Local News

Illinois Says Schools Must Take Standardized Tests; No Waivers Allowed

Standardized testing for grades K-12 for Taylorville School Districts and other School Districts in Illinois will continue. The US Department of Education along with ISBE is not waiving these tests. Dr. Chris Dougherty, Superintendent of Taylorville School District, along with 673 other Superintendents had asked the State for a waiver this year which will not be granted.



The school continues to see progress through learning, despite the setbacks of COVID.



The school continues to work with those who are at home and at school to work with them and get them on the same page as everyone else. There will be a loss of some days to prep for the standardized testing and that does concern, Dr. Dougherty, somewhat.



The biggest concern is the takeaway on instruction time, but Dr. Dougherty says she has made sure Taylorville School District is prepared for the tests.



Anita Brown, Curriculum Director, will provide leadership for the assessment process and 95% of students are required to take it. 


Sullivan FFA Students Have Learned A Lot From The Program

For John and Natalie Voyles, being a part of the FFA program is in their blood. They are siblings, and both officers for the Sullivan FFA chapter. They decided to join because of their family, and others that they looked up to.


To celebrate National FFA Week, Natalie says that their chapter made breakfast for the teachers.



John was recently in a competition with his record books. He was nervous, but enjoyed the process and made sure he was prepared.



The importance of FFA really struck Natalie in a recent research paper she wrote the focused on agriculture illiteracy. She was able to uncover some interesting stats that exemplify why FFA is a necessity.



John and Natalie Voyles appeared as guests on the Newstalk WTIM Morning Show during National FFA Week.


Central A&M Students And Community Stand Out During National FFA Week

During National FFA Week the focus is generally on the the students. However the students involved in the Central A&M FFA chapter all want to shine the light back on their community for all the support they give. Two officers with the Central A&M FFA program, Vice President Spencer Uphoff and President Ella Forlines, praised the Assumption and Mowequa community.



Central A&M’s FFA chapter is always happy to give back to the community. Even if COVID-19 has limited it to small gestures, Forlines says they still want to find a way to show their appreciation.



Among the members of the chapter, they recently held the Ag Olympics to celebrate National FFA Week, which included a game of life size Hungry Hungry Hippos.



Uphoff says he considers their chapter and its members to be the most tight knit group he’s been a part of.


Uphoff and Forlines appeared as guests on the Newstalk WTIM Morning Show during National FFA Week.


Learn The Warning Signs Of Heart Disease

In a year that is normal and not dominated by COVID headlines, the #1 killer for women in the US is heart disease.  It is a silent killer and for most women, their first sign of heart disease is usually the last. Dr. Holly Novak, a Doctor with Prairie Heart Institute of Illinois say that there are many different risk factors.



Novak says that you should talk to your doctor, especially if you have a family history of heart disease.



As far as heart disease, some of the signs are more discomfort rather than pain.



For women heart disease is a killer and should be taken very seriously.



For more information on heart disease, talk to your local physician.


State Senator Rose Talks Budget, COVID

State Senator Chapin Rose did not hold back his thoughts on Governor JB Pritzker and his handling of the pandemic saying that there has not been nearly enough preparation for the vaccines.



Senator Rose says that the Governor acts like everything is alright, when the reality is very different. Senator Rose doesn’t understand how we’re three months into vaccines and we still don’t have it right.



As far as the budget goes, Senator Rose says that it is dangerous to rely on money that isn’t a guarantee.



Governor Pritzker seems to be immune to what regular people go through, and Senator Rose says that’s a problem.



You can get more information on Senator Chapin Rose by visiting senchapinrose.com. 


WTIM & People's Bank Of Trust Recognizes THS Students Of The Month For February

People's Bank And Trust along with WTIM recognize the Taylorville High School Students Of The Month. Congratulations!!!

L- R: Junior Kamren Heimsness; Senior Natalie Howard; Freshman Stephen Franklin; People’s Bank and Trust Representative Noah Likes 


 SOPHOMORE Gabrielle Kelm 


Taylorville Kiwanis Club Hears from VisionWay Administrator at Weekly Meeting

The Taylorville Kiwanis Club heard from the administrator at VisionWay Christian School in Taylorville, during their weekly meeting Tuesday at the Taylorville Moose Lodge.  


Mrs. Glenda Tolliver reported on how she worked with VisionWay staff, and parents to respond to an ever-changing coronavirus landscape since last March in order to provide the best possible education opportunities for their students.


Tolliver told the Kiwanis Club that for most of last spring, remote learning tools were used with teachers using video presentations to introduce students to new materials with parents overseeing their progress. What she heard from parents was a desire to have their children back in the classroom.


So during the summer, Tolliver worked with teachers, parents and the local health department to make it possible for the students to return to the classroom last fall. In addition to standard cleaning and disinfecting protocols, there was to be no mixing of grades for any school activities, including lunch periods, physical education and chapel. 


They also hired a school nurse for the year. For those parents who preferred not to send their children back to the classroom, remote learning was provided. Eighteen of the school's 198 children chose remote learning.


Two sixth grade VisionWay students, Laila Hancock and Lucy Franklin, also shared some of their experiences since returning to the classroom, at the Kiwanis Club meeting. Both said it was so much better having the teachers available to answer questions and present their lessons in person. They were also glad to be back to school with their friends.


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 their new meeting location, the Taylorville Moose Lodge.  For information on the club, go to taylorvillekiwanis.com.


Meridian High School FFA Students Are Excited About Their New Program

Meridian High Schools FFA Program is still very new. One FFA student who can relate to that is Senior, and Vice President, Walker Brown who is the first of his family members to be involved in the FFA program.



The office of President of the new program is being held by junior Cole Rappé, who is very excited to have FFA.



For anyone who might see a stigma around FFA as a program, junior Hailey Thompson says that there are people from all walks of life who join and take valuable lessons from it.



Senior Austin Clarke recommends that for anyone thinking about joining FFA, do it.



Brown, Rappé, Thompson, and Clarke appeared as guests on the Newstalk WTIM Morning Show during National FFA Week.


Nokomis FFA Students Gain Many Skills Through Their FFA Program

It’s National FFA Week and students are putting their hard work on display. Senior Ty Knodle is the president of the Nokomis chapter, and he is a busy man, including six different record books that he keeps.



Laurel Forrester is a junior, and a reporter, with the Nokomis FFA chapter. Between the office she holds and her record books, she is plenty busy.



Public speaking has been a key area of growth for Knodle during his time with the FFA.



The Nokomis FFA chapter is very thankful for the community they have.



Knodle and Forrester appeared as guests on the Newstalk WTIM Morning Show during National FFA Week.


Celebrations Continue For Taylorville FFA During National FFA Week

National FFA Week is in full swing at Taylorville High School, and it’s a very impressive program. They have four different Vice President offices in the chapter. One of them is held by senior Gracie Corso, who doesn’t have a farming background, but fell in love with FFA program.



Keeping record books of what you do is a big part of any FFA program. It promotes learning by doing and that is exemplified through sophomore Cole Paulek.



There is no limit to how many record books someone can have. Senior Conner Grant started a new one during his senior year focused on restoring a John Deere tractor, which he has loved doing.



During National FFA Week the chapter comes up with themed days for the school. Legends Day is a very important one around Taylorville.



Corso, Paulek, and Grant appeared as guests on the Newstalk WTIM Morning Show during National FFA Week.


New Food Benefits Coming To Children

Governor JB Pritzker was on hand in Springfield on Tuesday to announce benefits for food for over one million Illinois children that need it. These federally funded food benefits are valued at up to $110 million per month. The service is supported by the USDA Food and Nutrition Service and is expected to reach about 200,000 more eligible children this year compared to last year. Governor Pritzker says that this is going to be a huge relief for families that need this.



Governor Pritzker says that this is a big step towards ending hunger in the state.



Representative Sue Scherer talked about struggles that she has seen on a personal level with her own family. 



For families, who have been dealing with COVID, this is a way for them to get food without having to worry about going out and going to classrooms.



Eligible children across the State will automatically receive these benefits on a card that will be mailed directly to homes. A new “Roadmap to End Hunger” in Illinois is expected to be released in the coming months.


447 Area Code Coming To Central Illinois

A new area code is coming to the 217. The Illinois Commerce Commission announced that beginning February 27th, mandatory dialing will occur where all local calls are made within the 217 area code phone number that you will have to start dialing all ten numbers (area code and the phone number) to call out. The ICC says that they have ran out of numbers for the 217 area code and a ne warea code of 447 will be introduced that will overlay the existing 217 area code. 


Some important things to note include-that new 447 area code numbers will introduced on March 27th, you current telephone number including area code will not change unless you seek new phone service.  If you do dial out you will have to dial the area code and telephone number for all local calls. You can also continue to dial 1 plus the area code plus the telephone number for all long distance calls.  Local calls will remain local calls and prices of a call will not change. As far as 9-1-1 is concerned, that will still remain the same as will 2-1-1, 8-1-1, 3-1-1, and 5-1-1.


Make sure when you are giving out your phone number to your friends, families, customers, and your work that you give them the full phone number including area code. Double check to make sure that any automatic dialing services, applications, software, and other types of equipment recognizes 4-4-7 as a an actual real area code. Make sure you change your stationery, advertising materials, personal checks, and personal or pet ID tags if you have your phone number on any of those. 


While many medical services already use ten digits ensure that your medical life alert systems be programmed for ten digit codes. For more information visit the ICC website at www.icc.illinois.gov. 


Springfield Police Officer Arrested For Sexual Misconduct

A Springfield Police Officer is in custody after an investigation revealed three separate sexual misconduct issues. 26-year-old Springfield Police Officer Taylor Staff was arrested after the Illinois State Police investigated criminal allegations of incidents from January of 2020 through July of 2020.


On February 23rd, Division of Criminal Investigation agents concluded a thorough investigation and the Sangamon County State’s Attorney’s office approved an arrest warrant for Staff. Staff was arrested and charged with Official Misconduct, Criminal Sexual Assault, and Custodial Sexual Misconduct. Staff is being held in Sangamon County Jail with a $250,000 cash bond with 10% to apply. 


Anyone with additional information on this case is encouraged to contact ISP Zone 4 at 217-782-4750.


Central A&M FFA Students Praise Community During National FFA Week

During National FFA Week its time to spotlight the hard work from the students involved. Hunter Mott is a senior at Central A&M High School, and vice president of their FFA chapter. He spoke about how great the relationship is between their community and FFA.



The community involvement is a two way street. Treasuerer and senior in the FFA progam at Central A&M Madison Hunter, and Mott both recalled a couple of their favorite community events.



In terms of work for the FFA, Mott has been very astute in getting things done. He’ll be heading to districts in March for his record books.



One thing their chapter is doing to celebrate is something called Ag Olympics. Hunter explains more.



Mott and Hunter appeared as guests on the NEWSTALK WTIM Morning Show during National FFA Week.


Inclement Weather Delays Vaccination Shipments

Delays in vaccination shipments meant no vaccine clinic yesterday. Greg Nimmo, Director of the Chris-Mont Emergency Management Agency says they still were able to run a second dose clinic last week.



Many residents are interested in receiving the vaccine, and despite the best efforts from the Chris-Mont EMA, they aren’t receiving enough supply to fit the need.



Nimmo is happy with how things are going, but says they’re always looking to do more.



Testing numbers are down across both Christian and Montgomery Counties, and Nimmo says they are thankful for that.


Nimmo appeared as a guest on the NEWSTALK WTIM Morning Show.


Rodney Davis Talks Police Reform

With the new criminal justice bill signed into law by Governor JB Pritzker, US Representative Rodney Davis spoke about the bill and the frustrations that he saw in what he felt at one point could have been great.



Representative Davis continued by saying that this bill is going to keep law enforcement officers from doing their job. 



Representative Davis talked a lot about some upcoming things including COVID relief plans.



There is concern from some in Washington including Representative Davis, that there is no plan to get kids full-time back in school.



For more on Rodney Davis, visit www.rodneydavis.house.gov. 


Christian County Sheriff Investigating Fatal Crash In Edinburg

The Christian County Sheriff’s Office and other agencies are investigating a fatal crash in rural Edinburg. At 9:25 PM on Monday evening, 9-1-1 received a call from a passerby that there was a traffic crash in rural Edinburg. When Emergency Crews arrived on the scene they requested the coroner. Coroner Amy Calvert-Winans arrived on the scene and identified the male driver and sole occupant of the vehicle as 38-year-old Zachary G. Holloway of Edinburg. An autopsy was held in Bloomington and toxicology results are pending.  Assisting at the scene was Edinburg Fire and Rescue, Dunn’s Ambulance, Christian County Sheriff’s Office, and Edinburg Police Department.  The Christian County Sheriff’s office and Christian County Coroner’s Office are handling the investigation. 


Taylorville FFA Students Highlighted During National FFA Week

During National FFA Week a light is shed on the hard work that these students put into their work. Senior Isabelle Norris is president of the Taylorville FFA Chapter, and for her it’s a family affair.



The family tradition continues with Isabelle’s little sister, Abby Norris who is a freshman and just getting started with the program. Her beginning has been filled with a lot of learning and a little help from her sister.



Toby Winans is a senior in the FFA program, and he is the vice president of technology, which includes getting to work with drones.



Record books are a key part to what the FFA does, and Isabelle Norris explains what they are.


Isabelle Norris, Abby Norris, and Toby Winans appeared as guests on the NEWSTALK WTIM Morning Show during National FFA Week.


ISP Ramping Up Tickets For Scott's Law Violations

There have been at least 10 Illinois State Police Squad cars that have been struck due to motorists disobeying the Move Over Law in Illinois including six over the last week. Police will be ramping up their patrols to try to promote awareness of the law. Christian County Sheriff Bruce Kettelkamp warns that this activity is very dangerous towards his officers trying to do their job. 



Sheriff Kettelkamp says he’s known some law officers personally who have been affected by Illinoisans not moving over.



The Sheriff just wants people to move over or slow down if they can’t move over. A simple action like that can save people’s lives. It’s not just for the interstate it’s for all roads.



The maximum fine for not moving over or slowing down is $10,000 with a minimum fine of $250. The offense goes on your driving record, and you can lose your driving privileges for up to 24 months in the event of a fatality and six months for a crash. 


Representative Davis Frustrated With Blame Game In Springfield

Governor JB Pritzker has not passed the eye test for US Representative Rodney Davis when it comes to the ways that he has handled the pandemic and the blame game, that he feels the Governor has been doing. Representative Davis says his handling of the pandemic has not been good.



Representative Davis says that with democrats having super majority control of both the senate and the house, he doesn’t understand how Governor Pritzker can continue to blame Republicans.



As far as JCAR is concerned and the new teacher responsibilities, Representative Davis says he has gotten plenty of phone calls from teachers concerned about the new rules.



Representative Davis is also happy that former Speaker of the House Mike Madigan has resigned from the House floor.


For more on Rodney Davis, visit www.rodneydavis.house.gov. 


This Week Is Grain Bin Safety Week

February 21-27 is grain bin safety week, and the Illinois Department of Agriculture along with the State Fire Marshal wants Illinoisans to be aware of the dangers that grain bins present. According to a Purdue University study, the US had a five-year average of 58 agricultural confined space-related injury and fatality cases documented. In 2019, there were 67 cases documented as opposed to 61 in 2018. Illinois had four cases in 2019 and five in 2018.


Joe Small, with the Department of Agriculture says it only takes a little bit for there to be an issue. 



Department of Agriculture Acting Director Jerry Costello says that it is too easy to become complacent dealing with grain bins, and that most people often think that they are too big, strong, and fast to get out of flowing grain. 

Small continued by encouraging farmers to check on the quality of the grain.



Fire departments and districts continue to train for these kinds of events so they are ready to assist and grain awareness week is a great time to check to make sure you have protocols in place, and you remain ready to go with training that you need. For more information, and to visit training online, visit the Grain and Feed Association of Illinois at www.gfai.org or the Grain Handling and Safety Council at www.grainsafety.org. 


Taylorville Teacher Nominated For Prestigious Award

A Taylorville FFA leader has been nominated and given a $500 check for the Golden Owl program. Taylorville FFA Advisor Sue Schafer was selected among 4 other Illinois finalists out of 96 qualifiers. FFA State Secretary Jordi Oliver praised Schafer.



Rod Stoll, who is with Farm Credit Illinois also praised Schafer, saying that agriculture is an integral part to the future of Illinois. 



Stoll also read some of the nominations that talked about the hard work Schafer gave to the students and citizens of Taylorville.



Schafer, who was taken by surprise by the nomination, says that it is an honor.



The winner of the Golden Owl Award will be announced from the 5 finalists in June of 2021. We here at Regional Radio News, salute you Sue Schafer!




Benld Man Dies In Vehicle Accident In Macoupin County

A Benld man was killed in a vehicle accident on US Route 66 near Koniak Lane in Macoupin County on Monday afternoon. According to the Illinois State Police, 67-year-old Frank Wargo of Benld, Illinois was traveling southbound on US Route 66 near Koniak Lane. The vehicle exited the roadway and traveled into a grove of trees and a shallow ditch. The vehicle stopped in the ditch facing southwest. The crash is still under investigation. 


Taylorville Man Arrested For Solicitation & Meth

Taylorville Police arrested a man on Sunday evening after an investigation and search warrant was issued. 24-year-old Kyle D. Brown of Taylorville was arrested on Sunday evening, after a search warrant of the residence.  Brown was arrested for indecent solicitation of a child through internet, and possession of methamphetamine.  Brown was taken to the Christian County Jail for processing. 


Brown made his first appearance in court on Monday. Probable cause was found with a bond set at $50,000 with 10% to apply. Public Defender Tiffany Senger was appointed. First appearance with counsel is set for 10 AM on March 1st. 


The Giving Plate Providing Meals For Busy Families

With everyone getting busier, and rushing around with hectic schedules, Tiffany Watson, with the Giving Plate, says that they have an online food service for people to reheat at home.



For the busy mom and busy dad, Watson says that this is a way to get good homemade food.



With locations in Altamont, Effingham, and Shelbyville, The Giving Plate is expanding its services.



Watson says that with ten selections per week, there is plenty to choose from.



For more information visit https://www.thegivingplatemeals.com/. Tiffany Watson appeared as a guest on the Newstalk WTIM Morning Show from our downtown studios in Shelbyville. 



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