Local News

National Weather Service Issues Wind Chill Warning thru Tuesday

The National Weather Service has issued wind chill advisories and warnings over the New Year's Day holiday, thru Tuesday.

The Weather Service is calling for wind chills from 15 below to 30 below thru Tuesday morning.

They add that this level of cold has not occurred for a few
years. People who will be outdoors the next few days, especially
on New Years Eve, need to make sure they are properly dressed
for the bitter cold.

With such cold temperatures, frostbite can occur quickly, and
even hypothermia or death if precautions are not taken. Make sure
you are properly dressed for the bitter cold. Check with local
municipalities for warming shelters, if you do not have access to
a well heated building.

Stay tuned to Regional Radio and taylorvilledailynews.com for the latest weather information, and click the "Cancellations" icon for church and other cancellations.

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Shelby County CEO Program Hosting Dinner Theater Night in January

The Shelby County CEO program is wrapping up its first semester and the class is preparing for its first fundraising event in just a few weeks.

 

Anna Kiley is the Shelby County CEO facilitator. She says the class has decided to put on a dinner-theater event to raise funds for their individual businesses.

 

 

Kiley says the theme of the night will keep those who enjoy crime dramas entertained.

 

 

The doors open for the event at 5:45, with the show starting at 6:30. Kiley says tickets to the event are being sold online. You can visit the class’s Facebook page here.

 

Kiley appeared as a guest on the Newstalk WTIM Morning Show live from our downtown Shelbyville studios.

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House Fire Risk Increases in Winter Months

There are a variety of causes for fires, and the Shelbyville Fire Department is giving residents some common sense tips to avoid sparking a blaze going into the new year.

 

Scott McKee with the Shelbyville Fire Protection District says there isn’t one leading cause of fires in the Shelbyville area.

 

 

McKee says one big fire hazard can come with plugging power strips into other power strips.

 

 

McKee says the cold weather also brings a spike in house fires.

 

 

McKee appeared as a guest on the Newstalk WTIM Morning Show live from our downtown Shelbyville studios.

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Bourne Looking for Bipartisan Work in Legislature in 2018

95th District State Representative Avery Bourne is hopeful for bipartisan work going into 2018. With the issues Illinois still faces, she says bipartisanship will be essential for the state moving forward.

 

Bourne says although 2018 is an election year, she is encouraged by what she is seeing in her daily work.

 

 

Bourne says working across the aisle continues to be a huge necessity as Illinois continues to grapple with its financial state.

 

 

Bourne says she is working on some tweaks to the school funding reform bill passed in 2017, and her main objective for the coming year is to help downstate coal power plants compete with plants in the northern half of Illinois.

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Another Successful Year for Greater Taylorville Chamber Gift Certificate Program

It was another successful year for the Greater Taylorville Chamber of Commerce’s gift certificate program. The program has kept nearly seven thousand dollars in the community each of the past two years.

 

Patty Hornbuckle, CEO of the Greater Taylorville Chamber of Commerce says the holiday season proved to be a good one for gift certificates, especially with businesses giving them to their employees as a Christmas bonus.

 

 

Part of the idea behind the Chamber gift certificates is to keep local money local, and although the certificates are popular during the holidays, they’re available year round.

 

 

Hornbuckle appeared as a guest on the Newstalk WTIM Morning Show.

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Hornbuckle: Foundation Being Laid for Bright Future in Taylorville

The foundation is being laid for the future of Taylorville and Christian County, and Patty Hornbuckle with the Greater Taylorville Chamber of Commerce says that foundation should lead the area to a prosperous future.

 

Hornbuckle says the completion of Route 29 4-lane project will have a big impact on the area going forward.

 

 

Hornbuckle says there are multiple companies looking at Taylorville and Christian County to set up shop.

 

 

When it comes to Chamber events, Hornbuckle says they were very successful this year. Chamber events were capped off by a record-breaking Chillifest in October.

 

 

Hornbuckle says the Chamber’s Board of Directors are always active and coming up with new ideas for how to best serve the community for its future.

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Kroski Looks to Continue Steady Progress in Pana in 2018

The city of Pana swore in new mayor Don Kroski in May, and Kroski is pleased with the work that has been done in his first seven months in office. But, he says there is a lot more work to be done.

 

Kroski says some of his goals for the city have been exceeded so far, while others haven’t been met yet but are on track.

 

 

Kroski says there have been other goals that he says he and the city have fallen short on. He says those goals will be his focus going forward.

 

 

Kroski says slow and steady wins the race to improving Pana, although he’d like to see the positives start to snowball.

 

 

Kroski says there are multiple projects coming in 2018, including the Pana Community Hospital project, and other transportation and economic projects still in the development phase.

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Crimestoppers Crime of the Week - December 28, 2017

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

 

Sometime between Friday, December 1, 2017 and Saturday, December 16, 2017, person or persons unknown made entry onto 512 North Webster Street.  While there, the unknown subject or subjects opened a metal storage container belonging to Camacho Home Center.  The unknown subject or subjects took 2 pallets of motor oil that had been stored inside.  The total dollar amount of the theft is estimated at over $2000. 

 

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 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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Rene's Closes Pharmacy Wednesday

There has been a pharmacy at the corner of Main Cross and Washington in Taylorville since the mid-1800’s. That long run, however, is now over. The pharmacy portion of Rene’s officially closed at the end of the day Wednesday. The rest of Rene’s will remain open and pharmacy customers will now be served by Walgreen’s in Taylorville.

 

Gordon Mazzotti owns Rene’s, and the business has been in his family since 1936. He says his goal is to avoid having an abandoned building on the corner of the square.

 

 

Mazzotti says he is looking towards retirement, but he is trying to make the transition as seamless as possible.

 

 

Mazzotti says he will be working at Walgreens for a short time to help the transition. 

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Illinois Treasurer's Office Reminding Residents To Visit Office's iCash Program Website

As we get ever closer to a new year, the Illinois Treasurer's Office is once again reminding Illinois residents to visit the Office's iCash program online and see if there is any missing money that is owed to them.
 
Illinois Treasurer Michael Frerichs says that money returned could help residents pay off outstanding debts.
 
 
Money returned ranges from small amounts to large amounts, with the largest amount ever returned during Frerich's time in office totalling in the seven figure range.
 
 
To see if you have any money owed to you, visit https://icash.illinoistreasurer.gov/
 
Illinois Treasurer Michael Frerichs appeared as a guest on the Newstalk WTIM Morning Show.

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Barry Reflects on First Year as Taylorville Mayor, Optimistic About Future

It’s time to start looking towards 2018, and Taylorville mayor Bruce Barry already has high hopes for his first full year in office. Barry replaced Greg Brotherton who did not run for re-election.

 

Barry says there is plenty of reason for optimism when it comes to new businesses coming to Taylorville.

 

 

Barry says he believes that quite a bit has been done towards cleaning up the community, but there is still a lot more to do.

 

 

Barry wants to remind residents heading into the new year that his doors are always open, and he wants to hear residents’ concerns so that together, everyone can help make Taylorville a great place to live.

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Taylorville Memorial Hospital Foundation Hosting Babysitting Clinic January 4th

The Taylorville Memorial Hospital Auxiliary will be holding a babysitting clinic for those who would like to learn more about various skills that are important when babysitting. The free to attend event will take place on January 4th at the hospital.
 
Janelle Cornelle with Taylorville Memorial Hospital appeared as a guest on the Newstalk WTIM Morning Show and says the cirriculum is loosly based on the safe sitter program.
 
 
Participants will get the opportunity to learn from local law enforcement and firefighters about safety skills that may be necessary when watching someone's children.
 
 
Although the event is free to attend, registration is required. Those looking to participate can sign up by contacting Taylorville Memorial Hospital.

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LEAD Program Signup Deadline is Friday

The signup deadline for the Christian County LEAD program is Friday, and there are still spots available for the 2018 class. The program is put on by the Greater Taylorville Chamber of Commerce and the University of Illinois Extension.

 

Greater Taylorville Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Patty Hornbuckle says the program isn’t just for those that are new to the community.

 

 

Hornbuckle says the syllabus is jam packed for those in this year’s LEAD program.

 

 

For more information, you can give the Greater Taylorville Chamber of Commerce a call at 824-4919.

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Christian County Sheriff Worried About Side Effects of Legal Weed

California is set to become the next state to legalize the recreational use of marijuana. This move is a mistake according to Christian County Sheriff Bruce Kettelkamp, who says legal weed will lead to higher rates of younger people using the drug.
 
Kettelkamp says he’s against legal marijuana in Illinois, due to medical marijuana entering the state and being sold illegally.
 
 
California is set to be the next state to legalize the recreational use of the drug, which Kettelkamp says could lead to more youth changing their perception of marijuana.
 
 
Christian County Sheriff Bruce Kettelkamp appeared as a guest on the Newstalk WTIM Morning Show.

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Illinois Congressman Rodney Davis Points To Taylorville As Example For ISPs

Net Neutrality has been a big issue lately, especially with the FCC recently voting to repeal Obama-era Net Neutrality rules. Illinois Congressman Rodney Davis (R-Taylorville) says the repeal of the regulations are a good thing for the internet in his opinion, and says there needs to be more competition to drive up speeds, and drive down costs.
 
Congressman Davis says when he started getting questions on Net Neutrality, his first stop was to his local internet service provider to have those questions answered.
 
 
Davis says he hadn't realized the unique position his hometown community of Taylorville is in, with multiple options for internet service. He points to Taylorville as an example of how communities can keep internet costs low for their citizens.
 
 
Davis appeared as a guest on the Newstalk WTIM Morning Show.

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New "Safe Passages" Program to Help Drug Addicts Get Treatment and Avoid Criminal Charges

The opioid crisis has become a national issue, and Christian County has had its fair share of problems from the crisis. But a new program being developed for the coming year would help addicts get to treatment before facing drug charges.

 

Christian County Sheriff Bruce Kettelkamp says he has been working with Christian County Resident Circuit Judge Brad Paisley to create a program called “Safe Passages.” The program would allow addicts to come to the Sheriff’s Department or any Christian County police department to bring in their drugs and ask for treatment, and the department would help them get into treatment immediately without facing charges.

 

Kettelkamp says the goal of the program is to get addicts back on their feet before they end up in jail and going through the court system.

 

 

Kettelkamp says the program is just a few steps away from becoming a reality.

 

 

Kettelkamp says the program can take a big bite out of the drug issues in Christian County, but the program can only help addicts who want the help.

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State Budget, Teacher Shortage Are Top Issues for Manar Heading into New Year

The Illinois State General Assembly will be reconvening after the new year, and local lawmakers are preparing for the yearly battles they have for their constituents. 48th District State Senator Andy Manar is among those people preparing for the 2018 legislative session.

 

Manar says Governor Bruce Rauner has not given lawmakers a balanced budget by the required February 14 deadline each of the past three years. His advice for Rauner is simple, give lawmakers a balanced budget.

 

 

One of Manar’s biggest accomplishments of 2017 was leading the effort to finally get school funding reform passed in Illinois after four years of work to get it done. He says now an education issue that needs to be dealt with is the shortage of teachers in the state.

 

 

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

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Flu Season is Here and Not Just for Humans

Flu season is kicking into high gear, but people need to watch out for more than just each other. Man’s best friend is also at risk of catching certain strains of influenza.

 

Dr. John Brix with Brix Veterinary Service in Shelbyville says although it hasn’t been a big issue in our area, dogs catching the flu has been a bigger issue across the country.

 

 

Brix says the flu in dogs is acting similar to that in humans because it is mutating into multiple strains.

 

 

Brix says the issue has mainly been in dogs, and dogs cannot transfer this strain of the flu to humans.

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Easy Way To Request Social Security Number For Newborns

One thing on the “to do” list for expecting parents is to make sure to apply for a Social Security number for their child. According to the Social Security Administration, there is a quick and simple process for making this request before you even leave the hospital.
 
Jack Myers with the SSA appeared as a guest on the Newstalk WTIM Morning Show and says while your filling out the paperwork for your child's birth certificate, look for a box to tick to request a Social Security Number.
 
 
Myers explains what will happen once you check that box.
 
 
Myers says it typically takes around four weeks for you to receive your child's social security card in the mail.

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Many Different Subjects Available As A Part of Christian County 4-H Program

The Christian County 4-H program works to help educate children in the world of agriculture, but has also grown to encompass much more than just ag. These days, children involved in 4-H can study a number of different topics.
 
Rebecca Livingston, Program Coordinator for the Christian County 4-H program says changing the idea that 4-H is just agriculture is one of the programs biggest barriers today.
 
 
The topics kids can study as a part of 4-H ranges from woodworking and cooking, to aerospace where students can build rockets.
 
 
For more information on the Christian County 4-H Program, contact the University of Illinois Extension’s Christian County Office.

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Shelbyville and Chamber of Commerce Continue Seeing Strong Growth

The Shelbyville area continues to see growth and the Shelbyville Chamber of Commerce has been keeping pace. The chamber’s office manager Vonda McConnell says the organization has hit a new high in members in her tenure, and the area continues to see economic development.

 

McConnell says the growth in membership shows that the chamber is doing its job for area businesses.

 

 

The city is also embarking on a project that will revitalize Main Street in downtown Shelbyville. McConnell says it may be a headache for the area during the construction, but the future benefits are more than worth the investment.

 

 

McConnell says the chamber will continue to work with members for their benefit and for the community as a whole.

 

 

McConnell says with everything going on in the area, it is a great time to be a Shelbyville resident.

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Davis: "Taylorville Has a Great Application" for Possible EDA Grant

As the city of Taylorville waits for an answer from the federal Economic Development Administration, U.S. Congressman Rodney Davis says local leaders have put together a strong case to get the federal EDA grant for the proposed industrial park on the northwest side of Taylorville.

 

Davis attended an EDA meeting in Chicago with Taylorville mayor Bruce Barry and Taylorville Development Association President Ken Hart in the fall. He says the team that has put together the EDA grant application has done a great job selling Taylorville and Christian County.

 

 

Davis says projects like this are important for the future growth of the region.

 

 

Taylorville mayor Bruce Barry expects to hear back from the EDA on the industrial park application soon.

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TMH Employees Spreading Good Cheer Over The Holidays

The employees at Taylorville Memorial Hospital are spreading good cheer this holiday season by collecting money or items for several local entities.

 

Doug Ferrill is the radiology manager at Taylorville Memorial Hospital. His department raised money for Taylorville Terrace. He says his department’s collection is in memory of one of their former co-workers.

 

 

In addition to the donation to Taylorville Terrace, the hospital’s administration, quality management, human resources, pastoral care, and infection control teams collected antibacterial wipes and tissues to donate to Taylorville Junior High School. The care management team donated to the Christian County Senior Citizens’ Center, and the rehab services team filled orders for the local food pantry.

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UPDATE: Winter Weather Advisory Remains in Effect; 3 to 5 Inches of Snow Expected

The National Weather Service in Lincoln updated their Winter Weather Advisory for the Regional Radio listening area, just before 4 o'clock this morning.

The Weather Service says an area of light snow has spread east into west central and parts of central Illinois early this morning. The snow will overspread the rest of central Illinois by mid morning, with moderate snow possible at times from this morning through early afternoon. The snow will diminish from west to east during the mid and late afternoon hours. Between 3 and 5 inches of snow is expected across central Illinois today, with the heaviest snow east of Bloomington, and from Rantoul and Hoopeston north where 5 to 6 inches is possible.

The Winter Weather Advisory remains in effect for Central Illinois, until 6pm tonight.

The Weather Service says to plan on slippery road conditions especially on untreated roadways for all of the central part of the state.  While significant blowing snow is not anticipated, an increasing northwest wind during the afternoon with gusts up to 20 miles an hour, may result in some blowing an drifting snow in open and rural areas.

Check on the latest road conditions by clicking the “Road Conditions” tab on taylorvilledailynews.com.

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National Weather Service Issues Winter Weather Advisory; 2 to 3 Inches Expected

The National Weather Service has issued a Winter Weather Advisory for Christian and Shelby Counties and counties to the north, from 4am to 6pm Sunday.

 

The Weather Service says an area of snow will move into west central Illinois late

tonight, and will overspread much of the region on Sunday morning.
Current indications are that 2 to 3 inches will fall north of
a Rushville to Danville line, but a couple inches are likely as
far south as Taylorville and Mattoon.

 

While significant blowing snow is not anticipated, an increasing northwest wind in the afternoon may

  result in some drifting snow in a few areas.

 

Get the latest road conditions by clicking the "road conditions" icon at taylorvilledailynews.com.

 

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Area Gets First Snow; More is Expected on Sunday

The National Weather Service in Lincoln issued a Special Weather Statement early this morning, saying some minor snow accumulations of less than 1 inch are possible north of I-70 into mid morning, mainly on grassy surfaces, bridges and overpasses. A better chance of snow accumulations will occur across southeast Illinois on Sunday as a fast moving weather system moves in from the northern Rockies. Between 1 and 2 inches of snow is likely along and north of I-70, with a half to 1 inch south of I-70. Higher snowfall amounts of 2 to 4 inches are expected along and north of I-72 where winter weather advisories are posted.
The Weather Service added that some travel difficulties are possible Sunday, due to the heavy holiday traffic, plus the fact that this will be the first accumulating snow of the season in many areas. If you have plans to travel on Sunday, be sure to allow for extra time to reach your destination.
Stay tuned to Regional Radio and taylorvilledailynews.com for the latest in weather information.

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Shelbyville Vet Says Avoid Giving Your Dogs Certain Foods

There is often an abundance of food at the holidays, and many are inclined to give their pets the scraps off their plates, however there are certain foods you want to avoid. Dr. John Brix with Brix Veterinary in Shelbyville says some things you just don't want to give to your dogs this season.
 
Dr. Brix says one that many don't know about is grapes and raisins, which can be toxic to dogs.
 
 
Brix also says don't give your dogs onions or chocolate to avoid them getting sick or worse.
 
Another thing to be on the lookout for is extra extension chords, which animals like to chew.
 
 
Dr. John Brix appeared as a guest on the Newstalk WTIM Morning Show live from our downtown Shelbyville Studios.

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Shelby County Department of Public Helath Preparing to Celebrate 70 Years

The Shelby County Public Health Department is getting ready to celebrate their 70th anniversary of operation. Steve Melega with the Shelby County Public Health Department says there is a rich history behind the department.
 
Melega says the department is preparing to celebrate the milestone, and says those in Shelby County have a long history of being in tune with public health.
 
 
Melega also spoke of the time where the Shelby and Effingham County Public Health Departments partnered up.
 
 
Melega appeared as a guest on the Newstalk WTIM Morning Show live from our downtown Shelbyville Studios.

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TMH, Hopper Foundation Continue Long Partnership With Recent Donation

The Bertrand Hopper Memorial Foundation continues to help the lives of Taylorville residents through donations to area organizations. The foundation recently announced a $10,000 contribution to Taylorville Memorial Hospital to help the hospital educate and recruit future healthcare workers.

 

Taylorville Memorial Hospital Foundation Executive Director Raedena Ryan says the contribution adds to a long list of partnerships the two foundations have had over the years.

 

 

Ryan says the donation will help start the Healthcare Careers Scholarship, which will also help the hospital recruit future hospital personnel as a projected shortage of healthcare workers nationwide approaches.

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Work Progressing on Pana Community Hospital Expansion

Pana Community Hospital continues to raise funds and construct their new addition to the hospital. The project is the largest the hospital has taken on in about 40 years.

 

Melissa Rybolt is the Marketing Manager at Pana Community Hospital. She says anyone who comes by would see a lot of progress on the first phase of construction.

 

 

Rybolt says the entire project is expected to be completed in the spring of 2019.

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Watch Out For Signs of Drowsy Driving Says Christian County Sheriff

As you head out on the roads to your holiday get togethers this year, many are aware of what law enforcement agencies have termed the “fatal four” violations of drunk driving, not wearing a seat belt, speeding, and distracted driving. You may way to make sure to get enough rest however, as drowsy driving can also pose a big risk to yourself and others.
 
Christian County Sheriff Bruce Kettelkamp appeared as a guest on the Newstalk WTIM Morning Show and says it's important to be aware of drowsy driving.
 
 
Research from the National Sleep Foundation shows that 6400 deaths annually are caused by drowsy driving, and one in six deadly crashes are caused by those who fell asleep behind the wheel. Kettelkamp shared some of the signs to look out for that show you may be too tired to drive.
 
 
Kettelkamp says you can use caffeine and other energy loaded foods to fight against drowsy driving, but the best defense is a good nights sleep the night before.

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Diversity of Agriculture On Display With Christian County 4-H Program

There is a new spin club coming to the Christian County 4-H program for 2018. The program is starting an animal science spin club, designed to teach young 4-H participants about animals, and animal care.
 
Rebecca Livingston, Program Coordinator for the Christian County 4-H program says the club will show students about what you can do with a degree in animal science.
 
 
Part of the goal of 4-H is to teach young students about all of the different aspects of the agriculture industry. Livingston says the diversity of agriculture is evident even in the U of I Extension offices.
 
 
Livingston appeared as a guest on the Newstalk WTIM Morning Show.

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HSHS Good Shepherd Hospital Completes Phase One of Construction Project

Phase one of HSHS Good Shepherd Hospital’s construction project is officially complete. The hospital in Shelbyville has installed its new CT scanner, and hospital staff have completed the training and started using the scanner for its patients this past week.

 

Glenda Plunkett is the Marketing Coordinator at HSHS Good Shepherd Hospital. She says the 64-slice CT scanner will provide many benefits compared to the hospital’s former 16-slice scanner.

 

 

Plunkett says a 64-slice scanner is not something you normally find in a rural hospital like HSHS Good Shepherd.

 

 

Plunkett says there is more to come with the hospital’s construction project. All of the work is expected to be completed by April.

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Eroding Market Share for Corn Farmers a Concern as NAFTA Talks Drag On

Eroding market share is a concern for U.S. and Illinois corn farmers as NAFTA renegotiations drag along. The big worry is the impact of losing Mexico as a trade partner says Tom Sleight with the U.S. Grains Council.



Mexico serves as the United States number one market for corn and number two market for sorghum. The sixth round of NAFTA talks are scheduled for next month in Montreal. 

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Small Business Fees Are Dropping

The Governor has often said the state isn’t a competitive place to launch a small business. So he’s happy to sign a new law that drops the fee for filing paperwork to become an LLC. The fee used to be $500 and now it falls to $150, at the previous level it was the highest LLC filing fee in the nation. 



Other filing fees are being cut. They range from annual report fees to name transfer fees. 

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Improved Website for Illinois Road Conditions

With mild weather for much of Illinois the real bulk of the winter weather driving season is still in front of us. But the Illinois Department of Transportation wants drivers to check on road conditions before they head out the door. Kelsea Gurski says that’s as easy as logging on to IDOT’s road condition website – getting around Illinois dot com. 



The website is also the place to go to see if road construction will be in your way. Once again that’s getting around Illinois dot com.

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Davis Says Families, Small Businesses Are Big Winners in Recently Passed Tax Cut

U.S. Congressman Rodney Davis is pleased that Congress was able to approve the tax cut bill before the Christmas recess. He says it is only a matter of time before Americans start seeing more money in their paychecks.

 

Davis says Central Illinois residents could start seeing more money in their checks as early as February.

 

 

Davis says the tax reform gives international companies incentive to keep their jobs in the United States.

 

 

The biggest part of this legislation, according to Davis, is what it does for Mom and Pop shops across the country.

 

 

Davis says after the holiday recess, his biggest priority is the next farm bill, as the current bill expires at the end of 2018.

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Congress Passes Tax Cut Bill, What Does it Mean for Your Wallet?

The U.S. Senate and House have both approved a tax cut bill that will be heading to the President’s desk. But how will it affect your wallet?

 

Steve Henry is the owner of CSH Investment Management in Taylorville. He says some of those who have itemized on their taxes in the past may now find it more beneficial to tax the standard deduction.

 

 

Henry says those who want to know how they will be affected should contact their tax person.

 

 

Henry says even with the bill’s passage, it may be years before we see how much the bill affects the American economy.

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Social Security Checks To Be Larger In 2018

Those who receive Social Security benefits will be getting more money in their checks next year as the program implements it's 2018 Cost of Living Adjustment. The COLA is a part of Social Security that helps keep payments in line with inflation.
 
Jack Myers with the Social Security Administration explained when folks can expect their December Social Security checks, and how much of a raise to expect.
 
 
There are some questions as to how the SSA determines these raises. Myers says it all comes down to inflation.
 
 
Average retirement benefits will rise from the current $1,377 to $1,404 after the COLA adjustment. 
 
Myers appeared as a guest on the Newstalk WTIM Morning Show.

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Progress Continues on New Taylorville Water Plant

Progress continues on the new water plant for Taylorville. The plant is a key piece in expanding the city's capacity and ability to bring new businesses to town, and Taylorville Mayor Bruce Barry is confident the city will be able to get deals done with the prospective companies to bring jobs to Taylorville.

 

There has been some questions however as to the need for a new water plant in town. Barry says a number of factors led to the new plant.

 

 

The new plant would allow the city to have a higher capacity with it's water system, which would allow more businesses to come online in Taylorville. Barry is confident that with the new TIF districts, those businesses will be coming.

 

 

Barry appeared as a guest on the Newstalk WTIM Morning Show.

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Managing Healthy Habits, Good Food For Holidays

There's sure to be plenty of good food to go around as you gather with friends and family this holiday season, but how do you manage those sweets and salty foods with that diet you're on? Health and Wellness Educator at the University of Illinois Extension office, Caitlin Huth says it isn't a bad idea to take in a few of them but be mindful of how much you're eating.



Another tip for reigning in the amount of food you consume is to use a smaller plate. Huth explains filling a smaller plate and finishing it can be a way to enjoy what is available and also manage portions.



For other dietary information and tips, visit go.illinois.edu. 

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USDA Talks Food Safety For Upcoming Holidays

The food will be aplenty at holiday parties this Christmas. As you lay out food for your family and loved ones, the USDA is offering up some tips to keep everyone healthy this time of year. Marianne Gravely says this all starts with food preparation and properly putting together meals. Gravely encourages the one charged with preparing the meal to remember the four steps to food safety: clean, separate, cook and chill.



When hosting family or friends in the next several weeks, Gravely says it is important to keep hot foods hot and cold foods cold.



Gravely says hand washing is a must when preparing food and keeping those surfaces clean. Get more tips on food preparation, including USDA recommendations for temperatures to get meats cooked to, by visiting foodsafety.gov, askkaren.gov, or call 888-MPHOTLINE.

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Purple Heart and Other Medals Returned to Family

A special gift for one Illinois family this holiday season. This week a once lost Purple Heart was returned to the family of a deceased veteran. Illinois Treasurer Mike Frerichs presented the military medal to the niece of the late Private First Class Andrew Richard. That medal, along with two others and a pair of service ribbons were turned over to the states unclaimed property division. From there the Treasurer’s office hops in to action and attempts to get those medals back to the rightful families. And on Tuesday, Bertha Richard from Elkhart had her families ribbons returned. 



PFC Richard’s original medals had been destroyed in a 1970’s house fire. The medals that were returned had been left in a safe deposit box and were the official replacements once ordered by the family.

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Christian County Board OK's $7 Million in Pass-Thru Bonding for Pana Hospital

The Christian County Board Tuesday night acted on a number of motions made by various board committees.

Motions that the full board passed from the Audit, Finance and Purchase Committee included OK'ing the issuance of some 7-million dollars of bonds for construction at Pana Community Hospital, with the county as the pass-thru agent; they paid from their contingency fund, a nearly 2-thousand dollar bill for bond consultant work; and the board transferred funds to cover the 911 staff payroll while awaiting their monthly surcharge revenue from the state.

The board Tuesday night also appointed Daniel Bland of Pana and Andy Goodall of Taylorville, to the County's 911 Board.

The board will hold a special meeting December 27th at 6:30 in the evening in the Christian County Board room, to OK the payment of unemployment taxes for 2015 and 2016 before the end of this year.  This is a requirement for the county to go with a new unemployment insurance carrier, that will save the county some 24-percent in future unemployment insurance premiums.
 

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With General Session Approaching, Bourne Working on New Bills for Downstate Illinois

With the 2018 Illinois general session approaching, the legislative drafting period is starting to wrap up for state lawmakers. 95th District Representative Avery Bourne says her goals for the upcoming session include some tweaks to school funding reform and empowering coal power plants in downstate Illinois.

 

Bourne says she wants to even the playing field for all Illinois coal-fired power plants.

 

 

Bourne says the new year will also bring new laws to the state, which will benefit many residents.

 

 

Bourne says she hopes the new legislative session will bring more bipartisan work to help the state improve its financial footing while improve the lives of its residents.

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Pana Community Hospital is Partnering With Area McDonalds to Raise Money for Expansion

Pana Community Hospital is partnering with area McDonald’s locations to raise money for its ongoing expansion project. The hospital foundation is selling McCafe or sandwich punch-cards that will allow holders to get one free McCafe product, Big Mac, or Quarter Pounder each week for a year, and money raised will go towards the ongoing construction at PCH.

 

The hospital’s marketing manager Melissa Rybolt says the cards are selling for $25 each, but they are worth much more than that.

 

 

Rybolt says the vast majority of the money raised is going back to the hospital, and these punchcards are valid at multiple McDonalds’ locations.

 

 

Rybolt says supplies are limited for these punch-cards. You can pick up a punch-card at Pana Community Hospital or you can give them a call at 562-2131 and ask for the foundation office.

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Hopper Foundation Donates $10k to Help Start TMH Healthcare Careers Scholarship Program

The Taylorville Memorial Hospital Foundation is starting a new Healthcare Careers Scholarship program in big thanks to the Bertand Hopper Memorial Foundation. The Hopper Foundation has donated $10,000 in support of the new program.

 

Raedena Ryan is the Executive Director of the Taylorville Memorial Hospital Foundation. She says the new scholarship program is intended to bring those looking to go into healthcare back to work at Taylorville Memorial Hospital.

 

 

Ryan says the healthcare field needs more workers, and this scholarship will help bring future healthcare professionals back to Taylorville.

 

 

Ryan says the donation is just one in many that the Hopper Foundation has provided to Taylorville Memorial over the years, and she thanks the foundation for their continued support.

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Illinois Congressman Rodney Davis Happy With Changes Made To Tax Bill On Education

Congress voted on a new tax reform plan on Tuesday which would be the biggest tax code reform in 30 years. Illinois Congressman Rodney Davis is excited about a number of measures in the consolidated bill regarding education that wasn't in the original House Plan.


Davis says he liked the original tax reform bill the US House of Representatives passed, except for a few key subjects that weren't addressed.

 

 

Davis partnered with Ohio Representative Mike Turner to help address these issues, and get provisions in the revised tax bill that covers those subjects.

 

 

Davis says for 2018, student loan debt is a subject he'd like to see Washington tackle, stressing the severity of the student loan debt issue.

 

 

Davis appeared as a guest on the Newstalk WTIM Morning Show.

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Taylorville McDonalds Celebrates 40 Years in Business

The McDonalds restaurant in Taylorville recently celebrated the 40th anniversary of their first day in business, and the restaurant celebrated with a number of specials, as well as handing out prizes to those who attended the festivities.

 

Taylorville McDonalds owner Brad Davis appeared on the Newstalk WTIM Morning Show, and says the day was a great day to look back at the past 40 years in business.

 

 

As part of the festivities, the Taylorville McDonalds had several specials on several menu items and handed out prizes.

 

 

Among the prizes given out were vouchers for 52 free small McCafe drinks.

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Taylorville Kiwanis Entertained by THS Madrigal Singers at Christmas Luncheon

 

The Taylorville Kiwanis Club heard from the Taylorville High School Madrigal Singers, during the club's annual Christmas luncheon at the Taylorville Memorial Hospital auditorium.

About 20 members of the performing group, that entertained crowds during their annual performances last weekend at Taylorville High School, sang various medieval Christmas carols and songs to Kiwanis members and spouses attending.  The singers were conducted by music instructor Keith Chase.

Here's a portion of their performance from Tuesday afternoon:

Dignataries that also attended the Kiwanis Christmas luncheon included Taylorville Mayor Bruce Barry, Taylorville School Superintendent Dr. Greg Fuerstenau, and Taylorville High School Principal Matt Hutchison.

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.

 

 

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Bustos Continues to Call GOP Tax Reform Bill a "Tax Scam"

Western Illinois Congresswoman Cheri Bustos continues to call the GOP tax plan “the tax scam.” She took to the House floor today.

 


House Speaker Paul Ryan says the Republican tax bill will lead to more jobs and higher wages. He argues that skeptical people will change their minds once they start seeing bigger paychecks. The House is expected to approve the sweeping package of tax cuts and reforms this afternoon and the Senate will follow suit tonight. 

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Bristow Named to House Seat in Metro-East Area

Monica Bristow, the long-time President of the Riverbend Growth Association, has been sworn in as the new State Representative for the 111th district. Running as a Democrat, Bristow will now be considered an incumbent as she seeks the 111th District seat in the November 2018 election, currently held by Dan Beiser. Bristow announced her candidacy in November. Beiser has represented the 111th District since 2004, and announced his retirement earlier this year. He says Bristow will benefit from learning the job.




As of now, only one other candidate has announced a bid for the seat: Republican Mike Babcock who is currently Wood River Township Supervisor. The election for the 111th District seat will be held November 6, 2018.

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Before You Know It, It Will Be Budget Time

Getting a budget deal hammered out in Illinois this year was a history making finish to a vicious game of gridlock. While Illinois is exhaling somewhat with a spending blueprint in place, the approach of a new calendar year means soon Governor Rauner will talk about his budget vision for the coming fiscal year. Repulblican State Senator Jason Barickman of Bloomington is hopeful a more productive conservation can be had in 2018.



Rauner hasn't embraced the budget deal reached last year. In October, he cut 200 million dollars from the budget passed by lawmakers and has continued to call the spending plan out of balance.

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Christian County Board OK's Special Use Permit for Proposed Solar Farm

The Christian County Board approved a special use petition to their zoning ordinance at their Tuesday night meeting, for a solar farm, after the county's Zoning Board of Appeals met with landowners near the proposed location and addressed their concerns.

The County Board voted unanimously to allow Cisco Solar, L-L-C , a North Carolina firm, to lease various property now zoned Agriculture-One, for a proposed solar farm development in Greenwood Township. 

The Zoning Board of Appeals agreed to recommend the special use, so long as there is a 30-foot setback, and that area landowners be provided a list of any chemicals used at the location.

Board Chair Tim Carlson told Regional Radio News after the meeting, he was pleased with the vote.

The Christian County Board Tuesday night also approved resolutions to appropriate money from the Motor Fuel Tax fund to pay for road maintenance, retirement expense, and county engineer salary and expenses.  The 3 resolutions totaled some 961-thousand 500-dollars.  The board also approved their annual general fund tax levy totaling one-point-8 million dollars.

 

 

 

 

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Police Warning Shoppers of Purse and Wallet Thieves

Area police are warning residents to watch their stuff as they do their last minute holiday or grocery shopping this week. Taylorville Police Chief Brian Hile says there have been four incidents at Walmart in recent weeks of a person or persons stealing purses and wallets as they are momentarily left unattended.

 

Hile says with the cooler weather, people are normally bundled up. That makes it harder to identify the perpetrators off of video footage.

 

 

Hile says there are common sense ways to protect yourself from becoming a victim of theft while shopping this holiday season.

 

 

The Taylorville Police Department is working with Walmart to investigate the string of thefts. If you have any information, you can call Crimestoppers or Taylorville Police.

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Changes May Be Coming To Lakeshore Golf Course

Changes may be coming to Lakeshore Golf Course as the course continues to look for new ways to help increase revenue. Jason Boldig with the golf course approached the board with a plan to update the kitchen on the second floor dining hall to increase the food options available to the course.
 
Boldig says the course would pay for the renovations themselves.
 
 
Boldig doesn’t expect the project to require much work to prepare the space for the changes, saying most of the equipment is at the facility already.
 
 
The board unanimously approved a motion made to allow the course to move forward with planning the new kitchen, with final plans being brought to the board before the project moves forward.

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Central Illinois Food Bank Helping To Fight Hunger in Christian County

The Central Illinois Foodbank is continuing their mission of fighting hunger in Central Illinois, and recently held a “Healthy Food Distribution” event in Taylorville. These events formerly known as mobile pantries provide locals with the ability to get food assistance to feed themselves and their families.
 
Krista Lisser with the Central Illinois Food Bank says the event helped get food to a wide range of people who are dealing with the issue of hunger in Christian County.
 
 
Lisser reviewed some of the statistics behind the issue of hunger in Christian County, and also thanked the Taylorville Fire Department for hosting the event.
 
 
Lisser appeared as a guest on the Newstalk WTIM Morning Show.

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BBB Offering Holiday Shopping Tips To Keep Your Information Safe

Many shoppers are scrambling to get last minute Christmas shopping done, although you do want to be diligent while you shop. The Better Business Bureau has some tips for you to keep in mind while doing your online holiday shopping to keep scams at bay and your information safe.
 
Mara Clingingsmith with the BBB says you want to keep a keen eye out for online shopping scams which are prevalent this time of year.
 
Another tip to keep in mind is to make sure you're on the correct websites while you shop.
 
 
Clingingsmith appeared as a guest on the Newstalk WTIM Morning Show.

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People's Bank and Trust Makes Donation to Pana CEFS Head Start

People’s Bank and Trust continues to serve those in their communities, and the bank recently donated one-thousand dollars to the C.E.F.S. Head Start program in Pana.

 

Terry Schafer is the Assistant Vice President of Human Resources for People’s Bank and Trust. She says the bank wanted to held Pana’s Head Start program because the program needs extra support from the community to keep its services going.

 

 

Schafer says the ways they can provide help to those in need in the community are ways they can live up to the bank’s motto of putting people first.

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Governor Rauner Talks Possibility of Two Campaigns

Governor Bruce Rauner faces the possibility of running a primary campaign to make it to the general election.The Governor says it won't be easy but believes his high energy personality will help him accomplish a second term.



If elected to a second term, Governor Rauner says his goals remain to repeal the tax hike that was approved last year surrounding the budget and he also wants Illinois to grow much faster than it has in his first four years.



Governor Rauner says he has enjoyed his first term as Governor and has enjoyed traveling the state and interacting with the people. 

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Illinois Now Has Bicentennial Soda

Now that the state has finished unveiling its Bicentennial Beer, now Governor Rauner is promoting a drink that under 21 crowd can partake in. 

 

Governor Rauner visited Marion's Pepsi MidAmerica for the unveiling of the first edition of the Bicentennial Pepsi can. Pepsi MidAmerica's Brad Cole says production is well underway.

 


The commemorative can has already begun arriving at stores across Central and Southern Illinois. 

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Not Much Of A Chance For A White Christmas

A week out and the forecast for a white Christmas looks less than likely for Illinois. The official definition of a white Christmas is an inch or more of snow on the ground and State Climatologist Jim Angel says on a historical basis northern Illinois has a 50/50 chance and by the time you get to central Illinois it’s about a 30 percent chance. But this year the forecast isn’t setting up for big snowfalls anywhere in Illinois.

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Taylorville City Council Signs Off on Contract With City Firefighters

 

The city of Taylorville and its firefighters have agreed on a contract. The agreement came after the city council approved the terms five to three at Monday night’s meeting.

 

The contract will provide firefighters with an eight percent raise over the terms of the contract, and will loosen the residency requirements so that firefighters only have to live within ten miles of Taylorville city limits to work as a Taylorville firefighter.

 

Taylorville mayor Bruce Barry says the contract is a two-year contract, and the city is trying to get all of its union contracts lined up through the latest negotiations.

 

 

Barry says the city is continuing to negotiate with AFSCME workers. Their contract expires at the end of the year, but they are ahead of schedule in those negotiations.

 

The city council also approved some changes to an ordinance allowing Powder Keg Outfitters to open an indoor firing range in Taylorville. The original ordinance was approved at the last meeting, and Barry says the city wants to issue the business its permit as soon as possible.

 

 

Because of New Year’s Day, the next city council meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, January 2nd at 7 p.m. at the Taylorville Municipal Building.

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Taylorville Man In Custody For Sexual Assault of a Family Member Under Age 18

A Taylorville man is in the Christian County Jail facing a felony charge that he sexually assaulted a family member under the age of 18. 28-year-old John L. Hott, Jr. was arrested on the court-issued warrant Saturday afternoon.

 

The Taylorville Police Department has been the lead agency on the investigation. Police Chief Brian Hile says the investigation started in the spring. The charge is a Class 1 felony, and Hott could face four to 15 years in prison if convicted.

 

Hott made his first appearance in court via video teleconference Monday morning. Probable cause was found in the case, and he is locked up on a $50,000 bond. The public defender was appointed for Hott at his court appearance, and his next scheduled appearance in court is set for Thursday, December 21 at 10 a.m.

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Shelbyville High School Reflecting On Great First Semester, Looks to Have Strong Second Half of Year

The school year is already half over, and many local school districts are reflecting back on a great first half of the year. At Shelbyville High School, they're looking back on a successful football season for the Rams, as well as looking to continue a hot start for the boys basketball team.
 
Denise Bence, Superintendent of the Shelbyville School District appeared as a guest on the Newstalk WTIM Morning Show live from our downtown Shelbyville Studios and says it's unbelievable that the year is already half over.
 
 
The Rams Boys Basketball team is looking at building upon a good start to their season during an upcoming holiday tournament, and one player is closing in on school history.
 
 
You can hear Shelbyville Boys basketball games on the Miller Media Group of stations by tuning into NEWCOUNTRY.FM 98.3 WSVZ.

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Saving Orphaned Animals Using Social Media To Help Pets Find Homes

Saving Orphaned Animals is helping families find pets they may have lost, as well as helping animals find new homes. The organization uses several different tools such as social media to help get the word out about animals they have at their center.
 
Penny Standerfer with Saving Orphaned Animals says one tool the organization uses is Facebook, which can help lost pets find their way home.
 
 
Saving Orphaned Animals is also helping animals get adopted to new homes, and utilizes a nation wide tool to assist potential pet owners in their search for a new friend.
 
 
Standerfer appeared as a guest on the Newstalk WTIM Morning Show live from our downtown Shelbyville Studios.

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Christian County CEO Students Planning Upcoming Winter Banquet

The Christian County CEO Program is preparing for their winter banquet in February with the goal of raising money to help towards the goal of each student in the program starting their own stand alone businesses. One attraction with the banquet is a raffle with a large cash prize.
 
Patty Hornbuckle, CEO of the Greater Taylorville Chamber of Commerce explained how the raffle will work, and what the backup plan is should the raffle not sell out.
 
 
Hornbuckle says expect a lot of competition between the students in the CEO program to get tickets sold.
 
 
Hornbuckle appeared as a guest on the Newstalk WTIM Morning Show.

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Susan Lawrence To Leave United Way of Christian County

Susan Lawrence is stepping down as the Executive Director of the United Way of Christian County. She will remain on the job with the United Way until they can find a replacement.
 
Lawrence says she is thankful for the many friendships she has built in the community.
 
 
Lawrence says she is proud that the United Way is now seen as more than just a fundraising organization.
 
 
For more information on the job opening, you can visit the United Way of Christian County's Facebook page here.

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Christian County Sheriff Kettelkamp Reminds Drivers to Be Safe During the Holidays

We are officially one week away from Christmas and many people are planning road trips to visit with family and friends for the upcoming holiday weekend. Christian County Sheriff Bruce Kettelkamp says with the additional traffic, there is also normally a spike in car accidents this time of year.

 

Kettelkamp reminds everyone to designate a driver if you plan on drinking during your holiday get-togethers.

 

 

Kettelkamp says all levels of police, city, county, and state will be out in full force over the holidays.

 

 

Kettelkamp says the holidays are about having a good time, but law enforcement wants to make sure everyone is safe while celebrating.

 

 

Kettelkamp says fatalities have been lower in recent years, and he hopes everyone continues to follow the rules of the road to prevent any tragedies over the Christmas holiday.

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IEMA: Always Expect The Unexpected

Always expect the unexpected. That’s the advice from the Illinois Emergency Agency as the first official day of winter is Thursday.



That’s IEMA’s Patti Thompson. She says if you plan to use a gas generator in the event of a power outage, there are several things to remember.



IEMA offers other tips and recommendations at the state’s emergency preparedness website at www.ready.illinois.gov.

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Central Illinois Will Serve as Brandt Industries U.S. Headquarters

Canadian based Brandt Industries now has a U.S. headquarters and it’s in central Illinois. The company has acquired a 200,000 square foot manufacturing plant from Kongskilde Industries in the Bloomington-Normal area. Brandt president Shaun Semple says the Illinois location will produce grain handling and tillage equipment.



Brandt has more than 1,800 employees across North America and services markets in more than 20 countries. 

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Community Care Helping Seniors In Shelby County

Community Care in Shelby County is working to help seniors stay in their home as long as they possibly can. Although they cannot administer any sort of medical assistance, their employees can help with things such as daily errands and other tasks that may have become too strenuous for someone to handle on their own.
 
Robin Young is a Case Coordinator at Community Care, and explained in detail what it is that Community Care does.
 
 
The process to determine whether or not you qualify for help with community care includes a home visit, which Young says helps with knowing what the needs of that individual are.
 
 
Young appeared as a guest on the Newstalk WTIM Morning Show live from our downtown Shelbyville Studios.

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Susan Lawrence Awarded Central Illinois Smiles Family Dentistry "Big Smile for the Community"

This month’s NEWSTALK WTIM Central Illinois Smiles Family Dentistry “Big Smile for the Community” honoree is Susan Lawrence. Lawrence has been the director of the United Way of Christian County for the past two years, and has focused her time and energy to bring people together in the community providing them the resources they need.

 

Lawrence says the real credit goes to all of the agencies benefited by the United Way of Christian County.

 

 

Lawrence says the best way to contact the United Way are to call 824-8404 or email unitedwayofcc@consolidated.net.

 

To nominate someone for the NEWSTALK WTIM Central Illinois Family Dentistry “Big Smile for the Community” award, send your nominations to bigsmile@randyradio.com.

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Taylorville Sanitary District Exploring Options to Replacing Aging Sewer Line

One of the main sewer lines on the southeast side of Taylorville was built in the 1970’s. The Taylorville Sanitary District is now looking at replacing that aging line.

 

Bob Willard is the Plant Manager for the Taylorville Sanitary District. He describes the path the line takes through Taylorville and says the line’s operating life is coming to an end.

 

 

Willard says the district has already repaired the line multiple times. There are multiple options currently on the table for replacing the line. Jeff Large is a Project Manager with Crawford, Murphy and Tilly. He says there are multiple paths the new line could take with a price range between $1 million and $1.4 million.

 

 

Large says it is still very early in the process of what will be done to replace the aging sewer line.

 

 

Large says the project could be put out for bids sometime early in the summer of 2018.

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Taylorville Kiwanis Members Provide Manpower for Christmas in the Park Donation Booth

Several members of the Taylorville Kiwanis Club, volunteered to work the donation booth at the Manners Park “Christmas in the Park” Thursday night.

Members took 2-and-a-half shifts, to help collect monies for supporting the event.

Taylorville Kiwanis members who worked the donation booth included Martin Vota, Will Perkins, Duane Stock, John Gardner, Adam Jeffrey, and Randy Miller.

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.

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Christmas Tree Placement And Keeping It Watered Key To A Healthy Tree

Christmas time is nearly here and many are shopping and setting up their Christmas Trees. If you've gone with a real tree this year, Andrew Holsinger, Horticulture Educator with the University of Illinois Extension Unit 18 says there are several things you need to keep in mind to make sure your tree remains in good condition throughout the holiday.
 
Holsinger says where you place your tree can make a big difference.
 
 
Another key thing to keep in mind is to make sure your tree is properly watered.
 
 
Holsinger appeared as a guest on the Newstalk WTIM Morning Show.

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State Senator Andy Manar Credits Affordable Care Act For Helping Rural Hospitals

Health insurance has been a hot topic this past year across the nation. State Senator Andy Manar (D-Bunker Hill) recently took a tour of several hospitals and health centers in his district to get a better idea of the progress being made in healthcare in Central Illinois, and gives a lot of credit to the Affordable Care Act for improving healthcare in his district.
 
Senator Manar appeared as a guest on the Newstalk WTIM Morning Show and says rural hospitals in our area are taking great steps forward in bringing better healthcare to Central Illinois.
 
 
Manar says the biggest progress in health care coverage since the passage of the Affordable Care Act have come in rural areas of the country such as Manar's district, which has helped hospitals in this area.
 
 
Manar also mentioned the jobs impact that the healthcare has in Central Illinois, noting that hospitals in the 48th Illinois District employ roughly ten-thousand employees directly.

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FCC Axes Net Neutrality, What Does That Mean For Internet Users?

In a controversial move that has been anticipated for weeks, the Federal Communications Commission voted to repeal Obama-era net neutrality rules Thursday afternoon. The move allows internet providers to block or slow down web content and offer paid prioritization for websites through the provider.

 

CTI President Billy Williams says although this could be a big win for internet providers, he doesn’t think companies will want the public relations issues that could come with providing non-neutral internet access.

 

 

Williams says today’s ruling won’t have a major impact on CTI or its internet users.

 

 

Williams says CTI sees itself as a neutral party that does not want to restrict how its customers explore the world wide web.

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Rauner Signs Opioid Law

Gov. Bruce Rauner has signed legislation designed to prevent opioid abuse. 


The legislation requires those in the prescription business to use a database containing patient prescription histories. That allows physicians to detect if patients have previously requested controlled substances from other doctors. Rauner signed the legislation at Comprehensive Behavioral Health Center in East St. Louis.



The new law takes effect Jan. 1.

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Soy Official Stresses Importance of Local Bridge Projects Along With Lock and Dam Upgrades

Although ag groups continue to push for massive improvements to the inland waterway system, they also say don’t forget about local projects. Yes, locks and dams are long overdue for repairs says Mike Steenhoek with the Soy Transportation Coalition, but bridges, especially in rural areas, need some serious attention.



The Illinois Soybean Association is among thirteen state soybean boards participating in the coalition. And the coalition along with many other agriculture groups have been keeping the inland waterway subject at the forefront. 

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Senator Durbin Continues Push for Affordable Textbooks

As college students enter the end of semester, their holiday giving list might be limited because of mighty textbook expenses. U.S. Senator Dick Durbin continues to beat the drum for reduced textbook costs. In recent weeks, he introduced The Affordable College Textbook Act, which is designed to help students manage costs by making high quality textbooks easily accessible to students, professors, and the public for free. Durbin says costs have been surging too far for too long.



Durbin says textbook costs are forcing college students to make difficult choices.



Durbin introduced the legislation in late September. It was referred to the Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions. 

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Taylorville Police Shop With Kids for Christmas Thursday Night

Christmas is a time of giving and the Taylorville Police Department is helping many families and children brighten their holiday. The department had their “Kids, Cops, and Christmas” shopping day Thursday night.

 

Officer Alan Mills says thanks to the community, the program raised 30-percent more money this year compared to last year. Taylorville Police Chief Brian Hile says the department always wants to help those in need, but it’s the community that makes “Kids, Cops and Christmas” a success each year.

 

 

Kathy Moore was shopping for her great-grandson Isom through the program Thursday night. She says this program is very important for making Isom’s Christmas merrier.

 

 

Hile says to put on this program is one way his department can have positive interactions with community members.

 

 

The “Kids, Cops, and Christmas” program has been helping needy families over the holidays for over 20 years.

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Illinois State Police Beefing Up Patrols This Weekend for Operation CARE

The Illinois State Police is continuing its effort to make zero fatalities a reality this weekend by having extra patrols out this weekend. The patrols are a part of Operation Combined Accident Reduction Effort, or CARE.

 

Master Sergeant Mike Link with the Illinois State Police says there are four main causes of fatal accidents on the roads.

 

 

Link says although many people think it will never happen to them, the police see these crashes regularly. He reminds the public that a car accident can kill anyone at any time.

 

 

Link also wants to remind the public about “Scott’s Law”, also known as the Move Over Law. He says the law was expanded at the beginning of 2017.

 

 

The enforcement efforts this weekend will include roadside safety checks, saturation patrols, and aggressive driving reduction efforts.

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Proposed Taylorville Industrial Park Attracting Interest

An out of state petroleum shipping company, is among those considering locating in the proposed Taylorville Industrial Park.   Mary Renner, executive director of the Christian County Economic Development Association, told the Association board at their recent meeting, that a lead from Congressman Rodney Davis, led to interest in coming to Taylorville.

Talks with the prospect and the C-C-E-D-C are ongoing.

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Jim Bohannon, Host of Jim Bohannon Show On WTIM Comments On Alabama Senate Election

There is a new Senator in Alabama, and many were shocked when it was not the Republican Roy Moore getting the victory, but instead his Democratic opponent Doug Jones who will be packing his bags for Washington.

 

Jim Bohannon hosts the Jim Bohannon show heard weeknights on Newstalk WTIM, and says although Jones won this particular election, he doesn't expect him to hold his senate seat for long.

 

 

The Moore campaign was rocked by a number of allegations of sexual misconduct, in some cases with women who were underage at the time. Bohannon says these allegations likely cost Moore the election, saying although he may not have been convicted in a court of law, that doesn't influence the court of public opinion.

 

 

You can tune into the Jim Bohannon Show weeknights on Newstalk WTIM. Bohannon appeared as a guest on the Newstalk WTIM Morning Show.

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Taylorville School Board Welcomes Parental Concerns On School Consolidation Plans

The Taylorville School Board is considering a series of proposals for consolidating three elementary schools in the district into two schools for K through forth grade students, with the third school housing an alternative learning center. Although no decision has been made as of yet, the district is considering the change, largely due to reduced enrollment.

 

Taylorville Superintendent Dr. Gregg Fuerstenau appeared as a guest on the Newstalk WTIM Morning show to discuss the proposed changes, saying the district wants to give students the best educational opportunities they can while maintaining an efficient operation.

 

 

Fuerstenau stressed that no decision has been made as of yet, and welcomed parents and citizens to share their opinions and concerns about the plans with district officials, to help in the decision making process.

 

 

Option 1 would include sending all Kindergarten and first grade students to Memorial School while 2nd through 4th grades would go to North Elementary. Stonington Elementary would then house the district’s alternative center only.

 

Option 2 would still include Stonington only hosting the alternative center, while North would have Kindergarten through 2nd grade students and Memorial would have 3rd and 4th grade.

 

Option 3 would also have North educating Kindergarten through 2nd grade, but 3rd and 4th graders would go to Stonington, and Memorial would hold the district’s alternative center only.

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Bustos Slams GOP Tax Reform Efforts

Western Illinois Congresswoman Cheri Bustos calling the GOP’s tax reform efforts an attack on the middle class. She says it’s a flawed three step process. 



Bustos making her remarks on the House Floor Tuesday just hours before Democrat Doug Jones defeated Republican Roy Moore in the Alabama Senate race. The win now gives Republicans a slight 51-49 voting edge in the Senate. 

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Many Challenges Facing Rural Hospitals

While lawmakers in Washington D. C. continue to debate the merits of the Affordable Care Act or whether to introduce a new health care program into law, the nation’s rural hospitals continue to face challenges on a daily basis.

 


That’s Mark Kuhn, CEO of Hammond-Henry Hospital in Geneseo, which serves residents in Henry County in Western Illinois. 

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Governor Visits Clinton Power Station on One Year Anniversary of Energy Legislation

Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner visited the Exelon Nuclear Power Station in Clinton this week on the one year anniversary of jobs legislation. The measure allowed power plants in DeWitt County and the Quad Cities to remain open for another decade. 



The Governor says the plant remaining open and viable is going to allow the State to recruit new companies to central Illinois. He touted the legislation being appealing to industry investors and others willing to consider locating in Illinois.

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ACA Marketplace Signup Deadline is Coming

If you are buying health insurance through the ACA’s marketplace you better hurry. The signup period is shorter this year and the deadline to get enrolled is Friday. There are 350,000 people in the state that are in the Marketplace. But US Senator Dick Durbin says Republicans in Congress are pushing to eliminate the health insurance mandate to and if that passes you Marketplace customers will see prices rise.



Durbin says getting extra help at signup time is worth it. Find an ACA Navigator and work with them to decide which health care plan is the right one for you and your family.

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Some Residents of Taylorville Receive Very High Water Bills, City Says "Perfect Storm" of Events are the Cause

Some Taylorville residents have seen huge spikes in their most recent water bills, and many of them are asking why. Taylorville Water Superintendent David Speagle says the perfect storm of events have caused many people to see abnormally high water bills.

 

Speagle says many water bills were underestimated during the city’s computer system crash over the summer. He explains the city’s estimation system, along with the other factors that played a role in the high water bills.

 

 

Many residents though are not happy with their water bills and have banded together to join a Facebook group called “Citizens of Taylorville Fed up with High Water Rates.” The group has over 600 members, and the group’s creator Billie Heberling says the city of Taylorville needs to do better to communicate with residents.

 

 

Speagle and Taylorville mayor Bruce Barry say that the city treasurer’s office will offer a payment plan for the recent water bills on a case-by-case basis. Speagle says the full process for dealing with water leaks, billing issues, or appealing your bill is lengthy, but the first step in any case is to call the city treasurer’s office.  

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Atteberry Announces Run for Shelby County Circuit Court Judge

A local attorney will be running for the Republican nomination for Shelby County Circuit Court Judge. Dennis Atteberry has announced his candidacy for the position.

 

Atteberry says running for the judge position is the next step he’s looking to take in his law career.

 

 

Atteberry is married with three children. He says he has worked with members of the community in many ways other than just practicing law.

 

 

Atteberry says the values and work ethic he holds dear make him the best candidate for Shelby County Circuit Court Judge.

 

 

Atteberry has held a seat on the Taylorville School Board. It is anticipated that he will resign from the school board as he relocates to Shelby County to run for the judgeship. The seat was previously held by Judge Alan Bennett, who passed away in late November.

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Crimestoppers Crime of the Week - December 13, 2017

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

 

During two different occasions during the past several days, a male subject has taken items from subjects while they were shopping at Wal-Mart in Taylorville.  The unknown suspect waited near the victims while they were shopping.  When the victims were distracted, the unknown suspect reached into their cart and took an item.  The male suspect has so far taken two pocketbooks.  The male suspect then left the store heading East. 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 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.  

 

Below are photos of the suspect in this week's Crime of the Week.

 

 

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Progress Made On Bridge Replacement On Lincoln Prairie Bike Trail

Work continues on the Lincoln Prairie Bike Trail between Taylorville and Pana, both with getting a new bridge built to replace the current closed bridge near Taylorville, as well as to repair some issues that have arisen over the years with the trail pavement itself.
 
Bud Altman is Vice Chairman of the Lincoln Prairie Trail Conservancy, an organization working to help repair the trail, and says progress has been made on the process of replacing the closed bridge on the north side of the trail.
 
 
There are also a number of repairs that need to be made to the trail. Altman says these include fixing cracks, as well as areas where tree roots have damaged the trail.
 
 
The Lincoln Prairie Trail Conservancy has been able to help repair some of the issues on the trail while the bridge replacement moves forward, helping to keep the costs low due to volunteer help.
 
Altman appeared as a guest on the Newstalk WTIM Morning Show.

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Illinois State Historical Society Reflecting On Christmas In Illinois Over The Years

Christmas is approaching and the Illinois State Historical Society is looking back at how the holiday has been celebrated in different areas around the state over time. One of the things the ISHS looks at is old diary entries from residents who told stories of how the holiday was celebrated.

 

Gwen Podeschi with the ISHS shared the story of John Taylor, a Taylorville resident who served in the civil war, and wrote about how Christmas was celebrated in the military during that time. Taylor wrote about preparing for a banquet for the holiday.

 

 

Taylor continued, saying how even with a large crowd, the group still had plenty of leftovers, and a good time enjoying each others company.

 

 

Podeschi appeared as a guest on the Newstalk WTIM Morning Show.

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Teacher Shortage Also Impacting Head Start

A shortage of teachers is hitting Illinois schools very hard as many struggle to fill vacancies and find substitute teachers on an almost daily basis. 


But public and private schools aren't the only entities being impacted by this growing problem, not-for-profits are finding it even more challenging to fill vacancies they have. Marty Ryan is the Human Resource Director at Community Action and says they are having trouble finding qualified candidates for programs like Head Start.



For non-profits, DCFS lays out guidelines for their educators which do not necessarily match up with what State of Illinois schools require. Ryan indicates this makes it even more challenging.



Ryan hopes anyone interested in leading early childhood education courses through Community Action to visit "capcil.info"

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Winter Winds Have Arrived in Illinois, But Not Snow

The winter winds have been blowing in much of Illinois, but snow hasn’t been flying. That’s due to atmospheric conditions says RFD Radio Network meteorologist Dan Hicks with Freese-Notis Weather.



Hicks says heavy snowfall in the near term is only going to occur around the Great Lakes. He says temperatures are expected be warmer in the 6-10 day outlook, but weather could be more active after that. 

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Deer Harvest Totals

Shotgun deer hunters were busy in Illinois this year. The Illinois Department of Natural Resources reports that about 80,000 deer were killed by hunters this fall. Ed Cross with IDNR says hunters found better conditions during the second weekend of shotgun season. 



The harvest numbers are a little better than in 2016. Hunting opportunities are dwindling but there is a late winter antlerless season at the end of the month.

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Former Buckley's Greenhouse May Be Site of New Hydroponic Business

The Christian County Economic Development Corporation board of directors held their quarterly board meeting on Friday afternoon at People's Bank and Trust in Taylorville, and learned that there's interest by a company to lease, then acquire the former Buckley's Greenhouse building west of Taylorville adjacent to Waste Management, to grow hydroponic lettuce and other leafy vegetables.

Executive director Mary Renner spoke with Regional Radio News after the meeting, about this prospective new industry for Christian County.

Talks between both sides are continuing.

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Taylorville Kiwanis Host TV Weatherman and Taylorville Native at Weekly Meeting

FOX-Champaign, WCCU-TV co-anchor/weather anchor and author Doug Quick (right) was Tuesday's guest speaker at the weekly meeting of the Taylorville Kiwanis Club at the Taylorville Memorial Hospital auditorium.  Kiwanis president Martin Vota (left) conducted the meeting. 

 

The Taylorville Kiwanis Club heard from Doug Quick, TV broadcaster, during their Tuesday luncheon at the Taylorville Memorial Hospital auditorium.

Quick gave the club his history of growing up in Taylorville.  He has been a central Illinois radio and television broadcaster for 43 years, starting his career at WTIM Radio.  He’s worked in the Taylorville, Springfield, Decatur, Danville and Champaign-Urbana markets throughout is entire career.

Doug was co-anchor and chief weather anchor at WICD-TV and is currently co-anchor and weather anchor on FOX-Champaign, WCCU-TV in Urbana.  He is the longest tenured weather-caster in central Illinois.

He was awarded the Silver Circle Award by the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences of Mid-America in 2013.  He was the winner of medium market Best Anchor in 2017 from the Illinois Broadcasters Association.  

Quick has written a book called “Pictures on the Prairie” on the first 10 years of central Illinois broadcasting and is due out before the end of December.

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.

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Central A&M School Board Votes to Close Bond Elementary in Assumption

Bond Elementary School in Assumption will be closing its doors for good. The Central A&M School Board voted to shut down the school at Monday night’s meeting. The plan is to move the Pre-K through 2nd grade students at Bond to a wing of the middle school in Assumption, similar to the setup of the Gregory wing that holds 3rd through 5th graders at Central A&M High School in Moweaqua.

 

Central A&M School District Superintendent Dr. DeAnn Heck says enrollment has declined significantly in the last 20 years.

 

 

Heck says the district will save $300,000 per year with the closure, along with over $1 million in renovations that would need to be done at the school.

 

 

Heck says the decision comes down to the future sustainability of the district.

 

 

Heck says the next step in the process is to send out a request for proposals for the renovations of the middle school. Because of the renovations needed at the middle school, she says the anticipated closing date of Bond Elementary School would be the summer of 2019.

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Declining Enrollment Has Taylorville School District Looking at Elementary School Alignment

The Taylorville School District is looking at consolidating three elementary schools into to attendance centers for the 2018-2019 school year. Discussion on the issue started at Monday night’s school board meeting.

 

Option 1 would include sending all Kindergarten and first grade students to Memorial School while 2nd through 4th grades would go to North Elementary. Stonington Elementary would then house the district’s alternative center only. Option 2 would still include Stonington only hosting the alternative center, while North would have Kindergarten through 2nd grade students and Memorial would have 3rd and 4th grade. Option 3 would also have North educating Kindergarten through 2nd grade, but 3rd and 4th graders would go to Stonington, and Memorial would hold the district’s alternative center only.

 

Taylorville School District Superintendent Dr. Gregg Fuerstenau says merging the three schools into two attendance centers would allow the district to better control class sizes and also better distribute staff between the schools.

 

 

Fuerstenau says it would also allow for better distribution of time for PE, Music and Art for elementary students. He says bringing all of the teachers into two buildings allows for a unified curriculum for each grade level.

 

 

One possible drawback is the loss of elementary school students at Stonington or Memorial Elementary School. Fuerstenau acknowledges that drawback, but says that no facilities would completely close under any of the plans.

 

 

Fuerstenau says the board has until March to make an official decision on where elementary students will be for the 2018-2019 school year. Taylorville’s next school board meeting is scheduled for Monday, January 8 at 7 p.m. at the Taylorville School District Administration Building.

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End of Year Serves as Good Time to Consider Estate Planning

The end of the year serves as a perfect time to think about estate planning, especially with that family farming operation. So says Rick Morgan a Senior Financial Security Consultant with Country Financial. He says expectations can vary from family to family and even from family member to family member. 


 

Morgan says the first step is calling a family meeting and getting all players involved in the discussions. 

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Illinois Legislators Preparing For New Session in 2018

With the new year on the way legislators are beginning to look at the new legislative session beginning in January. Those in Springfield are beginning to look at issues their constituents bring to their attention, and draft legislation to help fix those issues.

 

State Representative Avery Bourne (R-Raymond) is preparing to begin the new legislative session, and says now is the time to bring any concerns you may have to your local representatives.

 

 

Bourne and her colleagues are already drafting new legislation aimed at further improving the school funding reform bill that passed in the fall.

 

 

Along with school funding, Bourne says work is being done to hammer out a new state budget, and she's hopeful the state will avoid another budget crisis.

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Time Running Out To Register For Master Gardener Courses With U of I Extension

If you have a green thumb and love gardening, becoming a master gardener at the University of Illinois Extension may be for you. The U of I Extension is accepting applications for those who would like to sign up to become a new Master Gardener with the program.

 

Gwen Podeschi is one of the U of I Extension's Master Gardeners, and says the deadline to sign up is coming up quick.

 

 

Podeschi was joined by fellow Master Gardener Sharon Hill, who says it's the camaraderie that she likes about being a Master Gardener. Podeschi added that it's a great way to continue to learn more about gardening.

 

 

Again to register for the course to become a Master Gardener with the U of I Extension, call 287-7246 or the Macoupin County Office at 854-9604 to register.

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United Way of Christian County Looking for New Executive Director

The United Way of Christian County is looking for a new Executive Director. Susan Lawrence is stepping down from the position, but she is stay on board until a new director is named.

 

Lawrence says they are currently taking applications for the Executive Director position and there are a couple ways to check out what the job entails.

 

 

Lawrence says she is happy that during her time as Executive Director, she has helped to get rid of the stigma that the United Way is only a fundraising organization.

 

 

Again, you can check out the job details by visiting the United Way of Christian County’s Facebook page here.

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Joy, Illinois Popular Place in December

Even though Joy, Illinois is not a major shopping hub, the small western Illinois town—population 385, continues to be a popular destination for mail during December. Both U.S. and international patrons want their holiday cards and letters cancelled with a special Joy postmark.



Patti Maynard staffs the Joy Post Office. This year’s special postmark is designed by Mercer County Junior High 8th grader Preston Howard. 

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Sexual Harassment Task Force Continues its Work

Lawmakers serving on a task force looking into the state's handling of sexual harassment in the public and private sector are meeting in Chicago. The ranking Republican member, Sara Wojcici Jimenez of Springfield says the task force will focus on the oversight role of the state's watchdogs.



She sees three clear goals.


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Former Tenaska Site May Be Used for Natural Gas Processing Plant

The Christian County Economic Development Corporation board of directors held their quarterly board meeting on Friday afternoon at People's Bank and Trust in Taylorville, and learned from their executive director, that EmberClear is continuing their work to acquire the former Tenaska property northeast of Taylorville, for a proposed natural gas processing plant that will create some 500 to 700 construction jobs, and 30 to 40 full-time jobs.

Mary Renner told Regional Radio News after the meeting, that the project continues to move forward.

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Christian County Ag Group to Provide Scholarship Again This Year

The Christian County Ag Group will be helping one area senior with college-related expenses again this year. The group presents a scholarship of $750 to one Christian County graduating senior or student already enrolled in college from the county.

 

Mellisa McMillan is the Secretary of the Christian County Ag Group. She says interested students will write an essay and fill out an application to be eligible for the scholarship.

 

 

McMillan says the Ag Group wants to continue to pay it forward to these college bound students, who are the future of Christian County.

 

 

McMillan says the scholarship application will be available soon. She encourages interested students to follow the news and social media sites like the Christian County Farm Bureau and Greater Taylorville Chamber of Commerce’s Facebook pages for information on when the Ag Group scholarship application becomes available.

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Possible Major School Changes to be Discussed at Taylorville, Central A&M School Board Meetings Monday

There could be big changes coming to some local area school districts. The Taylorville and Central A&M School Districts will each be discussing changes that could mean students in new buildings in the future.

 

The Taylorville School District will be discussing the possibility of aligning their elementary schools into attendance centers. That would put all students of a certain grade level into one building, with each building having certain grade levels. The Taylorville School Board meeting is tonight at 7 p.m. at the Taylorville School District Administration Building.

 

The Central A&M School District will be discussing the possible closure of Bond Elementary School in Assumption. The school holds Pre-K through second grade students. The Central A&M School board meeting starts tonight at 7 p.m. and will be held in the library at Central A&M High School in Moweaqua.

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Dove Inc Helping Victims of Domestic Violence

Victims of domestic violence in Shelby County have a place where they can go. Dove Inc. is working to help those effected by domestic violence get out of a bad situation, and find new accommodations.

 

Susie Kensil is the Shelby County Coordinator for Dove Inc, and shared some of the services that the organization provides.

 

 

There are several ways you can get into contact with Dove, both over the phone and online.

 

 

Kensil appeared as a guest on the Newstalk WTIM Morning Show.

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New LED Bulbs Bring New Life to Shelbyville Festival Of Lights Displays

The Shelbyville Festival Of Lights is underway, and helping bring holiday cheer to Shelby County. There have been some changes made to the event, as displays are updated making the lights brighter, and the colors more vibrant.

 

Freddy Fry is with the Shelby County Office of Tourism, and says the displays truly come to life when there is snow on the ground.

 

 

A number of displays have been updated, with new LED bulbs which make the colors of the lights brighter and more vibrant.

 

 

Fry appeared as a guest on the Newstalk WTIM Morning Show live from our downtown Shelbyville Studios.

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Taylorville Industrial Park Creeping Closer to Becoming a Reality

The industrial park on the northwest side of Taylorville is a few hurdles away from becoming a reality. Last week, the Taylorville Development Association received a $10-thousand donation towards the project from Shelby Electric Cooperative and Co-Bank. They have also recently re-submitted their application for a federal Economic Development Administration (EDA) grant to build the necessary infrastructure to bring the industrial park to life.

 

Ken Hart is the President of the Taylorville Development Association. He says they could hear back from the EDA at any time.

 

 

Hart says if the infrastructure can be built, he is confident that companies will bring industry and jobs to the community.

 

 

The Taylorville Development Association already has over $500-thousand  the necessary infrastructure, and the EDA grant would match the funds raised locally. The work would cost about $1.2 million.

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Taylorville City Council Instructs City Offices to Close, Lock Office Doors During Business Hours

The Taylorville City Council has approved a motion to keep the city treasurer’s office and city clerk’s office doors closed at all times, along with checking into security measures for each office at last Monday’s city council meeting.

 

Taylorville mayor Bruce Barry says there was no incident that led to the motion, the city is using an abundance of caution.

 

 

Barry says they hope closing and locking the door would be all the city would need to keep their employees safe.

 

 

The final city council meeting of 2017 is scheduled for next Monday, December 18 at 7 p.m. at the Taylorville Municipal Building.

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Legalization Appears to be on Backburner in General Assembly

Efforts to legalize recreational marijuana stalled in the legislature but the issue hasn't been forgotten by State Senator Jason Barickman. The Bloomington Republican believes the legislation to decriminalize carrying small amounts of marijuana will be retooled.



While Barickman has largely stood alone among Republicans in seeing the benefits of legalization, he believes that could change.


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Durbin Wants Alabama to Make Right Choice on Moore

With members of Congress stepping aside because of past sexual harassment allegations, voters in Alabama are deciding if they should send a candidate to the Senate with the another troubled history. U.S. Senator Dick Durbin says Republicans, as the party in power, will control Roy Moore’s fate if he’s elected to the Senate. But Durbin hopes that he won’t be presented with having to see Moore in the Senate Chamber.



Durbin says on the Democratic front any donations that he did receive from now disgraced Senator Al Franken have been turned over to charity. 

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2 Tax Increment Financing Districts Nearing Reality in Taylorville

The Christian County Economic Development Corporation board of directors held their quarterly board meeting on Friday afternoon at People's Bank and Trust in Taylorville, and learned that work to establish 2 Tax Increment Financing districts in Taylorville, is nearing completion.

Executive director Mary Renner told Regional Radio News after the meeting, that the City of Taylorville is finishing annexation of properties to complete both TIF's.

TIF districts, or "Tax Increment Financing" districts, enable businesses to locate inside the district and gain tax advantages as a result.

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Federal Grant One Step Closer for Infrastructure at new Taylorville Industrial Park

The Christian County Economic Development Corporation board of directors held their quarterly board meeting on Friday afternoon at People's Bank and Trust in Taylorville, and learned that further progress has been made toward obtaining a matching grant of some 537-thousand dollars, to build infrastructure at the new Taylorville Industrial Park.

Executive director Mary Renner said the Economic Development Administration office in Chicago notified her Thursday afternoon, that the agency had sent the local entity what they called a "letter of interest."  Renner told Regional Radio News what she and the county economic development corporation is doing from here.

Renner added she's been told that once the additional information is submitted, the application will either be processed further, or declined.

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Christian County Problem Solving Court Honors Largest Class to Complete Program Friday

It’s a win for taxpayers. It’s a win for the court system. It’s a win for many people across the country. The Christian County Problem-Solving Court honored 11 people who completed the program Friday afternoon and are commencing on their journey back into addiction-free life.

 

Christian County Resident Judge Brad Paisley gave those in attendance the numbers for how much taxpayer money is saved through the problem-solving court compared to sending the people to prison.

 

 

Matt Ruff is one of the graduates honored Friday. He wants all of those struggling with a recovery and have not come forward to know that there is help for them.

 

 

Paisley says 77 percent of those who complete Problem-Solving Court are never arrested again, although he jokingly said to the honorees at the ceremony that it “better be 100 percent of you.”

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Flu Outbreak at TJHS Serves as Reminder that Flu Season is Here

Flu season is here, and many across the area have had or know someone that have shown flu symptoms this season. The Litchfield School District has canceled classes Thursday and Friday because of the flu, and Taylorville Junior High School has seen its own flu outbreak at the school as well.

 

TJHS Principal Kirk Kettelkamp says about 180 students were absent Monday and Tuesday. While Kettelkamp says the past few days have been better, school faculty and staff are now having to help those students affected play catch up.

 

 

Kettelkamp says custodial staff are always cleaning and disinfecting the school on a daily basis. But if students have already caught the bug, Dr. Paul Toofan at Taylorville Urgent Care says there is only so much one can do.

 

 

Kettelkamp says he hopes everyone can recover and get healthy as we head into the holidays.

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Pana Still Looking For Signatures For Survey To Help Secure Grant To Update Water System

Pana is officially filling out citizen surveys that could help the city secure a grant that would help the city replace an aging water system that is costing the city a large amount of money each year in repairs. Pana Mayor Don Kroski is urging all citizens to fill out the survey, available at the Pana City Hall.
 
Kroski appeared as a guest on the Newstalk WTIM Morning Show and said the survey needs a large percentage of participation from the city's residents, but payoff would be significant.
 
 
Pana spends a large amount of money each year replacing an aging water system.
 
 
Surveys are available at the Pana City Hall, and Kroski urges all who can to come fill one out, and even offered to personally deliver a survey to those who can't.

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Greater Taylorville Chamber Of Commerce Wraps Up Another Year of Business After Hours

The year has wrapped up for the Greater Taylorville Chamber of Commerce's Business After Hours event after Wednesday night's event at Ace Hardware. Ace Hardware along with the Chamber gave out a number of door prizes and other gifts, and has also filled the schedule for next year's slate of business after hours events.
 
Patty Hornbuckle, CEO of the Greater Taylorville Chamber of Commerce appeared as a guest on the Newstalk WTIM Morning Show and said the event at Ace went wonderfully.
 
 
The planning has already begun for next year, and Hornbuckle says the calendar filled up quickly.
 
 
Hornbuckle says the January Business After Hours will be held at Countryside Veterinarian Service.

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Bustos Wants Employees to Have Options in Sexual Harassment Cases

Western Illinois Congresswoman Cheri Bustos taking on the sexual harassment issue. She wants to ban mandatory arbitration for such cases and give employees other options.



Bustos says forced arbitration clauses prevent victims of sexual harassment from discussing the nature or basis of their complaint. She says if an employee’s contract or employee handbook includes a forced arbitration clause, the employee is likely to have signed away his or her right to a jury trial whether or not they are aware of the clause. She adds employees are far more likely to win cases that go to trial than cases that go through the arbitration process. 

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Frerichs Calls GOP Tax Reform an Assault on Freedom of Choice

Illinois State Treasurer Michael Frerichs is blasting tax reform legislation from Congressional Republicans. Frerichs isn't referring to how tax changes will impact any group financially, he says newly inserted language could shake up freedom of choice.



Frerichs talks about the impact of attaching 9 digits to the unborn.



Frerichs is asking Governor Bruce Rauner to intervene and try to convince Illinois’ Congressional delegation to eliminate efforts to give social security numbers to fetuses. 

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Stopped Car on Interstate? You Gotta Give Them Space

You’re driving down the interstate and you spot a car pulled over on the shoulder – what should you do? Bob Schillerstrom with the The Illinois Tollway is telling drivers get into the other lane because whether it’s a stalled car or a police officer doing their job the law says you need to give the other car some space. 



Many think the law is just to get over for emergency vehicles, but it says that if you can pull into the other lane you need to do so for any vehicle with hazard lights on.

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Auburn Man In Custody, Accused of Criminal Sexual Assault

An Auburn man is in the Christian County Jail after being arrested and charged with criminal sexual assault. 23-year-old Cory L. Blake is facing the Class 1 Felony charge and is awaiting a bond to be set.

 

Blake has been appointed the Public Defender and could face four to 15 years in prison if convicted. The Christian County State’s Attorney’s Office could not comment further on the case at this time.

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Shelby Electric Cooperative, CoBank Donate $10,000 to TDA for Industrial Park

Shelby Electric Cooperative has partnered with CoBank to donate $10,000 to the Taylorville Development Association for the city’s new industrial park. The donation was presented Thursday morning.

 

Josh Shallenberger is the President and CEO of Shelby Electric Cooperative. He says this donation is a win-win for the cooperative and the community long-term.

 

 

TDA President Ken Hart says Shelby Electric Cooperative is one of many businesses and organizations to join the effort to bring the new industrial park to fruition.

 

 

The industrial park would be located on 47 acres of land just north of Walmart on the west side of Route 29.

 

A map of the proposed industrial park off of Route 48 on the northwest side of Taylorville

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Special Education Teacher Shortage Bordering On A Crisis

Could the educator shortage become a crisis in Illinois? A central Illinois superintendent seems to think so, especially in special education.
 

Superintendent at Clinton Schools, Curt Nettles, points out in special education alone, there are upwards of 250 vacancies.



Nettles could see the situation worsening and becoming a crisis. He does feel the State is to blame as they have not made Illinois a good place to work.



There is also a struggle in finding educators for elementary levels, something Nettles says is a new challenge for administrators. 

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Christian County Historical Society and Museum Hosting Trivia Night Once Again On January 27th

The Christian County Historical Society and Museum are bringing back a popular fund-raising event from last year. The organization's Trivia Night will be making it's return, and the Society and Museum are accepting sign ups for teams for the night.

 

Maureen Bruns appeared as a guest on the Newstalk WTIM Morning Show and says the event will be held at the Christian County Senior Center due to the anticipated attendance.

 

 

Groups can sign up to form teams for the event, which will feature cash prizes. Bruns says even if you can't get a group together for Trivia, feel free to sign up as an individual, and the Society and Museum will place you on a team.

 

 

Bruns advised people looking to attend to form well rounded teams, as the trivia questions will feature a number of different categories. Again the event is taking place on Saturday, January 27th at 7 pm at the Christian County Senior Citizens Center.

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Traffic Accidents Go Up With Increased Holiday Travel

We're in the middle of the holiday season which means many are on the roads traveling to holiday gatherings, which also means a higher risk of traffic accidents. Sgt. Alan Mills with the Taylorville Police Department reminds travelers to use caution while driving this holiday season to keep accidents to a minimum.

 

Sgt. Mills appeared as a guest on the Newstalk WTIM Morning Show and says the Christmas holiday leads to the most accidents this time of the year.

 

 

As for things to keep in mind when you're heading to those holiday gatherings this year, Mills says to keep the basics in mind.

 

 

Sgt. Mills also warned of an increased number of drunk drivers on the roadways during holiday traffic.

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Taylorville Memorial Hospital Recognized Nationally for Quality of Healthcare Provided

Taylorville Memorial Hospital has been recognized for overall excellence in quality healthcare. The hospital was recognized for its performance being in the top 25 percent of rural hospitals according to the Chartis Center for Rural Health, iVantage Health Analytics, and the National Organization of State Office of Rural Health.

 

Donna Podeschi is the Director of Quality Management at TMH. She says the recognition shows that the hospital is one of the best rural hospitals in America at producing good outcomes for patients.

 

 

Podeschi says area residents deserve the best care that the hospital can provide.


 

The rankings are determined each year using iVantage Health Analytics’ Hospital Strength Index. That index keeps track of performance metrics for all rural and critical access hospitals.

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Peoples Bank & Trust Employees Giving Back to Those in Need This Holiday Season

The employees of People’s Bank and Trust are giving back this holiday season. This year, the bank’s “Jean Fund”, which collects money to allow employees to wear jeans on Fridays, has been donated to the Angel Tree at the Taylorville Fire Department.

 

Lindsay Lopian is a Consumer Banker at People’s Bank and Trust in Taylorville. She says the consensus among bank employees this year was for the money to go towards an Angel Tree in town.

 

 

Lopian says those that work at the bank want to make sure everyone has what they need during the holiday season.

 

 

The funds collected were from January through the first Friday in December. The employees collected over $500 for the fire department’s Angel Tree in 2017.

 

Pictured (from left to right) are Chief Mike Crews, Carole Gensler (PBT), Firefighter Kyle Rentfrow, Firefighter Jon Wamsley, Assistant Chief Andy Goodall, and Jessica Bland (PBT).

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Rauner Takes Issue With Pritzker Hiding Wealth From Tax Man

With two very rich men running for Governor the wealth they have and how it’s kept is becoming a story. Republican Governor Bruce Rauner is wondering where Democratic Candidate for Governor J.B. Pritzker is keeping all of his money. Rauner says it’s curious that you can be worth billions and only report $16 million income on his tax forms. 



The Pritzker campaign responded with a quip and cut down of the Rauner campaign but didn’t directly answer where Pritzker’s trusts are and how much of his money is kept.

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Durbin Among Senators Pushing Passage of Dream Act

U.S. Senator Dick Durbin and members of the Democratic Caucus gathered on the Senate Floor to push for passage of the Dream Act, which would allow young immigrant students who grew up in this country – – to obtain permanent legal residency and continue on the road to citizenship. 
 

Durbin says movement is needed and soon.



More than 10,000 Dreamers have already lost their DACA status. By early 2018, another one thousand young people will lose that protection each day. 

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State Senator Sam McCann Will Not Run for Re-Election

State Senator Sam McCann revealed he was not running for another term at Monday's filing deadline. That leaves former Sangamon County prosecutor Steve McClure in the race. In an interview given shortly before his announcement, the Carlinville area Republican sounded like someone ready to walk into the sunset from the Capitol.



McCann says the Illinois political system is broken because the people in it have the wrong priorities.



McCann is expressing dissatisfaction with the state republican party, several county party organizations and his rival, Governor Bruce Rauner. 

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Christian County Crimestoppers Celebrates 30 Years and Hundreds of Arrests Made

More than 450 arrests made. More than 530 cases cleared. More than $570,000 in illegal contraband seized.

 

That is what Christian County Crimestoppers has done for the community since its inception 30 years ago. The organization celebrated its 30th birthday Wednesday afternoon.

 

Dan Austin helped to start the Christian County Crimestoppers in 1987. He says when the police showed up at his office one day, he jokes that he didn’t think they were looking to start a Crimestoppers organization.

 

 

George Yard is President of the Christian County Crimestoppers Board of Directors. He says Crimestoppers has had a huge impact on the community.

 

 

Austin, along with current Crimestoppers coordinator Alan Mills shared stories and the results the organization has produced since its beginning with those in attendance. Mills is in his 11th year serving as the county Crimestoppers coordinator.

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Crimestoppers Crime of the Week - December 6, 2017

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

 

Sometime between 8:00 pm on Sunday, December 3, 2017 and Monday, December 4, 2017, person or persons unknown made entry onto a lot located near Battery Specialist, located at 800 Springfield Road.  While on the lot, the unknown subject or subjects took 3 Christmas Trees belonging to the Boy Scouts of America.  The Boy Scouts had been using the area for selling trees as a fund raiser.  The total dollar amount of the theft is over $180.

 

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 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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Congressman Rodney Davis Optimistic For Tax Reform Bill

The U.S. Senate has passed their version of tax reform, and now work has begun on consolidating both the Senate and House plans, with the goal of getting a tax reform bill on the President's desk by Christmas. Illinois Congressional Rep Rodney Davis (R-Taylorville) is optimistic that Congress will be able to achieve that goal.
 
Davis says although there are differences between the two bills, he feels the committee now tasked with consolidating the bills will be able to do so.
 
 
Davis also took a swipe at the Democratic party claiming their interests aren't being heard in the tax reform debate.
 
 
Congressman Rodney Davis appeared as a guest on the Newstalk WTIM Morning Show.

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Time Running Out To Schedule Appointment With SHIP Counselor at Christian County Senior Center

Time is quickly running out for the open enrollment period for health insurance for seniors, and the Christian County Senior Citizens Center is reminding seniors they can sign up for an appointment with a local SHIP counselor to help answer any questions they may have about their health insurance.
 
Gerry Mahr with the Christian County Senior Citizens Center and local SHIP counselor says time is running out to schedule an appointment.
 
 
Mahr says it's totally free to speak with a SHIP Counselor, and there's no pressure to change health insurance plans if you don't want to.
 
 
Mahr appeared as a guest on the Newstalk WTIM Morning Show.

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Taylorville, City Firefighters Continue Negotiations

The city of Taylorville has completed it’s final offer for the Taylorville Firefighters as negotiations continue between the two sides. The final details were worked out and approved at Monday night’s Taylorville city council meeting.

 

Taylorville mayor Bruce Barry says he is hopeful that they can wrap up these negotiations soon.

 

 

Union negotiations with the city’s police officers wrapped up earlier this year, but Barry says even after completing negotiations with the city’s firefighters, the union negotiations with city employees won’t end there.

 

 

Barry hopes to have a conclusion to the negotiations by the city’s next council meeting, scheduled for December 18 at 7 p.m. at the Taylorville Municipal Building.

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Rich Guebert Re-Elected to IFB President

Rich Guebert will remain the president of the Illinois Farm Bureau. The Ellis Grove farmer was re-elected to the post Tuesday, his third two year term. He says the Farm Bureau needs to unite and get messages to lawmakers during these tough economic times.



Locally, Guebert says there's a lot of action to be done in Illinois. He says the Illinois Farm Bureau is making a difference.



Guebert says the Illinois Farm Bureau is very strong, from the administration and Board to the County level.

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Chances For Significant Snow Event in Illinois Prior to Christmas Not Great

Colder temps have arrived in Illinois, but chances for a significant snow event leading up to Christmas aren’t great. So says RFD Illinois meteorologist Dan Hicks with Freese-Notis Weather.

 


Hicks anticipates into the 6-to-10 day and even 11-to-15 day outlook that the Midwest will continue to experience cold air masses. Daytime highs of 20s and 30s can be expected over the next couple of weeks in Illinois. Normal highs at this time of year in Illinois are in the mid to upper 30’s in the northern part of the state and mid 40s in southern Illinois. The first day of winter is officially December 21st. 

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Rauner Thinks Opponent is Fringe of Party

Governor Bruce Rauner has an opponent in the upcoming Republican primary and he thinks that she is on the outside looking in at the rest of the Republican Party. Jeanne Ives is running against Rauner and right now he won’t commit to a debate with her. Rauner said a challenger in the primary is not uncommon and it comes from the fringe side of the party.


The race is official on the Republican side of the primary – both Rauner and Ives filed their official paper work on Monday.

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Governor Rauner Says He's Not in Charge of the State

Who’s really in charge of the state of Illinois? Today (Monday) the Governor says it’s Mike Madigan. Republican Bruce Rauner says until Madigan is gone Illinois can’t be fixed and over the first three years of his term as Governor he really hasn’t been the one running the state. 



Rauner’s opponent for the Republican nomination Jeanne Ives hopped on the comment saying via Twitter that the “Governors office is powerful, but a weak man is in it.

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Canadian Manufacturer Tabs Central Illinois For US Headquarters

Canadian-based Brandt Industries has announced it's first venture into manufacturing in the United States, and it's happening in central Illinois. NAFB Farm Broadcaster Jared White has more...

 

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Taylorville City Council Unanimously Approves Indoor Firing Range Opening

The Taylorville City Council got to check out a new indoor firing range in the city and gave its final blessing Monday night at its regularly scheduled meeting. The indoor range is the first of its kind in the city of Taylorville.

 

Joshua Assad is the owner of JMA Pawn and Powderkeg Outfitters in Taylorville. His business moved into its new location in January, but the final touches are being done on the firing range.

 

 

Assad says he hopes this is one of many activity-related businesses to come to Taylorville going forward.

 

 

Assad says the first six lanes of the firing range are completed and the second half of the range should be done by the end of the year.

 

 

 

A look at the new indoor gun firing range located at JMA Pawn and Powderkeg Outfitters, located at the corner of Webster and Vine Streets in Taylorville.

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6-Year-Old Boy Hit By Bus in Tovey Monday

A 6-year-old boy was hit by a bus Monday morning in Tovey. The accident occurred at the intersection of Columbus Ave. and Borah Ave. and the boy was taken to St. John’s Hospital by ambulance with non-life threatening injuries. The boy is a student in the South Fork School District.

 

Christian County Sheriff Bruce Kettelkamp says the incident appears to be an unfortunate accident.

 

 

Kettelkamp encourages parents to watch out for their kids as they head to and get off of the school bus.

 

 

Kettelkamp says the boy may be in the hospital for a couple of days but that he will be okay.

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Cooler Temperatures Reason For Delayed Cherokee Street Paving

Taylorville has wrapped up a number of re-paving projects around town, however one project that didn’t quite get done before winter struck was the Cherokee street project. The project required more work, which has since been put on hold due to weather limitations with laying asphalt.
 
Taylorville Mayor Bruce Barry explained how the asphalt companies have shut down for the winter, which has delayed paving the street.
 
 
One reason the project took the time it did is because the city elected to do the project themselves. This saved the city a large amount of money, however did mean the project had a longer timeline than it would have otherwise.
 
 
Taylorville Mayor Bruce Barry appeared as a guest on the Newstalk WTIM Morning Show.

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Illinois State Representative Jeanne Ives Officially Files Paperwork To Challenge Bruce Rauner For Governor

A number of candidates have emerged to challenge Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner, including a member of his own party, who’s hoping to unseat Rauner in the primary elections for the Republican ticket. Jeanne (Genie) Ives, State Representative for the Illinois 42nd district has officially filed her paperwork to run for Governor.
 
Ives says the primary reason for her decision to run is due to members of her party feeling as though Rauner has stabbed them in the back, following his signing of HB 40. A bill that expands coverage of abortions for Illinois women on medicaid. Ives says by signing this bill, Rauner goes back on an understanding between the state and federal government that dates back to the Roe v. Wade decision.
 
 
Ives says the decision reaches deeper than simply a moral dilemma, saying the money that will go towards HB 40, could fund many other projects in the state.
 
 
You can learn more about Representative Ives’ and her campaign for Governor by visiting her online at IvesForIllinois.com.

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Peoples Bank & Trust Donates to Kiwanis Club "Coats for Kids"

People’s Bank and Trust is helping kids stay warm this Christmas. The bank presented the Taylorville Kiwanis Club with a check for 750 dollars recently, with that money going towards the club’s “Coats for Kids” drive.

 

Ken Hart is the President of the People’s Bank and Trust Taylorville branch. He says it is the bank’s job to give back to those in need in the community.

 

 

Hart says this donation is just part of what the bank does to help the community during the holiday season.

 

 

The Taylorville Kiwanis Club has been helping kids in many ways since the club was chartered in 1954.

 

 

Ken Hart, Community Bank President of Peoples Bank & Trust presents a check for $750 to Martin Vota, Kiwanis President for their “Coats for Kids” program.  Also pictured is Judy Prasun, AVP, Peoples Bank & Trust.

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Retired State Trooper Documenting More Than 1,700 Closed High Schools in Illinois

A retired state trooper continues his mission to memorialize 1,700 closed high school in Illinois. Jim Taylor reports that many dot the state's rural landscape. 


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Durbin Expresses Concern About Scrapping NAFTA

U.S. Senator Richard Durbin opened up the business session of the Illinois Farm Bureau's annual meeting Monday and told Illinois farmers their position in favor of the North American Free Trade Agreement needs to be respected.



Durbin noted the competitiveness of Illinois farmers not only depends on new technology to grow crops, but markets across borders and overseas.



Durbin, who rode along with a central Illinois farmer during harvest a year ago, acknowledged farming is a lot different - and more expensive - compared to when he was first elected to the U.S. Senate two decades ago.

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Risk Takers May Need to Take More to Succeed

The leader of the Illinois Farm Bureau says Illinois farmers need to focus on the future, take risks, and try new approaches to succeed. Ellis Grove farmer Richard Guebert Jr. opened the organization's annual meeting over the weekend in Chicago;



Guebert says net farm income has dropped 50 percent over the last four years. He believes Farm Bureau and farmers need to anticipate change to be successful;



More than 1,500 Illinois farmers and family members are participating in the Illinois Farm Bureau Annual Meeting. It continues Monday in Chicago.

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Taylorville, Christian County Kick Off Illinois' Bicentennial Celebration Monday

The state of Illinois has kicked off its bicentennial celebration, and multiple area government agencies participated in Monday’s kickoff. The city of Taylorville and Christian County both held bicentennial flag raising ceremonies at noon Monday honoring the kickoff of Illinois’ year-long 200th birthday celebration.

 

Those present at the Taylorville city bicentennial kickoff stand at attention as the national anthem is played following the flag raising ceremony Monday. 

 

Taylorville held their ceremony at the flagpole of the city firehouse. Taylorville mayor Bruce Barry read a proclamation calling December 4, 2017 “State of Illinois Bicentennial Day” in the city, saying the celebration is a way to honor everything Illinoisans have done to influence the world today.

 

 

Christian County also held a ceremony in front of the Christian County Courthouse at noon Monday. Local VFW and American Legion veterans were present as those at the courthouse raised Illinois’ bicentennial flag on the Taylorville square.

 

County courthouse staff prepare to raise Illinois' bicentennial flag Monday afternoon. Photo submitted by Janet Bland.

 

Local VFW and American Legion veterans were present for the Christian County ceremony kicking off Illinois' bicentennial celebration. Photo submitted by Janet Bland.

 

Video of the Taylorville flag raising ceremony Monday.

 

Video of the Christian County flag raising ceremony Monday. Video submitted by Janet Bland.

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One Person Dead, Another Injured After Skydiving Accident at Taylorville Airport Saturday

One man is dead and a woman was injured after a sky-diving trip went wrong Saturday afternoon at Taylorville Municipal Airport. Christian County Coroner Amy Calvert-Winans identified the deceased as 74-year-old Giles L. Henderson of Charleston.

 

Witnesses say Henderson attempted to open his parachute when it became entangled with the other skydiver. He was unable to free the parachute and struck the ground. The second skydiver was able to land and was taken to a local hospital with non-life threatening injuries.

 

Taylorville Police Chief Brian Hile says Henderson was an experienced skydiver, and multiple agencies are investigating the accident.

 

 

An autopsy conducted Sunday in Bloomington shows that Henderson died from blunt force trauma due to the skydiving accident.

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Litchfield Resident and Montgomery County Board Member Dillon Clark Running for State Rep

Mid-term elections are coming up next year and a number of candidates are getting ready to run for office. One candidate looking to make a difference in Springfield is Litchfield resident and Montgomery County Board member Dillon Clark, who is hoping to unseat current incumbent Avery Bourne (R-Raymond) in the 95th state district.

 

Clark joined the Newstalk WTIM Morning Show and shared some of the issues that are important to him.

 

 

Clark says Illinois is often sold to the highest bidder these days, a trend that he's looking to change.

 

 

To learn more about Dillon Clark and his campaign for state rep, visit his campaign online on Facebook, or at his website DillonClark.com.

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HSHS Good Shepherd Hospital to Hold Open Enrollment for Health Coverage Saturday

It’s that time of year again. It’s time to start thinking about renewing your healthcare coverage through the Affordable Care Act. The deadline this year is December 15 for coverage starting January 1, and one local hospital will be hosting a certified application counselor for those looking to sign up or renew for 2018. HSHS Good Shepherd Hospital in Shelbyville will have the counselor on-site on Saturday from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.

 

Glenda Plunkett is the Marketing Coordinator at HSHS Good Shepherd Hospital. She says those who schedule an appointment need to come prepared on Saturday.

 

 

Plunkett says having health insurance if you have a health emergency is a win-win situation for you and the hospital caring for you.

 

 

Plunkett says you must pre-register for an appointment with the application counselor and walk-ins will not be accepted. To schedule an appointment, call 774-3961 ext. 2460.

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State Police Holding Clothing Drive For Those in Need This Holiday Season

The Illinois State Police want to help those less fortunate this holiday season. Illinois State Police District 9 is collaborating with the Salvation Army to hold a clothing drive for those in need this Christmas season.

 

Sean Ramsey is the Safety Education Officer for District 9 of the Illinois State Police. He says they are collecting more than just coats for the less fortunate this year.

 

 

Ramsey says it is not just the police’s job to protect the public, but also to serve them.

 

 

Those wishing to donate can bring their items to the State Police Headquarters at 801 S. 7th Street in Springfield during business hours between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. The drive will run from now until December 20.

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Regional Office of Education Hosting Informational Meeting for Those Interested in Becoming a Substitute Teacher

Local school districts need more substitute teachers, and the Regional Office of Education will be hosting a meeting for those interested in becoming a substitute teacher.

 

Central A&M School District Superintendent Dr. DeAnn Heck says her district has been fortunate to not need many subs so far this school year. But, she says quality substitute teachers are more than just “babysitters.”

 

 

Pana School District Superintendent Jason Bauer says the best way to educate kids is to have as few interruptions as possible, and substitute teachers can prevent those interruptions.

 

 

The meeting for those interested in being substitute teachers will be held next Tuesday, December 12 from 5 to 6 p.m. at Lincoln Land Community College’s Taylorville campus in room 1207.

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McCann Pursuing Striping Legislation

State Senator McCann is tired of blurred lines and we're not talking about political viewpoints. He has filed legislation giving local road authorities the potential for financial assistance to stripe dangerous roadways.



McCann says road authorities often aren't able to use state and federal funds to stripe roads because of complicated financial rules. Currently only motor fuel taxes can be used for striping but increased fuel efficiency and heavy state use of motor fuel taxes has limited those dollars.

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Rauner Gets Tough Review From National Conservative Publication

Governor Bruce Rauner gets a blistering review from publication National Review. They have labeled Rauner the worst Republican Governor in America. It's the latest development in a social conservative backlash against Rauner for his support of legislation on abortion-funding and his signing of legislation preventing state authorities from pursuing individuals strictly on immigration status.

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Suit Filed Over New Illinois Abortion Law

Over a dozen pro life/anti abortion groups and lawmakers are going to court in a bid to prevent a new law providing taxpayer-funded abortions from taking effect New Year's Day. The Thomas More Society filed the action in Springfield based Sangamon County Circuit Court. The new law will have add abortions to procedures covered by state employee health insurance and Medicaid. The plaintiffs insist the new law is illegal.

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Greater Peoria Farm Show Antique Tractor Exhibit Winners Announced

WHOW THE BIG 1520 AM and 92.3 FM in Clinton again sponsored the Antique Tractor Show Contest at this week's Greater Peoria Farm Show.

 

Attendees were invited to submit their favorite antique tractors on display, on ballots during the show.

 

WHOW announced those winners Friday on its Noon Farm Show. They included first place winner being a 1943 Gambel's Farmcrest, owned by Bill Beadles, of Pekin, Illinois, who won a 150-dollar gift card from WHOW.

 

Second place was a 1953 IH Super H, owned by Jerry Tibbs, of Topeka, Illinois, who won a 100-dollar gift card from WHOW.

 

Third place winner was a 1951 Oliver 77 owned by George Weyrich of San Jose, who won a 50-dollar gift card from WHOW.

 

WHOW and the Greater Peoria Farm Show thank all the antique tractor owners that brought their machinery to this year's show.

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Edinburg Police Warning Public of Door-to-Door Meat Salespeople

Edinburg Police are warning the public about someone going door-to-door selling meat in the area. The man is reportedly keeping the raw meat in a freezer in his pickup truck as he canvases the area looking for buyers of his meat.

 

Edinburg Police Chief Brad Herzog says the person or persons selling these meats do not have a village permit, and he worries about the quality of the meat.

 

 

Herzog says if you are approached by these meat salespeople, shut the door and call the authorities.

 

 

Herzog says the latest reports he’s gotten have them driving a black pick-up truck with Iowa plates, and the truck had a big white freezer in the back of the truck. As Herzog said, if you have any information, call the Edinburg Police Department or the Christian County Sheriff’s Office.

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WMKR, People's Bank and Trust November 2017 Pana High School Students of the Month Announced

The Genuine Country 94.3 WMKR and People's Bank and Trust Pana Students of the Month for November were presented with their awards recently.

 

The Peoples Bank and Trust and WMKR Pana Students of the Month for November 2017 are (Left to Right): Joani Jones from People's Bank & Trust, Senior Wyatt Henschen, Junior Josie Pauley, Sophomore Chloe Hendrickson, Freshman Emma Dorn, and Jennifer Mathis from People's Bank & Trust. 

 

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David Gill Hoping To Run Against Rodney Davis Once Again in 2018

Incumbent Congressman for the Illinois 13th District Rodney Davis (R-Taylorville) will have some competition in the midterm elections next year, and one candidate hoping to be the one running against Davis is a familiar foe. Bloomington Physician David Gill has thrown his hat into the race for the democratic nomination for the Illinois 13th.

 

Gill says his professional background isn’t in politics, however he sees things in the emergency department spurred his decision to run.

 

 

Gill is a proponent of what’s called a “single payer” healthcare system in the United State. Gill says this type of system will save the country money on it’s healthcare costs overall.

 

 

Gill lost a tight race to Davis in 2012. Gill appeared as a guest on the Newstalk WTIM Morning Show.

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Greater Taylorville Chamber of Commerce's December Business After Hours at Ace Hardware December 6th

The Greater Taylorville Chamber of Commerce is preparing for their final Business After Hours event of the year, taking place at Ace Hardware on December 6th from 4:30 until 6:30 that evening.

 

Patty Hornbuckle, CEO of the Greater Taylorville Chamber of Commerce along with Sarah Van Huss, Associate Vice President of Consumer Banking at Peoples Bank and Trust appeared as guests on the Newstalk WTIM Morning show to discuss the event. Van Huss shared some of the details.

 

 

Hornbuckle says guests that night, as well as at previous Business After Hours event will be a part of the Chamber’s year end prize drawing.

 

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Shafer, Perfetti, and Assalley Funeral Home Celebrates Renovations, New Ownership with Ribbon Cutting

Taylorville resident Mike Assalley bought Shafer and Perfetti Funeral Home in Taylorville, along with Perfetti Funeral Home in Morrisonville, Panama, and Sorento earlier this year. Since then, Assalley has been doing renovations and that culminated with a ribbon cutting Friday morning at the Taylorville location.

 

Assalley says there has been a lot of work done to the building in Taylorville, inside and out.

 

 

Assalley says his goal for the funeral homes are to provide the best in all that they do.

 

 

Assalley says he has always had family in the funeral business, and he takes pride in being a part of the Taylorville community and all of the communities he serves.

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Rauner Aims to Strengthen Relationship With Japan

Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner has made a concerted effort over the last few months to bolster business ties with Japan across Illinois. Rauner says over 600 companies in Illinois employ more than 44,000 Illinoisans.



Japanese Consul General Naoki Ito joined Rauner at the event and says southern Illinois is a great place to invest.

 


Rauner and Ito attended the Rend Lake College Education and Workforce Development Luncheon on Wednesday in Ina.

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Iowa State Climatologist Discusses La Nina and Crop Production at Peoria Farm Show This Week

The La Nina impact on the Illinois winter remains somewhat up in the air among meteorologists, but a national weather expert cautions farmers about how weather could impact commodity prices. Dr. Elwynn Taylor, climatologist at Iowa State, says La Nina tends to lower the trend line yields and that could have an impact on grain prices.



Dr. Taylor says climate conditions in South America bring a lot of volatility to weather where crops are grown, like the Midwest.



Dr. Taylor spoke with producers at the Peoria farm Show this week.

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1st Snow's Still Waiting for Much of Illinois

Its’ been pretty warm to wrap up November and that has left most in the state wondering when snowflakes may start to fall. State Climatologist Jim Angel says that we are still approaching typical first snowfall dates for much of Illinois, and what you wind up shoveling away each year depends on where you live.


An early snow did blanket parts of central Illinois around Bloomington the week before Thanksgiving but those flakes quickly melted away.

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