Local News

The Christian County Coal Mine Museum Grand Reopening Is This Weekend

It’s been a long time coming, but the Christian County Coal Mine Mususeum is going to be opening this weekend. The journey of the museum has led to it settling down in its own building on Park Street in Taylorville. Admission is free, although Executive Director Chuck Martin says the weekend opening is by invitation only.

 

 

The grand re-opening may get busy, especially on Monday when anyone is welcome. Martin says parking should not be an issue.

 

 

Getting the building ready to go has been a long process and Martin is excited for people to see it.

 

 

Martin explains one of the main attraction is a simulated underground mine that gives the experience of being in a real mine.

 

 

Martin appeared as a guest on the WTIM Morning Show.

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Overcoming Vaccine Hesitancy

Many states are seeing COVID-19 cases level off, but some areas are actually increasing and data shows that it is happening in many rural areas. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, vaccine hesitancy studies have been conducted from December through April and coverage was lower in rural counties at 38.9% than in urban counties which checked in at 45.7%. 

 

A similar poll conducted by the Kaiser Family Foundation found vaccine hesitancy was highest in rural counties with 21% of rural residents saying they would definitely not get the vaccine compared with 10% of urban residents. 

 

Doctor Robert Ayers, with OSF HealthCare Occupational Health says that he is concerned that some rural counties with low rates will see an increase in the delta variant from India. In some southern counties in Illinois less than 25% of the population is vaccinated.

 

The new variant allows the virus to spread more easily and brings different symptoms such as hearing loss and gangrene. The new strain makes up nearly 10% of US cases and is doubling nearly every two weeks according to a new study done by The Lancet.

 

Dr. Ayers says that it will become fairly standard in the near future for your regular physician to be able to give you the vaccine. You should see your doctor when you have questions about the vaccine and its benefits and drawbacks.

 

 

A recent CDC study showed that 86% of rural residents report they trust their own health care providers which is why it is so critical to go to your own Doctors if you have any questions. Dr. Ayers believes answering questions can alleviate a lot of fear and concern that you may have.

 

 

As far as talking with hesitant patients, he encourages patients by reminding them that 318 million shots have been given in the US without significant negative impacts that can be tied to the vaccine. 

 

 

Safety data is there according to Dr. Ayers. He says the mRNA vaccines do their work and leave the body within weeks, so long-lasting impacts shouldn’t be a concern. The virus that causes COVID-19 is different for each person, so you won’t know what kind of impact it will have on your body.

 

 

Again, for more information, please contact your local physician.

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Sparklight Donates Chromebooks To Pana School

Nowhere has the need for technology and computers been needed more during the pandemic than in schools. Many families had to make some hard adjustments during the height of the pandemic to make sure their kids were taken care of as technology ruled the way that things were done during the height of COVID-19. Sparklight, an internet company, is helping with the donation of Chromebooks for students at Lincoln Elementary School in Pana. GM of Sparklight, Kenny Wright says that access is invaluable in 2021.

 

 

In a post COVID world, making that adjustment from working at home and going to school at home continues to be something that many people do. Having chromebooks makes it easier for these students.

 

 

The School has already received the Chromebooks. There will be a presentation done in August when the kids come back. If you have more information you can visit www.sparklight.com.

 

 

Wright says that it’s about improving technology.

 

 

Sparklight has donated more than 2,000 Chromebooks to Title 1 Schools over the last eight years.

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Ameren Illinois Reporting Massive Power Outage Near Taylorville

Around 4:50 PM Ameren Power reported over 2100 people without power in the Taylorville area. There is no word yet on when power will be restored but huge areas of Taylorville are currently out. Regional Radio News reached out to Ameren and they were still working on figuring out the cause of the power outage. Multiple customers have reported brown out conditions or no power whatsoever.

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Armor Donated To K9 In Hillsboro

The Hillsboro Police Department’s K-9 dog “Lil Darryl” will receive free body armor, thanks to a charitable donation. Vested Interest in K9’s Incorporated is the company that helped sponsor the army and Lil Darryl’s vest was sponsored by Cyndi Brown out of Fort Collins, Colorado. It is embroidered a vest with the saying “Born to love-trained to serve-loyal always.” The company was established in 2009 as a way to provide bullet and stab protective vests and other assistance to dogs of law enforcement throughout the US. The program is open to US dogs that are at least 20 months old and actively employed and certified with law enforcement and other agencies. 

 

Each vest is $960 but Vested Interest in K9s takes any donation. The vest has a value of $1,744-$2,283 and weighs an average of 4-5 pounds.  It comes with a five-year warranty. To find out more information on the actual vests call 508-824-6978.

 

There are an estimated 30,000 law enforcement K9s throughout the United States. You can get more information on helping at www.vik9s.org or if you want to help donate, you can mail your contribution to PO Box 9 East Taunton, Massachusets 02718. 

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Blood Drives Resuming At TMH

Blood donation drives have reopened to the public at Memorial Health System’s five hospitals including Taylorville Memorial Hospital.  TMH will be having a blood drive from 11 AM until 6 PM on June 24th.  Donors who participate in one of the donation drives at a Memorial Health System hospital must follow safety guidelines in place on each hospital campus including wearing a medical-grade mask at all times and observing social distancing.

 

Donors who give blood through July 11th will receive a $10 e-gift card when they donate blood. The event takes about an hour. Less than 10% of the population gives blood so donors are important to meet that need. For more information on donating blood or to register for the event, visit ImpactLife at www.bloodcenter.org. 
 

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IDOT Warning Of Scams

The Illinois Department of Transportation is asking the public to be on the alert for text and email scams asking for personal information.  During the last month, IDOT has been made aware of messages that were sent fraudulently on its behalf attempting to defraud the public. IDOT Spokesperson Maria Castaneda says they will never ask for your personal information.

 

 

Delete unsolicited emails and texts that are requesting personal information or promising state driver’s licenses or ID’s. Hang up on any calls, including robocalls, that ask you to take immediate action or provide personally identifiable information. Also, ask to use other types of identifiers besides your SSN, and keep your software up to date including antivirus protection programs. Castaneda says that clicking links is where the problem comes in.

 

 

If you have questions about phishing scams or identity theft, please call the Illinois Attorney General’s Consumer Fraud Hotline in Springfield at 800-243-0618. 

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Skateboard Park Meeting This Evening

There will be a skateboard park meeting taking place tonight in Taylorville to talk about bringing a Skateboard park to the city. Taylorville Mayor Bruce Barry says that the event will take place on Wednesday evening at 5 PM. 

 

 

Mayor Barry says this has been discussed for a while. There is also a Facebook Group called “Taylorville Needs A Skateboard Park.”

 

 

Mayor Bruce Barry encourages everyone to get involved with local government and to bring your ideas and events to him.

 

 

And as always, the Farmers Market is every Saturday at the Taylorville Square.

 

 

Taylorville Mayor Bruce Barry appeared as a guest on the WTIM Morning Show.

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Taylorville Kiwanis Hears from Taylorville High Principal at Weekly Meeting

The Taylorville Kiwanis Club heard the Taylorville High School principal, during their weekly meeting Tuesday at the Taylorville Moose Lodge.  

 

Matt Hutchison has been a part of the Taylorville school district for some 26 years, with the last 6 being the high school principal.  Hutchison talked about the challenges he, his staff, and the school district faced starting in March of 2020 when schools across the state were shut down due to the coronavirus outbreak.

 

 

Hutchison said the school district adapted to educate students remotely the rest of the school year.

 

He told Kiwanis members that the fall of 2020 began with all students in remote learning, which continued until the second semester in early 2021.  

 

 

Hybrid learning started in the second semester, with students in their respective buildings 2 days a week and remote learning the other 3.  He added having students in the high school building was a morale booster for him, the administrative staff, and teachers.  

 

 

And in the 4th quarter of the school year, all students returned to in-person learning.

 

Hutchison said he was proud of his staff and the T-H-S students for adapting during a very difficult school year which just concluded.  The coming school year will begin with all students attending.

 

The T-H-S principal cited to the Kiwanis members, the many awards and achievements earned by students during the past school year despite adverse circumstances, including having 26 Illinois state scholars.

 

 

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State Democrat Believes Redistricting Map Drawing Was An Open Process

Republicans have been very vocal about pretty much everything regarding the newly drawn redistricting maps. They’ve even filed multiple law suits. Democratic Senator Doris Turner understands the argument behind the Census data, but ensured constituents that this was as open of a process as it could be.

 

 

Senator Turner says they have to wait on the lawsuits, but she intends to continue representing everyone in the 48th District that was there when she took office regardless of what the maps say.

 

 

The maps may look different, but Senator Turner says Christian County will still be in her jurisdiction.

 

 

By the nature of the process, redistricting can cause some tension between the two parties every decade, says Senator Turner.

 

 

Senator Turner appeared as a guest on the WTIM Morning Show.

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Increased Patrols Are Coming To Route 48

It’s not a secret at this point that communities are coming together to figure out what to do about increasing safety on Route 48. There have been several meetings and one of the outcomes, according to Christian County Sheriff Bruce Kettelkamp, is a few different methods that will increase patrols on that stretch of highway.

 

 

Another threat to the roadway is drowsy driving, or driving while tired. Sheriff Kettelkamp shares that there are some startling statistics when it comes to not be awake and alert at the wheel.

 

 

Sheriff Kettelkamp says there are some clear signs of driving while drowsy.

 

 

It may seem simple, but there some easy ways to tell if you’re safely capable to drive and not drowsy. 

 

 

Sheriff Kettelkamp appeared as a guest on the WTIM Morning Show.

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Shipman CCL Instructor Arrested For Faking CCL Licenses & Forgery

The Illinois State Police Firearms Services Bureau Investigative Support Unit along with the Macoupin County State’s Attorney’s Office have filed charges against a Shipman woman for forgery and providing false Conceal Carry Weapon Certification.

 

60 year old Terry Lumma, a former CCL instructor, was charged after a complaint was filed in December of 2020. The complaint stated Lumma was not teaching the CCL classes and after a five-month investigation, investigators from the Firearms Services Bureau found evidence to support the allegations of the complaints.  

 

Training certificates for over 200 students were deemed to be invalid after the investigation was conducted. All of these students were sent letters notifying them of their status and are being provided a grace period of 60 days from receipt of the letter to complete the requirements for a new valid CCL. During that time the CCL holder will be considered valid and in good standing.  For more information on what to do if this has affected you, please visit www.ispfsb.com. 

 

Lumma was mailed a notice to appear and is set to appear at the Macoupin County Courthouse on June 23rd, 2021 at 8:45 AM. ISP Director Brendan F. Kelly says, “The Illinois State Police takes these types of allegations seriously and will investigate those who attempt to defraud the system and bring them to justice. The men and women of the Illinois State Police, Firearms Services Bureau, continuously strive to protect and maintain the integrity of the FOID and CCL.” 

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Ag Appreciation Dinner To Take Place At Christian County Fairgrounds

There will be an Ag appreciation dinner to be held on July 22nd at the Christian County Fairgrounds in Taylorville. The dinner is sponsored by the Christian County Ag Group, Christian County Soil, and Water Conservation District, the University of Illinois Extension-Christian County, Christian County Farm Bureau, and many other agri-businesses and banks from Christian County. Mellisa McMillan, Manager with the Christian County Farm Bureau says the meeting started out as just a soil and water meeting but has grown since then. 

 

 

McMillan says that the guest speaker for the annual AG Appreciation Dinner will be Mark Gebhards.

 

 

The meal will start at 11:30 AM in the entertainment pavilion at the Fairgrounds.

 

 

For more information, contact Mellisa McMillan at 217-824-2940.

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Taylorville City Council Meets For Second June Meeting

The Taylorville City Council met on Monday evening. The board recognized for their volunteers of the month Jack Brown and James Smith. Brown has worked hard with Smith on the Memorial Day Celebrations. Brown has MC’ed and Smith is the Municipal Band Director. Taylorville Mayor Bruce Barry was pleased to recognize the two men for their years of service. 

 

 

Jack Brown thanked the board for their support and for the support of the city.

 

 

The biggest surprises of the night came with an ordinance for reduced liquor license fees for gaming parlors and designated drive-up facilities for the sale and delivery of alcoholic liquors in their original unopened containers. Both motions failed to get support with the reduced liquor licenses not getting any support and the drive-thru motion failing 4-3 with Aldermen Jim Olive, Larry Budd, Steve Dorchinecz, and Kathy Driskell all voting no. Aldermen Megan Bryant was absent from the meeting.

 

Under Mayoral updates, Mayor Barry thanked the board for approving Ben Robinson to the Library Board and Ron McKavetz to the BDD Committee. 

 

 

Mayor Barry also says that he held a Mayoral meeting on Monday and it went well.

 

 

Rodney Davis was on hand to meet with both Mr. Brown and Mr. Smith. 

 

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Illinois Department Of Aging Holding Clinic For Teaching Medicare

The Illinois Department on aging has announced it will assist eligible residents get through signing up for Medicare and avoid late enrollment penalties through a new program called "Welcome to Medicare Fair." The event is set to be on June 23rd from 2 PM until 6 PM to provide persons 60 and older and persons with disabilities ages 18-59 local, trusted, and unbiased medicare help. 

 

The free virtual event will offer general sessions with expert presenters on Medicare eligiblity, enrollment, costs, and coverage options. Experts will be on hand to explain Medicare coverage options and how Medicare works with other insurance and state Medicaid. You may visit this story to find out how to register, but registration must be complete by today (Monday, June 21st). To find out more about the program and to register you may visit here.

 

The SHIP program stands for IDOA's  State Health Insurance Assistance Program and is part of a national SHIP network, funded by the US Administration for COmmuntiy Living, Office of Healthcare Information and Counseling. The State Health Insurance Assistance Program hopes to empower, educate, and assist those individuals who need Medicare.

 

To receive assistance for Medicare visit https://www2illinois.gov/aging/ship, call 1-800-252-8966 or email SHIP at aging.ship@illinois.gov. 

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Stonington Summerfest Great Success

Stonington Summerfest was held over the weekend and was a huge success despite some nasty weather that went through the area. With plenty of new events such as 3 on 3 basketball, dance crews that went through, sand volleyball, and of course food and vendors, there was something to do for everyone. Jody Rusher, says that as far as the event goes it was great to see it go from just people talking about it to an actual real life thing.

 

 

For the 2021 Miss Stonington Summerfest, the winner was Maggie Holthaus with Katelyn Wilson as Miss Congeniality, Tristin Stine as 1st runner up and Alexya Cisco as 2nd runner up.  For 2021 Junior Miss Stonington Summerfest, the winner was Baylee Coffey with Chloe Ebert as 1st runner up and Kiera Neeley as 2nd runner up. In the 2021 Little Miss contest, Faith Montgomery won 2021 Little Miss with Leah Hasquin as runner up, and Oria Becker as 2nd runner up. For the 2021 Stonington Summerfest Little Mister contest, William McDermith won Little Mister with Myles Kater as 1st runner up and Colton McDermith as 2nd runner up.

 

Visit the Stonington Summerfest 2021 Facebook Page for more information. 

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Taylorville City Council To Meet Monday Evening

The Taylorville City Council will meet for their second of a bi-monthly meeting in June on Monday evening at 7 PM at the Municipal building. After reviewing some ordinances, the board will look at some motions for a special events permit and appointing Ben Robinson to the Library Board and Ron McKavetz to the BDD Committee. 

 

The board will also review committee reports. Under lake and airport the board will look to approve some lake lot signs and a mower. Under water and environmental, the board will look to approve starting the engineering process to facilitate a second pump at the Southwest tower and approve a purchase of a cargo trailer. 

 

The biggest discussion will be under ordinances where the board will review a motion to recommend making a change to the Taylorville City Code to require the property owner to be responsible for the service line and connections with the City being responsible for the sewer main and tap with all extenuating circumstances to be taken to the Street and Sewer Committee for review and determination of responsibility.

 

As always there will be Mayoral and City Attorney updates. Stay tuned to Regional Radio News for a complete wrap-up of the City Council meeting and to be able to watch it in it’s entirety after the conclusion.

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New, Larger Dollar General Coming to Pana

 

Pana mayor Nathan Pastor has confirmed to Regional Radio News, that a new and larger Dollar General will be built on Illinois Route 29 on Pana's northwest side.

 

 

Contractors have been preparing the site for the new building, increasing the ground level of the location.

 

 

It's not known what the target date is for the new Dollar General store in Pana to open.

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Sullivan Woman Dies in 2-Vehicle Crash Friday in Decatur

Macon County Coroner Michael Day tells Regional Radio News that a Sullivan woman was pronounced dead on Friday afternoon after a 2-vehicle accident at Monroe and Division Streets in Decatur.

 

89-year-old Christina M. Neeley was a passenger in a transportation van struck by a motor vehicle at one o'clock Friday afternoon.  She was pronounced dead at the Decatur Memorial Hospital emergency room just after 2 o'clock Friday afternoon.

 

Day says an autopsy was conducted Saturday at the McLean County Coroner's Office, with the cause of death determined to be multiple blunt injuries to the chest and abdomen due to the crash.

 

Decatur Police fatality team is investigating the crash, and an inquest is pending.

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High Winds Blow Down Tree Limbs, Crops Friday Night and Saturday Morning

Central Illinois was pounded with high winds and heavy rain Friday night and Saturday morning, causing tree limbs to come down and damaged crops.

 

The National Weather Service in Lincoln reported a 51 mile-an-hour wind gust at the Jacksonville Airport at 8:02 Friday night, while the Chatham area reported 52 mile-an-hour wind gusts.

 

At 12:58 Saturday morning, the Peoria area reported a 77 mile-an-hour wind gust, and at 6:56 Saturday morning, Abraham Lincoln Capital Airport in Springfield reported a 70 mile-an-hour wind gust.

 

Locally, besides a host of tree limbs coming down, crop damage from the high winds was seen in the Taylorville, Millersville, Pana, Tower Hill, Raymond, Harvel, and Morrisonville areas. 

 

 

This damage was seen on Illinois Route 29 just south of the Taylorville Correctional Center.

 

 

This damage was along Illinois Route 29 just south of Millersville.

 

 

 

 

This corn was blown down by high winds, just east of Pana on Illinois Route 16.

 

Several highway signs were also blown over.

 

Cooler and calmer weather is predicted by the Weather Service for the coming week.

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Taylorville Police Hold Scavenger Hunt

40 kids were on hand for a scavenger hunt called the Search and Seizure Scavenger Hunt held by the Taylorville Police Department. The Police Department has held many events like this in an effort to foster relationships between the community and themselves including this event. There were many prizes given away including some Walmart Gift Cards and a brand new skateboard prized at over $100. 

 

The event was open to ages 5-12 with prizes given out to multiple age groups as they competed to see who could find a list of items first, including handcuffs, a baton and other things. Farmers Insurance was on hand to give out raffle tickets for free slushies.  12 year old Mikaela Swiney of Taylorville won the skateboard which was the grand prize as she was able to find all the items in the scavenger hunt first. 

 

The next event that the Taylorville Police Department will hold will be “Fishing with Offishers” that will take place at the Lake Taylorville Marina on July 9th. 

 

 

 

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Greater Taylorville Chamber Holds Annual Banquet Friday Night, Presents Awards

 

Almost 90 people attended Friday night's Greater Taylorville Chamber of Commerce Annual Banquet at the Pillars Event Center.    It was a fun night with Music Bingo being played, a guest speaker and 2 awards presented.

 

 

Guest speaker was Taylorville native and U-S Congressman Rodney Davis, who told the Chamber crowd you can do anything you want in life.

 

 

 

Congressman Davis added that you can learn more from losing than winning.  At the end of his remarks, he called his dad, McDonald's owner Marty Davis, to the platform, where he gave him an early Father's Day present, the pin Rodney was wearing signifying being a member of the U-S Congress.

 

Find the complete audio of his remarks below:

 

 

The Greater Taylorville Chamber presented this year's Boss of the Year award to Doctor Stacey Funderburk, owner of Countryside Veterinarian Service in Taylorville.  Doctor Funderburk was nominated by co-worker Doctor Natalie Kocek, who told attendees why she nominated her boss.

 

 

 

The Greater Taylorville Chamber also presented Countryside Vet Service its Business of the Year Award.  President Sarah Van Huss is at the left, Dr. Natalie Kocek is in the center, and Dr. Stacey Funderburk is at the right.

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State Soil Health Specialist with Illinois NRCS Spoke At Dudley Smith Virtual Field Day

The Dudley Smith Virtual Field Day that was held recently by the University of Illinois Extension Office had some very good presenters. One of them is Stacy Zuber, State Soil Health Specialist with Illinois NRCS, who is new to the position. She says the position itself is new, but she’s happy to be in it. 

 

 

Zuber has spent her whole career working with soil health, and that started with her science background.

 

 

For Zuber it’s not just about conserving the environment for future generations, it’s about improving it.

 

 

Zuber appeared as guests on the WTIM Morning Show.
 

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Dudley Smith Farm Hosted Virtual Field Day

The Dudley Smith Farm Field Day took place recently in a virtual capacity. It provides an avenue for the farmers and the public to keep up with the latest research in the field of agriculture. Ed Ballard, Coordinator of Activities at the Dudley Smith Farm, explained some of the projects they have been working at the Dudley Smith Farm. 

 

 

Ballard continued saying that he’s excited about what they have going on and he loves learning from those around him.

 

 

The Dudley Smith Family is the reason all of this is possible. Ballard says they were land owners who really believed in the local farmer.

 

 

It’s something Ballard describes as a win-win situation.

 

 

Ballard appeared as guests on the WTIM Morning Show.

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Governor Touts New Balanced Budget

Governor JB Pritzker got his $42.3 billion Fiscal Year 2022 budget balanced and according to him, protecting Illinoisans by paying down debts and rebuilding the state stronger than ever coming out of the Pandemic.  Governor Pritzker says that there was uncertainty leading up to this given everything Illinois has been through in the last 15 months.

 

 

Governor Pritzker says that now we have the time to continue to build on this budget.

 

 

The Fiscal Year 2022 is a budget that for the first time in nearly 20 years, the State is paying it’s bills on time.

 

 

Governor Pritzker says the cuts that were taken were needed to cut loopholes and help working class.

 

 

Illinois is expected to receive more than $8.1 billion in federal relief through the COVID-19 Recovery Fund over the next 3 ½ years. 

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