NEWSTALK WTIM Central Illinois Family Dentistry “Big Smile for the Community” award, send your nominations to email@example.com.
About A Week Ago by Seth Laurence, WHOW Radio
Finding treatment in rural America for those battling substance abuse can be a real challenge and recently Congressman Rodney Davis discussed the epidemic in central Illinois. He points out the federal government is making record investments into getting those battling substance abuse help.
While getting someone help when they are ready for it is a big point of emphasis, Davis believes there has to be investments into discussing the dangers of drug and substance abuse.
Additionally, Davis discussed criminal justice reforms. He hopes to see reforms with how law enforcement deals with those that come in for abuse.
With the drug epidemic spreading across the country and Christian County, the Christian County Prevention Coalition wants those looking to recover to know that there is hope. The coalition will be hosting an “End the Trend” community forum on addiction recovery Saturday at 10 a.m. at Taylorville Memorial Hospital. Nikki Denning faced an addiction to hydrocodone but has since overcome her addiction.
Denning will be telling her full story at the forum. Again, the “End the Trend” community forum on drug addicition will be Saturday at 10 a.m. sharp at Taylorville Memorial Hospital.
The various first responders in Shelbyville are preparing to once again take part in a charity softball game. The game which includes players from the Shelbyville Police, Fire, First Responders and Rescue Squad, will aim to raise money for local charities and organizations.
Chad Brachbill with the Shelbyville Police Department appeared as a guest on the Newstalk WTIM Morning Show live from our downtown Shelbyville studios says the Police and Fire Departments have been holding a charity softball game for some time now, and wanted to branch out.
The money raised by the event will be split between four local charities.
The event is taking place on September 23rd, and will consist of a round robin tournament, with the championship game being played at 2:30.
Area senior citizens will have the opportunity to check in with many state services at one location Tuesday. State Senator Andy Manar is hosting a senior fair from 10 a.m. to noon at the Senior Citizens’ Center in Taylorville.
Services available will include blood pressure and cholesterol screenings, driver’s license and state ID renewals, finding unclaimed property, and other representatives from area hospitals and other entities will be available as well.
Manar says senior fairs have been one of the events he’s put on every year since being elected to the Illinois Senate.
Manar says the event is one way he can bring the state government to its residents.
Manar will also be at the fair on Tuesday, and he says he is looking forward to talking to area residents about the issues they care about.
About A Week Ago by Jim Taylor, RFD Radio Network
The agriculture industry seeking flexibility when it comes to hours of service trucking regulations, especially when it comes to hauling grain and livestock. Don Schaefer is with the Midwest Truckers Association.
The Midwest Truckers Association represents truckers in 15 states, including Illinois.
Sources reported late Friday morning that Attorney General Lisa Madigan would not seek another term. Now her father's office confirms the news.
House Speaker Michael Madigan's office has released a statement on Lisa Madigan's decision to not seek a fifth term as AG. Throughout her life as an individual and as a public servant, Attorney General Lisa Madigan's achievements have been the result of her determination to fight for her convictions and to stand up for what she believed was right. I've always been proud of her desire to fight for those who need help the most, which has driven her sense of duty as a person and as Illinois' attorney general. “It has been my privilege to watch her fight for the people of Illinois and do the right thing every day. She has authored tougher laws against criminals who prey on children and victims of sexual assault, fought for homeowners faced with losing their homes, and worked to ensure a more open and transparent state government. “No father could be prouder of his daughter's personal and professional accomplishments, and I look forward to watching her continue her commitment to helping people in a new capacity.” Secretary of State Jesse White also released a statement. "I applaud and commend Lisa Madigan for the outstanding work she has done as Illinois Attorney General. Attorney General Madigan has been a tireless advocate for consumers, children and the public at large. Through her efforts, she has helped those plagued by fraud and identity theft, strengthened the rights of crime victims, protected children from sexual predators and pornographers and secured debt relief for students victimized by fraudulent and predatory lending practices. I wish Lisa well in her future endeavors and know that she will continue to make a positive difference in people’s lives."
A Carlinville man will serve 18 years in prison for aggravated meth delivery. 21-year-old Charles T. Lee entered the plea in Christian County court Friday afternoon.
Taylorville Police received a call on March 21st about a man parked and asleep in the parking lot at Casey’s on the west side of Taylorville. When police arrived, they found Lee asleep in his vehicle. After waking him and getting him to open the window, they immediately smelled cannabis and asked to search Lee’s vehicle. Through the search, they found cannabis, 24 grams of meth, narcotics, and cocaine in the vehicle, along with $2,823.
Lee will serve three years of parole following his 18-year sentence.
With school funding reform now being law in Illinois, schools across the state will start reaping the benefits of new money in the near future. State Senator Andy Manar got to tour the new STEM lab at Taylorville Junior High School Thursday night, and he says he hopes the new monies schools will receive can bring more opportunities like STEM labs to smaller Illinois districts.
Manar says the biggest benefit school districts are seeing right now from school funding reform is the ability to plan, and not have to look at cutbacks because of the state.
Manar says the STEM lab at Taylorville Junior High is going to give students a huge number of opportunities in life, and he hopes all districts downstate can provide these kinds of educational opportunities.
Manar says these kind of opportunities may not exist in all downstate Illinois state districts ye. But with the lowest funded districts now at the front of the line for new state education dollars, he hopes opportunities like STEM labs will become more common across downstate Illinois.
A Pana man will serve five years in prison after a DUI accident that killed another Pana man in February of 2016. 38-year-old Matthew D. Swisher was the driver in the accident that killed his passenger, 43-year-old Kevin G. Thompson on February 7 of last year.
Swisher was driving westbound on East 350 North Road about 2 miles west of Pana when he went off the road just before 9 p.m. Thompson was ejected from the vehicle and was pronounced dead at the scene.
Thompson’s mother and sister both gave emotional statements before the court during the hearing. They both told Swisher they hoped he never forgot about his fatal mistake that killed their son and brother, and they hoped he could change his life for the better while in prison. At the end of the hearing, Swisher turned to the family and gave them a short but emotional apology.
Judge Brad Paisley told the court that in cases like this, justice cannot be served because justice would be bringing back Thompson and Swisher not being in the courtroom for the accident.
The Taylorville Fire Department is looking to bring back a program that will help recruit new firefighters and led to the current administration at the department becoming firefighters. The department is looking to bring back the Explorer Program, which gives young men and women between 14 and 20 years old an opportunity to learn more about the fields of fire and emergency medical services. Current Taylorville Fire Chief Mike Crews and Assistant Fire Chief Andy Goodall both were involved in the Explorer Program before it was disbanded in the 1990’s.
Goodall says he wouldn’t be a firefighter today if it weren’t for the Explorer Program.
The fire department will be having an open house for those interested in the program on October 25th at 6:30 p.m. Nick Zepin is a Taylorville firefighter and the Explorer Program Chairman, and he says the open house will give those interested in becoming an Explorer an opportunity to learn more about the program.
For more information on the program, you can call the fire department at 824-2295 or email them at firstname.lastname@example.org.
A Springfield man is facing attempted murder charges after a shooting in Kincaid early Friday morning. 35-year-old Larry L. Scott had his first court appearance Friday morning, where bond was set at one million dollars.
State’s Attorney Mike Havera told the court that the incident started with four men in an argument at 611 E. Dial Street in Kincaid. After the group broke up, two of the men headed towards the 200 block of E. Elm Street in Kincaid. Havera said the victim, Logan Durbin, was not one of the men in the original argument, and he may have been trying to break up the altercation. Witnesses to the shooting say Scott came out of the house he was at on the 200 block of E. Elm and fired two shots at Durbin, both hitting him in the torso. Durbin was transported to St. John’s Hospital in Springfield where he was in critical condition at the time. Havera said he received an update that Durbin was out of surgery and in recovery. Havera said one of the bullets missed Durbin’s heart by 2 centimeters.
Because of the nature of the crime and the risk to the public, Havera asked for and Resident Circuit Judge Brad Paisley granted a bond of one million dollars in the case. Havera says because Durbin was struck, a new amended charge will be filed in the case by Monday. As of now, Scott could face 26 to 50 years in prison if convicted, but those terms would be longer with the new amended charge.
The Greater Taylorville Chamber of Commerce Chillifest is just around the corner, and planning for the event is coming together. Patty Hornbuckle, CEO of the Greater Taylorville Chamber says this year the Chamber is expecting a record number of vendors to appear during the two day festival.
Hornbuckle appeared as a guest on the Newstalk WTIM Morning Show, and says the number of vendors who have signed up early is encouraging.
This year's Chillifest is looking to be bigger and better than ever, and one event, the bags tournament, is expected to be larger than last year's tournament.
This year's Greater Taylorville Chamber of Commerce Chillifest will take place October 7th and 8th on the Taylorville Square.
3D printers, virtual reality, and robotics are just some of the new educational tools Taylorville Junior High School students have to use in the school’s new STEM lab. The school showed the lab off to parents and the public at Thursday night’s open house.
Students got to demonstrate how the technology works to those in attendance. Eighth grader Marcus Wilkins was one of the students demonstrating virtual reality, and he says he’s happy that Taylorville has this kind of equipment for students to use.
One of the people Wilkins got to teach Thursday was 48th District State Senator Andy Manar. He gave kudos to the Taylorville School District for the new STEM lab, saying the district is being a leader in STEM education downstate.
Taylorville School District Superintendent Dr. Gregg Fuerstenau says he is already hearing positive reviews about the STEM lab, and he believes the sky is the limit for the educational possibilities in the STEM lab.
Taylorville Junior High Principal Kirk Kettelkamp agrees with Fuerstenau, and says parents are impressed with the STEM lab and Hot Spot room, a lounge type classroom also newly added to the building for a more comfortable learning experience.
Kettelkamp says so far there have only been introductory items taught in the STEM lab, but he is excited to see how TJHS teachers will use the STEM lab as they get more familiar with the technology.
Eighth grader Marcus Wilkins taught State Senator Andy Manar some of the ins-and-outs of virtual reality Thursday at the TJHS Open House.
School funding has finally passed in Illinois, and it took a bipartisan compromise to make it happen. State Senator Andy Manar is applauding the work legislators put in to help change the way schools are funded in Illinois, saying it will change the game for many schools across the state.
Senator Manar says the compromise passed by the legislature and signed into law by Governor Rauner is an example of what compromise looks like.
According to Manar, the new formula will change the game for downstate schools, leading to more certainty when it comes to downstate school's yearly budgets.
State Senator Anyd Manar appeared as a guest on the Newstalk WTIM Morning Show.
September is Food Safety Education Month and the University of Illinois Extension Unit 18 wants you and your family to take steps to reduce the risk of food borne illness. The CDC estimates that each year roughly 1 in 6 Americans suffer from some type of food borne disease.
Lisa Peterson is the Nutrition and Wellness Educator at the U of I Extension Office, and says food poisoning can take hold quickly, or stay dormant for quite some time.
Peterson busted some common food safety myths, including how long you can safely eat your leftovers.
Peterson appeared as a guest on the Newstalk WTIM Morning Show.
Despite unfavorable crop conditions reports earlier this week, USDA “doubled-down” on its yield analysis, raising both corn and soybeans yield projections in September’s World Agriculture Supply and Demand Estimates on Tuesday.
Does September’s yield data suggest that the crop conditions reports are irrelevant for projecting yields on the US crops during the pre-harvest time period? Mike Zuzolo is a Market Analyst with Global Commodity Analytics.
For instance, Zuzolo points out that Illinois yields for corn was pushed one bushel higher in the September report to 189 bushels per acre, but...
If the correlation between crop conditions and yield projections continue to not add up for Zuzolo, the way he sets a marketing plan will change dramatically.
That’s Mike Zuzolo from Global Commodity Analytics.
There's been lots of talk about the impact of the extended state budget crisis on Illinois colleges and universities. Now that money is flowing again and MAP grant dollars are going out to students, new trouble arises, a decline in international students. The University of Illinois at Springfield has depended on international students for its continued growth. Chancellor Susan Koch reports fall enrollment is down by 8.69 percent and a decline in students with visas has played a huge role.
Some blame President Trump's push for a travel ban on some Islamic nations as one reason international students are staying away. Some reports indicate students from nations not impacted by the ban like China and India are going to other countries because they no longer believe Americans are as accepting of all foreign students.
Many surveys show consumers want to know more about where food comes from, how it’s produced, and who produced it. The Food and Agricultural Road Map – or FARM Illinois – held an event this week in Chicago to explore what it called, “From seed to shelf,” and how Illinois food companies and farmers can improve transparency. Tyler Strom serves as the managing director for FARM Illinois.
FARM Illinois aims to keep the state - and Chicago in particular - as a major regional, national and global food hub. You can find more information online at farmillinois.org.
Taylorville Memorial Hospital’s 2015 community health needs assessment identified access to pediatric dental services as a high-priority need. Supporters of the program include: Raedena Ryan, TMH Foundation; Martin Vota, Taylorville Kiwanis Club; Greg Haarman, DMD, Central Illinois Smiles; Dave Trost, DDS, Miles of Smiles, Ltd.; Reverend Bill Kerns, Taylorville Ministerial Association and Dr. Gregg Fuerstenau, Taylorville Community School District #3.
Some students in need in Christian County are receiving free dental care thanks to a new program that has come out of Taylorville Memorial Hospital’s community health needs assessment. The assessment identified pediatric dental services as a high-priority need, and the hospital created a group to address that need that consisted of hospital staff, Taylorville School District officials, and other community leaders.
Dr. Greg Haarman from Central Illinois Smiles Family Dentistry is a part of the group who identifies children who could benefit from the program, and he is also providing the dental care to some of those students. He says his practice wants to help out students in the community in the best way that they can.
Central Illinois Smiles Family Dentistry will be providing that needed dental care to two students per month free of charge during the current school year. Also, a grant from the Taylorville Kiwanis club of twenty-five hundred dollars, along with a twenty-five hundred dollar match from the Taylorville Memorial Hospital Foundation will go towards covering an oral surgery or other services beyond what Central Illinois Smiles can provide for free. Haarman says he is glad he can do his part in helping these students.
One of the many ills facing those across the country and here in Central Illinois is the issue of hunger. September is hunger action month, and the Central Illinois Food bank wants those in the area to make the effort to help their neighbors who may be suffering from hunger, and take steps to fight back.
Krista Lisser with the Central Illinois Food Bank appeared as a guest on the Newstalk WTIM Morning Show, and suggested ways for people to donate to the cause, adding that their help makes a bigger impact than they may think.
With an abundance of scams and charity organizations out there who are more concerned with profits than with helping those in need, people can be skeptical of whether or not their donated dollars are actually going to help. Lisser says the Central Illinois Food Bank has been named a four star charity, where 97 cents of every dollar goes directly towards helping feed the hungry.
More information on the Central Illinois Food Bank can be found by visiting their website at centralilfoodbank.org.
48th District State Senator Andy Manar is partnering with the Christian County Senior Citizens’ Center to host a senior fair this coming Tuesday, September 19. The fair will be from 10 a.m. to noon at the Senior Citizens’ Center in Taylorville.
Manar says there will be many different services offered at the fair Tuesday.
Manar says he puts on these fairs because it brings all of these essential resources for seniors to one place at one time.
Manar says he will also be in attendance on Tuesday, and he is looking forward to talking to area residents about the issues they care about.