Local News

Efforts Underway In Cowden To Clean Up Problem Properties

Many local communities are looking at cleaning up their towns and removing unsightly and uncared for properties within their city limits. Efforts are underway in Cowden to put pressure on property owners to take care of their properties, or pay the consequences.

 

Loren Barnes is the Mayor of Cowden, and says efforts are underway to take problem property owners to court.

 

 

Cleaning up dilapidated properties would help with property values within the community, hopefully attracting more potential home owners to Cowden according to Barnes.

 

 

Barnes appeared as a guest on the Newstalk WTIM Morning Show’s Hometown Tour broadcasting live from the Cowden Community Building.

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Barry Looks Forward to Second Quarterly Christian County Mayors' Meeting

Christian County mayors will be meeting again in a couple of weeks. The first meeting was in Taylorville back in November, and the group will reconvene in Pana on February 12th to talk about community issues.

 

Taylorville mayor Bruce Barry appeared as a guest on the Newstalk WTIM Morning Show. He says there was discussion on many different issues at the first meeting, and he hopes there will be even further discussion on more topics in two weeks.

 

 

Barry says these meetings help him grow as a public servant for Taylorville residents.

 

 

Barry says mayors from communities in other neighboring counties have also been invited to February’s meeting and may be in attendance as well.

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Rare "Super Blue Blood Moon" Over Central Illinois Wednesday Morning

Did you get a chance to see the moon just before sunrise Wednesday morning? If so, you get to see a handful of uncommon events lining up in one day to make for a very rare astronomical occurrence.

 

Wednesday morning’s full moon was called a “Super Blue Blood Moon.” Local astronomer Ernie Poani says multiple events lined up in one day to make for a sight to see.

 

 

Poani says the events all lining up at once is a rare occurrence.

 

 

The last “Super Blue Blood Moon” occurred in North America in 1866.

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Drug Bust Near Pana Lake Takes Over 100 Grams of Meth, Firearms Off the Streets

A Pana man is facing federal drug charges after a raid Friday uncovered methamphetamine at the home near Pana Lake. 49-year-old Michael E. Williams was taken into custody on the federal warrant for Unlawful Distribution of Methamphetamine.

 

Christian County Sheriff Bruce Kettelkamp says Williams had over 100 grams of meth in his possession along with firearms. He says this arrest takes an area meth dealer off of the streets.

 

 

Kettelkamp says the Central Illinois Enforcement Group does plenty of behind the scenes work, but raids like this are the fruits of their labor.

 

 

The case remains under investigation by the U.S. Attorney’s Office of the Central District of Illinois, the DEA, ATF, and the CIEG.

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20th Year for Illinois Products Expo This Year; 70-plus Illinois Vendors Featured

The Illinois Department of Agriculture celebrating 20 “delicious” years of the Illinois Products Expo. Over 70 Illinois companies will be providing free food samples and selling products at the two-day event later this winter. IDOA Bureau Chief of Marketing Erin Cleary’s highlights one of the vendors. 



The expo is March 3rd and 4th in the Orr Building on the Illinois State Fairgrounds. Admission is $5. The event also features an Illinois Wine Garden. 

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Bost and Shimkus Preview Trump State of Union Address

President Donald Trump will deliver his State of the Union address this evening. The speech, typically given every year of a president’s term except the first, reports on the current condition of the United States and allows the leader to outline legislative and other priorities.


Murphysboro Republican Congressman Mike Bost says he expects Trump to touch on jobs, the economy, infrastructure, immigration, trade, and national security.



Maryville Republican John Shimkus says national security will be a topic he will be listening intently to.



Tonight's State of the Union is scheduled for 8pm, and can be seen and heard on most major news networks and streaming services.

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Rauner and Ives Clash for Only Time Before Primary

Governor Bruce Rauner and State Representative Jeanne Ives met Monday with the Chicago Tribune Editorial Board but Rauner didn't have much interest in talking about his opponent and Ives wasn't exactly shy about her attacks on the Governor.



Rauner has said little about Ives primary campaign other than to raise the issue of electability..... but Ives wasn't ready to let him look ahead to November.



Ives scored one clear victory. Rauner donor Richard Uihlein has dropped $500,000 into her campaign warchest. 

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Taylorville City Treasurer Guest Speaker at Taylorville Kiwanis Club Weekly Meeting

The Taylorville Kiwanis Club heard from the Taylorville City Treasurer, during their weekly luncheon at the Taylorville Memorial Hospital auditorium.

Jacque Nation told Kiwanis members about 2 major things going on in her department.  Her department's computer server crashed in July, and the city lost 3 months worth of vendor records and water customer usage information.  As a result, Taylorville water customers had to have their bills estimated and that caused a lot of confusion for several months.  Nation added that most of that confusion has been addressed.

Nation also told the Kiwanis Club, that the City of Taylorville will be going from quarterly to monthly billing for water and sewer service.  This means the current water ordinance must be revised, go thru the City Council committee process, then to the full Council for approval, then change the billing cycle in her department, which sends Taylorville's water bills.

Nation added that the switch to monthly billing will make meter reading more accurate with newer equipment.  Bills will also be sent by letter rather than postcard, and the City will also offer electronic methods of payment to make it more convenient for Taylorville water customers.

Nation shared with the Kiwanis Club, that construction on the 24-million dollar water treatment plant to replace the City's aging plant, is on schedule, with an expected completion date of January 2019.

Last Saturday's Taylorville Kiwanis Club Annual Pancake and Sausage Day at the Moose Lodge, went very well according to Kiwanis president Martin Vota.  Final numbers aren't in yet, but turnout was great.  The Club also complimented the Taylorville High School Kiwanis Key Club, and the Junior High Builders Club, for providing nearly 25 volunteers to assist at last Saturday's Kiwanis fund-raiser.

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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Mobile Home Fire in Pana Kills Pets, Residents Not at Home at the Time

A mobile home near Pana Lake is destroyed after it caught fire Tuesday morning. Pana Police Chief Rodney Bland says the home is a total loss.

 

Bland says the residents were not at home at the time, but that at least two dogs were found deceased in the home.

 

 

The cause of the fire is still not known, and it is still under investigation.

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Crimestoppers Crime of the Week - January 30, 2018

This week Crimestoppers is seeking information in regards to a hit and run that occurred in Taylorville.

 

Sometime between Friday, January 26, 2018 and Monday, January 29, 2018, and unknown vehicle struck a building located at 1305 West Spresser Street.  The unknown vehicle struck the East side of the building, causing damage to the inside and the outside of the Country Companies Insurance Office.  The vehicle then left the scene in an unknown direction. The total dollar amount of the damage is unknown at this time.

 

Please contact Crimestoppers if you have any information on this crime or any other crimes or wanted persons.  Crimestoppers will pay cash rewards of up to $1,000 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 (274637) and then your tip.  As always, you will remain anonymous.  

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Cowden Fire Chief Credits Those Who've Volunteered To Fight Fires For The Department

The Cowden Fire Department is a volunteer based department, and according to Fire Chief Jim Allsop, it takes a special kind of person to work a job as demanding as fire fighting for no pay.

 

Allsop says one benefit the Cowden Fire Department has is how the various city departments in Cowden work together to help each other when that help is needed.

 

 

Allsop praised the people who have stepped forward to work for the fire department in Cowden, saying it takes a special kind of person to do the job on a volunteer basis.

 

 

Allsop appeared as a guest on the Newstalk WTIM Hometown Tour broadcasting live from the Cowden Community Building.

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Strong Community Relationship Priority for Cowden Police Department

The Cowden Police Department is working to continue a strong relationship with the community it serves. One of the priorities for the department is to make sure that good relationship starts early, with an active presence in the local school district.

 

Zach Sarver is the Cowden Police Chief and says one benefit to being a small town department is how the town knows each other.

 

 

The officers for the Cowden Police Department work part time while working other full time positions, however Sarver credits the help the department gets to provide services for Cowden.

 

 

Sarver appeared as a guest on the Newstalk WTIM Hometown Tour broadcasting live from the Cowden Community Building.

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Altamont High School Vice Principal & Athletic Director Struck and Killed By Train Sunday

The Altamont School District and Effingham County communities are mourning the loss of one of their own. Altamont High School Vice Principal and Athletic Director Todd Arnold was killed early Sunday morning. Arnold was 53 years old.

 

Effingham Police received a call at about 12:23 a.m. to a report that a pedestrian was hit by a train. Upon arrival, Arnold was found deceased on the scene after being struck by a southbound Amtrak train.

 

Jeff Fritchtnitch is the Superintendent of Altamont Schools. He says he met with faculty and staff Sunday afternoon, and counselors were on hand Monday morning for those looking for help in the grieving process.

 

 

Fritchnitch says this accident is a shock to the Effingham area.

 

 

Arnold’s funeral arrangements are still pending.

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Herrick Taking on Major Water System Rebuilding Project

The village of Herrick is looking at a major water system project in the next few years. The community is currently in the design phase of the water distribution project, with construction being planned to start in 2019.

 

Annette Martin is on the Herrick village board and appeared as a guest on the Newstalk WTIM Hometown Tour live from the Cowden Community Building. She says quality water is vital for the small community.

 

 

Martin says the community is in the same boat as many other area small towns, their water system is aging and needs to be upgraded.

 

 

Martin says replacing the older pipes has been an ongoing process, but the grant from Rural Water that the village has received will play a huge part in Herrick rebuilding its water infrastructure.

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Taylorville Mayor Believes Once One Company Signs Dotted Line to Come to Town, More Will Follow

The city of Taylorville is in discussions with many companies with interest in locating in Taylorville, and mayor Bruce Barry says he thinks one company signing the dotted line will start a domino chain of businesses setting up shop in the community.

 

Members of the community have done plenty of work to prepare for economic growth, including putting together TIF districts, getting Route 29 expanded to four lanes from Springfield to Taylorville, passing a school referendum, receiving a grant for building an industrial park, and a recently announced expansion at Taylorville Memorial Hospital.

 

Barry says one national restaurant chain is closely eyeing Taylorville for a new location, but the city would have to do some more work before that chain sets up shop in town.

 

 

One of the biggest factors that could bring companies to Taylorville are the TIF districts being created by the city. Barry says those are progressing and could be completed by the spring.

 

 

When it comes to bringing a hotel to town, Barry says those discussions are also moving forward.

 

 

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

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Stock Market Stays Strong Despite Rising Interest Rates

Record gains continue on Wall Street. That’s because money continues to pour into the stock market even though interest rates are going up says GROWMARK economist Kel Kelly.

 

 

And Kelley says even though the stock market is breaking records that doesn’t necessarily go hand-in-hand with the economy. He says it just means new money is being pumped into the market. 

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Democratic Gubernatorial Candidate Supporting Labor

Madison County School Superintendent Bob Daiber (DIE-bur) says he is the man to support labor if he is elected governor. Daiber made campaign stops in Springfield and Wood River Monday to address what he calls a "pro-labor agenda" to preserve prevailing wage in the state of Illinois, and to express his support for collective bargaining agreements.
 

The perceived front-runner for the Democratic nomination is Chicago businessman J.B. Pritzker, but Daiber says that may not be the reality.



Daiber was a public school teacher for 28 years before he became the head of the Madison County Schools in 2007.

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Coach Responds to Proposed Youth Football Tackle Ban

One of the most successful football coaches in Illinois high school history is weighing in on the proposed ban on tackle football for kids under 12 in Illinois. Rochester coach Derek Leonard isn't sure the legislature is the right body to deal with football safety concerns generated by head injuries and CTE.



The proposed legislation by State Representative Carol Sente is inspired by former Chicago Bear Dave Duverson who took his life after suffering the effects of CTE. Leonard says it's hard to compare the dangers of youth football and playing at the highest level.



CTE is a degenerative disease that has been linked to repeated head trauma. 

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Illinois Revenue Announces Launch of Tax Return Season

The state of Illinois will start accepting income returns for 2017 today. That puts the state on the same timetable as the IRS, which also starts accepting federal returns today. Illinois revenue officials recommend the electronic route, saying that's the fastest and most secure of means of getting a tax refund. They also suggest direct deposit.

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WMKR, People's Bank and Trust January 2018 Pana High School Students of the Month Announced

Genuine Country 94.3 WMKR and People’s Bank and Trust in Pana have announced the Pana High School students of the month for January. The program recognizes one outstanding student from each of the four classes every month.

 

Pictured from Left to Right: Senior Madison Hilbert, Junior Shania Schoonover, Sophomore Eric Schafer, Freshman Boone Elledge, and Sarah VanHuss from People's Bank and Trust.  

 

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Latest Job Numbers Encouraging for Region and State

Recent job numbers released by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and Illinois Department of Employment Security show that between December 2016 and December 2017, the state added almost 38,000 jobs.

 

IDES’ Public Information Officer Bob Gough says those numbers are promising for the state.

 

 

The unemployment rate dropped by more than one percent in Christian, Shelby, and Montgomery Counties over the past year. Gough says although population loss may be a factor, he says the job gain numbers should provide encouragement for the region.

 

 

Montgomery County’s unemployment rate is at 5-point-4 percent as of December, 2017, while Christian County sits at 4-point-9 percent and Shelby County sits at 4-point-5 percent.

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Enrollment Numbers Encouraging for Lincoln Land Community College

Enrollments are up slightly at Lincoln Land Community College's Taylorville campus, and the college has also added a new member to its staff that will help work with students to improve their study habits while in college.
 
Many colleges across the state are seeing reduced enrollment numbers, however numbers are slightly up at LLCC. Dee Kruger is the Director of the LLCC Taylorville campus, and says the school is excited about increased enrollment.
 
 
The college has also added a new staff member that will help students improve their study habits to have a more successful academic career.
 
 
Kruger appeared as a guest on the Newstalk WTIM Morning Show.

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TMH Foundation Officially Announces Beginning of New Healthcare Career Scholarship

After years of fundraising, the Taylorville Memorial Hospital Foundation is announcing a new scholarship program aimed at keeping healthcare professionals working at the hospital. The Healthcare Careers Scholarship has been established to help students who would like to study healthcare and, upon completing their education, work at TMH.

 

Raedena Ryan is the Executive Director of the Taylorville Memorial Hospital Foundation. She says the fundraising and generous donations have made this scholarship a reality.

 

 

There are multiple areas the hospital is currently looking to recruit future employees through this scholarship program.

 

 

Scholarships will be awarded up to $10,000 for technical courses and associate degrees, $25,000 for baccalaureate degrees, and $30,000 for graduate degrees.

 

For more information on the scholarship, you can call Ryan at 824-1651 or visit the TMH foundation's website here.

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Sponsorship Opportunities Still Available for HSHS Good Shepherd Hospital Red Event

Along with the upcoming Shelbyville Chamber After Hours event coming to HSHS Good Shepherd Hospital in Shelbyville, the hospital is also preparing for their Red Event, taking place Thursday, February 15th.

 

Glenda Plunkett and Lorrie Hayden with HSHS Good Shepherd Hospital appeared as guests on the Newstalk WTIM Morning Show live from our downtown Shelbyville studios. Hayden said the event originally started out celebrating heart month, but has grown to support other services the hospital offers as well.

 

 

There are still opportunities for sponsorships for the event, with multiple levels of sponsorships available. Plunkett explained some of the perks you get when you become a sponsor.

 

 

Ventriloquist Taylor Mason will provide entertainment for the Red Event, and a silent auction will also be held. Reservations cost $70 per person, or a table can be reserved for $600 by contacting HSHS Good Shepherd Hospital.

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Shelby County Sheriff to Award $500 Scholarship Through Illinois Sheriffs' Association

Shelby County Sheriff Don Koonce will be awarding one Shelby County young adult a $500 scholarship thanks to the Illinois Sheriff’s Association and its scholarship program. The scholarship can be used towards tuition, books, and fees at any certified institution of higher learning in Illinois.

 

Koonce says the scholarship can go to any Shelby County student towards next school year’s costs.

 

 

Koonce says they try to give the scholarship to the most deserving student that also needs the money the most.

 

 

Scholarship applications can be picked up at the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office anytime during regular business hours. Applications are due by March 15.

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U of I Extension to Offer Home Orchard Information Series

The University of Illinois Extension will be hosting a three-part series designed to show residents how to care for fruit trees and maintain a healthy orchard. The first session is scheduled for February 20th, but registration for the series has started.

 

Andrew Holsinger is a Horticulture Educator with the Extension. He says this is the first time he is offering this series, and that area residents have shown an interest in learning about caring for a home orchard.

 

 

The focus of the series will be apple trees, but Holsinger will be happy to provide information on other fruit bearing trees. He says caring for apple trees in this area can be a difficult task.

 

 

Space is limited for the series, and the cost per session is five dollars. You can pre-register by visiting their website here or by calling the Extension at 287-7246.

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Chicago Area Lawmaker Seeks to End Tackle Football for Kids Under 12

A Chicago area lawmaker is calling for a radical change in football "feeder programs". State Represenative Carol Sente of Vernon Hills is promoting legislation banning tackle football for children younger than 12 years old. She didn't take the decision to pursue such legislation lightly.



The law would be named after Dave Duerson, a defensive back on the Chicago Bears' 1985 championship team who took his own life after suffering from CTE, a degenerative disease that has been linked to repeated head trauma. Duerson's teammate, Otis Wilson, is among those supporting the legislation.

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Best Year Ever For Shelbyville Festival Of Lights

The Shelbyville Festival of Lights had a better year in 2017 than the year before, with more cars visiting the displays, and receiving more donations this past season than in 2016. The event still needs help however, and has a big need for more volunteers to help out.
 
Bill Bly helps lead the effort to set up the Festival of Lights each year, and says this past year was a great year for the event.
 
 
This year Shelbyville High School helped Bly set up the displays, and Bly says if it wasn't for that help, the Festival of Lights may not have happened.
 
 
Bly appeared as a guest on the Newstalk WTIM Morning Show live from our downtown Shelbyville Studios.

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Atteberry Withdraws Candidacy for Shelby County Judge Seat

Dennis Atteberry will not be seeking the Shelby County Circuit Judge seat. He has withdrawn his candidacy after an objection to his campaign was filed. The Illinois State Board of Elections reported Atteberry’s withdrawal Friday afternoon.

 

Atteberry’s withdrawal leaves Republican Amanda S. Ade-Harlow of Moweaqua to challenge Democrat Gina Vonderheide of Shumway in the general election. Ade-Harlow currently serves as an Associate Judge in Shelby County while Vonderheide is the Shelby County State’s Attorney.

 

The two are vying for the seat formerly held be Allen Bennett, who died in November.

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Christian County Sheriff Warning Farmers About Recent Diesel Fuel Thefts

Some diesel fuel thefts in the area has Christian County Sheriff Bruce Kettelkamp warning area farmers to keep a watchful eye on their equipment.

 

The most recent incident took place sometime between 4:30 Wednesday and the early morning hours on Thursday in the 300 block of N. 200 E. Rd. southwest of Morrisonville. About 700 gallons of diesel fuel was stolen in the latest theft.

 

Kettelkamp says the incident is the second recent event, with the first occurring just across the county line.

 

 

Kettelkamp is warning farmers to put heavy duty locks on their equipment to prevent more thefts.

 

 

Kettelkamp also encourages farmers to park their equipment in well-lit areas if possible. The Christian County and Montgomery County Sheriff’s Offices continue to investigate the thefts.

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Businesses Opening In Windsor Helping Keep Local Dollars Local

Many small communities in central Illinois are trying to come up with ways to attract new business to town. Windsor has just recently seen several businesses open including a pair of resturaunts as well as a dollar store that will help to keep local dollars local.

 

Tom Tull is the Mayor of Windsor, and says he's seen a number of positive developments in the community.

 

 

Tull expects the new busineses to help the town the most during the summer, when Windsor sees an influx of traffic due to tourism at Lake Shelbyville.

 

 

Windsor Mayor Tom Tull appeared as a guest on the Newstalk WTIM Morning Show's Hometown Tour broadcasting live from Windsor City Hall.

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Bourne Co-Sponsoring Resolution Declaring Opposition to Vehicle Mileage Tax

There is talk in Springfield of a creating a new tax on Illinois drivers, and 95th District State Rep. Avery Bourne is co-sponsoring a resolution to make sure that tax does not happen.

 

Bourne is co-sponsoring House Resolution 766, which voices opposition to taxing Illinois drivers per mile traveled. She says Illinois residents are taxed enough.

 

 

America’s aging infrastructure has become a bipartisan concern across the country. Bourne says the already high gas taxes, along with a measure Illinois voters passed should keep transportation dollars going towards road projects.

 

 

Combining federal and state taxes, Illinoisans currently pay more than 34 cents per gallon in taxes on gasoline purchases.

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Windsor Ambulance Continues Service to Areas East of Lake Shelbyville

Shelby County 911 calls started going to Christian County after a partnership was created a few years ago. Although there have been some bumps in the road, services like the Windsor Ambulance continue to work through the kinks to provide the quickest response to those in need.

 

Sunny Ross with Windsor Ambulance appeared as a guest on the Newstalk WTIM Hometown Tour live from Windsor City Hall. He says Christian County has taken on a big job in providing Shelby County 911 services, but the problems that arise are being resolved quickly.

 

 

Ross says working for a small-town ambulance services can be both good and bad.

 

 

Windsor Ambulance serves the communities of Windsor, Strasburg, and Gays.

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Next Week is National Catholic Schools Week

Next week is National Catholic Schools Week, and St. Michael’s Catholic School in Sigel will have activities throughout the week to celebrate.

 

Nick Niemerg is the principal at St. Michael’s. He says the events to be held will vary each day of the week.

 

 

Niemerg says bringing Catholic teachings into the curriculum at Catholic schools makes a big impact on the child’s education.

 

 

Niemerg says that in addition to the core curriculum, another positive of Catholic education is teaching kids to treat people right and being able to challenge their students to new heights.

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Several Expenses To Keep In Mind As You Plan Your Retirement

Many think about what they'd like to do with their free time once they retire, but what kind of expenses do you need to keep in mind when budgeting for your retirement? The Social Security Administration is reminding those planning for retirement of the expenses people need to keep on top of while they enjoy their retirement years.

 

Jack Myers with the Social Security Administration says there are a few things to keep in mind as you plan for your retirement to make sure that you don't run out of money during your post-working years.

 

 

Myers also says don't overlook some of those non-essential expenses that you may incur during your retirement.

 

 

Myers suggested visiting the Social Security Administration's website for a number of handy calculators that can help you plan for your retirement.

 

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

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Is $3 Gas on the Way?

Is three-dollar gas in the offing for Illinois? Maybe Chicago, but for the rest of the state it will take a while says GROWMARK’s Harry Cooney.



According to TRIPLE-A, the average price for gas in Illinois is at $2.65 a gallon with the City of Chicago averaging $2.94.


Gas in central Illinois is currently averaging $2.63 a gallon in Bloomington-Normal. $2.51 a gallon in southern Illinois in Carbondale. And $2.58 a gallon in northern Illinois in Rockford. The national average is at $2.56 a gallon.


Diesel prices are currently averaging $2.90 a gallon in Illinois, according to AAA. 

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Windsor Schools Have Big Educational Opportunities For Small, Rural School District

Windsor Community Unit School District #1 continues to offer many educational opportunities that are not normally offered in a district of its size. The district offers many agriculture and trade classes along with college credit courses to help students prepare for the workforce.

 

Eric Van Hoveln is the superintendent of the Windsor School District. He says students earning college credit could start their first year in college with sophomore status by taking college-credit classes at the high school.

 

 

The district has also expanded its opportunities in other hands-on career courses.

 

 

Van Hoveln appeared as a guest on the Newstalk WTIM Hometown Tour live from Windsor City Hall.

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WSVZ, Family Drug Shelbyville Students of the Month January 2018

The WSVZ and Family Drug Students of the Month for January at Shelbyville High School were presented with their awards recently.

 

Left to right: Family Drug representative Bridgette Depew, Senior Brett Spears, Junior Kristin Bobinski, Sophomore Colten Reed, Freshman Alana Dove.

 

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Annual Kiwanis Club Pancake and Sausage Breakfast is Saturday

The annual Kiwanis Club Pancake and Sausage Breakfast is coming up this Saturday. The event will start at 6:30 a.m. and run until 11 at the Taylorville Moose Lodge.

 

Martin Vota is the President of the Taylorville Kiwanis Club. He says the money raised will go towards multiple club projects all benefiting local kids.

 

 

The event has been a staple of the Kiwanis club for several years, and Vota says it continues to grow each year.

 

 

Tickets cost $7 for adults and $4 for kids 12 and under. Tickets can be purchased at the door or from any Kiwanis Club member.

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Term Limits and Fair Districts Important Issues For State Senate Hopeful Seth McMillan

Illinois Senate hopeful Seth McMillan is getting the word out about what issues he would like to fix if elected to serve in the Illinois State Senate. Along with being pro-life and a strong proponent of the second amendment, McMillan says he wants to push for term limits and fair legislative districts in Illinois.
 
McMillan says it's time to go for some of the established names in Springfield.
 
 
McMillan also is a supporter of an amendment made to the state constitution that would change the way legislative districts are drawn.
 
 
McMillan appeared as a guest on the Newstalk WTIM Morning Show.

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Illinois Hunters Saw Great Numbers During '17-'18 Deer Hunting Season

The annual deer hunting season in Illinois has come to a close, and hunters across the state harvested almost 148-thousand deer during the 2017-18 season.

 

Ed Cross is the Director of Communications for the Illinois Department of Natural Resources. He says the department is very pleased with how successful hunters were across the state this season.

 

 

Many out-of-state hunters continue to come to Illinois during hunting season, and Cross says hunting continues to play a vital role in controlling the state’s deer population.

 

 

Just under 1,100 deer were harvested in Christian County this season. Montgomery County saw more than 1,400 deer harvested and Shelby County had over 1,900 deer taken down during this hunting season.

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Former Blagojevich PR Chief Among Dead in Kabul Terror Attack

A former spokesman for former Governor Rod Blagojevich was among four Americans killed in the Taliban attack on a hotel in Afghanistan's capital city. Glenn Selig was hired by Blagojevich in early 2009 after his arrest on corruption charges. He engineered Blagojevich's series of national tv appearances on shows like The View, Today and Late Show with David Letterman. Selig told WFLD TV he and Blagojevich had no regrets making the national media appearances that some experts say backfired.

 


Selig continued to speak on Blagojevich's behalf, even after he went to prison in 2012. Selig was in Kabul on a business trip on behalf of his company. 

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ISP Makes NARCAN Saves

The number of saves Illinois State Police Troopers are making with NARCAN is on the rise. There have already been two saves logged in 2018. ISP made a total of 16 saves last year. In all, there have been 25 saves counted since troopers started carrying NARCAN in late 2015. Master Sergeant Mike Link, Public Information Officer with the Illinois State Police says whether illegal drugs or alcohol, driving under the influence puts many lives in danger.



In one incident this year, a trooper responded to a motorist assist call on the ramp from I-270 eastbound to 1-255 southbound in Madison County. That same day, a trooper in Rockford made a save on a 20-year-old female on a liquor store parking lot.

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Gateway Speedway Honored

Gateway Motorsports Park in Madison, Illinois has been feted for its August IndyCar race. The series returned to Gateway after a hiatus of a dozen years. The success of the event was noticed by the St. Louis Attractions Association, which has awarded the track its 2017 Spirit of St. Louis Award, that organization’s version of the “Event of the Year”. Gateway Spokesman John Bisci says the St. Louis Attractions Association considers many events for this award, so receiving it is an honor.



Gateway Motorsports Park is the home of IndyCar, NASCAR and NHRA racing in the St. Louis region.

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CNB Bank & Trust to Merge with Jacksonville Savings Bank

CNB Bank and Trust has announced they will be merging with Jacksonville Savings Bank. The acquisition is expected to close in the second quarter of 2018, and Jacksonville Savings Bank locations will eventually be under the CNB name.

 

Shawn Davis is the President of CNB Bank and Trust. He says the goal of the merger is to strengthen two local community banks in Central Illinois.

 

 

Davis says the merger will not affect services provided at Jacksonville Savings Bank.

 

 

Jacksonville Savings Bank has locations in Jacksonville, Chapin, Virden, and Litchfield.

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Kettelkamp Reminds Residents About ATV Safety After 3 Kids Injured in Accident Saturday

Christian County Sheriff Bruce Kettelkamp is urging residents to be careful if driving an all-terrain vehicle after an ATV accident Saturday sent three kids to the hospital.

 

Christian County 911 received the call about the crash in Assumption Township at about 3:15 Saturday afternoon. The investigation is on-going, but it appears the ATV was northbound at a high rate of speed when it went off 2400 E. Rd. about one fourth of a mile south of 1400 N. Rd. The ATV flipped several times and landed up-side down in the west ditch of the road.

 

Kettelkamp says the boys were 13 and 12-years-old, which makes it illegal for them to be traveling on a roadway with an ATV.

 

 

All three boys were taken to Taylorville Memorial Hospital. One of the boys was then airlifted to St. John’s Hospital in Springfield. That boy is still in the hospital in serious condition. Kettelkamp has some possibly life-saving reminders for all residents with ATVs.

 

 

The investigation into the crash is still ongoing by the Christian County Sheriff’s Office.

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Newstalk WTIM, People's Bank and Trust Taylorville Students of the Month January 2018

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

 

Left to right: Lindsay Lopian from People's Bank and Trust, Senior Abel Gunn, Junior Tatiana Fisher, Sophomore Natali Daum, and Freshman Cameron Stephens.

 

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Illinois Congressman Calls Tax Reform Positive for Farmers

Congressman Rodney Davis said he had Illinois farmers in mind when voting on Tax Reform Legislation. The Republican says the recent changes are a positive for farmers and will help lessen their financial risk.

 

 

When asked about the status of the 2018 Farm Bill, Congressman Davis said he expects Farm Bill debates to begin in early February.

 

 

That’s Congressman Rodney Davis, representing the 13th district of Illinois.

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St. Mary's School Preparing To Celebrate Catholic Schools Week

Catholic Schools Week is coming up next week, and St. Mary's School in Taylorville is preparing for a week full of activities to help celebrate. The week serves as a way for catholic schools across the country to celebrate the good things going on at Catholic schools.
 
Cathy Robertson is the Principle at St. Marys School, and appeared as a guest on the Newstalk WTIM Morning Show. She says the school will kick off the week long celebration early with a visit from Taylorville's Mayor Bruce Barry.
 
 
The week will be filled with a number of activities such as bowling, a lession in food at Wendys, and grandparents day, where grandparents can visit their grandchildren in the classroom.
 
Robertson says along with these events, the school has a more spontanious way they have fun during the week.
 
 
Newstalk WTIM will also be airing the St. Mary's kindergarten class saying the pledge of allegiance each day next week between 6:55 and 7:00 am.

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LiveWell Fitness Center Offering Path To Fitness For Pana

Those looking to improve their health in the Pana area can sign up to become members of Pana Community Hospital's LiveWell Fitness Center, which utilizes the hospital's rehabilitation department to promote wellness and prevention of chronic illness.
 
Melissa Rybolt with Pana Community Hospital says the LiveWell program came about due to the hospital wanting to expand their physical therapy department, and has grown in popularity within the community.
 
 
One program offered with the LiveWell Fitness Center is the Silver Sneakers Program, which allows medicare patients to use their insurance to attend the various classes at the center for free.
 
 
The LiveWell Fitness Center is open to members Monday through Friday from 5 AM until 7AM and again from 4 PM to 9PM, and Saturday from 7 AM until noon.

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New Ownership at South Fork Pub Bringing Some Changes, But Keeping Long History

South Fork Pub is under new ownership, but the owners look to continue the long history the Kincaid establishment has built.

 

Susan Hovey oversees operations at the South Fork Pub. She says in the bar’s almost 100-year history, there are some interesting yet unconfirmed stories about its past.

 

 

Hovey says many of the events and entertainment they have and are planning are being requested by the pub’s patrons.

 

 

In addition to being Kincaid’s popular meeting spot, Hovey says the pub continues to be active with helping community members in need.

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Legionella Concerns Arise at Capitol

There's been lots of talk about Legionnaire's Disease at the Capitol with the ongoing saga at the Quincy Veteran's Home. Now that conversation shifts to the Capitol itself. The Secretary of State's office informed workers there that preliminary testing showed signs of possible Legionella bacteria in the facility’s hot water system. The bacteria can trigger the sometimes lethal Legionnaires’ disease. Dave Druker with the Secretary of State's office says the bacteria is a threat in mist and vapor form, which makes showers a concern. Druker notes only a select view have showers there and they don't see frequent use.



Druker offers more insight on the nature of the threat.



The disease claimed the lives of a dozen residents of the Quincy Veterans Home during a 2015 outbreak. The memo to state workers says transmission of the bacteria in typical day to day office operations is unlikely. 

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U-of-I College of Aces Dean: Extension outreach will be of 'high priority' in 2018

Extension outreach will continue to be a mission of the University of Illinois College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences (ACES). So says dean Kimberlee Kidwell, who’s been on the job over a year now. 



U-of-I offers educational opportunities to residents in all 102 Illinois counties through 28-units.

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Tax Season Set to Start

Get your pencils and calculators ready, tax filing season is ready to start. You can begin sending in your state and federal tax returns on the 29th. More and more people are filing their tax returns electronically and Illinois Department of Revenue Spokesman Terry Horstman says that’s the fastest and easiest way to do it. 



Refunds – if you’re getting one should arrive in about four weeks. The web site to file is tax.Illinois.gov.

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Havera: Great Police Work and Communication Led to Stivers Conviction

Almost two years after the death of his 4-month old son, Robert Stivers was found guilty by a jury of his peers in the child’s killing Monday evening. Christian County State’s Attorney Mike Havera says the three-week long trial’s result was a culmination of outstanding police work and coordination between multiple agencies.

 

Havera says in less than two days, multiple police agencies uncovered the evidence in the case that led to the conviction.

 

 

Havera says the trial was delayed so long because it was a challenge getting all of the experts and witnesses together. But, after nearly two years, the family can now start to heal knowing justice was served.

 

 

Stivers now will remain in custody without bond until a sentencing hearing scheduled for March 8th at 1:15 p.m.

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Park Board Reviews Sewer Project, Christmas at the Park at Monday Meeting

The southeast side sewer project looks like it will affect the park, and one of the contractors working on the project spoke at Monday’s Taylorville Park Board meeting. Jeff Large with Crawford, Murphy, and Tilly spoke to the board about the planned sewer re-route project coming up.

 

MaryAnn Becker is the Officer Administrator of the Taylorville Park District. She says the main pipe runs underneath Manners Park, but the pipe would be re-routed with this project.

 

 

Also at the meeting, Becker says the board reviewed multiple other park programs, including Christmas at the Park.

 

 

Over 900 more cars visited Christmas at the Park in 2017, with donations increasing by more than $2,500 compared to 2016.

 

The next park board meeting is scheduled for Monday, February 26 at 7 p.m. at the Manners Park Board Room.

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Easier Than Ever To Claim Unclaimed Property With Illinois Treasurer's Office

It's easier than ever to claim unclaimed property through the Illinois Treasurers Office's I-Cash program. It's now possible to upload the nessessary information for claiming your unclaimed property online, saving time and money.
 
Illinois Treasuerer Michael Frerichs appeared as a guest on the Newstalk WTIM Morning Show and says in an increasingly digital age, it simply made sense to add online options for uploading documents needed to claim unclaimed property.
 
 
For those who have less than $500 in unclaimed property in the I-Cash program, Frerichs says it's even easier to have that money returned to you.
 
 
To learn more about e-filing through the I-Cash program, visit the treasurer's office online at IllinoisTreasurer.gov.

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Scams Continue To Plague Central Illinois

Scams continue to be an issue as people try to convince others to give them money or personal information. The Christian County TRIAD program is warning people of several scams making their way around the local area that look to separate you from your money.
 
Rich Peters is the Director of the Christian County TRIAD program, and says one scam that has re-emerged in recent days is the so called grandparents scam.
 
 
Peters says you should call another family member if you doubt the validity of a call involving a family member.
 
 
Peters also warned locals of the re-emergence of the “Marshall Scam” where scammers will spoof the number of the US Marshall's Office, telling people they missed jury duty, and can get out of legal issues by paying over the phone.

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Assumption Facing Pros, Cons of Community in Spurring Future Growth

The city of Assumption is looking towards its future, and although it has deal with the shrinking small town stigma many Midwestern communities face, city alderman Derek Page says Assumption has economic promise going forward.

 

Page says for a rural town to grow, it needs to have some aspects of urban life. He says some of those aspects are coming or are already in Assumption.

 

 

Page says one of the biggest challenges for the city though is bringing a grocery store to the community.

 

 

Page appeared as a guest on the Newstalk WTIM Morning Show Hometown Tour Live from Assumption City Hall.

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Springfield Clinic Announces Pulmonary Diseases Department Expansion to Taylorville

Taylorville residents with breathing or other pulmonary-related issues will now have a doctor in town to receive medical treatment. The Springfield Clinic announced Monday that Dr. Jessica Moja will have a new outreach practice at the Springfield Clinic’s Taylorville location.

 

Rachel Gasperin is the Marketing Coordinator at Springfield Clinic. She says Moja has plenty of experience in pulmonary diseases dating back to her residency.

 

 

The addition means Taylorville and Christian County residents don’t have to travel to Springfield for specialized pulmonary care.

 

 

You can call to start setting up appointments with Dr. Moja in Taylorville at 287-8855.

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Better Business Bureau Saw Strong Growth in 2017

The Better Business Bureau is looking back at 2017 and the numbers show they are continuing to help more people annually. The BBB served about 10.4 million people last year, which is up about 1.5 percent.

 

Mara Clingingsmith with the BBB says more than half of those they have helped are accessing the BBB’s website.

 

 

In addition to consumers served, the BBB also had a 20-percent growth in accredited businesses in 2017.

 

 

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

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Durbin On Shutdown Lifting and DACA Debate

As the Senate moves forward to restore funding to the government there is agreement on having a debate on the Dream Act. Illinois Democrat Senator Dick Durbin says he knows it’s a bipartisan issue and one that shouldn’t be caught up in politics so he’s glad for the assurances from Republicans that the Senate will have a full and robust debate about immigration reform next month.



Senators are looking at trying to now craft a full year budget out of the shutdown.

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Crowning a State and National Champ in Apple Cider

There’s a state champ in apple cider and even a national champ. It’s held in conjunction with the Illinois Specialty Growers Conference in Springfield says Ken Johnson, the Cider Contest Coordinator for the University of Illinois Extension.



The event is sponsored by the Illinois State Horticulture Society.

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Robert Stivers Found Guilty

Regional Radio News has learned that following closing arguments and jury deliberation in the case of Robert A. Stivers, the jury has found Stivers guilty of first degree murder and aggravated battery of a child. The Christian County probation department has been ordered to prepare a pre-sentencing investigation report, with a sentencing hearing scheduled for March 8th, 2018 at 1:15 PM. Stivers will be held without bond until after the sentencing hearing.

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Crimestoppers Crime of the Week - January 22, 2018

This week Crimestoppers is seeking information in regards to a hit and run that occurred in Taylorville.

 

At around 3:30 pm on Monday, January 8, 2018, an unknown vehicle struck a vehicle in the parking lot of Krogers and left the scene.  The suspect vehicle was a small teal colored pick-up, which left the parking lot heading southwest.  According to witnesses, the suspect vehicle was driven by a male subject. The victim’s vehicle suffered damage to the back bumper.  The total dollar amount of the damage is unknown at this time.

 

Please contact Crimestoppers if you have any information on this crime or any other crimes or wanted persons.  Crimestoppers will pay cash rewards of up to $1,000 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 (274637) and then your tip.  As always, you will remain anonymous.  

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Christian County CEO Conducting Final Fundraisers for Students' Businesses

The Christian County CEO program is in the middle of their final two fundraisers to raise money for each student’s individual businesses they will be creating later this school year. The students are looking for your help in achieving their fundraising goals.

 

Luc Johnson is a member of the Christian County CEO class. He says class members are currently selling raffle tickets, where one winner will win ten-thousand dollars.

 

 

In addition to the raffle, the CEO class is holding a winter banquet coming up at the end of February.

 

 

For tickets for either fundraiser, you can contact the Greater Taylorville Chamber of Commerce or any Christian County CEO class member.

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Hearing at Home Opening Office in Taylorville

Hearing at Home is moving into it’s first official home soon. The Taylorville business is moving into its new office at 119 W. Park St.

 

Ashley May owns Hearing at Home. She says the new office will provide her clients with one place to find her on a daily basis.

 

 

May says in turn, having an office with consistent office hours will improve the quality of care she provides her clients.

 

 

Hearing at Home’s new office is expected to be open the first week of February.

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Volunteers Needed To Host Workshops With U of I Extension Office

The University of Illinois Extension Unit 18 holds a number of workshops throughout the year to help educate the community on a number of different subjects, and is always looking for volunteers to help lead new workshops.
 
Rebecca Livingston is the 4-H Youth and Development Coordinator at the U of I Extension, and recently helped lead a cookie decorating workshop for kids at Happy Baked Goods in Taylorville, and explains how the workshop was set up.
 
 
There's always a need for new workshops to be held through the extension office, and Livingston welcomes anybody who would like to volunteer. According to Livingston, there isn't much time commitment with the workshops.
 
 
Livingston appeared as a guest on the Newstalk WTIM Morning Show.

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Sponsorship Opportunities Still Available for HSHS Good Shepherd Hospital Red Event

Along with the upcoming Shelbyville Chamber After Hours event coming to HSHS Good Shepherd Hospital in Shelbyville, the hospital is also preparing for their Red Event, taking place Thursday, February 15th.
 
Glenda Plunkett and Lorrie Hayden with HSHS Good Shepherd Hospital appeared as guests on the Newstalk WTIM Morning Show live from our downtown Shelbyville studios. Hayden said the event originally started out celebrating heart month, but has grown to support other services the hospital offers as well.
 
 
There are still opportunities for sponsorships for the event, with multiple levels of sponsorships available. Plunkett explained some of the perks you get when you become a sponsor.
 
 
Ventriloquist Taylor Mason will provide entertainment for the Red Event, and a silent auction will also be held. Reservations cost $70 per person, or a table can be reserved for $600 by contacting HSHS Good Shepherd Hospital.

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Shelbyville Schools Receiving More State Aid In New Funding Formula

The state has a new school funding formula in place with the intention to help provide more funding for underfunded school districts. Shelbyville Schools is one downstate district the state has determined is underfunded, and will be providing more funds to help the district get closer to being fully funded.
 
Denise Bence is the superintendent of the Shelbyville School District, and says the state is using various research to help determine whether or not a school is adequately funded.
 
 
According to Bense, the district is several million dollars away from being considered adequately funded. Due to this, the district will be seeing more state funding, however it's not much extra.
 
 
Bense did add that although the extra funding isn't much, it's still a welcome addition to the district's budget, which is currently on track to be balanced for this fiscal year.

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Taylorville Water Superintendent to Speak at First 2018 Christian County TRIAD Event

The Christian County TRIAD is inviting the public to its first event of 2018 on Thursday. Taylorville Water Superintendent Dave Speagle will be the speaker for the event to give attendees a better understanding of his department.

 

Taylorville Police Chief Brian Hile also works with the Christian County TRIAD. He says the event is a perfect opportunity for residents of anywhere in Christian County to better understand the process of getting clean water to residents.

 

 

The event Thursday will be at 9:30 a.m. in the lower level of the Taylorville Municipal Building. Hile says it is one of many events coming up on the calendar.

 

 

The program is open to anyone of any age and refreshments will be served.

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Rauner Wants Legislation Impacting Madigan

A Springfield newspaper headline describes it as Gov. Rauner going after Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan’s other job. Rauner’s asking for legislation barring lawmakers from representing people before the Illinois Property Tax Appeals Board. Rauner says he’ll also issue an executive order against it. Madigan, a property tax lawyer with a lucrative practice, says it won’t work.



Rauner says he wants the ban to apply statewide. He says lawmakers who can help people lower their property taxes through appeals don’t feel so inclined to reform the property tax system.

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After DMZ Visit, Duckworth Weighs In on South Korean Olympics

Senator Tammy Duckworth wrapped up a trip to South Korea and Japan, including a visit to the DMZ, which separates the two Koreas. With the Winter Olympics in South Korea starting next month, Duckworth believes signs of cooperation between the two Koreas make her feel better about athlete safety.



While that's a positive note, Duckworth doesn't believe there has been fundamental change in North Korea's nuclear ambitions.



Duckworth says Japanese officials told her the accidental incoming missile warning in Hawaii gives Americans a sense of the stress that country has faced during the North Korean nuclear crisis.

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U of I Ag Dean Reviews Changes

Kimberlee Kidwell has been dean of the University of Illinois College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences - or ACES - for a little over a year now and has implemented a number of changes to try to improve the state’s land-grant institution. Kidwell talks about what she sees as a major accomplishment in her relatively new role.



Kidwell created a task force to examine the future of University of Illinois Extension. She says she expects its report any day.



Kidwell provided an update on Extension and other U of I College ACES changes to farmers that serve on the Illinois Farm Bureau board of directors.

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Luminary Walk Taking Place On General Dacey Trail Saturday

Those looking for a fun activity in Shelby County this weekend can visit the Luminary Walk taking place along the General Dacey Trail on Saturday, from 6 until 8 PM.
 
Jerry Yockey is the chairman of the Luminary Walk, and shared some of the walks history, saying he got the idea from a similar event in Wisconsin.
 
 
Yokey, along with Bob Niestradt and Michael Freeman appeared as guests on the Newstalk WTIM Morning Show live from our downtown Shelbyville Studios, and say it's a community effort to help put the event on. 
 
 
The walk provides a fun opportunity to experience the trail during a time when many may not get to see it.

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Barry: Hospital Expansion Yet Another Sign of Bright Future in Taylorville

Taylorville mayor Bruce Barry says TMH’s recent expansion announcement is another sign that the future continues to grow brighter for the city and region.

 

Barry says the expansion not only is an investment in the community, it brings better healthcare closer to home.

 

 

Barry says there are a few development projects that are very close to becoming official.

 

 

The $60-million hospital expansion could break ground by this summer, and is expected to be completed by 2021.

 

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Highs And Lows In 2017 For Christian County Sheriff's Office

2017 was a year full of ups and downs for the Christian County Sheriff's Office, but undoubtably the big story for the department was the escape of two inmates at the Christian County Jail at the tail end of the year.
 
Christian County Sheriff Bruce Kettelkamp says there were mistakes made that lead to the two inmates escaping the jail, and that measures have been taken to ensure it doesn't happen again.
 
 
Kettelkamp says the aging Christian County Jail is an issue, and that the building needs to be replaced. He's unsure however where funding could come for a new jail, saying he doesn't see taxpayers agreeing to a tax increase to help pay for it.
 
 
The Sheriff did praise the teamworkwork that local agencies put in to quickly apprehend the suspects.
 
 
Christian County Sheriff Bruce Kettelkamp appeared as a guest on the Newstalk WTIM Morning Show.

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Christian County LEAD Program Tours Christian County Mental Health

The Christian County LEAD program is underway, and the group taking this year's class took a tour of the facilities at Christian County Mental Health on Wednesday. Christian County Mental Health both provides employment for the mentally disabled, as well as provides services for those dealing with mental health issues.
 
Patty Hornbuckle is the CEO of the Greater Taylorville Chamber of Commerce, and one of the organizers of the LEAD program, and says the visit was one of the larger visits of the year for the class.
 
 
Hornbuckle praised the work done at the facility, from the jobs the organization provides for the mentally disabled, as well as the other services they provide.
 
 
Hornbuckle appeared as a guest on the Newstalk WTIM Morning Show.

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Next Week is National Lutheran Schools Week

Next week is National Lutheran Schools Week and Trinity Lutheran Church and School in Stewardson’s pastor David Weaver says there are many differences between a public education and a lutheran education.

 

Weaver says they try to incorporate religious studies throughout all course subjects.

 

 

Weaver says at Trinity’s school especially, there is a noticeable family atmosphere.

 

 

Weaver says that the education provided through his school and all Lutheran schools provides a solid foundation for kids for the rest of their lives.

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Specialty Growers Seek Ready Labor

A lack of ready labor continues to be a key issue for specialty growers. A conference in Springfield heard that message from Kevin Hosey with Knoxville, Tennessee based Seedway Seed. 



Seedway offers a full line of commercial vegetables and serve as dealers for about 50 major seed companies. Their biggest seller in Illinois is sweet corn followed by pumpkins, cucumbers and squash. 

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Hope House of Central Illinois Completes Purchase of Land South of Taylorville

One local charity is looking to expand their efforts after purchasing land south of Taylorville. The Hope House of Central Illinois completed the acquisition of seven acres of wooded land on January 5th.

 

Randy Thompson is one of the founders of The Hope House. He says the organization has big plans for the land.

 

 

The Hope House helps parents and families after the loss of a child. Thompson and his wife, along with the other two couples who helped create the organization have all lost children. He says the cabin to be built will be a place to get away for these families as they grieve.

 

 

For more information on The Hope House of Central Illinois, you can visit their website here.

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Sheila Corso 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 Sheila Corso. Corso is a volunteer for the Taylorville Ministerial Association Food Pantry and has devoted her time and energy to serving others.

 

Corso says she got started at the food pantry because of her daughter.

 

 

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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Pana Receives Funding For Spillway and Water Plant Projects

Pana is looking to start soon a major project that would repair the spillway at Pana Lake, as well as refurbish the water treatment plant at the lake. The city has already received the funding needed to complete the projects, and is looking to start construction soon.
 
Ron Miles sits on the Pana City Council, and detailed the work that needs to be done, saying it's been a lengthy process to get to this point.
 
 
Miles says the city has received a loan as well as a grant from the USDA to fund the project.
 
 
Miles says the city is hoping to get bids on the work this year, with construction beginning next year.

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TIF District Leading To Improvements In Assumption

There are several good things going on in Assumption to help that town grow and prosper in the future. These include a TIF district that will allow the city to improve the look of the town, as well as attract new businesses.
 
John Kehl is the Mayor in Assumption, and says the TIF district is a crucial building tool for the city.
 
 
Kehl credited the people in Assumption who take pride in the community, and help to improve the town.
 
 
Kehl appeared as a guest on the Newstalk WTIM Hometown Tour broadcasting live from Assumption City Hall.

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Christian County Board Looking to Upgrade County Website

Christian County is looking to redesign its website to make it more user friendly. The county board discussed the new website Tuesday night at their regularly scheduled meeting.

 

Becky Edwards is the Finance Committee chairperson, and she says the website is only a part of what the county board is looking to do in regards to internet presence.

 

 

Edwards says re-doing the website would give anyone access to as much county information as they could receive online.

 

 

Edwards says the board is looking at making a decision on the new website at its March meeting, and the earliest the website could be up and running would be August.

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New Tax Scam Making The Rounds

With the general public becoming more aware that the Internal Revenue Service does not call or e-mail citizens with tax related issues, scammers are coming up with new methods to deceive the public. Michael Devine with the IRS says letters claiming to be from the IRS are hitting taxpayer’s mailboxes.



Devine says contact the IRS directly at 1-800-829-1040 to verify any situation that seems out of the ordinary.

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Ives Believes Chicago Straw Poll Win Sends a Message

GOP State Representative Jeanne Ives says her grass roots campaign for Governor is continuing to gain ground while Governor Bruce Rauner and Democratic candidate J.B. Pritzker continue to spend millions. Ives, who describes herself as a conservative reform candidate, won the Chicago GOP Central Committee straw poll 17-3 over Rauner, Ives believes its a mistake for Rauner to think ahead to November.



While Chicago is a known Democrat stronghold, Ives believes a message may be sent to the rest of the state.


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Money Spent in Governor's Race Surges

It will be nearly ten months before Illinois voters pick their governor, but the money already spent is mind boggling. Campaign disclosure reports show 28 million dollars was spent in the final three months of 2017. It's no surprise that 9 out of every 10 dollars spent, was spent by the campaigns of Governor Bruce Rauner and Democrat J.B. Pritzker. Both candidates spent 13 million dollars apiece. While Rauner has more in the bank with 56 million dollars compared to Pritzker's 8 million, Rauner raised 3 million dollars during the period, Pritzker $21 million.

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HSHS Good Shepherd Partnering With Red Cross To Hold Blood Drive Thursday

January is National Blood Donor Month and with the holidays over, blood supplies tend to drop with the beginning of each new year. HSHS Good Shepherd Hospital is working with the American Red Cross to hold a community blood drive Thursday afternoon from noon to 6 p.m. at First Baptist Church in Shelbyville.

 

Glenda Plunkett is the Marketing Coordinator at HSHS Good Shepherd Hospital. She says the hospital saves lives every day, and so does donating blood.

 

 

Plunkett says the catering for this month’s drive is provided by a Shelbyville staple.

 

 

The blood drive in Shelbyville does accept walk-ins, and Plunkett says there is no better time to donate blood than during National Blood Donor Month.

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Kyle Norris Named Miller Media Group Employee of the Quarter

Kyle Norris, the news and sports reporter with the Miller Media Group in Taylorville, was named the "Employee of the Quarter" for the 4th quarter of 2017, at a recent staff meeting.

Selection is made each quarter by station staff and management.

Norris has been the group's news and sports reporter since April of 2017. 

Norris received a 100-dollar check from the company, and is in an April  drawing for a Florida vacation.

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Metal Buildings Again a Hot Topic at Taylorville City Council Meeting Tuesday

Allowing metal buildings in residential neighborhoods was again a hot topic at the Taylorville city council meeting Tuesday night. The board took two different votes on the matter, with the final vote ultimately failing and sending the ordinance back to committee.

 

The ordinance currently says all buildings built on residential property must match the existing structure of the home. With the first vote, the council was split 4-4 on allowing the city’s board of appeals to make a determination on if a homeowner can be allowed to build a metal structure such as a carport on their property. Mayor Bruce Barry broke the tie by voting yes, and he says he will likely always vote with his board of appeals when they make a unanimous recommendation.

 

 

When a change needed to be made to the ordinance, it then failed to pass 5-3 on the second go around. Barry says he doesn’t want metal buildings like carports all over the place, but he also believes the board of appeals should have the leeway to make the decision on a case-by-case basis.

 

 

The city is also exploring the possibility of refinancing to a rate reduced loan for the new water treatment plant, which could free up hundreds of thousands of dollars each year for Taylorville. The next city council meeting is scheduled for Monday, February 5 at 7 p.m. at the Taylorville Municipal Building.

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Crimestoppers Crime of the Week - January 17, 2018

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

 

Sometime during the early morning hours of Saturday, January 6, 2018, person or persons unknown made entry into a residence located at 709 North Ridge Avenue apartment #6.  While inside, the unknown subject or subjects took 2 dozen Playstation 3 games and a money order.  There did not appear to be any damage done while making entry.  The total dollar amount of the theft is estimated at over $300.

 

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 (274637) and then your tip.  As always, you will remain anonymous.  

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Man Dies in Taylorville

911 received a call to respond to a residence in the 500 Block of North Cherokee St. in Taylorville Tuesday morning before 6 a.m. where a male was unresponsive and not breathing. Taylorville Fire and Dunns Ambulance arrived on scene and requested the coroner to respond.

 

Deputy Coroner Austin Peters identified the 39-year-old male as Casey Brandon Evans of Taylorville. Evans was transported to Bloomington for an autopsy. An autopsy was conducted Tuesday afternoon and results are pending toxicology and additional studies.

 

Taylorville Police and Christian County Coroner’s office are handling the investigation.

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Pay The Date Promotion Back At Christian County YMCA

Pay the Date is back at the Christian County YMCA. The promotion which allows local residents to “pay the date” for their first month's membership at the YMCA, offers a low cost option for people to get off to a healthy start to the new year.
 
Christian County YMCA Executive Director Chris Weittenhiller says this promotion is a great way to get involved at the Y at a reduced cost.
 
 
The Pay the Date promotion is one of a number of things the Christian County YMCA offers to help residents with the financial cost of becoming a YMCA member.
 
 
Weittenhiller appeared as a guest on the Newstalk WTIM Morning Show.

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Solution For Infrastructure Spending A Goal For Illinois Congressman Rodney Davis in 2018

Anybody who’s driven on a road in America will know that the nations infrastructure needs some attention. Illinois Congressman Rodney Davis (R-Taylorville) is hoping that President Trump makes infrastructure spending a priority in the new year, and that Congress can figure out a way to diversify how America funds it’s projects such as road construction.

 

Congressman Davis says the majority of roadworks projects are funded through the federal gas tax, however those funds are diminishing due to an increased number of fuel efficient vehicles on the roadways.

 

 

The nation has seen an increasing number of electric vehicles on it’s roads this decade, which poses a problem for infrastructure spending since those vehicle owners end up paying nothing into funds such as the Highway Trust Fund. Davis says this is one of the reasons the country needs to diversify the way it funds it’s infrastructure projects.

 

 

Davis warns that if a solution isn’t found for funding for the nations infrastructure, the nation’s projects will have to be funded through the general fund, taking away money from many other essential services such as schools and healthcare.

 

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

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Springfield Man Killed in Crash on I-55 South of Glenarm Identified

The Springfield man that died on a crash on Interstate 55 south of Glenarm has been identified. 44-year-old Mark Heaton was pronounced dead at the scene of the accident at about 1:15 p.m. Monday afternoon. Sangamon County Coroner Cinda Edwards released the identification Wednesday.

 

Heaton was driving at a high rate of speed southbound on 55 when his vehicle crossed the median, hit the I-55 northbound bridge, and then struck a 2017 GMC pickup truck that was traveling northbound.

 

Illinois State Police are continuing to investigate the crash.

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Durbin Stands by Expletive Claims

Senator Dick Durbin is sticking to his guns, saying there is no doubt that he heard President Trump say expletives comparing African countries and Haiti to something akin to a toilet. He says claims that the President referred to houses of excrement rather than holes, makes little difference.



Durbin also expressed certainty as to which word he heard.



In a Tweet, President Trump referred to Durbin as "Dicky Durbin". He said “Senator Dicky Durbin totally misrepresented what was said at the DACA meeting. Deals can’t get made when there is no trust! Durbin blew DACA and is hurting our Military,”''

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IAA Foundation Has 76 Scholarships Available

The IAA Foundation reminding current and prospective agriculture students about over seventy scholarship opportunities. The deadline to apply is February 1.



IAA Foundation Director Susan Moore says specific guidelines are available at “iaafoundation.org”. 

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TMH Auxiliary Hosting "Men Who Cook" Event Saturday

Are you a man who has a thing for cooking? Or do you enjoy good food? The Taylorville Memorial Hospital Auxiliary is having its annual “Men Who Cook” fundraiser this Saturday at the Janice Hopper Auditorium at TMH, and the public is invited to attend.

 

Pam Whittaker is on the hospital’s auxiliary board. She attends the event each year and says you should never leave the event hungry.

 

 

20 men will be cooking their specialty dishes for the event Saturday. Whittaker says the list of cooks includes some well-known people in town.

 

 

The event will also feature a cash bar and live auction. Rhonda Trost, who is also a member of the auxiliary board, says there are plenty of great items up for bids.

 

 

The doors will open Saturday at 5:30 p.m., with food sampling to start at 6 p.m. Tickets are available at the hospital’s gift shop or by calling the hospital at 824-1677.

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TMH to Tear Down Five-Story Building, Start $60 Million Expansion

Taylorville Memorial Hospital announced a major, multi-million dollar construction project Wednesday. The 97,000 square foot building will replace most of the current hospital.

 

Kim Bourne is the President and CEO of Taylorville Memorial Hospital. She says the project has been years in the making.

 

 

The project will be completed in two phases. The first phase will hold 25 new private patient rooms, outpatient and therapy services, laboratory, pharmacy, specialty clinic, and central utililty plant. The second phase will include food and nutrition services, administrative offices, and conference rooms. The current five-story building will also be torn down during phase two.

 

Bourne says the nearly $60-million expansion comes at a time when Taylorville is seeing many economic boosts in the community.

 

 

Bourne says this expansion shows that TMH is committed to Taylorville for years to come.

 

 

The project is pending approval from the Illinois Health Facilities and Services Review Board. Groundbreaking is anticipated to take place this summer, and the entire project is expected to be completed by 2021.

 

Rendition of Taylorville Memorial Hospital following completion of construction.

 

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Blighted Buildings Coming Down Slowly But Surely in Assumption

Many communities across the area are looking at beautifying their town by tearing down blighted buildings. The city of Assumption is doing its part, and the city’s mayor John Kehl says blighted building are a common problem in small town America.

 

Kehl appeared as a guest on the Newstalk WTIM Morning Show’s Hometown Tour live from Assumption City Hall. He says the city has demolished a handful of buildings the past few years.

 

 

Bringing down blighted buildings is no small task according to Kehl.

 

 

Kehl says the city still has a few more buildings they are looking to tear down.

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Assumption Police Department Working To Foster A Positive Relationship With Community

Stopping crime starts with a good working relationship between a community and it's police department according to Assumption Chief of Police Brian Wade. Wade says the Assumption Police Department has partnered with several organizations in town to help identify potential problems in the town, and how they can be solved before becoming an issue.
 
Wade appeared as a guest on the Newstalk WTIM Morning Show's Hometown Tour live from Assumption City Hall, and highlighted some of the work the department is doing to help put an early stop to crime.
 
 
The Police-Community relationship has been strained in many communities across the country. Wade says the police department in Assumption actively works with the community to help foster a positive relationship.
 
 
Wade also credited the community's help in keeping Assumption a safe community.

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ICC to Hold Hearing on Coal Power Plants in Hillsboro Today

The Illinois Commerce Commission is holding a hearing today in Hillsboro that could affect how many in the area receive their electricity. The hearing will be at the Montgomery County Courthouse in Hillsboro from 1-5 p.m. and is open to the public.

 

95th District State Representative Avery Bourne says the hearing is on the status of the current electricity distribution system, and the coal power plant closings in the state, which includes the plant in Coffeen.

 

 

Bourne says the jobs at these plants are high-paying good jobs that need to stay in these small communities.

 

 

Bourne appeared as a guest on the NewsTalk WTIM Morning Show.

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Double-Crop Forum Set for February 7th in Mt. Vernon

Farmers would be well served to look at the ‘triple threat’. So says Illinois Wheat Association Executive Director Jim Fraley. He’s referring to double-cropping wheat and soybeans to generate income from three different sources—wheat, wheat straw and soybeans. And Illinois Soybean Association’s Dan Davidson says double–crop opportunities are expanding in the state because of new seed varieties.



The wheat and soybean associations are teaming up to host a double-crop forum February 7th in Mount Vernon. You can register at “Illinoiswheat.org.” The fee is $20. 

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Congressman Davis Expects Trump To Tackle Infrastructure in 2018

The farm bill and infrastructure are two key things Central Illinois Congressman Rodney Davis believes President Trump will focus on in 2018. With the tax bill overhaul in place, the Taylorville Republican believes the President will shift his focus to the American infrastructure in 2018.



Congressman Davis is also focused on getting a farm bill passed this year.

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Rauner Discusses Amendatory Veto of School Funding Bill

The State Board of Education warns Governor Bruce Rauner’s veto of the school funding reform bill may bring “further disruption and confusion” for all school districts in the state. The State Board issued a statement last week indicating efforts to install a new school funding formula depend on lawmakers. Rauner explained his use of amendatory veto powers to rewrite the bill.



Rauner pinpointed areas that need the most help.



Lawmakers are scheduled to return to Springfield later this month and could attempt to override Rauner’s amendatory veto.

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Illinois County Fair Queen Pageant Begins Thursday

Over 70 county fair queens will be converging on Springfield later this week. The Illinois County Fair Queen Pageant begins Thursday. Among the contestants is 18 year old Josie Finch. She won the Mercer County Fair Queen title last July.



Miss Illinois County Fair Queen will be crowned Sunday. 

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Local School Districts to Receive State Grant Money for Libraries

Multiple local school districts will receive library grant money thanks to the School District Library Grant Program. The Illinois State Legislature has authorized up to 75 cents per student for qualifying schools.

 

The Central A&M and Nokomis school districts will receive $750 each. Pana will receive about $935, and Taylorville will be getting almost $1,800.

 

95th District State Representative Avery Bourne says school libraries help to improve literacy for area students by working with teachers to choose books that inspire, grow imaginations, and challenge young readers.

 

The grants will be processed by the Secretary of State’s Office this week and then will be forwarded to the Illinois Comptroller’s Office for payment.

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Edinburg Boil Order Lifted

The boil order in Edinburg has been lifted as of today 1/15/18.

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Springfield Man Dead After Crash on I-55 South of Glenarm

A Springfield man is dead after an accident Monday afternoon on Interstate 55 just south of Glenarm.

 

The 44-year-old man has not been identified pending notification of next of kin. He was driving southbound on 55 at a high rate of speed when he lost control of his vehicle, a 2001 Nissan. His vehicle left the roadway, went across the median and struck the bridge on the I-55 northbound side. The car then traveled into the northbound lane of traffic and struck a 2017 GMC pickup truck that was traveling northbound.

 

The 44-year-old was pronounced dead at the scene. The conditions of those in the pickup truck, a 53-year-old male and a 55-year-old female both of Kennett, Missouri, are not known at this time.

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Stonington Village Treasurer Passes Away Friday

Stonington’s village treasurer for more than 20 years died on Friday. Kevin LeVault passed away in Clarksville, Tennessee at the age of 58.

 

Stonington mayor Ryan Marucco says LeVault has left his mark on the community.

 

 

Visitation for LeVault will be held from 4 to 7 p.m. Thursday at McClure Funeral Home in Taylorville, with the funeral service to be held on Friday morning at 11 at Tabernacle Baptist Church in Decatur. To see the full obituary, click here.

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Lake Ice At Lake Shelbyville Not Always Safe For Winter Activities

Winter is here and many are getting outside and enjoying activities such as ice fishing. The Army Corp of Engineers at Lake Shelbyville is reminding visitors to the lake that due to the fluxuating levels of the water at the lake during the lake's winter draw down, the ice on the lake may not be as solid as it looks.
 
Ashely Florey is with the Army Corp of Engineers at Lake Shelbyville, and says the winter draw down causes large differences in lake levels that has an impact on the thickness of the lake ice.
 
 
Florey reminds visitors that it can be difficult to judge what ice on the lake is safe to be on.
 
 
Florey appeared as a guest on the Newstalk WTIM Morning Show live from our downtown Shelbyville Studios.

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Stivers Murder Trial Continuing Into Second Week

The trial for a Pana man accused of killing his baby is continuing into its second week this week. 24-year-old Robert A. Stivers is accused of killing his 4-month old in February of 2016.

 

The trial started Wednesday with the state starting its case through the Friday recess. It resumes Monday at the Christian County Courthouse.

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TMH, Christian Co. Health Department Partnering to Conduct Area Health Needs Survey

Taylorville Memorial Hospital and the Christian County Health Department are partnering to get public input about residents’ health needs in the county. The online survey was released Thursday.

 

Kim Bourne is the President and CEO of Taylorville Memorial Hospital. She says the hospital and the county health department are both required to conduct this kind of survey regularly.

 

 

Bourne says it is important for the hospital and the health department to have this information so they can best provide for the community.

 

 

The survey will run through February 12th. You can find a link to this survey here, or you can get a hard copy at the Christian County Health Department or at Taylorville Memorial Hospital.

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Christian County Extension Office Holding Public Meeting Thursday

Residents can have their voices heard about what they would like to see offered through the University of Illinois Extension this week. The Extension is hosting a public meeting Thursday to collaborate on ideas with community leaders and the general public.

 

Amanda Cole is the County Director at the Extension. She says the last time they had these public meetings, the community wanted to continue to provide opportunities for the area’s youth through the 4-H programs.

 

 

Cole describes how the meeting will play out Thursday.

 

 

The meeting will be held at the Christian County Extension Office in Taylorville. Lunch will be provided starting at 11:30 a.m., and the meeting will start at noon. You can get more information or RSVP for the meeting by calling the Christian County Extension Office at 287-7246.

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Rauner Offers Short But Direct Response to Trump's Alleged Comments on Africa, Haiti

Governor Bruce Rauner is responding to claims President Trump used a (toilet like) expletive to describe Haiti and African nations during a bipartisan meeting.



Rauner was visiting Rockford to speak with small business leaders.

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Durbin Blasts President Trump's Alleged Comments About Haiti, Africa

llinois Senator Dick Durbin says President Trump said things that were "hate-filled, vile and racist." during bipartisan immigration talks. He also says the Commander in Chief isn't being truthful when he denies using an expletive to describe Haiti and African nations.



Senator Durbin., speaking at a Martin Luther King Jr. breakfast in Chicago, also took issue with the President's choice of immigration terminology.



Durbin says his hope of getting a bipartisan agreement approved by the White House died Thursday.

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LaHood Named to Ways and Means Committee

Congressman Darin LaHood has been tabbed to serve on the House Ways & Means Committee. The Peoria area Republican received the appointment, replacing Ohio's Pat Tiberi. LaHood looks forward to the post on chief tax writing committee in the House.



LaHood believes the new committee assignment will give a boost to the 18th Congressional District.



The Committee has jurisdiction over all taxation, trade and tariffs, and other revenue-raising measures. The appointment will be confirmed by the full House Republican Conference in the coming days.

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Select Interiors in Shelbyville Under New Ownership

There's a new owner at Select Interiors in Shelbyville. Ryan Hendrix has taken over the ownership position, and says he has several things in mind to continue to improve the business.
 
Hendrix says taking over the ownership role was good timing for both himself, and the previous ownership.
 
 
Hendrix says that service is going to be an important aspect of the business for him moving forward, saying Select Interiors and Flooring Company does it right.
 
 
Hendrix appeared as a guest on the Newstalk WTIM Morning Show live from our downtown Shelbyville Studios.

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Carlinville Man Struck and Killed on I-55 South of Divernon

A Carlinville man was killed early Saturday morning after being struck by a semi on interstate 55 south of Divernon.

 

26-year-old Aaron R. Carr was in the left lane of southbound traffic when he was struck. He was pronounced dead at the scene. The Illinois State Police, Divernon Fire Department, Divernon and Pawnee Police, and the Sangamon County Coroner all responded to the scene.

 

The case is still under investigation.

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Shelby County Office of Tourism Event Calendar Keeping Locals Up To Date On Area Events

Although this time of the year is typically a slower time of the year for tourism and events in Shelby County, the Shelby County Office of Tourism says those looking to stay up to date on what's going on in Shelby County by visiting the Office's Events Calendar at LakeShelbyville.com.
 
Freddy Fry is with the Shelby County Office of Tourism and says those in the county can contact the Office of Tourism to have their events added to the calendar.
 
 
One upcoming event to Shelby County is a trivia night behing held in Strasburg. 
 
 
The Strasburg trivia night will take place on January 20th from 6:30 to 9:30 at Stew-Stras High School, with entry fees of $80 a team in advance, and $100 at the door. 
 
Fry appeared as a guest on the Newstalk WTIM Morning Show live from our Downtown Shelbyville Studios.

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Greater Taylorville Chamber of Commerce to Host 4th Annual Scholarship Awareness Day

Students looking for scholarship money will have one place to be to find many area scholarships later this month. The Greater Taylorville Chamber of Commerce will hold the 4th Annual Scholarship Awareness Day at Taylorville High School on Thursday, January 25th.

 

Patty Hornbuckle with the Greater Taylorville Chamber of Commerce appeared as a guest on the Newstalk WTIM Morning Show. She says there isn’t a good resource to find all area scholarships in one place, which is why the Chamber of Commerce puts on this event.

 

 

The event will start at 10:30 a.m. on the 25th and run until 12:45 p.m. Hornbuckle says there are a lot of dollars out there to help college-bound young adults with their high education expenses.

 

 

If your group or organization has a scholarship that would like to have a table at Scholarship Awareness Day, you can RSVP by calling the Chamber of Commerce’s office at 824-4919 by Tuesday, January 23rd.

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Decatur Man Who Died in Taylorville Tuesday Suffered Apparant Self-Inflicted Gunshot Wound

A Decatur man appears to have died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound at Taylorville Memorial Hospital Tuesday. Taylorville Police responded to the hospital Tuesday evening, and an autopsy was performed on 30-year-old Gregory J. Robbins on Thursday.

 

Taylorville Police Chief Brian Hile says while there is still some investigating to do, what has been done so far has led to this indication.

 

 

The Taylorville Police Department, Christian County Coroner’s Office and Sheriff’s Office, and Illinois State Police Crime Scene Services continue to investigate. Taylorville Police ask that if you have any information concerning this investigation to call the department or Crimestoppers.

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Heart Attack May Have Led to Crash that Killed Effingham Man

A heart attack led to the crash that killed an Effingham man Wednesday afternoon. 62-year-old Jerry A. Newburn died when his semi-tractor trailer went off of Bear Creek Road west of Pana after 1 p.m. Wednesday.

 

Christian County Coroner Amy Calvert Winans released a statement Friday morning saying Newburn died from cervical spinal injuries due to the crash. Winans says an ongoing heart attack also played a significant factor in the crash.

 

Toxicology is still pending. The Christian County Sheriff’s Office and Christian County Coroner’s Office continue to investigate the crash.

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Greater Taylorville Chamber and Rodney Davis Putting On Tax Reform Informational Open House Today

With tax reform on the way, many have questions as to how it will effect them or their businessse. The Greater Taylorville Chamber of Commerce is pairing with Illinois Congressman Rodney Davis (R-Taylorville) to provide an open house today to answer questions on taxes.
 
Patty Hornbuckle, CEO of the Greater Taylorville Chamber appeared as a guest on the Newstalk WTIM Morning show and says it's a great way to learn more about the new tax code.
 
 
The event is an informal event, where people can come and go as they please, and no reservations required.
 
 
The Tax Reform Open House is taking place today from one until two at the US Bank Community Room on the south side of the Taylorville Square.

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State Senator Manar Reacts To Governor's Veto Of School Funding Bill

Schools waiting on equity funding through the recently passed school funding reform bill will have to wait for that money, possibly not receiving any of those new dollars until next school year. Governor Bruce Rauner vetoing a “trailer bill” to the school funding reform bill, that now puts that funding on hold.
 
State Senator Andy Manar, one of the main legislators behind school funding reform says the governor's office requested this additional bill to deal with some aspects of school funding reform that the original bill didn't address, but then waited to act on the bill, and ultimately re-wrote it.
 
 
According to Manar, this puts a halt to school funding reform for the time being, meaning school districts waiting on additional funding through school funding reform will have to keep waiting.
 
 
State Senator Andy manar appeared as a guest on the Newstalk WTIM Morning Show.

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Shelbyville Police Warning Public About Counterfeit Bills Being Used in the Area

The Shelbyville Police Department is warning residents about counterfeit money being spread around the community. Shelbyville Police Cheif Dave Tallman says three businesses and one individual have all received a fake hundred dollar bill in recent weeks.

 

Tallman says the bills being used are intended to be movie props.

 

 

The counterfeit bills are only a piece of what Tallman says has been a nationwide problem.

 

 

Tallman says if you receive one of these counterfeits, try to remember as much as you can about who gave it to you and call your local police department.

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CICBC Holding Blood Drive at Taylorville High School Next Week

The Central Illinois Community Blood Center is holding a community blood drive next Friday at Taylorville High School. The drive will be from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. in the east gym at the high school.

 

Krista Jiroutek is a Recruitment Development Coordinator with the CICBC. She says all presenting donors will receive t-shirts, and there is extra reason for donors to come to the drive at THS.

 

 

The winter has taken its toll on the area’s blood supply according to Jiroutek.

 

 

Jiroutek encourages people to sign up to donate online at their website here.

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Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library & Museum Celebrating Illinois Bi-Centennial and Four Presidents with Illinois Roots

The Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum in Springfield will spend much of 2018 celebrating Illinois’ Bi-Centennial. Research historian Christian McWhirter says special attention will be paid this year to the three other presidents with Illinois roots besides Lincoln. 



You can check out a complete calendar of events at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum at “presidentlincoln.illinois.gov”. 

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Rauner Says No to Closing Quincy Veterans Home, Yes to New Plumbing

Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner has wrapped up his week long stay at the troubled Quincy Veterans Home. He says the state will install new plumbing at the facility, which has been plagued by deadly bouts with Legionnaires' Disease. However, he isn't interested in closing the doors.



Rauner says he didn't cut corners in his visit.



Legionnaires' has contributed to the deaths of 13 residents at the home since 2015. In addition to installing new water pipes, Rauner says he'll look into construction of a new dorm facility. 

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Effingham Man Dead After Single-Vehicle Crash Wednesday West of Pana

An Effingham man is dead after a one-vehicle crash Wednesday afternoon west of Pana. The accident occurred around 1:15 p.m. on Bear Creek Road, a half mile east of 1700 East Road. Pana Fire, EMS, Ambulance, and Police, along with the Christian County Sheriff’s office responded to the scene.

 

62-year-old Jerry Newburn was driving a semi-tractor trailer at the time of the crash. Newburn was pronounced dead at the scene. An autopsy is scheduled for Thursday. The Christian County Coroner’s Office and the Christian County Sheriff’s Office are investigating the crash.

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New Timeslot Offered for TMH Diabetes Self Management Classes

Taylorville Memorial Hospital is once again offering Diabetes Self Management Classes to help teach people about the disease, and how they can better manage it in their day to day lives. This upcoming class will be offering a new, daytime class to help people who may not be able to make evening classes.
 
Janelle Cornell is a Clinical Dietition at Taylorville Memorial Hospital, and says the new time slot offers more options for those in the community looking to learn more about the disease.
 
 
Cornell says this class is designed to help prevent people losing control of their diabetes, and seeing severe reprecussions as a result.
 
 
Cornell appeared as a guest on the Newstalk WTIM Morning Show.

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Christian County Senior Center Providing Transportation To Taylorville Food Pantry

The Christian County Senior Citizens Center is teaming up with the Taylorville Food Pantry to provide transportation for those who need it to the food pantry's new location.
 
Gerry Mahr with the Senior Center says the Center was approached by the Pantry after it became apparent that there was a need for the service in town to get people to the pantry.
 
 
The bus will pick up and drop off those using the the service at “bus stops” in Taylorville, instead of the traverler's homes.
 
 
The Senior Center's bus will also pick people up from Park Glenn on Saturday Mornings at 8:30 to bring to the food pantry.

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Shelby Electric Cooperative Employees Open 2018 With Donation to Pana Food Pantry

The holiday seasons have wrapped up but Shelby Electric Cooperative is helping one local food pantry serve the community into the new year. The co-op presented food and monetary donations to Loaves and Fishes in Pana on Monday.

 

Heidi Hall with Shelby Electric Cooperative says the co-op does something like this to give back to the community each year.

 

 

Hall says being able to give back after the holidays is huge, because the need doesn’t diminish after the holidays.

 

 

Loaves & Fishes is open on Monday from 9 a.m. to noon and Friday from 3 to 5:30 p.m. It is located on 120 East 2nd Street in Pana.

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Action-Packed Day One of Stivers Murder Trial

It was an action packed day one of proceedings in the trial of a 24-year-old Pana man accused of killing his 4-month-old child. Opening arguments in the Robert Stivers trial took place Wednesday morning at the Christian County Courthouse.

 

Christian County State’s Attorney Mike Havera started presenting the state’s case with testimony from John Yard of the Illinois State Police. He testified on the interviews with the defendant’s family members. Havera also presented the videotaped interview of the defendant. Both the testimony and video presentation continued into the afternoon. Havera also presented a phone call and text from Stivers’ phone into evidence Wednesday.

 

The trial will continue Thursday at the Christian County Courthouse, and will probably go into next week.

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Pana Community Hospital Expansion Construction Continues Through Winter Months

Frigid temperatures aren’t hampering the progress of Pana Community Hospital’s multi-million dollar expansion project. The hospital continues to work on its biggest expansion project in 40 years.

 

Melissa Rybolt is the marketing manager at Pana Community Hospital. She says there are many projects construction crews are working on over the next few weeks.

 

 

Rybolt says she anticipates the first phase of the project to be wrapping up by the end of the summer.

 

 

Rybolt says the steel beams for the hospital’s expansion will start being placed next month.

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McCann Calls for Health Director to Resign

State Sen. Sam McCann is offering the strongest response yet to the ongoing concerns about Legionnaire's Disease at the Quincy Veterans' Home. The Macoupin County Republican is calling on Illinois Public Health Director Nirav Shah to resign, citing communication issues with the newest cases at Quincy.



He is also calling for a capital plan to help upgrade the infrastructure of the state's veterans’ homes and finish the stalled veterans’ home project in Chicago.

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Don't Tailgate Someone on the Roads in Illinois

One of the pet peeves that many motorists have is when another vehicle comes up from behind, and rides the tail end of the lead motorist and often times simply will not pass no matter the conditions. Illinois State Police Trooper Jason Wilson says there is a specific law that addresses that situation…



Wilson says offenders can be ticketed if caught.

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President Trump Touts Regulatory Reform During Speech to Farmers

President Donald Trump told Illinois and other farmers attending the American Farm Bureau convention in Nashville his administration has rolled back more federal regulations than originally promised. Farmers listening gave the president rousing approval;



Trump also touted recently approved legislation designed to cut taxes, including the estate tax. He also pledged to work with Congress to achieve approval of a new federal farm bill before current law expires.

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Decatur Man Dies Tuesday in Taylorville of Apparent Gunshot Wound

A Decatur man died from an apparent gunshot wound Tuesday evening. 30-year-old Gregory J. Robbins died of the wound suffered.

 

Taylorville Police were called to Taylorville Memorial Hospital just after 5 p.m. Tuesday in response to Robbins’ gunshot wound. He died at the hospital. An autopsy is scheduled for today in Bloomington.

 

The Illinois State Police, Christian County Coroner’s Office and Taylorville Police are continuing to investigate the incident.

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Stivers Murder Trial Set to Start Today

The trial for a Pana man accused of killing his baby in 2016 will start today at the Christian County Courthouse.

 

24-year-old Robert A. Stivers is accused of killing his 4-month old child in February of 2016. The jury was selected Monday at the courthouse. The trial was anticipated to start Tuesday but was pushed back because of the judge being ill.

 

The trial could take as long as two weeks.   

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New Training Facility Helping Taylorville Fire Department Stay Prepared

The Taylorville Fire Department recently completed work on a new training facility that will allow the department to give it’s firefighters training in a more realistic environment so they’re better prepared to fight fires in the community. The facility comes in handy, as the department has hired several new members who will be using the training facility before undergoing further training to become full fledged firefighters.

 

Taylorville Fire Chief Mike Crews says the community was very supportive of getting the new facility built.

 

 

The location will be seeing heavy use soon as the department utilizes the facility to help train new new additions to the department.

 

 

Along with the new facility, the fire department is working on attaining several grants that would help the department both further their training, as well as purchase new equipment.

 

 

Taylorville Fire Chief Mike Crews appeared as a guest on the Newstalk WTIM Hometown Tour live from the Taylorville Municipal Building.

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Elementary School CEP Program Seeing Better Than Expected Results in Taylorville

Taylorville Kindergarten through 4th grade students have been provided a free breakfast and lunch each school day this year thanks to the CEP program put into place for this school year. The CEP program was one topic of discussion at Monday night’s Taylorville School Board meeting. Taylorville District Superintendent Dr. Gregg Fuerstenau says the program has seen better than expected results through the first semester.

 

Fuerstenau says the program was projected to run at a loss for the district this year, but so far, that hasn’t happened.

 

 

The number of elementary students eating school-provided meals has significantly increased so far this school year.

 

 

Fuerstenau says the students eating breakfast provides a better learning environment.

 

 

Elementary school consolidation was also a point of discussion Monday night. The district presented a report on how bus routes would be affected by bussing third and fourth grade students to Stonington. The board will hold a special meeting on Tuesday the 16th at 7 p.m. for more discussion on consolidation.

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Three Vie for Shelby County Judge Seat

The filing deadline has come and gone for those looking to run for the 4th Judicial Circuit Shelby County Resident Judge Position. Three people have filed to fill the seat vacated by the death of Allen Bennett.

 

One lone Democrat has filed for the position. Shelby County State’s Attorney Gina Vonderheide of Shumway is running for the judgeship on the democratic ticket.

 

On the Republican side, Associate Judge Amanda Ade-Harlow will seek the Shelby County judge seat, and local attorney Dennis Atteberry is also running for the position. Atteberry does have a pending objection to his candidacy.

 

Illinois’ primary election is set for March 20.

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U of I Extension Seeking Public Input at Meeting Next Week

The University of Illinois Extension wants to hear from residents at an upcoming public meeting. The meeting will be held on Thursday, January 18 to share programming ideas, look for collaboration opportunities and develop new educational program ideas.

 

Amanda Cole is the County Director at the Extension. She says the meeting will feature some short presentations on current offerings at the Extension, followed by a time for public comments.

 

 

Cole says they last had these meetings about four years ago. She says the last go-around, there was overwhelming support to continue the strong 4-H programs in Christian County.

 

 

There will be a lunch provided for those in attendance, starting at 11:30 a.m. The meeting will start at noon. You can get more information or RSVP for the meeting by calling the Christian County Extension Office at 287-7246.

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QVH Under Focus of Lawmaker Panel

In order to get more answers as to why Legionella bacteria remains a problem at the Quincy Veteran’s home the Illinois House and Senate held a joint committee hearing on the matter. In 2015, 12 people died of Legionnaires disease and in October another person died of Legionnaires. Erica Jefferies the Director of the Illinois Department of Veterans Affairs says that they have taken multiple steps to address Legionella bacteria in the water system.



Jefferies says that despite all of those steps they still do have Legionella bacteria in the home’s water system but they know about it because of the increased testing efforts. 

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Trump Signs Executive Order to Expand Rural Broadband

Following an address to Illinois and other farmers in Nashville, President Trump signed two executive orders that the administration believes will fund and streamline expansion of broadband access in rural areas.



Trump says the action will improve internet access in areas of Illinois and other parts of the country that have lagged behind recovery from the Great Recession a decade ago. The president addressed more than 7,000 farmers in Nashville taking part in the American Farm Bureau Federation convention.

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Duckworth Joins Colleagues in Fight Against FCC Over Net Neutrality

U.S. Senator Tammy Duckworth joined Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and other Senate colleagues in calling for restoration of net neutrality rules. Duckworth talked about the fallout she believes the end of net neutrality would cause a number of troubles.



Senator Duckworth is teaming up with over 30 of her Senate colleagues in cosponsoring a Congressional Review Act (CRA) resolution that would undo action by the FCC and restore the 2015 net neutrality rules.

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

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

 

Pictured left to right are: Senior Danielle Epley, Junior Emma Dilley, Sophomore Jacob Beyers, and Sarah VanHuss from Peoples Bank and Trust. Freshman Brock Schoonover is not pictured.

 

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Fuerstenau Anticipates School Funding Reform Dollars to Start Flowing Soon

School funding reform went into effect in Illinois on January 1, and Taylorville School District superintendent Dr. Gregg Fuerstenau says the district should be finding the amount of new state money it will receive in the near future.

 

Fuerstenau appeared as a guest on the Newstalk WTIM Morning Show. He says once those numbers are known, it will help in the planning for next school year’s budget.

 

 

Fuerstenau says state lawmakers need to continue to put more money into education each year to make sure the school funding reform bill does its job.

 

 

Fuerstenau doesn’t know how the election year will play into the funding debate for schools this year, but he says State Senator Andy Manar is already pushing for lawmakers to continue letting school funding reform do the job of getting all districts to adequate funding.

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McClure Funeral Home Offering More Relaxed Environment To Answer Questions About Final Arrangements

Speaking about final arrangements can be difficult, and many questions sometimes go unanswered. McClure Funeral Home in Taylorville is looking to get those questions answered, and is holding a Q and A session at their location on January 24th to help families get answers in a more relaxed enviornment.
 
Scott McClure with McClure Funeral Home says it can be difficult to set the appointment to speak with a funeral home about final arrangements, which is why the funeral home is offering this more informal option to get general questions answered.
 
 
McClure had more information on when and where the event is taking place, and asks that all who are interested pre-register for the event.
 
 
The event is free to attend, and those interested can register by calling McClure Funeral Home.

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Taylorville Police Department Continuing To Build Relationship With Community

The police-community relationship has been strained in many communities in recent times, however one department that hasn't experienced much of those issues is Taylorville. Taylorville Police Chief Brian Hile says his department has seen an outpouring of support from the community, and works to help continue that relationship.
 
Hile says when Dallas experienced an attack on it's police officers, his department fielded a number of phone calls and other forms of support from the community for several weeks.
 
 
One of the programs the Taylorville Police Department helps to put on to help the relationship the department has with it's citizens is the TRIAD program's Police Academy. Hile says the final details are being put in place for this year's academy.
 
 
Hile appeared as a guest on the Newstalk WTIM Hometown Tour broadcasting live from the Taylorville Municipal Building.

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2017 Busiest Year on Record for Taylorville Fire Department

2017 was the busiest year on record for the Taylorville Fire Department. The department took over 1,600 calls last year, more than any other year in its 130-year history.

 

Taylorville Fire Chief Mike Crews says that’s unlike the national trend of fire calls dropping, and he doesn’t have a specific reason for the spike in calls.

 

 

Crews says one fire in particular serves as a reminder for all residents to call 911 when there is an emergency.

 

 

Crews and Assistant Fire Chief Andy Goodall appeared as guests on the Newstalk WTIM Morning Show.

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Taylorville Mayor Barry Hopes EDA Grant is Start of Big Things for Industrial Park

The Economic Development Administration announced Thursday that Taylorville would receive more than half a million dollars in grant money towards a new industrial park on the northwest side of the city. Taylorville mayor Bruce Barry says the announcement is another piece of the puzzle for what should be big things coming for the city’s northwest side.

 

Barry says getting this grant money has been a long process that has spanned multiple mayors.

 

 

Barry says the city is putting the final touches on a TIF district in northwest Taylorville to further spur economic development.

 

 

There has been some interest from businesses having a location at the Industrial Park site, and Barry says he hopes the grant gets the ball rolling for development.

 

 

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

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Rotering Calls for Illinois to Get Tougher on Sexual Harassment

The Golden Globes Awards Show became as much a public service announcement aimed at sexual harassment as it was a show honoring achievement in film and television. Meanwhile, Democratic Attorney General candidate Nancy Rotering believes Illinois needs to rewrite the script when it comes to its sexual harassment laws. She says laws would focus on the worst of the worst, the repeat offender.



Rotering also believes another idea that might help is a confidential phone line at the Attorney General's office for sexual harassment complaints.

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Infrastructure a Key in Helping Reverse Downward Farm Income Trend

The farm economy has faced four years of record low income, but a senior economist at the Illinois Farm Bureau says there are several factors that can help reverse that trend. One is a significant investment in transportation infrastructure, according to Mike Doherty. 



Doherty says another key to the ag economy is maintaining and advancing trade agreements. He also believes the recently adopted tax reforms should help the balance sheet of farmers.

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U of I President Wants to Hold the Line on Tuition

University of Illinois President Timothy Killeen wants tuition to stay put for University of Illinois students at the three system campuses. Killeen says he will recommend the school freeze its base tuition for incoming, in-state freshmen for a fourth consecutive year. He hopes to slow the exodus of Illinois high school grads to college outside the state's borders. If the University Board agrees, Champaign-Urbana tuition would stay at $12,000, Chicago $10,6 and in Springfield the tuition level would remain at $9,400.

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Strasburg And Nokomis Boil Orders In Effect

Regional Radio News has been informed of a boil order for the community of Strasburg, as well as a boil order for the community of Nokomis until further notice. We will have more details as they become available.

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Davis: Let the Russia Investigation Play Out, But There Needs to be a Resolution

Special Counsel Robert Mueller is continuing to investigate into possible collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russian government. While U.S. Congressman Rodney Davis wants to see these investigations run their course, he understands that many Americans want to see a resolution to this investigation.

 

Davis says all charges filed so far have nothing to do with collusion, and he and his counterparts in Congress need to fill their oversight role of the Department of Justice and the FBI.

 

 

Davis says he refuses to buy into the Democratic talking point that President Trump is going to fire Special Counsel Mueller.

 

 

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

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Taylorville Fire Department Reminds Residents to Keep Chimneys Properly Maintained in Colder Months

It’s winter, and it’s cold. Area residents are having to keep their homes warm. For some, using their chimney seems like a safer option than using space heaters. But Taylorville Assistant Fire Chief Andy Goodall says residents have to keep their chimneys properly maintained.

 

Goodall says homeowners should have their chimney inspected by a professional to make sure it is in working order.

 

 

Goodall says for insurance purposes, the best practice is to have your chimney inspected annually. He says it’s also important to use the right kind of fire-burning wood for wood-burning chimneys.

 

 

Goodall says it is important to remember chimney maintenance and inspections even if you only use it a few times a year.

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U of I Extension to Offer Certified Food Protection Managers Class & Exam in February

The University of Illinois Extension will be offering the state mandated Certified Food Protection Managers class and exam, and the registration deadline for the class and exam are quickly approaching.

 

Lisa Peterson is a Nutrition and Wellness Educator with the Extension and teaches the class. She says it is held over two days, finishing with the exam on February 2nd.

 

 

Peterson says she makes the class as interesting as she can.

 

 

Peterson says it costs 115 dollars to take the class and exam. She says everyone who would like to be a part of the class must pre-register by this friday. You can register by contacting Peterson by email at lap5981@illinois.edu, or by calling the Christian County Extension Office at 287-7246.

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Keeping Your Furnace Properly Maintained During Bitter Cold Weather

Below-freezing temperatures have gripped the Midwest for about two weeks, and the weather taking its toll on many homes. Keeping the heat at a comfortable level may be overworking your furnace. Jay Barrett, Sales Manager at Barrett Heating and Cooling in Alton says properly maintaining your unit is important in getting efficient use out of the equipment.



Barrett says there are fewer parts that can break in electric heat exchangers, so they are seeing more calls for repairs coming in for furnaces powered by natural gas or oil.

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Teen Drivers Can Sign Up For Organ Donation

A new year and a new law for new drivers in Illinois. Now 16 and 17 year olds can sign up to become organ donors. Secretary of State Jesse White approves of the law allowing teen drivers to sign up – the law used to say you had to be 18. White says this move will allow for more people to give and be given the gift of life.



More than 4,000 people in Illinois are currently waiting for a transplant.

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Ag Secretary Perdue names FSA state committee

U.S. Ag Secretary Sonny Perdue has announced the appointments for the Farm Service Agency state committee. The five member panel is responsible for carrying out FSA’s farm programs. Among the Illinois appointments is Melanie DeSutter of Woodhull in Henry County.

 


Other members of the FSA state committee include Jim Reed of DeLand, Martin Barbre of Carmi, Ron Moore of Roseville and Troy Uphoff of Findlay. 

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Tax Credit Program Stirs Up $36 Million in Donations

After being able to donate to a new tax credit scholarship program, the state says tens’ of millions have been pledged. The program was created during the process to reform school funding and it allows donors to apply a 75 percent tax credit up to $1 million donation. Individuals or corporations are eligible to donate. 

So far $36 million has been donated to scholarship granting organizations around the state. The scholarships are to private K-12 schools and the application process to receive one begins on January 24th. Eligibility requirements maintain that students must come from homes that have an annual income below 300 percent of the federal poverty level. 

The dollars won’t be spread equally around the state. Donations are made in predetermined regions selected by the donor. 

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Monthly Lunch and Learn Events At Shelbyville Manor Teaching Area Seniors

Shelbyville Manor has an upcoming event for area seniors designed to help teach seniors about various topics while enjoying lunch. This month's speaker is from HSHS Good Shepherd Hospital, and will be discussing the ongoing influenza outbreak, and how to avoid it.
 
Kim Wiley is the Director of Marketing and Sales at Shelbyville Manor and Hawthorne Inn, and says the “Lunch and Learn” event is held every month, and open to anybody who'd like to attend.
 
 
This month's speaker will be touching on the ongoing influenza outbreak, and how to avoid it.
 
 
Wiley appeared as a guest on the newstalk WTIM Morning Show live from our downtown Shelbyville Studios.

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Shelby County CEO Students Already Seeing Progress In Themselves

The Shelby County CEO program is in it's first year, and already the students involved in the program are seeing the progress in themselves as they take the course. Two of those students, Blake Barnes and Brayden Young, both say the class has helped them have more confidence in themselves.
 
Barnes says his public speaking skills have improved while being involved in the CEO program.
 
 
Young says he's taking the course as more of a “life skills” course rather than just a business course, and it's paying off.
 
 
Barnes and Young both appeared as guests on the Newstalk WTIM Morning Show live from our downtown Shelbyville Studios.

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New Face At The University Of Illinois Extension Unit 18

There is a new face at the University of Illinois Extension Unit 18. Dr. Ashley Bell has replaced the retired Gary Letterly as the Environmental Energy Stewardship Educator at the extension.
 
Dr. Bell and County Extension Director Amanda Cole both joined the Newstalk WTIM Morning Show to discuss Dr. Bell's background, and what she brings to the Extension Office. Cole says Bell will be working at the Dudley Smith Farm as well as throughout the state researching enviornmental and energy stewardship.
 
 
Dr. Bell is originally from Louisiana, and earned her doctorate in Maryland. Bell says her area of expertise is converting organic materials into renewable energy.
 
 
The Extension office has a program coming up in February designed to help teach area farmers about soil and water conservation.
 
 
To register for the webinar, contact the University of Illinois Extension Unit 18.

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Christian County Ag Group Scholarship Now Available

The Christian County Ag Group has released the application for their 2018 scholarship program. The $750 scholarship is given to one area graduating senior or student already enrolled in college from the county.

 

Mellissa McMillan is the Secretary of the Christian County Ag Group, and says the group is continuing to help the future of Christian County by giving back to the county’s young adults.

 

 

You can find the scholarship application here.

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AFBF & NFU to Target Opiods

The American Farm Bureau Federation and National Farmers Union this week announced Farm Town Strong, a campaign to help rural communities struggling with the opioid epidemic. The campaign will help provide resources and information regarding opioids to farm communities. USDA Assistant to the Secretary for Rural Development, Anne Hazlett, says the campaign helps address the lack of resources available in rural America.

 

 

A recent joint report by AFBF and NFU found rural communities have been overwhelmingly impacted by the epidemic.

 

 

She says collaboration between groups like AFBF and NFU will help rural communities to address and overcome the challenge.

 

 

AFBF and NFU will hold public events to share resources starting at the 2018 AFBF Annual Convention & IDEAg Trade Show in this weekend Nashville, Tennessee.

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USDA Wants More Done to Combat Crop Insurance Fraud

The Inspector General at the U.S. Department of Agriculture says the Risk Management Agency hasn’t done enough to combat crop insurance fraud.

 

Since 2001, the RMA has contracted with the Center for Agribusiness Excellence at Tarleton State University in Texas to collect data on producers who have unusual crop insurance claims that merit further review. Every year, the center produces lists of producers that might need to be spot-checked by the Farm Service Agency, as well as by private insurance companies. Most farmers that wind up on the spot-check list reduce their claims after
a review.

 

In 2015, those lowered claims saved about $61 million. However, the USDA says the Risk Management Agency needs to expand its use of the data turned up by the Center for Agribusiness Excellence. For example, the inspector general says the RMA hasn’t collected information from the insurance reviews to identify any possible weakness in the insurance
program.

 

The IG also found that the Farm Service Agency is more likely to find fraud than most insurers are. The RMA is also going to finalize some changes in their review processes to better identify the root causes of insurance claim errors.

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Expert Says Being Pro-Active Key To Farm Succession

The main key to passing the family farm from one generation to the next is being pro-active, according to Oklahoma State University professor, Dr. Shannon Ferrell.  NAFB Farm Broadcaster, Jared White, has more...

 

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Independent Seed Dealer Sees Signs of Life in Ag Economy

Despite a rough planting and growing season, it still wasn’t that bad of a year in some parts of Western Illinois. That assessment from John Hennenfent—owner of Munson Hybrids in Galesburg.



Even though there’s been a stretch of depressed commodity prices, Hennenfent says the farm economy is not all doom and gloom in his part of the state. 



Munson added a Wisconsin warehouse in 2017 to better serve customers in the upper Midwest. 

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Durbin Continues the Push for Dreamers Staying Put

Senator Dick Durbin continues to lead the push for legislation that will keep young immigrants in the DACA program from being deported. He says public opinion is swinging in favor of keeping the dreamers in the US, whether the state is red or blue.



Last month, Republican Illinois Congressmen Rodney Davis and Adam Kinzinger and 30 of their GOP colleagues signed a letter to Paul Ryan stressing the need for legislation that protects DACA recipients from deportation. 

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Frerichs Says it's Easier to Claim the Unclaimed

In the new year, claiming your unclaimed property is now easier and faster in Illinois. State Treasurer Michael Frerichs has announced there are two new ways to claim your unclaimed property. E-Claiming allows the public to upload claim information on the Treasurer’s Office website. Fast Track allows quick approval and payment for simple, lower dollar amount claims. Frerichs says the more user friendly process is a response to the times.



Eclaiming will boost turnaround times, with Frerichs saying the move will save the public weeks of processing time. Illinois has more than $2.9 billion in unclaimed property to return to Illinois residents and Frerichs hopes the new changes will lead to more visits to www.illinoistreasurer.gov/ICASH . 

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Taylorville Kiwanis Hear Committee Reports at Weekly Luncheon

The Taylorville Kiwanis Club heard from committee chairs on projects for children and youth in the local community, during their weekly luncheon at the Taylorville Memorial Hospital auditorium.

Priority One committee chair Harriett Morrissey reported that some 82 children were provided coats, hats, gloves, and boots, during the Kiwanis Club's recent “Coats for Kids” effort at the Taylorville Wal-Mart Supercenter. 

Membership chair Raedena Ryan, reported that 5 new members will be inducted at the club's February 6th meeting.  Joining the club will be Mary DelValle, Dennis Barnard, Kendra Millenbine, Dan McNeely, and Austin Peters.

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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STORY UPDATE: Taylorville Development Association Federal Matching Grant Approved

Officials with the Christian County Economic Development Corporation, and the Taylorville Development Association, were notified Thursday afternoon, that the Chicago office of the federal Economic Development Administration, had approved TDA's request for some 537-thousand dollars in matching funds, to build infrastructure at the proposed new Taylorville Industrial Park site owned by TDA on the city's west side.

 

Economic Development Corporation executive director Mary Renner told Regional Radio News that she was notified by Congressman Davis of the good news, and it culminates years of work by local officials.

 

 

Renner said that TDA will be working with the Economic Development Administration to get the funds officially transferred.

 

 

Renner added that ground will be broken using local matching funds, as soon as the weather breaks.

 

 

And, Renner added this was an important day for economic development in Taylorville.

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BREAKING NEWS: Taylorville Development Association Gets $500K Matching Grant for Industrial Park Infrastructure

Mary Renner, executive director of the Christian County Economic Development Corporation, received word from Congressman Rodney Davis' office this afternoon, that the Taylorville Development Association, owner of the land where the proposed Industrial Park is to be located, has been approved for over $500,000 in matching grant money to build infrastructure at the site on West Route 104.

 

More details from Renner and Congressman Davis forthcoming.  Stay tuned to Regional Radio and taylorvilledailynews.com for more information on this breaking story.

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Head-On Crash Near Pana Sends Five to Hospital

Five people were hurt in an apparent head-on crash Wednesday afternoon just south of the Pana Tri-County Fairgrounds. The Christian County Sheriff’s Office received a call about the accident around 1:30 p.m. Wednesday. Pana Police, Fire, EMS, and Ambulance, along with the Sheriff’s Office responded to the scene.

 

Preliminary investigation shows that one vehicle was southbound on 2500 East Rd. while the other vehicle was northbound. The two vehicles collided in a partial head-on crash about one-fourth of a mile south of the intersection with 200 North Rd. Both drivers, and the three passengers in one vehicle were all taken to area hospitals via ambulance. The names of those involved have not been released, and there is no word on their condition at this time.

 

The Christian County Sheriff’s Office is continuing to investigate the crash.

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Crimestoppers Crime of the Week - January 4, 2018

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

 

Sometime during the overnight hours between Sunday, December 31, 2017 and Monday January 1, 2018, person or persons unknown made entry into a vehicle parked at the corner of Maple and Webster Streets in Taylorville. While inside, the unknown subject or subjects took a wallet and items from a small purse.  Taken were 2 drivers licenses, cash, Wal-Mart gift cards, Starbucks gift cards, and Olive Garden gift cards. The total dollar amount of the theft is estimated at almost $500.

 

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 (274637) and then your tip.  As always, you will remain anonymous.  

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Morrisonville Man Found Dead on New Year's Day

Police are investigating the death of a Morrisonville man on New Year’s Day. The man was found dead on Monday afternoon in a home on West North St. in Morrisonville. Morrisonville Police and the Christian County Coroner’s Office are handling the investigation.

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Still Time To Sign Up For Spring Semester At Lake Land College

Although Central Illinois is experiencing record breaking cold, area colleges are preparing for their spring semester, starting in January for many schools. Chris Strohl with Lake Land College in Mattoon says it's not too late to sign up for classes which begin at Lake Land on January 8th.
 
Strohl says there are a number of options for students who are looking to take classes, wether you're looking to come back as a full time or part time student.
 
 
According to Strohl, only taking one or two classes at a time can make a lot of sense for students looking to come back to the classroom.
 
 
Lake Land offers a number of educational options for students to help fit into those student's schedules, whether it's online, part time, or for students looking to complete their GED.
 
 
Find out more about the educational opportunities at Lake Land College by visiting them online at LakeLandCollege.edu, or calling their office at 234-5253.
 
Strohl appeared as a guest on the Newstalk WTIM Morning Show.

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National Farm Bill "A Top Priority" for Congressman Davis in 2018

The current national farm bill is set to expire at the end of 2018, but U.S. Congressman Rodney Davis has a new farm bill as one of his top priorities this year.

 

Davis says his focus is to keep the many effective parts of the bill in place while strengthening the bill’s weaknesses.

 

 

Davis says with many agricultural jobs needed in future years, the government needs to encourage agricultural research in higher education.

 

 

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

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Winter Drought Conditions Spreading Into Central Illinois

Although there is snow covering parts of the area, much of south central and southern Illinois is seeing abnormally dry to drought conditions. There also doesn’t seem to be much drought relief in sight.

 

Matt Barnes is a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Lincoln. He says although drought conditions do not expand as quickly in the winter, the long-term dry weather has led to where we are today.

 

 

In December of 2015, the area saw a deluge a rain in late December, but Barnes says it is normally difficult to come out of drought conditions in the winter. He says it’s especially not likely to happen the next couple of weeks.

 

 

Barnes says unless the area sees a large system, the drought could linger into the spring planting season, which could become a problem for farmers.

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LLCC to Hold Informational Meeting on College Now Program

High school students can start on college coursework as a junior in high school thanks to the College Now program at Lincoln Land Community College. The college will be hosting an informational meeting for students interested in the program, along with their parents, on Monday.

 

Dee Krueger is the Director of the Lincoln Land Community College Taylorville Campus. She says the program allows students to work on college general education courses or specialized training before receiving their high school diploma.

 

 

Krueger says with the CNA program specifically, students can be working in the field right after or possibly before graduating high school.

 

 

The meeting will be held at 6 p.m. Monday evening in room 1126 on Lincoln Land’s Taylorville campus. Those who attend will learn about student qualifications, program content, costs, and other helpful tips.

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Social Security Cost of Living Adjustment in the New Year

With the new year comes changes with Social Security. According to Jack Myers, the Cost of Living Adjustment will be a 2 percent benefit raise that will start to show up on social security checks in January.




Myers adds that the Cost of Living Adjustment is directly related to inflation and is automatically adjusted to reflect that inflation due to the language in the Social Security Act.



To learn more about Social Security, you can visit www.ssa.gov.

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Moweaqua Rolls Out New Community Wide Recycling Program

The village of Moweaqua is starting biweekly curbside recycle pickup for its residents this year. Advanced Disposal is provides the service for Moweaqua’s residents, and the first pickup was on Tuesday.

 

Amy Malone is the Assistant to the Village Clerk in Moweaqua and has been working with Advanced to set up the services in town. She says the service is an excellent way to help protect the environment.

 

 

Malone says all the information residents need to know is at the village’s website.

 

 

Malone says residents can request a 65-gallon roll out recycling cart by calling Advanced Disposal. She says every trash customer in the community will now pay an $18 a month flat trash rate. For those who already participated in residential recycling, Malone says that is a rate decrease, but it is $1.50 rate increase for all other Advanced Disposal customers.

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WTIM, People's Bank and Trust December 2017 Taylorville High School Students of the Month Announced

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

 

Pictured from left to right: Senior Sydney Ostrowsky, Junior Jacob Johnson, Sophomore Sydney Yonk, Freshman Alerina Letniku, People's Bank and Trust Representative Lindsay Lopian.

 

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2017 Was a Hard But Successful Year for Christian County Sheriff's Office

2017 was a hard year for the Christian County Sheriff’s Office, but Sheriff Bruce Kettelkamp is proud of the resiliency and family-like bond his office has, and of the support the community has shown his department throughout the year.

 

In June, a train and van collision killed five people and hit especially close to home for the Sheriff’s Office. Two of those killed in the accident were the grandparents of Christian County Sheriff’s Deputy Tyler Castle, and Castle was one of the first responders on the scene. Kettelkamp says he is always amazed, however, by the spirit of the community during hard times.

 

 

Kettelkamp says his officers put themselves on the line every day, and even come to aid when off-duty, like during a standoff near Rosamond in September.

 

 

The drug and opioid epidemic has been an issue that continues to grow in Christian County and nationwide. But, Kettelkamp says the county’s drug task force has taken a bite out of the drug issue here at home.

 

 

Kettelkamp says there are facility issues at the jail that need to be worked on, but that county revenues continue to dwindle leaving all county offices scrapping for money. He says he will continue to do what he can with what his office is provided.

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Smoke Alarm Distribution Effort Underway

The State Fire Marshall's office is teaming up with the Illinois Fire Safety Alliance to spread smoke alarms to more homes in the new year. Under the “Be Alarmed!” program, free smoke alarms with sealed 10-year batteries and fire safety tips will be distributed through a number of fire departments around the state. The smoke alarms will also be provided no assembly required as fire department personnel will install the alarms in homes.

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Illinois Leads in Outbound Moves

Illinois residents are leaving the state at a higher rate than other Americans leaving their home state. United VanLines reports Illinois has the highest percentage of outbound moves, ahead of the Tri-State area states of New Jersey, New York and Connecticut. Kansas landed in the fifth spot among those states. The top four destination states in the National Movers Study are Oregon, Idaho, Nevada and Vermont.

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Flu Continues to Run Rampant

The flu bug rang in the New Year with Illinois clearly in its grip. Hospital Sisters Health System has seen the number of flu cases in its hospitals throughout Southern and Central continue to expand. Jeff Hayes, Director of Quality and Patient Experience for the Central Illinois Division of HSHS, said the uptick in cases came quickly.



The Litchfield cases led to the closures of Litchfield Schools for two days. While there has been grumbling about the effectiveness of flu shots, Hayes says just because you may have the flu after getting the flu shot, doesn't mean your effort has been wasted.



In most recent Illinois Department of Public Health reports, the flu threat has been upgraded from a regional concern to a widespread one. 

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More Cold Air for Illinois Next Week

There’s a reason it’s been bitterly cold for much of Illinois. DTN ag meteorologist Bryce Anderson details the atmospheric conditions.



Wind chill advisories and wind chill warnings were set to expire throughout much of the state on Tuesday. 

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Longtime Local Radio Station in Western Illinois Goes Silent

A longtime local radio frequency went silent at the close of 2017. WCAZ in Carthage ceased operations on December 31st due to an FCC issue. A sad day for station sales manager Keith Yex.



WCAZ was officially licensed by the FCC in 1922. 

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John McClure Named Taylorville's Volunteer of the Month at Tuesday's City Council Meeting

The Taylorville City Council honored a long-time city resident as its volunteer of the month at Tuesday’s council meeting. John McClure has been involved with the Taylorville Optimists Club, Kiwanis Club, and Missions for Taylorville. But what put McClure over the top for this month’s award was the recent help he gave to a disabled veteran.

 

Taylorville Mayor Bruce Barry says McClure came to him recently when the veteran had plumbing issues in his home.

 

 

Barry says it’s important for everyone in the community to help their neighbors when they can.

 

 

Also at Monday’s meeting, the city approved to hold public hearings for two possible ordinance changes. One change involves the process of approving metal structures on properties in the city, while the other involves the gun range ordinance allowing Powderkeg Outfitters to operate an indoor firing range in Taylorville. The meeting and hearings are scheduled for Tuesday, January 16 because of the Martin Luther King holiday. The public hearings will start at 6:30, with the regular meeting to follow.

 

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Frozen Pipes Closes Taylorville Public Library Tuesday

The Taylorville Public Library will not open today.  Library director Steven Ward, tells Regional Radio News that the library suffered frozen water pipes, and as a result will not open today.  Ward is hopeful that the library will re-open on Wednesday.  

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There is More to Come With HSHS Good Shepherd Construction Project

HSHS Good Shepherd Hospital in Shelbyville completed the installation and have started using their new 64-slice CT scanner in December, but the hospital’s marketing coordinator Glenda Plunkett says there is only more to come.

 

Plunkett says there are many new features they are still working one in the next phase of the project.

 

 

Plunkett says when the hospital affiliated with the HSHS system, the commitment was to provide the highest quality care and provide it in Shelby County.

 

 

Plunkett says all construction should be completed by April.

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Central A&M To Put Out Request For Bids to Renovate Middle School, Starting Bond School Closure Process

The Central A&M School Board voted to shut down Bond Elementary School in Assumption at their December board meeting, and today the district is taking the next step in the process. The district is releasing a request for proposals to renovate Central A&M Middle School in Assumption to move the Pre-K through 2nd grade students to the middle school.

 

Central A&M School District Superintendent Dr. DeAnn Heck says the closure will save the district over $1 million in renovations that would need to be made to the school, plus an additional $300,000 each year in maintenance costs.

 

 

Heck says the closure has been made possible because of declining enrollment and unused classrooms available at the middle school.

 

 

Heck says because of the renovations needed to be done before the closure, the district expects Bond Elementary to be open through the 2018-19 school year.

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Area Lawmaker Says Ending Hateful Rhetoric Should Be Societal Resolution of 2018

A new year normally brings resolutions for many, one area lawmaker hopes ending hateful treatment of others is a societal resolution in 2018.

 

U.S. Congressman and Taylorville native Rodney Davis was one of many Republican lawmakers dodging gunfire when a southern Illinois man started shooting on a congressional baseball practice in Virginia in June. He says the people blasting these hate-filled messages are leading to people getting hurt.

 

 

Davis says the hate being spread has gotten to a point to where it is going too far, and everyone needs to take part in stopping it.

 

 

Davis says there have been many good things happening in Washington despite the divide and uneasiness across the country, and he wants to continue to bring legislation that benefits the constituents of Central Illinois.

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Taylorville School District Discussing Elementary School Consolidation for '18-'19

The Taylorville School District is looking at how to deal with declining enrollment at the elementary school level, and the district is looking at consolidating its three elementary schools into two. Three options were presented to the school board at December’s meeting, and each plan includes the third school without elementary students becoming the district’s alternative center.

 

Taylorville School District Superintendent Dr. Gregg Fuerstenau says that one drawback is the loss of Stonington or Memorial School, the two schools that could lose elementary students in the three options being considered. But, he says that no facility will close completely.

 

 

Fuerstenau says consolidating would allow the district to better control class sizes and distribute staff.

 

 

The district has until March to decide where elementary students will go in 2018-2019. The next Taylorville School Board meeting is scheduled for Monday at 7 p.m. at the Taylorville School District Administration Building.

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