Local News

After Years of Work, School Funding Reform is Law in Illinois

One of the worst school funding systems in the country according to lawmakers on both sides has officially been fixed. Governor Bruce Rauner officially signed Senate Bill 1947, the school funding compromise bill, into law Thursday.


Rauner says his goal since day one has been to make Illinois schools the best in the country.



Taylorville School District Superintendent Dr. Gregg Fuerstenau has been very active in the fight for fair school funding across the state. He says school funding reform has been a long-time coming in Illinois.



Fuerstenau says he expects school districts to start receiving the state aid they are owed very soon.

2018 Gubernatorial Candidate Pritzker Makes Stop in Taylorville


The 2018 Illinois gubernatorial race is already rolling and one Democratic candidate made a stop in Taylorville Thursday afternoon. J.B. Pritzker, his running mate Juliana Stratton, and Pritzker’s wife M.K. all visited Rene’s Drug Store on the Taylorville Square to talk to area residents about what they want to do for the state of Illinois. The visit is a part of his central and downstate tour he is currently taking.


Pritzker says after two and a half years as Governor, Bruce Rauner has shown his true colors.



Pritzker says he’s listening to all residents of Illinois, from urban and suburban Chicago to the southern tip of Illinois.



To learn more about Pritzker, Stratton, and their campaign, you can visit their website here.



Labor Day Fun Begins With Horse Show in Pana

The Pana Labor Day Parade is coming up Monday morning, but before the floats line the Pana streets, the annual Labor Day Parade Horse Show will get underway as well. The grounds at the Wallace Bros. Stable will open at 8 a.m. Monday morning for anyone who has a horse or pony and would like to participate.


Scott Loos is the chairman of the horse show committee. He encourages anyone who wants to participate to come Monday morning.



Loos says the horses and ponies are judged in four different classes.



If there is inclement weather Monday morning, you can give Loos a call at 217-565-2332 to see whether the show will still be held. But Loos says the forecast looks great for this year’s show.

Crimestoppers Crime of the Week - August 31, 2017

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


At around noon on August 29, 2017, a vehicle was exiting Hillcrest Trailer Court onto Main Cross Street, when it was struck by an unknown vehicle.  The unknown vehicle then left the scene heading east on Main Cross Street.  The suspect vehicle was described as a white passenger car.  The victim’s vehicle, a 2003 Red Dodge, suffered front end damage. The total 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.  

Project 29 Committee Meets For First Time Since Announcing Push to Pana

The Project 29 Committee held their first meeting since announcing their “Push to Pana” initiative Wednesday afternoon. Mike Bell, the co-chair of the committee, is happy to see the committee expand its efforts for the good of Christian County and its residents.


Bell says the group believes it is important to continue working with local lawmakers and local media outlets.



Bell says he’s not the kind of person to give up on a cause if it is something people want.



The committee will continue to hold its meetings on the last Wednesday of each month, but meetings will now be at 2 p.m. The committee will meet in the community room at People’s Bank and Trust in Taylorville.

Community Support Growing for Shelby County 4-H and Junior Fair

Those involved with the Shelby County 4-H Junior Fair are celebrating a successful year of showcasing local 4-H students and the projects that they work on during their time in the program throughout the year. This past year the event saw increased support from the community, as well as large crowds at the fairgrounds.
Lisa Mott is the Shelby County 4-H and Junior Fair Board President, and says the event was blessed with great weather for the week of the fair.
The Fair Board has been running a “Keep The Fair Alive” campaign for the past several years, and the community has jumped on board in a big way to support the fair and the local 4-H program.
Mott appeared as a guest on the Newstalk WTIM Morning Show live from our Downtown Shelbyville Studios.

CCEDC Intending to Resubmit EDA Funding Application After Initial Denial

The Christian County Economic Development Corporation recently learned of the denial of an application they had submitted with the Economic Development Administration for funding to help boost economic development in the region. CCEDC Director Mary Renner says the group isn’t giving up yet however, and intend to re-submit another application with the EDA.


According to Renner the denial came as a shock to the CCEDC, saying they were lead to believe that their application would be approved.



Renner states that in the denial letter, the EDA informed the CCEDC of a number of requirements of the application that were not met that the group was either unaware of, or was told were optional.


The denial letter isn’t the end of the group’s quest for additional money to help bolster development in Christian County, as they intend to re-submit an additional application with the EDA. Hopefully with more guidance from the EDA’s Regional Office Director.



Renner also stated there are still a number of different promising projects that may make their way to Christian County and to Taylorville, bringing more jobs and money to the area.


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

Project 300 Seeks to Find Out Who Is the Top High School Football Team in Illinois

High School Football is in full swing in Illinois, with teams across the state preparing for the second game of the 2017 season this week. With the start of the season, many sports fanatics where programs stack up with one another in terms of all time wins. Project 300 is a group that seeks to find historical records of each team in the state, and compiles a list each year of the top teams in Illinois.


Kev Varney is a historian with Project 300, and says one local school, Taylorville High School, has a long and rich football history.



It takes a lot of work to uncover early records of every program in the state, however one man involved in the project has gone far and wide to find out who’s the best.



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

Around 300 Attend Farm Bill Listening Session at Farm Progress Show

A Farm Bill listening session part of this week's Farm Progress Show in Decatur. Central Illinois Congressman Rodney Davis is a member of the House Ag Committee.

According to Davis, crop insurance is the top issue to Illinois farmers. He feels the federal government is being fiscally responsible by having a public/private partnership.

Congressman Davis anticipates the Farm Bill being negotiated and put together in a timely manner. Two other members of the Illinois congressional delegation--Mike Bost and Cheri Bustos also serve on the House Ag Committee. 

Weak Commodity Prices Keeping Illinois Farmland Values Steady

Weak commodity prices are keeping farmland values steady. Dave Klein with Soy Capital Ag Services has a snapshot from the first six months of 2017 in Illinois.

The data from the Illinois Society of Professional Farm Managers and Rural Appraisers was shared at this week’s Farm Progress Show in Decatur. Klein says rental rates are following farmland value trends. 

A farmland sale in Logan County for Class A ground brought a top of $12,200 per acre last week. 

Local Resident Looking to Collect Funds for Harvey Victims

One Taylorville resident is looking to help the victims of Hurricane Harvey and he’s looking to area residents and businesses for help. Terri Wright is setting up the effort, and he has lofty goals for the collection.


Wright says after the flooding in Kincaid in late 2015, he says he wants to do something to help and he hopes Christian County residents will join him.



Wright says he is asking if any business wants to help victims of Harvey, they can do so through this collection.



Wright says he’d like to have the first collection for the victims at the Pana Labor Day Parade, but you can start donating today. There is a hurricane relief fund set up at People’s Bank and Trust, and you can contribute at the Taylorville or Pana locations.

Miss Pana Pageant to be Held Tonight


The Miss Pana Pageant will be held tonight, and 24 girls will compete for the title of Little Miss Pana and 13 girls will be competing to become Miss Pana. The competitions will start at 6:30 p.m. at the Pana Tri-County Fairgrounds.


Tori Marron is the reigning Miss Pana and says being in pageants have taught her many valuable life skills.



Marron says she has made many new friends through pageants, and says the 13 girls competing in this year’s Miss Pana pageant have become friends as well.



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

Taylorville Memorial Hospital's "Lose-to-Win" Program Has Helped Area Residents Lose 50,000 Pounds

From Left to Right: Tierra Thomason (4th), Treena Brown (1st), Bobby Grundy (3rd), Mary McChristy (10th), Pat Gaynor (2nd), Regina Gaynor (6th), and Nicole Erwin-Gaynor (7th). Not pictured – Tracy Marshall (5th), Ron Stivers (8th) and Julie Schmidt (9th)


One Taylorville Memorial Hospital program is helping many community members get healthier, 50,000 pounds healthier and still going. The hospital’s “Lose-to-Win” program recently completed another 14-week program, and this cycle’s winner lost over 16-percent of their body weight.


Janelle Cornell is a clinical dietitian at TMH. She says the program started as a hospital staff only program, but it quickly grew once it was opened to the general public.



Cornell says some people need extra motivation to lose weight, and the “Lose-to-Win” program provides that push.




Cornell says anyone who would like to lose weight is welcome to join the program. She says she is the only person that ever knows what you weigh at weigh-in, and you are encouraged, but not required to attend weekly sessions during the program. An informational meeting will be held for the next “Lose-to-Win” program at 6:00 pm on Wednesday, September 6 in Room 414 at Taylorville Memorial Hospital. 

Normal Man Sentenced in Fatal 2016 DUI Crash Near Morrisonville


A Normal man will serve 11 years in prison after driving drunk and killing a mother and her unborn child in a crash near Morrisonville in 2016.


27-year-old Lance T. Pitsch plead guilty in late May to Aggravated DUI Causing an Accident with a Death, Reckless Homicide of an Unborn Child, and Aggravated DUI Causing an Accident with Bodily Harm. The 11-year prison sentence will be followed by two years of parole.


The accident took place on Illinois Route 48 just north of Morrisonville on October 21, 2016. The victim, Jessica N. Tyson, was rushed to Taylorville Memorial Hospital where she and her unborn child died shortly after the crash. At the time, state police said Pitsch was driving north on 48 when he crossed into the southbound lanes, striking the vehicle. The driver of Tyson’s vehicle, Nestor Lopez, also was transported to Taylorville Memorial Hospital and survived.

$1.3 Million Renovations to Start Next Summer in Downtown Shelbyville

Downtown Shelbyville will start being renovated next summer. The downtown Shelbyville transformation project that has been in the works for nearly a decade will officially start phase one of construction in the summer of 2018.


Alan Spesard is on the committee for improving downtown Shelbyville. He says the one-point-three million dollars in funding is coming from the state level.



Spesard says there are many projects that will be completed during next summer’s construction.



Spesard says this is phase one of a multi-phase project to improve all of downtown Shelbyville.



Spesard says before the work begins, they are holding a series of public outreach meetings to hear residents’ and business owners’ thoughts. The next meeting is set for 6 p.m. November 6th at Shelbyville Village Hall.

Sunkist Cleaners in Taylorville Under New Ownership

Sunkist Cleaners in Taylorville is now under new ownership. Bryan Payne recently completed the purchase of the dry cleaning business on Cheney Street in Taylorville, and he has big plans for the business’ future.


Payne says he wanted to purchase a business with a spotless reputation in the community.



Payne says there is one big addition he would like to make to the business in the near future.



Payne says his customers and the people of Taylorville can expect the same great service as they have received in the past, and he thanks those that have reached out to him with the well wishes for his new venture.

Harvest 2017 Just Weeks Away in Illinois

Combines should be rolling in certain parts of Illinois within the next few weeks. That’s what Jeff Adkisson is hearing from the Grain and Feed Association of Illinois.

Adkisson says farmers should be communicating with their local grain elevator manager right now finding out how much space they have available heading into the harvest season. 

Be Aware of Harvey Scammers

Scammers are expected to use Hurricane Harvey as a way of tricking people out of their money. These crooks pay close attention to natural disasters and current events, and experts at the Better Business Bureau want you to be generous if you are so inclined, but keep your guard up for those who are looking at this disaster as a way to make a buck. People who want to help victims are being urged to donate to the Red Cross or another legitimate agency. The BBB's Don O'Brien says every natural disaster is followed by crooks and scammers.

O'Brien says you should be cautious when giving online to unfamiliar charities. Be wary of spam messages and emails that claim to link to a relief organization. 

Illinois Farmer in Final Months as President of American Soybean Association

A Western Illinois farmer winding down his term as president of the American Soybean Association. Ron Moore farms near Roseville in Warren County. He continues to follow trade issues very closely.

Moore is at the Farm Progress Show in Decatur this week. His term as American Soybean Association president expires in December. 

Illinois Senate Approves School Funding Compromise, SB1 Sponsor Manar Reacts

School funding reform is one step from being law in Illinois, and 48th District State Senator Andy Manar is happy that a bi-partisan compromise has been reached on the issue he’s taken the lead on for many years in the State Senate.


Manar says the outcome for Chicago Public Schools doesn’t change, but it also does not hurt districts in downstate Illinois.



Manar wants to thank a couple area school leaders for the work they’ve put in to make school funding reform happen.



Manar says despite the hyper-partisan atmosphere across the country, including in Springfield, lawmakers came to a bi-partisan compromise for the sake of Illinois kids.



The governor is expected to sign the bill in Chicago on Wednesday.

Bourne Speaks on School Funding Compromise Bill

95th District State Representative Avery Bourne is speaking out after a historic school funding bill vote Monday. The Illinois House passed a compromise bill to SB1 to give the state an evidence-based model to fund local schools.


Bourne says one of her biggest issues with SB1, the funding for Chicago school pensions, was fixed as a part of this compromise.



Bourne says there was also a compromise between the true per district hold harmless for state funding in SB1, and Rauner’s per district hold harmless that switched to per pupil hold harmless after three years.



Bourne says downstate schools, and especially schools in our area should be proud of the work local state lawmakers have done towards fixing Illinois’ school funding model.



The bill will be voted on in the Senate Tuesday. If passed in the Senate, it will go to the Governor’s desk, where Bourne expects Governor Rauner to sign the bill into law.

Former Pana Resident Facing Brunt of Hurricane Harvey

A former Christian County resident is one of millions of people dealing with the record-breaking rainfall in Texas and Louisiana from Hurricane Harvey. Larry Dilley grew up in Pana, and now lives in Freeport, Texas, about 45 miles south of Houston along the gulf coast.


Dilley estimates that Freeport has received about 20 inches of rain since Harvey started hitting the area late last week. He says in Brazoria County, Texas where he lives, there are two major rivers, and both are out of their banks.



Dilley says emergency crews and other outside aid have been working tirelessly to help those in need, but they have been working round the clock for days.



Dilley says people can help by calling the American Red Cross or the Salvation Army, but the storm is still not over for those in Freeport, and the Texas and Louisiana Coast. 

House Approves School Funding Plan

It took some time and a few attempts at a vote and it still hast to pass the Senate but the House did approve education funding reforms on Monday. The votes finally came together to pass a compromise education funding bill. The bill moves forward with all schools getting more money. A contentious part for Democrats was approving the bill that now contains a 75 million dollar tax credit for donations towards private school scholarships. But Minority Leader Jim Durkin says when no one gets their way then the bill should been seen as a good compromise.

The bill has to pass muster in the Senate and the Governor will have to add his signature.

Missions for Taylorville Coordinator Says There's Many Different Reasons to Volunteer With The Organization

Missions for Taylorville's next Build Day is just around the corner, and offers those in the community a chance to help make a difference, and improve the look of the city. The organization focuses on helping those who cannot make various home repairs themselves.


Bill Kerns with Missions for Taylorville says there are many reasons someone may want to sign up to help with the various projects the group works on, one of which is the chance to meet new people in your community.



People are often have valid criticisms as to why a property may look run down and un-kept, however Kerns points out that the projects Missions for Taylorville helps with are people who don't have the means to upkeep their property by themselves.



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

Taylorville Getting Ready to Break Ground on New Water Plant

Taylorville has been working on bringing a new water treatment plant to town for quite some time, and is finally preparing to break ground on construction of the new plant. The EPA mandated plant will not only increase the capacity for the Taylorville water system, but the contractor building the plant promises the project will bring Taylorville some of the best water in the state.
Taylorville Mayor Bruce Barry, while appearing as a guest on the Newstalk WTIM Morning Show says everything is finally in order, and invited the community to attend the ground breaking ceremony this Friday at 10:30 at the site.
The plant will give the city greater capacity for water, leading to possible expansion of the system, along with higher quality water.
Barry says the plant should be operational by July of 2019.

Edinburg Gearing Up for Labor Day Picnic

With the Labor Day holiday just around the corner, the town of Edinburg is getting ready for their celebration with the Edinburg Labor Day Picnic. The four day festival will include a number of different attractions including a carnival, gameshow type games, live music, and the ever popular Labor Day Parade.
Katie White and Morgan Stevens both help coordinate the event, and says both the Picnic and the Parade share the same theme.
The Edinburg Labor Day Picnic has a strong social media presence to help the community stay in touch with the latest developments the event has.
The event will take place Friday through Monday, September First through the Fourth at Veterans Memorial Park in Edinburg.

Freedom Tree Food Drive at TCCU Has Another Successful Year

Taylorville Community Credit Union recently wrapped up their 3rd annual “Freedom Tree” Community Food Drive and it was once again a big success. TCCU President Will Perkins says the Taylorville location “more than filled” the food pantry’s van with donations from this year’s drive.


Perkins says it’s refreshing to see the community come together and support the local food pantries this time of year.



Perkins wants to remind the public for next year that you do not have to be a member of the credit union to donate to the cause.



Perkins thanks everyone that donated to this year’s drive, and the credit union looks forward to continuing to expand the “Freedom Tree” Community Food Drive next year.

Taylorville Park Board Votes to Purchase New Video Surveillance System Monday

The Taylorville Park Board voted to upgrade its video surveillance system at Monday night’s park board meeting. The board voted unanimously to spend $2,318 with Wareham’s Security for the upgrades.


Wendy Keller with Wareham’s Security says using a DVR today is much cheaper than when the original system was installed seven years ago.



In other business, Park District Recreation Director Bailey Hancock reported that although financial numbers are not official, pool attendance numbers were up even after a few cool weeks over the summer.



The board also approved $1,500 for seed and fertilizer to renovate the fairways for two more holes at Lakeshore Golf Course after holes 14 and 16 underwent renovations last fall. The next park board meeting is scheduled for Monday, September 25th at 7 p.m. 

Rauner Signs Immigration Legislation

Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner has made it official. He has gone against the political grain and signed an immigration bill, the Trust Act. The legislation prevents law enforcement from detaining individuals strictly 
based on their immigration status. For Rauner, it's a matter of family values.

Rauner says the legislation will give immigrants the chance to follow the three keys to success his grandparents always talked about.

Lt. Gov. Evelyn Sanguinetti says the bill does not transform Illinois into a sanctuary state but instead keeps violent criminals behind bars.

Weather Officials Waiting To Make Prediction if Harvey Will Hit Central Illinois

While tropical storm Harvey continues to pound away at southeast Texas, Illinois weather officials say they are keeping a close eye on the remnants of the storm. National Weather Service Meteorologist Chris Miller says by later this week the storm should start to move north through the Ohio Valley leaving the chance of rolling through central Illinois.

Miller says while the remnants of the storm could in fact get to central Illinois, he says there are a lot of things that must happen for the area to get the full impact.

According to Miller, who is stationed at the National Weather Service Office in Lincoln, they anticipate knowing more mid-week about the path tropical storm Harvey will take. 

UPDATE - Shelby County Man Found Dead of Multiple Gunshot Wounds in Abandoned Decatur Home

A Shelby County man was found dead Sunday morning in an abandoned Decatur home. 22-year-old Zachary W. Hubbart of Windsor was found in the home in the 1200 block of East Condit Street. He had died from an apparent gunshot wound.


An autopsy will be conducted Monday at the McLean County Coroner’s Morgue in Bloomington. The case is under investigation.


3:25 p.m. UPDATE - Hubbart suffered multiple gunshot wounds to the head, upper and lower torso, and the right upper extremity. The criminal case is still under investigation by the Decatur Police Department.

Central Illinois Air Rescue Officials Sent to Texas to Aid Hurricane Harvey Victims

Some Central Illinois air rescue officials have been sent on a rescue mission to Texas for Hurricane Harvey victims along the gulf coast. Two staff members from HSHS St. John’s Hospital in Springfield and five team members of the Litchfield Air Methods base at the Litchfield Fire Department flew down to Texas Sunday. Members on the mission include flight nurse Joe Rios and logistics manager Bobby Groves from HSHS St. John’s; and flight nurse Sharon Dugger, paramedics Darren Davis and Steve Piper, and pilots Bob Hester and Doug Rhodes all from the Litchfield Air Methods base.


Areas around Houston have already seen feet of rain, and more rain is expected in the coming days. Houston officials say that the priority is to get everyone rescued because many are still stranded from the catastrophic flooding occuring in the area.

Pana Pride, City of Pana Ramping up Efforts To Clean Up Community

The city of Pana is ramping up its efforts to clean up the city with the help of one local organization. Pana Pride is leading the efforts to clean up their community.


Pana mayor Don Kroski says multiple buildings in the city have been torn down or cleaned up this year.



Pana Pride Board Member AJ Wiss says the actions Pana Pride is taking is motivating others in the city to clean up their property.



Wiss says he believes Pana Pride’s efforts will continue long term.



Kroski says that he hopes in four years that community members will be able to say he got rid of many run-down buildings while in office, and he appreciates the persistent support and efforts that Pana Pride is putting in.

Rush of CICBC Blood Drives Continues This Week

The Central Illinois Community Blood Center’s rush of blood drive continues this week. Last week, the CICBC held two blood drives in Taylorville, and there will be three in Christian County this week.


On Tuesday, there will be a blood drive at Lincoln Land Community College’s Taylorville campus from 12:30 to 3:30 p.m. Wednesday, the action heads to Morrisonville for a blood drive from 2 until 7 p.m. at the American Legion Hall in Morrisonville. Finally on Thursday from 11 a.m. until 6 p.m., you can donate blood at Taylorville Memorial Hospital.


CICBC Donor Relations Coordinator Caleb Parker says the many blood drives happening right now is partially because of the need, but also because they can count on area residents to fill the need.



Parker says they will still be offering football themed t-shirts to donors at this week’s drives.



Parker says a person can donate blood once every 56 days. He reminds everyone to bring a photo ID to donate, and to eat and drink before you donate and afterwards to prevent any fatigue.

Bone Marrow Registry Drive to be Held at Lake Land College Wednesday

Have you ever considered being a bone marrow donor? You have the opportunity to learn more about bone marrow donation and possibly register to be a donor at Lake Land Community College on Wednesday. Representatives from the “Be The Match” organization will be at Laker Point of the Luther Student Center from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. to talk with interested students, staff, and community members.


Lake Land’s Director of Student Life Valerie Lynch says that it is students that put this registry drive together.



Lynch says the main purpose of the drive is to inform the public of bone marrow donation. But, she says people can sign up to be a donor Wednesday.



Lynch says the goal of the “Be The Match” organization is to build is large and as diverse of a database as possible for those in need of a bone marrow transplant. She says the ideal candidate is between the ages of 18 and 44, but people that register will be kept on this list until the age of 61.

Proper Screening for Breast Cancer Can Save Lives

Breast cancer is a concern for many across the country, and HSHS Good Shepherd Hospital in Shelbyville is one of the many hospitals fighting back. They offer essential services to help fight the disease, as well as programs such as their Vicky Wagner Breast Cancer Assistance fund to help pay for it.


Timmerle Scholes, a mammography technologist at HSHS Good Shepherd, along with Glenda Plunkett, Marketing Director at the hospital both appeared as guests on the Newstalk WTIM Morning Show live from our Downtown Shelbyville Studios. Scholes says getting screened for the cancer can significantly increase someones chances of survival.



Medical costs in the United States are on the rise, and Plunkett shared how HSHS Good Shepherd Hospital can assist patients with some of the various costs that insurance doesn’t.



Scholes and Plunkett also warned that although breast cancer primarily happens in women, men are still at risk of contracting the disease.

Missions for Taylorville Coordinator Says There's Many Different Reasons to Volunteer With The Organization

Missions for Taylorville's next Build Day is just around the corner, and offers those in the community a chance to help make a difference, and improve the look of the city. The organization focuses on helping those who cannot make various home repairs themselves.
Bill Kerns with Missions for Taylorville says there are many reasons someone may want to sign up to help with the various projects the group works on, one of which is the chance to meet new people in your community.
People are often have valid criticisms as to why a property may look run down and un-kept, however Kerns points out that the projects Missions for Taylorville helps with are people who don't have the means to upkeep their property by themselves.
Kerns appeared as a guest on the Newstalk WTIM Morning Show.

Scholarship Opportunities for Cowden Students Return At Cowden Pioneer Days

Fall is just around the corner, however the summer festivals continue on, with Cowden Pioneer Days taking place this past weekend. Along with events like a parade, food, and a rodeo, the event also returned their scholarship opportunities to Cowden students.


Paula Blaine who helps coordinate Cowden Pioneer Days says the event has a small, but dedicated team of volunteers who work to make the event a success each year.



This year also saw the return of a number of scholarships given to Cowden students to help them with their future studies.



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

99 Days Till Bicentennial Kickoff

The countdown is on. The state is ready to celebrate its bicentennial. Governor Bruce Rauner was on Kaskaskia Island this weekend – the state’s first capitol and says the party will be going in just a few months all over the state. 

The countdown clock is now at 99 days, but it won’t be over quickly once it gets going. The bicentennial celebrations will last an entire year.

House To Vote on Ed Funding Reforms Today

The push for education funding reforms continued over the weekend. Legislative leaders met on Sunday to continue to work out the details of a tentative agreement that will face a vote in the House on Monday. Governor Bruce Rauner had looked like he may have thrown some cold water on the deal on Friday but House Minority Leader Jim Durkin says that no one is getting all they want.

The House is scheduled to vote on it today and the Senate will take up the compromise bill on Tuesday.

Bourne Holding Traveling Office Hours in Taylorville Tuesday

State Representative Avery Bourne has announced she will have traveling office hours in Taylorville this coming week. Bourne will hold office hours on Tuesday, August 29th from 10:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Congressman Rodney Davis’ Office on the second floor of the U.S. Bank building on the Taylorville Square.


No appointment is necessary. Bourne encourages anyone with questions or concerns for her to stop by during the office hours. For more information, you can call the district office at 217-324-5200.

Farm Progress Show Ready to Go

The nation’s largest trade show is coming to central Illinois next week as The Farm Progress Show returns to Decatur. The event is focused on agriculture; featuring equipment, seed and other ag technology. Show Manager Matt Jungmann says there are over 600 exhibitors at the show and those in agriculture arrive ready to learn everything they can about the future of the industry.

The show is August 29 – 31 in Decatur. On Wednesday there is a free country music show by Easton Corbin.

Hold On! School Funding Reform Could Have New Wrinkle

Governor Rauner offered a positive statement in written word form after legislative leaders reached a deal on school funding reform, but upon further review the Governor's words may throw a monkey wrench into the compromise deal.. In a visit to the Marion Chamber of Commerce, the Governor mentioned parts of the compromise that he approved of.

Then the Governor offered a scathing critique and he talked of tweaking the compromise agreement.

The legislative leaders will gather on Sunday and the Illinois House is scheduled to vote on the school funding reform compromise on Monday.

Illinois Specialty Growers Association Looking for New Members

New members being sought for the Illinois Specialty Growers Association. The group’s president is Randy Graham. He says they can be a big help to some small-time operators who may want to expand.

More information is available at “specialtygrowers.org”. Graham is co-owner of Curtis Orchard & Pumpkin Patch near Champaign. Their product-line includes a wide variety of in-store and “u-pick” apples along with squash, gourds, pumpkins and honey. The operation also includes a café, bakery and country store. 

Taylorville QB Club Looking to Build $700k New Athletic Facility at THS Through Private Funds

Artist's rendition of the new athletic facility between the high school building and the football field.


The Taylorville Quarterback’s Club wants to build the athletic facility of the future at Taylorville High School, and the group presented its plan for a new athletic facility next to the football field at a special school board meeting Wednesday night.


The building will be two levels, with a new weight room, concession stand, locker room, indoor hitting cage, and a golf simulator on the first level. The second level will house public restrooms, a wrestling practice facility, a meeting room along with an observation deck overlooking the football field.


Quarterback Club and 12th man committee member Lee Mateer is also a teacher and an assistant football coach at THS. He says the goal would be for the entire project to be privately funded and come at no cost to the school district or taxpayers.



Mateer says this facility not only benefits the kids that will use it, but it will make Taylorville more attractive for families looking to move to the area.



The goal is to have the project done by the start of next school year. You can view the complete presentation made to the school board here.

Workshop in Pana Monday Will Inform Seniors of Latest Scams

48th District State Senator Andy Manar is partnering with Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan and Pana Mayor Don Kroski to hold a workshop for area senior citizens to inform them on the latest frauds and scams targeting seniors. The workshop will be held at the Pana American Legion Hall on Monday from 10:30 to noon.


Kroski says as a senior himself, he knows there are plenty of people out there trying to scam older people. He says the best way to make sure people don’t become victims is to keep them informed.



Kroski says there are people targeting seniors everywhere, including in Pana.



The workshop is free for anyone who would like to attend. Kroski encourages people to get to the American Legion Hall early for refreshments before the workshop begins.

Two Pana Nurses Win Illinois Health Care Association Scholarships

Two nurses from Pana will be receiving help for furthering their education thanks to the Illinois Health Care Association. Kelly Adams and Mindi Lane have been named winners of the Maitland/Warner Long Term Care Nurse Scholarship and will receive $1,000 per semester for their education.


Adams and Lane both work as CNAs at Shelbyville Manor. Adams plans to become an RN while Lane is working towards her LPN. Both are attending Lake Land College in Mattoon.


Kristin DiCenso is the Development Director at the Illinois Health Care Association. She says becoming a long-term care nurse is different than working elsewhere in the medical field.



DiCenso says there were 14 scholarship winners this year, and there were many people that applied for the scholarship. She says long-term care nursing is an excellent field to get into for those people looking at getting in to nursing.

Signing of SB 189 Eliminates Statutes of Limitation on Sex Crimes on Minors

Victims of sex crimes as a child will no longer have to worry about statutes of limitation in trying to get justice. Governor Bruce Rauner signed Senate Bill 189 into law earlier this month, eliminating statutes of limitations on child sex crimes. The bill received unanimous bi-partisan support.


Illinois’ 95th District House Representative Avery Bourne was a co-sponsor of the bill. She says eliminating the statutes give people the time to cope while still allowing justice to be served.



Bourne says this has been an issue the statehouse has been working on for a few years, but she is happy lawmakers finally got it right and received so much support.



Governor Rauner signed the bill on August 11, and it went into effect immediately.

U of I Extension Holding Tomato Growing and Preserving Workshop Today

The University of Illinois Extension Office is preparing to host a tomato growing and preserving workshop today at the Christian County Extension Office. Those in the class will learn various tips and tricks to growing tomatoes in their gardens, as well as the proper method to canning and preserving those tomatoes to enjoy throughout the year.
Lisa Peterson is a Nutrition and Wellness educator at the U of I Extension office, and is one of the presenters of the workshop. She says when canning, you always want to use a tested recipe to make sure that you have safely preserved your food.
There are several methods to canning your foods, but when it comes to Tomatoes, Peterson says one thing you want to do is always add an acid.
Peterson appeared as a guest on the Newstalk WTIM Morning Show.

Congressmen Face Health Care Protests

A pair of Congressman were met with shouts today when they arrived at a senior center in Springfield. The protesters were angry about possible changes to Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security. Republicans Rodney Davis and Darin LaHood were there to speak to seniors about staying safe on the internet but were quickly drug into a conversation about changing eligibility for government programs. LaHood says changes are needed to keep benefits for those who need them but he wants to see those in retirement or closest to it to stay on the same path.

Protester Don Todd from Springfield says Davis didn’t give him any time to hear his concerns but that LaHood did listen. Todd says programs and eligibility need to remain the same so everyone can have the help they need.

Rauner Weighs in on School Funding

Governor Bruce Rauner isn't taking part in meetings with legislative leaders but he's keeping a close eye on the school funding reform debate.

There are things you can be certain of: death, taxes and the Governor having less than fond words for House Speaker Michael Madigan on the subject.

Rauner says it's wrong to characterize him as being against Chicago Public Schools. He says they will also be better off than now with his amendatory veto.

Rauner Responds to Departure of Communication Staffers

Governor Bruce Rauner was coming out swinging in response to news that four communications staffers resigned. One of them was Diana Rickert, one of the top staffers who came to the administration from the Illinois Policy Institute. Rauner defied characterizations that the conservative think tank was playing a central role in the administration.

The communications staffers left amid the recent controversy over a political cartoon on the school funding debate from the Illinois Policy Institute that showed a black child seeking money from a white man. Rauner rejects talk of turmoil.

Rickert, Communications Director Laurel Patrick and two communications specialists were let go after starting work with the administration just last month.

Never Too Early to Think About Winter Heating on Farm

It’s never too early to be thinking about your winter heating needs on the farm. Growmark’s energy expert Harry Cooney doesn’t expect a harsh December, January and February.

Also on the farm, Cooney says diesel stocks are very adequate currently and present some opportunity for farmers to get their inventories on the upper-end heading into harvest. 

Christian County Sheriff Kettelkamp Says Knowing Signs of An Overdose Can Save Lives

There's an opioid and drug epidemic going on in this country, leading to an increased number of drug overdose deaths in the region. To help prevent these deaths, citizens can carry the knowledge of what an overdose looks like, and what to do should someone you know be suffering from one.
Christian County Sheriff Bruce Kettelkamp says there are several things to look out for to know when an overdose is occurring.
If someone you know is overdosing, the first step is to call 9-1-1.
Sheriff Kettelkamp appeared as a guest on the Newstalk WTIM Morning Show.

Crimestoppers Crime of the Week - August 24, 2017

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


Sometime during the past couple of days, person or persons unknown made entry into the concession stand at the Don Bragg Sports Complex.  While inside, the unknown subject or subjects took snacks, chips, and drinks.  Items were also damaged while the subjects were inside.  Entry was made by breaking the shutter covering the front of the stand.  The total dollar amount of the theft and 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.  

Shelby County CEO Program Holds First Classes This Week

The Shelby County CEO program is officially underway as the first class was held Monday morning and J & R Collision Center in Shelbyville. The business is one of the many investors in the CEO program for its inaugural year.


Jake Buhnerkempe is a co-owner of J & R Collision Center. He gave the students a tour of the business and talked with the students about the business world in their first class. He says he originally got involved with CEO when he opened the Effingham location and Effingham County CEO students came out to show him what the program was like.



Buhnerkempe encourages other business owners to get involved with Shelby County CEO because it not only benefits the kids, but it benefits your business.



For more information on the Shelby County CEO program, you can visit their website here.

Southern Ledge Pools and Patios Continues Grand Opening Celebration into Weekend

Southern Ledge Pools and Patios in Taylorville continues their grand opening celebration into the weekend with plenty of fun and activities. The festivities started with a Greater Taylorville Chamber of Commerce ribbon cutting on Tuesday.


Teresa Wiltsie owns Southern Ledge Pools and Patios with her husband Ron. She says there will be great deals, giveaways, and a food truck on site.



The business opened back in April at their location on Main Cross, a few blocks east of the Taylorville square. Wiltsie says over the past few months, she has learned that a lot more people in the area have pools than she previously thought.



Southern Ledge Pools and Patios will be open Thursday and Friday from 9 until 5 and on Saturday from 9 until 1.

Taylorville Vision Source Preparing to Move Locations

The current location of Taylorville Vision Source on the east side of the Taylorville square.


Taylorville Vision Source will be leaving their current location on the Taylorville square to move to the old Craggs Realtors Building on West Springfield Road, across from the high school.


Adam Moore is the Operations Manager at Vision Source. He says the move was needed because of the business’ large customer base in Taylorville, and that they needed more room to grow.



Moore says with the move, Taylorville Vision Source will be able to get upgraded equipment to better serve the community.




Moore says he expects the move to be completed in the next month or two.

Taylorville Police Department Reminding Motorists to Use Caution When Traveling Through School Zones

It's back to school time across Central Illinois, which means increased traffic around school zones. The Taylorville Police Department wants to remind motorists who are traveling through these areas to proceed with caution, and take proper safety measures to ensure nobody gets hurt this school year.


Sergeant Alan Mills with the Taylorville Police Department says motorists and students alike should be more alert.



Mills understands there has been complaints as to the traffic situations surrounding area schools, but reminds motorists that policies were put in place to ensure the safety of the students.



Sergeant Mills appeared as a guest on the Newstalk WTIM Morning Show.

8-Man Football Now a "Thing" in Illinois

Five high schools will be playing 8-man football in Illinois this fall with more likely considering the option down the road. And that’s likely due to declining participation numbers in the sport says IHSA executive director Craig Anderson.

Alden-Hebron, Elgin’s Westminster Christian, Lake Forest Academy, Rockford Christian Life and the Illinois School for the Deaf are all going to 8-man football this fall, which has been declared an emerging sport by the IHSA. 

Easton Corbin to Perform at Farm Progress Show

A free concert will be part of this year’s Farm Progress Show in Decatur. It’s a pretty good country music act says the event’s Matt Jungmann.

FPS attendees are encouraged to download the Farm Progress Show App from the Apple Store or Google Play to get the latest in notifications and a map of all the happenings.

NAFTA Talks Underway in Washington

North American Free Trade Agreement or NAFTA negotiations currently underway in Washington. Talks began last week and Bloomberg’s Alan Bjeerga is covering the beat.

He says the talks haven’t been contentious to this point as more meetings are planned for next month. The key question is whether the negotiations will wrap up quickly or drag on for several years. 

It's Never Too Early To Track Your Retirement Says Social Security Administration

Many people notice a portion of their paycheck being deducted each week for social security, but many don't track that money once it's been taken out. The Social Security Administration has several tools to help you have a better understanding of where you're at with your retirement savings.


Jack Myers, Public Affairs Specialist with the SSA says one way they keep track of your retirement savings with social security is through your earnings record.



Myers also says regardless of your age, it's never too early for those who are working to start keeping an eye on their social security benefits.



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

Taylorville City Council Legalizes Golf Carts on City Streets

Residents of Taylorville should expect a new vehicle driving on city streets. The Taylorville City Council approved an ordinance allowing golf carts to be driven on the streets of the city. The golf carts will not be allowed on main roads in the city.


Taylorville mayor Bruce Barry says there were some changes made to the ordinance from what was passed at the committee level.



Barry says he believes legalizing golf carts is a win-win for Taylorville.



There are a few details to work out before the ordinance goes into effect, like ordering signs for city streets. The ordinance is set to go into effect on September 30th.

U of I Extension to Teach Residents How to Preserve Tomatoes

Many people like to grow their own tomatoes in a garden, but what do you do with those tomatoes once they’re picked? The University of Illinois Extension will hold a tomato preserving class at the Christian County Extension Office on Friday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.


Lisa Peterson is the Nutrition and Wellness Educator with District 18 of the University of Illinois Extension. She says although the class is lengthy, participants will get plenty of necessary information from growing to stowing the tomatoes.



Peterson says growing your own food gives a person self-satisfaction, and the knowledge of everything used to grow what you’re eating.



Peterson says participants will make their own can of salsa at the class Friday. She says anyone is welcome to participate, but she asks that anyone under 17 be accompanied by an adult. Pre-registration is required by August 24, you can find out more information by going to the Extension’s website. You can visit their website here.

Illinois Treasurer Michael Frerichs Calls School Funding Issue "Frustrating"

School districts across the state are patiently waiting for a resolution to the school funding formula issue currently making it's way through the Illinois legislature. Illinois Treasurer Michael Frerichs is adding his take to the situation in Springfield, saying it's frustrating that schools don't currently have the money allocated them in the budget.
Frerichs says schools may be facing a credit downgrade due to the lack of funding from the state.
Illinois Comptroller Susana Mendoza recently issued an overdue categorical payment to school districts in the state. Frerichs says although the payment should help, it's frustrating to see the legislature fail to act in a timely manner to get schools the money that's owed to them.
Illinois Treasurer Michael Frerichs appeared as a guest on the Newstalk WTIM Morning Show.

Taylorville Kiwanis Hear About Downtown Taylorville Organization at Weekly Meeting


 The Downtown Taylorville organization was the topic at Tuesday's Taylorville Kiwanis Club meeting.  From the left:  Kiwanis president Will Perkins; Downtown Taylorville executive director Marcia Neal; Downtown Taylorville president Steve Craggs; Kiwanis August program chair Martin Vota.




The Taylorville Kiwanis Club heard about the many events hosted by the Downtown Taylorville organization, during their Tuesday luncheon at the Taylorville Memorial Hospital auditorium.

Board president Steve Craggs and executive director Marcia Neal spoke to Kiwanis members, about the many events the Downtown Taylorville organization, formerly known as Main Street Taylorville, holds to help attract people to the downtown area.

Craggs said the non-profit group hosts 4 major events on the square each year:  Summertime on the Square, Meet the Machines, Dog Daze, and the Twilight Christmas Parade.  All of them have gained in popularity each year.

Craggs and Neal also talked about this year's very successful weekly Farmers Market that the Downtown Taylorville organization hosts each Saturday morning. 

The Taylorville Kiwanis Club reminds the public, that members will be on the streets of Taylorville September 22nd and 23rd asking for donations, and in exchange giving a package of peanuts, during its annual Peanut Days fund-raiser.  Proceeds benefit local Kiwanis programs for children and youth such as Coats for Kids, Kiwanis Park, YMCA and high school scholarships.

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.

Missing Decatur Sailor Remains Unaccounted For

There is no progress to report in the search for a missing Decatur sailor. Petty Officer Logan Palmer is one of ten missing sailors after the USS John McCain collided with an oil tanker in Southeast Asia. Some bodies have been recovered but so far, Navy officials haven't identified those victims.

Durbin Weighs in on Afghanistan

Senator Dick Durbin has weighed in on President Trump's announcement he plans to give the Pentagon the power to ramp up troop levels in Afghanistan. Durbin tweeted "This Administration has taken America’s longest war and continued it indefinitely. That’s a recipe for another military quagmire. We needed to hear from the President a justification for risking more American lives and spending countless more dollars. We didn’t."

No Override Vote Today on SB1

House Speaker Michael Madigan has canceled today's session of the Illinois House, including an override vote on Gov. Bruce Rauner's veto of a school funding bill. Madigan says he remains committed to seeing the school funding reform package through.

The news came after one of the longest leaders meetings in recent memory. Legislative leaders met for five hours before Madigan made the cancellation as a show of good faith in negotiations. More talks will now proceed between the leaders.

Illinois and Federal Authorities Continue to Seek Information in 1992 Kidnapping and Murder Case

Illinois State Police officials and the FBI are seeking the public’s assistance for information regarding the kidnapping and murder of Tammy J. Zywicki. August 23rd marks the 25th anniversary of Tammy’s death, and her case remains active as the FBI and ISP continue exploring new leads, examining 200 items of evidence, and retesting items with modern DNA technology. Some of Tammy's personal property are known to be missing, including a Cannon 35mm camera and a Lorus brand musical wrist watch which played the tune “Raindrops Keep Falling On My Head,” with a green umbrella on its face and a green band. Also taken from Tammy was a red and white soccer patch monogrammed with “St. Giles Soccer Club, Greenville, South Carolina.” Tammy was reportedly last seen with her car on Interstate 80 at mile marker 83 in LaSalle County, Illinois, between 3:10 and 4:00 p.m. on August 23, 1992. She departed Evanston, Illinois for college in Grinnell, Iowa, where she was expected to arrive that evening. Later that day, Tammy’s car, a 1985 White Pontiac T1000, was found by an ISP Trooper and marked as being abandoned. On September 1, 1992, Tammy’s body was located along Interstate 44 in rural Lawrence County, Missouri, which is located between Joplin and Springfield, Missouri. She had been stabbed to death. It was also reported that a truck tractor semi-trailer was seen near Tammy’s vehicle during this time period. The truck driver was described as a white male between 35 and 40 years-of-age, over six feet tall, with dark, bushy hair. The FBI is offering a reward of up to $50,000 for information leading to the identification of the individual or individuals responsible for this crime. Anyone with information is asked to contact the ISP at (815) 726-6377, or the FBI Chicago Field Division at (312) 421-6700. Callers can remain anonymous.

Southern Ledge Pools and Patios Holds Ribbon Cutting Tuesday


The Greater Taylorville Chamber of Commerce welcomed another new business to its membership Tuesday morning. Many people gathered at Southern Ledge Pools and Patios for a ribbon cutting event at the business. The business has been open since April at 306 East Main Cross, just a few blocks east of the Taylorville Square.


Teresa Wiltsie owns Southern Ledge Pools and Patios with her husband Ron. She says the business’ first summer has been a successful one.



Wiltsie says they would like to expand their business this fall to include an outdoor area for next spring.



Southern Ledge Pools and Patios is open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and on Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Scheduled Power Shutoff Wednesday for Some Shelby Electric Cooperative Customers

A heads up for some rural residents of southeastern Christian and Western Shelby County, you should expect your power to be off for part of the morning Wednesday. The Shelby Electric Cooperative will be turning off service to about 300 customers of the Dunkel substation for necessary work.


Kevin Bernson is the Vice President of Media and Public Relations with Shelby Electric Cooperative. He says while they try to keep power on through most repairs, for this repair it is necessary to shut power off for the safety of the workers.



Bernson says affected customers should have gotten a postcard in the mail. He says maintenance work like this necessary now to prevent a larger-scale outage in the future.



Bernson says if rain were to cancel Wednesday’s work, the work would be done on Thursday.

Solar Eclipse Provides Unique Teaching Experience for Area Educators

Central Illinois educators got to provide a learning experience like no other on Monday. The total solar eclipse that crossed the country gave area teachers and students a once-in-a-lifetime astronomical learning experience.


Although the plan was for all students to go outside for the eclipse at Taylorville Junior High School, the school district purchased their solar glasses from Amazon which recalled their glasses prior to the eclipse. But there was a secondary plan, and TJHS Principal Kirk Kettelkamp says it gave students a longer-lasting eclipse experience.



Kettelkamp says the educational value of the eclipse is important, but it’s also important to give the students the chance to experience the phenomenon.



Abby Heberling is an eighth grader at TJHS and got to enjoy the eclipse on Monday. She says the eclipse was a great experience that she would love to see again.



The next American total solar eclipse isn’t another lifetime away. It will come through the U.S. on April 8, 2024.

Christian County Astronomer Enjoys First Total Solar Eclipse in U.S. Since 1979

Photo Courtesy of Ernie Poani.


People across Central Illinois and across the country got to enjoy a phenomena not seen in the U.S. since 1979 on Monday, a total solar eclipse. The path of totality came on the West Coast in Oregon, moved east and then southeast across parts of Southern Illinois before moving off the east coast in South Carolina.


Ernie Poani is a local astronomer and he had been looking forward to Monday’s eclipse for a long time. He says he and his wife moved to the countryside to enjoy more of nature’s natural beauty.



Poani says he is amazed at the things humans have done in his lifetime, and he is amazed how far technology has come.



Poani held a watch party at his home for the eclipse on Monday. He appeared as a guest on the Newstalk WTIM Morning Show.

Frerichs: Governor Should Look to Refinance State's Debts

Illinois State Treasurer Michael Frerichs is calling on Governor Bruce Rauner to look into refinancing the state’s $15 billion worth of debt. A bill allowing the state to look into refinancing has been vetoed by the governor this year.


Frerichs says it is common sense financial advice to look to cut the interest rate on Illinois’ current backlog of bills.


TUES 3 FrerichsRefinance1 :31


Frerichs says taxpayers are losing millions of dollars every day from interest building on the state debt.


TUES 4 FrerichsRefinance2 :30


Frerichs says the money that will have to go towards interest payments could be money that goes towards schools, infrastructure or other state needs. He says while getting a budget passed is a step in the right direction, the state still has plenty of work to do to work down and eliminate the backlog of bills Illinois is facing.

Hot Cars Still Pose Big Risk for Animals

Many pet owners want the best for their fuzzy friends, and take various precautions to ensure comfortable conditions, and a healthy life for their animals. There are still several risks that owners need to be aware of, including hot cars and canine influenza that Brix Veterinary Clinic in Shelbyville is warning pet owners of.


Dr. John Brix with the Clinic, while appearing as a guest on the Newstalk WTIM Morning Show live from our Downtown Shelbyville Studios warns that although summer is quickly coming to an end, hot cars still pose a big risk to animals.



Another risk is cases of canine influenza, which Dr. Brix says can spread rapidly, especially at events such as dog shows.



Farm Groups Urge for Modernization of NAFTA

The American Farm Bureau Federation, along with the two largest farm groups in Mexico and Canada, are urging NAFTA negotiators to modernize the agreement, not dismantle it. In a joint letter to the U.S., Mexican and Canadian governments, the farm organizations call NAFTA one of the biggest success stories for agriculture. AFBF economist Veronica Nigh says the letter calls for unity to protect and improve agricultural trade.



Agricultural trade between the three countries has grown exponentially since the agreement was implemented more than 20 years ago. Nigh says that growth is critical to sustaining the agricultural economy.



Additionally, the groups outlined priorities that could help improve agricultural trade between the three countries.



That’s AFBF economist Veronica Nigh.

Missed Solar Eclipse? There's Another One in 2024

For some Illinois residents, the solar eclipse came and went without a good views. If you are disappointed you missed it, the National Weather Service has some encouraging news. Chris Miller with the National Weather Service in Lincoln says we can expect to see another eclipse across the US in 2024. 

Southern Illinois, where totality was expected, was clear most of the afternoon Monday according to National Weather Service officials. 

Dry August in Illinois, Cooler Than Normal Temps Over Next Two Weeks

It has been a dry August for much Illinois. A small portion of the state received some help Monday says State Climatologist Jim Angel.

Angel says a very strong cold front will keep temperatures below normal over the next 8-to-14 days for much of Illinois. 

CTI Computer System Agreement, City Spending Questions Come Out of Taylorville City Council Meeting


The Taylorville City Council took action to prevent future computer system crashes at Monday night’s city council meeting. That was one of the many action items and purchases approved at the meeting held at the Taylorville Municipal Building.


Taylorville Mayor Bruce Barry says after the computer system crash at the City Clerk and City Treasurer’s office last month, the city wants to prevent another crash in the future.



Barry says the city wants to keep this business locally, and the city is still negotiating a final monthly price with CTI.



In addition, there were some questions about two recent city financial commitments. Alderman Martin Vota questioned the need to give $5,000 to the Greater Taylorville Chamber of Commerce for Chillifest, along with the purchase of a pre-owned truck for the street department. Barry says for Chillifest, the hotel tax fund’s money should go towards one of the biggest hotel tax money generators each year.



For the truck purchase, Barry says it would have cost the city four times as much to buy new.



Other items at Monday’s meeting included passing an ordinance allowing golf carts to be driven on Taylorville city streets, along with honoring Alivia Kent, a Taylorville girl who recently won a national championship in gymnastics. Mayor Barry also announced the creation of two awards, one honoring a youth in Taylorville excelling like Kent, and a volunteer of the month for a person going the extra mile for cleaning up Taylorville. The next city council meeting will be held on Tuesday, September 5th at 7 p.m. at the Taylorville Municipal Building. The meeting will be pushed back one day because of the Labor Day holiday.


Mayor Bruce Barry reading Taylorville's Alivia Kent a plague officially declaring August 21, 2017 as Alivia Kent Day in the city of Taylorville.

Greater Taylorville Chamber Chillifest Committee Meets


The Greater Taylorville Chamber of Commerce Chillifest Committee held their monthly meeting Monday afternoon in the Chamber board room, to update plans for the 32nd annual event October 7th and 8th on the Taylorville square.

Sub-committee chairs reported on areas they were working on.  Over 30 vendors have signed up to be at this year's event, and they'll be lots of entertainment on both the main south stage and the north stage, plus a host of dance, cheerleading, and pom pom squads performing over the 2 days.

Taylorville Chamber president Susie Montgomery chaired the meeting in the absence of Chillifest chair Greg Hornbuckle, who was absent due to a family illness.  Montgomery told Regional Radio News after the meeting the event is in great shape.

And, Montgomery said the entertainment line-up is filling up.

For more information on the Greater Taylorville Chamber Chillifest, go to chillifest-dot-info, that's chillifest with 2-L's.

Lake Land College to Host Bone Marrow Registry Drive August 30th

The Lake Land Community College Student Activity Board wants to do their part in helping their fellow man, and they will be hosting a bone marrow registry drive at the college on Wednesday, August 30th from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. Representatives from the “Be The Match” organization will be at Laker Point of the Luther Student Center to talk with students, staff, and community members who are interested in becoming stem-cell donors.


Valerie Lynch is the college’s Director of Student Life. She says the goal for “Be The Match” is to build as large of a database as possible.



Lynch says a faculty member has a relative who recently needed a bone marrow transplant, and that is what brought the idea of having a bone marrow registry drive to Lake Land.



According to Be The Match, 70 percent of patients who need a stem-cell transplant do not have a fully matched donor in their family and must rely on the generosity of a stranger. 

Two Taylorville Natives Complete 200-Mile, 10-Day Pilgrimage in Poland on Foot

Two Taylorville natives recently completed the journey of a lifetime, and now they are telling the world about it. Tomra Friesland and Robert Adams went on a 200-mile, 10-day pilgrimage from Warsaw, Poland to Czestachowa, Poland as a part of the Air National Guard’s effort to build a better relationship with the Polish Army.


Friesland, an Air National Guard troop out of the 183rd fighter wing in Springfield, says the trip was grueling enough on foot, but she still had to take care of her health at the end of each day.



Friesland says she had to decide to go through with the pilgrimage or not after day one.



Friesland admits that she’s not a spiritual person. But she says the biggest thing this pilgrimage taught her is that you need to believe in a higher power to get through the struggles of life.



Friesland says she and Adams plan to write an article telling about their journey through Poland in the near future.

CICBC Offering Football Themed T-Shirts to Donors at Upcoming Blood Drives

High school football kicks off Friday night, but before the big game Friday, the Central Illinois Community Blood Center will be having a blood drive in Taylorville. The Bloodmobile will be outside of the U.S. Bank building on the Taylorville Square from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Friday.


Caleb Parker is a Donor Relations Coordinator with the CICBC. He says with football season kicking off, presenting donors will receive a special gift for donating Friday.



Parker says the summer has taken its toll on the CICBC’s blood supply. He reminds everyone to bring a photo ID if you come to donate blood, and make sure to eat and drink before and after you donate to keep you feeling your best.

Shelby County Health Department Offering Affordable Options for Some Required Back to School Vaccines

The Shelby County Health Department is in full swing during back to school time, making sure local children have all of the necessary vaccines to make sure they stay as healthy as possible as they head back classes. They also offer affordable services, should someone come in who is either uninsured, or has a high deductible.


Steve Melega is the Public Health Administrator with the Shelby County Health Department, and knows kids sometimes have an aversion to visit the doctors, however the Health Department tries to make it as enjoyable an experience as possible.



The Shelby County Health Department also offers affordable options for some vaccines should you be uninsured, or face a high deductible with your insurance.



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

Shelbyville School District Bringing in New Technology To Help Students Stay Up to Date

As times change, many school districts make an effort to stay up to date on the latest technology they can offer to make the learning experience for their students as effective and rewarding as possible. The Shelbyville School District is no exception, adding more things like iPads and Chromebooks to their educational arsenal for this upcoming year.


Denise Bence is the Superintendent of the Shelbyville School District, and says students and teachers alike are excited to have the new devices in the classroom.



Along with the new technology, the school district has also launched their own mobile app, to help parents and students alike stay up to date on the latest happenings in the district.



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

CME Group Provides Scholarships for Illinois Agriculture

Agricultural companies are always on the hunt for good employees, but those with college educations can be hard to find. At the Illinois State Fair the world's largest options and futures exchange is hoping to inspire a few more kids to further their education.


The CME Group, for the third year in a row at the Illinois State Fair, is providing the kids showing the Grand Champion animals $5000 scholarships for their education funds. This year says CME's Tim Andriesen they've upped that ante a bit and will also provide nine $1000 scholarships. He says this is because agriculture will need a lot of really bright people to provide food for the planet…



This year the scholarships went to kids like Dax Gentes. He's 12 and showed the Champion Meat Rabbit Pen and Kadie Hummel, age 10. Her goat was a champion, too. Their parents will put away the scholarship money, and maybe in the future they'll see Tim Andriesen from the CME Group and tell him thanks…



A scholarship that helps provide an education, and most assuredly a lifetime career. USDA, in a 2015 study, said there are about 58,000 high-skill job openings in U.S. agriculture each year, but only around 35,000 U.S. graduates with bachelors degrees or better to fill those jobs.

High School Football Numbers Continue Downward Spiral in Illinois

High school football numbers continue a downward trend in Illinois. There were just over 51-thousand participants in 2007. That number was down under 43-thousand last season. Rockridge head football coach Sam Graves says the concern over concussions is an issue, but there are other factors as well.

Graves has only 40 freshman through seniors on his roster this season. 

Eclipse brightens economic picture for Southern Illinois

Today'ss total solar eclipse is bringing big business to Southern Illinois. State tourism chief Cory Jobe has new estimates for the economic impact on Carbondale and surrounding areas.

Today's viewing event at Saluki Stadium, which features representatives of NASA, is a sellout. At Carterville's Walker's Bluff winery, rock legend Ozzy Osbourne will headline the last four days of concerts with a performance during the duration of the eclipse. 

Loving Arms Crisis Pregnancy Center Holds Annual Volunteer Appreciation Cookout


Over 30 staff and volunteers of the Loving Arms Crisis Pregnancy Center in Taylorville, met at the Kiwanis Park pavilion on Saturday afternoon for the annual volunteer appreciation cookout.

Executive director Cathy Coker told Regional Radio News the yearly event is a way to thank the many volunteers that make the center run every day.

Coker said the amount of volunteer hours, when figured monetarily, is substantial.

5-year plaques were given to volunteers Marilyn Lupton, Ron Sheley, Jim and Karen Nuelle, Cleo Thacker, and Marilyn Vits.

Loving Arms Crisis Pregnancy Center offers faith-based pregnancy and counseling services from its location at 500 North Walnut in Taylorville.  More information is available on-line at lovingarmstaylorville-dot-org.

EPA Extends WOTUS Repeal Comment Period

The Environmental Protection Agency has extended the deadline to submit comments on the Waters of the U.S. Rule repeal effort. The EPA announced Thursday that it, along with the Army Corps of Engineers, will accept comment through September 27th. The original deadline for the comment period was set for August 28th. The EPA formally proposed to repeal the rule in late June.


The Trump administration plans to separately write a new regulation to replace the rule. Additionally, President Trump signed an executive order in February ordering EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt to consider repealing the rule. Comments on the repeal effort can be submitted online at regulations.gov. 

Roberts: Goal is to Finish Farm Bill This Year

The Chair of the Senate Agriculture Committee is echoing his House of Representatives counterpart, saying the goal is to get the farm bill to the finish line by the end of this year. In his home state this week, Senator Pat Roberts of Kansas told farmers and ranchers that the farm bill process is in “good shape.”


The current farm bill will expire at the end of September next year. The House and Senate committees on agriculture are both in the process of holding field hearings around the nation to take input on the next farm bill. House Agriculture Committee Chair Mike Conaway of Texas previously said the goal is to have the farm bill finished this year and up for a vote in the House early next year.


A House Ag Committee Farm Bill listening session is scheduled to take place at the upcoming Farm Progress Show in Decatur.

Missions for Taylorville Seeking Volunteers for Next Cleanup Day in September

The Missions for Taylorville’s next cleanup day is quickly approaching. The group is seeking volunteers for its next cleanup day on Saturday, September 9th. Volunteers will meet at the Taylorville Memorial Hospital auditorium at 8:30 a.m. that day.


Missions for Taylorville Coordinator Bill Kerns says there’s a long list of projects needed to be done in a few weeks.



Kerns says although they can never have enough volunteers for these cleanup days, they normally especially lack in volunteers with specialty skills.



You can get a volunteer application form at many churches across Taylorville, the Taylorville mayor’s office, or the Greater Taylorville Chamber of Commerce office. If you have any questions, you can call Kerns at 824-8181.

Project 29 Committee Announces Expanded Mission: "Project 29 Push to Pana"

Members of the Project 29 Committee pose for a picture after announcing that the committee's mission will be expanding to "Project 29, Push to Pana."


The Project 29 Committee has successfully completed their original mission of making Route 29 a four-lane highway from Springfield to Taylorville, but the committee officially changed that goal Friday morning.


As heard first on Genuine Country WMKR and NewsTalk WTIM, the committee officially announced they are re-branding to “Project 29: Push to Pana” and will now work towards expanding Route 29 to four lanes through the rest of Christian County.


Mike Bell is the Co-Chairman of the Project 29 committee. He says the new Route 29 from Springfield to Taylorville is showing an economic impact in the Edinburg area with the new Ayerco station.



Illinois’ 13th District Congressman Rodney Davis says the efforts of the Route 29 committee over the past 25 years is what led to the federal government and the state government investing in the Route 29 project.



Davis says he’s happy the committee is going to continue working towards getting Route 29 to four lanes through Christian County. He says the higher levels of government won’t invest in a project unless the locals show that they want it.



Bell says meetings will be held at the Starlight Restaurant in Taylorville until a permanent meeting home can be found for the committee.

Local Astronomer Preparing for Big Eclipse Monday

There has been widespread coverage of the total solar eclipse that will cross the country on Monday, but you can enjoy the eclipse from right here in Central Illinois. Local astronomer Ernie Poani is eagerly awaiting Monday’s event.


Poani says there are at least four eclipses per year, but not everyone on the planet gets to see each eclipse.



Poani says eclipses are so rare because of the moon’s orbit tilt.



Poani will be having a watch party and streaming the eclipse from a telescope onto a flat surface at his home and anyone is welcome to come out. His address is 1276 County Road 2200 North, which is about a quarter mile west of the Mt. Auburn blacktop 8 miles north of Taylorville.

Signups for Chili Cookoff at Greater Taylorville Chamber Chillifest Now Open

The 32nd annual Greater Taylorville Chamber of Comemrce Chillifest is just around the corner, and those looking to test their skills as a chili chef can now sign up for two cook-offs happening during the event. Entry forms are now available on the event's website, chillifest.info, that's Chillifest with two “Ls”, and at the Chamber office on the second floor of the US Bank building on the south side of the Taylorville square.


Patty Hornbuckle, CEO of the Greater Taylorville Chamber of Commerce appeared as a guest on the Newstalk WTIM Morning Show, and says if you've cooked before at Chillifest, you should check your mailbox.



Along with cooks, the event has a huge demand for judges. If you'd like to be a judge for Chillifest, it's simple to sign up.



Chillifest will take place October 7th and 8th on the Taylorville Square.

First National Bank Helps 34 Taylorville Students in Need

First National Bank employees Cyndi Richards and Linda Crawford with the fully loaded back packs purchased by FNBT employees.


34 students in need in the Taylorville School District received a backpack and their necessary school supplies for the year thanks to First National Bank in Taylorville. The students ranged from Kindergarten students through the 8th grade.


Cyndi Richards is the Operations Officer at First National Bank in Taylorville. She says the employees of the bank raised $624 for the students, and the bank matched that donation. She says the bank and its employees want to keep its charitable money in the local community.



Richards says the donations came in so employees could wear denim on Friday’s.



Richards says the school district provided the supply lists for each grade level, allowing the bank to purchase all of the supplies needed for each student.

State Department of Agriculture to Collect Agrichemical Containers Next Thursday

The Illinois Department of Agriculture wants you to dispose of your agrichemical containers safely, and they have set up a recycling program for Illinois residents to bring in those containers. The program will be collecting these containers in Vandalia and Pana on Thursday, August 24th.


Doug Owens is the Manager of the Livestock Facilities program with the Department of Ag. He says the department wants to keep these containers out of landfills or wants to keep people from disposing of them in other improper ways.



The collected containers will be recycled to make products such as shipping pallets, fence posts, drainage tubing, plastic lumber and other useful products. Owens says this program helps you to do your part for caring for the environment.



The collection will be at Woolsey Brothers Farm Supply in Vandalia on the morning of the 24th, and at The Equity location in Pana that afternoon. Owens asks that any containers brought to the collection be cleaned with labels and caps removed. If you have any further questions, you can call 1-800-641-3934.

Pana Community Hospital Kicks Off Fundraising Campaign To Help Fund Expansion Projects

Pana Community Hospital has begun a huge construction project to help expand and update the hospital. The project is an expensive endeavor, and the hospital is kicking off a capital campaign, to help with some of the costs.


One of the events that helped kick off the campaign was a recent golf outing, that Pana Community Hospital Marketing Manager Melissa Rybolt says was a huge success.



Rybolt says all of the money raised will go towards funding the construction project at the hospital, and marks the first of a number of fund raising efforts.



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

U of I Extension Offering Classes on Growing and Preserving Tomatoes

One of the most popular plants grown in gardens is the tomato. There are many different ways to care for your tomato plants, and preserve your harvest throughout the year. The U of I Extension Office is offering a workshop on tomatoes, with information on caring for the plant, and creating a salsa to enjoy once they're harvested.


Andrew Holsinger, a Horticulture Educator at the U of I Extension Office is one of the co-presenters of the workshop, and says the workshop will offer solutions to some problems people may run into with their tomato gardens.



U of I Educator Lisa Peterson will also be helping with the workshop, and will teach those in the class how they can create a canned salsa with their tomatoes.



The Extension does ask that those interested sign up for the workshop ahead of time, which can be done through contacting the U of I Extension Office.

Davis Speaks on Events in Charlottesville, President Trump's Comments

U.S. Congressman Rodney Davis is speaking out against hatred again after the tragedy in Charlottesville, Virginia over the weekend. 32-year-old Heather Heyer was killed Saturday after a car barreled into a group of protesters in Charlottesville.


Davis says the tragedy in Charlottesville is entirely the fault of the white supremacists who were protesting in the Virginia community.



Davis also responded to the President’s controversial comments about the attack. He says Trump’s earlier comments on the situation was what needed to be said. But, Davis says the President should have left his comments where they were at.



Most importantly, Davis reiterates that no single person caused the divide in this country that led to the events that happened in Charlottesville. Davis says it is up to everyone to come together against hatred.



Davis says people need to stand up and speak out against the hatred, because staying silent is what will lead groups like white supremacists and Neo-Nazis to believe hate is okay in our society.

Aaron's Hosts GTCOC August Business After Hours


The Greater Taylorville Chamber of Commerce held this month’s Business After Hours event Wednesday night at Aaron’s across from the high school. The event is held each month for business owners to network and for members of the community to meet Taylorville’s leading entrepreneurs.


Mick Wise is the regional manager at Aaron’s in Taylorville. He says giving back to the community is one of the business’s guiding principles.



Wise says the chamber of commerce in Taylorville provides excellent resources for those in the community.



The next Business After Hours event will be hosted by CTI on Wednesday, September 20.

Langleyville Boil Order

UPDATE: The boil order has been lifted.


As of 8:15am, areas of Langleyville are under a boil order until further notice. The order is in effect for the areas West of Parker street ONLY.

Madigan Says He Doubts Rauner Wants Education Compromise

The Illinois House took a vote on the details of the Governors recent amendatory veto of education funding reform and not one member, Republican or Democrat, voted for the plan. In the meantime House Speaker Mike Madigan says lawmakers are not walking away from Senate Bill 1. Madigan notes it’s the work of many groups for more than a decade. So as Madigan prepares an override vote next week he has his doubts that Rauner even wants a compromise.

Madigan says that he’s still been willing to negotiate compromises inside education funding reform but that the Governor has no desire to find middle ground.

Former Taylorville Mayor Greg Brotherton Embarking on New Career as Insurance Agent

Many look towards purchasing insurance to give them comfort that they won't have any financial headaches should something happen. Many purchase insurance through an insurance agent, and there is a new agent in Taylorville at Shelter Insurance with a familiar face, former Taylorville Mayor Greg Brotherton.


Brotherton appeared as a guest on the Newstalk WTIM Morning Show says he tried out the insurance industry briefly, however needed a more secure paycheck at the time.



Brotherton says he isn't going to push anyone hard to purchase insurance, and want to help customers find the right policy for them.



You can see Brotherton at his office at Shelter Insurance on the southeast side of the Taylorville Square.

Shelby County Veterans Fund to Host 3rd Annual Drive-Through Cookout

The Shelby County Veterans Fund will have their third annual Drive-Through Cookout on Saturday, August 26 at the 4-H Fairgrounds. Those looking for food and wanting to support a good cause can come out from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on the 26th. All proceeds from the event will go towards the Land of Lincoln Honor Flight program.


Andrew Cichalewski is one of the organizers of the cookout. He says the event started when he heard about the Honor Flight program and the need to support taking veterans to D.C.



Cichalewski says it takes the help of many people to put the event together each year.



Pork tenderloin and rope sausage will be available at the cookout, with one plate costing three dollars or four plates for ten. There will be a bake sale and drinks available as well, and raffle tickets will be sold for a variety of prizes.

LLCC to Provide Live Total Solar Eclipse Coverage on Facebook Monday

Plenty of people are traveling to southern Illinois for the once-in-a-lifetime total solar eclipse to go over that part of the state. But not everyone will be able to get down there to see the event in-person, and Lincoln Land Community College will provide live coverage for those who can’t make the trip south.


Samantha Reif is an Associate Professor of Geology and Astronomy at LLCC. She will be traveling to Du Quoin to watch the eclipse from the state fairgrounds there, and she will be providing live video on Facebook from the Lincoln Land Community College Facebook page.



Reif says with the eclipse not being a total eclipse in Central Illinois, there will be no safe time to look at the sun for the eclipse. But, Reif’s live feed will provide a safe view of the total eclipse from the southern part of the state.



Reif says if you don’t have a computer or Facebook, LLCC will be providing her live feed on the campus during the eclipse.



The moon will start to block the sun around noon on Monday. Reif will provide live updates every 30 minutes on Facebook, and will be live for the duration of the total eclipse around 1:20 p.m.

Kiwanis Club hears about Oak Hill Cemetery at Weekly Meeting


The Taylorville Kiwanis Club heard about the history of Taylorville’s Oak Hill Cemetery, during their Tuesday luncheon at the Taylorville Memorial Hospital auditorium.

Bill Newberry (left), who is the sexton of the cemetery, was guest speaker and highlighted some of the unique history of the cemetery.  Kiwanis member Martin Vota (right) was program chair for the meeting.

Oak Hill Cemetery was founded in 1842 and is owned by the City of Taylorville. The sexton’s building, located at the north entrance to the cemetery was erected in 1912. Over the years, several monuments have been erected throughout the cemetery including a statue of the late President John F. Kennedy, which was erected shortly after his death.


Newberry says that the canons that greet cemetery visitors were received when a request was made for one canon. One canon received was from a Navy ship while it is believed the other three were land based and transported on wagon wheel.


Newberry was able to show how graves can be located within the cemetery through a database that can be accessed through the City of Taylorville’s website. The database shows where a grave is located along with obituaries and photos when made available.

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.

131st Mt. Auburn Farmers Picnic Taking Place August 24th Through the 27th

As summer rolls on, so do the summer community festivals. Mt. Auburn is preparing for their annual Mt. Auburn Farmers Picnic, taking place August 24th through the 27th in the town park in Mt. Auburn. This year will mark the 131st year of the Picnic.
Rob Gist helps plan and prepare the event, and says this year the picnic will welcome back a carnival, that had been missing from the event in recent years.
The Mt. Auburn Farmers Picnic also features live music from several different performers.
Gist appeared as a guest on the Newstalk WTIM Morning Show.

Market Continues to React to Weather in Short Term

A trading expert sees some light at the end of the tunnel for farmers as they watch the recent run of red numbers at the Chicago Board of Trade. Doug Werling at Bower Trading says the weather market continues to be a weather market.

Soybean prices have lost 68 cents in the last two weeks. 

Rookie Wins Competitive Eating Challenge

The Illinois State Fair's latest competitive eating challenge could simply be described as "Hammer's Time". In the latest contest, three contestants squared off to see who could eat the most corn on the cob. Ted Hammers of Springfield took top honors even though his experience was limited.

Although it was his first time, Hammers brought plenty of strategy to the table.

Hammers is entering his third year of law school. 

Applications Being Accepted for Firefighter Grant Program

Illinois American Water has announced they are accepting applications for the 2017 Firefighter Grant Program. The grants provide financial assistance to fire and emergency organizations serving communities within the Illinois American Water service area. Since 2010 American Water's Grant Program has awarded over $342,000. Karen Cotton, a spokesperson for Illinois American Water says the grant money can be used for a variety of things.

Applications for the grants should be emailed to "karen.cotton@amwater.com" no later than September 8. She says most if not all local departments are aware of the opportunity to seek this grant. 

Morrisonville Teen Shows His Barrow at Governor's Sale of Champions at State Fair

Being in the Governor’s Sale of Champions at the state fair is something all livestock exhibitors dream about, and one Morrisonville teen got to participate in the event on Tuesday. 13-year-old Cooper Bertilino showed his grand champion barrow at this year’s Sale of Champions.


Bertilino says the barrow got it’s name for a special reason.



Bertilino says although presenting in the collesium was nerve-wracking for him, his barrow behaved just as he expected.



As one of the ten Sale of Champions participants, Bertilino will receive $6,000 in scholarships from AT&T and the CME group.

Effingham Chamber of Commerce Representative Selected for National Fellowship


An area Chamber of Commerce employee has been selected to a national fellowship to study education attainment and workforce development. The Effingham County Chamber of Commerce’s Director of Workforce Development JoAnn Sasse Givens has been selected to the fellowship by the Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives (ACCE).


Other chamber of commerces represented include Brooklyn, New York, Detroit and Atlanta. Sasse Givens says it’s an honor for her and the chamber to be selected to a group with many bigger communities.



Through the fellowship, each participant is required to come up with a regional action plan that focuses on addressing specific education attainment or workforce development issues in their communities. Sasse Givens says she has some ideas for Effingham that she will research through the fellowship.



Sasse Givens is one of 21 chamber of commerce professionals from communities throughout the United States to be selected for the fellowship.

Greater Taylorville Chamber Chillifest Chilli, Salsa, Verde Cook-Off Registration Form Now Available

-The form to enter this year's chilli, salsa, and verde cookoffs at the 32nd annual Greater Taylorville Chamber of Commerce Chillifest on the square October 7th and 8th, is now available.

The form can be downloaded from the event's web site, chillifest-dot-info, that's chillifest with 2-L's, or can be picked up at the Chamber office on the 2nd floor of the U-S Bank building on the south side of the Taylorville square.

The are actually 2 cookoffs:  The Chill-inois Regional Cook-Off Saturday, October 7th, and the Central States Regional Cook-Off Sunday, October 8th.  Both cook-offs are sanctioned by the International Chilli Society.

Any registration fees must be paid at the time the application is submitted.

For more information on this year's Greater Taylorville Chamber Chillifest Cook-offs, contact Cook-off chair Tom Calvert at 565-2791.

Fuerstenau Among Education Leaders to Testify on SB1 to House Panel Wednesday

The Illinois House will start the proceedings on Senate Bill 1 Wednesday morning, and many area school leaders will be in Springfield to testify on the bill and education funding reform.


Taylorville Superintendent Dr. Gregg Fuerstenau is among the education officials that will be in the state capitol for the proceedings. He says he doesn’t have a clear idea when the house will take any kind of vote on SB1.



Fuerstenau says lawmakers and education leaders have committed too much time to give up on school funding reform.



Fuerstenau says as of Monday, SB1 had not been recorded in the house log. He says once it is in the log, the Illinois House has 15 days to act on Governor Rauner’s veto.

Congressman Rodney Davis Says Tax Reform Is Long Overdue

After several failed attempts at heath care reform, Congress is now shifting gears and setting their sights on tax code reform. Illinois Congressman Rodney Davis says tax reform is essential to helping middle class families, and helping small businesses grow.
Davis recently kicked off a “tax reform tour”, where he's getting input from businesses in Central Illinois on how legislators can change the tax codes to help businesses and it's employees. Davis says tax reform is an issue that's long overdue.
According to Davis, there are elements in the current tax codes that are keeping small businesses from continuing to grow.
Illinois Congressman Rodney Davis appeared as a guest on the Newstalk WTIM Morning Show.

Illinois State Historical Society Working to Preserve Illinois History

The Illinois State Historical Society is working to preserve history in the state, and holds several fundraisers throughout the year to help financially back their mission. The group publishes two history related publications, as well as supports students of history through scholarships, and local historical societies with projects they may have.
Gwen Podeschi with the Illinois State Historical Society appeared as a guest on the Newstalk WTIM Morning Show to help share the mission of the ISHS. One way they try to promote Illinois history is through various publications, such as their Journal of the Illinois State Historical Society.
The ISHS also gives scholarships to students of history, as well as supporting local historical societies.
To learn more about the Illinois State Historical Society, visit them online at HistoryIllinois.org.

Bill Allows for K9 Cops to Get Ambulance Transport

Police dogs are in line to receive faster care when they get injured on the job. A bill signed by Governor Bruce Rauner will allow EMS crews to put a police dog in an ambulance for transport to a veterinary hospital. Illinois State Police Trooper Justin Royer says it will allow for speedy care in case his partner was ever injured on the job.

The bill does set precedence for humans to be transported first for emergency care if needed.

Davis and Bustos talk locks and dams at State Fair Ag Day

Even on the Illinois State Fairgrounds in Springfield the aging Lock and Dam system getting attention. The topic was addressed during State Fair Ag Day by two members of Illinois’ Congressional delegation. Democrat Cheri Bustos of Rock Island says investment is long overdue.

And Republican Rodney Davis of Taylorville is on board with significant federal dollars going to locks and dams and other infrastructure. 

Both Davis and Bustos serve on the House Ag Committee. 

Harold Making a Run for AG

Former Miss America Erika Harold is taking another shot in the political arena. After facing off against Congressman Rodney Davis in the 2014 GOP primary, Harold is now making a run for Illinois Attorney General. Barring a challenger, she will face four term AG Lisa Madigan next year.

Venise McWard Sworn In to Christian County Board, Filling Seat Vacated by Ashley Linton


Christian County’s newest board member was sworn into office at Tuesday night’s county board meeting. Venise McWard is filling the seat vacated by Ashley Linton, and she will serve Christian County’s first district.


McWard, a Stonington native, says the support she has received from her friends and family has been overwhelming.



McWard will be up for re-election next spring, so she looks forward to meeting her constituents during the next several months.



Other actions items at Tuesday’s meeting included motions to approve the purchase of a Jumping Jack Compactor for the highway department, and two culvert projects were approved. The board also approved the contract with AFSCME for the county’s probation officers, giving the officers an equity adjustment in their pay making it more in line with the other probation officers in the Fourth Judicial Circuit.


Christian County TRIAD Senior Police Academy Approaching

The Christian County TRIAD program's Senior Police Academy is coming up, and the program has many different activities for seniors in Christian County to expand their knowledge of a number of different subjects.
Rich Peters with the Christian County TRIAD Program says the program has several field trips lined up, as well as a guest speaker.
The program's graduation ceremony will also have a guest speaker, with a resume that includes time with the FBI.
Peters appeared as a guest on the Newstalk WTIM Morning Show.

Chamber of Commerce Welcomes Central Counties Health Centers to Taylorville


The Greater Taylorville Chamber of Commerce officially welcomed Central Counties Health Centers to Taylorville Tuesday morning with a ribbon cutting ceremony. Business members from around the community were in attendance to welcome the CCHC’s third location in Taylorville. CCHC also has locations in Springfield and Jacksonville.


Heather Burton is the President and CEO of Central Counties Health Centers. She says anyone and everyone is welcome to be treated at CCHC.



Burton says behavioral health care will be added to their services in Taylorville this fall, and dental care will also be added further down the road. She says CCHC wants to be a part of the Taylorville community and give back to the community as they can.



Central Counties Health Centers’ Taylorville location is open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to noon and 1 to 5 p.m. For more information, you can give them a call at 287-7477.



Crimestoppers Crime of the Week - August 15, 2017

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


Sometime around 4:00 pm on Tuesday August 8, 2017, an unknown subject made entry onto a property located at 403 East Park Street.  While there, the unknown subject took a LG Vista 2 cell phone.  The phone was sitting on the back of a vehicle that was parked at the residence.  No other items appeared to have been taken during the incident.  The total amount of the theft is over $800.


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 Police Remind Motorists to Drive Carefully as Students Return to School

Taylorville kids head back to class Wednesday, which means the normal school day traffic will return from its summer vacation as well. The Taylorville Police Department wants to remind all motorists to be careful with the extra traffic on the roads, especially near area schools.


Taylorville Police Chief Brian Hile says the school traffic can be frustrating, so take an alternate route if possible.



Hile says motorists should keep their eyes on the road and keep their speed down, as police will have extra patrols around Taylorville’s schools.



Hile says even with hands-free devices, talking on the phone or changing the radio dial can be a distraction while driving a vehicle. He says keeping your mind on the road is as important as keeping your hands on the wheel.

University of Illinois Extension Master Gardeners Open to Suggestion for Future Program Subjects

The University of Illinois Extension Master Gardeners recently partnered up with the Illinois State Historical Society to put on a program centered around heirloom seeds. The Master Gardeners say they would like to put on more programs in the future, and are open to suggestion of what residents in Central Illinois would like to learn more about.


Master Gardeners Gwen Podeschi along with Jim Daughtery both appeared as guests on the Newstalk WTIM Morning Show. Podeschi says the heirloom seed program had a great turnout.




Podeschi and Daughtery both say the Master Gardeners at the Extension are open to suggestions from the community as to what subjects they'd like to see future programs discuss.



If you'd like to suggest a program for the Master Gardeners, contact the Christian County Extension Office.

Rauner Changes Mind on What Is A Terror Attack

The Governor had to walk back comments surrounding the car attack that has left three dead in Charlottesville. Initially Republican Bruce Rauner wouldn’t call the act terrorism. Beginning this weekend Rauner chose not to use the term over and then again at press conference on Monday. Rauner tussled with reporters saying the attack was outrageous and horrible but at the time he wouldn’t call it a terrorist attack. 

Rauner also called Senate President John Cullerton asking for a meeting before his education funding veto outrageous. 

Rauner began taking heat over not having a stronger stance on the car attack from civic groups and Democratic candidates for Governor. A few hours later he issued a statement by email denouncing the attack calling it an act of domestic terrorism. 

Bill Prevents Preschoolers From Being Expelled

A new bill designed to keep young students in schools and not expelled picked up the Governor’s signature on Monday. The bill protects preschoolers from being kicked out critical early childhood education programs. The bill instead asks the school to document steps they will take to help correct the bad behavior. Democrat State Rep. Juliana Stratton says shocking as it may seem expulsion of preschoolers happens and it impacts some communities more than others. 

The bill will allow for children to be taken out of school setting if safety is a concern. 

Illinois Fairgrounds Foundation Hopes to Have Naming Rights Deal in Place for Several Buildings Next Year

The price tag is just shy of $200 million. That’s the kind of “tender-lovin” care both the Illinois State and Du Quoin Fairgrounds need and the not-for-profit Illinois Fairgrounds Foundation was created last year to lead fundraising efforts for the long overdue repairs says the group’s John Slayton.

The foundation has created a website and information on making donations is available at “ilfairfoundation.com”

The foundation hopes to have a naming rights deal in place for next year’s state fair involving the Coliseum, Grandstand, Livestock Center and Swine Building. 

SB1 Implications Loom Large at Monday's Taylorville School Board Meeting


As it is across the state, implications of the status of Senate Bill 1 played a big part in Monday night’s Taylorville School Board meeting. The biggest reason for SB1 looming over the meeting was the first presentation of the school district’s budget for the ‘17-’18 fiscal year.


In some good financial news, Illinois comptroller Susana Mendoza sent a categorical payment to districts across the state. Taylorville Superintendent Dr. Gregg Fuerstenau says the payment is a missed payment from the last fiscal year, and he appreciates the comptroller doing something as districts wait for the budgeted state aid.



The budget presented has the district bringing in roughly $20.9 million in revenue, with about $22.7 million in expenditures. Although there is about a $1.8 million deficit, the revenues budgeted do not include multiple categorical payments or any increase in general state aid.


Fuerstenau says with the numbers as tight as they are, that is why state money is so important to the district.



Monday’s meeting was the final board meeting before classes start Wednesday. Fuerstenau says the district is prepared to start another school year.



There will be a special hearing for the fiscal year ‘17-’18 budget at 6:45 p.m. on September 11th, right before the next regularly scheduled board meeting is set to begin at 7 p.m. at the Taylorville School District administration building.


The Taylorville School District has 14 new teachers this year across the district. They met school board members at a social held before the August 14th school board meeting.

Husband and Hog Calling Contest

The legendary Husband and Hog Calling Contest returned to the Illinois State Fair Sunday. A new approach paid big dividends for the winner in the Husband Calling Contest, Lisa McLaughlin of Petersburg. She turned to song to the get the victory.

Andrew Matheny of Georgetown went back to back collecting the win in the hog calling contest.

Matheny edged out ten time champ Chris Karr.

Representative Bourne Doesn't Think House Will Override SB1

All eyes now move to the Illinois House of Representatives as they will now look to vote to override Governor Bruce Rauner's veto on Senate Bill One, a school funding reform bill built on an evidence based model. State Representative of the 95th District Avery Bourne says she doesn't support SB1 in it's current form, saying it gives a disproportional amount of money to Chicago schools.
Bourne appeared as a guest on the Newstalk WTIM Morning Show and says both parties from both houses want to find a solution to the school funding problem in the state, but a last minute change to SB1 sent money money to Chicago.
The Illinois Senate voted to override the Governor's veto of the bill, however Representative Bourne says she doesn't think the house will do the same.
Per a stipulation in the Illinois budget, a new funding formula must be put in place before Illinois Schools can receive state aid appropriated in the budget.

$1 Million Powerball Ticket Sold in Raymond

If you bought a Powerball ticket for Saturday’s drawing in Raymond, you need to check that ticket. Someone bought a one million dollar winning ticket from a grocery story in the small Montgomery County community.


The winning Quick Pick ticket was purchased at West End Food Mart and matched the five numbers 20 - 24 - 26 - 35 – 49, but not the Powerball number 19 -- to win a $1,000,000 prize in Saturday's drawing. The retailer will receive a bonus of $10,000, or one percent of the prize amount, for selling the winning ticket. No one won Saturday’s Powerball drawing, and Wednesday’s jackpot currently stands at 430 million dollars.


The Illinois Lottery urges the lucky winner to immediately sign the back of the ticket and keep it in a safe place until they visit one of the Lottery’s five Prize Centers in Chicago, Des Plaines, Rockford, Springfield or Fairview Heights. Winners have one year from the original drawing date to claim their prize. 

Lone Republican to Vote to Override SB1 Veto Speaks Out

One Republican in the Senate broke party lines and voted to override the Governor’s veto of Senate Bill 1, and he is now speaking out. 50th district State Senator Sam McCann of Plainview was the lone Republican to keep Senate Bill 1, the school funding formula bill, as is.


McCann says at the end of the day, he’s only trying to do what’s best for the people of Illinois.



McCann says what has transpired in Springfield with Senate Bill 1 is not how lawmakers should have put the bill together.



The bill now is in the Illinois House’s hands, and representatives are scheduled to meet in Springfield on Wednesday.

Illinois Senate Overrides Governor's SB1 Veto

The Illinois Senate voted 38 to 19 to override Governor Bruce Rauner’s veto of Senate Bill 1, the school funding formula bill.


48th District State Senator and SB1 co-sponsor Andy Manar says overriding the govenor’s veto and keeping the bill in tact is what is needed for long-term funding stability for Illinois school districts.



Manar says preserving Senate Bill 1 keeps funding flowing to downstate schools long-term because it keeps the minimum funding levels for school districts in place and doesn’t take money away from districts losing enrollment.


Not everyone in the Senate is happy with Sunday’s vote. 51st District State Senator Chapin Rose says the veto override hurts the wide majority of Illinois students.



The bill now goes to the Illinois House, which will reconvene on Wednesday.

Andra Ebert named WTIM and Central Illinois Smiles Family Dentistry "Big Smile for The Community" August Award Winner


This month’s Newstalk WTIM Central Illinois Smiles Family Dentistry “Big Smile for the Community” honoree is Andra Ebert. Ebert and her family have made happiness their lives’ mission through their non-profit organization Heartland Mini Hoofs. The organization has three miniature horses it takes all over to put a smile on people’s faces.


Ebert says she read an article about equine therapy when her daughter used to ride horses and that piqued her interest.



Ebert gives credit to her whole family for the honor, because all of them play a role in the organization’s ministry.



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

TMH Hosts Babysitting Clinic for Area Youth


The Taylorville Memorial Hospital Auxiliary held a babysitting clinic to teach pre-teens and teenagers important safety, health, and other lessons for when taking care of another younger child.


Penny Shehadeh is an Educator at TMH. She says the Taylorville Police and Fire Departments provided some lessons for the participants.



Shehadeh says participants spend the afternoon learning CPR, but before that, lunch is provided by the hospital. Shehadeh says although the meal is provided, the participants have to cook their own lunch as a lesson in health and nutrition.



You must be age 11 or older to participate in the babysitting clinic. The next babysitting clinic will be held towards the end of the year.

20% of the Students See a 2% Raise Under Rauner

Governor Bruce Rauner wanted the Senate to approve his amendatory veto on school funding reform but they refused. Rauner’s plan would have increased funding for nearly every school district. But the massively complicated funding formula shows that Rauner’s plan seems to cut Chicago Public Schools funding by more than $450 million from the original Senate Bill 1. Yet the administration claims it’s closer to a $240 million cut. Any way you slice it the district that has 20 percent of the state’s students would only receive a 2 percent boost in education funding from the Republican. Rauner contends that Chicago has been running an unchecked education system for years and now will be forced to live within its means.

Critics of the plan point out that those districts that are losing students right now will face large cuts in funding in two years, when parts of Rauner’s plan begins to alter funding formulas. 

WMKR Genuine Country 94.3 Celebrates 21st Anniversary

Miller Media Group radio station WMKR Genuine Country 94-point-3 held its 21st Anniversary Party on the air on Saturday afternoon.  The show, hosted by WMKR president Randal J. Miller, featured his 3 girls that the station is named after—Michelle, Sheri Kathaleen, and Ramey—as well as listener calls.

Daughter Ramey Miller talked about how her experience growing up on the air has helped her in her career.

And, daughter Sheri echoed Ramey's comments, saying that growing up in a radio family made it easy to be behind the microphone.

WMKR signed on July 12th of 1996 featuring a lite rock format.  The station switched to its country format on April First, 2002.  It's been under the same ownership all 21 years, being one of the 6 Miller Media Group stations that operate from studios at 918 East Park Street in Taylorville.

Christian County Starting to Use Video Appearances in Some Criminal Court Proceedings

The Christian County Court System and Christian County Sheriff’s Office are working together to incorporate video teleconferencing in for some criminal court appearances. The system was tested for the first time during court proceedings on Wednesday.


Christian County Resident Circuit Judge Brad Paisley played a big role in putting the system in place. He says video court appearances have been in the works since the beginning of the year, and there is no cost to the Christian County taxpayers for implementing the service.



Paisley says the use of video will save some Sheriff’s Department manpower needed to transport those people from the jail to the courthouse. There are also safety issues that can be resolved through video court appearances.



Paisley says defendants have the right to be in court for certain types of appearances, but he hopes when the video system can be used, it will streamline court proceedings.

Christian County 4-H Members Heading to Illinois State Fair

The Christian County Fair has come and gone, but that doesn't mean the work is over for the Christian County 4-H program. The focus for many of the kids involved in 4-H now shifts to the state fair, and the competitions the 4-H members are participating in.


Rebecca Livingston is the Program Coordinator for the Christian County 4-H Youth and Development program, and appeared as a guest on the Newstalk WTIM Morning Show. She said she felt things went smoothly at the Christian County Fair all things considered.



35 kids from Christian County will be showing at the various competitions at the Illinois State Fair. Livingston says the competitions are essentially the same as what they saw at the county level, but with increased competition.



One difference Livingston mentioned between the Christian County Fair and the Illinois State Fair, is that kids can only show one project on the state level, where they could show several on the county level.

Shelby County Preparing for Visitors for Next Monday's Eclipse

Many across the country are getting ready for the total solar eclipse taking place on August 21st across much of the continental United States. Those in Shelby County are also preparing for the eclipse, and the influx of visitors to the area due to the event.


Freddy Fry is with the Shelby County Office of tourism, and said although Shelbyville won't get the total eclipse, those in the area will still get to see a large portion of the sun be covered by the moon.



Fry says the eclipse should start just before noon that day, and warned viewers to make sure they have the proper eye protection to view the eclipse.



Eclipse viewing glasses are available at many locations across the region. Fry also warned against using your cell phone to try to take pictures.

Mattoon's GE Lighting Plant Closing Its Doors

The GE Lighting Plant in Mattoon closed its doors for the final time Friday. The plant has been in Mattoon for more than 70 years, and about 130 people will be out of a job with the closure.


Mattoon’s mayor Tim Gover says a closure like the GE Plant closure is always felt in the community.



Gover says although GE is shutting its Mattoon plant down, the city is not hurting economically.



Gover says the city has been working with GE to see what will happen with the plant, but that there are no plans in the works at this time.

Crimestoppers Crime of the Week - August 11, 2017

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


Sometime between 9:00 pm on Sunday, July 23, 2017 and the morning hours of Monday, July 24, 2017, person or persons unknown forced their way into a garage at a residence located at 704 East Elm Street.  While inside, the unknown subject or subjects went through items inside.  Nothing appeared to be missing at the time of the report.  A door was kicked in to make entry.  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. 

State Senator Andy Manar Working on SB1 Compromise with Lawmakers Following Governor's Veto


There's been a lot of debate surrounding the school funding reform bill Senate Bill 1, which the Illinois Legislature passed, and Governor Rauner recently amendatory vetoed. Illinois State Senator Andy Manar (D-Bunker Hill) says he was disappointed by the Governor's veto, and is working with lawmakers to come to a compromise.


Senator Manar says he thinks the Governor vetoing the bill was a mistake, and that his changes go too far.



One element the Governor did not veto was a measure that funds the Chicago Public School Pension system. This element of the bill has caused controversy among many, and Manar says he doesn't support any bill that gives Chicago a special deal, and that he's working towards fair funding for all.



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

Taylorville Teen to Show 4-H Work at State Fair Friday

UPDATE: Baker received an award of excellence and a superior award for her photograph, the highest award you can receive at the state level.


A Taylorville teen is one of many 4-H members from across the state of Illinois to be showing their work at the Illinois State Fair. 17-year-old Hayden Baker will be showing her one of her photographs in Springfield today.


The photograph was selected at the Christian County Agricultural Fair to be shown at the Illinois State Fair. Baker says she originally joined 4-H to show horses.



Baker says she’s very happy she joined the 4-H program 6 years ago. She says the program has had a big impact on her life.



Baker encourages younger kids to find a way to join the 4-H program. 

Rauner Could Have Handled SB1 AV in Different Manner

The pressure is mounting around the state when it comes to education funding. This week schools missed their general state aid payment for the first time ever. As the Senate waits to meet on Sunday to consider the Governor’s amendatory veto, Bruce Rauner is still facing criticism over not being open about what changes he wanted to make to Senate Bill 1. Rauner left the door open to sound like he’s considering the fact that he could have done things differently but he’s still upset that Democrats held the funding bill for 2 months before sending it to his desk.

This week ends with the specter of the Senate back in session on Sunday, setting the stage for the House to do the same next Wednesday.

Manar, Scherer Rally for Senate Bill 1

Backers of the school funding reform bill gathered outside a Springfield Elementary School this morning.with the architect of Senate Bill One, State Senator Andy Manar, and State Representative Sue Scherer. An emotional Scherer called on Governor Rauner to drop his amendatory veto.

Manar is hopeful Republicans join the cause.

Manar says Rauner's amendatory veto leaves Senate Bill One virtually unrecognizable with roughly one hundred changes. The Senate reconvenes Sunday to discuss school funding, the House will come back to the Capitol on Wednesday.

WMKR is Turning 21, Anniversary Show Tomorrow

Tomorrow's a big day for WMKR Genuine Country 94-point-3....the station is celebrating turning 21 in a 3-hour special Saturday afternoon from one til 4.


WMKR president Randal J. Miller will host the show, and feature Miller's 3 daughters whom the station is named after—Michelle, Sheri Kathaleen, and Ramey. Each will have their own hour, and audio from past years will also be featured.


The public is invited to tune in and be a part of WMKR's 21st Anniversary show Saturday from one til 4.

Pana Community Hospital Breaks Ground on $20.1 Million Expansion


Many staff members and Pana residents came together Thursday afternoon to celebrate the groundbreaking of a $20.1 million dollar addition and renovation project to Pana Community Hospital.


The project will include a patient services addition to the back of the hospital, an addition to the main entrance to the hospital, and renovations to the basement, first floor, and third floor of the building. It is the biggest construction project Pana Community Hospital has taken on since 1976.


Hospital CEO Trina Casner says this project has been in the works for five years.



Casner says with the addition to the main entrance to the hospital, the entrance will be handicap accessible.



The biggest addition will be in the back of the building, where Casner says several departments and hospital functions will be housed in the new addition.



The project is broken down into two phases. The first phase, the big addition to the back of the building and basement and third floor renovations, are expected to be completed next summer, with the main entrance and first floor renovations beginning once those projects are completed. The entire project is expected to be completed by March of 2019. 





Christian County FS Donates $15k to Local Ag Programs

Christian County FS has donated $15,000 to area agriculture programs. Representatives from CCFS presented the check at Ag Day of this year’s Christian County Fair.


Mark Bauman is the General Manager of Christian County FS. He said the donation was made possible by working with their partners.



The money donated will be split between the Morrisonville, Taylorville, Central A&M, and Pana FFA organizations, and the Christian County 4-H program. Bauman says it’s important for CCFS to support local ag-related programs because their business is built on local agriculture.



Bauman says it’s important to CCFS to give back to the local farmers and the community in any way they can.

Ameren Illinois Utilizing Drone Technology to Help Improve Worker Safety and Efficiency

Ameren Illinois is always looking for new and innovative ways to improve the services they provide to their customers in Illinois. One way they're doing this is by implementing the use of drones to help create a more efficient and safe work environment for their workers, allowing them to get the power back on in a quicker and safer manor.
Riley Adams is the Manager of Electric Initiatives at Ameren Illinois, and says one way these drones will help their workers by giving their workers a birds eye views on potential problems with the regions power lines.
One thing that helps improve the efficiency of the drones is that the pilots are from the area, and know where to look already for potential problems.
Adams appeared as a guest on the Newstalk WTIM Morning Show.

Upcoming Holiday Season Important Time for Central Illinois Food Bank

Summer is quickly coming to an end, which means the holidays will be here before you know it. For the Central Illinois Food Bank, this means an influx of donations and fund raising efforts to help feed the region's hungry.
Krista Lisser with the Central Illinois Food Bank says the Holidays are an important time of the year for the Food Bank.
The CIFB will be holding their annual fundraiser on September 28th. The event serves as a way for the food bank to celebrate the work they've done, while helping to raise funds for the coming year.
Lisser appeared as a guest on the Newstalk WTIM Morning Show.

Christian County YMCA Preparing To Welcome Area Kids To The Y With Before And After School Programs

Summer is winding down and area kids are getting ready to head back to school. The Christian County YMCA is also making preparations for their before and after school programs, along with their teen center to give kids a place to go.
Chris Weittenhiller, Executive Director of the Christian County YMCA appeared as a guest on the Newstalk WTIM Morning Show and says the Y's before and after school program will take students in the program to school.
The program will also in turn, pick the kids up from school, and bring them back to the YMCA where they can stay as late as 6pm for their parents to pick them up.
The Y is also offering their Teen Center, to give local teens a safe place to spend time on Friday nights.
Weittenhiller says the first YMCA Teen Center will be held on Friday, August 18th, with a slightly later start time, running from 7 until 11pm.

New Recycling Center Opens in Taylorville

The Indoor Storage Shed Temporary Signing. The recycling center is located at Suite C, 115 S. Clay Street in Taylorville, just a couple of blocks from where the county recycling bins used to be.


Taylorville residents have a new option for getting rid of recyclable items. The Indoor Storage Shed is open from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. seven days a week for those that are looking to recycle items.


Indoor Storage Shed owner Pam Moses says after the county pulled out of recycling, she wanted to help fill a hole in the community.



Moses says she hopes the hours are as convenient as possible for Taylorville residents to bring their recyclable items to the location. She says those people who are bringing items don’t need to worry about the elements.



For more information on the Indoor Storage Shed, you can visit their Facebook page here.

Summer Taking Its Toll on CICBC Blood Supply

The Central Illinois Community Blood Center is bringing the Bloodmobile to Taylorville on August 25th to collect much needed blood for area hospitals. The Bloodmobile will be outside the U.S. Bank building on the Taylorville Square from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on the 25th.


CICBC Donor Relations Coordinator Caleb Parker says this summer has taken its toll on the blood supply.



With high school football kicking off that night with Taylorville’s home opener against Mt. Vernon, Parker says each presenting donor can get their choice of a football-themed t-shirt. One of those t-shirt options will be purple and gold to represent the Tornadoes.

Frerichs Previews State Fair Auction

The Illinois State Treasurer's Office is offering a large number of items at this year's State Fair auction. Among the items are a Mickey Mantle baseball card, coins, jewelry, and more. Frerichs notes a big showstopper is Spanish coins from the 1622 shipwreck of the Atocha.

The auction is set for August 19th at the Lincoln Stage at noon. 

Classic Car Business Suffers Significant Damage After Fire

For gearheads and fans of muscle cars and other Detroit masterpieces over the years, a Staunton fire was enough to bring tears to their eyes. 13 fire departments turned out to battle a blaze that took out a large building and more than a hundred cars inside at Country Classic Cars on Route 66. Staunton Fire Chief Rick Haase says it was no easy firefight.

In addition, all of the water for the firefight had to be trucked in to the site. Haase said there was help for firefighters from mother nature in avoiding the toxic strew of the fire.

There's no word on a cause. No one was injured. The Illinois State Fire Marshall's office is leading the investigation.

Special Anniversary Show Planned for Saturday on WMKR

The public is invited to tune into Miller Media Group radio station WMKR Genuine Country 94.3, this Saturday from one til 4, when station president Randal J. Miller hosts a 3-hour special to honor the station's 21st anniversary.


The show is calleed "WMKR TURNS 21" and will feature Miller's 3 daughters that the station is named after. Michelle, Sheri Kathaleen, and Ramey will each be featured in their own hour during the afternoon, and audio from past years will also be heard.


WMKR went on the air July 12th, 1996, and serves a 40-mile radius of Taylorville.

Christian County Prevention Coalition Again Putting On Hope for Recovery Event


Many parts of the United States are facing a drug epidemic and Christian County is facing its share of challenges. The Christian County Prevention Coalition wants to help the struggle, and is hosting a “Hope for Recovery” event on Saturday, September 23rd at 10 a.m. in the Taylorville Memorial Hospital auditorium.


Lori Younker is a volunteer for the CCPC, and co-chair of the “Hope for Recovery” event. She says the event serves two major purposes.



Younker says a wide majority of court cases in Christian County involve drugs and addiction, and there were 16 drug related deaths in the county. She says people that need help don’t realize how many options they have, and she hopes the event will educate those that are struggling with addiction.



For more information on the event, you can visit the CCPC's website here.

Antique Tractors on Display at Illinois State Fair

The Illinois State Fair is just around the corner, and those interested in antique farming equipment have a place to check out a variety of neat vintage tractors at the fair. A number of antique tractors will be on display at the Antique Tractor Display, next to the Ag Media Tent at the fair.
Mike Hall is the Coordinator for the Antique Tractor Display at the fair, and gave a preview of some of the machines that fair goers will have the chance to view.
Inside the tent fair goers will be able to see a selection of older, restored and un-restored tractors.
Meanwhile the group will also be providing ag tours of the various agriculture exhibits at the fiar. Hall says these tours will give those unfamiliar with agriculture a decent understanding of what they're seeing in the agriculture section of the fair.
Hall appeared as a guest on the Newstalk WTIM Morning Show.

Central A&M Schools To Receive Grant for STEM Lab

The Central A&M School District is ramping up for another school year, and has received some exciting news for the coming year. The district is going to receive a grant to add a STEM lab to the high school.


Central A&M Superintendent Dr. DeAnn Heck says the district is calling their STEM lab a STEAM lab, for Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math.



Students in the Central A&M School District start school on Monday, August 22nd. Heck says it’s an exciting time for education because they are preparing students future jobs that may not exist yet.



Students in Moweaqua and Assumption can register for this school year on Thursday, August 10th from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Students can also register online at the school district’s website.

City Cleanup Committee Finalizing New Monthly Award To Recognize Residents Cleaning Up Taylorville

The mayor’s cleanup committee is in the final stages of putting together a new monthly award that will honor a resident going above and beyond in the ongoing process of cleaning up Taylorville. The mayor announced the new award at Monday night’s city council meeting.


Taylorville mayor Bruce Barry says the committee wants to have a way to recognize those people that are going the extra mile for cleaning up the city.



Barry says cleaning up Taylorville was a top priority for him coming into office. He hopes seeing people clean up the city encourages their neighbors to do the same.



The cleanup committee has a few final details to work out before making the new award official. Barry would like to honor the award’s first recepient at the next city council meeting on August 21st.

Christian County Historical Society Hosting "Night At The Museum" on August 25th

The Christian County Historical Society is looking to get local kids interested in the history of Christian County. One way they're doing this is by holding a “Night at the Museum” event on August 26th, where kids will team up for a scavenger hunt, and learn more about Christian County in a fun and interactive way.
Maureen Bruns with the Historical Society appeared as a guest on the Newstalk WTIM Morning Show, and shared the theme of the event.
Participants will also be treated to food and drink, and will have the chance at winning a prize should they do well on the scavenger hunt.
To register for the Night at the Museum, contact the Christian County Historical Society at 217-824-6922

Governor Signs Cybersecurity Legislation

Legislation that requires all state employees to receive annual cybersecurity training has been signed by Governor Bruce Rauner. Rauner says the issue is becoming more and more crucial.

State workers will undergo the annual training to learn the best way to defend against cyber threats, which will in turn help safeguard the state's information systems that contain sensitive information. 

Rauner Says "No" to Mendoza and Frerichs Push to Borrow

Gov. Bruce Rauner is rejecting calls from Democrats like Treasurer Michael Frerichs and Comptroller Susana Mendoza to turn to borrowing to reduce the state's $14.4 billion dollar backlog of overdue bills. Rauner says the state should not seek more credit. Mendoza and Frerichs both called for selling up to $6 billion in bonds. Mendoza says borrowing could kill two birds with one stone.

Mendoza says bonds can be paid back at a lower interest rate than the current 12 percent interest rate the state is paying on its overdue debt.. 

August Brings Cooler Temps

The month of August has ushered in cooler temperatures for much of Illinois, but certain areas of the Midwest could use a rain shower says meteorologist Dan Hicks with Freese-Notis Weather.



Hicks expects the cooler temps to continue over the next seven days with relatively light rainfall. He says warmer temperatures and high humidity should return in the third and fourth weeks of August. 

Special Day Saturday for WMKR

This Saturday is a special day for Miller Media Group radio station WMKR Genuine Country 94-point-3. The station is turning 21 this year, and to celebrate, will present a 3-hour special featuring station owner Randal J. Miller's 3 daughters—Michelle, Sheri Kathaleen, and Ramey that the station is named after—from one to 4 this Saturday afternoon.


Each daughter gets their own hour to talk about their involvement in WMKR, and we'll catch up with them on what they're doing today.


Audio from WMKR's past will also be a part of the special.


Tune in this Saturday from one til 4 on WMKR Genuine Country 94-point-3, as the station celebrates its 21st anniversary.

Taylorville Kiwanis Hears About In-Home Health Care at Weekly Meeting


Caption to pix:  Nancy McGeath of Springfield (left), representing Christian Horizon Living's Carelink in-home health care service, was Tuesday's guest speaker at the weekly meeting of the Taylorville Kiwanis Club.  Will Perkins (right), president of the club, presided at the meeting.




The Taylorville Kiwanis Club heard about in-home health care, during their Tuesday luncheon at the Taylorville Memorial Hospital auditorium.

Nancy McGeath of Springfield, representing Christian Horizon Living's Carelink in-home health care service, was guest speaker and highlighted some of the services her agency provides.

Christian Horizon Living was founded in 1962, and its Carelink division was founded in 1999, serving some 18 states.  Carelink's main goals are to provide in-home health care to allow patients' personal freedom, provide companionship, and help with early detection of acute symptoms.

McGeath added that Carelink also reduces stress for the patient and their family, and is an alternative to institutions.

The Taylorville Kiwanis Club reminds the public, that members will be on the streets of Taylorville September 22nd and 23rd asking for donations, and in exchange giving a package of peanuts, during its annual Peanut Days fund-raiser.  Proceeds benefit local Kiwanis programs for children and youth such as Coats for Kids, Kiwanis Park, YMCA and high school scholarships.

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.

Blue Mound Fall Festival Kicking Off August 10th through the 12th

The Blue Mound Fall Festival begins this Thursday in Blue Mound. The festival has been around since 1910, and will feature a number of fun attractions designed to help get people to Blue Mound.
Roberta Gordon, Secretary of the Fall Festival Association that helps put on the Festival appeared as a guest on the Newstalk WTIM Morning Show, and explained why a festival held in August is called the “fall festival”.
The festival will kick off on Thursday with a series of pageant contests, along with a number of other fun activities.
The Blue Mound Fall Festival will also feature a parade, a number of various contests and games, and a number of other fun activities for the family to enjoy.

Moweaqua Resident Takes Home $500,000 Top Prize on Illinois Lottery Scratch-Off


A Moweaqua resident has hit it big on an Illinois Lottery scratch-off ticket. Alvin Butler won half a million dollars on a a scratch-off he bought at Raiders Marathon in Moweaqua.


Butler says he is going to pay bills with the money, and he says it will feel great to be out of debt. Raiders Marathon will receive $5,000 for selling the winning ticket. The $500,000 top prize is one of three available through the scratch-off game Butler played.

U.S. Agriculture Secretary Visits Central Illinois Monday


Secretary Perdue made several stops across Illinois Monday, the first of which was on the Larry and Diane Beaty farm just outside of Rochester. At the event hosted by the Illinois Farm Bureau, Perdue and IFB President Rich Guebert spoke with around 50 farmers in attendance. Perdue explains the purpose of his tour across the Midwest is to gather input on the 2018 Farm Bill.



The event allowed central Illinois farmers a chance to talk intimately with the Secretary. One of the main topics of conversation was the continued need for a strong crop insurance program. Shelby County producer, Troy Uphoff, was one of several to bring that up.



Sangamon County farmer, Mark Richert, would like to see some changes to the details of the ARC safety net program. Secretary Perdue feels the primary goal of any program should allow farmers to farm for the markets...not the program.



In addition to the 2018 Farm Bill, Secretary Perdue touched on several other topics during the hour long discussion. Some of those were the importance of trade and the renegotiating of NAFTA; the repeal of the controversial Waters of the U.S. regulations; and the importance of strong conservation programs. Perdue expects to see Congress begin real work on the 2018 Farm Bill later this year.


Morrisonville Schools Prepare for First Year Under New Superintendent

As school districts across the state are preparing to start a new school year, the Morrisonville Community Unit School District is getting ready to go under new leadership. This is the first school year under new superintendent Dave Meister (MY-ster) in Morrisonville.


Meister says he has heard plenty of good things about the Morrisonville community.



Meister says the district will be able to open their doors, and he is optimistic that they will be able to keep their doors open until there is a funding formula resolution in Springfield.



Morrisonville students’ first day of school is Thursday, August 17th.

Christian County Senior Center Holding Several Upcoming Fundraisers to Help Raise Money For Senior Center Programs

The Christian County Senior Citizens Center is planning several upcoming fundraiser events to help raise some extra money for the various programs that the center provides to seniors in Christian County. The Senior Center will be hosting a book sale throughout the week, and is also planning a fundraiser breakfast later on this month.
Gerry Mahr is with the Christian County Senior Center, and says the book sale has many different books available for a reasonable price.
The Senior Center is also planning a fundraiser breakfast that will be held at the Applebees on Dirksen in Springfield on August 19th.
Gerry Mahr and Judy Gates both appeared as guests on the Newstalk WTIM Morning Show.

Frerichs Feels for School Districts

State Treasurer Michael Frerichs can't get funds moving to schools until lawmakers override the Governor's veto of the school funding bill or Rauner and Democrats reach a deal. Frerichs doesn't envy the position schools are in with state funds locked up for the timebeing.



Frerichs says some of the changes made through Governor Rauner's amendatory veto will be costly to some school districts. He notes Peoria Schools alone would lose about a million dollars a year. 

House Flipping Seminar Warning

Have you seen house-flipping shows on television and thought it's something you might want to try? The Better Business Bureau is advising caution when signing up for seminars using well-recognized names to endorse the product. Some consumers have filed complaints with the agency saying they didn't get what they paid for. BBB Investigator Don O'Brien says most complaints to the Better Business Bureau are from customers claiming they felt the business mislead them about the potential value of its programs, trying to up-sell them once they got to the event.

These programs can cost several thousands of dollars. O'Brien says before paying anything, know what you are getting for your money, and pay by credit card if possible in case you need to challenge the charge.

This is National Immunization Awareness Month

This is National Immunization Awareness Month. It serves as a perfect reminder for back to school shots, but adults may want to take notice also says Sue Grant with the McLean County Health Department. 

Grant also recommends adults over 60 get the shingles vaccination. Contact your local health department for more information on immunizations. 

WMKR Turning 21 This Year

One of the Miller Media Group radio stations is 21 this year, and is celebrating this Saturday with an on-air special.


WMKR Genuine Country 94.3 went on the air July 12, 1996, and was named after owner Randal J. Miller's 3 daughters—Michelle, Sheri Kathaleen, and Ramey.


Each of the daughters will be featured in their own hour Saturday afternoon. Listeners will find out how they were involved in WMKR, and what they're doing today.


Audio from WMKR's past, as well as country music, will also be a part of the afternoon.


Tune into WMKR Genuine Country 94.3 this Saturday from one til 4 as we celebrate the station turning 21 years old.

City Council Looks to Legalize Golf Carts on Streets, Tear Down Derelict Buildings at Monday's Meeting


The Taylorville City Council took another step towards cleaning up Taylorville at Monday night’s meeting. It’s also possible you could see golf carts on city roads in the future.


A motion was passed to give the Health and Zoning Office permission to post that five derelict buildings across Taylorville would be demolished. The notice has to be posted for 34 days so previous owners or lean holders could reach the city if necessary.


Third Ward Alderman Ernie Dorchinecz says Mayor Bruce Barry has put plenty of time and effort into cleaning up Taylorville since taking office.



The council also passed a motion for the city attorney to prepare an ordinance to make Taylorville a golf cart community, allowing golf carts to be driven on city streets. Golf carts are currently only allowed to be driven on streets around Lake Taylorville.


Dorchinecz says golf carts are growing in popularity, and the city would like to model a possible ordinance for Taylorville after another city seeing success with golf carts in their community.



Other action items included the swearing in of new Taylorville police officer Christian Nelson, a motion to approve a purchase of a new dump truck for the Street Department, and a motion to amend an existing ordinance to raise the spending limits without needing city council approval for the Superintendents, Committee Chairmen, and the Mayor. The next scheduled meeting is set for August 21st at 7 p.m. at the Taylorville Municipal Building.

Pana Man Convicted of Sexually Abusing Young Girl Sentenced


A Pana man has been sentenced to four years probation for sexually abusing a girl between the ages of 10 and 13. 64-year-old Keith E. Budds was sentenced Monday afternoon at the Christian County Courthouse.


Budds originally pled guilty to the Aggravated Criminal Sexual Abuse of a Minor charge on April 13. Pana Police Chief Dan Bland says the Department of Children and Family Services came to his department with the allegation, and the two organizations partnered to investigate the matter.



Bland says any case like this where a child is involved ramps up the urgency to bring the offender to justice.



Budds could have faced between three and seven years in prison for the conviction, but as per the plea agreement, Budds could not be sentenced to more than four years in the Department of Corrections. State’s Attorney Mike Havera sought prison time for Budds, while Budds’ attorney asked for probation only. Budds was also sentenced to 180 days in the Christian County jail, but with 333 days credit for time served, he will not serve any more jail time.

CEFS Holds Annual Board of Directors' Meeting, Honors Great Work Done the Past Year

The C.E.F.S. Economic Opportunity Corporation held their annual board meeting Thursday in Effingham, where the organization got to showcase the huge impact they have on many residents’ day-to-day lives.


C.E.F.S. CEO Kevin Bushur says over 16,000 people from across the area used the corporation’s wide variety of services in the past year.



Bushur says C.E.F.S. also offers programs for daycare and preschool, utility bill help, worker training, and many other services through the C.E.F.S. outreach program. He says it’s through the help of many volunteers that keeps C.E.F.S. running and touching so many lives.



For more information on C.E.F.S. or their services, you can visit their website here.

Shelby County Community Service Providing Life Skills Training For Region's Developmentally Disabled

Community service programs across the country help it's local residents in a number of different ways, and one local community service center is helping the areas developmentally disabled residents. Shelby County Community Service offers training programs to give the disabled essential skills to make life easier.
Karen Mulholland is the Director of the program, and says they hope to give the program's participants more than just skills to help their day to day lives.
There are several different levels of care in the program, to fit the different needs of the developmentally disabled.
If you'd like to know more about the program, contact Prairieland Service Coordinator at 1-800-866-8779.

Positions Open for Vendors in 2017 Shelbyville Scarecrow Daze Parade

The Shelbyville Scarecrow Daze is right around the corner and those looking to get involved still can. There are still spots available to participate in the Scarecrow Daze Parade for venders who would like to showcase themselves to the community.
Vonda McConnell is with the Shelbyville Chamber of Commerce and says the parade offers a unique opportunity to get your business in front of hundreds of onlookers.
The parade used to take place on Main Street in Shelbyville, however had to change it's route on order from IDOT. McConnell shared the route the parade will be taking this year.
McConnell appeared as a guest on the Newstalk WTIM Morning Show live from our downtown Shelbyville Studios.

Nokomis School District Completing $3 Million Renovation For Upcoming School Year

The Nokomis School District took on a major summer project this summer to be ready for the 2017-18 school year. The district took on a three-million dollar renovation project at Nokomis High School, so students will be starting school about a week later than expected.


Nokomis Superintendent Dr. Scott Doerr says there are many upgrades being made at the high school with this project.



Doerr says the renovations will enhance the learning experience for students in the Nokomis school district.



Nokomis students start classes for the upcoming school year on August 28th. 

Shelby County Relay For Life Event This Saturday

The Relay for Life of Shelby County is this Saturday, and everyone is welcome to attend. The event will start at noon and end at midnight at Forest Park in Shelbyville. This year’s theme is “Wish Upon a Cure.”
Sarah Lucht is the Senior Community Development Manager with the American Cancer Society. She says with so many children that attend each year, they wanted to give kids an opportunity to be a prince or princess.
The event will include multiple live performances throughout the day, carriage races, minute-to-win-it games, and much more. Lucht says with all the fun extra events planned, the main mission is still to come together, celebrate survivors, and raise money to beat cancer.
For more information, you can visit their website here and their Facebook page here.

Illinois & Iowa Corn Growers Highlight Aging Lock and Dam System on Barge Tour

The Illinois Corn Growers Association and Iowa Corn Growers Association bringing attention to the aging lock and dam system on the upper Mississippi River. They hosted a barge tour last Friday with the featured stop--Lock and Dam 15 in Rock Island--built in 1934—it’s suffering from a crumbling guide wall. Paul Rohde of the Midwest Waterways Council moderated the tour. He says funds for both operation and maintenance and construction are crucial for inland waterways.

If you think Lock and Dam 15 is in poor shape, you should see the La Grange Lock and Dam on the Illinois River near Meredosia. Not pretty says Marty Hettle—chairman of the Inland Waterways Users Board.

Illinois Senator Tammy Duckworth and Iowa Congressmen Rod Blum and Dave Loebsack participated in Friday’s barge tour. 

2017 High School Football Season Begins Monday in Illinois

The 2017 high school football season kicks off Monday in Illinois. It’s the first official day of practice, according to the IHSA calendar. Fulton head coach Patrick Lower says he’s ready.

The first games can be played on Friday, August 25th. 

WMKR Celebrating 21st Anniversary Saturday

Miller Media Group radio station WMKR Genuine Country 94.3 is turning 21 this year, and is celebrating its anniversary with a special program on-the-air from one til 4 this Saturday.


Station president Randal J. Miller will host the show, which will include interviews with Miller's 3 daughters that the station is named after. Michelle, Sheri Kathaleen, and Ramey, will each be featured in their own hour of the show this Saturday.


The on-air party will also include music and audio from the past.


Tune in for WMKR Genuine Country 94-point-3's 21st Anniversary Show this Saturday from one til 4 in the afternoon.

Taylorville Sertoma Club Putting On First Day Fund, Helping Local Students Have School Supplies

The First Day Fund program is in its 16th year providing school supplies for Taylorville students in need. This year the program is providing more than 210 students with school supplies they need this school year.


Daniel Raab is the Co-Chair of the First Day Fun. He says they take specifically what the school district says each child needs at each grade level, and helps to get those supplies for those students.



Raab says because what students need at each grade level varies, so does the cost of sponsoring students at each grade level.



Anyone can mail a donation to the First Day Fund by mail to the Taylorville Sertoma Club, P.O. Box 74, Taylorville, IL 62568.

Taylorville Child's Photo Places in Statewide Photo Contest


One Taylorville child’s photo recently placed in the Cream of the Crop Photo Contest put on by Illinois State Treasurer Michael Frerichs. Olivia Mizeur took 3rd place in the 8-10 age bracket for her photo called “Centennial Farm.”


This is the fifth year the Cream of the Crop photo contest has been held, with the goal being to encourage young photographers to share their vision of agriculture in Illinois.

Taylorville Water Customers Should Expect Delay in Receiving Water Bill

The Taylorville City Treasurer’s Office is working to get water bills out to customers after a computer system crash caused July billing to be delayed, and will likely cause August bills to be delayed as well.


Jacque Nation is Taylorville’s City Treasurer. She says her office is having to re-enter all data from May until today into the computer systems to get the bills out to customers.



Nation says the data they have to re-enter includes water payments, water billing, accounts payable and receiveable, and bank reconciliation. She says customers can go ahead and estimate their bill and pay it.



She says everyone in her office is working to get data caught up after the system crash, but they are only through May 19th on re-entering data as of Friday morning. 

Grammy Winning Bluegrass Band Coming To Shelbyville August 13th


A Grammy-winning bluegrass band will be coming to perform in Shelbyville. The Farm Hands will be performing on Sunday, August 13th at 6 p.m at Shelby Christian Church. The performance is a part of a few stops they will be making in Central Illinois that weekend.


Shelby Christian Church Pastor Mark Sanders says he has a contact from Nashville who keeps him informed of bands that come through the area. He says they try to make the dates work for these performances when they can.



Sanders says the performance is no cost to the public, but a freewill offering will be taken. The Farm Hands have also won the Bluegrass Music’s Entertainers of the Year, Vocal Group of the Year, and Bluegrass Gospel Band of the Year awards.

Final Touches Being Done In Preparation for Illinois State Fair

With the Illinois State Fair less than a week away, the final touches are being put on the fair that starts August 10th. The fair runs until August 20th and will have many new features this year.


Illinois State Fair Manager Kevin Gordon joked that his favorite new feature involves the all-you-can-eat food contests.



With the tragedy at the Ohio State Fair recently, Gordon understands the concerns of many parents with the safety of the rides at the fair.



Gordon says there will be about 65 rides at this year’s state fair, along with all of the other festivities planned.

People's Bank and Trust in Morrisonville Looks to "Fill The Bus" With School Supplies


One area bank is helping students in need by collecting school supplies for the upcoming school year. People’s Bank and Trust in Morrisonville is having its annual “Fill The Bus” school supply drive to raise money and supplies for Morrisonville students in need.


Larry Boston is a Vice President of Business Banking at People’s Bank and Trust. He says each student deserves to have the school supplies they need on their first day of school.



Boston says it’s important for the bank to help out in the community however it can.



The “Fill The Bus” campaign will run at People’s Bank and Trust until August 14th. Boston says they will start distributing items the next day.

Davis Continues to Call for Kinder, Gentler Politics

Weeks after a baseball practice Congressman Rodney Davis will never forget, his quest for a less hostile political climate continues. Davis continues to be haunted by the actions of a shooter from Belleville who opened fire on a GOP Congressional baseball practice in Northern Virginia. He was disturbed to learn of negative social media posts remarking on the drug overdose death of the son of Nashville, Tennessee Mayor Megan Barry.

Davis says enough is enough with social media posters who go over the line.

Davis notes his biggest concern is about the impact of extreme comments on families. 

Durbin Wants to Boost Trade with Cuba

Senator Dick Durbin is seeking better trade opportunities with Cuba. He's joining Oregon Democrat Ron Wyden in introducing the U.S.-Cuba Trade Act of 2017, which would repeal sanctions that Durbin calls outdated and establish normal trade relations with the island nation. International Trade Commission figures show easing U.S. restrictions on trade and business with Cuba could increase U.S. exports by $1.4 billion annually in the next five years.

IDOT Plans Interstate Closures in Metro-East

The Illinois Department of Transportation will soon begin a road resurfacing project that will detour traffic from I-270 north to Wood River. IDOT engineer John Adcock says microsurfacing on I-270 from Illinois Route 3 to the 55 / 70 interchange will begin Friday, August 11 at 9pm, running through Monday, August 14 at 5am.

A similar project will close westbound Interstate 55/70 from Route 203 near Gateway Motorsports Park to the 55/70/64 interchange this weekemd. You can keep up with road closures statewide through at www.gettingaroundillinois.com.

Both Parties Talking to Come to Senate Bill 1 Compromise

Democrats and Republicans are negotiating to find a compromise for Senate Bill 1, the highly-publicized school funding reform bill. Negotiations between lawmakers of both parties started Wednesday morning and continued into Thursday.


48th District State Senator Andy Manar was a part of those negotiations. He says he’s hopeful something will get done out of these bi-partisan talks.



Manar says one thing the governor has said he would take out of Senate Bill 1 was not something that was amended in his veto.



Manar says the group will continue to meet, and they aren’t giving up on coming to a compromise.



Manar and his counterparts are on the clock for getting an evidence-based funding model like Senate Bill 1 into law. School districts are supposed to receive their first state aid payment of the new fiscal year on August 10th.

Pana Community Hospital Ready To Begin Biggest Expansion Project in Over Forty Years

Pana Community Hospital is preparing to break ground on the largest expansion projects they've undertaken in nearly 40 years. The additions focus on increasing the efficiency of the hospital, as well as improving the patient experience at the hospital.
PCH President and CEO Trina Casner appeared as a guest on the Newstalk WTIM Morning Show to discuss the expansion, and gave a preview of what some of the upgrades will encompass.
Phase two of the project includes additions to house an urgent care center and new main entrance of the hospital.
The expansion will allow the hospital to care for more patients than it has the ability to currently.
Casner invited the public to come out to the projects groundbreaking ceremony, taking place on August 10th beginning at 3pm on the front lawn of the hospital, with refreshments offered to those who attend.

Chillifest Committee Planning Various Details of 2017 Chillifest Event

Chillifest is just 8 weeks away which means the event's planning committee is shifting into high gear getting all of the details sorted out. Forms for both vendor sign ups as well as for the various pageants are now available, and other details are beginning to fall into place as well.
Patty Hornbuckle, CEO of the Greater Taylorville Chamber of Commerce also sits on the Chillifest Planning Committee, and says the Committee recently had a meeting Monday, where they went over each members responsibilities for the day.
Each person on the committee has their own responsibilities, and work hard to help make the event a success every year, all on a volunteer basis.
Hornbuckle appeared as a guest on the Newstalk WTIM Morning Show.

Large Crowd At SB1 Town Hall Wednesday

A large crowd gathered Wednesday night in the Taylorville High School Cafeteria for a town hall meeting on Senate Bill 1 and school funding reform. The meeting was put on by State Senator Andy Manar, Taylorville School District Superintendent Dr. Gregg Fuerstenau, and the Citizens for Education committee.


Although Manar was part of putting the town hall together, he was surprisingly not in attendance Wednesday night. Dr. Fuerstenau says the reason why Manar was not there is a good sign for Illinois students.



Fuerstenau says Senate Bill 1 has been very well researched, with impacts and future scenarios well played out. The bill has taken many forms over the past four years in Congress, leading to this year’s Senate Bill 1. He says this is the first school funding reform bill that the majority can agree on, but Governor Rauner’s amendatory veto “blows up” most of what local school districts are looking for from school funding reform.



Fuerstenau says the biggest issues with the amendatory veto from the governor is that no one knows what the results of his veto would be because no one has researched the outcomes as thoroughly as the original Senate Bill 1.



The Senate has 15 days from August 1st to take an action on SB1, whether it be to override the Governor’s veto or to approve the Governor’s changes. If no action is taken, the bill will be killed and lawmakers will be back at square one with schools having to wait longer for state aid. 

Pana Schools Prepping for New School Year

The Pana School District, like other school districts in the area and around the state, are preparing to open their doors to students in a few weeks.


The district is entering its first school year under the leadership of new superintendent Jason Bauer. Bauer says he’s excited to work with Pana teachers and staff to improve the education experience for the students.



Bauer says there have been a few maintenance projects around the district this summer.



Like most districts, Pana is keeping an eye on the showdown happening in Springfield with Senate Bill 1. He says the district has cash on hand to keep them open for a while, but they are hopeful something will get done at the state capitol.



Classes start for Pana students on Friday, August 18.

Record Harvest Levels Not Likely This Year

Crop condition ratings for corn and soybeans are below year-ago levels, as recorded in the USDA’s latest crop conditions report this week. American Farm Bureau Federation market intelligence director John Newton says this year has been a challenge for growers, with excessive moisture and planting delays this spring, and drought conditions in parts of the upper Midwest.



Newton says the upcoming crop production report next week could provide better market direction heading into harvest season.



Newton says more data is available regarding yield expectations on the Farm Bureau Market Intel webpage.



That information can be found at the link here.

Farmers Indicate Higher Outlook on Farm Economy

Farmers surveyed as part of the Purdue/CME Group Ag Economy Barometer indicated more optimism in July because of better commodity prices expectations this fall.


The monthly survey for July reached 139, its highest level since January 2017, and its second-highest level since data collection began in October 2015. The increase continues a trend seen over the summer of more optimism regarding the future of the agriculture economy. The forward-looking measure of sentiment, the Index of Future Expectations, climbed seven points in July to 138. A measure above 100 indicates optimism, while a measure below 100 indicates pessimism regarding the farm economy.


In July, farmers were asked if they expect to see higher, lower, or about the same grain, oilseed and cotton prices in the next 12 months. Many indicated they expected to see higher commodity prices through the next year. The improvement in producers’ expectations for commodity prices corresponded with early summer market activity.


Wheat futures prices, driven by drought conditions in the Northern Great Plains, have been the most active, but uncertainty about the corn and soybean growing seasons has also contributed to market volatility.

Historic Gillett Farm to be Sold at Auction Next Week

There's a legendary piece of real estate available overlooking a cozy town of nearly 400 people. The historic and enormous Old Gillett Farm on Elkhart Hill outside Elkhart in Logan County will be sold at auction 
August 10th in Springfield. The 785 acre farm, sitting some 800 feet high, was founded by John Dean Gillett, a man known in the mid 19th Century as the “Cattle King of the World.” He was a close friend of Abraham Lincoln. Michael Fine with Chicago based Fine and Company says selling off the farm has been a one of a kind experience.

Fine says the property has a history of VIP visitors.

Earnest Hemingway passed through on his way to Florida and Marshall Field would stop his private train car to join Gilett on trips to the Kentucky Derby. 

Durbin Applauds Trump

Man Bites Dog, Peace in the Middle East and Durbin praises Trump. All seem like unlikely headlines but the last of the three scenarios is not fake news. Senator Dick Durbin thanks the President for keeping the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program in place.

DACA grants temporary reprieve from deportation to certain undocumented immigrants brought to the United States as children. So far 790,000 young people have benefited from the program and Durbin says they've gone on to careers like nursing and engineering while others have become small business owners.

Ameren Trucks Equipped with AED's

Ameren Illinois has installed automatic external defibrillators or AEDs on nearly 240 trucks across its territory. Karen Boulanger is the Safety Director for Ameren and she says the AEDs can mean the difference between life and death.

While Ameren crews can use the equipment and training to help the general public if necessary, citizens are still advised to call 911 in the event of an emergency.

Rochester Man Identified as Man Killed in Three-Car Accident Friday

A Rochester man has been identified as the victim in a three-car accident on Route 104 just west of I-55 Friday.


The Sangamon County Coroner’s Office says 71-year-old Gene Crowl was pronounced dead at the accident scene around 12:30 p.m. on Friday. He was a passenger in one of the three cars involved with the accident. A second person involved was taken to HSHS St. John’s Hospital with serious injuries. There is no update on their condition.


The autopsy performed on Crowl shows that he died from injuries sustained in the crash. The Illinois State Police are investigating the crash.

Illinois Treasurer Asks McKesson Corp To Help Fight Back Against Heroin and Opioid Addiction

The country is in the middle of a massive battle against heroin and opioid addictions, and a group of state treasure’s are asking the drug manufacturing company McKesson Corporation to step up and help fight this issue. Illinois State Treasurer Michael Frerichs says if the company doesn't, they could face a massive lawsuit, dramatically effecting the company's stock prices.
Frerichs appeared as a guest on the Newstalk WTIM Morning Show, and says State Treasurer's from Illinois, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia recently sent a letter asking the company to do a better job to fight the problem.
Frerichs explained why the treasurer's chose to sent the letter to McKesson, and what they hope the company does as a result of that letter, and the potential consequences of inaction.
Frerichs says the initial response seen from McKesson are positive, but there is still a long way to go

St. Louis Dairy Council Says Snacking Can Be An Important Part of a Healthy Diet

Many people often snack throughout the day to help fight off hunger in between meals. Snacking if done right can be a healthy activity, giving your body essential nutrients and vitamins that it needs according to Joyce Fikri with the St. Louis Dairy Council.
Fikri says the key to snacking is choosing healthy foods.
When snacking, certain foods can help you feel fuller for longer, so you don't feel the need to keep eating throughout the day.
Fikri appeared as a guest on the Newstalk WTIM Morning Show.

Illinois Treasuer's Office's I-Cash Program Returns Record Breaking Amount of Money to Illinoisans


With all the turmoil in Springfield, the Illinois Treasurer’s Office has been working on a number of programs to help get money back into the hands of Illinois residents. One program, the Office's I-Cash program has now gotten more money back into the hands of those who deserve it than it ever has before.


Illinois Treasurer Mike Frerichs says it's been a team effort between various agencies and organizations to ensure these record breaking numbers.



There are many different situations where someone may end up being owed money.



Illinois Treasurer Michael Frerichs appeared as a guest on the Newstalk WTIM Morning Show.

U of I Extension and Christian County YMCA Partner to Teach Kids to Eat Local

The University of Illinois Extension and Christian County YMCA partnered this summer to teach kids the importance of eating healthy and eating locally. The Extension taught the “Got Veggies Curriculum” in hour-long sessions at the YMCA Day Camp each Wednesday during June and July.


Catherine O’Connell is the Publicity and Promotions Assistant at the University of Illinois Extension Christian County Office. She says the kids got to tour local food growers, and even grow their own food.



O’Connell says the partnership with the YMCA is a part of a larger effort to promoting eating local in the area.



The Eat Local Initiative was created thanks in part to a donation to the U of I Extension from the Lumpkin Family Foundation.

Illinois Congressman Rodney Davis Says Jobs Plentiful in Ag Industry


Agriculture is big business in Central Illinois, however it's an industry that could be facing a lack of manpower in the coming years. Studies have show a potential disparity in the number of available ag jobs as well as college students with ag related educations to fill those jobs. Illinois Congressman Rodney Davis (R-Taylorville) wants to work to make sure more kids are heading to a career in the agriculture industry.


Representative Davis appeared as a guest on the Newstalk WTIM Morning Show, and says the way the industry is discussed throughout a child's education needs to be changed.



Davis says the agriculture industry offers a variety of in-demand, high paying jobs in a field that is only going to get more important in the future.



Davis says one thing that needs to change moving forward is the exposure the ag industry receives, so future members of the workforce are more familiar with the opportunities available in the ag industry.

Missions For Taylorville Head to Detroit to Partner With Similar Community Improvement Organization

Missions for Taylorville is a local organization working to help improve the condition of properties around the local community, with a focus on helping those who cannot afford or are not able to make the repairs themselves. The group also makes a yearly trip to Detroit to assist with Rippling Hope, a similar organization in Southeast Michigan.
The two organizations are teaming up this week to work on a number of projects around the city. Regional Radio News spoke with Rippling Hope Executive Director Carl Zerweck about the work the group does. Zerweck says when groups travel from out of town to work with Rippling Hope, they often leave with many stories of the work they did, and the people they met.
Zerweck and Missions For Taylorville Director Bill Kerns have a long history together, and when Rippling Hope was founded, Kerns was quick to get involved.
Many of the projects Rippling Hope works on are often at homes where the residents have long since been a part of the history of the region.

WRAN, Taylorville Kiwanis Club Raise $1400 for Local Children and Youth Projects during Radiothon

The Taylorville Kiwanis Club and WRAN groovy 97-point-3 Radio in Taylorville, raised nearly 14-hundred dollars on Tuesday during the Club's annual Radiothon.

Club members, chaired by Martin Vota, sold sponsorships in the day of broadcasting on WRAN, then Kiwanis members read their sponsors' commercials live thru-out the day.  WRAN gave half of the gross sponsorship monies sold, back to the club, which netted the club some 13-hundred 87-dollars and 50-cents.

Kiwanis members that were guest announcers on WRAN included Blain Cornwell, Carmeline Skinner, Carol Alexander, Bernie Curvey, Brad Davis, Dick Wamsley, Eric Kahle, Will Perkins, Martin Vota, Judy Prasun, Cathy Coker, Tom Pierce and Duane Stock.

WRAN president Randal J. Miller hosted the 7-hour Kiwanis Radiothon on Tuesday.  Proceeds benefit projects for children and youth sponsored by the local Kiwanis Club, including Coats for Kids, Kiwanis Park, high school and Y-M-C-A scholarships.

Weekly meetings are held at noon each Tuesday at the Taylorville Memorial Hospital auditorium.  For information on the club, go to taylorvillekiwanis-dot-com.

Taylorville Kiwanis Hold Business Meeting at Weekly Luncheon

The Taylorville Kiwanis Club reviewed committee work being done for children and youth in the Taylorville community, during their Tuesday luncheon at the Taylorville Memorial Hospital auditorium.

Various committee chairs reported on their activities, including Kiwanis Park chair Jerry Woodard who reported that a new small pavilion in the park has been completed, thanks to work by several Kiwanis members.  Woodard added that picnic tables and a grill have yet to be installed.

The new small pavilion joins the large pavilion built by the Kiwanis Club in 1995, which has been the anchor for Kiwanis Park.

Kiwanis Lieutenant Governor and Taylorville Kiwanis member Dick Wamsley, reported that the Illinois-Iowa District Convention is next month in Bloomington-Normal, with several local Kiwanis officers signed up to attend.  Wamsley added that the Illinois-Iowa Kiwanis District is forming 4 new clubs, including one in Mt. Zion.

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.

Rauner Veto's Bill - Unaware of Process Moving Forward

As promised Governor Bruce Rauner issued an amendatory veto on Senate Bill 1. But the Republican may be confused about the process for the bill. Rauner told reporters today that all lawmakers need to do, in order to uphold his wishes on changes to school funding is pass them with a simple majority.

Rauner’s staff later admitted that it would take more than a simple majority to support the Governor’s changes. Legislation passed after May 31st that takes immediate effect needs a three fifths vote. 

The Senate is scheduled to read the amendatory veto into record today, starting the 15 day clock for action the bill. 

BREAKING: Senator Manar, Taylorville School District, Citizens for Education Holding Town Hall Wednesday Night on Funding

Senator Andy Manar, Democrat from Bunker Hill; Taylorville School District Superintendent Gregg Fuerstenau; and Taylorville Citizens for Education, will co-host a town hall meeting about the state’s school funding formula Wednesday evening.

The public meeting will begin at 6 p.m. in the cafeteria of Taylorville High School, 815 W. Springfield Road.

The group says the discussion will focus on the future of Senate Bill 1, which was vetoed Tuesday by Gov. Bruce Rauner. Residents will have an opportunity to ask questions.

The event will be broadcast live on Easy Hits 96-point-5 radio.

Shelbyville Man Sentenced to Three Years in Prison for Animal Cruelty

A Shelbyville man has been sentenced to three years in prison for aggravated cruelty to animals. 26-year-old Robert J. Scribner pled guilty to the charge on Friday.


Shelby County State’s Attorney Gina Vonderheide says Scribner intentionally kicked his chihuahua dog in the face, breaking its jaw, and then stomped on the dog’s head.


Vonderheide says Scribner’s behavior in this incident is not normal and not something she sees every day.



Scribner was originally charged in early July.

Rauner Issues Amendatory Veto on Senate Bill 1

Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner issued an amendatory veto of the highly debated Senate Bill 1 Tuesday morning. The bill provides an evidence-based model for school funding required by this year’s budget to pay local school districts. Some of the items vetoed in the bill include the minimum funding requirement and the Chicago school pension considerations from the funding formula.


Rauner says he hopes lawmakers uphold his veto to make historic changes to Illinois education and for the benefit of the children across the state.



Rauner again placed blame on Democrats for politicizing the bill and for not working towards a bill that was “fair and equitable” for all Illinois students.

Crimestoppers Crime of the Week - August 1, 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 Wednesday, July 26, 2017 to Thursday, July 27, 2017, person or persons unknown broke into a vehicle while it was parked at Trinity Dodge.  The vehicle, a 2006 Jeep Wrangler, had a rear passenger’s side window broken.  Two doors were also stolen off of the vehicle.  The vehicle had been parked on the Northwest area of the parking lot. The total dollar amount of the theft and damage is estimated at $4,000.


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.  

Lincoln Trail to Reopen Before School Starts

The Lincoln Trail road project has been underway for a few weeks, and Taylorville mayor Bruce Barry says the road should be re-opened before school starts. IDOT has been working on the Lincoln Trail to replace a culvert near Woodbine, and the work is approaching completion.


Barry says IDOT has assured him that Lincoln Trail will be open before school starts with time to spare.



Barry says IDOT is about done with their work, but the city and local utilities will have to move their lines back to their original places.



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

Christian County Fair a Hit Again Thanks to Many Volunteers

Another Christian County Agricultural Fair is in the books, and fair organizers say it was another successful fair. Other than rain on Thursday, the weather cooperated for those in attendance at the fair. This year’s fair was the 94th Annual Christian County Ag Fair.


Christian County Fair Board President Jim Olive says although some county fairs are struggling, the Christian County Fair continues to flourish.



Olive says it is those many volunteers who continue to make the fair possible.



Olive says with this year’s fair in the rear-view mirror, they will start looking at next year’s fair soon. He says it’s a year-round process to plan for the county fair.

Social Security Administration Provides Online Tools for Estimating Retirement Benefits

Retirement can be stressful to plan for, but according to a representative from the Social Security Administration, it is possible to estimate what you will receive in social security at different ages.


Jack Myers with the Social Security Administration appeared as a guest on the NewsTalk WTIM Morning Show. He says there are plenty of helpful tools on the SSA’s website, including a “Retirement Estimator.”



Myers says the Retirement Estimator tool is unique because it projects and uses future earnings to estimate a person’s social security benefits.



Myers says the Retirement Estimator is off in some cases if people choose to retire at a different age than they anticipate. But he says this tool lets you run as many scenarios as you would like to compare what would be best for your financial situation.

Greater Taylorville Chamber Chillifest Committee Putting Details Together for 2017 Event


The Greater Taylorville Chamber of Commerce Chillifest Committee held their monthly meeting Monday evening in the board room of the Chamber office in the U-S Bank building on the south side of the Taylorville square, to begin putting together the details for the 32nd annual edition of the event October 7th and 8th.

Event chair Greg Hornbuckle told Regional Radio News that committee chairs are working on their respective areas for Chillifest, which is just 8 weeks away.

Hornbuckle says Chillifest continues to add attractions for kids.

We asked the Chillifest chairperson what is the favorite part of the weekend for him.

Craft and food vendor forms, as well as forms for all the pageants at Chillifest this year, are now available on the event's web site, chillifest-dot-info, that's chillifest with 2-L's.

SB1 Going to Governor

The school funding plan Senate Bill 1 is headed to the Governor’s desk. After talks between Democrats and Republicans break down over a possible compromise the bill has begun the process of heading towards Bruce Rauner. 

It was swift change of direction for the legislation. After an afternoon meeting let out leading Democrats said the talks were going to continue but Republican Jason Barickman quickly stated that Democrats were not negotiating in good faith over the bill or possible changes. After that statement the bill started to move to the Governor and his promised veto.

Special Session Costs Kept at 2012 Levels

State legislators are wrapping up a special session today and it’s come at cost. Roughly the each day of special session cost the state $28,000. That includes a $111 a day stipend for all 176 legislators and a mileage reimbursement for those who request it. But the payout to lawmakers hasn’t changed for a number of years and this year is no different. Republican Governor Bruce Rauner signed a freeze on per diems to lawmakers.

Many lawmakers choose not to take the extra money and those that have are often still waiting for a check. The per diem payouts are sitting in the same backlog as billions in other state payments.


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