Local News

Construction Begins on Taylorville's New Water Treatment Plant

The construction for Taylorville’s new water treatment plan officially got underway Monday. The 25-million dollar project is expected to run until 2019.


Taylorville mayor Bruce Barry says the contractor has made big promises for the new water treatment plant.



Barry says the state budget crisis delayed the project for a short time, and nearly put the project in jeopardy.



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

Agriculture Jobs Available, Trained Employees Lacking According to State Official

Agriculture jobs are plentiful across the country, but there aren’t enough people to fill those jobs according to one state official. According to Illinois Department of Agriculture Director Raymond Poe, one study says there will be about 58,000 new agriculture jobs over the next five years, but only 35,000 college graduates will be trained to fill those positions.


Poe says these jobs are the kind of jobs people are looking for in today’s economy.



Illinois’ 13th District Representative Rodney Davis says these job numbers give lawmakers an idea of what to focus on in Washington, Springfield, and at the local level.



Both Raymond Poe and Rodney Davis appeared as guests on NewsTalk WTIM live from the Christian County Fair Saturday afternoon.

Fun, New Additions to Illinois State Fair

The Illinois State Fair is adding a game show type atmosphere this year. They're also offering a competition that is literally too much for some people to stomach, competitive eating. State Agriculture spokeswoman Rebecca Clark.
Competitive eating events will take place each full day of the fair at 3pm at on the new Rising Star Stage, near the Lincoln Stage. . Some of the foods include watermelon, corn dogs, mini doughnuts, sweet corn and funnel cake. 

Final Day for Education Funding at Illinois Capitol

It’s the final day of the special session at the Illinois Capitol. And as the Governor waits to veto parts of the education funding bill that Senate President John Cullerton is sending him, Republicans say hurry up and so all parties can work out a compromise. House Minority Leader Jim Durkin…
Small groups of Democrats and Republicans were supposed to be meeting this weekend to find common ground on the funding formula changes proposed in Senate Bill 1. 

Central Illinois Public Transit Working To Provide Public Transportation to Central Illinois Residents

Public transportation is a big issue in many major metropolitan areas across the country, but what about here in Central Illinois? Getting around the region can be a problem for many, and one local company, Central Illinois Public Transit is working to help customers get to where the need to go.


Nathan Nichols is the Mobility Manager at CIPT, and appeared as a guest on the Newstalk WTIM Morning Show live from our downtown Shelbyville Studios, and says no matter the event, Central Illinois Public Transit can help you get there.



CIPT offers several different payment options, including the traditional bus pass. They also offer a discount ticket system that Nichols says can be a good option for parents.



To schedule a ride with Central Illinois Public Transit, give them a call at 1-855-755-2478.

CICBC Bringing Bloodmobile to Stonington Thursday

The Central Illinois Community Blood Center is continuing to recover from the normal shortage of blood this time of year, and they will be hosting a community blood drive in Stonington Thursday. The bloodmobile will be located at 304 North Elm Street in Stonington for people to donate blood between 4 and 7 p.m.


CICBC Donor Relations Consultant Caleb Parker says it does not take much of your time to donate the much needed blood.



Parker says anyone that shows up to donate has a chance to win a vacation package of the winner’s choice.



Parker says it is important to have a good meal and drink plenty of fluids before and after donating blood to keep you feeling your best.

Christian County CEO Students Turning Into Entrepreneurs


Some 50 people gathered at the Taylorville Memorial Hospital auditorium Monday night, for this year's Christian County CEO Student Orientation.  The 14 students and their parents, got to know CEO board members, investors, and the program's facilitator, as they head into this year's program.


Board co-chair Brenda Spurling emcee'ed the meeting, and told Regional Radio News the number of students has grown over the past 3 years.



Spurling added some of the past local CEO students are continuing their businesses.



And, the C-E-O co-chair said she's hoping that those past CEO students and their businesses come back to Christian County.



For more information on the Christian County CEO program, go to christiancountyceo.com.

Villas of Hollybrook Participating in Several Events to Help Fight Alzheimers Disease

The Villas of Hollybrook in Central Illinois is working to help fight the onset of Alzheimer’s Disease by participating and hosting several events to help raise money and awareness of the disease. The Villas will be participating in the Walk to End Alzheimers in Mattoon in September, and will also be holding their own event where they will be selling purple pancakes to help raise money to fight the disease.


Jenny Stephens, Executive Director of the Shelbyville Villas of Hollybrook along with Assistant Director Cathy Kaigley appeared as guests on the Newstalk WTIM Morning Show Live from our Downtown Shelbyville Studios to discuss the events. Several different Villas locations will be involved in the Alsheimers Walk.



Along with the walk, the Villas in Shelbyville will also be hosting an event where they will be selling purple pancakes to help raise money and awareness.


Central Illinois Public Transit Taking Seniors to Illinois State Fair

Central Illinois Public Transit is working to make the residents of Central Illinois more mobile. As a part of this effort, they're offering free rides for Shelby County seniors to anywhere they'd like to go within the county.


Nathan Nichols is the CIPT Mobility Manager says they're able to do this due to grants received for the program.



Along with offering free rides for Shelby County Seniors, the company will be heading to Senior day at the Illinois State fair, and offering a lift to and from the state fairgrounds.



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

Tips for Safely Viewing August's Solar Eclipse

The Illinois department of public health is offering some tips for safely viewing the solar eclipse next month.
it’s a rare event you don’t want to miss on august 21st, but you do need to take some precautions says public health spokesperson Melaney Arnold.
Arnold says homemade filters and regular sunglasses are not safe for looking at the sun.

School Funding Reform in Limbo

Legislative limbo for school funding reform and payment limbo for local schools. A special session has resulted in very little progress in Springfield, but State Senator Chuck Weaver of Peoria is siding with the Governor—who is awaiting Senate Bill 1 to reach his desk so he can veto the measure because it includes hundreds-of-millions of dollars for Chicago teacher pensions.

Lawmakers are scheduled to meet today and Monday. 

Employment Building Slowly in Illinois

Job growth was seen throughout Illinois this past month but its tricky set of numbers to look says the state. Bigger cities in the state saw slow job growth numbers, with only Danville and Rockford losing jobs. But Bob Gough with the Illinois Department of Employment Security says our state is adding jobs at about half the rate of the rest of the country and the size of the potential work force has been shrinking. 

One Man Killed in Three-Car Accident on Route 104 Just West of I-55

One man was killed Friday morning in a car crash on Route 104 just west of I-55. The crash happened just after 11:30 a.m. on 104 at the intersection with Purdom Road, north of Divernon.


Preliminary investigation indicates that a ‘97 GMC Sierra 1500 was slowing to turn left on Purdom Road with a 2014 Chevy Cruze behind the Sierra and a 2008 GMC Sierra following the Chevy Cruze. The 2008 Sierra rear-ended the Cruze, and that impact took the Cruze into the 1997 Sierra. The ‘97 Sierra came to rest on Purdom Road South of 104. The Cruze ended up in the ditch on the right side of 104 along with the 2008 GMC Sierra.


The man killed in the crash has not been identified. The driver of the Chevy Cruze was transported to HSHS St. John’s Hospital with serious injuries.

HSHS Good Shepherd Hospital Offers Several Tips to Avoid Heat Related Illness

Summer brings hot temperatures, and that can lead to various heat related illnesses. There are ways to fight back against things like heat exhaustion and heat stroke however, and HSHS Good Shepherd Hospital has several tips to beat the heat.


Shelly Evans is the ER Manager at HSHS Good Shepherd, and appeared as a guest on the Newstalk WTIM Morning Show live from our downtown Shelbyville studios. She says being aware of what to look for plays a big part in staying safe.



One of the biggest challenges people face when the mercury rises is simply staying hydrated. There are some popular beverages however that people will want to avoid.



Evans also suggested to make sure your pets are well hydrated and taken care of during the hotter months, and also reminded listeners to check in on their elderly relatives.

New Sign and Scoreboards Being Put Up at THS


A new front sign and new scoreboards are being put up at Taylorville High School. The sign and scoreboards were made possible through a partnership between the Taylorville School District and Dimond Brothers Insurance in Taylorville.


Dimond Brothers Taylorville Agency Manager Dan McNeely is also the Freshman Football coach at THS. He says the agency buys the signs and then partners with other local businesses to provide advertising opportunities on the scoreboards.



McNeely says this program isn’t a new concept. Dimond Brothers has already purchased signs and scoreboards in many other central and eastern Illinois school districts.



McNeely appreciates and wants to thank those businesses that are supporting the efforts to put up the new sign and scoreboards at the high school.


Shelby County 4-H Fair Has Another Successful Year

The Shelby County 4-H Fair went off without a hitch this week. The fair ran from Monday through Wednesday at the Shelby County Fairgrounds.


Yolanda Nation is the 4-H Program Coordinator in Shelby County. She says there were over 200 exhibitors this year, and a lot of them were new.



Nation says evening activities bought the community together and to the 4-H Fair in the evenings, making the event that much better.

Cable One Completes Purchase of New Wave Communications

Cable One, the 7th largest cable company in the country, has completed its acquisition of New Wave Communications, an operator who serves much of central and southern Illinois, as well as southern Indiana, and Missouri.


Trish Niemann, Public Relations Director for Cable One, says the company is committed not only to improving customer experience, but they want to improve the communities they serve outside of through their services.



The deal closed in early May, and was an all-cash sale for 735-million dollars. Cable One is publically traded, and with the New Wave addition, now serves about 1-point-2 million customers in 21 states.

After Ohio State Fair Tragedy, Illinois Gives One Ride the Boot

The investigation of a deadly amusement ride accident at the Ohio State Fair has led to Illinois Labor Department and Agriculture officials to give a ride the boot before next month's state fair kicks off. Ag spokeswoman Rebecca Clark.

Clark notes the Illinois State Fair goes to great lengths to ensure ride safety.

The Department of Labor is shutting down eleven other similar rides across the state. 

Gas Prices Higher Than a Year Ago in Illinois, Crude Oil Production Also Up in US

The demand in both the gas and diesel markets remains strong this summer. The average price for gasoline in Illinois is $2.32 a gallon compared to $2.15 the same time a year ago, according to Triple-A numbers. GROWMARK’s Harry Cooney says crude oil production is also up in the US.

Chicago currently has the highest average price at the pump in Illinois at $2.68 a gallon. The lowest average price is $2.11 in Champaign. Diesel prices are averaging $2.40 a gallon in Illinois compared to $2.32 a year ago. 

Republican Rep Says Time Might be Now for Working Together on ACA

Early this morning the vote to repeal the affordable care act fell a vote short in the US Senate. The move deals Republican lawmakers who ran on repeal and replace a blow to campaign promises that were made. Illinois Republican Congressman Darin LaHood says he watched last night and feels as if there is still unfinished business on the heath care front. 

LaHood says he watched the vote unfold early in the morning. 

LaHood says that there is still unfinished business on the heath care front and now Republicans and Democrats might be forced to work together to fix problems with the ACA.

IDNR Looks Forward to Working With Budget This Year

With the state budget now firmly in place, departments across the Illinois state government are finally getting to start planning what to do with their allocated funds for the 2017-18 fiscal year. One of those departments is the Illinois Department of Natural Resources.


IDNR Director and Morrisonville native Wayne Rosenthal was the keynote speaker at the Ag Day Appreciation Luncheon Thursday afternoon. He says the department has faced its share of cuts over the years, but he’s amazed at the resiliency and work ethic of those managing Illinois’ parks.



Rosenthal told a story of how no budget could have affected some people on the happiest day of their lives.



Rosenthal says it’s important to take care of the state’s parks because they provide outdoor opportunities to Illinois residents.

Signups for Christian County LEAD Program Nearly Here

Signups are right around the corner for the Christian County LEAD program. The program teaches its participants about many different aspects surrounding Christian County, as well as honing an individual's leadership skills as well.
Patty Hornbuckle, CEO of the Greater Taylorville Chamber of Commerce says sign up forms for those interested should be available in the near future.
There has been growing interest in the class, with an excess of willing participants last year, leading to a waiting list to sign up.
Hornbuckle appeared as a guest on the Newstalk WTIM Morning Show.

LLCC Offering Free Classes Teaching Watershed Management Practices

The ag watershed nutrient loss reduction strategy has been on the minds of many in the ag community around Central Illinois, and one local college is now offering classes on how to better manage local watersheds. Lincoln Land Community College in Springfield is offering a series of classes free of charge for those interested in learning more on the subject.
David Bowman is the Program Coordinator of Workforce Development at LLCC, and says the courses will be available this fall on a first come first serve basis.
One of the added values of the classes is that not only are they free of charge, but the credit a student taking the classes receives is transferable to a number of local universities.
Bowman appeared as a guest on the Newstalk WTIM Morning Show.

Thursday Fair Update: Tractor Pull Cancelled, Carnival Still Open Thursday Evening

Due to the wet conditions, the tractor pull at the Christian County Fair scheduled for tonight has been cancelled. The carnival will still be opening this evening.


Christian County Fair Board President Jim Olive says there is extra reason to come out to the carnival tonight.



Olive says there will also be an armband night tomorrow night. The price for the armband Friday will be $20.

Showing Livestock at the Christian County Fair Leads to Long Days of Work for Local 4-H Members

Theres a lot of work that goes into showing animals at the Christian County Fair. From long days leading up to the event, taking care of the animal's day to day needs, to all of the prep work that is put in the morning of the show.


Kaitlyn Hadden, a local 4-H member showing cattle at the Christian County Fair joined the Newstalk WTIM Morning Show live at the Christian County Fair Wednesday morning, and shared some details on one of the cows she was showing that day.



There's a lot of work that takes place to get an animal ready for show. Hadden described some of the things she does in order to get her animals ready.


Presenting Livestock on the Big Stage Presents It's Own Set of Challenges

The goal of many kids involved in 4-H who show livestock is to get the chance to show on the big stage. One local 4-Her, Sydney Burtalino has had the opportunity to show in several large livestock shows across the country, appearing in shows in places such as Denver and Louisville.


Burtalino shared how she had one of the pigs she showed in Louisville with her while she was showing at the Christian County Fair.



According to Burtalino, showing livestock on a bigger stage presents it's own set of challenges, including simply dealing with the larger number of people at the event.



Burtalino appeared as a guest on the Newstalk WTIM Morning Show live from the Christian County Fairgrounds.

Christian County 4-H Member Explains Process of Raising Animals For Show at Christian County Fair

It's been a busy week so far for the kids involved in the Christian County 4-H program, and many of those kids were showing the various livestock projects they've been raising on Wednesday at the Christian County Fair.


Tanner Mickey is involved in 4-H, and was showing several different animals. He took a break from showing to appear as a guest on the Newstalk WTIM Morning Show broadcasting live from the fair Wednesday morning, and explained some of the differences between the different animals he shows.



Raising an animal is a hard job, especially if you intend to show that animal at the fair. Mickey previewed his day to day routine to care for his animals.




Democrats and Republicans Continue to Spar Over SB1

Democrats and Republicans continue the fight on where Senate Bill 1 is heading. Govenor Bruce Rauner said Wednesday that House Speaker Michael Madigan is using local school districts as a pawn in the game to get Senate Bill 1 into law. 48th District State Senator Andy Manar says he he no idea what the governor’s plan is for education funding.


Rauner says Illinois’ students are the ones being held hostage in this political game.



Manar says he has made many requests for meetings with Rauner leading up to the special session that started Wednesday. The response he continues to get from the governor is “no.”



Rauner says Speaker Madigan inserted the Chicago pension payment into the bill at the last minute, and it takes money away from other local school districts. Manar says he wants to hear the governor’s plans for the bill so the two sides can reach a compromise on the bill.

Durbin Calls for Senate to Get Back to its Roots in Healthcare Debate

After back to back defeats for Republicans hoping to repeal Obamacare, Senator Dick Durbin said it's time to get back to basics. He called on Republicans to work in a bipartisan, public manner to strengthen the health care law.



Durbin said Senate Republicans are avoiding traditional Senate procedures and crafting an ever-changing health care repeal bill behind closed doors with no input from health care experts, providers, patient groups, or the American public. 

Cities Will See Less Tax Revenue After State Law Changes

A new law tucked into the state’s package of budget bills is going to take tax money away from local communities that they have come to rely on. The state is now charging a two percent fee to collect local sales tax. State wide sales tax is six and half percent; on top of that cities are able to place their own sales taxes. Now the state is going to charge local governments two percent of that total as a collection fee. Bill McCarty says in all the state is expected to keep close to $60 million but he doubts that it’s only to cover state expenses.

McCarty says the fee has never been collected before and its impact will be compounded by another change. The state is going to hold ten percent of all municipalities’ local government distributive funds. But the state says that will only happen for 1 year. 

Teresa Nelson Named Miller Media Group Employee of the Quarter


Teresa Nelson (left), an account manager with the Miller Media Group in Taylorville, was voted by fellow employees as the company's second quarter "Employee of the Quarter" recently.

Nelson has been with the Miller Media Group for 6 1/2 years as an account manager and special events director. 

She was given a 100-dollar check by company general manager Kami Payne (right), and is in a drawing for a Florida vacation to be given away next April.

Shelbyville Man Found Guilty of Predatory Criminal Sexual Assault of a Minor

A Shelbyville man has been convicted of predatory criminal sexual assault of a young girl. A jury found 37-year-old Michael A. Harding guilty last week. He was originally charged on November 5, 2015. Harding will face sentencing on the charge on September 22nd at 11 a.m. 

CNB Bank and Trust Holding School Supply Drive

It’s hard to believe the new school year is right around the corner, but CNB Bank and Trust is looking to help some students be ready for the new year. The Taylorville CNB location is participating in the bank’s annual School Supply Drive, and school supply and monetary donations raised in Taylorville will go towards the CEFS Head Start program.


Meagan Marron is the Lead Teller and Facility Coordinator at the CNB Taylorville branch. She says because the items are going to CEFS Head Start, the branch is looking for items geared to younger kids.



Marron says they chose CEFS Head Start because they are required to bring in donations throughout the year.



Marron says monetary donations will be accepted as well. Donations can be brought to the CNB Bank and Trust in Taylorville or monetary donations can be made at their website, which you can visit by clicking here. Marron says the bank will match donations made online. The drive runs until August 11.

Crimestoppers Crime of the Week - July 26, 2017

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


Sometime during the overnight hours between Sunday, July 16, 2017 and Monday, July 17, 2017, person or persons unknown made entry into a vehicle parked at 715 Haner Street.  While inside, the unknown subject or subjects took several knives and a wallet.  There appeared to be no damage done to the vehicle 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 $1,000.00 for information that leads to an arrest and you do not have to give your name.  Crimestoppers will pay double the normal reward for information that leads to an arrest for the crime of the week.


You can contact Crimestoppers at 824-9100, at our website Christiancountycrimestoppers.org, or by texting CRIMES (274632) and then your tip.  As always, you will remain anonymous. 

Christian County Little Miss, Jr. Miss, and Miss Christian County Results

2017 Little Miss Christian County Pageant L to R: 1st runner up Kenlee Durbin of Taylorville 2017 Little Miss Miss Christian County Queen Alysse Brown of Taylorville . 2nd Runner up Blakee Edwards of Taylorville. 


2017 Jr. Miss Christian County pageant L to R: Miss Congeniality Alaina Deal of Morrisonville, 2016 Jr. Miss Queen Madison Lush, 2017 Jr. Miss Christian County Lauren Phillips of Pana, 1st runner up Jhia Walker of Morrisonville 2nd runner up Rachel Williams of Tovey.


2017 Miss Christian County Pageant. L to R: 3rd runner up Meredith Epley of Pana, 2016 Miss Christian County Myah Herbord, 2017 Miss Christian County and People's Choice Award Emily Morrison of Taylorville, 1st runner up Olivia Graham of Taylorville, 2nd runner up Hayden Baker of Taylorville, Miss Congeniality Makala Finks of Taylorville.

Area McDonalds Part of Test for New Garlic Butter Parmesan Fries

Several McDonalds locations in the Regional Radio listening area have a new product on their menu. Customers can now order Garlic Butter Parmesan Fries, either a la carte, or as part of a combo meal.


Brad Davis, who owns McDonalds locations in Taylorville, Pana, Shelbyville and Vandalia appeared as a guest on the Newstalk WTIM Morning Show to discuss the new product. He says the fries are actually a part of a McDonalds test to see how they do.



A lot of work goes into bringing new products on the market for McDonalds, from an idea in the test kitchen, to a full fledged menu item.



Davis says he expects the Garlic Butter Parmesan Fries to be available until around Labor Day.

National Speed Awareness Day Serves As Reminder That Slowing Down Prevents Accidents and Saves Lives

July 26th is National Speed Awareness Day and the Illinois State Police want motorists to slow down while out on the roadways. The ISP along with County and Local officers will be out in greater numbers in an effort to keep speeds slower, and the roads safer.


Sgt. Sean Ramsey with the Illinois State Police says they primary want to use the day to help educate the public about the dangers speeding pose.



Sgt. Ramsey says slowing down helps prevent crashes and saves lives, and shared how a recent patrol effort helped keep accidents to an absolute minimum.



Sgt. Sean Ramsey appeared as a guest on the Newstalk WTIM Morning Show.

Taylorville Native Serving In Romania with U.S. Navy


A Taylorville native is a part of the U.S. Navy’s efforts to defend ballistic missiles in Eastern Europe. Fire controlman Aegis First Class Petty Officer Ryan Hill started his current tour in March. Hill works on the networks and computer systems used by the missile systems used by the navy.


Hill says when you look around Romania, it is sometimes tough to tell Romania and Illinois apart.



One of the first things Hill wants to do when he returns to Central Illinois is visit one of Taylorville’s most iconic businesses.



Hill says there are some everyday activities in the states that are a luxury for him overseas.



This is Hill’s fifth tour of duty. His current tour runs until October.

Lake Shelbyville Army Corps of Engineers Preparing for Aquafest

The Lake Shelbyville U.S. Army Corps of Engineers wants you to enjoy a day on the beach at Lake Shelbyville. The Army Corps of Engineers will be hosting Aquafest on Saturday, August 5 starting at noon at Dam West Beach on Lake Shelbyville. The beach fee will be waived on that day, and everyone is welcome to attend.


Dustin Wolf is a Park Ranger with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers at Lake Shelbyville. He says there will be plenty of safety related activities for kids and adults.



Wolf says Aquafest is a way to educate kids on water safety so they understand from a young age.



For additional information, visit their facebook page here, call the Lake Shelbyville Interpretive Services and Outreach Department at 217-774-3951 ext. 2, or email lakeshelbyville@usace.army.mil.

Another Democrat in Running for the 13th District of Illinois

A new name in the running for the Democratic nomination in the state’s 13th Congressional District. A third democrat, Erik Jones announced on Monday that he wants the seat. Jones is an Edwardsville lawyer who has a background in government. Jones previously was an investigative counsel for the US House Committee on Oversight and the US Senate’s Commerce Committee. Jones is now in an increasingly crowded field of Democrats in the primary. He joins perpetual candidate Dr. David Gill and Betsy Dirksen Londrigan. The 13th is currently represented by Republican Rodney Davis of Taylorville.

Class Action Lawsuit Aimed at Monsanto Over Dicamba Spraying

A lawsuit filed last week accuses Monsanto sales representatives of secretly giving farmers assurances of using “off label” methods for a dicamba herbicide formulation. The St Louis Post-Dispatch reports the lawsuit claims: “This was Monsanto’s real plan: publicly appear as if it were complying, while allowing its seed representatives to tell farmers the opposite in person.”


A Tennessee weed management expert, Larry Steckel, says in the suit that “it’s almost impossible” to follow label directions for dicamba-based herbicides, given the recent changes that have surfaced over drift allegations. Formulations were changed to dicamba-based herbicides following an outbreak of drift incidents last year to reduce volatility and drift. However, those changes have not seemed to slow reports of drifts problems in 2017.


The suit says the defendants “actually benefit” from rampant drift, because it pressures farmers to adopt dicamba-tolerant seed to avoid damage. Monsanto and BASF indicated to the Post-Dispatch that they were aware of the suit but declined to comment on specific allegations. Both companies cited their efforts to educate growers about correct application of dicamba.

Congress Reverses Waterway Cuts But Doesn't Provide Funding

House and Senate appropriators have reversed the president’s proposed cuts to Army Corps inland waterways funding, but still provide no money to modernize critical locks on the Upper Mississippi and Illinois Rivers.


The good news is a reversal of a 17 percent cut the White House proposed to the Army Corps' civil works budget, and full-use of Inland Waterways Trust Fund annual revenues, boosted by higher barge diesel taxes.


Waterways Council Senior Vice-President Debra Calhoun says the downside is a continued lack of planning and design money for the Navigation and Ecosystem Sustainability Program.



Calhoun says the Upper Miss and Illinois River locks modernization is part of the Army Corps’ priority projects list, and the Trump Administration wants to speed up NESP work from a scheduled 25 years, to 10 years. But Calhoun says there’s a political problem.



Calhoun argues the Upper Mississippi locks have far outlived their 50-year design-life. Many were built in the 1930s and cannot accommodate longer modern barges that need to be separated to get through the ancient locks.


Congress authorized modern new locks on the Upper Mississippi and Illinois Rivers in 2007, but actual funding was never provided.

USDA Rural Development Lead Comments on Priorities

The Department of Agriculture’s rural development lead says USDA is seeking to create an environment where rural America can prosper.


Ann Hazlett oversees the Rural Utilities Service, the Rural Business Service, and the Rural Housing Service. She was appointed to the newly created position of Assistant to the Secretary for Rural Development last month.


The appointment is part of a restructuring plan that eliminates the undersecretary position for rural development, a plan that’s met some opposition. USDA says the move allows for an increased emphasis on Rural Development that’s needed in the face of economic difficulties in rural communities.


An Indiana native, Hazlett has worked on agriculture and rural issues for more than fifteen years. She says there are many challenges in rural America that USDA will examine…



Another priority for rural development is delivering broadband internet to rural areas, which USDA considers a necessity…



Hazlett is a graduate of Kansas State University and before her role at USDA served as Chief Counsel to the majority on the Senate Agriculture Committee. By removing the undersecretary position and putting rural programs under an appointed position, Hazlett was able to start work immediately at USDA.


Other divisions of USDA that are overseen by an undersecretary are awaiting new leadership. Currrent American Soybean Association CEO Stephen Censky was nominated by President Trump to serve as the USDA deputy secretary. President Trump has also nominated Ted McKinney for Under Secretary for Trade and Foreign Agricultural Affairs and Sam Clovis for Under Secretary for Research, Education and Economics.

Central Illinois Public Transit Highlighted at Taylorville Kiwanis Club Meeting


Nathan Nichols (center), Mobility Manager for Central Illinois Public Transit in Christian County, was Tuesday's guest speaker at the weekly meeting of the Taylorville Kiwanis Club at the Taylorville Memorial Hospital auditorium.  Raedena Ryan (left) was program chair; Will Perkins (right), is the Kiwanis Club president and presided at the meeting.




The Taylorville Kiwanis Club heard about Central Illinois Public Transit, during their Tuesday luncheon at the Taylorville Memorial Hospital auditorium.

Mobility Manager Nathan Nichols told the club about the non-profit organization, that brought public transportation to Christian County nearly 2 years ago.  Nicols said drivers are based in both Taylorville and Pana, with the agency's main office in Effingham serving several counties.

Christian County public transit service is available Monday thru Friday, and provides low cost or free transportation to and from practically anywhere in the county.

Nichols said that planned trips are on the schedule to medical providers in Springfield, as well as Senior Day at next month's Illinois State Fair.

Central Illinois Public Transit is supported by a number of federal, state and local agencies.

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.

Pana Man Sentenced to 22 Years in Prison for Home Invasion, Arson

A Pana man has been sentenced to 22 years in prison for breaking in to an ex-girlfriend’s home and setting it on fire.


56-year-old Brian K. Ferguson was convicted of Home Invasion, a Class X felony, and Residential Arson, a class A felony, back in May. He was sentenced Monday afternoon.


Ferguson could have faced 6 to 30 years in prison on the home invasion charge and 4 to 15 years on the arson charge. After arguments from the state and Ferguson’s defense counsel, Judge Brad Paisley sentenced Ferguson to 22 years in prison. Because the home invasion charge is a Class X felony, he must serve 85 percent of the 22-year sentence, or at least 18.7 years in prison.

Pana Teen Will Face Trial in Murder of Pana Man


A Pana teen will face a trial for the beating death of a Pana man. 18-year-old Quinton L. Morrissey had a preliminary hearing Monday afternoon to see if there is enough evidence to take the case to a trial.


The arresting officer testified in the hearing, and State’s Attorney Mike Havera along with Morrisey’s counsel, Public Defender Gregory Grigsby made their arguments for why the case should or should not move forward.


Morrissey is accused of killing 59-year-old Stephen L. Presnell.


Judge Brad Paisley found probable cause for the case to go to a trial. The defense waived arraignment and pleaded not guilty to the first degree murder charge. The defense requested a jury trial in the case. The next pre-trial court date is set for October 23rd at 10 a.m.

Jim Bohannon Says Potential Replacements For Attorney General Jeff Sessions Unclear

Tensions are growing between President Donald Trump, and Attorney General Jeff Sessions. Jim Bohannon, host of the Jim Bohannon show heard weeknights on Newstalk WTIM says should Sessions leave his position, it's unclear as to who would replace him.


Bohannon appeared as a guest on the Newstalk WTIM Morning Show and says the situation between the President and the Attorney General is interesting, considering Session's early support of Trump.



One of the sources of tension between the two stems from Sessions recusing himself from the ongoing investigation into possible ties between the Trump campaign and Russia. Bohannon says because of this, he doesn't see one possible name to replace Sessions, former New York City Mayor Rudy Guliani, being named to the post.



Bohannon says he personally would like to see South Carolina Congressman Trey Gowdy considered for the position should Sessions leave or be removed from his position.

Christian County Fair Officially Under Way


The Christian County Agricultural Fair is officially underway. The festivities began with a ribbon cutting this morning in front of the fair offices. Monsanto also presented a bench to the fair as a part of the opening festivities.



Christian County Fair Board President Jim Olive says the Miss, Jr. Miss, and Little Miss Christian County Fair pageants will kick off the evening festivities tonight.



Olive says the weather shouldn’t hold people back from coming out to the fair.



For full coverage of the Christian County Fair, visit the Christian County Fair page on TaylorvilleDailyNews.com.

Christian County CEO Holds Student, Parent Orientation Monday Night

Around 50 investors, parents and students, attended Monday night's Christian County C-E-O Student Orientation at the Taylorville Memorial Hospital auditorium.

Following a light meal, C-E-O board co-chair Brenda Spurling thanked everyone for attending.  Following introductions, she then introduced C-E-O facilitator Dick Adams, who outlined the program and what the 14 students that will be in this year's class, can expect, including starting their own business.

Adams added they'll personally visit many Christian County businesses.

And, the Christian County C-E-O facilitator told the group the students will be doing some public speaking during the school year.

For more information on the Christian County C-E-O program, go to christiancountyceo-dot-com.

New Shelbyville Church Get Pews to Call Their Own

A church is hardly a church without pews, but one Shelbyville church that has been reborn in the past year no longer has to worry about not having pews. New Free Methodist Church has been next Macari’s Service Center in Shelbyville since the beginning of the year, and the church’s pastor says the new pews help the church take one more step forward as they build their ministry.


Ronald Newman is the Pastor of New Free Methodist Church. He says the church was borrowing pews before these were purchased, and they are happy they no longer have to worry about transporting the borrowed pews.



Newman says the church is now looking to form a Free Methodist Society and expanded their presence in Shelbyville.



Newman says there are plenty of good churches in Shelbyville, and his church is reaching out to those who do not have a church home.

LLCC to Offer Free Ag-Related Courses

Lincoln Land Community College will offer select courses for free this fall. LLCC will offer an agriculture watershed management class and a landscape lake ecology class at no cost to students. The classes are being offered for free thanks to grant money from the U.S. Department of Labor.


David Bowman is the Program Coordinator for Workforce Development at LLCC. He says the free classes offer students a free opportunity to see if either of these program is a route they want to take for their degree.



LLCC has a 2+2 agreement with SIU-Edwardsville, meaning students completing their agriculture watershed management and horticulture programs at LLCC can transfer to SIUE for a bachelor’s degree in integrative studies. Bowman says the student would not have to worry about their LLCC credit transferring to SIUE.



For more information on the agriculture watershed management and horticulture courses at LLCC, you can give Bowman a call at 786-2317, or you can click here for ag watershed management courses or here for horticulture courses.

Hires Bring Problems to Rauner

As a number of new hires have been brought into Governor Bruce Rauner’s administration one has been fired for past comments on social media and another is facing scrutiny. Brittany Carl, a communications staffer, compared abortion to Nazi Germany’s eugenics programs while writing a blog post. This after Rauner’s “body man”, a person who travels everywhere with him, was ousted just a day or so after being hired for past racist and homophobic tweets. According to Rauner he doesn’t agree with every position that everyone who works for him has taken.

Rauner says even though many of these new hires are from extremely conservative groups his perspective isn’t any different than it was a when he decided to run for office.

Speed Awareness Day Wednesday

Speed awareness day will be observed all across the state of Illinois on Wednesday. Illinois State Police Trooper Jason Wilson from District 7 in East Moline says the effort will involve basically all levels of law enforcement.

Trooper Wilson adds that the goal is not to just simply write tickets, but to help save lives.

Special Session For SB 1 Starts Mid Week

Without an education spending reform bill on his desk at noon Monday, the Governor held true on a promise. He’s ordering a special session to bring lawmakers back in order to try and force action on the matter. Senate Bill 1 is waiting to be sent to Rauner, it’s a bill he’s promised to veto parts of. Rauner contends Democrats are playing political games by not sending him the bill. He says it’s the Democrats that want a crisis of schools not opening on time to force their vision of school funding forward.

Rauner has been vague on what changes he wants or how he’d alter the bill that passed both the House and Senate. The session starts on Wednesday.

Taylorville Park Board Adopts Tax Levy for 2017-18

The Taylorville Park Board approved an ordinance levying necessary taxes for the 2017-18 fiscal year at their regular board meeting Monday night. The total levy for the park district came to $682,000 for fiscal year 17-18.


Park Board Attorney Quinn Broverman explains how the levy breaks down.



The board initially passed the levy for public inspection at their June 26th meeting. The board will meet again Monday, August 28th at 7 p.m. at the board room at Manners Park.

SB1 Now Or Special Session on Wednesday

Governor Rauner issued a noon deadline today to get an education funding bill on his desk or he’s calling a special session. The state budget passed with a clause in that tied spending at K – 12 schools to evidence based models of funding – that’s Senate Bill 1. But Rauner doesn’t want the bill or at least most of it to move forward, so he’s asking for the bill in order to use his amendatory veto and change parts of what the House and Senate passed.

Rauner says today that he’d be happy to discuss a new bill after he gets current one on his desk. If doesn’t, he says the special session starts on Wednesday.

Christian County 4-Her Fighting Cancer Through 4-H Project

The Christian County Fair kicks officially gets underway Tuesday, however those involved in the Christian County 4-H program got an early start to the festivities. 4-H kids were showing off projects they've been working on in the general show on Monday at the expo building on the fairgrounds.
Caleb Grover participates in 4-H through New Vision 4-H club, and entered several projects into the show. Grover says the 4-H program has helped him gain a better understanding of what direction he wants to head in life after 4-H.
Grover is currently pursuing his goal of becoming a doctor through projects done through 4-H, including a project where he has done medical research to help find a cure for cancer.
Grover appeared as a guest on the Newstalk WTIM Morning Show live from the Christian County Fairgrounds.

4-H Ambassadors Assisting Leaders With 4-H Activities Througout the Year

The Christian County 4-H program is a large operation with many different facets to it. Because of this, many kids within the 4-H program serve as 4-H ambassadors, to assist program leaders with the many duties they have.
Brooke Bates is a student involved in the Christian County 4-H program, and serves as an ambassador.  She took a break from her time assisting 4-H program coordinators at the general show at the Christian County Fair, to appear as a guest on the Newstalk WTIM morning show. Bates explained just what being a 4-H ambassador means.
Along with serving as a 4-H ambassador, Bates also had five projects entered in the general show. She says many of these projects revolve around interior design.

4-H Livestock Work Culminating With 4-H Auction July 27th at Christian County Fair

The Christian County Fair kicks off this week, which means local 4-H kids are busy showing off the various projects and livestock they've been working on and raising over the past year. For those who raise livestock as a 4-H project, they have the chance to auction off those animals during the 4-H livestock auction, taking place on Thursday.
Hayden Baker is president of the Christian County 4-H Clover Club, and assists with the auction. She says she enjoys watching the joy the kids have as they participate in the auction.
The livestock auction is the culmination of the work the 4-H kids have put in, and provides an opportunity to be rewarded financially for the work they've put in.
The Christian County 4-H Livestock auction takes place at 6pm on Thursday, July 27th at the Livestock building on the west end of the Christian County Fairgrounds.

Shelby County Relay For Life Event Quickly Approaching

The Relay for Life of Shelby County is right around the corner. The event is coming up on August 12th from noon to midnight at Forest Park in Shelbyville, and this year’s theme is “Wish Upon a Cure.”


Sarah Lucht is the Senior Community Development Manager with the American Cancer Society. She says there will be plenty of games and costumes related to the “Wish Upon a Cure” theme.



Lucht says participants don’t need to be walking for 12 hours to participate. She says the event is about celebrating survivors of cancer.



Lucht says anyone with any questions should feel free to ask.



For a link to their website, click here or to visit their Facebook page, click here.

CICBC Bloodmobile Coming to Christian County Fair Saturday Looking for Donors

Christian County Fair-goers will have the opportunity to help save lives and help their community as the Central Illinois Community Blood Center will have a Bloodmobile at the fair from 10:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday to collect blood.


Caleb Parker is a Donor Relations Consultant with the CICBC. He says each donor present will be entered to win $2,500 towards the vacation of their choice.



Parker says it’s a short process from registration to blood donation.



Parker says with the Bloodmobile being during the fair, donors will have plenty of options for food and drinks after they donate as well. 

Monday Deadline for Education Funding

There is another line in the sand from the Governor to the legislature. Send him Senate Bill 1, a bill focused on education spending, so he can use his veto pen and according to him make sure that schools open on time. Rauner today asked for the bill by Monday or he will call a special session every day until the bill reaches his desk. Rauner maintains that SB 1 is loaded with a bailout for Chicago public schools and it would add millions in spending to support CPS pension payments.

Rauner continued to use Speaker Mike Madigan’s name when placing blame on the bill not reaching his desk, even though the bill is coming from the Senate.

Durbin: Spicer Had An Impossible Job

The Trump Administration will look a little different moving forward during White House press briefings after Press Secretary Shawn Spicer resigned from his job today. US Senator Dick Durbin says Spicer had an impossible job to do.

ACA Repeal Could Devastate Nursing Home Resident

The US Senate is planning on taking a vote this week on the repeal of the Affordable Care Act. US Senator Dick Durbin says a repeal would be disastrous with one Republican measure to replace the ACA ending health coverage for 22 million people another for 32 million. Along with those changes, Durbin says a pending massive cut to Medicaid funding would hurt seniors and families caring for elderly members.

Durbin also stressed that he wants to see the votes go through regular order in the Senate so debate and committees could be held on the possible changes. 

Central Illinois Man Dies in Train / Farm Implement Accident Thursday

A Central Illinois man has died after a train crashed with a farm implement in Moultrie County.


Sangamon County Coroner Cinda Edwards sent a release Friday afternoon saying 41-year-old Robert D. Day of Hammond was pronounced dead Thursday night around 8:30 p.m. at Memorial Medical Center’s Emergency Room in Springfield.


The crash happened near Illinois Route 121 and 2000 North in Moultrie County. Preliminary results from an autopsy shows that Day died from injuries sustained in the accident. The incident is under investigation by the Sangamon County Coroner’s Office and the Moultrie County Sheriff’s Office.

Findlay Walleye Festival Looking to Bring Tourists, Business to Findlay

The Findlay Walleye Festival is approaching, taking place July 28th through the 30th. The Festival features a variety of different events and attractions for people to enjoy, and is designed to help bring tourists and business to the town.


Jody McCormick works with the Festival to help promote the event, and appeared as a guest on the Newstalk WTIM Morning Show live from our downtown Shelbyville studios, and gave a brief history of the event.



The festival also features a parade on Saturday. McCormick says this year’s parade grand marshal deserved the nod.



The festival will wrap up festivities on Sunday with music, pulled pork sandwiches, and vendors.

Governor Rauner Calls On Lawmakers to Send SB1 to His Desk

Governor Rauner is urging Illinois lawmakers to send Senate Bill 1 to his desk so schools can open on time. The governor made the plea Friday morning at Auburn High School in Auburn.


Rauner says it’s time for everyone on both sides of the aisle to come together for students, parents, and teachers.



Rauner ordered lawmakers to have the bill on his desk by noon on Monday. If not Rauner says he will call a special session, calling all lawmakers back to Springfield until an education funding bill is law. Rauner says it’s time to stop playing political games.



Rauner again called out Speaker Mike Madigan for the situation Illinois schools are in, saying Speaker Madigan and his majority has made Illinois “the worst state in America for supporting local schools.”

New Voter Registration Cards Coming In Mail for Christian County Voters

Christian County registered voters should be expecting a new voter ID card in the mail next week. The Christian County Clerk’s office put the new cards in the mail today.


Christian County Clerk and Recorder Laurie Mense says sending out new voter ID cards is required by law, and it helps her office to keep the voter registration database up to date.



Mense says voters should replace their current voter registration card with the new card, and make sure all the information on the card is accurate and current.



Mense says the new cards have a blue background. If you have any questions or need to make corrections to your card, you can call the County Clerk’s office at 824-4969.

U of I Extension to Hold Discover 4-H Cloverbuds Workshop

As the University of Illinois Extension prepares for a new 4-H year, the Extension will be hosting a “Discover 4-H Cloverbuds” workshop for adults interested in working with youth between the ages of five and seven. The workshop will be on Wednesday, August 2nd from 6:30 to 8 p.m. at the Christian County Extension Office in Taylorville.


Peggy Hampton is a 4-H Youth Development Educator with the U of I Extension. She says 4-H needs adult volunteers because the program is built on volunteers.



Hampton says not only are Cloverbuds groups a precursor to the 4-H program, but they teach kids that they can learning something anywhere at anytime.



There is no cost to participate in the workshop. You can call to register at 287-7246 or you can get a link to their website here.

Many Christian County 4-H Students Preparing for 4-H Livestock Auction Following 4-H Events at Christian County Fair


Many area kids participate in local 4-H clubs, and are getting ready to participate in the many different 4-H shows at the 2017 Christian County Fair taking place July 25th through the 29th at the Christian County Fairgrounds in Taylorville. After the shows, the kids who showed livestock will participate in the Christian County 4-H Livestock Auction.


Rebecca Livingston, Program Coordinator of the 4-H Youth and Development program at the U of I Christian County Extension Office says the auction is a big part of many children's experience in the 4-H program.



Livingston says the students who show livestock as a part of the 4-H program pamper their animals, which can make auctioning them off a difficult experience.



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

New Schafer-Perfetti and Assalley Owner Mike Assalley Discusses Funeral Home Business on WTIM Morning Show


The now former Schafer-Perfetti Funeral Home in Taylorville is under new ownership. Local resident Mike Assalley has purchased the business, which is now known as Schafer-Perfetti and Assalley Funeral Home, along with several other homes under company's umbrella.


Assalley appeared as a guest on the Newstalk WTIM Morning Show to discuss the acquisition, which he says took some time to put together.



Many are familiar with what happens during a funeral service, however there are several other things that a funeral home does that may go unnoticed.


Streamlining Teaching Requirements

There are plenty of young teachers out looking for jobs this summer and now landing a teaching gig might be a little easier. The State Board of Education says that there are one thousand open teaching jobs and a new law to streamline the licensing requirements for those jobs should help fill some of them. ISBE’s Emily Fox says that the new law will lower the minimum age to apply for an educator license and remove a coursework requirement for existing teachers looking to renew provisional career and technical education licenses. Fox says this should help out some specific areas of the state. 

Districts around the state also say they are often faced with shortages of substitute teachers.

Durbin Leading Opposition to Federal Appeals Court Nominee

U.S. Senator Dick Durbin is fighting the nomination of John Bush to serve a lifetime appointment on the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals. Durbin told colleagues Mr. Bush has made dozens of provocative comments during his legal career that call into question his temperament and judgment.

Durbin says he's getting little evidence that Bush can be a fair and impartial judge.

Bush is an attorney based in Louisville.

Trading Expert: Farmers Should Be Patient in This Volatile Weather Market

As farmers follow the numbers on the Chicago Board of Trade this summer, a trading expert advises them to be patient, especially those with old crop in storage. Doug Werling with Bower Trading says there’s been much volatility already this week, but...


Bower says that was evident Tuesday, the market was “bullish” in the morning and then by midday it was cooler and wetter and there was a sell off. He calls it a “trader’s market” right now. 

Ford Motor Company Investing in Christian County Fair, Expanding County Fair and Local Festival Presence

The Ford Motor Company is looking to support small towns through county fairs and local festivals. Christian County is one of the beneficiaries, as Ford has put many advertising dollars into this year’s Christian County Agricultural Fair.


Bob Ridings with Bob Ridings Ford in Taylorville is the director for Ford dealer advertising in this market. He says he brought this idea up about 6 months ago, and he hopes Ford will continue to expand marketing at local fairs like the Christian County Ag Fair.



Ridings says Ford is still family owned and they understand the importance of small, rural markets to their business.



Ridings says he expects Ford to continue to expand its presence into county fairs and local festivals after getting the ball rolling this year.

Two Christian County Sheriff's Deputies Honored For DUI Enforcement Work

From left to right: Deputy James Pickett, Sheriff Bruce Kettelkamp, and Deputy Phil Deal.


Two Christian County Sheriff’s Deputies were honored for their life-saving work in DUI enforcement. Deputies Phil Deal and James Pickett were awarded a certificate of appreciation and recognition from the Alliance Against Intoxicated Motorists.


Christian County Sheriff Bruce Kettelkamp says driving under the influence is a serious problem and these two men are doing excellent work at combatting the issue.



Kettelkamp says everyone can do their part in keeping intoxicated drivers off the roads.



Kettelkamp says every year hundreds of people are killed and thousands severely injured as a result of alcohol and drug related crashes in Illinois. He thanks Deal and Pickett for their dedication and commitment to protecting and serving Christian County residents.

Pfc. Maggie Bilyeu to be Honored Sunday During Peace Keepers' Benefit Motorcycle Ride

A benefit motorcycle ride through Central Illinois Sunday will stop in Taylorville to honor a local army veteran. The Peace Keepers’ annual ride will start around 11:30 a.m. Sunday with opening ceremonies at the Illinois Military State Museum on the grounds of Camp Lincoln in Springfield. The organization’s president anticipates the group arriving in Taylorville around 1:15 p.m.


Mylas Copeland is the Peace Keepers President and Ride Coordinator. He says for residents to expect road blocks as the group comes into town Sunday afternoon, and the group will honor U.S. Army Private First-Class Maggie Bilyeu with a presentation to her family.



Any motorcycle rider can participate. It costs $20 for the rider and $10 for an additional passenger. There is also a VIP experience that costs $50 for the rider and $25 for the additional passenger. Copeland says Peace Keepers Incorporated saw a record number of scholarship applicants this year, and they continue to strive to help every hero who needs the help.



A group from Taylorville will be meeting at the American Legion at 9:15 a.m. to ride up together for the opening ceremonies on Sunday. If you would just like to come to the ceremony for Maggie Bilyeu, Copeland says everyone is welcome, and you can make cash or check donations on site at the ceremony.

Painted Rocks Popping Up All Over Taylorville

Photo courtesy of Amy Hughes.


Painted rocks are popping up all over Taylorville, and the rocks are bringing some cheer to many area residents. There is even a Facebook group for those who hide the rocks or want to find the rocks in the community.


Laura Robinson created the “Taylorville IL Rocks” Facebook group. She says she created the group because her parents found painted rock in Springfield, and that piqued her interest.



Robinson says in many other areas, the rocks are about spreading some cheer, and posting about where you found the rock online. But in Taylorville, she says hiding painted rocks has become more competitive.



Anyone can join the Taylorville IL Rocks Facebook group. For a link to the group, click here.

Upgrades Done to Doppler Radar in Lincoln, Illinois

The National Weather Service is upgrading a piece of equipment that helps forecast the weather for the Regional Radio listening area. Work is being done to upgrade the Doppler radar in Lincoln, that helps meteorologists get a better look at what’s going on inside the storms that blow through Central Illinois.


Matt Barnes is a meteorologist with the National Weather Service, and says the work has been going on since last week.



Central Illinois is currently under a heatwave, bringing the hottest temperatures seen so far this year. Barnes explained what’s bringing the hot temperatures to the region.



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

Rich History Behind Christian County Ag Fair

The 2017 Christian County Agriculture Fair is just around the corner, kicking off next week on July 25th, and running through the 29th. The fair has a rich history over it’s 94 years, including many years of quality horse related activities.


Mike Drea, Secretary of the Christian County Fair Board appeared as a guest on the Newstalk WTIM Morning Show to discuss the history of the fair. Drea says there were previous fairs held throughout the county, however the current incarnation got it’s start in 1924.



The fair had a long history of horse related events including harness racing, however that has since been canceled.



For more information on the 2017 Christian County Fair visit them online at ChristianCountyFair.com.

Rauner Dismisses Attention Given to Staff Shakeup

Governor Bruce Rauner's staff has seen turnover in key positions since he suffered defeats on the state budget and tax hike votes, but Rauner maintains it's standard operating procedure.

The shakeup now extends to Rauner's political operation. Former Rauner Chief of Staff Mike Zolnierowicz was expected to run Rauner's re-election campaign but he has resigned.

Facebook Friend Request Likely Harmless

Do not accept a friend request from Jayden Smith. That's just the latest of what an investigator from the Better Business Bureau calls harmless messages on that form of social media. The name on the message can change, but the theme is usually the same.

According to most of the messages, you can open yourself up to viruses and malware if you accept such a request. That is unlikely, unless there is a malicious link attached which you also click on, according to Dan O'Brien. He says a greater threat is sharing to much of your personal life on social media.

And then there's the tried and true scams where crooks try to get you to send them money. You are advised to never wire money or provide personal information, double check with friends that send you things that may appear too good to be true, and remember that if you did not enter a contest you cannot be a winner.

Southern Illinois Eclipse Celebration Now Includes a Soda

As Southern Illinois prepares for next month's box seat view of the total solar eclipse, a Breese based bottling company known for the popular Citrus drink Ski is adding some flavor. Carla Baublitz with Excel says they have launched a short term soda flavor in preparation for the August 21st cosmic event.

Baublitz says it won't take ice cubes for the soda to be truly chilling.

Excel is preparing to produce more Darkest Hour soda on Tuesday. The company has already received bulk orders from a summer camp and several schools planning eclipse parties.

Bob Ridings Ford Celebrating 42 Years in Taylorville

One local business is celebrating 42 years in Taylorville with a party and by continuing a yearly tradition. Bob Ridings bought his dealership in Taylorville in 1975, and they will celebrate the anniversary with a party and by giving away sweet corn, as they are known to do, on Thursday starting at 5 p.m. at Bob Ridings Ford on Route 29 in Taylorville.


Ridings was a guest with Danny Russell on WMKR Wednesday morning. He says there will be plenty of food for people to enjoy, and plenty of sweet corn for people to pick up.



Ridings says if free food isn’t enough incentive to come out, then come out for the chance to win some cash.



Ridings says other car related products and miscellaneous prizes will be given out as well. 

Crimestoppers Crime of the Week - July 19, 2017

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


Sometime during the evening hours of Tuesday, July 11, 2017, person or persons unknown made entry into a residence located at #47 Fairview Trailer Court.  While inside, the unknown subject or subjects took an AK-47 rifle and a 30 round magazine.  There did not appear to be any damage done while making entry. The total dollar amount of the theft is unknown at this time.


Please contact Crimestoppers if you have any information on this crime or any other crimes or wanted persons.  Crimestoppers will pay cash rewards of up to $1,000.00 for information that leads to an arrest and you do not have to give your name.  Crimestoppers will pay double the normal reward for information that leads to an arrest for the crime of the week.


You can contact Crimestoppers at 824-9100, at our website Christiancountycrimestoppers.org, or by texting CRIMES (274632) and then your tip.  As always, you will remain anonymous.

Taylorville Kiwanis Hears About Upcoming Christian County Ag Fair At Weekly Meeting


 Mike Drea (center), secretary of the Christian County Agricultural Fair Association board, was Tuesday's guest speaker at the weekly meeting of the Taylorville Kiwanis Club at the Taylorville Memorial Hospital auditorium.  Program chair for the meeting was Raedena Ryan (left).  Will Perkins (right), Kiwanis president, presided at the meeting.




The Taylorville Kiwanis Club heard about the history and tenure of the Christian County Fair, during their Tuesday luncheon at the Taylorville Memorial Hospital auditorium.

Mike Drea, long-time secretary of the Christian County Agriculture Fair Association board, told Kiwanis members about how the fair started, and plans for this year's fair, which is July 25th thru the 29th at the Fairgrounds on Taylorville's southwest side.

The Christian County Ag Fair Association was organized in 1924, making this year's fair the 94th edition. 

Drea added that this year's fair schedule is full of livestock and 4-H judging, as well as nightly grandstand events.  Tuesday night are the Queen and Baby pageants, Wednesday night features stock car races, Thursday night is the truck and tractor pulls, Friday night is the stock truck pull, and Saturday night to round out this year's Christian County Fair is the always-popular Demo Derby.

Admission and parking are both free. 

Drea said the Fair continues to flourish, because of the volunteer efforts of the 30-person board.  Due to their continued efforts in raising money thru-out the year, renovated rest rooms will be ready for fairgoers this year, costing some 40-thousand dollars.

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.

Center Pointe Dance Academy to Open in Taylorville


Dancers in Taylorville and across the area will have a new place to practice and improve their skills. Jeb Odam and his wife Heather are opening the Center Pointe Dance Academy at 119 South Washington on the west side of the Taylorville Square.


Jeb Odam says he saw an opportunity where there were limited options for dancers in Taylorville.



Odam says they will be busy at the academy the next few weeks before a short break once the school year starts.



Center Pointe Dance Academy will open to the public with open houses this Friday from 6 to 8 p.m. and Saturday from 9 a.m. to noon.

New, Upgraded Casey's Location Being Built in Morrisonville


If you have driven through Morrisonville recently, you may have noticed the construction on Route 48 on the northeast side of town. That is going to be the location of the new Casey’s General Store in the village.


Morrisonville mayor Larry Tolliver says Casey’s has been looking to upgrade their location in Morrisonville for a while.



Tolliver says the growth in traffic through town, and the need for semis to fuel up has led to Casey’s building the new location.



Tolliver says the village has not received an official date for the new Casey’s to open, but he believes it will open around the end of September.

Christian County Fair Still Accepting Exhibits for Show in Expo Building

One of the major attractions to the Christian County Fair is the various exhibits that take place in the Expo Building at the fair. Citizens from around the county bring in different projects from baked goods to horticulture projects to show off and be judged.


Linda Binger is the Superintendent of Exhibits in the Expo Building, and said those looking to exhibit at the fair still have the ability to do so. Potential exhibitors can view the various categories online.



There have been several changes made this year to the exhibits portion of the fair. Binger says one of those changes are new age restrictions placed for those looking to show at the fair.



For more information on the 2017 Christian County Fair taking place July 25th through the 29th, visit the fair online at ChristianCountyFair.com.

Rauner's Latest Hire Quickly Out The Door

The Governor’s office is cleaning house. In the past few days more than 20 administration staffers have left on their own or have been fired by the Governor. And a newly hired one didn’t stick around long after people started reading his tweets. 

Ben Tracy was hired to be Bruce Rauner’s “Body Man” an assistant that travels with the Governor and moves between him and people he interacts with while out in the public. Once Tracy was brought on tweets he’d made in the past include homophobic slurs and other insensitive comments came to light. Tracy started Monday working for the Governor but was out of a job by the afternoon – but on Monday - Rauner said his team was hiring the very best people they could find.

Rauner also defended making hires from the Illinois Policy Institute saying it isn’t showing any turn in his administration to a more conservative tone.

Rauner Wants School Funding Reform Bill on His Desk With Plans for Amendatory Veto

There are growing signs of a political showdown some fear could threaten the start of the school year for many districts. Gov. Bruce Rauner is calling on the Illinois Senate to send the Democrat's school funding bill to his desk.

He is pledging to then use his amendatory veto power to strip money for Chicago teacher pensions from the school funding bill.

Democratic state Sen. Andy Manar says that could effectively kill the measure, putting hundreds of districts at risk of shuttering schools. Lawmakers approved a state budget this month that requires school funding be distributed through a new school funding formula laid out in Senate Bill One. 

Illinois Public Universities Start to See Money

For the first time since 2015, the check is actually in the mail for Illinois public universities. The Illinois Board of Higher Education says the new budget will provide the state's 12 public universities with about $1.1 billion for the 2017-18 academic year. That's welcome news, but the funding level represents a 10 percent decline from 2015.

Small Budget Moves Discussed, Linton Resigns From Christian County Board at Tuesday's Meeting


In a quick Christian County Board meeting Tuesday night, it was mainly housekeeping items on the agenda at the meeting. But one Christian County Board member turned in her resignation letter Tuesday.


The board voted to take 10 health insurance benefits out of department budgets and put into the general funds to help the county’s budget deficit. The county has 10 employees that don’t take the county’s health benefits, which allows the board to put this money there. District 4 Board Member Becky Edwards says this action doesn’t mean a department can’t hire a new employee that would require health insurance benefits.



The board also voted to accept the resignation of District 1 Board Member Ashley Linton. Linton still lives in the county, but has moved out of her district, and moving out of the district meant Linton had to resign. Linton says even with her move, she hasn’t lost her passion to help and serve others.



Linton wants to thank all of her constituents for their support through her time in office. She did not rule out a possible run for a county board seat in 2018, but as she said, she is going to take a break from politics for the time being.

Quad County Hospice Working To Provide Exceptional Home Health Care

It can be a stressful time once a friend or family member enters hospice, and Quad County Home Health and Hospice looks to help patients and family members alike. Quad County offers services in home health, home medical supplies and equipment, as well as hospice services for patients in Christian, Shelby, Montgomery, and Fayette counties.


Carol Chandler is the Director of Quad County Home Health and Hospice, and says the business recently moved into a new facility in Pana.



Although there are many businesses offering hospice care in the area, Chandler believes it's Quad County's customer service skills that sets them apart from the competition.



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

Nokomis Couple Accused of Stealing Elderly Woman's Debit Card, Spending Over $1600 on Card

A Nokomis couple is facing aggravated identity theft charges after stealing an elderly Taylorville woman’s debit card and putting over $1600 in fraudulent charges on the card.


22-year-old Sarah M. Hopping and 20-year-old Travis J. Hopping of Nokomis are accused of stealing the woman’s purse, then using her debit card to make $1,625.85 in purchases in the Pana area. Bond has been set at $10,000 each. The two could both face three to seven years in prison if convicted.


The Taylorville Police Department, Pana Police Department, and Christian County Sheriff’s Office worked together to investigate the case and make the arrest. 


Sarah M. Hopping


Travis J. Hopping

Pana Veteran Honored for Her Service in World War II


Although a local World War II veteran recently passed away, she did not go before being honored for her service. Virginia Ferguson was honored with a pinning ceremony through the “No Veteran Will Die Alone” program on July 7 at Quad County Hospice in Pana.


Ferguson was a Pharmacist Technician aboard a naval ship during the war. She was decorated with a Campaign Ribbon and Victory Medal which was awarded during that time for service. Back at home, Ferguson was the original director of Quad County Hospice when the organization began in 1984.


Rachael Springate is the Volunteer Coordinator at Quad County Hospice. She describes the ceremony that the veterans receive when they are honored.



Springate says the “No Veteran Will Die Alone” program has veteran volunteers that go across the area to honor veterans on hospice.



Ferguson died just four days later on July 11th.


Pictured are the Quad County Hospice Veteran Volunteers who conducted the “No Veteran Dies Alone” pinning ceremony with Virginia Ferguson and her daughters. (l to r) Jack Moss, Veteran Chaplin; Richard Simms, Veteran; Erich Weidemiller, Son of Legion; Mickey Clemons, Veteran; Bill Wright, Veteran; Roger Swim, Veteran; and Mark Denton, Veteran. Seated: Lisa Ferguson, Virginia Ferguson, RN World War II Navy Veteran and Suzanne Ehlebracht.

Area 4-H Members Preparing for Christian County Agricultural Fair

One of the major aspects of the upcoming Christian County Agricultural Fair is the Ag work that many area children and young adults have been working on. These ag projects will be showcased on several different days of the Christian County Fair on July 25th through the 29th.


Lee Mateer sits on the Christian County Fair board, and joined the Newstalk WTIM Morning show to discuss the Livestock and 4-H events at the fair. Mateer gave a preview of some of the events planned.



Many of the kids participating in the various events at the fair this year are showing off the work they’ve done in programs such as 4-H. Mateer says the lessons the kids learn in these programs will stick with them for the rest of their lives.


Heat Wave to Build Across Area This Week

Heat and humidity are set to return to Central Illinois this week. The National Weather Service is forecasting highs in the mid-90s with heat indices well into the triple-digits. Local emergency officials want the public to remember to take it easy during the summer heat.


Taylorville Fire Chief and Christian County EMA Director Mike Crews says cooling centers will be opened if needed.



Crews reminds the public to use common sense when it comes to being outside in the hot weather.



An excessive heat warning is in effect for Christian, Shelby, Sangamon, Macon, Moultrie, Coles, and Effingham counties, while an Excessive Heat Watch is in effect for Fayette, Montgomery, and Macoupin Counties. Heat Indices are expected to be between 100 and 110 degrees each day, with the highest values likely on Thursday.

Current Farm Downturn Not Likely to Reach 1980’s Crisis

A report by a Farm Credit Administration economist told the Administration’s board members last week that the current downturn in the farm economy is not likely to reach a 1980s-style crisis.


Farm Credit chief economist Stephen Gabriel said the “likelihood of this is very low,” adding that a confluence of adverse factors led to the crisis that occurred in the 1980s. He says it would take a similar combination of adverse developments to create another crisis in the farm economy. While the two periods are similar in some respects, Gabriel points out that interest rates were very high in the 1980s, and today’s interest rates are historically low. The price of oil is another major difference, according to his report.


In 1979 and 1980, the price surged, while today it is declining. Also, the general economy is in better shape today than it was in the 1980s. The country experienced two recessions during the 1980s' crisis whereas today we're in an "extended, if lackluster, economic expansion," according to Gabriel.

Senate Ag Chair Looks To Crackdown On Fraudulent Organic Imports

Ag Chair Pat Roberts says he knew a year before a media report that the Department of Agriculture’s Organic Program was not intercepting fraudulent imports of organic food. Roberts may now be ready to seek a fix in the next farm bill. He says the Washington Post reported recently that millions of pounds of shipments of possibly fraudulent “organic” products were imported into the US.


But that was not news to the Senate Ag chairman.



Roberts told a farm bill hearing last week that lawmakers need to ensure that "overregulation and antiquated government processes" are not keeping farmers from succeeding in tough economic times.



Roberts says the Board is not keeping up with the huge growth and new technology in the organic market, while an influx of fraudulent “organic” corn and soybean imports meantime, is cutting into domestic producer profits.


Kenneth Dallmier operates the Clarkson Grain Company, based in Cerro Gordo, and he told the Senate Ag Committee the threat is huge.



USDA recently decertified two of three firms involved in fraudulent shipments, while three key Senate Democrats have asked USDA’s inspector general to boost enforcement of organic import standards.


Dallmier recommended the Ag Committee consider adding staff at vulnerable ports, imposing tougher enforcement on shippers and recall requirements for end-users, and use of electronic farm- to-customer tracking devices that have less tampering risk than paper documentation.

Ag Lending Expert: Farmers Need to 'Think' Like Their Banker

The farm economy runs in cycles and an ag lending expert recommends farmers to not only get to know their banker, but also understand their own business. That’s the message from Curt Covington—Senior Vice President of Ag Finance at Farmer Mac. He says it’s a good practice for farmers to “think” like their bankers.

Covington says bankers need to stay with farmers in the bad economic times if they were with them in the good times because farmers have good memories. Last year, Farmer Mac purchased a record $1-billion in first mortgages through 1,500 applications from rural community banks throughout the U.S. 

United Way Opening Cooling Centers in Advance of High Heat Forecast

With several days of 90-degree-plus heat predicted for much of Illinois, the United Way has opened cooling centers around the state. There are locations in many communities, with a mix of retail businesses and government buildings on that list. The United Way's Erin Smith says if you are homebound or have transportation issues, you can call for assistance.

About one-thousand people have suffered heat related deaths in Illinois over the past 15 years. You can find a cooling center near you by clicking on www.211helps.org.

Mixed Bag of News for Taylorville Projects at Monday's City Council Meeting


There was some good news and some bad news for economic development in Taylorville at Monday night’s city council meeting. The city will finally give the green light to start a huge municipal project, but received a setback in another.


The good news is out of the new Taylorville Water Treatment Plant project. With the Illinois state budget in place, the city council was finally able to pass a motion to effectively start the construction of the multi-million dollar project.


Mayor Barry says tonight’s approved motion gives him the go-ahead to give the contractor the green light.



But the mayor received a letter from Illinois EPA that they would not accept the grant application that the city and the Taylorville Development Association applied for in regards to the industrial park. Barry says he is waiting on what the TDA wants to do after receiving this denial letter.



Other action items at Monday night’s meeting included the swearing in of new Taylorville firefighter Rich Holmes, approving the purchase of 18 new Glock 9 millimeter pistols to standardize Taylorville police officers’ primary weapons, and the purchase of a new 2017 Exmark 31 HP lawnmower from Jenner Ag to replace a mower that needed a new motor at the lake. The next scheduled city council meeting is set for August 7th at 7 p.m. at the Taylorville Municipal Building.


Firefighter Rich Holmes is sworn in by Taylorville City Clerk Julie Lilly at the Taylorville City Council meeting on July 17, 2017.

Stock Car Racing And 4-H Auctions Two of Many Events at This Year's Christian County Agricultural Fair

The Christian County Fair is just around the corner, set to take place on July 25th through the 29th at the Christian County Fairgrounds in Taylorville. The fair features a wide array of events and attractions, from various shows happening on the grandstand, to the carnival rides and food.


Jim Olive is the president of the Christian County Fair Board, and made an appearance on the Newstalk WTIM Morning Show to discuss the various events happening at the fair. NASCAR fans will recognize one major figure who will be making an appearance at the fair during the fair's stock car races.



Another event taking place at the fair will be the Christian County 4-H auction, where

4-H members will have the chance to sell the livestock they've been raising throughout the past year.



For more information on the various events taking place at this year's Christian County Agricultural Fair, visit them online at ChristianCountyFair.com.

Area Golfers Tee Off For Taylorville Memorial Hospital

The annual FORE! Taylorville Memorial Hospital Golf Outing couldn’t have gone any better according to one of the organizers. The event took place Saturday at Lakeshore Golf Course.


The hospital’s volunteer coordinator Debbie Johnson says she believes everyone had a good time and the weather couldn’t have been better Saturday.



Johnson wants to thanks those who came out for their support.



Johnson says they are still doing the numbers for how much money was raised Saturday, but she believes at least $10,000 was raised towards their commitment to upgrade equipment at the cardiac rehab facility at the hospital.

CICBC Hosting Blood Drive in Assumption Thursday

The Central Illinois Community Blood Center is in dire need of blood during the summer months, and the center will be hosting a community blood drive Thursday in Assumption. The drive will be from 4 to 6:30 p.m. inside the bloodmobile which will be parked at Masonic Lodge in Assumption.


Caleb Parker is a Donor Relations Consultant with the CICBC. He says people may take it easy over the summer but the need for blood never lets up.



Parker says each presenting donor will receive a $10 gift card of their choice, and there is a wide variety of businesses to choose from.



To schedule an appointment, you can contact the CICBC at 241-7550, or visit bloodcenterimpact.org and use code 60003 to locate the Assumption drive.

Shafer-Perfetti Funeral Homes Under New Local Ownership

Shafer & Perfetti Funeral Home in Taylorville, along with the Perfetti Funeral Homes in Morrisonville, Sorento, and Panama are all under new ownership. Taylorville resident Mike Assalley now owns the funeral homes, and each funeral home has been renamed. The Taylorville location is now Shafer, Perfetti and Asalley Funeral Home, while the other three locations are now Perfetti and Assalley Funeral Home.


Assalley has been in the funeral business since college, and he has always wanted to own and run his own funeral home.



The transition started late last year as former owner Dean Perfetti was looking to retire. Assalley reached out to Perfetti, starting the process that has led to Assalley taking over the four funeral homes. Assalley says funeral homes are meant to be a place where the community is comfortable mourning the loss of a friend or family member.



Assalley went to mortuary school in Galesburg at Carl Sandburg College. Once graduating, he went to work for Butler Funeral Homes out of Springfield.

Annual FFA Alumni Dinner This Thursday

The annual FFA alumni dinner is coming up later this week. This year’s dinner is on Thursday, July 20 from 4:30 to 7 p.m. at the Stonington American Legion Hall. The FFA alumni are partnering with the Stonington Lion’s Club to put the event together, and money raised will go towards the FFA program at Taylorville High School.


Larry Barry is the President of the Taylorville FFA alumni. He says the money raised will go back to the Taylorville FFA students.



Barry says if you want to come and eat, they will feed you as long as you are hungry.



As Barry said, tickets are $10 each. The dinner is inside and will be in the air conditioning, so Barry hopes everyone will come out and enjoy the food and support the Taylorville FFA.

Greater Taylorville Chamber's July Business After Hours Event To Be Held at Neikes Floor Covering


The Greater Taylorville Chamber of Commerce holds a number of business after hours events throughout the year, where business owners and curious citizens can visit an area business after their standard hours to network, and have a good time. This month’s event will be held this Wednesday at Neikes Floor Covering.


Patty Hornbuckle, CEO of the Greater Taylorville Chamber of Commerce appeared as a guest on the Newstalk WTIM Morning Show and had more information for listeners on the event.



The events serve as a great way to network with other businesses in the area, and get a glimpse at the host business as well.


IDNR Gets Historic Addition

A merger is underway at the state. The Historic Preservation Agency is going to be part of the Department of Natural Resources. IDNR’s Ed Cross says that it’s a natural fit and the paring will be efficient for the state.

The combination will not include the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum. The downtown Springfield landmark will be its own independent state agency. 

Flooding Continues in Northern IL

Historic flooding is devastating parts of the suburbs in Chicago. A very rainy summer in southern Wisconsin has kept rivers high and then big storms early last week have sent water levels to heights not seen in decades. Residents in Lake, McHenry, Kane and Cook counties may be evacuated along parts of the Fox River. On Sunday Governor Bruce Rauner added Cook to the list of counties under a state disaster proclamation. Rauner says don’t rest yet… higher water in some places is still on the way.

The Governor took some heat late last week for being slow to respond or show up to tour the flooding and damage. Rauner maintained he and his staff had the situation covered.

Assumption Air Force Captain Returns Home After 46 Years


Air Force Captain Joseph S. Smith was shot down over Cambodia on April 4, 1971. His remains were recovered in May. And finally, on Saturday, his remains finally returned to his hometown of Assumption.


People lined Second Street early to witness Captain Smith’s return to Assumption. Many area police officers, firefighters, motorcycle riders, and others also helped to bring Smith back to his hometown.


Marguerite Jackson grew up near Smith. She says Smith may have gotten his interest in flying from her brother.



Jackson didn’t expect to hear that Smith was coming home, but that she is glad he finally got his homecoming.



A funeral mass will be held for Smith Monday at 10 a.m. at St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Assumption. For more photos from the motorcade, visit our Taylorville Daily News Facebook page by clicking here.




Full House To Consider Proposed Ag Budget That Reverses Many Trump Cuts

House appropriators have sent to the full House, the FY '18 Department of Agriculture and Food and Drug Administration spending bill, reversing many of the president's proposed cuts.


The $145 billion bipartisan House bill is $4 billion above the president’s request, but $8.6 billion below current spending.


Still, it restores many of President Trump’s cuts to rural development, research, crop insurance and international feeding programs.


Appropriations Chair, New Jersey Republican Rodney Frelinghuysen.



SNAP is still cut by almost $5 billion, to $74 billion, but an amount that meets SNAP enrollment and Democrats can live with. The minority offered few amendments directed at production agriculture. Riders dealing with horse slaughter and e-cigarette advertising failed…swaps regulatory relief passed earlier by the full House was adopted…and sugar program reform was withdrawn.


Democrats embraced the bill’s inclusion of key trade measures. Connecticut Democrat Rosa DeLauro.



The House USDA spending bill includes $1.8 billion for the new USDA trade mission headed by an Undersecretary for Trade and Foreign Agricultural Affairs. The bill reverses the president’s proposal to eliminate funding for the nation’s two international feeding programs, fully staffs county Farm Service Agency Offices, and keeps open 17 USDA research facilities the administration wanted to close.


The bill includes $2.8 billion for Ag research, more than $900 million for the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, about the same for conservation programs, and just over $1 billion for food safety and inspection.

Ag To US Senate - Export Programs Key In Farm Bill

Agriculture Department export program are key to keeping conventional and organic producers in the black, as lawmakers write the next farm bill. That was the message from producers and ag lawmakers at a Senate farm bill hearing.


39 USDA export assistance programs have no funding guarantee when their 2014 farm bill authority runs out in 2019. Programs including Market Access, Foreign Market Development and Technical Assistance for Specialty Crops are among them, returning more than $28 for every dollar invested, or more than $2 billion a year in net farm income, based on a study by Informa Economics.


Greg Haines with the U.S. Meat Export Federation.



Haines, meanwhile, says red meat exports add some 45-cents to a bushel of corn.


Kenneth Dallmier operates the Clarkson Grain Company in Cerro Gordo and told Senate Ag lawmakers USDA also needs to combat fraudulent imports of organic grain by boosting domestic production, legal liability for fraud, and verification tracking.



But verification is not enough. Ag Chair Pat Roberts says the National Organics Standards Board is plagued by “uncertainty and dysfunction,” hampering regulations needed to keep up with rapid growth and innovation in a sector, many growers now depend on to boost sinking margins.

Work Continues on Taylorville West Gym And Other Taylorville School Facilities


The summer season means vacation for students, however for the Taylorville School District it means getting ready for the coming school year. Part of these preparations are making sure the facilities are in good shape, and the district has had a number of projects to their buildings to ensure they're in good shape for the fall.


Taylorville Superintendent Dr. Gregg Fuerstenau appeared as a guest on the Newstalk WTIM Morning Show and discussed these renovations, including work being done to the West Gym at Taylorville High School.



Other projects include work on the science wing at THS, as well as work done to Taylorville's Central School.



Fuerstenau noted that the projects are currently on time, and haven't encountered any major problems so far.

Japanese Beetles Coming in Large Numbers With Large Appetities This Year


It's Japanese Beetle season in Illinois and many are figuring out how to deal with the garden pest. Some of the issues with the beetle include the wide variety of plants in the insect's diet, as well as the sheer number of the beetles the state is seeing this year.


Andrew Holsinger, Horticulture Educator with the U of I Extension Office Unit 18 appeared as a guest on the Newstalk WTIM Morning Show to discuss the pest.



Japanese Beetles have hefty appetites, and have appeared in increased number this season.



Holsinger warned that traps made to capture the beetle, can actually attract more of the insect to your property.

Tennessee Joins Other States Limiting Dicamba Use

The Tennessee Department of Agriculture announced new limits on the use of dicamba-based herbicides this week. The move follows practical bans issued by Arkansas and Missouri for using dicamba for row crop applications, as concerns and drift damages mount.


Missouri, however, released its “stop sale, use or removal” order Thursday on dicamba-based herbicides. The new rule in Tennessee restricts application to certified private applicators or licensed pest control operators, certified by the state. The rule also prohibits the use of older formulations of dicamba products for the rest of this growing season and restricts application hours to between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m.


The new rules, according to the state’s Department of Agriculture, is in response to farmer-to-farmer complaints of suspected dicamba drift damage to crops. The measures are in effect until October first of this year, and violators could be fined up to $1,500 per violation.


With removal of its ban, Missouri announced similar limits on dicamba use Thursday, which includes wind, time and applicator restrictions, as well as required notification of planned dicamba applications online.

Pana Police Arrest Four, Confiscate Possible Bath Salts and Thousands in Cash Sunday

Pana Police arrested four people and confiscated over one hundred grams of suspected bath salts and thousands of dollars in cash after responding to a call of a suspicious odor in the early hours of Sunday morning. Police received the call on July 9th just before 3:30 in the morning about the odor coming from the Rosebud Motel Apartments on US Highway 51.


The four people taken into custody are 23-year-old Cody R. Schumacher of Neoga, 29-year-old Holly A. Baker of Neoga, 35-year-old Scott Patnode of Pana, and 24-year-old Blossom R. Plumb of Salem. Schumacher, Baker, and Patnode were taken into custody for Possession of a Controlled Substance, Delivery of a Controlled Substance, and Possession of Drug Paraphernalia. Plumb was taken into custody for Driving While License Suspended and multiple outstanding warrants from multiple different jurisdictions.


During the search of the apartment, Pana Police recovered 135 grams of suspected bath salts and $8,531 in cash, along with numerous pieces of drug paraphernalia. The case remains under investigation.

Central Illinois Food Bank Receives High Marks For Accountability and Transparency


Many are concerned that the money they donate to charity actually goes towards the cause they intend for it to go towards. One charity where donors can be confident with is the Central Illinois Food Bank, who just received high marks in accountability and transparency, and donate a large percentage of your money towards the cause of fighting hunger in the region.


Krista Lisser with the Central Illinois Food Bank says almost 98 cents of every dollar donated goes towards feeding Central Illinois Residents.



Lisser says receiving the award for so many years in a row is a rare occurrence.



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

Taylorville Memorial Hospital Named One of Nation's "Most Wired Hospitals"

Taylorville Memorial Hospital has been named as one of the nation’s “Most Wired Hospitals.” That distinction came from the Hospital and Health Networks’ 19th annual Health Care’s Most Wired Survey.


The hospital’s manager of information systems Greg Saling says this distinction is a result of the hospital’s efforts to always be on top of the newest technology.



Saling says the hospital is continuously looking at ways to improve the patient experience.



This is the first time Taylorville Memorial Hospital has received the distinction. The hospital is one of 29 in Illinois and 460 across the United States to be named a "Most Wired Hospital."

90th Annual Morrisonville Homecoming and Picnic Set to Take Place July 20th Through the 22nd


The 90th annual Morrisonville Homecoming and Picnic is just around the corner, and this year the picnic will be taking place on a weekend, rather than during the week. The new dates for the picnic will be Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, July 20th, through July 22nd.


Maggie Held, Vice President of the Morrisonville Community Club along with Marcy Langen, 2016 Miss Morrisonville appeared as guests on the Newstalk WTIM Morning Show to discuss the event. Held says the organization is excited for the new dates.



The new dates are a big deal for the picnic, as Held says she received a lot of feedback from vendors and the community.


USDA Releases July WASDE, Crop Production Reports

The recent World Agriculture Supply and Demand report by the Department of Agriculture projects corn and soybean farmers will grow more crop than previously anticipated.


The USDA on Wednesday increased 2017-18 corn production to an estimated 14.255 billion bushels and soybean production to 4.26 billion bushels. Corn production came in slightly above the highest pre-report estimates while soybean production came in higher than the pre-report average estimate as well, according to DTN-The Progressive Farmer.


The farm price for the 2017-18 soybean crop was pegged at an average of $9.40 a bushel, a 10-cent bump from last month's estimate. For corn, USDA estimated an average of $3.30 a bushel, down 10 cents from earlier estimates. USDA also raised All-Winter Wheat production to 1.279 billion bushels, up 29 million bushels from the June report estimate.  

CBO Expects Baseline Farm Bill Savings

The Congressional Budget Office is out with its latest estimate of baseline funding available to write the next farm bill. The CBO says the last farm bill saved much more than expected on food stamps and crop insurance. Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley says the budget office expects more baseline savings on farm and nutrition programs over the next ten years.



As producers seek a more certain price-floor amid continued low prices and as crop insurance remains a popular safety net program.



7-point-5 billion a year less than the last farm bill. But Grassley points out, funding for 37-farm bill programs will expire without new funding, while numerous groups are calling for new spending in other areas.



Especially since budget writers could demand additional savings in government programs. House Ag appropriators have already proposed a 5-billion dollar cut in FY ’18 food stamp spending.

Trade Retaliation Worries Ag Groups

18 agriculture groups representing the majority of production agriculture sent a letter to the Trump administration recommending it avoid placing restrictions on steel and aluminum imports. The groups are worried that such a move would negatively impact U.S. food and agriculture exports.


The groups said in the letter that, “the aftermath of those restrictions could be disastrous for the global trading system and U.S. agriculture in particular.” The letter points out that many of those countries exporting steel and aluminum are also the same countries that import a large amount of U.S. agricultural goods. The letter stresses that “potential retaliation from those trading partners is very real.”


The 1994 General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade says national security can be a reason to restrict trade but is rarely done. The organizations point out that no other country can dictate what another’s national security needs are.


They said in the letter, “Now, every country with a sensitive industry would know it could follow the example of America and find a national security reason to circumvent trade agreements, no matter how flimsy the reason.”


The farm groups urged the administration to “avoid igniting a trade war” through the imposition of restrictions on steel and aluminum imports.

Missouri Ag Department Wants Dicamba Ban Lifted Quickly

The Missouri Department of Agriculture issued an order Friday afternoon stopping the sales and use of Dicamba herbicides in the state. Products currently impacted by the order include Engenia, FeXapan plus VaporGrip, and XTENDIMAX with VaporGrip. Director Chris Chinn says the three manufacturers – BASF, DuPont and Monsanto – have been working on new Special Local Use labels, with the hope to quickly lift the order when her department receives them.



Chinn says as the delay was under consideration, department officials were in regular contact with Dicamba manufacturers and farmers who suspected damage from its use. Those conversations included touring one of the over 100 fields where damage from Dicamba usage is suspected.



Interesting to note, Chinn isn't calling the order a 'ban', but instead 'hitting the pause button'. She adds that the department, Dicamba manufacturers, and Missouri farmers all want a product that effectively manages weeds without harming cash crops.



Discussions have also taken place with neighboring states, including Arkansas, where a 120-day ban on Dicamba took effect Tuesday. Chinn says she’s hoping those discussions will yield ways to better utilize this and other pest management technologies.



The products impacted by the order were recently approved for use on cotton and soybean plants with traits making them resistant to Dicamba.

State Senator Andy Manar Says New State Budget Ends State Overspending


Illinois finally has a full state budget in place for the first time in three years. The budget has met it's fair share of critics, however was largely passed with bipartisan support. One legislator who supported the budget is State Senator Andy Manar (D-Bunker Hill), who says this budget keeps the state from continuing to hemorrhage money.


Manar says this budget deal got it's start earlier this year, where Republican legislative leaders called for a bipartisan solution to the state's budget impasse.



One of the best features of this new state budget according to Manar is how it puts a cap to the amount of money the state can spend, effectively ending the state's overspending.



Manar also discussed school funding reform, where he says legislative leaders are working with the Governor's office to further discuss Senate Bill 1, which overhauls the state's school funding formula. Manar appeared as a guest on the Newstalk WTIM Morning Show.

Crimestoppers Crime of the Week - July 13, 2017

This week Crimestoppers is seeking information in regards to criminal damage that occurred in Taylorville.


Sometime during the overnight hours between Tuesday, July 4, 2017 and Wednesday, July 5, 2017, person or persons unknown damaged a vehicle that was parked at 508 South Houston Street.  The unknown subject or subjects used an item to puncture all four tires on the victim’s vehicle. There were numerous holes punctured in each tire. The vehicle, a Hyundai Sante Fe, was parked in the parking lot at the time of the incident. 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 $1,000.00 for information that leads to an arrest and you do not have to give your name.  Crimestoppers will pay double the normal reward for information that leads to an arrest for the crime of the week.


You can contact Crimestoppers at 824-9100, at our website Christiancountycrimestoppers.org, or by texting CRIMES (274632) and then your tip.  As always, you will remain anonymous.  

Erica Estes, Relay for Life Co-Chair, Earns July 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 Erica Estes. Estes was a 2017 Relay for Life Co-Chair, which has raised over $51,000 for the American Cancer Society.


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

Assumption Soldier's Remains to Come Home After 46 Years

A Central Illinois soldier is finally coming home. Captain Joseph S. Smith served in the Air Force during the Vietnam War and was shot down over Cambodia on April 4, 1971. His body was recovered 46 years later in May. This Saturday, he will finally return to his hometown of Assumption.


Smith’s childhood friend Pat Weger says she hopes the public will come out to show their gratitude for an American hero.



The motorcade will come down 51 from Moweaqua to Assumption where it will turn right at East 1300 North Road. There will be an immediate left onto Business Route 51 and will proceed south on that road into Assumption. While going through the town, the motorcade will turn right onto Second Street where it will proceed to Seitz Funeral Home at the corner of Second and Walnut.


Anyone who would like to line the motorcade route is welcome to come and show their support. The motorcade is scheduled to start on Saturday at around 4 p.m.


Shelbyville First United Methodist Church to Host Drive Thru BBQ Fundraiser Friday

Shelbyville First United Methodist Church is having a drive-thru barbecue fundraiser Friday during the dinnertime rush. The fundraiser will start at 4 p.m. and run until 6:30, and it will be at the church.


Phyllis Feken  is the chairperson of the fundraiser committee, and she says money raised will go towards restoration work on the church’s bell tower.



Feken says although you can drive up and purchase a meal, there are multiple places in Shelbyville to buy a ticket beforehand.



Meals cost $8 for adults, and $5 for children. The menu will include butterfly pork chops, beef BBQ sandwiches, potato salad, baked beans, and a brownie, or a hot dog, chips, applesauce, and a brownie. Feken says they would love to see everyone come out early and enjoy the great food.

Lake Land College to Offer Free GED and Basic Nursing Assistant Classes

Lake Land Community College has announced that they will offer free GED and Basic Nursing Assistant Classes to the public starting in August. The GED classes will be offered in Shelbyville and Pana, while the BNA classes will be offered in Pana.


The college’s Director of Adult and Alternative Education Dirk Muffler says the goal of the GED classes is to prepare students for all areas of the GED exam.



Muffler says everything with the GED classes is free, there is no catch. The only cost to the student will be once they are ready to take the GED exam.



The first meeting of the GED classes will be Monday, August 14th at 5:30 p.m. at Shelbyville Christian Church, and on Thursday, August 17th at 5 p.m. at the Western Region Center in Pana.


The BNA class will begin on August 7th at 5 p.m. at the Western Region Center in Pana. Muffler says the goal of this class is to help those that are struggling with finding or keeping work to get closer to becoming a Certified Nursing Assistant.



If you have any questions about either of the classes offered, you can call Muffler’s Office at 238-8383.

Syngenta Settles Nebraska Complaint, Minnesota Trial Next

Syngenta has reached a confidential settlement with a Nebraska farmer who claims the company mishandled marketing of its genetically modified seed, which in turn caused corn prices to plummet. Bloomberg says a settlement heads off a trial that was to start this week. Terms of the settlement were not made public.


It was just two weeks ago that Syngenta lost a jury verdict worth $218 million dollars because of a class action suit brought by Kansas farmers alleging similar claims against the company. Syngenta will next face a class action suit, which starts in August, up in Minnesota. Farmers there are seeking more than $600 million dollars.


The farmers allege that Syngenta rushed its seed into the marketplace before getting approval from China to export the grain over there. China stopped bringing in shipments of corn in 2013, calling the grain shipments contaminated by the GMO seed. The farmers say that set off a five-year depression in corn prices. They also say Syngenta misled them on when China would approve the seed for import.


Syngenta disputes the damage claims, saying it did nothing wrong. The company says it didn’t sell the seed until approved in the U.S. and didn’t need China’s approval to do so.

House Appropriations Committee Includes Funding for Peoria Ag Research Lab

An effort to keep the Peoria Agriculture Research Lab open cleared its first hurdle today. Western Illinois Congresswoman Cheri Bustos says the House Appropriations Committee included funding for the facility in their markup of the agriculture appropriations bill. 

Bustos and Central Illinois Congressman Darin LaHood sent a letter last month urging the Appropriations Committee Chairman and Ranking Member to maintain federal funding for the lab, which was proposed for closure under President Trump’s budget. 15 other members of the Illinois congressional delegation signed the letter. 

USDA Financing Will Extend 100-miles of Rural Broadband in Illinois

The USDA extending over $43-million in financing this summer to expand broadband in rural areas. Over $3-million of that will go to Illinois and will be used to construct 104-miles of fiber cable by the Viola Home Telephone Company. 

The company’s Jay Barton says the USDA funding will also provide supporting equipment to deliver enhanced telecommunication services to customers. The USDA is also funding broadband projects in Texas, California and Iowa this summer with the goal of adding 1,000 miles of fiber cable in rural areas, including the Illinois project. 

Farewell Reception Held For LLCC's Scott Stallman


Friends and colleagues wished Lincoln Land Community College’s Scott Stallman farewell and good luck as he moves to Texas to take another position. A farewell reception was help for Stallman on Tuesday afternoon. Stallman was the Associate Vice President of Education Outreach at LLCC and worked at the college for over six years.


Stallman says the people in this community are great because they care about others around them.



He will be taking the position of Vice President of Instruction at Lonestar College in Tomball, Texas, about 30 minutes north of Houston. His last day at LLCC is Thursday.


Taylorville VFW Raises Over $25k for Disabled Veterans at Saturday's Benefit

The Taylorville VFW Rider’s Annual Benefit Run was a huge success on Saturday.


Darrell Devore is the President of the VFW Riders in Taylorville. He says that multiple people came up to him and other organizers complimenting the event.



Devore says he and the organization want to thank the community for the support they have given for the event and the cause.



The group reached their fundraising goal of $25,000, and that will be going towards disabled veterans by training service dogs for the veterans.

Fuerstenau: Local School Districts Still Have to Wait on State Money, Even With Budget In Place

Although many in the state are happy that a budget deal is done, schools are not out of the woods yet. Taylorville School District Superintendent Dr. Gregg Fuerstenau is warning that general state aid will not come until more work is done in Springfield.


Fuerstenau says that the state needs an evidence-based model to disburse money to schools, and that there is no model currently in place. He says the only evidence based model on the table right now is sitting in Springfield.



Fuerstenau said during the board meeting that if this was the situation about 10 years ago, Taylorville schools would be in big trouble without state aid. Today, he says with the timing of receiving property tax payments, the district should be able to open its doors without immediate state aid.



Fuerstenau says the money is there because of the passed budget, but the State Board of Education cannot disburse money without the model. He says it’s now a game of wait-and-see what Governor Rauner does with Senate Bill 1, which has passed both the Senate and House. 

FORE! TMH Fundraiser Golf Outing Coming Up Saturday

It’s almost time again for the annual FORE! Taylorville Memorial Hospital Golf Outing. The fundraiser is this Saturday at Lakeshore Golf Course, and teams can still join in from now until the day of the event.


Debbie Johnson is the Volunteer Coordinator at Taylorville Memorial Hospital. She says there will be plenty of items for participants to bid on, or even win.



Another prize that can be won through a raffle is a picnic basket that contains a $100 gift card to Cooper’s Hawk Winery & Restaurant, along with wine and glasses. All money raised at the event will go towards equipment at the hospital.



Registration and breakfast will start at 8 a.m. Saturday with a shotgun start at 9 a.m. When everyone is finished, lunch will be served and prizes will be given out. The cost per golfer is $85, and that includes a cart, a round of golf, lunch, and eligibility for the prizes to be given away. 

94th Annual Christian County Agricultural Fair To Kick Off July 25th with Pageant Competitions

The 94th Christian County Agricultural fair is set to take place later this month on July 25th through the 29th, and will kick off the festivities with the ever popular Miss, Jr Miss, Little Miss, and Baby pageants. Pageant participation has been down in recent years, however this year the fair will rebound, with a full slate of participants set to compete.


Mike Drea, Christian County Fair Secretary and Fair Board Member says those who would like to watch the pageants can do so on the first day of the fair.




Drea says he's received word that although pageant participation has suffered in the past, the fair has a full slate of ladies looking to compete this year.



Other events taking place at the Christian County fair include 4-H shows, truck and tractor pulls, live music, and the Illinois State Championship Chili Cook-off.

Missouri and Arkansas Halt Dicamba Sale and Use

The Missouri and Arkansas Agriculture Departments both halted the sale and usage of dicamba in their respective states. Those two states have been in the middle of hundreds of misuse complaints.


The Arkansas ban is effective for 120 days while the Missouri Ag Department would like to reinstate product usage this growing season after their investigation is concluded. The Missouri Soybean Association issued a statement saying over 200,000 acres of soybeans show at least some level of dicamba damage. The state’s soybean checkoff issued a statement saying it’s clear some type of action is necessary.


Missouri Ag Director Chris Chinn said in a statement on the department’s YouTube channel that they’re actively working on the issue. She said in the video: “I’ve asked the makers of these approved, post emergent products and farmers to work with us to determine how we can expeditiously allow applications to resume this growing season.”


Monsanto released a statement saying they’re complying with the order and they encourage all growers to do the same. The 120-day ban goes into effect at midnight on Tuesday, July 11th. Arkansas farmers have filed nearly 600 complaints in which dicamba is the suspected herbicide.

Tips on Controversial Product Designed to Protect Crops

A product some farmers used this year to protect crops has generated hundreds complaints in Arkansas and Missouri. But here in Illinois, the Illinois Department of Agriculture had only received a half-dozen complaints of alleged dicamba spray drift at the end of last week. Brad Clow, a crops claims manager with Country Financial, says if you farm and believe your crops may have suffered damage from alleged dicamba spray drift, it’s best to file a claim;


Clow explains the process for a farmer who may have caused damage to another field from dicamba drift.


A-P-H stands for actual production history on a particular farm. Some crop protection products containing dicamba can be used on soybeans to kill weeds that have become resistant to the popular herbicide known as glyphosate or 'RoundUp' as it's commonly known. Farmers and others can access more information on the issue from the Illinois Farm Bureau at ilfb.org/steward. 


Tribute to First Responders, Warning About Move Over Law Comes to Central IL, Metro-East

Illinois continues to see an impressive tribute to the state's fallen first responders. The American Towman Spirit Ride paid a visit to Peoria this morning. Tow trucks and other emergency vehicles hauled a ceremonial casket. The caravan isn't just honoring first responders. They're also trying to build awareness of the move over law. It will reach Springfield this afternoon, arriving at Shaner's Towering on North Dirksen Parkway at 2pm. On Wednesday, the procession will arrive in Litchfield at 10am at Brian's Auto Service and 23 Hour Towing, then Randy's Towing and Hauling.

Blood Supplies Low This Summer, Red Cross Seeking Donors

The American Red Cross has an emergency need for blood and platelet donations. Blood donations have fallen short of hospital needs for the past couple of months, and a Red Cross official says that's typical for this time of year. American Red Cross’s Joe Zydlo reminds the process takes an hour or so to complete, and you don't want to give blood on an empty stomach. He says new blood donors are always welcome.

Donation appointments can be quickly and easily scheduled by calling 1-800-RED CROSS or by going to redcrossblood.org.

Becky Erlenbush with Taylorville Memorial Care Management Speaks to Local Kiwanis at Weekly Luncheon


The Taylorville Kiwanis Club held their business meeting to review current Kiwanis Club activities for children and youth in the community at their weekly luncheon Tuesday at the Taylorville Memorial Hospital auditorium. The guest speaker was Becky Erlenbush with Taylorville Memorial Care Management.


Erlenbush discussed with Kiwanis what the swing bed program is and how it is beneficial to hospital patients and the local community. The Turn the Corner Swing Bed Program allows patients to transfer with confidence from acute hospital care (at TMH or any other hospital) to Swing Bed care at TMH. It allows patients to be closer to home and family during rehabilitation and there are many benefits that Erlenbush outlined: First, the rooms are private with a registered nurse on the unit 24/7. Next, there is a low patient-to-nurse ratio with access to on-site hospital resources such as radiology, lab, and pharmacy. Also, a dietitian is on staff in addition to patient access to physical and occupational therapy. Length of stays in the program is patient specific and as long as progress is being demonstrated, individuals can stay in the program. As a critical access hospital, the swing bed program has become a central area of focused service to Taylorville Memorial Hospital. For more information click here or contact care management 217-824-1130.


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.

Pana City Council Votes to Withhold $25,000 For Bike Trail Repairs, Brings Back Recycling Program

The city of Pana is saving for bike trail repairs and restarting a recycling program. The Pana City Council approved a motion to withhold $25,000 from an old bike trail fund for tressel work on the Lincoln Prairie Bike Trail at Monday night’s city council meeting. The recycling program, a partnership between the city of Pana and Pana Township, restarted again this week.


Pana mayor Don Kroski says that withholding the money gives the city a jumpstart for when it will be needed for the bike trail repairs.



With the recycling program, Kroski says the county used to run the program, but it was cut because of the cost to run the program. So the city and the township formed a partnership to bring it back.



Other action items at Monday night’s meeting included the hiring of a part-time zoning and code officer at the Pana Ordinance Office, and the approval of a contract with Benton and Associates for spillway and water operations at Pana Lake.  

Thunderstorms Knock Two Miller Media Group Stations Offline

2 of the Miller media group stations were affected by Monday's heavy thunderstorms.
Newstalk WTIM's Big 870 AM signal was knocked off late Monday afternoon. It came back on at its normal signal on time Tuesday morning. New Country 104.1 also was knocked off the air Monday evening. Station officials returned it to the air on backup equipment, at one o'clock Tuesday afternoon. 
We thank you for your understanding while we worked to get these signals back on after Monday's thunderstorms.

July is National Ice Cream Month

July is National Ice Cream Month and many are diving into a pint of the frozen treat to celebrate. Not only is ice cream a sweet treat, but the St. Louis Dairy Council says when eaten in moderation, ice cream provides nutritional benefits as well.


Joyce Fikri with the St. Louis Dairy Council appeared as a guest on the Newstalk WTIM Morning Show and says a former President felt ice cream was the perfect desert.



Although ice cream needs to be consumed in moderation, it does provide some nutritional benefits over many different types of desserts.



Fikri says the typical service size for ice cream is a half a cup, or roughly one scoop.

Illinois State Historical Society Holding Golf Outing Fundraiser in September

The Illinois State Historical Society will be holding their first golf outing on Thursday, September 21st in Springfield to help raise money for the organization. The outing will include many fun prizes for those who participate, and funds raised will help support the many different projects the ISHS is involved in.

Gwen Podeschi with the ISHS appeared as a guest on the Newstalk WTIM Morning Show and had more information on the event, including pricing information for teams and individuals.



The costs includes lunch, greens fees, carts, gifts, and dinner. Money raised by the event will support the ISHS and it's programs, including it's state historical marker program.



If you'd like to register for the outing, you can e-mail development@historyillinois.org, call (217) 525-2781, or register online at HistoryIllinois.org.

Monday Night Severe Weather Hits Nokomis Area Hard

Monday night’s severe weather snuck up on residents of Nokomis, and the city was hit especially hard by strong winds. The storm blew in at around 11 p.m. Monday night knocking down tree limbs and power lines all over town.


Joe Gasparich is the Emergency Services and Disaster Agency Coordinator in Nokomis. He describes the damage in the city, saying this was not your average severe thunderstorm damage.



A 50-year-old female was taken to Hillsboro Area Hospital for possible injuries after her home partially collapsed because of a tree falling on the home. Gasparich says he hopes the National Weather Service comes out to survey damage in the town.



Gasparich reminds everyone that the first call you should make if you have damage to your home is to your insurance company. Make sure to take pictures of the damage for insurance purposes. He also says that if you have debris, make sure to take it to the curb because those coming in to collect the debris cannot come on private property.


Christian County Sheriff Bruce Kettlekamp and EMA Director Mike Crews both said there was not any major damage in Christian County reported to them. We will bring you updates if reports come in from Christian County.

Water Main Break Causes Water Service Shut Down in City of Nokomis

A water main break in Nokomis has caused water to be shut off for the entire city Monday night. The break occurred at the corner of Elm and Central Streets in Nokomis. Crews went to working fixing the break immediately with water service being shut off as repairs are made.


As of Tuesday morning, repairs have been made to the broken water main despite Monday night's severe weather. Nokomis and Coalton are now under a boil order until further notice.

Taylorville City Council Approves 3% Raise For AFSCME Workers This Year

The Taylorville Street and Sewer Department workers will see a three percent in their next paycheck after a city council vote at Monday night’s special city council meeting. The board voted 6-0 to give the AFSCME Council 31 Local 3349 the three percent raise in 2017.


Taylorville mayor Bruce Barry says the raise is retroactive and this ends negotiations with the union for the time being.



Barry says he’s pleased that both sides have a resolution in this matter for now, and that he hopes other negotiations can start to get settled.



Also discussed at Monday’s meeting was a mathematical error made in the city’s appropriations for the 2017-2018 fiscal year. The error was an over-calculation and has been corrected. A public hearing will be scheduled for prior to the next city council meeting so residents can view the city’s appropriations for the coming year. The next regularly scheduled board meeting is scheduled for July 17th at 7 p.m.

Moweaqua Natives Takes Both Crowns at Jr. Miss and Miss Shelby County Pageants


Moweaqua took home two crowns Saturday night, as both the Junior Miss Shelby County and Miss Shelby County pageant winners both hail from the town. Alayna Cutler took home the 2017 Junior Miss title, and Rebekah Nash won the Miss Shelby County crown.


First runner-up and People’s Choice Award winner for the Junior Miss Competition was Rae Ann Smith of Stewardson, and Olivia Lesko of Windsor was the second runner-up.


Jensyn Morrison of Cowden was the first runner-up in the Miss Shelby County pageant. Brittany Linn of Shelbyville was second-runner up, and the third runner-up and People’s Choice Award winner for the Miss Shelby County contest was Morgan Powers of Shelbyville.





EU & Japan Trade Deal Spells Loss For US

The E.U. and Japan have struck a trade deal in principle that if finalized, could put U.S. agriculture and other products at a competitive disadvantage in the huge Japanese market. The deal still needs technical work before the E.U. and Japan can implement it but this week’s announcement in the lead-up to the G-20 economic summit in Germany signals a possible loss for the U.S. and U.S. agriculture. D.C. Ag trade consultant and a former USDA trade chief, Paul Drazek…



Drazek suggests the US could have had from TPP, what Europe will now get from Tokyo…



Including U.S. beef and pork, which spurred the National Pork Producers Council to redouble its request to the White House to get going on a bilateral deal with Japan, the top market for U.S. pork at 1-point-6 billion dollars last year. Drazek says Tokyo may be in no rush after TPP to do a deal with the U.S.…



Drazek says Tokyo is watching how the U.S. handles NAFTA and whether it tries to add new trade-balancing import restrictions, ones that would also apply to Japan.

Mexico is No Longer Top Destination for U.S. Corn

U.S. corn shipments to Mexico have slipped in recent months and Mexico in no longer the number one buyer of American corn. A Bloomberg article says it may be a sign that trade tensions are forcing the country to look elsewhere for corn in case the U.S. is no longer a reliable supplier.


Sales through May of this year were down almost seven percent from last year, coming in at $1.04 billion. Japan has become the biggest importer of U.S. corn after boosting its purchases by 53 percent, totaling $1.19 billion. Mexico began looking for other corn suppliers after President Donald Trump’s criticism, which began on the campaign trail when he said Mexico has taken advantage of the U.S. through the North American Free Trade Agreement.


Mexican corn purchases are picking up as the peso rebounds from a record low against the dollar in January. Lesly McNitt, Public Policy Director for the National Corn Growers Association, says the sluggish pace of U.S. corn shipments to Mexico shows the trade relationship may be at risk, saying they are preparing a plan B. Mexico has initiated discussions with suppliers in Argentina and Brazil.

Frerichs Lays Out Five Point Plan for Rauner to Keep State Out of Junk Status

Illinois may have a budget but State Treasurer Michael Frerichs says there is plenty of work to be done to avoid the state entering junk status.

Frerichs is offering a five point plan for Governor Rauner to follow to prevent another credit downgrade for Illinois. That plan includes having Rauner implement 6 billion dollars in bonding authority, which would bring in 3 billion dollars in additional federal funding toward the 15 billion dollar bill backlog. He also says Rauner needs to ensure K-12 schools open on time. A separate agreement in the recent budget deal requires that state dollars be distributed on an evidence-based model. Governor Rauner has promised a veto. He is calling for the Governor to tone down what he calls divisive rhetoric and travel to New York and assure the three ratings agencies that he will implement the budget package.

Frerichs says junk bond status would likely mean higher property taxes in Illinois.

Taylorville School District Looks to Improve Test Scores Through Faculty Communication


The Taylorville School District is looking at how to improve state test scores, and multiple changes were discussed at the Taylorville School Board meeting Monday night. Changes include re-writing the job description for department chairs to include more communication aspects for the roles.


With the changes to department chairs in the district also came changes to department layouts. The most changes were at Taylorville High School, where 15 departments were combined into nine departments. Taylorville Superintendent Dr. Gregg Fuerstenau says the district wants department heads to take more responsibility for communication amongst teachers when it comes to student achievement.



At the high school, there were some departments that consisted of one or two teachers. Fuerstenau says departments were combined so there could be more people in each department and more communication amongst all teachers.



Fuerstenau and high school leaders also want to improve graduation rates and attendance numbers at THS. The research they’ve done has led them to the Freshman Success Program. He says the program is designed to help freshmen adjust to life in high school so they can succeed during their high school years.



The next school board meeting will be held August 14th at 7 p.m.

Plenty of Positive Economic Development News in Taylorville from Taylorville Development Association Meeting

The future is bright in Taylorville as multiple new developments could soon be coming to the city. Those projects were discussed Monday afternoon at a special board meeting of the Taylorville Development Association.


Mary Renner, Christian County Economic Development Corporation Executive Director and Doug McDermand, TDA Advisor have been working to secure federal EDA funding for an industrial park on Taylorville’s northwest side. The pair is “cautiously optimistic” about Taylorville receiving the grant, which would be worth about $537,000. Renner says the application put together was the best that it could have been for this grant.



In other news at the meeting, the new Taylorville TIF districts continues to progress. Once completed, that could result in the Cobblestone hotel group bringing a hotel to the city. Also, there is growing interest for a possible natural gas plant and other power plant options on Taylorville’s east side in the second TIF district being created. TDA Board President Ken Hart says all of this news is more positive news than the area has seen in a long time.



Hart says at the next meeting, he hopes to know whether Taylorville has received the EDA grant among other positive developments that could be in the works.

State Representative Avery Bourne Says Budget Situation Similar to 2011


The Illinois legislature recently voted to override Governor Bruce Rauner's veto on a budget proposal that had made it's way to his desk. Although the budget received some bipartisan support, it has it's fair share of critics, including State Representative Avery Bourne, who says it won't do much to help with the state's huge backlog of overdue bills.


Bourne says there was progress being made on a budget with reforms the Governor had been seeking, however ultimately legislative leaders abandoned those reforms in favor of this budget.



Bourne thinks what happened with this budget was similar to what happened with the Illinois budget in 2011.



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

U of I Master Gardeners Offer Tips on Controlling Japanese Beetle Infestations


Many gardeners battle a variety of pests in their gardens every year. One of those pests that has made it's way into Illinois recently is the Japanese Beetle, which often looks like the common ladybug, but will cause havoc to your garden.


Gwen Podeschi, Master Gardener with the University of Illinois Extension Office appeared as a guest on the Newstalk WTIM Morning Show, and says the beetle is relatively easy to control.



The beetle can cause a number of issues in the garden, and can also give local farmers headaches.



If you have more questions on the Japanese Beetle or how to manage it, give the Master Gardeners a call at 287-7246.

National Group of Jet Boaters Make Traveling to Shelbyville an Annual Tradition

A group of jet boaters has made an annual tradition of making a trip to Shelbyville each year to enjoy jet boating on the lake. The Shelbyville Chamber of Commerce has made it their tradition to show these visitors the best of what Shelbyville has to offer.


Vonda McConnell is with the Shelbyville Chamber of Commerce. She says a resident very active in the jet boating community came to her a few years ago to see what the Chamber could do for these guests.



The original 35 families has now grown to 50 families that travel to Shelbyville each year. McConnell says these families mean more dollars going into Shelbyville businesses, and Shelbyville Chamber members can help to welcome them.



McConnell appeared as a guest on the NewsTalk WTIM Morning Show live from our Downtown Shelbyville studios.

Lake Shelbyville Fish Habitat Alliance Using Cubes to Help Preserve Lake Habitat

The Lake Shelbyville Fish Habitat Alliance program continues to grow in Shelby County, and the group is using a new tool to help preserve fish habitats in the lake.


Ashley Florey is a Natural Resource Specialist with the Army Corps of Engineers at Lake Shelbyville, and she appeared as a guest on our NewsTalk WTIM Morning Show live from our Downtown Shelbyville studios. She says artificial structures have been put in the lake to help with the preservation, and they have given these structures a name.



These cubes provide fish habitat for those fish in the lake as habitat is lost at the lake over time. Florey says they are looking to get grant money to help with the project.



Florey says the next day these cubes will be built is July 15th, and anyone interested is welcome to attend and help with the build.

Shelby County Community Services Provides Much Needed Mental Health Programs to Area Residents

Shelby County Community Services continues to provide and promote mental health and rehabilitation programs for Shelby County Residents. Since 1970, SCCS has played a vital role in the lives of the people of Shelby County.


Tom Colclasure and Ed Lacheta both appeared as guests on the NewsTalk WTIM Morning Show live from our Downtown Shelbyville Studios. Colclasure says SCCS provides many services to residents.



Colclasure says one of the most important services they provide is out-patient counseling and crisis management, which Lacheta runs at SCCS. Lacheta says everyone has a lot to deal with, and if it becomes too much, SCCS is there to help.



For more information on Shelby County Community Services, you can give them a call at 774-5587.

University of Illinois Extension to Host Summer Agriculture Institute for Area Teachers

The University of Illinois Extension will be hosting a free summer agriculture institute for area educators coming up on August 3 from 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Extension office. The goal of the institute is educate and empower local educators to be able to teach their students about the importance of agriculture in our everyday lives.


Cassie O’Connell and Amanda Cole both appeared as guests on the NewsTalk WTIM morning show. Cole says participating teachers will hear from speakers in agriculture and get to tour an agriculture facility.



Cole says this institute is a part of the Extension’s Ag Literacy program that goes into the classroom to teach students the importance of agriculture.



They ask that if you would like to participate, you call the Extension office at 287-7246 to pre-register.

Tickets Still Available for Christian County Ag Appreciation Lunch

The Christian County Ag Appreciation Luncheon will once again be one of the many events to highlight the Christian County Fair later this month. The luncheon is on Thursday, July 27 at 11:30 a.m. at the fair.


Greater Taylorville Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Patty Hornbuckle is a member of the Christian County Ag Group. She says the guest speaker is familiar to those in the area, and many sponsors help to make this event happen.



Hornbuckle says tickets are free for the lunch. There are plenty of tickets available and plenty of places to pick up your ticket.



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

Mendoza Calls Budget Step Forward for Fiscal Responsibility

Comptroller Susana Mendoza has been praising lawmakers for passing a budget last week. She says the return of a spending blueprint means a return of spending limits.



Mendoza predicts there will be enough money to cover basic services in August.

Farm Groups: EPA's New RFS Targets Mixed

Farm leaders are giving mixed reviews to EPA’s just-proposed 2018 renewable fuel volume targets under the nation’s Renewable Fuel Standard.


National Corn Growers President Wesley Spurlock says EPA’s proposal to keep the so-called renewable volume obligation for conventional corn ethanol unchanged from this year is good for farmers and rural communities who dealt with RFS uncertainty the last 3-years.



Others were less supportive. Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley was “disappointed” EPA proposed no increase in biodiesel production, as well as cuts to advanced biofuels and cellulosic ethanol…cuts that he argues will have a “chilling effect” on investment in the next generation of biofuels.


National Farmers Union President Roger Johnson read from a prepared statement that while the proposed volume for conventional ethanol meets the RFS statute, volumes proposed for advanced biofuels fail to meet President Trump’s biofuels commitment to farmers.



Johnson says the EPA proposal will ultimately fall nearly 7-billion gallons short of levels Congress prescribed and urged EPA to reconsider the cuts when it finalizes a rule by November 30th. The Renewable Fuels Association also expressed concern about the lower volume target for cellulosic ethanol, but praised that for conventional ethanol, saying it will help drive investment in facilities to accommodate higher ethanol blends.

U.S. House Passes Technical Ag Education Bill

High school career and technical ag education programs recently received a boost from the House of Respresentatives The House of recently passed the Strengthening Career and Technical Education Act for the 21st Century. The measure reauthorizes the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act. AFBf director of congressional relations RJ Karney says this is vital legislation for the future of Ag businesses.



The bill provides career and technical education plus post-high school job training and retraining, all of which are necessary to build a skilled workforce. Skilled workers are as necessary in rural America as they are in urban areas.



He says the programs in the Perkins Act are well-rounded ag education programs, covering areas like horticulture, forestry, as well as plant and animal sciences. American Farm Bureau will be working to educate senators on benefits the legislation brings to rural communities.



Again, RJ Karney is the director of congressional relations for the American Farm Bureau Federation in Washington, D.C.

Retailers Expect Growth in Precision Farming

The last few years have been a challenge in the precision farming industry. Precision Farming Dealer reports that dealers all over the country have been navigating the instability in commodity prices and cautious buying habits of their customers.


The fifth annual Precision Dealers Benchmark Study has a more optimistic tone to it than recent years. Retailers are more optimistic about revenue expectations and business objectives. Dealer responses from 28 states and Canada showed 23 percent of dealers showing growth of eight percent or more, more than doubling the 10 percent of dealers projected a year earlier.


On the other end of the spectrum, eight percent of dealers reported revenue dips of eight percent or more. It’s the first time in three years that the percentage of dealers experiencing revenue drops was in single digits. Looking ahead, 59 percent of all dealers forecast at least a two percent gain in revenues this year. 


Only 11 percent of dealers in the study are predicting a revenue drop of at least two percent, the lowest number of dealers in the study’s history.

Farmland Market Trend Hard to Define

The Farmers National Company recently released a semi-annual market update on farmland prices and it’s hard to nail down just what the trend is.


A Pro Farmer report says the best description may be “steady, with exceptions.” The report says the reason trends are hard to figure out is some farmland sells at better prices than expected while other farmland shows a price decline from previous selling prices.


Ag land values in most areas should be expected to continue gradually declining over the next several years if commodity prices and farm incomes remain bottomed-out. Interest rate increases, small tax law changes, and world economic challenges will likely keep the pressure on farmland prices over the next year. 


The report says there are potential positives ahead for farm and ranch incomes in the future. If the stress on land prices slows and there are no other shocks to the market, land values should move to stabilize over the next few years. 

Pana High School Band Performs in Washington D.C. Independence Day Parade

It took a lot of hard work over the last year, but the Pana High School Band got to enjoy the trip of a lifetime over the Fourth of July. The band performed in the Independence Day Parade in Washington D.C. on Tuesday.


Theresa Steiner is the band director at Pana High School. She says her goal was to make sure all of her students were able to go on the trip.



Steiner says it was a surreal experience for the band to perform in a place like the nation’s capital.



Steiner says the trip would not have been possible if it weren’t the community rallying around the students to make the trip happen.

Tobacco Master Settlement Has Hints of Scam; According to Attorney General







Illinois Dry in Some Areas Due to Lack of Rain







Mega Millions, Powerball to Resume Sales After Budget Passing

The Illinois Lottery announced Thursday night that Mega Millions and Powerball sales will resume across the state with the passing of the state budget. Illinois residents will once again be able to buy Mega Millions and Powerball tickets at the nearly 8,000 retailers that sell tickets across the state.


Illinois Lottery Acting Director Greg Smith the loyalty of the players and retail partners is appreciated as the state lottery continue its mission to fund K-12 education. 

Reaction Coming In From Illinois' New Budget

(This story will be updated as more reaction becomes available.)


With a new budget in place in Illinois for the first time in two years, many lawmakers and officials are reacting to the news of the state budget being passed.


State Senator Andy Manar says he’s disappointed Governor Rauner would veto a budget that received bi-partisan support.



Hear Manar's full thoughts here:



UPDATE 11:45 A.M. State Representative Avery Bourne says Michael Madigan should have put a budget up for a vote long before the original Sunday vote.



Hear Bourne's full thoughts here:



UPDATE 1:20 P.M. Taylorville Mayor Bruce Barry says although there is pension reform in this budget that could trickle down to benefit local communities, there is still more that needs to be done.



Hear Barry's full thoughts here:



UPDATE 1:20 P.M. Taylorville Schools Superintendent Dr. Gregg Fuerstenau says he hopes lessons have been learned from the budget impasse, because he doesn’t want to see Illinois school districts be the one to suffer again.



Hear Fuerstenau's full thoughts here:



UPDATE 12:15 P.M. Hear House Speaker Michael Madigan's full thoughts here:



UPDATE 12:15 P.M. Hear State Comptroller Susana Mendoza's full thoughts here:



State Representative Sue Scherer released this statement:


“When the budget package went to Governor Rauner’s desk, I sincerely hoped and believed that he would finally see the need to come back to the table, and negotiate an end to the crisis he created. I hoped he would see an opportunity to build off of the $3 billion in spending cuts we identified in our budget. But the governor’s total veto and his refusal to negotiate left me with an unfortunate choice: override his veto and support a deal I didn’t fully agree with, or follow the governor over a cliff, bringing millions of Illinois families down with us.


Let me be clear: This budget was not everything I wanted it to be. It’s not the deal I think we could have reached if the governor had been willing to work in good faith. But the bipartisan, balanced budget deal is hands down better than the governor’s counteroffer of nothing. A third year of this crisis could have put taxpayers on the hook for a $26 billion tax hike as the governor would continue to rack up billions of dollars in debt with no way to pay for it. Our schools would have closed. The elderly would have lost critical medical care. 


None of the Republicans or Democrats who voted for this bill wanted to come to this point. We stood together because Illinois needs a budget. It became clear this week that the governor would not make the tough decisions needed to end his crisis, so I did.” 


Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White released this statement:



"I applaud the bipartisan effort today by the Illinois General Assembly. My top priority remains providing the highest level of customer service to the people of Illinois in a fiscally responsible manner. With the implementation of a full budget, my office can do just that." 


Illinois State Treasurer Michael Frerichs released this statement:


“Today’s vote to override Governor Bruce Rauner’s veto of the budget was the only option to restore vital funding to universities, social service agencies, and try to avoid another credit downgrade.


“This is not a time to rejoice. Today only brings us a bit of relief, but it is a step in the right direction to put Illinois back on track,” Illinois State Treasurer Michael Frerichs said.


“The courage shown by several Republican members of the Illinois General Assembly is commendable. My hope is that the bipartisanship of these last few days will continue.


“The Governor’s failure to lead will be felt in Illinois for decades to come. It is hard to determine how long it will take for our universities, social service agencies, and businesses to recover.


“Today, we must acknowledge that these were self-inflicted wounds and commit that we never again will put politics above people.”


Wrestle For A Cure Coming to South Fork High School

You can watch pro wrestling and donate to a good cause in a few weeks in Kincaid. Midwest Aftermarket, CIPW, and the Pinfall Wrestling Association will present “Wrestle for a Cure” on Saturday, July 22nd at South Fork High School. Proceeds from the event will go towards St. Jude Children’s Hospital.


“Wrestling for a Cure” Vice President Tim Givens says local talent and talent from out of town will come in to put the show on for the community.



Tickets are $5. There will be a 50/50 raffle, t-shirts for sale, and concessions available as well. Givens says there will also be a 20-man battle royale named after a child who lost his battle to cancer.


Doors will open at 5:30 p.m. on the 22nd with the action starting at 6 p.m.

Christian County 4H Clothing and Textile, Food and Nutrition Shows Coming Up

The University of Illinois Extension will be hosting a Christian County 4H clothing and textile show at 5 p.m. on July 13th, with the Christian County 4H food and nutrition show to follow at 6 p.m. Both shows will be at the University of Illinois Extension Christian County Office.


Amanda Cole and Cassie O’Connell with the University of Illinois Extension appeared as guests on the Newstalk WTIM Morning Show. Cole says it’s a great opportunity to see the talent of the upcoming generation.



Cole says the kids have been working hard at the specialty skill all year in preparation for the shows this summer.



The Christian County 4-H program will also be very active showing off their projects at the Christian County Fair coming up at the end of July.

Farm Bill Number Crunching

It looks like lawmakers will have $130 billion less to write the upcoming farm bill than they did for the past one. The Congressional Budget Office made that announcement when it published its 10-year baseline projections.


The C.B.O. predicts that both farm and nutrition programs would cost roughly $822 billion over the next ten years. That breaks down to $679 billion for the SNAP program and $143 billion for ag programs like crop insurance, commodity subsidies, conservation, and other programs. However, the money lawmakers have available could go even lower if Congress passes a budget resolution.


House Budget Committee Chair Diane Black, a Tennessee Republican, along with the House Freedom Caucus, had been asking for massive farm bill spending cuts over the next ten years. House Ag Committee Chair Mike Conaway and Black came to an agreement on a spending number that Conaway says will allow him to write a farm bill.


Politico’s Morning Ag Report took a look at costs in the 2014 Farm Bill and found lower numbers than expected. The SNAP program, crop insurance, and conservation programs all cost less than budgeted for, with commodity subsidies the only area that cost more than budgeted for in 2014.

Corn Growers Want Clarity After WOTUS Repeal

The Environmental Protection Agency announced they will put forth a proposal to rescind the Obama-era “Waters of the U.S. Rule,” and will clarify what is the actual law of the land. Ethan Matthews is Director of Public Policy for the National Corn Growers Association and he says corn producers are very happy to hear this news…



Corn growers farm over 90 million acres in the country, which means they have a big role to play in the nation’s water quality. Matthews says they need some certainty over what they can and cannot do and what they need to get a permit for…



Matthews says the announcement came about because the administration in Washington D.C. is listening to farmer concerns and that’s a big change from recent years…



The next step for the administration is for the agency to develop its own rule on Clean Water Act jurisdiction. Matthews said the corn growers are looking for clarity of what’s jurisdictional and what’s not under the Clean Water Act…



He adds it’s important that the new rule doesn’t say “everything under the sun” falls under the jurisdiction of the Clean Water Act.

Senator Grassley Talks Farm Bill Cuts

The writing’s on the wall for the next farm bill: increasing program competition for evermore-limited dollars. One U.S. Senator sees some pretty stark choices. The central farm bill question will again boil down to nutrition versus farm program spending. Longtime Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley sees just two areas to rein in SNAP or food stamp spending.



Grassley says such moves spell out a “middle ground,” more likely to get sixty Senate votes than more severe cuts. House appropriators propose in fiscal 2018 to pare 5-billion in SNAP spending to meet slackening program demand, twice what President Trump proposes. Grassley says similar efforts to prioritize and pare spending are needed for farm safety net programs.



A USDA official told the Senate Agriculture Committee last week that popular USDA conservation programs from EQIP and CRP to CSP and the Regional Conservation Partnership are underfunded and oversubscribed by several times. The last farm bill cut conservation spending by 6-billion dollars over 10-years.

Chautauqua Building Repairs Appear to be On with Most Funding in Place

Repairs to the Chautauqua Building in Pana appear to be a go as most funds are in place for the project. That news came from the Pana Community Support Committee Meeting on Wednesday afternoon. The total costs of all repairs to the building will range between $12,900 to $15,000 this year, with $11,000 of the work going towards cupola frame and window work on the building. $11,100 has been committed from the city and from the PPRC, and more donations are expected.


Community Support Committee Chairperson Jerry Jordan says although a fix has been made for drainage in the past, recent heavy rains have shown that further work needs to be done.



Jordan says although more donations are expected, they are hoping that one large donation from an anonymous source will come through to put the Chautauqua repair projects over the top.



Here’s a full list of the repairs looking to be made at the Chautauqua Building:


BREAKING; Illinois House Votes to Override Governor's Veto 71-42


UPDATED; The Illinois House has officially voted in favor to override Governor Bruce Rauner's veto and passed a budget for the first time in 3 years 71-42.
BACK STORY; The Illinois Senate Tuesday morning passed both the spending bill and the tax increase bill, that were approved by the House on Sunday. Both passed with some Senate Republicans voting "yes" on both bills to provide the veto-proof majority needed to override the Governor's veto, which came at 1:39 Tuesday afternoon.
The Senate quickly overrode the Governor's veto of both bills in votes later on Tuesday afternoon.
The new budget increases the personal income tax from 3-point-7-5 to 4-point-9-5 percent, and the corporate tax from 5-point-2-5 to 7 percent. Both tax increases are permanent.
Democrats claim the 36-point-one billion dollar budget is balanced, with 2-point-5 billion in spending cuts and one-point-5 billion in pension savings.
Republicans wanted reforms in state spending like to include statewide property tax relief, cost reductions in workers' compensation and benefits for state-employee pensions, and working toward dissolving or eliminating local governments but did not receive those in the proposed budget agreement.
The House was set to convene at 1:30 Thursday afternoon to vote on the override of the Governor's veto but was delayed due to a security issue at the Capitol building. As the Illinois House was getting set to take a vote on overriding the Governor's budget and tax increase veto; the building went on lock down because of a white powdery substance thrown in front of the Governor's office and the House Chambers. The Springfield Fire Department responded with a Hazmat team and the Capitol Police locked down the building. 
The all-clear was then given at 3:30PM when no dangerous substances were found and representatives were let back into the House and went into an open-floor discussion on the proposed budget veto override vote.
The minimum number of votes needed to pass the override was met. 


BREAKING; Quorum Present for Budget Veto Override in House

After a shut down of the Statehouse the "all-clear" has been given and The House is now back in session with a full quorum. There are currently only the same Republicans who voted for tax increase present. First up is the override vote of the Governor's budget veto.


Stay tuned to Regional Radio News for more updates on the Illinois state budget as they become available. 

Greater Taylorville Chamber of Commerce Welcomes New Members

The Greater Taylorville Chamber of Commerce has welcomed two new members to the Chamber recently. Spring Mobile and Central Counties Health Centers are joining the Chamber of Commerce, and Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Patty Hornbuckle is happy to have them aboard.


Hornbuckle says Spring Mobile recently moved locations.



Hornbuckle says Central Counties Health Centers is already scheduling appointments and they have a wide variety of services to offer.



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

Taylorville VFW to Hold Fundraiser for Raising Service Dogs for Disabled Veterans

The Taylorville VFW will be holding their third annual benefit run on Saturday. The goal is to raise $25,000 from the benefit this weekend. The money raised will go towards disabled veterans by training service dogs for the veterans.


Darrell Devore, President of the VFW Riders in Taylorville, says these dogs are specifically trained for veterans with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.



Devore says you don’t need to have a motorcycle to participate. He says it should be a day filled with fun events.



Registration begins at 10 a.m. with the group leaving the Taylorville VFW at 12:15 sharp. The run will conclude around 5:30 p.m., but there will be a live auction and more events to follow at the VFW hall. Devore says this is the first event where rain isn’t in the forecast, so he hopes this will be the best event yet.

Good Shepherd Hospital in Shelbyville Hosting Free Dance Classes for All Ages

Central Illinois HSHS Hospitals have implemented an initiative to get people moving through a fitness program called “GO-2-1-7”. The program made it's way to Shelbyville's Good Shepherd Hospital in March and since they already had fitness classes in place, Tonya Bowrey, Manager of Rehabilitation and Wellness Services, said they decided to use a different avenue of dance exercises to help all those who participate, stay active.
Bowrey says the type of dances held on the first Thursday of every month will vary and they include “wedding dances” as well as line dances and many others. 
The dances cost nothing to attend and Bowrey says they have no age limit on any of the classes.

UPDATED; Illinois House Currently with Open-Floor to Hear Remarks on Bugdet Veto Override

UPDATED; The Illinois House was put under lockdown after a "HAZMAT scare" and officially convened at 3:30 this afternoon to look to override Governor Rauner's veto of the House tax hike and budget bills. The House floor is currently open and hearing remarks from the different representatives both for and against the veto override proposal. 
BACK STORY; The Illinois Senate Tuesday morning passed both the spending bill and the tax increase bill, that were approved by the House on Sunday.  Both passed with some Senate Republicans voting "yes" on both bills to provide the veto-proof majority needed to override the Governor's veto, which came at 1:39 Tuesday afternoon.
The Senate quickly overrode the Governor's veto of both bills in votes later on Tuesday afternoon, and Illinois' first full-year budget will be law when the Illinois House convenes to override the Governor's veto of both bills.
The House's Sunday vote on both spending and tax increase bills were veto-proof, which means that when they vote to override the Governor's veto with what should be a veto-proof majority once again, the budget will become law.
The new budget increases the personal income tax from 3-point-7-5 to 4-point-9-5 percent, and the corporate tax from 5-point-2-5 to 7 percent. Both tax increases are permanent.
Democrats claim the 36-point-one billion dollar budget is balanced, with 2-point-5 billion in spending cuts and one-point-5 billion in pension savings.
Republicans wanted reforms in state spending, but didn't get any.  
Reforms the Republicans wanted include statewide property tax relief, cost reductions in workers' compensation and benefits for state-employee pensions, and working toward dissolving or eliminating local governments.








Pana Community Support Committee to Recommend Withholding Bike Trail Funds for Trail Project

The Pana Community Support Committee will recommend withholding $25,000 from an old bike trail fund for tressel work on the Lincoln Prairie Bike Trail at Monday night’s city council meeting. That came from the committee’s meeting on Wednesday afternoon at Pana City Hall.


Community Support Committee Chairman Jerry Jordan says withholding this money helps to keep the city from having to dip further into its limited reserves if state money comes through for the tressel project.



Jordan and Pana mayor Don Kroski had an exchange talking about the city’s reserves. Jordan says they are keeping vital services in mind.



The Pana City Council meeting starts at 7 p.m. on July 10th, where the recommendation will be taken up.

Despite Reduced Attendance Christian County Senior Citizens Center Variety Show A Success

The 2017 Christian County Senior Center Variety Show fundraiser once again entertained many local residents, and helped to raise funds for the many projects and activities the Christian County Senior Citizens Center provides.


Gerry Mahr and Judy Gates with the Christian County Senior Citizens Center both appeared as guests on the Newstalk WTIM Morning Show and said although attendance was down this year, the event was still a success.



Mahr says the Senior Center has been working to provide a true variety of acts for the show.



For more information on the Christian County Senior Citizens Center, call 824-4263.

Taylorville Community Garden Sees Large Reduction in Strawberries Harvested Due to Heavy Spring Rains

Many local farmers and gardeners had to deal with heavy rains throughout the spring months, including the Taylorville Community Garden. The Garden experienced a huge reduction in the number of strawberries grown this year due to flooding from the heavy rains.


Geri Niemann, Coordinator for the Taylorville Community Garden says the garden was lucky to get ten pounds of Strawberries this year. A large reduction from last year.



The Garden plans to solve this issue for future growing seasons, by constructing raised bed gardens, but needs volunteers to be able to make that happen.



To volunteer with the Taylorville Community Garden, visit them on Monday and Thursday nights at 5, or give Niemann a call at 823-2077. Neimann appeared as a guest on the Newstalk WTIM Morning Show.

Lawmakers Hearing Threatening Comments

Both Republicans and Democrats in the House are preparing to take a vote on a possible override of Governor Bruce Rauner’s veto of a budget and tax increase. But recently comments to lawmakers who voted in favor of the bills are taking on a threatening tone. A report from Politico says a Republican lawmaker was told they would be swinging from a tree and Steve Anderson, House GOP Floor Leader, says he been getting calls and text messages, one saying “I’m coming for you.” Today Democrat candidate for Governor Chris Kennedy says it’s time for political rhetoric to end that encourages violence. That’s after Rauner used these works to describe the outcome of voting to pass a budget and tax increase.

The House is coming back to session at 1:30 to vote on over ridding Rauner’s vetoes.

Boil Order for E.J. Water Cooperative Customers in Christian, Shelby, and Montgomery Counties

Due to water main issues, water service has been interrupted Wednesday for E.J. Water Cooperative Customers. Customers in Shelby, Christian, and Montgomery counties in the townships of Ramsey, Okaw, Todds Point, Pickaway, Ridge, Rose, Shelbyville, Lakewood, Cold Spring, Tower Hill, Rural, Flat Branch, Assumption, Pana, Oconee, Johnson, Greenwood, Audobon, Nokomis, Witt, North Hurricane, South Hurricane, Rosamond, and Locust are all affected by this water service interruption.


Once water service is returned, a boil order will be in effect until further notice.

Republican Leader Reacts to Lone Republican Vote in Favor of Budget

The lone Illinois Senate Republican who voted with Democrats for a budget plan won't be ostracized by his new leader. Senator Minority Leader Bill Brady says Mattoon Republican Dale Righter was up front about his voting plans with fellow Republicans.

Righter said he would have liked a spending plan with deeper cuts but the deal was as good as Republicans could get in a Democratic controlled legislature.

Governor Rauner Confident in His Budget Veto

Governor Bruce Rauner today says he’s doing what’s right for the people of Illinois by vetoing the budgets and tax increases passed by both Democrats and Republicans this week at the statehouse. Rauner says right now he is doing everything he can to make sure that his actions will stand over lawmaker’s wishes.

Rauner shrugged off the idea that credit rating companies would grade the state’s credit as junk. Rauner says lawmakers need to stop listening to Wall Street and instead citizens who don’t want higher taxes.

Christian County Health Department May Run Out of Money Without State Budget

As governing bodies across the state continue in a holding pattern while they wait on Illinois lawmakers to pass a budget, one Christian County agency is running out of money to function. Although the Christian County Health Department has received some grant money to extend its budget, Christian County Public Health Administrator Nancy Martin says the department will be out of money in three to four months.


Martin says the department would avoid a complete shutdown at all costs.



Martin says every health department across the state is having to deal with the same budget issues. She says other departments have made some changes that she hopes the Christian County Health Department won’t have to make.



Martin says for now, it is just a game of wait-and-see, like most state funded agencies are doing right now as they wait to see if the budget bills become law.

Manar Pleased with Budget Bills that Could End Long Stalemate

Illinois’ two-year long budget impasse could be close to a conclusion, and one area senator is happy with what came out of the work in Springfield. State Senator Andy Manar is pleased that lawmakers from both sides of the aisle came together to get this budget plan done, and that it is the start of getting the state back on track.


Manar says that both sides were looking for a revenue increase for the state budget, and the income tax increase is how this budget deal got it done.



Manar says although this budget plan fully funds schools, there is still the issue of school funding reform to tackle. He is calling on Governor Rauner to sign Senate Bill 1 which deals with that issue.



Manar says this budget finally rights the financial ship for Illinois and will help to solve problems the state has been facing for many year.

Senator Rose Talks About State Budget

As Illinois comes closer to having a state budget, more legislators are reacting to the budget. 51st district state senator Chapin Rose voted against the bill and is now speaking out against the budget.


Rose says this budget once again passes the buck for today’s problems to future generations.



Rose says he thought legislators were very close to a bi-partisan balanced budget.



Governor Bruce Rauner has vetoed the bill, but the state senate has already voted to override that veto. The bill now is waiting in the house for their veto override vote.

U of I Extension Offering Classes on Canning and Freezing Foods

The University of Illinois Extension Unit 18 has been working all summer long on their local foods initiative. The Christian County Extension Office will be offering several workshops on canning and freezing the local foods that Central Illinois residents purchase or grow to help preserve those foods.


U of I Extension Nutrition and Wellness Educator Lisa Peterson shared information for potential students on the two classes while appearing as a guest on the Newstalk WTIM Morning Show.



Peterson says whether you preserve your foods through canning or freezing comes down to several factors.



Although the classes are offered free of charge, the Extension Office does ask that should you decide to attend the class, to sign up for the classes on the Extension's website.

Social Security Administration Shares Top Baby Names for Both Illinois and Nationally

Many look to the Social Security Administration for many different services, but one service the SSA offers that many may not know about is information on baby names. The SSA compiles and posts on their website the top baby names used both nationally, and on a state wide level for prospective and future parents when they're deciding on names.


Jack Myers with the Social Security Administration says the information on baby names was something fun the organization wanted to share with the public.



When searching a name, you can find out not only how popular a particular name is, but also how popular common alternative spellings of that name are as well.



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

Preparations for 32nd Annual Chillifest Gearing Up With Vendor Applications Being Filled Out

Chillifest is just a few months away, and those involved with putting on the event are working diligently to make sure the event goes off without a hitch. Currently the Chillifest Committee are accepting vendor applications for those who would like to participate as a vendor in the event.


Patty Hornbuckle, CEO of the Greator Taylorville Chamber of Commerce, and who also sits on the Chillifest Committee says the event will be here before many know it.



Hornbuckle says the event isn't limited to food vendors, and many different groups and organizations can set up a booth at Chillifest.



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

Christian County Historical Society Welcomes Two New Staff Members and Plans for Future Events

There are two new faces at the Christian County Historical Society and Museum, however many who are familiar with the organization will recognize them. Maureen Bruns is the new Membership and Public Relations Coordinator for the Historical Society and Museum, while Pat Vogel will take over as the group's Event's Coordinator.


Bruns appeared as a guest on the Newstalk WTIM Morning Show, and discussed some of the events the Christian County Historical Society will be involved in, including several local parades.



Another event the Historical Society has planned is their Mystery of History event on July 8th.



Local author Heinz Suppan will be the guest speaker at the event. More information is available by contacting the Christian County Historical Society by calling them at 217-824-6922.

U of I Extension Hosts Illinois Jr. Chef Camp in Taylorville

The University of Illinois Extension host an “Illinois Jr. Chef” cooking camp in Taylorville in late June. The Extension partnered SNAP-ED to host the free camp for kids ages 8 to 12 years old. The camp, which was hosted by the First Presbyterian Church in Taylorville, offered kids the opportunity to make their own nutritious meals and get excited about healthy foods.


In addition to meal preparation, the camp taught students the importance of hand washing and good sanitation practices to also help improve their lives long-term. Participants receive a certificate and cookbook with recipes they had prepared along with educational handouts to take home and share with their families.



Controversial Film Premieres in Illinois Next Week

With positive reviews from both the New York and Los Angeles Times, a documentary that tries to tackle the explosive topic of the use of biotechnology in food production makes its premiere in Chicago next week. Entitled, "Food Evolution," its director, Scott Hamilton Kennedy, says the film explores both sides on the use of genetically modified organisms, or more commonly known as GMOs.

Two members of the Illinois Farm Bureau's Young Leader Committee had the chance to see "Food Evolution" before the documentary had its premiere. Here's what Jenny Jackson of Jacksonville and Mark Ruschhaupt of Staunton thought about the film.

"Food Evolution" makes its Illinois debut next Wednesday at the Studio Movie Grill in Chicago. 

Not Even an Independence Day Session Could Officially End State Budget Impasse

Not even a Fourth of July session could officially end the state budget impasse. It’s something Mark Gebhards has never seen. He’s the Illinois Farm Bureau’s Director of Governmental Affairs.

Senator Chuck Weaver of Peoria has been in office since October 2015—all that time without a state budget. Not even that could move him to support an income tax increase.

The State Senate overrode Governor Rauner’s veto of the income tax increase and budget Tuesday. The Illinois House could take up the override as early as Wednesday.

Illinois Senate Passes Budget Tuesday Morning; Governor Threatens Veto

The Senate today voted to send Governor Bruce Rauner a budget package that could put an end to the two-year stalemate that has crippled Illinois’ finances and has bond houses threatening to lower Illinois to an unprecedented “junk” credit rating this week.  It's the same package the House passed on Sunday.  Rauner has already said if it reached his desk, he would veto it.
Votes for both the spending plan and tax increase in both Chambers were veto proof, which means even if the Governor vetos both the spending plan and tax increase, the House and Senate will vote to override and the budget will become law.
The new budget increases the personal income tax from 3-point-7-5 to 4-point-9-5 percent, and the corporate tax from 5-point-2-5 to 7 percent. Both tax increases are permanent.
Democrats claim the 36-point-one billion dollar budget is balanced, with 2-point-5 billion in spending cuts and one-point-5 billion in pension savings.
Republicans wanted reforms in state spending, but didn't get any.  
Reforms the Republicans wanted include statewide property tax relief, cost reductions in workers' compensation and benefits for state-employee pensions, and working toward dissolving or eliminating local governments.

Several Republicans in both chambers did vote for both the spending plan and the tax increase.

At mid-afternoon on Tuesday, the Senate was working to get the paperwork to the Governor so he could officially veto the budget, with the Senate remaining in session for the override vote late in the day on Tuesday.

House Speaker Michael Madigan has not announced when he'll call the House back in session for an override vote there.

Wall Street is watching the budget proceedings closely, as the state's bonds could end up in junk bond status if the budget isn't approved.

New Miller Media Group General Sales Manager Guests on WTIM Morning Show

The Miller Media Group has its first general sales manager.  Chris Bullock began with the company in mid-June.  His duties include handling an existing account list of advertisers in Taylorville, Pana, Shelbyville, Effingham and St. Elmo, but will also be managing the company's advertising sales efforts.

Bullock was a guest on last Friday's NEWSTALK WTIM Morning Show live from our downtown Shelbyville studios, and visited with host David Ball about the City of Shelbyville.

Bullock added he's excited about being part of a company that does local radio in our communities every day.

Bullock comes to the Miller Media Group with nearly 30 years of radio experience on-the-air, in advertising sales, and management.

State Budget Crisis Could Affect City Projects in Taylorville


The Illinois budget crisis is trickling down to local governments across the state, and Taylorville may feel its own effects. Those effects came up at Monday’s city council meeting at the Taylorville Municipal Building.


Taylorville mayor Bruce Barry says the city will not see any further money for local sewer projects from the state until appropriations are approved to be disbursed.



State appropriations could also affect what happens as the city looks to replace the roof of the Taylorville Police Department. Although the roof is only six years old, it is leaking and needs at least a fix. But poor customer service from the roofing company who did the job has led the board to look for a new roof elsewhere.



A public hearing will be scheduled for prior to the next city council meeting so residents can view the city’s appropriations for the coming year. The next board meeting is scheduled for July 17th at 7 p.m.

Illinois Senate Working On Independence Day; Budget Vote Scheduled

The Illinois Senate is working on Independence Day, to take up the 2 budget bills passed on Sunday by their counterparts in the Illinois House.

On Monday, a leaders meeting came up short of a quorum. Both Republican leaders didn’t show up for a meeting scheduled for 1 on Monday. Senate President John Cullerton says that he and the rest of the Democrat Caucus are ready to continue talks and negotiations on workers comp and property tax freezes among other issues.

The Senate has already passed a budget and tax hike but now they will need to do so with 36 votes instead of 32 and Cullerton will almost certainly need Republican votes this time around to pass both a tax increase and a budget bill.

Governor Rauner has indicated that if the budget that passed the House and is being voted on by the Senate on Tuesday, reaches his desk, he will veto it.

Lake Shelbyville 4th of July Fireworks; Parking & Road Closure Information

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers at Lake Shelbyville would like to give a friendly reminder to 4th of July fireworks patrons that fireworks will be launched at dusk from Ramp Point, located in Dam West Recreation Area. Lake Shelbyville has compiled a list of lcoations best suited for viewing fireworks.
Locations include; Dam West Recreation Area, Dam East Recreation Area & Visitation Center, on top of the Lake Shelbyville Dam, and Dam West Overlook.
At 8pm the Dam Road will be closed to traffic prior to and during the fireworks display from the 9th Street intersection to Dam East.
Parking in these areas is limited, so the Corps of Engineers recommends some alternative locations for parking: Spillway Recreation Area, Forest Park & Dam West High Water Boat Ramp (access General Dacey Trail to walk to Dam West Recreation Area).
No outside fireworks are allowed on government property and offenders will face a citation if caught in possession of fireworks. For additional information call the Lake Shelbyville Project Office at 217-774-3951.

New Superintendent Starts Work in Pana School District

It has been a long time coming, but the new superintendent for Pana Community Unit School District 8 officially started work Monday. Jason Bauer was hired early in the superintendent search process, and he has been getting acclimated to the district since the beginning of 2017.


Bauer says the time between his hiring and Monday gave him many opportunities to build his understanding for the district.



Bauer says he’s paying attention to what is happening in Springfield for what will happen with Pana’s budget. He also is planning on sitting down with his team to come up with a strategic plan for how to improve the district.



Bauer comes to the district from Donovan Community Unit School District 3, where he was a Junior / Senior High Principal and Co-Superintendent.

Bourne Speaks Out Against House-Passed Budget Plan

As the Senate continues to decide what to do with the recently passed House budget bills, one local house member is speaking out against the budget plan. 95th District Representative Avery Bourne says that all bi-partisan negotiating was thrown out to get the tax hike passed, and the bill only “kicks the can down the road further” for the state’s current situation.


Bourne says as late as Friday, there was hope that a bi-partisan budget bill would be passed.



Bourne says there’s a lot of problems in Illinois right now, and the budget passed doesn’t help to alleviate those problems.



Governor Rauner has already said the budget would be vetoed if it reaches his desk.

Pana Looking to Address Bike Trail, Chautauqua Building Repairs

The city of Pana needs to complete repairs to the bike trail and the Chautauqua building, but resources are limited. To cope with the limited funding, Third Ward Alderman Jerry Jordan has called a meeting of the Community Support Committee for Wednesday at 3 p.m. in the council chambers at Pana City Hall.
Jordan says the main task of the meeting when it comes to the bike trail will be to prioritize the work items that need to be done.
Jordan says monetary gifts should allow some of the repairs to the Chautauqua building to begin.
Jordan thanks the community for the support it has given for previous repairs and these repairs. He believes the funding will be there for Chautauqua building repairs and that the bike trail repairs will happen, but the bike trail repairs will take longer to get done.

CTI Announces Service Expansion to Hillsboro

CTI is wrapping up its projects to offer its services to all residents of Taylorville, but once it is done, the company isn’t going to stop there. The company recently announced plans to expand its services into Montgomery County and provide cable, internet, and television services for residents of Hillsboro.


CTI President Billy Williams says the company has been looking at where to expand to for at least six months. He says he has had previous conversations with Hillsboro area leaders, and that the timing was right.



He says once service to Taylorville is finished, CTI will start building towards Hillsboro, which includes serving the business district of another local community.



Williams says all of CTI’s services will be available for Hillsboro residents once they are ready to serve customers there, including CTI’s gigabit-speed internet service. He says Taylorville is currently one of six cities in Illinois with gigabit-speed internet service, and expanding to Hillsboro would make it the seventh city in the state with the service.

Junior Miss and Miss Shelby County Pageants This Saturday

The Junior Miss and Miss Shelby County pageants are quickly approaching! The pageants will be on Saturday, July 8th starting at 6 p.m. at the Shelby Christian Church in Shelbyville. Girls age 11 to 14 will compete for the Junior Miss Shelby County crown to start, while young women age 16 to 21 will compete to become Miss Shelby County to follow starting at 8 p.m.


Sara Long is the Director of the Shelby County Junior Miss and Miss Shelby County pageants. She says the pageants are different to watch in person than on television.



Long says there will be some special guests in attendance for the pageants.



Admission to the pageants will be $5 for adults, $3 for children age 5-12, and kids 4 and under are free.

Shelby Electric Coop Having Exhibit at Farm Progress Show









2 representatives from Shelby Electric Cooperative appeared on this past Friday's NEWSTALK WTIM Morning Show live from our downtown Shelbyville studios, to talk about upcoming events the coop will be involved in.

Kevin Bernson and Heidi Hall talked with host David Ball, and Bernson spoke about the co-op's upcoming exhibit at the Farm Progress Show.

Hall discussed the electricity safety display that continues to be a popular exhibit at the show.

For more information on Shelby Electric Cooperative, go to shelbyelectric-dot-coop.

Stewardship Urged with New Crop Protection Technology

While the state of Arkansas has more than 500 complaints on record alleging misuse of a new farm crop protection product that contains dicamba, Missouri reported it has more than 100. As of last Friday, Illinois had a total of - four. Still, some Illinois farmers are urging caution with the new technology.

Steve Turner farms near Chandlerville and says Illinois farmers that plan to use the new crop protection product this year need to exercise care. The products in question allow dicamba to be used on soybeans to kill weeds that have become resistant to the popular chemical glyphosate.

Both farmers and consumers can find more information from the Illinois Farm Bureau online at ilfb.org/steward.

Brady Takes the Reins of Senate Republicans

Senator Bill Brady was a unanimous pick to serve as Senate Minority Leader after the sudden departure of Christine Radogno. Brady pledges to make bipartisanship a core value of his leadership.

Brady has been a member of the chamber since 2002. He restores a downstate presence to the legislative leadership.

University of Illinois Extension Hosts Several Summer Programs for Children, Adults

It's been a summer full of classes for young people and adults, hosted by the University of Illinois Extension Service Unit 18.  Nutrition and wellness educator Lisa Peterson appeared on the NEWSTALK WTIM Morning Show to discuss the recently completed cooking class for 3rd, 4th, and 5th graders, saying they loved the peach smoothies they made themselves.

Peterson says they also got a taste of a vegetable many of them didnt' know about.

For upcoming classes hosted by University of Illinois Extension, google University of Illinois Extension Christian County.

BREAKING: Illinois House Passes Revenue, Spending Proposal Sunday Night; Includes Tax Increases

The Illinois House Sunday evening passed both a spending plan and a revenue plan with veto-proof majorities, and sent both to the Illinois Senate for action, while the state still doesn't have an official budget for the fiscal year that started on Saturday.
The revenue plan includes hiking the state personal income tax rate from 3-point-7-5 to 4-point-9-5 percent, which is a 32-percent increase.  Corporate income taxes also go up under the House revenue plan, from 5-point-2-5 to 7 percent.
The Illinois Channel reports House Republican Minority Leader Jim Durkin  complained that “once again” legislators got several hundred pages of spending, of billions of dollars, and had only three hours to review them before voting Sunday evening.  
Area legislators were split on voting for the tax increases.  Republicans Avery Bourne and Tim Butler both voted against them.   Reggie Phillips, whose district includes Eastern Illinois University in Charleston, and Sara Wojcicki Jimenez of Leland Grove, whose district includes Springfield, were among 15 Republicans that voted in favor of the tax hikes.
Both proposals now go to the Illinois Senate for consideration.  The state still doesn't have an official budget, leaving schools, universities, human services, and road projects in limbo.
After Sunday's vote in the Illinois House, Republican Governor Bruce Rauner said if the budget reaches his desk, he'll veto it.

Illinois Still Without a Budget; Rauner Calls 911 Bill A Tax Increase

Illinois still does not have a budget as of Saturday night.  Republicans and Democrats in both houses, negotiated into the night on Friday night and were back at it on Saturday, in hopes that both chambers would vote on a budget for the new fiscal year that started on Saturday.

But Democratic House Speaker Michael Madigan ruled while the House was in session on Saturday, that there would not be a vote on a budget, and that prompted an outburst in the House chamber.

House Minority Leader Jim Durkin, told House members he thought that the negotiations were going well enough in both chambers, that the House and Senate could be voting on the budget on Saturday.  That didn't happen.

The House had passed a procedural test vote on the budget on Friday, by a wide margin, with both Democrats and Republicans voting for it.

Madigan announced later in the day on Saturday, that he was calling a vote on the proposed tax increase, on Sunday.

The Illinois Channel is reporting that Republican Representative Tom Demmers, and Republican State Senator Jason Barickman of Bloomington-Normal, held a news conference on Saturday, complaining that Speaker Madigan's tactics had slowed negotiations, and they were both disappointed. 

Meanwhile, Governor Bruce Rauner said he was disappointed that the General Assembly overrode his amendatory veto of a bill that will continue to fund 9-1-1 emergency call centers across the state.  Rauner released a statement saying that the increases in fees that will be assessed on Illinois residents' phone bills as part of the 9-1-1 bill, amounts to a tax increase.

Sullivan's 4th of July Gets Underway



Sullivan's 4th of July celebration is underway at Wyman Park and the parking lot west of the Sullivan Civic Center.  Conner Amusements of Beardstown, is providing rides for young and old alike.


The event started Friday, and continues thru the 4th in the Moultrie County seat.

AssmptionFest Wrapping Up Saturday


Today (Saturday) is the last day of the 3-day AssumptionFest in downtown Assumption.  Food, music, and a car show are all a part of today's events, which continue into the evening hours in 



Bloodmobile Coming to Christian County YMCA July 12

The Central Illinois Community Blood Center has announced its Bloodmobile will visit the Christian County Y-M-C-A in Taylorville, on Wednesday, July 12th.  The Bloodmobile visit will be from  10 in the morning, til 12:30 in the afternoon that day.  All presenting donors will receive a 10-dollar gift card of their choice, and also be entered into a drawing for a 25-hundred dollar vacation package.  To donate or to get more information, contact Kristan Patnode at 287-7000.

Bourne Bill Speeding Up Human Rights Investigations Awaiting Governor's Signature

Legislation sponsored by State Representative Avery Bourne (R-Raymond) which helps to speed up investigations in the Illinois Department of Human Rights, has been given final approval and now heads to the Governor for his approval. 
HB3092 removes Verified Response form in DHR investigations which is currently required to be filed by a respondent. According to the IDHR the form has become outdated and often impedes investigations from being conducted in a timely matter.




Verified Response asks the respondent to either agree or disagree with the facts that were given to the department concerning the allegations of discrimination.
The Department contends that a verified response is outdated, no longer needed, can be intimidating and confusing, and hinders the Department’s ability to more quickly investigate allegations of discrimination.  In fair housing cases, the Department only has 100 days by law to investigate and if a respondent takes a full 60 days, an investigation may be rushed.

Shelby County Partners Committee Bettering Local Communities

Jackson Crowder is heading up Shelby County Partners, a group of people from various communities in the county that are working towards betterment of their towns.  Crowder was a guest on the NEWSTALK WTIM Morning Show live from our downtown Shelbyville studios, and told host David Ball the committee has been busy.

Crowder added that anytime Shelby County Partners has an event to beautify any of the local communities, volunteers turn out.

The group is holding a golf tournament July 28th.  Check out the info on their Shelby County Partners Open Facebook page.

Greater Taylorville Chamber Hosting Business After Hours Next Month

Greater Taylorville Chamber of Commerce C-E-O Patty Hornbuckle broadcast her weekly NEWSTALK WTIM program "Chamber Chat" live from Peabody, Massachussetts this week, where Taylorville golfer Dave Ryan is participating in the Senior P-G-A Open.  While Hornbuckle talked with us about Ryan's play in the tournament, she also shared with us information on July's upcoming Chamber Business After Hours at Neikes Floor Covering.

And, Hornbuckle says work is starting on the 32nd annual Chillifest.

For complete information on the Greater Taylorville Chamber of Commerce, go to taylorvillechamber-dot-com.


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