Local News

Soybean Association Seeks Answers to Dicamba Drift

The dicamba drift issue across the country is growing, and the American Soybean Association says the industry must intensify efforts to determine the causes and remedies. Non-dicamba tolerant soybeans and other crops have been damaged this season, and while the number of reported cases is growing, ASA President Ron Moore stipulates this is not a human health problem.



Moore says it’s time to learn what happened, and they’re working with universities and herbicide providers in conjunction with the national soybean checkoff to make those determinations.



Moore was asked if the dicamba drift research is being fast tracked at the universities.



He added it’s imperative that soybean farmers have new technology to fight resistant weeds, so research and education are imperative to preserve the new technology provided by Roundup Ready 2 Xtend soybeans and the dicamba-based herbicides approved for the system.

Grassley Slams Trump EPA RFS Proposal to Cut Biodiesel

The Environmental Protection Agency announced it’s considering a new proposal to reduce 2018 biodiesel, advanced biofuel and total Renewable Fuel Standard volumes, in addition to a prior proposal to cut 2019 volumes. that has ethanol supporters ‘hopping mad.’


Ethanol Industry groups swiftly responded with press releases that the EPA proposal was unjustified, unneeded, contrary to the RFS’s intent, and would harm the industry, jobs and energy independence.


An angry longtime ethanol backer and supporter of President Trump took to the Senate floor.



Republican Chuck Grassley of Iowa read several Trump campaign quotes from then-candidate Trump, supporting ethanol and vowing to defend the Renewable Fuels Standard as president Grassley says he was suspicious Trump would be able to keep his word, when the new president nominated oil-patch Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt to head the EPA and former Texas Governor Rick Perry to be Energy Secretary.



Then, a couple of months ago, Grassley says the President called the Senator, personally, and asked Grassley to tell his Iowa constituents, Trump would keep his word on ethanol.



Grassley complained bitterly, the latest proposal came out of “nowhere,” after the EPA in July, had already released a plan that left the 2018 biodiesel level untouched at just over 2-billion gallons…and the same, in 2019.


The new plan would pare ’18 biodiesel, advanced and total biofuels by almost half-a-billion gallons.


Grassley calls it a “bait and switch” and leads Grassley to suspect that Big Oil is again prevailing in the Trump EPA, as he claims it did in the Obama EPA. That’s not a way he says, “to make America strong, once again.”

Organic Field Crop Production Numbers Rising

Organic farming is a rapidly growing segment of U.S. agriculture. Organic vegetables, fruits, and livestock make up the bulk of the entire segment. However, a new USDA report shows organic field crops are making gains in the number of acres planted and overall value.

The National Ag Statistics Service released the numbers showing that U.S. farms and ranches produced $7.6 billion in certified organic commodities in 2016. That’s up 23 percent over the previous year. The number of certified organic farms also climbed 11 percent higher, coming in at 14,217 last year. The number of certified acres is up 15 percent to five million acres. Livestock marketed as organic can only consume feeds certified through the USDA’s organic program. That’s helping to drive organic production of corn, soybeans, and hay.

The USDA report says about 7,400 farms planted 1.6 million acres of organic field crops and hay last year. The value of organic field crop sales totaled up to more than $762 million in 2016, more than $100 million dollars higher than in 2015. Organic corn had the most acres planted, totaling almost 214,000 acres last year.

Mexico Says U.S. Proposals Would Threaten Free Ag Trade

The U.S. is expected to put forth controversial proposals during the next round of North American Free Trade Agreement negotiations. The U.S. will allegedly be putting forth proposals for what it calls “seasonal windows” when it comes to agriculture trading with Mexico and Canada.


The article says this type of a proposal would be a form of “managed trade” by establishing seasonal ag trade restrictions in North America. The president of the Mexican National Agriculture and Livestock Council offered an example of what that means. He says America wants to establish conditions saying that when Georgia produces strawberries, Mexico either won’t be able to export strawberries to the U.S. or would only be allowed to put the same amount of strawberries into the marketplace that Georgia has.


Ag trade hasn’t been limited by seasonal windows since 2008, when a period of 15 years of gradual reduction was established. Mexico’s general coordinator of International Affairs says the Mexican government and producers won’t even consider discussing the proposal.

Area Law Enforcement Want You To Drive Extra Carefully During Harvest Season

The return of fall means the return of harvest season, and the return of harvest season means the return of extra farm equipment on area roadways. Area law enforcement want all drivers to slow down while driving and stay aware on the roads.


Shelby County Sheriff Donald Koonce calls speeding his department’s biggest problem.



Christian County Sheriff Bruce Kettelkamp says especially on country roads, driving too fast can be extremely dangerous.



Both Koonce and Kettelkamp urge residents to drive slower and to keep your eyes on the road.

New Casey's in Morrisonville Holds Grand Opening

Casey’s new location in Morrisonville held its grand opening Friday. The original Casey’s in Morrisonville opened in 1989.


Nancy Henske is a regional manager with Casey’s. She says she is thankful that Casey’s is willing to invest in small communities like Morrisonville.



Rosemary Mundhanke has worked with the Morrisonville Casey’s since it opened 28 years ago. She says she is thankful for the opportunity to work at Casey’s.



The new Casey’s includes diesel fuel pumps, giving farmers and trucks the opportunity to buy fuel in Morrisonville instead of having to drive further down Route 48.



Construction Continues on Cherokee Street in Taylorville


Construction continues on Cherokee Street between Main Cross and East Park Street in Taylorville.


After new storm sewer was installed, the street will be widened with new curb, gutter, and pavement.


People's Bank and Trust Names Terry Wright Volunteer of the Quarter for Hurricane Relief Efforts

Taylorville resident Terry Wright has led the effort to raise funds for the victims of the hurricanes to hit Texas, Louisiana, Florida, and Puerto Rico. People’s Bank and Trust is recognizing his work by naming him as their “Volunteer of the Quarter”.


Wright says he appreciates the recognition, but that’s not why he tries to help those in need.



Wright’s efforts have raised $10,000 for the hurricane victims. He says although so far that number is short of his goal, he appreciates the effort and the generosity of the community.



Wright says he originally planned on ending the fundraising on September 30th, but with Irma and Maria striking since that time, he says he will disburse what is in the account and leave the account open for those who want to continue to help those in the affected areas.

Social Security Administration Now Allows Online Replacement Of Your Lost Social Security Card

Losing your social security card can be stressful, but the Social Security Administration is taking steps to make sure that replacing your card isn't. The S-S-A has added the ability to request a replacement card online at their website, socialsecurity.gov.
Jack Myers is a Public Affairs Specialist with the Social Security Administration explained how the process works.
There are some guidelines to getting a replacement card, including having a valid state of Illinois ID.
Myers appeared as a guest on the Newstalk WTIM Morning Show.

Dog Daze Taking Place This Saturday On Taylorville Square

Dog lovers will get the chance to share their love of dogs with others, and enter their pets into various contests and competitions at Dog Daze, an event put on by Downtown Taylorville and the Dogwood Pet Lodge, alongside the Taylorville Farmers Market this Saturday from 9 until 1 on the Taylorville Square.
Diane Brown and Maureen Maple both help organize the Dog Daze event, and shared some of the things going on for people to enjoy.
Dog owners will also have the chance to have their dog's dental health inspected for free.
Brown and Maple both appeared as guests on the Newstalk WTIM Morning Show.

Illinois Treasurer Frerichs Calling on Legislators to Override Veto of Insurance Benefits Payout Bill

Illinois’ State Treasurer is among those who hope lawmakers in Springfield will override a veto of a bill that would get more money into the hands of state residents. Governor Rauner vetoed House Bill 302 which would require insurance companies to pay out benefits to the loved ones of policy holders after they die.


Frerichs says there are hundreds of millions of dollars owed to Illinois residents.



Frerichs says the bill would ensure the insurance companies do the jobs their policy holders ask them to do with life insurance, taking care of their loved ones.



The Illinois House and Senate will take up the bill at their veto session scheduled to start in late October.

Christian County CEO Students Deep Into Classwork

Christian County CEO students are now deep into this year’s program with business visits and other class projects underway.


CEO Student Kayden Wright says one of the Taylorville students’ first project, a powderpuff football game fundraiser, will have a tournament style format.



Dick Adams is the leader of the Christian County CEO program and has been since its inception. CEO student Grace Blakley says having Adams as a mentor opens many doors for all of the students.



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

Severe Drought Possible in Illinois

Severe drought is a term Illinois hasn't heard in a long time but the National Weather Service in Lincoln says by the later fall days, we might be hearing a lot more of it. Meteorologist Chris Miller indicates there could be areas of Illinois that reach severe drought status later this fall if we don't see rain.

With tropical storms popping up frequently this year, Miller says those have held off rain. He notes Tropical Storm Maria has kept precip out of Illinois before the recent cool down.

Miller says the recent hot spell was good for the farmers to get their fields dried out and the continued dry stretch will allow for a smooth harvest but long term it could be troublesome. 

Christian County Sheriff's Office Asking for Public's Help in Recent String of Farm Equipment Thefts

The Christian County Sheriff’s Office is looking for the public’s help in solving a recent rash of thefts involving farm machinery across the county.


Christian County Sheriff Bruce Kettelkamp says the thefts have taken place with equipment parked inside buildings and outside as well.



Kettelkamp says farmers should make sure they lock their equipment away or if they leave it outside, to leave it in a well lit area.



If you have any information on these thefts, you are urged to call the Christian County Sheriff’s Department or CrimeStoppers. 

CEFS Recognizes Taylorville Woman for Volunteer Efforts

CEFS recently recognized volunteers that have gone above and beyond in helping the organization achieve its mission, and one Taylorville woman was among those recognized. Judy Groom volunteers with the Feeding America Program and the Outreach Food Pantry.


Groom says she started volunteering with CEFS three years ago after a chance encounter as she was on a walk.



Groom says she volunteers six hours a week at CEFS with the unloading and distribution of the Feeding America and food pantry items. Her co-workers say Judy is always willing to help with a smile on her face.

Construction at Pana Community Hospital Well Underway

Construction of the new additions at Pana Community Hospital are now well underway. The $20.1 million project is the biggest construction project the hospital has taken on in over 40 years.


The hospital’s marketing manager Melissa Rybolt says there have been many jobs completed to prepare for building the foundation to the addition to the back of the hospital.



Rybolt says there are multiple additions that will be housed in the new part of the building, and the new addition will help provide better healthcare for those in the community once completed.



The new addition to the back of the hospital is a part of phase one of the project. The two phase project is expected to be completed by March of 2019.



Taylorville Library Board Approves Funds For Parking Lot Asphalt Work

The Taylorville Library Board of Trustees has approved a plan to set aside $4,000 to repave the west parking lot at the library.


Taylorville Public Library Director Steven Ward says wear and tear has gotten to the parking lot on that side of the building, and the repairs are much needed.



Ward says fixing both parking lots are priorities, but with the city looking to do repaving work now, starting the west-side work saves the library district some money.



Ward says the project is in the preliminary stages, but he believes work will be done in the next month or two.

Central Illinois Public Transit Offering Pricing Options for Any Budget

Central Illinois Public Transit is working to help make many in Central Illinois mobile once again. The company offers reasonably priced transit to just about anywhere in their seven counties served, as well as the ability to take trips outside of their regular service area.
Nathan Nicols is the Mobility Manager at CIPT, and says there is a payment option that fits just about every budget.
Central Illinois Public Transit primarily services seven counties, and also has the ability to make the occasional trip outside of their regular service area.
Nicols appeared as a guest on the Newstalk WTIM Morning Show live from our downtown Shelbyville Studios.

Taylorville Memorial Hospital Teaching How to Manage Diabetes with Diabetes Management Classes

Taylorville Memorial Hospital's Diabetes Self Management classes continue to educate many on the ins and outs of managing a diabetes diagnoses. Those in the class can learn more about things such as monitoring your diabetes, to help ensure that diabetes related complications don't arise.
Janelle Cornell, clinical dietician with Taylorville Memorial Hospital says the classes aren't just for those who are new to diabetes.
Some of the things covered in the class include monitoring your diabetes in order to avoid complications with the disease down the road.
Cornell appeared as a guest on the Newstalk WTIM Morning Show.

Benefits of CEO Program Already Coming to Life for Christian County Students

Christian County CEO students are already starting to see how they will benefit from being in the program this school year. The fifteen students will visit many area businesses, learn more about the inner workings of local businesses along with creating their own business later this school year.


Luc Johnson is a student in this year’s CEO program. He says his dad motivated him to be in the CEO class.



JT Boehme is also in this year’s CEO class. He says the hands on approach of the class piqued his interest.



Some of the businesses the CEO students have already visited include Bob Ridings, McMillen Landscaping, and CTI. 

Rural Development Also Part of New Farm Bill Discussions

While crop insurance has received most of the attention in discussion on a new Farm Bill, there are other important issues at stake. One of those is the Rural Economic Development Loan & Grant Program says Kim Leftwich of the Coles-Moultrie Electric Cooperative in Mattoon, Illinois. 

The current Farm Bill expires in 2018. 

ACA Backers at State Capitol Rally Believe Push Will Resume to Repeal Obamacare

Tuesday's decision by Senate Republicans to scrap a vote on a healthcare plan to replace Obamacare may have reduced interest in scheduled protests. However, Organizing for Action decided to go forward with a rally outside the State Capitol. Katie Lancaster believes some of the issues could resurface sooner rather than later, under a "new umbrella".

President Trump has launched a new tax reform discussion with a pledge to simplify the tax code.

The Heat is Gone But Dry Here to Stay

The hot weather has broken in most of Illinois. The daily highs of the 90’s have been put in the rearview mirror with many in the state feeling high temps in the 70’s today. But the very dry weather isn’t going anywhere. The extended forecast has no sign of significant rain and State Climatologist Jim Angel says a developing weather pattern in the Pacific may keep it dry here through October. 

The flip side is after October there is an increased chance of wetter than normal conditions.

NewCountry WSVZ and Family Drug Shelbyville High School Students of the Month for September Announced

98.3 WSVZ New Country and Family Drug in Shelbyville have announced their Shelbyville High School students of the month for September. The students were nominated by their teachers due to a certain criteria.

The 98.3 WSVZ New Country and Family Drug September students of the month are senior Faith Wheeler, junior Noah Trimble, sophomore Corban Aultman, and freshman Garrett Wade. 


From left to right in the photo: Bridgette Depew from Family Drug, Faith Wheeler, Noah Trimble, Corban Aultman, and Garrett Wade.


NewsTalk WTIM and Peoples Bank and Trust Taylorville High School Students of the Month for September Announced

The Newstalk WTIM and People’s Bank and Trust Students of the Month for September were presented their awards recently. The program recognizes one outstanding student from each of the four classes.


Pictured from left to right: Senior Zach Skinner, Junior Elizabeth Curtin, Sophomore Ryan Bowsher, Freshman Conner Grant and Lindsay Lopian from People's Bank and Trust. 

Shelby County Sheriff Koonce Will Seek Another Term Next Year

Shelby County Sheriff Donald Koonce will seek another term in next year’s election. Koonce, who is a long time police officer, was first elected as Shelby County Sheriff in 2014.


Koonce says the best way for him to serve the county and protect its residents is to make sure all emergency officials are on the same page. He says that is a tall order, but if coordination is ever needed in a major tragedy, the preparation is worth it.



Koonce says he is proud of the accomplishments he’s had in his first term, but there are two things he would like to see through if re-elected.



Koonce says he is proud to be a part of and serve residents of Shelby County. He is always open to anyone’s concerns in the county. You can reach him at the Sheriff's Office at 774-3941 or by email at sc509@scso87.org.

Taylorville CEO Students Planning Powderpuff Football Game

The Christian County CEO program is already in full swing this school year, and some students are already working on a fun event for later this fall. Some Taylorville CEO students are working on putting together a powderpuff football game, where girls suit up as the football players and the boys take on the role of cheerleaders.


CEO student Karlee Kuntzman says a powderpuff game is something the students have always wanted to have, and they decided to do it as a project for this fall.



CEO student Ryan Brown says the money raised from the game will go towards starting their fund balance for the businesses they will create later this school year. He says they want to have a charitable fundraiser at the event as well.



The group hopes to have the game later this fall, but no official date has been set yet.

Fall Projects Highlight Large Financial Investment At HSHS Good Shepherd Hospital

Shelby Memorial Hospital in Shelbyville recently became part of the HSHS Medical Group, and has since renamed to HSHS Good Shepherd Hospital. As part of the merger, HSHS planned to make some much needed upgrades and renovations to the hospital, and will be investing nearly three million dollars into the hospital this upcoming fall.
Aaron Puchbauer is President and CEO of HSHS Good Shepherd Hospital, and says the hospital is trying to grow the number of services offered to the local community.
The hospital is also receiving a large financial investment from HSHS, with the goal of updating and upgrading several departments this fall.
Puchbauer appeared as a guest on the Newstalk WTIM Morning Show live from our downtown Shelbyville Studios.

Sons of the American Revolution Working to Promote Patriotism and Citizenship In Central Illinois

The Sons of the American Revolution is a group similar to the Daughters of the American Revolution, looking to promote patriotism and citizenship in a number of different ways, including giving good citizenship awards to high school students, as well as recognition of Eagle Scouts.
Dave Miller is the president of the recently resurrected Stephen Decatur Chapter of the SAR, and explains how members of the group can trace their linage back to someone who helped the American effort in the Revolutionary War.
Miller explained in greater detail what the mission of the organization is.
Miller appeared as a guest on the Newstalk WTIM Morning Show.

Crop Production Yields Being Outpaced by Cash Rent Costs in Central Illinois

A group of central Illinois farmers expressing concern that crop production yields are being outpaced by the cost of cash rent for farmland. Logan County farmer Blair Bruns authored a letter to his local paper on the issue and received support from fellow farmer Eli Klokkenga.

According to the latest data from USDA, cash rent in Logan County averages $289 per acre with the state average at $218. USDA data also shows Logan County corn yields averaging 207.7 bushels per acre from 2014 through 2016.

Davis Expects Hearings on Data Breach

The massive data breach of the Equifax has impacted millions of people across the nation, and a Central Illinois congressman expects hearings on the matter. The hack happened earlier this year, with hackers gaining access to names, mailing addresses, phone numbers and social security numbers. U.S. Rep. Rodney Davis of Taylorville says Equifax, and the other credit reporting bureaus get sensitive information, and they must do a better job of protecting it.

If you see suspicious activity, you are advised to report it to your financial institutions immediately. Some financial experts have also suggested putting a freeze on your credit reports as a way to protect yourself.

Duckworth Weighs In on Healthcare Vote

Senate Republicans are again tackling a health care bill designed to replace Obamacare. Senator Tammy Duckworth took part in a morning rally in Washington. She expressed her fears Cassidy-Graham proposal would eliminate health care for millions, directly and indirectly.

Duckworth says the legislation would also create problems with Americans like her who deal with disabilities.

Duckworth says at least 32 million Americans will lose health care and the Medicaid program that supports people with disabilities would be devastated.

Taylorville Kiwanis End Kiwanis Year Reviewing Efforts for Children, Youth; Install New Officers at Weekly Luncheon



Outgoing Kiwanis Lieutenant Governor and Taylorville Kiwanis member Dick Wamsley (left), presents the outgoing Kiwanis president pin to Will Perkins.

Former Kiwanis International President Paul Palazzolo of Springfield (right) presented the outgoing Kiwanis Lieutenant Governor pin to Taylorville Kiwanis member Dick Wamsley.

Former Kiwanis International President Paul Palazzolo of Springfield (left) presented the incoming Kiwanis Lieutenant Governor pin to Taylorville Kiwanis member Blain Cornwell.

CAPTION TO PIX 2443:   Former Kiwanis International President Paul Palazzolo of Springfield (left) congratulates the newly installed Taylorville Kiwanis Club president Martin Vota (center).   Incoming Kiwanis Lieutenant Governor and Taylorville Kiwanis member Blain Cornwell (right) presented the Kiwanis president pin to Vota.


The Taylorville Kiwanis Club ended their Kiwanis year reviewing the many projects for children and youth in the Taylorville community, and installed new officers, during their Tuesday luncheon at the Taylorville Memorial Hospital auditorium.

Former Kiwanis International President Paul Palazzolo of Springfield installed the new officers, assisted by outgoing Kiwanis District Lieutenant Governor and Taylorville Kiwanis member Dick Wamsley.

In his final week presiding over the Kiwanis Club meeting, outgoing president Will Perkins thanked club members for volunteering for the many fund raisers thru-out the year, most recently last weekend's Peanut Days on the streets of Taylorville.

Perkins last official action as the local Kiwanis Club president, was to name the Kiwanian of the Year.  Perkins recognized long-time Kiwanis member Duane Stock for his many volunteer efforts at Kiwanis Park and at many Kiwanis fund raisers.

Palazzolo recounted his first experience with the Taylorville Kiwanis Club, as a Key Club Lieutenant Governor in 1982, helping the local Key Club rebuild.

Palazzolo installed Martin Vota as the new Taylorville Kiwanis Club president, Michael Evanchak as president-elect, and re-installed Diane Beatty as secretary and Cliff Beatty as treasurer.

Vota said increasing Kiwanis membership is at the top of his priorities in the coming Kiwanis year.

Committee chairs re-installed at Tuesday's Taylorville Kiwanis Club meeting include membership chair Raedena Ryan, Kiwanis Park chair Jerry Woodard, Harriett Morrissey as Priority One chair, Blain Cornwell as Interclub chair, Dick Wamsley as spiritual aims chair, and Randy Miller and Patty Hornbuckle co-chairing public relations.  Will Perkins was installed as the new Key Club and Builders Club chair.

The Taylorville Kiwanis Club is part of global organization of volunteers dedicated to improving the world one child and one community at a time.  Weekly meetings are held Tuesdays at noon at the Taylorville Memorial Hospital auditorium.  For information on the club, go to taylorvillekiwanis.com.

Pana City Council Votes Down Sunday Alcohol Sales Ordinance After First Reading

The Pana City Council voted down an ordinance to allow alcohol sales on Sundays at convenience stores, grocery stores, liquor stores and taverns at its first reading at Monday’s city council meeting.


Pana mayor Don Kroski says since every neighboring community allows alcohol sales on Sundays, city leaders should not walk away from the issue.



Kroski says there was plenty of discussion at the meeting about the alcohol sales ordinance, and says the ordinance will now head back to square one.



Pana’s next city council meeting will be Monday, October 9 at 7 p.m. at Pana City Hall.

Crimestoppers Crime of the Week - September 26, 2017

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


At around 3:30 am on Friday September 22, 2017, officers responded to an alarm at Discount Tobacco, located at 312 North Webster Street.  Officers discovered that unknown subjects had broken out the front door of the business and made entry.  While inside, the unknown subjects took numerous cartons of cigarettes.  The total dollar amount of the damage and theft is unknown at this time.  


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


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

State Senator and Gubernatorial Candidate Daniel Biss Says Political Division in Illinois Needs To End

Several members of the Democratic Party in Illinois have announced their candidacy for governor in opposition of incumbent Republican Governor Bruce Rauner. One of these members is Illinois State Senator Daniel Biss, who represents the 9th Illinois Senate District.
Senator Biss appeared as a guest on the Newstalk WTIM Morning show and discussed the divide between upstate and downstate voters in Illinois, saying that division needs to change if the state hopes to move forward.
One of Governor Rauner's biggest opponents in Springfield has been House Speaker Michael Madigan. Madigan is no stranger to criticism including from Senator Biss, who says Madigan has held Illinois back.
For more information on State Senator Daniel Biss and his campaign for Governor, visit Biss's campaign online at DanielBiss.com.

Christian County LEAD Program Looking for 2018 Participants

The Christian County LEAD program will kick off its 13th year in 2018, and they are looking for the next group of people who want to be a part of the program. LEAD, which stands for “Leadership Excellence Achieved by Design”, is a program put on through a partnership between the Greater Taylorville Chamber of Commerce and the University of Illinois Extension Christian County Office.


Linda Smith is the Co-Coordinator of the LEAD program. She says the program teaches individuals their own strengths and also to recognize others’ strengths that they could work on for themselves.



Smith says in the past, the group has made trips to the state capitol, area businesses, schools, hospitals, and much more. If you have questions about the program, she says the best people to talk to about the program are the 200 plus people who have been through the program.



Registration has begun for next year’s LEAD program. Applications are due by Friday, December 8, and the first meeting will be January 10. The program is open to anyone, and if you any questions you can give Smith a call at 820-0215.

Infrastructure Projects Progressing In Taylorville

Infrastructure has been a hot topic across the country and in Illinois, and Taylorville has several projects to help ensure the city's foundation remains firm for years to come. The city is working on a new water treatment plant, and has also received good news on several roadworks projects that will help the city financially.
Taylorville Mayor Bruce Barry says the city did encounter some hiccups with the new water treatment plant being constructed, however is hopeful that construction of the plant will remain on schedule.
Taylorville has also received good news about loans taken out to help pay for several projects around town, with large portions of the loans being forgiven, saving the city money.
Barry appeared as a guest on the Newstalk WTIM Morning Show.

Multiple Students Outside of Taylorville High School a Part of Christian County CEO Program This Year

While the Christian County CEO program has plenty of Taylorville students in the program, there are some students who come from all over the county. The program has their largest class this year with 15 students, and multiple students come from outside of Taylorville High School.


Fayth Stout is a senior at Pana High School. She says the previous class coming to talk to her class last year got her interested in being in this year’s CEO class.



Senior James Harris is the first student from South Fork High School to be a part of the CEO program. He says he is already trying to talk other South Fork students into being in the program next year.



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

Rauner Now Weighs Fate of Abortion Legislation

Governor Bruce Rauner now has a difficult choice on his hands. House Bill 40 is now on his desk. It would prevent abortions from becoming illegal if Roe V Wade is overturned by the Supreme Court and expands abortion coverage to Medicaid and state worker health insurance recipients. The bill passed in May, but bill sponsor, State Senator Don Harmon, held the bill until Monday morning. What happens next is unclear. Rauner says he will have open ears before making his final decision.

Rauner, who is pro choice, told a political action committee during the 2014 election campaign he would support similar legislation but this past spring threatened to veto House Bill 40. 

ICC Promotes Finding "Blue Sign" During Rail Safety Week

What to do should a tractor or other farm implement breaks down at a rail crossing? Find the “blue sign” says Chip Pew, Coordinator of Illinois Operation Lifesaver for the Illinois Commerce Commission.

If you can’t find the “blue sign” Pew recommends calling 911. This is National Rail Safety Week. 

Taylorville Park Board Approves Bid for New Dock at Lake at Manners Park

The Taylorville Park Board approved a bid to replace the dock on the lake at Manners Park at their regular board meeting Monday night.


The new dock will cost the park district $20,856. The park board has already paid to have the dock taken out at a cost of $3,100.


There was some discussion among board members about whether to make the area near the dock a no parking zone.



Other action items at Monday’s meeting included the passing of the updated Christian County prevailing wage ordinance, along with a motion to allow Relay for Life to proceed to look into getting a food truck for their event coming up at the park.

Rauner Talks Bonding, Reviewing State Spending; Madigan Responds

Governor Bruce Rauner has been crunching the numbers on what it will take the state to pay overdue bills and he doesn't like what he sees.

Rauner says a review of the current spending plan will be needed to move forward.

6 billion dollars in state bonds are expected to go to the market next month and close by mid November. House Speaker Michael Madigan released a statement.

“Contrary to reports, I have received no requests from Governor Rauner for further meetings on the budget or to work towards reducing the spending levels contained within the budget. The bipartisan budget enacted in July, despite the governor’s refusal to negotiate, included nearly $3 billion in cuts to government bureaucracy. Even as Republicans and Democrats came together to make cuts and enact a budget based on the governor’s own revenue projections, Governor Rauner refused to participate in the process despite our repeated requests. As was true then, I remain ready to work with the governor to make further adjustments to the budget.

“I believe Representative Greg Harris’ budget working group, who was largely responsible for crafting the budget we passed, is best equipped to continue discussion on the budget. Therefore, I have directed Representatives Harris, Carol Ammons, Kelly Burke, Kelly Cassidy, Fred Crespo, Will Davis, Robyn Gabel, Will Guzzardi, Lisa Hernandez, Elaine Nekritz, Elgie Sims and Mike Zalewski to work with the governor’s budget office and our House and Senate colleagues.” 

Downtown Shelbyville Thrift Store Raising Funds for Shelbyville Senior Center

The Shelbyville Senior Center is offering a way for local citizens to purchase low cost items they may need, as well as raise money for the Center. The Senior Center Plaza Boutique is a general thrift store in Shelbyville, offering a number of different items, with the proceeds going to the Shelbyville Senior Center.


Mary Beth Massey is the Director of the Senior Center, and says the store is the senior center’s version of an upscale thrift store.



Massey says the store gets a wide variety of items throughout the year.



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

A New Year Underway for the Christian County 4-H Program

The Christian County 4-H program is starting another year of helping to educate local youth on a number of different subjects. The program is open to anybody, and provides educational opportunities in a wide array of subjects from agriculture to rocketry.


Rebecca Livingston is the Program Coordinator for the 4-H Youth and Development program at the Christian County Extension Office, and says the beginning of the year is packed full of activities that keeps the program busy.



Livingston says for those interested in signing up their children for the Christian County 4-H program, there is a number of different ways to learn how to do so.



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

Christian County Health Department Now In Financial Crisis Because of Illinois' Bill Backlog

Illinois now has a budget, but it’s the state’s backlog of bill that has the Christian County Health Department in a dire financial situation. The department has nearly depleted its reserve the past two years that Illinois has not had a budget, and now the department needs the promised state money to come through.


Nancy Martin is the county’s public health administrator. She says other counties have had to cut back services, but she’s doing everything she can to not have to cut back on services in Christian County.



Martin says the health department plays an important behind-the-scenes role for quality of life in Christian County.



Martin says just under $400,000 of their approximately $560,000 operating budget this year comes from grant money, and the department does not receive any county tax dollars. She says they do accept donations, for more information, you can give a call to 824-4113.

New Christian County CEO Class Looking Forward to Building Business Skills

Every young person has a different idea of what they want to be when they grow up, but the Christian County CEO program is teaching those students involved the aspects of business and leadership needed for nearly all professions.


Taylorville High School Senior Carrie Denning says she wants to go into wedding planning and photography, and the CEO program will give her an opportunity to start that business.



Riley Matheny is also a senior at THS in the CEO program this year. He says he believes the program will help him build skills and relationships in Taylorville that he will need in his future.



The Christian County CEO program has 15 students this school year, which is the most in one year since the program started two years ago.

95th District State Rep. Avery Bourne to be in Taylorville Tuesday

95th District State Representative Avery Bourne will hold traveling office hours in Taylorville Tuesday. She will be at Congressman Rodney Davis’s office from 10:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Tuesday. The office is located on the second floor of the U.S. Bank building on the Taylorville Square.


Bourne says her priority is giving her constituents as much accessibility to communicate with her as possible.



Bourne says communicating with those people she represents is critical for her to be able to represent the district in Springfield.



She says if you cannot attend the office hours Tuesday, there are many other ways to reach her. You can get that contact information at her website by clicking here.

Before Help Arrives: Advice for Farmers in Responding to Accident on Farm

Before help arrives, what should farmers do if an accident occurs on their farm?

That’s Amy Rademaker, the Rural Health and Farm Safety Specialist for Urbana based Carle Foundation Hospital.

She says farmers should also have a first aid kit available at all times in their work/farm truck. Carle is promoting an itemized list of what should be in the kit at “carle.org” and then typing “farm safety” into search box. 

ABATE Calls for Prosecutors and Police to Punish Those Who Lend Vehicles to Revoked Drivers

ABATE typically focuses on preventing Illinois from adopting motorcycle helmet requirements, but they have other safety issues in mind too. They are expressing concerns about drivers who lose their licenses yet continue to get behind the wheel. 29-year-old Justin Heath of Springfield was killed and his girlfriend 23-year-old Samantha Clardy was seriously injured when their motorcycle was struck in May by Doris Fisher. Fisher has been unable to drive legally for 14 years, but ABATE says she was behind the wheel thanks to the help of her daughter. Witkowski is calling for Sangamon County Sheriff Wes Barr to arrest Fisher's daughter.

Witkowski believes charging Fischer's daughter will send a message to others.

Clardy has undergone extensive surgeries and faces at least three more as her recovery continues. 

Past Christian County CEO Students Recruiting New Students To Program

The Christian County CEO program is in it's third year, and this year's class is settling into the program, and beginning to learn from various entrepreneurs in the area. The class offers area students the opportunity to network, and learn valuable skills in a non-traditional learning environment.
Several of the students in the Christian County CEO Program appeared as guests on the Newstalk WTIM Morning Show, to discuss their time in the CEO program so far. One of those students, Reese Bergschneider says he feels what he learns in the CEO program will be more useful to him than what he might learn in a traditional classroom setting.
Taylorville High School Senior Jordan Moats says he decided to get involved with the CEO program from a friend, and fellow CEO student Kyle Woods.
To learn more about the Christian County CEO program, visit ChristianCountyCEO.com.

Litchfield EDA Grant Award Leaves Taylorville Application With Unknown Consequences

It was recently announced that Litchfield would receive a $2.1 million grant from the EDA but right now, it is not known what that means for Taylorville’s EDA grant application. U.S. Congressman Rodney Davis made the announcement Wednesday.


Christian County Economic Development Corporation Executive Director Mary Renner says she found out about Litchfield’s award at yesterday afternoon’s meeting. She says she doesn’t know what that means for Taylorville’s chances of receiving grant money.



Renner says the application they have put together is exceptionally well done, but the Taylorville application has one flaw.



Renner says that have a company ready to build is considered optional in the application. The CCEDC will be re-filing their application at the end of October to try to tap into a new pot of federal funds with the new fiscal year.


Also at Thursday’s meeting, they discussed other possible projects in Taylorville, including the EmberClear project. Pawnee has made some headway in getting a plant to that area, but Renner says that doesn’t mean anything for a possible Taylorville project.



Renner says what will determine the size of the plant and if Taylorville gets a EmberClear power plant is the number of customers EmberClear will need to provide power for and the company’s location preference. 

AWANA Youth Program Giving Kids Fun and Fellowship

The AWANA youth program at Evangelical Free Church continues teaching area kids the power of the scripture along with letting kids meet, play games, and have fun together. AWANA stands for Approved Workmen Are Not Ashamed, and comes from the 2 Timothy 2:15.


The program’s secretary Dotty Taylor says upwards of eighty kids have been a part of the program at once over the years, and AWANA is 3-year-olds all the way through 5th grade.


The church and youth invite all kids out to their youth group each Wednesday at 6:30 and their Harvestfest coming up on October 25.

Taylorville Memorial Hospital Redesignated as Acute Stroke-Ready Hospital

Taylorville Memorial Hospital has once again received the distinction of being an “Acute Stroke Ready Hospital.” The hospital has met and exceeded guidelines set by the Illinois Department of Public Health for the designation.


Kristy Cesaretti is the Emergency Room Nurse Manager at the hospital. She says this distinction means the hospital can provide some of the best care necessary for when someone has a stroke.



Cesaretti says it is a team effort throughout the hospital to make this care possible.



The designation is a three-year designation. The hospital received the designation for the first time in 2014.

Illinois FFA Encouraging Safety to Youth and Adults During National Farm Safety Week

FFA chapters across Illinois are participating in National Farm Safety Week this week. One FFA representative says all chapters in the state are incorporating farm safety into their curriculum this week and throughout the year.


Katie Burns is the Communications Specialist for the Illinois Association FFA. She says there is a wide variety of ways that the different FFA chapters are teaching kids farm safety.



Burns says Illinois FFA chapters have kids who compete in different farming areas that go through specific safety training courses.



Burns says it’s not just important to teach youth about farm safety. She encourages anyone who sees farm equipment on to slow down and keep a safe distance so everyone can get home safely.

Christian County CEO Program Continuing to Help Local Students Grow

The Christian County CEO program is in it's third year, and this year's class is settling into the program, and beginning to learn from various entrepreneurs in the area. The class offers area students the opportunity to network, and learn valuable skills in a non-traditional learning environment.


Several of the students in the Christian County CEO Program appeared as guests on the Newstalk WTIM Morning Show, to discuss their time in the CEO program so far. Jessica Parsons, a senior at Taylorville High School says she saw how the program helped her friends, and provided a learning environment that better fit how she wants to learn.



Taylorville High School Senior Kyle Woods is in the program for the second year. Woods said he felt he still had some skills that needed polishing before heading to college.



To learn more about the Christian County CEO program, visit ChristianCountyCEO.com.

Christian County Sheriff Kettelkamp Says Stand Up To Bullying

With Wednesday's school shooting at Mattoon High School many are reminded of one of the key elements in many school shootings, bullying. According to Teen's Against Bullying, this year 13 million students will be bullied, which is nearly one of every four students.
Christian County Sheriff Bruce Kettelkamp says one of the types of bullying his office sees regularly is cyber-bullying, which can have major consequences by those on the receiving end of the bullying. He recalled the story of a young girl, who was cyber bullied to the point of committing suicide, and some of the things she was told on social media.
Kettelkamp reminds everyone that bullying can come from anybody, as well as what kind of things constitute bullying.
Kettelkamp urged that should you see bullying, to do your part to stop the bullying.
Christian County Sheriff Bruce Kettelkamp appeared as a guest on the Newstalk WTIM Morning Show.

St. Louis Dairy Council Offering Tips To Help People Eat Healthier

The St. Louis Dairy Council is urging people to eat healthier, to help live a better and healthier life. The Council has provided the public with several tips to healthy eating, including planning your meals out, as well as preparing meals ahead of time.


Joyce Fikri with the St. Louis Dairy Council appeared as a guest on the Newstalk WTIM Morning Show and says healthy eating can not only benefit your health, but your wallet as well.



There are several things people can do to help eat healthier, including planning your meals, and preparing things ahead of time.


Apple and Pork Festival In Central Illinois This Weekend

An annual event set for this weekend in DeWitt County draws between 75,000 and 100,000 people. Director of the DeWitt County Museum Joey Woolridge says the festival started in modest fashion with just a couple of booths.

The Victorian mansion, the CH Moore Homestead, is the benefactor of the Festival and its grounds are full of non-profit groups that do fundraising for the weekend. 

The Apple and Pork Festival is this Saturday and Sunday in Clinton, Illinois. 

Booster Seat Safety Efforts This Weekend

Illinois Transportation officials and AAA are marking Naitonal Child Passenger Safety Week with nearly 100 free car-seat safety checks throughout the state. Most of them will take place on National Seat Check Saturday. IDOT's Rich Brauer.

The focus of the car-seat safety checks is eight car seat mistakes. IDOT Occupant protection coordinator Jessi Hopkins talks about the issue that tops the list.

You can find out about car safety seat checks near you at BuckleupIllinois.org. 

IDOT says other mistakes include: Not adjusting the harness snugly against the child. Not securing the car seat in the vehicle properly. Forgetting to register the car seat for recall notifications. Having toys or other items unsecured in the vehicle. Not using the lower anchors/LATCH system as approved. Not using the top tether on a forward-facing car seat. Moving to the next car seat or booster seat too soon.

Local Jobless Rate Info Released

Illinois employment security officials have released a breakdown of local unemployment figures across the state. The lowest rate in the state in August was seen in Springfield and Bloomington-Normal with a rate of 4.2 percent. The highest rate was seen in Danville, where the jobless rate was 6.9 percent. Every region of the state has seen improvement compared to August of last year.

Multi-Fatal Bloomington House Fire Story Just Got Worse

The tragic deaths of a Bloomington man and his two sons in a Tuesday house fire has taken on a sadder note. Bloomington Police reveal 33-year-old Eric Ringenberg strangled his sons to death before setting fire to the residence. The young victims were listed as a 2-year-old boy and an infant. A female family member suffered smoke inhalation. Police say the murders of the children were captured on home surveillance video.

Taylorville Development Association Votes to Resubmit Grant Application for Infrastructure for New Industrial Park

The Taylorville Development Association Board of Directors this morning voted to resubmit an application denied by the Economic Development Administration in July, for 537-thousand dollars in matching grant monies to build infrastructure at Taylorville's new Industrial Park along Illinois Route 104 on the city's west side.

Executive Director Mary Renner told Regional Radio News that even though local officials felt the application initially submitted this summer was complete, it was ultimately denied by the E-D-A Regional Office in Chicago.

Renner said T-D-A is working on reapplying in October, when the new federal budget year will provide the federal agency with new funds to provide local communities such as Taylorville.

Renner added the the E-D-A executive director in Chicago offered to meet with the local group to review their revised application, before it's actually sent.

Today's T-D-A meeting was to formally authorize the resubmitting of the application that will go to the Economic Development Administration in October.

The Taylorville Development Assocication owns around 32 acres that the entity wants to build infrastructure on, as the town's new Industrial Park. 

T-D-A originally purchased over 90 acres, but sold off some of the parcels that won't be used.  Those monies, plus financial contributions from a number of government entities and businesses, have provided T-D-A with the matching monies to go with the grant money being applied for, to build infrastructure at the new location.

Taylorville High School Reviewing Safety Protocol; Showing Support for Mattoon High School After Shooting

Taylorville High School students and staff show support for Mattoon High School after Wednesday's shooting at the school. You can also find this video at Taylorville High School's website. Posted with permission of THS administration.


With the Mattoon High School shooting Wednesday morning, most students and staff at Taylorville High School have recognized just how close to home this has hit. The high school administration is taking a closer look at its safety procedures and the student body is showing their support for the students in Mattoon.


THS Principal Matt Hutchison says the school recently completed a round of safety drills for situations like an active shooter, but they will be reviewing their procedures after what happened just an hour away.



Hutchison says the school made an announcement last night for students to wear green in solidarity with Mattoon, and another idea came about this morning as well.



Hutchison says this shooting hits too close to home, so they want to do everything they can to show their support for Mattoon and ensure the safety of those at THS.


Bond Reduction Motion Denied for Rosamond Man Accused of Attempting to Kill His Wife


Bond reduction was denied for a Rosamond man charged with attempting to kill his wife.


51-year-old Markes N. Rodgers appeared in Christian County court Thursday morning. He is accused of shooting at his wife three times during an altercation on Saturday, September 9th, which led to a standoff with police that lasted into the morning on September 10th. The original bond was set at $500,000.


Rodgers’ counsel, public defender Greg Grigsby argued that Rodgers has no criminal history of any kind before the shooting and standoff with police. Grigsby said in court if bond could not be reduced, he asked that Rodgers at least be furloughed to an alcohol addiction rehab facility for treatment. Christian County State’s Attorney Mike Havera had previously told the court that Rodgers was believed to be intoxicated at the time of the shooting and standoff, and Rodgers has acknowledged in court that he has a drinking problem. Havera said in court Thursday morning that Rodgers’ mother-in-law has reported receiving phone calls from the jail since Rodgers’ arrest, and she is afraid for her and her family’s safety if Rodgers is released.


Judge Brad Paisley did not hear the case in Rodgers’ first appearance, but said given his training as a sheriff’s deputy and reviewing a risk assessment done by probation, he would not reduce the current bond.


Rodgers is set to have a preliminary hearing on Tuesday October 3rd, at 10 a.m.

Taylorville Kiwanis Club Annual Peanut Days Fundraiser Taking Place This Friday And Saturday

The annual Taylorville Kiwanis Peanut Days fundraiser is here once again. Kiwanis members from the local Taylorville chapter will be taking to the streets of Taylorville this Friday and Saturday accepting donations, and in turn handing out a package of peanuts for those who donate.
Will Perkins and Bill Kerns with the Taylorville Kiwanis Club appeared as guests on the Newstalk WTIM Morning Show. Perkins says the event's main goal is to raise funds to benefit children in the community.
In years past the club has been able to donate roughly 80 coats to children in the community.
Kerns says the community has stepped up in other ways to support the Kiwanis club during the fundraiser as well.
Again, the Taylorville Kiwanis Club Peanut Days fundraiser will be taking place this Friday and Saturday at the corner of Webster and Main Cross Streets as well as Walmart.

Macon County Ag Community Comes Together To Help Fellow Farmer

It may not be that unusual these days to see multiple combines in a field at harvest time, however to see multiple makes and models harvesting the same field together is a bit more rare.  

Several family farm operations from the Niantic area put their own harvest plans on hold Wednesday in order to help out a neighbor.  Dan Stohl is just a few weeks removed from quadruple bypass heart surgery, and was unsure of how he would get his 600-plus acres harvested this fall, but then the community came to his aide.  Dan's cousin, Steve Stohl, organized a community harvest, and says the farming community in western Macon County really stepped up.

Craig Moore was one of the farmer's cutting soybeans in the 90-degree heat.  He thought it was great to see the community effort, and emotionally noted that you never know when you might be the one in need.

Ed Leonard Jr. was one of several farmers harvesting corn as part of the effort.  He too feels the day was just an example of what farming neighbors do.

The Stohl's were grateful for the support of the community.  Steve says Dan is on the mend, and was even able to watch a bit of the harvest.

The group was pleasantly surprised with both the bean and corn yields they were seeing especially considering the challenging growing season western Macon County saw this year.

Christian County Prevention Coalition Looking to Provide Addicts Hope At End The Trend Forum Saturday

The Christian County Prevention Coalition wants those looking to recover from an addiction to know that they have hope. The coalition will be hosting an “End the Trend” community forum on addiction recovery Saturday at 10 a.m. at Taylorville Memorial Hospital. Nick Dyer was addicted to meth and heroin for many years.



He will be telling his full story at the forum. Again, the “End the Trend” community forum on drug addicition will be Saturday at 10 a.m. sharp at Taylorville Memorial Hospital. 

Ag Exports, Trade Surplus, See Increases

Data from the Department of Agriculture shows exports of farm goods will push higher in 2017. A forecast compiled by USDA predicts the value of agricultural exports in fiscal year 2017 will hit nearly $140 billion, up $10 billion from fiscal year 2016. With stronger exports and modest import increases in 2017, the U.S. will have an agricultural trade surplus of roughly $23 billion compared to $7 billion last year. USDA says the increase reflects the improvement in the global economy, and it represents a lower value for the U.S. dollar to make a better deal for foreign buyers to purchase U.S. agricultural products, according to Farm Journal's AgWeb. The initial fiscal year 2018 forecast shows exports will reach $139 billion, slightly lower than the current level.

Rauner Won't Commit To Bonds To Pay Down Debt

The state is billions behind in paying bills and some lawmakers and constitutional officers are asking the Governor to borrow to help pay down the backlog. Bruce Rauner says much has been made out of using bonds to dig out of the hole but that doesn’t fix the fundamental problems of being more than $16 billion behind.

Rauner says current state budget is going to run a $1.7 billion deficit and so cuts will have to be made before going to make a bond offer.

China Demand Should Help Boost Corn Prices

A change in China’s ethanol blend policy could provide a boost to corn prices. It’s all about demand says trading expert Doug Werling.

Werling says bottom line is that demand for corn will increase with stocks peaking and as those stocks draw down, that should help push price. 

Illinois Farm Bureau Promoting Local Government Resource Called "LINK"

The words “local government” are big words in Illinois. That’s because there are nearly 7,000 units in the Land of Lincoln, most of any state in the nation. The Illinois Farm Bureau offers a resource for the local taxpayer—to help them understand or get involved in the local government process. It’s called LINK—Local Information, News and Know-How says Kevin Rund, Senior Director of Local Government for IFB. 

LINK is distributed electronically at the county farm bureau level or the latest edition can be accessed by going to “ilfb.org” and type the word “LINK” in the search box. Topics addressed in the last release included such issues as local government accountability, landowner rights, rural development and strategic planning. 

Pecan Pies at Risk Following Hurricane Irma

Hurricane Irma’s destruction is putting the iconic Thanksgiving pecan pie at risk. The storm ripped through pecan orchards in Georgia, the number one grower of pecans in the nation, just weeks before harvest. The University of Georgia estimated that 30 percent of production may have been lost after high winds sent pods flying off branches and blew down trees. Bloomberg News reports that while pecans are a niche crop, the nuts are often associated with holiday desserts, and they’re among Georgia’s top agricultural commodities. Prices were already at the highest on record, averaging $2.59 a pound in the marketing year that ended in August 2016. Supply damage from Irma could mean even pricier pies for Thanksgiving. Pecan trees can produce for decades and some in the state are 100 years old, but any new trees planted won’t bear a crop for about five to seven years.

Christian County Board Declares Unlawful Distribution of Opioids a Health and Safety Epidemic

The opioid epidemic across the country continues to grow, and the Christian County Board recognizes the issue here at home. The county board passed a resolution declaring the unlawful distribution of prescription controlled substances has created a serious public health and safety hazard in the county. Christian County is the third county in the state to make this resolution.


Christian County State’s Attorney Mike Havera says the crisis is depleting valuable local and county resources that are already hard to come by.



Havera says part of the reason opioids have become such a big problem is because prescription wholesalers have never reported spikes in opioid prescription sales to the government as required by law. With the resolution, Christian County will be joining in lawsuits against these wholesalers for damages caused from the epidemic. Havera says money recovered from these lawsuits could be substantial, and the county has lagged behind in facilities to combat the opioid epidemic.



Havera says the county will only pay the law firm representing the county in these cases on a contigency basis, or if the county wins the case. So it will come at no cost to the county. Havera says the wholesalers not reporting the problem has put counties across the United States in an unfair position of combatting the problem without the resources to do so.

UPDATE: Shooting Incident at Mattoon High School

UPDATE 8:25 a.m. Thursday - The district has released a statement in part that says the high school will hold classes Thursday, but students will be dismissed at 12:09 p.m., and lunch will not be served.


All other schools in the district will keep their regularly scheduled hours. Counselors, clergy, and police officers will be available for students and staff to provide comfort and counseling.


UPDATE 2:10 p.m. - The Mattoon School District has released the following statement regarding the shooting earlier today.


Mattoon High School officials were made aware of an active student shooter at approximately 11:33 a.m. this morning on the Mattoon High School campus. 

The School Resource Officers and school officials headed to the cafeteria where they heard shots fired.

The suspect fired shots in the school cafeteria, before he was subdued and disarmed. 

Emergency procedures were activated and students and staff exited the high school. As a result of shots being fired, one student was injured.  

First responders arrived, secured the facility, and transported the student to the hospital. The injured student’s parents were notified and all students were transported to Riddle Elementary School to be released to their parents.  

We are saddened that this event has happened and we will provide counseling to students in need. We will continue to work with emergency personnel to determine what happened. 

We appreciate the quick response of school staff and first responders. Most importantly, we offer our thoughts and prayers to the injured student and all who are affected by this tragedy.



12:25 p.m. - Regional Radio News has received reports of an active shooter situation at Mattoon High School.


A suspect is reportedly in custody, with the school on lockdown, and students being evacuated to Riddle Elementary School. Parents are asked to pick up their children there. Initial reports are stating that shots were fired, with at least one person injured.


Regional Radio News will have more updates as they become available.

Christian County TRIAD Wants Residents to Avoid Equifax-Related Scams and Frauds

Nearly half of all Americans are a victim of the recent Equifax breach, but the Christian County TRIAD doesn’t want you to become a victim of the breach again. There is already a new phone scam as people posing that they are from Equifax.


Rich Peters and Brian Hile with the Christian County TRIAD program both appeared as guests on the Newstalk WTIM Morning Show. Peters says Equifax has already announced that they are not calling people about the breach.



Peters says there is a simple way to check to see if you have been impacted by the breach.



Peters says he was a victim of the Equifax breach. He says any victim should call one of the three credit reporting agencies and put a fraud alert on their account. He says you only need to call one agency and the other two will be notified.

Davis Sponsoring Bill to Fight Growing Student Loan Debt Crisis

Student loan debt is a huge problem that continues to grow in the United States as college degrees become more essential to get jobs. Illinois’ 13th District U.S. House Rep. Rodney Davis wants to see that change.

Davis is sponsoring House Bill 795, which would encourage private businesses to aid in helping their employees pay off their student loans. Davis says he got the idea from the federal government’s program.



Davis says it’s not just an important issue for the country’s younger generation, it’s an issue for the financial stability of the country.



Davis says the student loan debt issue will be a key issue as lawmakers look at federal tax reform in the coming weeks. Davis appeared as a guest on the Newstalk WTIM Morning Show.

Pana Community Hospital Swing Bed Program Allows Patients Longer Stays For Recovery

Pana Community Hospital is giving patients all of the time they need to recover through the hospital’s swing bed program. The program also allows patients who may have had procedures or operations done elsewhere to get extra care at the hospital if they still need it upon release from the other facility.


Melissa Rybolt is the Marketing Manager at Pana Community Hospital. She says the program provides the extra care in a time when most hospitals can’t let you have an extended stay.



Rybolt says these programs are common in smaller hospitals so patients can recover closer to home.



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

Rauner To Support Both Ends of State in Amazon Bid

Internet retail giant Amazon is looking for a location to build a second headquarters. It’s seen as a huge opportunity to land thousands of high paying white collar and technical jobs. Governor Bruce Rauner and others from Chicago are working on a bid to bring them to the city. But Rauner says he will also be working to see that other parts of the state are being supported.

Rauner says a group of industry and state leaders are in Seattle today laying groundwork to support bids made on behalf of Illinois.

Democratic Race for AG Could Be Wide Open

The sudden pending opening in the Attorney General's office has set off a flurry of activity. Chicago Tribune columnist Rick Pearson reports one of Chicago Alderman Ed Burke's two lawyer daughters is circulating petitions to run for the Democratic nomination for AG now that Lisa Madigan has announced she won't seek another term. Burke informed the Cook County Democrats his daughter was circulating petititions but wouldn't identify which one. State Representative Elaine Nekritz, a Northbrook Democrat, who recently announced she was leaving the General Assembly, is also circulating petititons. There is also word State Rep. Scott Drury could leave the race for Governor and run for Attorney General instead. Reports out of Chicago also indicate former Comptroller and one time Democratic rising star Dan Hynes could rise from the political ashes and make a run for AG.

In the Wake of Illinois Quake and Disastrous Mexico City Quake, Illinois Prepares

On a day when an earthquake shook Southeastern Illinois and a major quake has caused destruction in Mexico City, the Illinois Emergency Management Agency is asking residents to prepare for a potential earthquake with a statewide drill one month from now. On Oct. 19 at 10:19 a.m., Illinois will join other states and countries in practicing three simple actions that could save your life in a major quake: drop, cover and hold on. Next month's drill is dubbed The Great ShakeOut earthquake drill. Southern Illinois has two seismic zones, making it the biggest area of concern. A half million people took part in the drill last year. 300,000 people are signed up so far this year. Schools, businesses, government agencies, families and others can register to participate in the drill at www.shakeout.org/centralus.

Christian County Continues to Look for Ways to Cut Its Budget


Christian County continues to make necessary cuts in its budget, and the county’s audit, finance, and purchasing committee chairperson is pleased with the progress so far.


With pay raises included, the county has still cut its budget by 280 thousand dollars. That is still about 220 thousand short of the county’s deficit.


Audit, Finance, and Purchasing Committee Chairperson and Fourth District County Board Member Becky Edwards says cuts have been made across the board.



Edwards says further cuts will be made in 2019, and the state of Illinois isn’t helping matters.



Other action items at Tuesday’s Christian County Board meeting include an increase to environmental food permit fees from the county health department and a resolution was approved declaring the unlawful distribution of prescription controlled substances has created a public health and safety crisis. The next Christian County Board meeting is set for Tuesday, October 17 at 6:30 p.m. at the county courthouse.

Taylorville Kiwanis Hears About Coal Miner History, Museum at Weekly Luncheon


The Taylorville Kiwanis Club heard about Christian County coal mining over the past 100 years, and the Coal Mining Museum on the east side of the Taylorville square, during their Tuesday luncheon at the Taylorville Memorial Hospital auditorium.

Chuck Martin is executive director of the Christian County Coal Miner's Museum, a non-profit entity that began due to the efforts of the late Will Stone.  After Stone's passing, Martin has overseen the continued operation and growth of the museum, which documents the long tradition of coal mining in Christian County dating back to 1884 when the first mine was sunk near Pana.

Martin told the Kiwanis members that at its peak, coal mining employed some 3400 people in Christian County.  The largest single mine that operated in the county was Peabody Mine # 10, which was open from 1951 to 1994 and employed as many as 1,000 persons.

Martin added that coal mining was not without its dangers.  He described the harsh conditions miners had to endure to provide for their families.

The Christian County Coal Miner's Museum on the east side of the Taylorville square, is open to the public on Thursdays of each week.

The Taylorville Kiwanis Club reminds the public, that members will be on the streets of Taylorville this Friday and Saturday 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.

International Grain Buyers Group Tours GSI in Assumption Tuesday Morning


Grain buyers from across the globe have converged on Illinois for the Illinois Grain tour, and one of their stops Tuesday morning was GSI in Assumption. About 30 people from all over the world got to see a short presentation on the history of GSI and take a tour of the Assumption facility.


Terry English is an International Marketing Representative with the Illinois Department of Agriculture. He says the stop at GSI is just a part of the statewide tour that shows these people the process of producing the grain from planting to harvesting to consumption.



GSI’s North American Director of Commercial Ag Scott Becker says it’s always a big deal to have international visitors at your business, and he believes helping the customers have an understanding of how the product is made makes for a more loyal customer.



The tour started Monday at the Melvin Price Lock and Dam in Alton, and will end Thursday in Chicago, with other stops in Edwardsville, Auburn, Decatur, Hennepin, and Des Plaines in between.

Doing Business Locally Theme of Monday's Taylorville City Council Meeting

Doing business locally was a theme throughout Monday night’s Taylorville city council meeting. The city agreed to a contract with CTI and a Springfield roofing company at the meeting and will be looking for loan bids from all Taylorville banks.


The new roof comes after what is acknowledged as a mistake by past city leadership to work with an Indiana roofing company on the last municipal building roof about six years ago. Taylorville mayor Bruce Barry says the contract includes a 30-year warranty, which he says is in part to a great job by the public facilities chairman.



The city council also approved a new contract with CTI that includes automatic backups done by the company to prevent lost data like what happened with the July city computer system crash. Barry says in the case of CTI and working on a loan for the roof, it’s great to keep Taylorville business in the city limits.



The city tore down it’s first blighted building under Barry’s leadership Tuesday morning at 805 East Esther Street. Barry also announced at the meeting that $600,000 in IEPA loans the city has have been forgiven thanks to work done in Springfield. The council also went into closed session for negotiations with the police union, which Barry says are coming along but more talks will be done at the next city council meeting October 3rd at 7 p.m. at the Taylorville Municipal Building.

Fall Extracurriculars Helping Students Develop in Shelbyville Schools

School is back in session, and that also means area kids are getting involved once again in a number of different programs such as fall sports, and other extracurricular activities designed to teach children beyond the classroom.


Denise Bence, Superintendent of the Shelbyville School District says although football is the fall sport that gets the most attention, the district offers a number of other sports programs as well.



Along with sports, several students in Shelby County are part of the inaugural class for the Shelby County CEO program. Bence says the CEO program helps students learn more about the world of business.



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

United Way of Christian County 2017-2018 Campaign Off To A Good Start

The United Way of Christian County’s 2017 Campaign is underway, and has gotten off to a great start. The Campaign serves as a way for the organization to fund-raise for it’s member agencies, as well as to raise awareness for the United Way, and what it and it’s members do.


Susan Lawrence is the Executive Director for the United Way of Christian County, says this year’s campaign was extended to allow for more flexibility.



Along with raising funds for the United Way’s member agencies, the Campaign serves as a way for the United Way to inform the public on the organizations involved.



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

This Week is National Farm Safety Week

This week is National Farm Safety Week and Ameren Illinois wants to keep all farmers safe out on the fields.


George Justice is the Senior Director of Operations for Ameren Illinois. He says some power lines can contain so much energy that you don’t have to touch it to feel the affects of the electricity in the line.



Justice says all farmers or anyone looking to dig should always call 8-1-1 because it could save lives.



Calling the Julie 8-1-1 system is free, and Justice says it’s important to call if you haven’t before because there could be underground lines that you aren’t aware of.

Rauner Recaps Trade Mission

Gov. Bruce Rauner has wrapped up a nine-day trade mission to Japan and China. Rauner said Illinois faces familiar obstacles to business investment from overseas.


Illinois continues to get face time with top Chinse officials. This week, Congressman Darin LaHood is visiting China. The Peoria Republican will lead Members of Congress on a trip to promote trade, business, and cultural exchange between the United States and China. He serves as co-chair of the US-China Working Group . The trip’s 8 day itinerary includes high level meetings with government officials and U.S. companies operating in China, including the Ministry of Agriculture, Ministry of Defense, U.S. embassy in China, and Boeing. 

Ameren Introducing Drones Into Everyday Operations

Ameren Illinois now utilizing drone technology as part of their operations. The utility's Riley Adams says the drones are being used on every day jobs like inspections of power poles across the state.


Ameren continues to seek ways drones can be best used in every day operations and they've already proven to be useful to their staff in emergency situations and power outages.

Movement on AFSCME/Rauner Dispute Not Expected Until 2018

The labor dispute between AFSCME represented state workers and Governor Bruce Rauner has gone quiet of late and it will remain that way a while longer. A court decision that blocked Governor Rauner from imposing labor terms has been on appeal for sometime, but it appears oral arguments won't occur until early next year. AFSCME has been working on an expired contract since mid 2015. 

Tornado Receiver Justin Wright Honored by City for State Record-Breaking Performance


A Taylorville High School athlete was recognized for his state record-breaking performance at Monday night’s city council meeting.


Tornado wide receiver Justin Wright was honored for his performance in the football game vs. Effingham on September 1. Wright had 390 yards receiving in the game, which is the most ever in a game by an Illinois high school football player, and 12th all-time nationally. Taylorville quarterback Brandon Odom threw for 513 yards in the game, with more than 3/4 of those yards to Wright. Mayor Bruce Barry honored Wright as this month’s Youth of the Month in the city of Taylorville.


Ward One Alderman Larry Budd praised the team for their performance so far this season, although he jokingly says the team has one flaw.



The Taylorville Tornadoes football team is 3-1 on the season. They face the Lincoln Railsplitters Friday night at home. Kickoff is at 7 p.m., and you can hear the game on Newstalk WTIM.


THS Dance Team Seniors Awarded Central Illinois Smiles Family Dentistry "Big Smile for the Community"

From Left to Right: Brooke Bates, Allie Olive, Kamilla Allen, and Anna Reever.


This month’s NEWSTALK WTIM Central Illinois Smiles Family Dentistry “Big Smile for the Community” honorees are Kamilla Allen, Brooke Bates, Anna Reever, and Allie Olive, the four seniors on the Taylorville High School Dance Team. The girls saw a family in need and stepped up to help by bringing members of the community together to support the “Hornbuckle Warriors.”


Allen says they wanted to do something because one of their family members, Kyle Woods, is in their senior class.



The group collected t-shirts, a chair, thumbprints, and tornado wear for the family. Reever says the community did their part in supporting the Hornbuckle family.




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

Congressman Davis Discusses Opioid Epidemic Sweeping Illinois

Finding treatment in rural America for those battling substance abuse can be a real challenge and recently Congressman Rodney Davis discussed the epidemic in central Illinois. He points out the federal government is making record investments into getting those battling substance abuse help.

While getting someone help when they are ready for it is a big point of emphasis, Davis believes there has to be investments into discussing the dangers of drug and substance abuse.

Additionally, Davis discussed criminal justice reforms. He hopes to see reforms with how law enforcement deals with those that come in for abuse.

"End The Trend" Drug Abuse Prevention Forum Coming Up Saturday

With the drug epidemic spreading across the country and Christian County, the Christian County Prevention Coalition wants those looking to recover to know that there is hope. The coalition will be hosting an “End the Trend” community forum on addiction recovery Saturday at 10 a.m. at Taylorville Memorial Hospital. Nikki Denning faced an addiction to hydrocodone but has since overcome her addiction.



Denning will be telling her full story at the forum. Again, the “End the Trend” community forum on drug addicition will be Saturday at 10 a.m. sharp at Taylorville Memorial Hospital. 

Shelbyville First Responders Holding Charity Softball Tournament September 23rd

The various first responders in Shelbyville are preparing to once again take part in a charity softball game. The game which includes players from the Shelbyville Police, Fire, First Responders and Rescue Squad, will aim to raise money for local charities and organizations.
Chad Brachbill with the Shelbyville Police Department appeared as a guest on the Newstalk WTIM Morning Show live from our downtown Shelbyville studios says the Police and Fire Departments have been holding a charity softball game for some time now, and wanted to branch out.
The money raised by the event will be split between four local charities.
The event is taking place on September 23rd, and will consist of a round robin tournament, with the championship game being played at 2:30.

Senior Fair at Christian County Senior Citizens Center Tuesday

Area senior citizens will have the opportunity to check in with many state services at one location Tuesday. State Senator Andy Manar is hosting a senior fair from 10 a.m. to noon at the Senior Citizens’ Center in Taylorville.


Services available will include blood pressure and cholesterol screenings, driver’s license and state ID renewals, finding unclaimed property, and other representatives from area hospitals and other entities will be available as well.


Manar says senior fairs have been one of the events he’s put on every year since being elected to the Illinois Senate.



Manar says the event is one way he can bring the state government to its residents.



Manar will also be at the fair on Tuesday, and he says he is looking forward to talking to area residents about the issues they care about.

15th Annual Oak Hill Cemetery Walk is Coming Up Sunday

The 15th annual Oak Hill Cemetery walk put on by the Christian County Genealogical Society is coming up. This year’s event will be on Sunday, September 24 with tours at 1, 2, and 3 p.m.


Shirley Dilley is with the Genealogical Society and says there will be five different people portrayed at this year’s cemetery walk.



There is a suggested donation of five dollars for anyone 12 years or older, and Dilley says that money goes towards all of the events the genealogical society provides throughout the year.



Dilley says there will be a golf cart available for those who cannot stand and walk for a long period of time.

Ag Haulers Seek Flexibility With Hours of Service Trucking Regulations

The agriculture industry seeking flexibility when it comes to hours of service trucking regulations, especially when it comes to hauling grain and livestock. Don Schaefer is with the Midwest Truckers Association.



The Midwest Truckers Association represents truckers in 15 states, including Illinois. 

Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan Won't Seek Another Term

Sources reported late Friday morning that Attorney General Lisa Madigan would not seek another term. Now her father's office confirms the news.

House Speaker Michael Madigan's office has released a statement on Lisa Madigan's decision to not seek a fifth term as AG.
Throughout her life as an individual and as a public servant, Attorney General Lisa Madigan's achievements have been the result of her determination to fight for her convictions and to stand up for what she believed was right. I've always been proud of her desire to fight for those who need help the most, which has driven her sense of duty as a person and as Illinois' attorney general.
“It has been my privilege to watch her fight for the people of Illinois and do the right thing every day. She has authored tougher laws against criminals who prey on children and victims of sexual assault, fought for homeowners faced with losing their homes, and worked to ensure a more open and transparent state government.
“No father could be prouder of his daughter's personal and professional accomplishments, and I look forward to watching her continue her commitment to helping people in a new capacity.”
Secretary of State Jesse White also released a statement.
"I applaud and commend Lisa Madigan for the outstanding work she has done as Illinois Attorney General. Attorney General Madigan has been a tireless advocate for consumers, children and the public at large. Through her efforts, she has helped those plagued by fraud and identity theft, strengthened the rights of crime victims, protected children from sexual predators and pornographers and secured debt relief for students victimized by fraudulent and predatory lending practices. I wish Lisa well in her future endeavors and know that she will continue to make a positive difference in people’s lives."

Carlinville Man Sentenced to 18 Years in Prison for Aggravated Meth Delivery


A Carlinville man will serve 18 years in prison for aggravated meth delivery. 21-year-old Charles T. Lee entered the plea in Christian County court Friday afternoon.


Taylorville Police received a call on March 21st about a man parked and asleep in the parking lot at Casey’s on the west side of Taylorville. When police arrived, they found Lee asleep in his vehicle. After waking him and getting him to open the window, they immediately smelled cannabis and asked to search Lee’s vehicle. Through the search, they found cannabis, 24 grams of meth, narcotics, and cocaine in the vehicle, along with $2,823.


Lee will serve three years of parole following his 18-year sentence.

Manar: Opportunities for Downstate Students Starting to Open Thanks to School Funding Reform

With school funding reform now being law in Illinois, schools across the state will start reaping the benefits of new money in the near future. State Senator Andy Manar got to tour the new STEM lab at Taylorville Junior High School Thursday night, and he says he hopes the new monies schools will receive can bring more opportunities like STEM labs to smaller Illinois districts.


Manar says the biggest benefit school districts are seeing right now from school funding reform is the ability to plan, and not have to look at cutbacks because of the state.



Manar says the STEM lab at Taylorville Junior High is going to give students a huge number of opportunities in life, and he hopes all districts downstate can provide these kinds of educational opportunities.



Manar says these kind of opportunities may not exist in all downstate Illinois state districts ye. But with the lowest funded districts now at the front of the line for new state education dollars, he hopes opportunities like STEM labs will become more common across downstate Illinois.

Pana Man Sentenced to 5 Years in Prison For DUI Accident That Killed Another Pana Man


A Pana man will serve five years in prison after a DUI accident that killed another Pana man in February of 2016. 38-year-old Matthew D. Swisher was the driver in the accident that killed his passenger, 43-year-old Kevin G. Thompson on February 7 of last year.


Swisher was driving westbound on East 350 North Road about 2 miles west of Pana when he went off the road just before 9 p.m. Thompson was ejected from the vehicle and was pronounced dead at the scene.


Thompson’s mother and sister both gave emotional statements before the court during the hearing. They both told Swisher they hoped he never forgot about his fatal mistake that killed their son and brother, and they hoped he could change his life for the better while in prison. At the end of the hearing, Swisher turned to the family and gave them a short but emotional apology.


Judge Brad Paisley told the court that in cases like this, justice cannot be served because justice would be bringing back Thompson and Swisher not being in the courtroom for the accident. 

Taylorville Fire Department Looking to Restart Explorer Program

The Taylorville Fire Department is looking to bring back a program that will help recruit new firefighters and led to the current administration at the department becoming firefighters. The department is looking to bring back the Explorer Program, which gives young men and women between 14 and 20 years old an opportunity to learn more about the fields of fire and emergency medical services. Current Taylorville Fire Chief Mike Crews and Assistant Fire Chief Andy Goodall both were involved in the Explorer Program before it was disbanded in the 1990’s.


Goodall says he wouldn’t be a firefighter today if it weren’t for the Explorer Program.



The fire department will be having an open house for those interested in the program on October 25th at 6:30 p.m. Nick Zepin is a Taylorville firefighter and the Explorer Program Chairman, and he says the open house will give those interested in becoming an Explorer an opportunity to learn more about the program.



For more information on the program, you can call the fire department at 824-2295 or email them at tfdexploring@gmail.com.

Springfield Man In Custody After Overnight Shooting in Kincaid


A Springfield man is facing attempted murder charges after a shooting in Kincaid early Friday morning. 35-year-old Larry L. Scott had his first court appearance Friday morning, where bond was set at one million dollars.


State’s Attorney Mike Havera told the court that the incident started with four men in an argument at 611 E. Dial Street in Kincaid. After the group broke up, two of the men headed towards the 200 block of E. Elm Street in Kincaid. Havera said the victim, Logan Durbin, was not one of the men in the original argument, and he may have been trying to break up the altercation. Witnesses to the shooting say Scott came out of the house he was at on the 200 block of E. Elm and fired two shots at Durbin, both hitting him in the torso. Durbin was transported to St. John’s Hospital in Springfield where he was in critical condition at the time. Havera said he received an update that Durbin was out of surgery and in recovery. Havera said one of the bullets missed Durbin’s heart by 2 centimeters.


Because of the nature of the crime and the risk to the public, Havera asked for and Resident Circuit Judge Brad Paisley granted a bond of one million dollars in the case. Havera says because Durbin was struck, a new amended charge will be filed in the case by Monday. As of now, Scott could face 26 to 50 years in prison if convicted, but those terms would be longer with the new amended charge.

Record Number of Vendors Expected at 2017 Greator Taylorville Chamber Chillifest

The Greater Taylorville Chamber of Commerce Chillifest is just around the corner, and planning for the event is coming together. Patty Hornbuckle, CEO of the Greater Taylorville Chamber says this year the Chamber is expecting a record number of vendors to appear during the two day festival.
Hornbuckle appeared as a guest on the Newstalk WTIM Morning Show, and says the number of vendors who have signed up early is encouraging.
This year's Chillifest is looking to be bigger and better than ever, and one event, the bags tournament, is expected to be larger than last year's tournament.
This year's Greater Taylorville Chamber of Commerce Chillifest will take place October 7th and 8th on the Taylorville Square.

Technology of the Future Now Educating Students at Taylorville Junior High School


3D printers, virtual reality, and robotics are just some of the new educational tools Taylorville Junior High School students have to use in the school’s new STEM lab. The school showed the lab off to parents and the public at Thursday night’s open house.


Students got to demonstrate how the technology works to those in attendance. Eighth grader Marcus Wilkins was one of the students demonstrating virtual reality, and he says he’s happy that Taylorville has this kind of equipment for students to use.



One of the people Wilkins got to teach Thursday was 48th District State Senator Andy Manar. He gave kudos to the Taylorville School District for the new STEM lab, saying the district is being a leader in STEM education downstate.



Taylorville School District Superintendent Dr. Gregg Fuerstenau says he is already hearing positive reviews about the STEM lab, and he believes the sky is the limit for the educational possibilities in the STEM lab.



Taylorville Junior High Principal Kirk Kettelkamp agrees with Fuerstenau, and says parents are impressed with the STEM lab and Hot Spot room, a lounge type classroom also newly added to the building for a more comfortable learning experience.



Kettelkamp says so far there have only been introductory items taught in the STEM lab, but he is excited to see how TJHS teachers will use the STEM lab as they get more familiar with the technology. 



Eighth grader Marcus Wilkins taught State Senator Andy Manar some of the ins-and-outs of virtual reality Thursday at the TJHS Open House.


State Senator Andy Manar Calls School Funding Reform An Example of Compromise in Springfield

School funding has finally passed in Illinois, and it took a bipartisan compromise to make it happen. State Senator Andy Manar is applauding the work legislators put in to help change the way schools are funded in Illinois, saying it will change the game for many schools across the state.
Senator Manar says the compromise passed by the legislature and signed into law by Governor Rauner is an example of what compromise looks like.
According to Manar, the new formula will change the game for downstate schools, leading to more certainty when it comes to downstate school's yearly budgets.
State Senator Anyd Manar appeared as a guest on the Newstalk WTIM Morning Show.

U of I Extension Busting Food Safety Myths For Food Safety Education Month

September is Food Safety Education Month and the University of Illinois Extension Unit 18 wants you and your family to take steps to reduce the risk of food borne illness. The CDC estimates that each year roughly 1 in 6 Americans suffer from some type of food borne disease.
Lisa Peterson is the Nutrition and Wellness Educator at the U of I Extension Office, and says food poisoning can take hold quickly, or stay dormant for quite some time.
Peterson busted some common food safety myths, including how long you can safely eat your leftovers.
Peterson appeared as a guest on the Newstalk WTIM Morning Show.

Crop Conditions and Yield Projections Not Correlated in 2017

Despite unfavorable crop conditions reports earlier this week, USDA “doubled-down” on its yield analysis, raising both corn and soybeans yield projections in September’s World Agriculture Supply and Demand Estimates on Tuesday.


Does September’s yield data suggest that the crop conditions reports are irrelevant for projecting yields on the US crops during the pre-harvest time period? Mike Zuzolo is a Market Analyst with Global Commodity Analytics.



For instance, Zuzolo points out that Illinois yields for corn was pushed one bushel higher in the September report to 189 bushels per acre, but...



If the correlation between crop conditions and yield projections continue to not add up for Zuzolo, the way he sets a marketing plan will change dramatically.



That’s Mike Zuzolo from Global Commodity Analytics.

University of Illinois at Springfield Among Hardest Hit by Loss of International Students

There's been lots of talk about the impact of the extended state budget crisis on Illinois colleges and universities. Now that money is flowing again and MAP grant dollars are going out to students, new trouble arises, a decline in international students. The University of Illinois at Springfield has depended on international students for its continued growth. Chancellor Susan Koch reports fall enrollment is down by 8.69 percent and a decline in students with visas has played a huge role.

Some blame President Trump's push for a travel ban on some Islamic nations as one reason international students are staying away. Some reports indicate students from nations not impacted by the ban like China and India are going to other countries because they no longer believe Americans are as accepting of all foreign students. 

Statewide Group Examines Food Transparency

Many surveys show consumers want to know more about where food comes from, how it’s produced, and who produced it. The Food and Agricultural Road Map – or FARM Illinois – held an event this week in Chicago to explore what it called, “From seed to shelf,” and how Illinois food companies and farmers can improve transparency. Tyler Strom serves as the managing director for FARM Illinois.

FARM Illinois aims to keep the state - and Chicago in particular - as a major regional, national and global food hub. You can find more information online at farmillinois.org.

Taylorville Boil Order Lifted

The boil order in effect for parts of the North Webster Street and West Springfield Road area has been lifted. Water in this area has been tested and found safe for drinking and cooking consumption.

Mense Will Not Seek Re-Election as Christian County Clerk & Recorder

The Christian County Clerk and Recorder will not seek re-election. Laurie Mense made the announcement yesterday.


Mense took office on December 1, 2014 but has been working with the County Clerk’s office since 1995. She says she is getting older, and she believes a fresh face would be beneficial for her office.



Mense says she has been proud to serve the county for over 20 years, but she’s ready for more time outside of work.



Mense thanks Christian County residents for their support through her time working with the county.



Mense is proud of the work she has done in the Clerk and Recorder’s Office, and says she believes she has made the office more accessible to Christian County residents.

New Pediatric Dental Program Helping to Provide Dental Care to Area Students in Need

Taylorville Memorial Hospital’s 2015 community health needs assessment identified access to pediatric dental services as a high-priority need.  Supporters of the program include: Raedena Ryan, TMH Foundation; Martin Vota, Taylorville Kiwanis Club; Greg Haarman, DMD, Central Illinois Smiles;  Dave Trost, DDS, Miles of Smiles, Ltd.; Reverend Bill Kerns, Taylorville Ministerial Association and Dr. Gregg Fuerstenau, Taylorville Community School District #3.


Some students in need in Christian County are receiving free dental care thanks to a new program that has come out of Taylorville Memorial Hospital’s community health needs assessment. The assessment identified pediatric dental services as a high-priority need, and the hospital created a group to address that need that consisted of hospital staff, Taylorville School District officials, and other community leaders.


Dr. Greg Haarman from Central Illinois Smiles Family Dentistry is a part of the group who identifies children who could benefit from the program, and he is also providing the dental care to some of those students. He says his practice wants to help out students in the community in the best way that they can.




Central Illinois Smiles Family Dentistry will be providing that needed dental care to two students per month free of charge during the current school year. Also, a grant from the Taylorville Kiwanis club of twenty-five hundred dollars, along with a twenty-five hundred dollar match from the Taylorville Memorial Hospital Foundation will go towards covering an oral surgery or other services beyond what Central Illinois Smiles can provide for free. Haarman says he is glad he can do his part in helping these students.

Central Illinois Food Bank Urging Residents to Donate To Help Feed The Hungry

One of the many ills facing those across the country and here in Central Illinois is the issue of hunger. September is hunger action month, and the Central Illinois Food bank wants those in the area to make the effort to help their neighbors who may be suffering from hunger, and take steps to fight back.


Krista Lisser with the Central Illinois Food Bank appeared as a guest on the Newstalk WTIM Morning Show, and suggested ways for people to donate to the cause, adding that their help makes a bigger impact than they may think.



With an abundance of scams and charity organizations out there who are more concerned with profits than with helping those in need, people can be skeptical of whether or not their donated dollars are actually going to help. Lisser says the Central Illinois Food Bank has been named a four star charity, where 97 cents of every dollar goes directly towards helping feed the hungry.



More information on the Central Illinois Food Bank can be found by visiting their website at centralilfoodbank.org.

Manar to Host Senior Fair at Christian County Senior Citizens' Center Tuesday

48th District State Senator Andy Manar is partnering with the Christian County Senior Citizens’ Center to host a senior fair this coming Tuesday, September 19. The fair will be from 10 a.m. to noon at the Senior Citizens’ Center in Taylorville.


Manar says there will be many different services offered at the fair Tuesday.



Manar says he puts on these fairs because it brings all of these essential resources for seniors to one place at one time.



Manar says he will also be in attendance on Tuesday, and he is looking forward to talking to area residents about the issues they care about.

Taylorville School District Finally Optimistic About It's Funding Future

The Taylorville School District can finally breath easy now that school funding reform has finally been passed in Illinois. With the new funding system, it looks as though Taylorville schools will be funded on a level the district hadn’t seen under the old system, leading to less opportunities for students in the district.


Taylorville Schools Superintendent Dr. Gregg Fuerstenau says it’s been a long battle, but the feelings towards the future for Taylorville schools can finally be called “optimistic”.



The specifics of the new funding formula are yet to be determined, however a big thing for Taylorville schools is that they didn’t lose money, which makes budgeting easier moving forward.



Dr. Fuerstenau appeared as a guest on the Newstalk WTIM Morning Show.

Several Apple Trees Remain for Illinois State Historical Society's Johnny Appleseed Program

The Illinois State Historical Society is still searching for locations in several counties in Illinois to plant an apple tree. The trees are grown from one of the last remaining trees planted by the famed Johnny Appleseed.


Gwen Podeschi with the Illinois State Historical Society says there are still several dozen trees available.



Some of the counties that have purchased one of the trees have big plans for when they plant the tree.



Several of the counties the ISHS has yet to hear from are in Central Illinois, including Shelby, Montgomery, Macoupin, Macon and Sangamon counties. If you’d like to purchase a tree, you can contact the Illinois State Historical Society by calling

(217) 525-2781 and asking for Gwen Podeschi.

Ag Leaders Continue Efforts To Save KORUS

Pressure from the Ag community continues to build, as the President and his administration continue to toy with the idea of withdrawing the U.S. from the Korea-U.S. free trade deal, KORUS.


President Trump and his trade advisers are still considering if the U.S. should ditch KORUS, but farm groups are not waiting around to find out if the administration will.


Hundreds of farm leaders from heartland states like Illinois, Indiana, Missouri, Iowa and others are descending on Washington, D.C. to make ag’s case for keeping KORUS and expanding farm trade.


National Pork Producers Council spokesman Dave Warner says help is coming from inside the administration, as well.



South Korea is now the number five U.S. pork market, at valued at $365 million last year. The U.S. beef industry took in about$1 billion, making Korea its number two market, as KORUS tariffs move to zero.


Ag leaders in Congress are not sitting still, either. Longtime Ag Senator Chuck Grassley.



As for renegotiation of KORUS, Grassley isn’t sure. He says, with NAFTA, the U.S. and Mexico were both willing to make improvements. The suggestion of course, is that South Korea may not be so willing to change its deal with the U.S.

Blagojevich Speaks Out on His Time in Prison

Former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich has delivered a blunt assessment of his time behind bars, saying he takes it “one day at a time” 5 1/2 years into a 14 year prison term. Chicago tv station WMAQ has begun airing two hours of interviews with Blagojevich, who is spending his days at a Colorado lockup. Blagojevich says his career change has been humbling.

Blagojevich still takes issue with his 14 year sentence, which was upheld after some of his corruption convictions were thrown out by Judge James Zagel.

He continues to express hope for exoneration.

Ameren Illinois Crews Headed To Florida

Crews from Ameren Illinois headed to Florida. The utility's Brian Bretsch says help will be provided in restoring power to areas hit hard by Hurricane Irma storm.

The power crews will likely be in Florida for at least two weeks.

Mt. Zion Resident Claims $1 Million Dollar Powerball Prize Sold in Raymond in August


A Mount Zion resident is Illinois’ newest millionaire. David Marques is the lucky person who bought the one-million dollar winning Powerball ticket in Raymond for the Powerball drawing back on August 12.


Marques is an occasional Powerball player when the jackpots are bigger. He was on his way to a baseball game in St. Louis when he bought the ticket at the West End Food Mart in Raymond.


Marques says he and his wife plan on paying their bills and investing their winnings. He says they may also spend some of the money on a trip to Hawaii next year to celebrate their 30th wedding anniversary.


Boil Order in Effect for Some Taylorville Residents

A water main break early Wednesday morning has caused a boil order for some Taylorville residents.


Taylorville Water Superintendent Dave Speagle says the break occurred on North Webster Street and has since been fixed. Speagle says if your home has been tagged with a red tag in that area, then your house is in the area of the boil order. He says homes without a tag are unaffected by the main break.


The boil order area includes the 700 block of North Webster (the odd numbered side), the 300 through 600 blocks of West Springfield Road, 734, 808, and 820 Haner Avenue, and 313 Taft Street. These residents are urged to boil their water for drinking and cooking purposes for five minutes before using. Residents will be notified when the boil order is lifted.

Halbrook Announces He Will Seek Another Term as 102nd District State House Rep

A local state representative has announced his intention to seek another term in office. 102nd District Representative Brad Halbrook will seek a second term in the Illinois House.


Halbrook, a Republican from Shelbyville, says he enjoys serving his district and wants to continue fighting for his constituents.



Halbrook says after the budget battle this year in Springfield, it’s not going to get any easier going forward.



Halbrook says term limits are still an issue in Springfield, but the need for the fair redistricting of Illinois will also be coming up with the 2020 census.



Halbrook was the sponsor of House Bill 1896 that was signed into law. That bill limited the amount of funds that townships can keep in their accounts.

Shelby County Health Department Wants You to be Prepared for Upcoming Flu Season

With fall right around the corner, the Shelby County Health Department wants you to be preparing for flu season. The department has received its supply of flu vaccines for the year, and they are offering those vaccines to the public.


Jennifer Beeson is the Communicable Disease Coordinator at the Shelby County Health Department. She says the vaccine they have this year protects against multiple strains of the flu.



Beeson says although there is a small charge for the shot, they can bill Medicare, Medicaid, or your insurance company.



You can get your flu shot at the Shelby County Health Department anytime between 8 and 11:30 a.m. or 1 and 3:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Healthy Eating The Subject of This Month's Taylorville Memorial Hospital Diabetes Awareness Class

Taylorville Memorial Hospital looks to improve the health of area residents in a number of different ways, and is continuing to offer a weekly class dedicated to informing the public on how to better manage diabetes. One of the ways that can improve your health overall, as well as when you have a diabetes diagnosis, is to simply eat healthier.
Janelle Cornell, Clinical Dietician with Taylorville Memorial Hospital appeared as a guest on the Newstalk WTIM Morning Show and shared more information on the class, saying the subjects discussed vary from month to month.
Cornell says a good way to change the way you eat is to make little changes that add up over time.
The meetings are open to the public, and are held on the second Thursday of each month at 6:30 in room 457 at Taylorville Memorial Hospital.

Taylorville Kiwanis Hears About Petroleum Programs for School Kids at Weekly Meeting


The Taylorville Kiwanis Club heard about petroleum education for grade school, junior high and high school students, during their Tuesday luncheon at the Taylorville Memorial Hospital auditorium.

Peggy Brown, (center) a teacher in the Nokomis School District, shared with the Kiwanis Club, information she learned from a teacher field trip sponsored by the Illinois Petroleum Resource Board, that helps teachers fulfill a federal government unfunded mandate.

Kiwanis president Will Perkins (left) led the meeting.  Kiwanis member Buzz Beeson (right) was Tuesday's program chair.

The field trip provided her as a teacher, a curriculum about the science of petroleum, as well as career opportunities in the petro industry.

She is sharing this information with teachers in other school districts, so their students can benefit as well.

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.

Prescription Drug Takeback Program In Taylorville Proving to Be Very Successful

The Taylorville Police Department along with many other law enforcement agencies in the area have been participating in a program to help prevent leftover prescription medications from ending up in the wrong hands. The program has been wildly successful in Taylorville, and Sgt. Alan Mills with the Taylorville Police Department anticipates the program returning to the city sometime soon.
Sgt. Mills says these programs gives residents an avenue to safely dispose of their leftover medications.
It used to be said that you should simply flush your old medications down the toilet, however that adage has since changed. The takeback program now allows for those medications to be properly disposed of.
Sgt. Mills appeared as a guest on the Newstalk WTIM Morning Show.

State Police Report Decline in Labor Day Weekend Fatalities

Illinois State Police say there was a steep drop in fatal traffic crashes over the Labor Day weekend this year compared with last year. State police released figures Tuesday showing five fatal traffic crashes this year, compared with 19 last year, and five fatalities this year compared with 23 in 2016. State police handled nearly 200 crashes during the holiday weekend. Illinois State Police Director Leo Schmitz says it was one of the safest Labor Day travel weekends in the last six years.

BBB Advice For Victims of Data Breach

At least 143 million people have been victimized in a sweeping security breach. The credit-reporting bureau Equifax was hit by hackers earlier this year. The Better Business Bureau is offering some advice if you have been impacted by the breach. The stolen information includes names, mailing addresses, phone numbers, and email addresses. BBB spokesman Shellie Kreter says freezing your credit is one of the more reliable ways to protect yourself from identity thieves from establishing new lines of credit in your name.

Equifax has set up a website just to deal with the breach and the public's questions. You can find that link at "equifaxsecurity2017.com."

Just Like Illinois Farmers, Texas Farmers Also Want Strong Crop Insurance Program in New Farm Bill

Just like Illinois farmers, Texas farmers also want a strong crop insurance program in a new Farm Bill. And Texas Farm Bureau’s Gene Hall says they want special attention paid to cotton.

Hall told the RFD Radio Network today that the cotton crop was going to be one of the strongest ever in Texas, but damage from Hurricane Harvey lowered the crop estimate from 2-million bales down to 1.6 million bales. 

Pana City Council Looking to Start Allowing Alcohol Sales on Sundays

The Pana City Council will look to allow alcohol sales at convenience stores, grocery stores, liquor stores and taverns on Sundays after voting Monday night to allow the city’s attorney to draft an ordinance. The vote comes after the city’s administration committee voted to recommend the ordinance change on Thursday.


Pana mayor Don Kroski says residents on both sides of the issue were in attendance to discuss the proposed ordinance change.



Kroski says this is only the start of the process for making alcohol sales on Sundays into law in Pana.



As Kroski says, the second reading of this ordinance would come on October 9th at the earliest. Residents will have two city council meetings to have their voices heard on the issue in the meantime.

Pana Man Dies From Injuries Sustained in Labor Day Car Accident

A Pana man was pronounced dead early this morning after a crash on Route 51 in Macon County.


80-year-old Phillip Jacobs died from injuries sustained in the accident on Labor Day. He was the passenger in a vehicle involved in the crash on Route 51 at Andrews Street Road.


Jacobs was transported to Decatur Memorial Hospital and then to Memorial Medical Center later that same day for trauma care. Because of the length of time he was an inpatient and the amount of testing he received at both hospitals, there will not be an autopsy on Jacobs.

Volunteer Opportunities for Gardeners at Shelbyville Memorial Sunken Garden

Shelbyville is home to a recently restored sunken garden just off the Dacey Trail. The Shelbyville Memorial Sunken Garden is a great spot for both nature lovers, gardeners, as well as a popular destination for weddings.
Karen Cherry is a Master Gardener with the University of Illinois Extension who designed a redesign of the garden, and has been working on the garden since 2009. Cherry says the garden has a rich history, dating back to 1932.
Gwen Podeschi is another Master Gardener at the extension, and says the garden is a great volunteer opportunity for gardeners in the area.
There is no cost to visit the garden, although donations are accepted. For more information on the garden as well as to make a donation or inquire about volunteer opportunities, visit MemorialSunkenGarden.com.
Cherry and Podeschi both appeared as guests on the Newstalk WTIM Morning Show.

Christian County FS Sends 4,500 Gallons of Diesel Fuel to Irma-Ravaged Florida

Hurricane Irma has ravaged the state of Florida, and one local company is doing it’s part in the recovery efforts. Christian County FS has sent a fuel truck with 4,500 gallons of diesel fuel down to Florida.


Tim Sutton is the Energy Marketing Manager with Christian County FS. He says the driver left Sunday night and drove to Macon, Georgia, and will continue going further south from there.




Sutton says the company always wants to help out when it can.



Sutton says if the truck and needs to be down there 10 days or longer, he would drive down there to give the driver more supplies and allow him to come home. He says the most important thing is that they will be down in Florida as long as they are needed.

Convenience The Goal for New Sunkist Cleaners Owners

Sunkist cleaners in Taylorville is under new ownership, as local resident Bryan Payne has purchased the business, and plans to both expand the businesses services, as well as give the business's current location a face lift.
Bryan, along with wife Kami Payne both appeared as guests on the Newstalk WTIM Morning Show to discuss the acquisition, and what the plans are for the dry cleaning business moving forward. Bryan Payne says the biggest thing he wants to change with the business is bringing back the pickup and delivery services the dry cleaner once offered.
Convenience is a major part of Payne's business plan moving forward, with customers not even having to get out of their cars to drop off their cleaning needs.
Along with dry cleaning and laundry services, Sunkist Cleaners also offers clothing alteration and seamstress services, and can be found at 413 North Cheney Street in Taylorville.

State Rep Avery Bourne Says State Should Be Proud of New School Funding Formula

The school funding debate is finally over in Illinois, and districts are beginning to receive their first state aid checks for the year. State Representative Avery Bourne of the Illinois 95th district says this was a monumental piece of legislation that both parties agreed on, and worked together to make happen.
Bourne says the state should be proud of the work lawmakers put in from both sides of the isle to get this problem solved.
According to Bourne, the new funding formula is a large shift away from how the state determined education funding in the past.
Bourne says once the state knows what schools are struggling, they will get money to the districts that need it first.
Bourne appeared as a guest on the Newstalk WTIM Morning Show.

EIU Numbers Down But Decline Less Steep

Eastern Illinois University continues to see declining enrollment but the bleeding may be slowing. Fall semester enrollment is down by five percent at the Charleston based school but that's the lowest decrease from fall to fall in six years. Enrollment for the school sits at just over 7,000 students, nearly 400 fewer than a year ago. Eastern officials believe the extended budget impasse and a statewide decline in college enrollment have contributed to shrinking numbers.

Rauner Trade Trip Underway

The Governor left this weekend for a trip to Japan and China. The overseas trade mission marks the first trip outside the US in an official capacity for Bruce Rauner. He’s going to be at a Midwest conference in Tokyo were other Midwest governor’s will be before traveling to China. Rauner says his main goal is to support existing and new trade for Illinois businesses.

Rauner is paying his way and the expenses of two staff members but the state will be picking up the tab on having state police security for the traveling party. 

Illinois Farmers Push for Continued Support of Korean Trade Agreement

Trade continues to have the attention of Illinois farmers. They responded to a call to action last week concerning “KORUS” — the Korean-U.S. Trade Agreement, according to Mark Gebhards, the director of Governmental Affairs for the Illinois Farm Bureau.

Illinois Farm Bureau President Rich Guebert also authored a letter to the Illinois congressional delegation last week lobbying for continued support of the five-year-old agreement with South Korea. 

Funding Picture Continues to Brighten in Taylorville School District


With Senate Bill 1 and the tax referendum now in place, the funding picture for the Taylorville School District is the brightest it has been in years according to the district superintendent. That news came at Monday’s Taylorville School Board meeting which started with a public hearing for the school’s budget for this fiscal year. The school board also voted to approve a two-year contract with the teacher’s union at Monday’s meeting.


Taylorville Superintendent Dr. Gregg Fuerstenau told those in attendance although the current budget has the education fund with roughly a 450-thousand dollar loss for fiscal year ‘17-’18, the budget includes no new money that will come in from the passing of SB1. Fuerstenau says the new money, along with money owed for pre-school in the district, could put the education fund into positive numbers for the year.



Fuerstenau says districts across the state are waiting for the final numbers to come out on where new dollars will go, but Taylorville will be one of the first districts to receive new money because of how far the district is from being adequately funded. Another big part of SB1 is that whatever Taylorville gets this fiscal year, they will receive at least the same amount in fiscal year ‘18-’19. Fuerstenau says the next fight will be for lawmakers to continue adding funds to education to get to the point where all schools are adequately funded.



The school board also voted to ratify a two-year contract with the TEA. Fuerstenau says the contract will give teachers raises over the next two years.



The next school board meeting will be held Monday, October 9 at 7 p.m. at the Taylorville School District Administration Building.

Former Macon County Sheriff's Deputy Charged With Attempted Murder, Half-Million Dollar Bond Set

A former Macon County Sheriff’s Deputy is facing an Attempted Murder charge and a half-million dollar bond after a standoff with police Saturday night. 51-year-old Markes N. Rodgers of Rosamond had his first court appearance via video conference Monday morning. The charge is a Class X felony, and Rodgers could face six to 30 years in prison if convicted, plus another 20 years because a firearm was discharged.


Christian County State’s Attorney Mike Havera said in court that officers arrived around 4:30 p.m. and saw Rodgers’ wife Kimberly at a neighbor’s house unarmed. The neighbor told police she saw Markes Rodgers shoot at his wife three times, and police determined he used his Macon County on-duty pistol. Havera said it is believed Rodgers was intoxicated at the time of the shooting and standoff. Havera requested a $500,000 bond because of the seriousness of the crime and Rodgers’ training as a police officer.


Rodgers also spoke on his own behalf during the hearing, saying he believes he has an alcohol abuse problem and would like to get treatment. He said he has lost his job in Macon County, and he has a friend that would help him get into an alcohol abuse recovery program if he could post bond. But Associate Judge Amanda Ade-Harlow ruled with the state, setting bond at $500,000. She said after considering his financial situation and his comments, she still had to taken into account the safety of his family, the public, and himself in ruling on the bond.


Rodgers was appointed the public defender for the case, and his first appearance with counsel is set for Thursday, September 14th at 10 a.m.

Local Schools Remembering Events of 9-11

It was 16 years ago Monday that thousands of people were killed in the terror attacks of September 11, 2001. With the time that has passed, a new generation of children have been born and raised in America after the attacks. Although they weren’t alive in 2001, many schools are remembering those lives lost in the 9-11 attacks.


Anita Brown is the principal at Stonington Elementary School. She says with the media coverage each year, kids wonder about what happened, so teachers try to answer any of their questions and alleviate their fears.



Brown says each teacher also has activities relating to 9-11 for the student’s grade level. She says her biggest goal is to make sure students feel safe.

Congressman Davis Discusses Debt Ceiling Agreement

Central Illinois Congressman Rodney Davis supports the debt ceiling being raised. He says it comes down to paying bills and also helping those in the south dealing with the devastation from hurricanes.

Davis wanted more than a three month extension, noting he does not like having a deadline. He called the agreement with House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi the Presidents olive branch to the Democrats.

Taylorville Junior High School to Show Off STEM Lab, Creative Learning Center at Open House Thursday

The public will have a chance to check out the newest additions to Taylorville Junior High School this Thursday, September 14th. The school will hold an open house for parents and community members to see the school’s new STEM lab and “Hot -Spot” Creative Learning Lab from 6 until 7:30 p.m. Thursday evening.


Kirk Kettelkamp is the Principal at Taylorville Junior High School. He says because of the one-to-one initiative giving all students access to Chromebooks at the school, computer labs were no longer needed and these classrooms became a reality.



Kettelkamp says the technology students have available to them in the STEM lab is top-notch even when compared to college-level STEM labs.



Kettelkamp thanks the Taylorville Public Schools Foundation, the Taylorville School Board, and Taylorville School District Superintendent Dr. Gregg Fuerstenau for their support and making this classrooms happen for the students. He invites everyone to come out Thursday to see these new additions to the junior high.

New Addition to This Year's Ballonfest at Lake Shelbyville

Many communities in Central Illinois are preparing to host their fall festivals, and one festival that makes its way to Shelbyville each year is the Touchstone Energy Balloon Fest, held at Lake Shelbyville, taking place this year on October 6th through the 8th.


Freddy Fry is with the Shelby County Office of Tourism, and appeared as a guest on the Newstalk WTIM Morning Show live from our downtown Shelbyville Studios, and says this year's Balloonfest will feature a new addition.



Fry also had details on where the event will be held, and how many hot air balloons the event is expecting this year.



For more information on this years Balloonfest, you can visit LakeShelbyville.com and search for the event on the page's events calendar, or give the Shelby County Office of Tourism a call at 774-2244.

Pana City Council to Vote Tonight on Alcohol Sales on Sundays

The Pana City Council will have a tough decision after the city’s administration committee voted to recommend the council pass an ordinance allowing convenience stores, grocery stores, liquor stores, and taverns to be able to sell alcohol on Sundays. That recommendation was passed at the committee meeting held Thursday afternoon with people on both sides of the issue speaking their mind at the committee meeting.


Ward 1 Alderman and Administration Committee chairman Tim Eddy says it could be a highly discussed issue Monday night. He says for him, although part of the issue is money, he also says he wants all businesses to be on an even playing field.



Eddy says some businesses were allowed to continue selling alcohol on Sundays when they were annexed into the city, and the council passed an ordinance allowing restaurants and clubs in the last six months. Eddy says the state holding back money has hurt the city, and he hopes that people on both sides will come to the city council meeting Monday so there can be a good discussion on the issue.



The Pana City Council Meeting will be held Monday, September 11 at 7 p.m. at Pana City Hall.

Shelby County CEO Program Teaching Students About How To Be Successful Entrepeneurs

The Christian County CEO program has been helping students grow and start new local businesses for several years now, and now Shelby County is joining in with their own CEO program. The Shelby County CEO program is in it's first year, and is helping students by teaching them valuable skills that will help with their professional careers.


Anna Kiley, the Shelby County Economic Development Director, and facilitator for the Shelby County CEO Program says the program is not only great for those looking to become entrepreneurs, but also for those looking to expand their other professional skills as well.



The program helps teach students about business by bringing them to area businesses, allowing the students to learn first hand about the ins and outs of running a successful business from local entrepreneurs themselves.



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

Saturday's Workday Another Success for Missions For Taylorville

More than 50 volunteers had a beautiful day Saturday to complete about 65 projects at more than 30 homes in Missions for Taylorville’s second work day of 2017. Temperatures in the 70’s and low 80’s and fair skies made for a beautiful day for the organization to help clean up parts of Taylorville.


Missions for Taylorville coordinator Bill Kerns says it is humbling to see how much the people receiving the help appreciate the work being put in.



Saturday’s work day was the final work day for Missions for Taylorville in 2017. He says he hopes in 2018, more volunteers can help the organization have more work days.



Kerns says there will be a de-briefing for Saturday’s workday on Thursday at 7 p.m. at Davis Memorial Christian Church. Anyone in the community is welcome to attend the recap meeting on Thursday.

Downstate Lawmaker to Get Another Challenge From Own Party

A downstate senator will likely face another challenger from his own party next spring. The Sangamon County GOP central committee has unanimously voted to back Steve McClure, an assistant state's attorney, for the seat in the 50th state senate district that has been held by Sam McCann since 2011. The State Journal-Register reports party leadership doesn't think McCann is "true to our core principals anymore." McClure says he believes that to be true.

McCann is no stranger to opposition from within the party. In 2016, Governor Bruce Rauner backed another candidate after McCann voted against the governor on a labor arbitration issue. 

UPDATE: Macon County Sheriff's Deputy Taken Into Custody After Rosamond Standoff

A Christian County man is in custody after a domestic disturbance call turned into a standoff Saturday evening. The man has not formally been charged, but Christian County Sheriff Bruce Kettelkamp says he is a Macon County Sheriff’s Deputy.


Kettelkamp says the call came in around 4:15 of a domestic disturbance in progress. Once they got to the scene, they found the wife of the man at a neighbor’s house. Police were told she had been able to run from the home, but her husband had fired shots in her direction as she ran away.


Once a perimeter was set up, the Illinois State Police SWAT team and a hostage negotiator were called to the scene. After several hours of negotiations, the man was taken into custody by the state police SWAT team. After the hours long standoff, no one was injured.


Kettelkamp says this situation showed impressive teamwork between local, county, and state police.



We will have more information once charges have been filed sometime Monday. 

Police Standoff near Rosamond

Regional Radio News has confirmed there is an ongoing standoff near Rosamond in southern Christian County. Christian County Sheriff Bruce Kettelkamp could not provide details at this time because it is an ongoing situation. We will have more details as they become available.

Farm Income Projected to Increase Slightly

The recent projections of farm income released by USDA’s Economic Research Service in their 2017 Farm Sector Income Forecast suggest that while farm income may have hit rock bottom in 2016, there will be an uptick in both net farm and net cash income in 2017 American Farm Bureau. Federation Chief Economist Dr. Bob Young says livestock sales are driving the slight increase…



Forecasts for both livestock and crop cash receipts are promising. Livestock cash receipts will increase by 4.8 percent and crop cash receipts will increase by 1.6 percent in 2017. With an increase predicted though, Dr. Young cautions that the year’s overall farm income is hard to predict…



Given recent projections, Young offers this planning advice to farmers…



That’s AFBF chief economist Bob Young.

Water Crews Replace a Main Near Taylorville Police Station and Municipal Building


The outside of the Taylorville Police Station and Municipal Building has been a construction site the past few days. Water crews dug out the public entrance to the police station to replace a water main. The work began on Wednesday.


Taylorville mayor Bruce Barry says everything is running up again at city hall, but crews will have to come back to re-concrete the entryway.



Barry says they should have all the work done early next week.


This Coming Week is National Assisted Living Week

National Assisted Living Week starts Sunday, and The Villas of Holly Brook in Shelbyville have many events planned for their residents and the community to celebrate.


On Monday, The Villas of Holly Brook will welcome police, firefighters, and EMS personnel to The Villas to join the residents for an emergency responders’ breakfast. Kathy Kaigley is the Assistant Executive Director at The Villas of Holly Brook in Shelbyville. She says there will be more festivities after the breakfast that morning.



Kaigley says there is a growing demand for assisted living and senior care for many reasons, so it’s important to know the options in your area.



Other events during the week include residents meeting with the Shelbyville Rams football team and cheerleaders on Wednesday, a carnival for the residents on Thursday, and an ice cream social on Saturday the 16th.

Aquifer that Serves 500,000 Central Illinois Residents to Get Attention

Earlier this year, the State of Illinois approved a Task Force to continue efforts to protect an Illinois natural resource. State Senator Chapin Rose explains the Governor signed the task force into law earlier this year and earlier this week, Senate Minority Leader Bill Brady appointed Rose to the task force, which will focus on continued efforts to protect the Mahomet Aquifer, which provides water for over 500-thousand Illinois residents.

One area the task force will likely focus on is several closed landfills that lie atop the aquifer across it's landscape. Sen. Rose indicates it is unknown exactly how those might impact the water of the Mahomet Aquifer.

Rose says the task force will provide a report to the State Senate next summer. He adds he will propose using the University of Illinois' Prairie Research Institute to do ground monitoring research.

Specific Education Funding Numbers Still Not Available

It will be a few months before local schools know exactly how much more money they’ll be receiving under the recently approved education funding formula. 98-percent of public school districts will fare better under the evidence based approach, but the specifics are still being calculated says State Representative Norine Hammond of Macomb. 

On Thursday, Illinois Comptroller Susana Mendoza announced she cut the first state aid checks for the 2017/2018 school year. The state missed the first two state aid payments in August due to ongoing legislative debate in Springfield.

Duckworth Talks Infrastructure

Senator Tammy Duckworth isn't impressed by a report card on the nation's infrastructure. She believes now is the time for Congress to act on recomendations from the Blue-Green Alliance, which represents the nation's largest labor unions and environmental organizations.

Duckworth says improving the nation's infrastructure could serve as the elixir for many ills.

Air Force Shifts Planes to Scott AFB

The tarmac is getting a little more crowded at Scott Air Force Base. Nine C-17 Globemaster-Three aircraft are arriving at the Metro-east base today to escape possible damage from Hurricane Irma. The transport planes are being moved from Charleston, South Carolina. Irma isn't expected to make a direct hit but the Air Force is concerned about the effects of potential flooding.

Taylorville Man Facing Child Porn Charges Now Also Accused of Sexually Assaulting a Child


A Taylorville man facing seven counts of child pornography possession is now facing a predatory child sexual assault charge as well. 44-year-old Michael P. Shilling made his first appearance in court on the new charge Friday morning.


Shilling is accused of sexually assaulting a child under the age of 13 between January 1, 2002 and December 31, 2007. The charge is a Class X felony and he could face six to 30 years in prison if convicted.


Shilling’s trial on the child pornography possession charges was originally scheduled to start Monday. With the new charge filed, that trial has been postponed. Shilling will have a preliminary hearing on October 2 at 10 a.m. at the Christian County Courthouse.

Seven People Arrested in Pana Thanks to Drug Investigations

Seven people in Pana have been arrested in recent weeks thanks to covert drug investigations conducted by the Central Illinois Enforcement Group. The task force has members from the Christian County Sheriff’s Office, Pana Police Department, and Taylorville Police Department.


Christian County Sheriff Bruce Kettelkamp says these officers work tirelessly to get drug dealers off the streets.



Kettelkamp says people may try come in to the county and take the jobs of those dealers that have been arrested, but he has a warning for all drug dealers that work in Christian County.



Kettelkamp says there may be some more arrests to come out of these investigations.

Lake Shelbyville Army Corps of Engineers Win STEM Outstanding Team Achievement Award for Partnership With Okaw Valley Schools

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has announced that Lake Shelbyville has won the 2016 Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) Outstanding Team Achievement Award. The Corps at Lake Shelbyville partners with the Okaw Valley School District to provide STEM learning opportunities for students of all grade levels in the district.


Matt Shoaff is the principal at Okaw Valley High School. He says the school has also won an award because of the partnership with the Army Corps of Engineers.



Shoaff says the program provides students with numerous opportunities without a big cost to the district.


Shoaff says the partnership the district has with the Corps is a partnership that keeps on giving, He says there will be Corps days later this month where 25 to 30 junior and senior high students will go to the lake and work on different projects.

TCCU Scholarship Program Student Registration Now Open

Student registration is now open for Taylorville Community Credit Union’s 4th annual “Stop. SHOP. VOTE!” scholarship program. Any graduating high school senior from Taylorville, Hillsboro, or Litchfield high schools is eligible to sign up for the program. Six area students will receive $1,000 scholarships towards their future education.


To register, students need to provide their name, a good quality photo, and a signed parental permission slip. The permission slip is available at the high schools, at their website, or at one of TCCU’s three local branches.


The winners are selected by votes cast at participating businesses. Shoppers can cast one vote for every ten dollars they spend at a participating business. The student registration deadline is Friday, October 13th. The scholarship voting period will begin in November.

BBB Warns Residents to Do Their Homework Before Donating to Hurricane Relief Charities

With widespread devastation in Texas and Hurricane Irma quickly approaching the east coast, hurricane relief has become a popular choice for charity donations in recent weeks. But the Better Business Bureau wants to make sure your charity dollars are going to those you intend it for.


Chris Thetford is the Vice President of Communications at the Better Business Bureau in St. Louis. He says you should be weary of organizations seeking you out for donations.



Thetford says he hopes everyone will help those in need, but to make sure their money goes to those who need it.



For more information or to check out a charity, you can contact the BBB at 888-996-3887 or visit their website here.

Two New Businesses Join Greater Taylorville Chamber of Commerce

The Greater Taylorville Chamber of Commerce has welcomed two new businesses to the Chamber. Schafer-Perfetti and Assalley Funeral Homes in Taylorville along with the South Fork Pub in Kincaid have both joined the Chamber.
Patty Hornbuckle, CEO of the Greater Taylorville Chamber of Commerce says the new owner of Schafer-Perfetti and Assalley Funeral Homes has begun renovating the Taylorville location.
The South Fork Pub in Kincaid has also joined the Taylorville Chamber, which Hornbuckle says reaches beyond the city limits of Taylorville.
Hornbuckle appeared as a guest on the Newstalk WTIM Morning Show.

US Beef Industry Says Trump Withdrawal From KORUS Will Cost Millions

The U.S. beef industry says if President Trump withdraws the US from the Korea-U.S. Free Trade Agreement, millions of dollars and thousands of jobs will be lost throughout the Midwest and other regions.


As the president tries to appeal to blue collar workers in the rust belt who voted for him, the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association tells the White House, scuttling KORUS is also a ‘job killer’ in the heartland. NCBA’s trade adviser, Kent Bacus.



Bacus says NCBA’s told the president and his staff, it’s not just urban manufacturing that’s on the line with KORUS.



U.S. beef sales in number-two buyer Korea are up over 80-percent or to around one-billion dollars under KORUS, as tariffs move to zero over ten-years. But there’s more.



Walk away from KORUS and Bacus says the Koreans have no incentive to keep that, and could even raise the levy on U.S. beef, back to its pre-KORUS 40-percent. Bacus says his industry fears a NAFTA-style renegotiation of KORUS could result in gains for other sectors at the expense of farm trade.

Governor Turns to Borrowing

Meanwhile, Governor Rauner is making an announcement on cutting the state's bill backlog. In a press release, Rauner announced he intends to exercise borrowing authority to issue $6 billion in bonds to pay down a portion of the state’s bill backlog. The borrowing is something Comptroller Susana Mendoza called for and will allow the state to pay a lower interest rate than the current interest rate penalty of 12 percent a year on its debt.

Mendoza Dishes Out Checks to Schools

Illinois Comptroller Susana Mendoza is telling Illinois school districts, the check is in the mail. 541 million dollars in general state aid payments are being distributed to districts across the state. Typically, that money would have been shipped out in early August, but was delayed by the recent school funding debate. Another 264 million dollars is being shipped out Friday for the September payments to schools.

Illinois Farmers Encouraged to Use Nitrogen Rate Calculator

Illinois farmers being encouraged to utilize a resource called the nitrogen rate calculator. Jean Payne is president of the Illinois Fertilizer and Chemical Association. She says the calculator aims to find the “maximum return to N” or MRTN 

Payne says the calculator is a good way for farmers to verify if they are over applying or even under applying nitrogen. The easiest way to access the calculator is to type in “nitrogen rate calculator” in any search engine. 

Christian County Property Tax Payment Deadline Approaching

The Christian County Treasurer’s Office wants to remind you that your second property tax payment is due in less than two weeks. The second and final real estate tax installment of 2017 is due to the Treasurer’s Office by September 20.


Christian County Treasurer Betty Asmussen says there are multiple ways to make your property tax payment.



Asmussen says there is a late penalty assessed if you do not pay your property tax installment by the 20th.



Asmussen says any payments in the mail that are postmarked by September 20th will not have a late fee assessed, but anything postmarked after September 20th is considered late.

Special Assistant Public Defender to be Hired in Stivers Murder Case

A special assistant public defender will be hired in the Robert Stivers murder case. Christian County Resident Judge Brad Paisley said in court Thursday that Public Defender Greg Grigsby’s motion for a special assistant public defender would be granted once it was decided where the funds would come from.


Grigsbey plans to hire Attorney Tom Lacy as his assistant. Grigsby said in court that he has previous experience working with Lacy on a case in 1986-87 and he has experience with shaken baby cases as is the Stivers case. Grigsby says Lacy would be paid $100 an hour and that would be capped at $10,000.


Stivers is accused of causing the injuries that resulted in the death of his four-month old child in 2016. The jury trial in the case is expected to be held in early January.

Crimestoppers Crime of the Week - September 7, 2017

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


Sometime over the Labor Day weekend, person or persons unknown damaged several headstones at Oak Hill Cemetery.  The unknown subject or subjects damaged headstones and broke a statue of Jesus in the area of the cemetery near Gandy Street.  The total amount of the damage is estimated at over $1000.


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 Teaming Up With Christian County Senior Center To Provide Free Health Fair For Area Seniors

The Christian County Senior Citizens Center will be teaming up with State Senator Andy Manar to put on a Senior Health Fair at the Christian County Senior Center on September 19th. The event allows area seniors to get tested for a number of different health concerns.
Gerry Mahr and Judy Gates both with the Senior Citizens Center appeared as guests on the Newstalk WTIM Morning Show, and say a number of different agencies will be at the fair to provide free health screenings.
There's no cost for the event, which is one of the largest events of it's kind in the region.

Three Area 4-H Members Earn Scholarships for Their Livestock Projects at State Competition

Three area 4-H members have earned scholarships for their work inside and outside the show ring. Ethan Macklin of Shelby County, and Makenna Green and Tanner Mickey of Christian County all won one-thousand-dollar scholarships for their exceptional work into their 4-H livestock projects. The three competed at the state contest on August 9th at the Illinois State Fair.


Rebecca Livingston is the Christian County 4-H Program Coordinator. She says there are multiple phases to the state livestock contest.



Livingston says Illinois is known for having some of the best livestock in the country, so doing well in the 4-H state competitions here is a big deal.



Fifteen scholarships were awarded to 4-H members from across Illinois. Nine of those scholarships were awarded to 4-H members enrolled in beef, swine and sheep projects.

New Sharpe House in Taylorville Looking to Help Men Struggling With Addiction


Men looking for help with recovery have a new option in Taylorville. The Sharpe House has opened in the community and wants to help anyone struggling with an alcohol or drug addiction.


Dennis Metsker owns and operates the Sharpe House with his wife Chris. He says he too has struggled with addiction, but now he is helping those to fight it.



The Sharpe House is a faith-based recovery center, and is named after Pastor Charlie Sharpe, who was the found of the last treatment center Metsker was in. Metsker says the Sharpe Home’s motto comes from the book of Proverbs in the Bible.



Metsker says there is an application process to get into the facility. You can email him at dmdm5027@gmail.com or call him at 254-5027 for more information.

Shelbyville City Council Appoints New Deputy City Clerk

The Shelbyville City Council appointed Rachel Wallace to be the city’s new Deputy City Clerk at Tuesday night’s city council meeting. Wallace is a familiar face to those in the community and at city hall, as she has lived and worked in Shelbyville for many years.


Shelbyville City Clerk Carrie Jones says Wallace has experience working with the city.



Wallace will replace Becky Pierson who Jones says is retiring from the position.



Wallace will take office on October 2nd.

Springfield City Council gives nods to Enterprise Zone status for natural gas plant

The Springfield City Council has given its ok to a new natural gas power plant near Pawnee. EmberClear is demanding Enterprise Zone status for the proposed one billion dollar facility. Brad Schaive (shy-vee) with Laborers Local 477 says the estimated 500 to 800 construction jobs the plant would bring are crucial because there is still an economic hangover from the state budget crisis, even though lawmakers reached a deal.

EmberClear still needs state approval before construction can begin. That is at least four years away. 

Cool, Dry Weather Good for Pumpkin Crop

What does a cool and dry season mean for the Illinois pumpkin crop? It’s actually not that bad says John Lyons with Indian Creek Farmstead near Petersburg.

Lyons also grows gourds and squash on his farm. The operation includes five buildings and he calls the enterprise “Agritainment”—including retail, barnyard, wagon rides, food and beverage, school tours and special events such as weddings and family gatherings. 

Langleyville Boil Order Lifted

The Langleyville boil order that had been in effect for areas west of Parker Street over the holiday weekend has been lifted. Water is safe to consume without boiling.

Litchfield Resident Drops Out of 13th Congressional Democratic Race; Running for 95th State Rep

A Litchfield resident who previously announced he was running for the Democratic nomination for Congressman from the 13th District, has changed his mind, and is now the lone candidate for the Democratic nomination for the 95th State Rep District, which includes Montgomery and Christian Counties.

Dillon Clark told Regional Radio News, he and his team felt he could do more good running for the Democratic nomination for 95th State Rep.

Clark says he doesn't have any opposition for the Democratic nomination in the 95th State Rep race.

Clark says he has 2 main priorities.

Clark says he has unanimous support from the Democrats in the counties in the 95th District.

And, Clark says he wants to defend the middle class.

Clark's departure from the 13th Congressional District Race leaves at least 3 other candidates running for the Democratic nomination in next spring's primary.

Lake Land College to Celebrate 50th Anniversary Later This Month

Lake Land Community College will be celebrating 50 years educating young minds at their homecoming celebration later this month. The school was founded in 1966, but the first classes were held at Lake Land in September of 1967. 
Lake Land’s Director of Alumni Relations Dave Cox says one of the main events will be a concert Saturday night that will feature a Laker Nation alum.
Cox says this year’s anniversary and homecoming celebration is a time to recognize the school’s accomplishments in its first 50 years.
The homecoming celebration will go from September 27 through October 1. For more information, you can visit lakelandcollege.edu/alumni, or call 217-234-5363.
Full List of Events:

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

  • Laker Loyalty fight song unveiled at Student Life Pep Rally
  • Laker Loyalty Selfie Video Submissions open

Friday, September 29, 2017

  • Dental Hygiene Alumni Continuing Education Seminar at Heartland Dental Care, Effingham
  • Nursing Continuing Education Seminar at Sarah Bush Lincoln Health Center, Mattoon
  • Business Division Alumni Appreciation Reception, 4-8 p.m., West Building        
  • Laker Athletics Reunion, 4:30 p.m., One Laker Nation Tent, adjacent to the Field House
  • Laker Volleyball Game, 6 p.m., Field House    

Saturday, September 30, 2017

  • Alumni Recognition Banquet, Distinguished Alumni Society and Athletic Hall of Fame Brunch, 10 a.m., West Building
  • Ag Alumni Reunion Event, 2:30-4:30 p.m., West Building
  • Campus Tours – 3:30 p.m., 4 p.m. and 4:30 p.m.
  • One Laker Nation Alumni Reunion Tent with entertainment, food and beverages, 4-7 p.m., adjacent to the Field House
  • The Henningsens Concert, 7 p.m., Field House

Sunday, October 1, 2017

  • Laker Softball Alumni Game and BBQ, noon


Taylorville Kiwanis Club Reviews Community Children, Youth Projects at Weekly Luncheon

The Taylorville Kiwanis Club heard about their many projects helping children and youth in the Taylorville community, during their Tuesday luncheon at the Taylorville Memorial Hospital auditorium.

Kiwanis committee chairs reported on such projects as Kiwanis Park, Coats for Kids, the High School Kiwanis Key Club and Junior High Builders Club.

Park chair Jerry Woodard reported on the the recent installation of a new grill at the recently completed small pavilion at Kiwanis Park.  Kiwanis members Larry Kemner, Dean Ray, Martin Vota, and Dick Wamsley, were in on this project.

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.

Meet The Machines on Taylorville Square Gives Families Chances to View Heavy Machinery Up Close

DowntownTaylorville.org is a local group that is working on bringing a number of fun and entertaining events to the downtown Taylorville area, and will be hosting their Meet the Machines event this Saturday on the Taylorville Square. Meet the Machines will let families get up close and personal with some of the large pieces of equipment they see throughout their daily lives.
Marcia Neal is the Executive Director of DowntownTaylorville.org, and says the event will bring a number of different machines for the public to enjoy.
The event will take place on the inside of the Taylorville Square, and the group asks the public not to utilize the inner ring of parking near the courthouse that day.
Neal says the event will not affect another event put on by DowntownTaylorville.org, the Taylorville Farmers Market.
Neal appeared as a guest on the Newstalk WTIM Morning Show.

Christian County Historical Society Prepares for Prairie Days Event

The Christian County Historical Society is preparing for their Prairie Days event taking place this Saturday and Sunday from 10 until 3 at the Christian County Historical Society's grounds. The event offers a number of different attractions from a civil war reenactor, to a historical fashion show.
Maureen Bruns with the Christian County Historical Society gave a preview of some of the other attractions at the event.
There's no cost to the event, however donations are encouraged.
Bruns appeared as a guest on the Newstalk WTIM Morning Show.

Durbin, Duckworth React to President's Plan to Dump DACA

When it comes to the debate over the fate of young undocumented immigrants in the DACA program, one of the staunchest defenders of the program's "Dreamers" has been Senator Dick Durbin. Durbin joined Republican colleague Lyndsey Graham of South Carolina to call for passage of the Dream Act, to ensure nearly 800-thousand DACA beneficiaries could remain in the U.S. He accused the President of an about face.

With the program set to end in six months, Durbin says DACA backers don't have the option of delays.

Graham said he always believed DACA was an overreach by President Obama, but he also equally understands the plight of the Dream Act kids who often know no other country than America.


Also, Senator Tammy Duckworth is offering a blistering critique of President Trump's decision to end the DACA program, which gives young undocumented immigrants a path to citizenship.

"Make no mistake—this decision is not about "rule of law," as Attorney General Sessions claims. This is a gut-wrenching betrayal of American values that leaves nearly 800,000 of our neighbors vulnerable to deportation and will tear families and communities apart. DREAMers are doctors, teachers, students and Servicemembers. They have mortgages and jobs. They know only one nation: the United States of America, which is where they were raised. To end a program that allowed these patriots to come out of the shadows and more fully contribute to this country is irresponsible and heartless. Congress must act NOW and pass legislation to make DACA the law of the land."

Peoria Air Guard Unit Deploys Second C-130 and Crew for Hurricane Relief

The Illinois National Guard has deployed another C-130 cargo aircraft to points south to help with hurricane relief, this time in advance. The Peoria based 182nd Airlift Wing sent a Hercules aircraft and its crew of seven to the U.S. Virgin Islands to help prepare for Hurricane Irma. Last week, the unit sent a C-130 to Texas to help with relief efforts tied to Hurricane Harvey.

Late Season Pests a Concern for Illinois Soybean Farmers

Soybean farmers throughout various parts of Illinois dealing with a couple of late season pests. GROWMARK Agronomy Services Manager Tim Laatsch says if not treated, yield can be impacted.

Laatsch says there are many different insecticides that can be used for both grasshopper and stink bug control, but he encourages farmers to carefully read label directions especially as it relates to the pre-harvest interval. 

Loaded Taylorville City Council Meeting Tuesday Includes Water Treatment Plant and Golf Cart Ordinance Issues

It was an action packed meeting for the Taylorville city council Tuesday night, with zoning for the water plant, golf carts on city streets, and street work projects all on the agenda.


Council members and plan commission members heard concerns from residents about the new water treatment plant at a public hearing before the city council meeting. The biggest concerns included the plant’s effect on property values for neighboring homes, the view of the plant once completed, and possible flooding concerns with ground alterations done for the new plant. After the plan commission voted against recommending amending sections of city zoning code for the special uses for the water treatment plant, the city council unanimously voted against the commission’s non-recommendation to make the amendments.


1st Ward Alderman Larry Budd says he hadn’t heard any of the concerns from residents before Tuesday’s public hearing.



3rd Ward Alderman Ernie Dorchinecz says he understands the residents concerns, but with those not being known before, he believes they are too far in the process to turn back now.



In other council business, the city pushed back the date of the golf cart ordinance. The law will now go into effect on October 31 instead of September 30. There was discussion about how many signs need to be posted on Taylorville streets. The delay gives the council more time to decide how many signs are needed, and Budd says he will talk to Jacksonville’s mayor Andy Ezard about what they have done in their community.


The council also approved multiple purchases, including curbs and sidewalk projects on North Cherokee Street and milling and asphalt for street projects on Simpson, Jayne, and Cherokee Streets totaling just under $290,000.

Informational Meeting This Afternoon About Resources for Senior Care

There will be an informational support group this afternoon for anyone in the community for families and caregivers of seniors at Life’s Journey Senior Living in Taylorville. VA Officer Donna Rohman will be speaking and available to answer any questions regarding benefits available to veterans and their families.


Life’s Journey Senior Living Marketing Director Kathy Hawbaker says the event is free and open to the public, so she encourages anyone with questions to come.



Hawbaker says this meeting is the first of a series of planned monthly meetings for area residents designed to inform them on resources available to seniors.



Hawbaker says most people do not know all of the resources available to seniors, and these meetings are to help inform those in the community about what is available to them.

Taylorville Kiwanis Club Installs Grill at Kiwanis Park

The Taylorville Kiwanis Club continues to improve Kiwanis Park on Lake Taylorville.

This year, Kiwanis members constructed a new smaller pavilion with a concrete floor, to compliment the large pavilion they erected in 1995.

And, recently, the club installed a new grill at the small pavilion, for families to enjoy.

Kiwanis members have installed a boat dock, fire pit, and playground area, among other items, in the 22 years since the club first constructed the large pavilion at Kiwanis Park on Lake Taylorville.

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


Caption to picture:  Taylorville Kiwanis Club members (from the left) Larry Kemner, Dean Ray, and Martin Vota, recently installed a new grill at the small pavilion constructed earlier this year at Kiwanis Park.


Many Area Veterans to Be on Next Land of Lincoln Honor Flight to Washington D.C.

The Land of Lincoln Honor Flight will be taking another group of Illinois veterans to Washington D.C. on September 12th. This trip will include veterans from Assumption, Charleston, Chatham, Cowden, Effingham, Herrick, Mattoon, and Stonington.


John Nolen is the veteran from Stonington on the upcoming Honor Flight. He says although he has been to D.C. before, there’s still a lot of things in Washington that he hasn’t seen.



Stanley Rich from Cowden is also going on the Honor Flight. He says they will have a busy day next Tuesday.



Nolen served in the Marines during the Korean War era while Rich was in the Air Force during the Vietnam War.

Illinois State Police Remind Motorists to be Careful Around Area Schools

With school back in session, the Illinois State Police want to remind motorists to pay attention for children, especially around area schools.


Illinois State Police Trooper Sean Ramsey recently appeared as a guest on the NewsTalk WTIM Morning Show and reminds motorists that passing a school bus with its stop sign out and flashers out has some stiff penalties.



Ramsey says he knows it is tempting for drivers to use their cell phones while driving, but it only takes a second of looking down to cause a crash.



Ramsey reminds motorists that kids sometimes don’t pay attention to cars coming in the roadway, so it’s especially important for drivers to be focused behind the wheel. 

Shelby County Community Services Offering Programs To Help Fight Drug Addiction

Drug addiction is a problem affecting an increasing number of Americans, including those in Central Illinois. Shelby County Community Services offers services designed to assist those who are suffering from drug addiction to get back on their feet.
Tom Colslasure with Shelby County Community Services says their Substance Abuse Program has been growing in recent years, and they're proud of the work that they do.
Program Coordinator Amy Cleary says the Substance Abuse Program offers a number of different services to those in the area.
For more information on the substance abuse program at Shelby County Community Services, call them at 774-5587.

Volunteers Needed for Shelbyville Scarecrow Daze

Shelbyville Scarecrow Daze is is right around the corner, and one thing that is always needed is more volunteers to help coordinate the event. Those who would like to volunteer can easily do so by contacting the Shelbyville Chamber of Commerce.
Vonda McConnell with the Shelbyville Chamber of Commerce says without volunteers, there's no way the event could take place.
Volunteering for the event is easy says McConnell, simply by contacting the Shelbyville Chamber of Commerce.
McConnell appeared as a guest on the Newstalk WTIM Morning Show live from our downtown Shelbyville Studios.

WTIM Investment Professional Steve Henry Seeks to Help Poor Residents of Nicaragua

Many people take mission trips to poor countries in an effort to help. One local resident and WTIM Investment Professional Steve Henry recently made a trip to Nicaragua to help build a school for a poor region of the country, and wants to get more people helping the cause.
Henry said his first trip to Nicaragua came three years ago, and that trip sparked his desire to help it's residents.
Henry has since gotten involved with a foundation that looks to financially help poor communities in country.
Henry appeared as a guest on the Newstalk WTIM Morning Show.

Durbin Hopeful on DACA Front

As the White House prepares a major announcement on DACA-the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, Senator Dick Durbin says DACA's "Dreamers" should be allowed to remain on American soil.

Durbin is hopeful President Trump won't end the DACA program when he makes a major announcement on the issue today. Durbin discussed the issue with the President on Inauguration Day.

Durbin took part in Belleville's Labor Day Parade.

FPS Already Being Planned for 2019

As the Farm Progress Show packed up and moved on from Decatur this weekend the planning for the next show has already begun. But it’s not for the next show in Iowa; it’s about the return show in 2019 according to Show Manager Matt Jungmann.

The Show returns August 27 through the 29th in 2019.

Red Cross Seeks Blood Donors with Supplies Running Low

The American Red Cross is putting out a call for donors, as Hurricane Harvey caused a chain of events that has led to a shortage of blood. Joe Zydlo, spokesman for the American Red Cross, says he's hoping the public will respond as they have in the past, and come to the aid of those in need not only now, but over the long-haul.

You can get more information by going to www.redcrossblood.org.

Severe Weather Hits Regional Radio Listening Area

The Regional Radio Listening Area was hit by severe weather late Monday afternoon.

The National Weather Service at Lincoln reported golf ball size hail confirmed by trained spotters in Macoupin County 6 miles southwest of Carlinville at Beaver Dam State Park, and pong pong ball size hail reported north of Carlinville, both late Monday afternoon.
Law enforcement authorities reported one inch hail at 4:40 Monday afternoon at Lake Springfield. 
And, in Macon County, one inch hail was reported around 5:30 Monday afternoon in the Long Creek and Mount Zion areas.
The entire listening area was in a severe thunderstorm watch thru late Monday night.

Next Missions for Taylorville Work Day Coming Up Saturday

The next volunteer work day for Missions for Taylorville is coming up this Saturday. Volunteers will meet at the Taylorville Memorial Hospital auditorium at 8:30 a.m. Saturday to find out where they will be helping around the community.


Missions for Taylorville Coordinator Bill Kerns says the organization is upping its efforts to get volunteers by calling on former volunteers.



Kerns says volunteers can come hungry in the morning and they don’t need to pack a lunch, as both are provided to volunteers by generous sponsors.



Kerns recently appeared as a guest on the NewsTalk WTIM Morning Show. He says if you have any further questions, you can give him a call at Davis Memorial Christian Church at 824-8181. You can pick up a volunteer former at most area churches, the Taylorville mayor’s office, or the Greater Taylorville Chamber of Commerce office.

Loving Arms Crisis Pregnancy Center Fundraiser Walk Coming Up, Looking for Sponsors

The Loving Arms Crisis Pregnancy Center’s annual fundraiser walk is just a few weeks away, and the center is still looking for walk sponsors. The walk is at Manners Park on Saturday, September 23, and the money raised will go towards the organization’s ministries in the community.


Cathy Coker is the Executive Director at Loving Arms. She says sponsors do not have to attend the walk or collect money, and there are prizes for sponsors who collect certain amounts of money.



Coker says the organization has a wide variety of ministries that it offers to the community.



If you have any further questions, you can give Loving Arms a call at 824-7200 or visit their website by clicking here.

Taylorville Junior High Students Using Technology of the Future in New STEM Lab


Taylorville Junior High School students will get to learn about the latest in STEM technology with the addition of a new STEM lab this school year. STEM, which stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math, was a priority junior high teachers decided on last school year.


Cindy Wagner is a 7th and 8th grade science teacher at TJHS. She says in addition to the STEM classwork, the school is looking at creating an after school club involving STEM technology as well.



Wagner says she believes giving students access to this technology now will give them confidence using new technology as it becomes available.



The school will have an open house to show the STEM lab to the public on Thursday, September 14 from 6 to 7:30 p.m.



Jim Bohannon Discusses North Korean Threat With WTIM Morning Show

All eyes have been on Asia the past several weeks as North Korea has drastically increased the brashness of it's nuclear and missile testing. Jim Bohannon, host of the Jim Bohannon show heard weeknights on Newstalk WTIM thinks although the nuclear threat is intimidating, the larger threat is from Pyongyang's conventional arsenal pointed at the South Korean Capital.
Bohannon says although the war of words between North Korea and the rest of the world has heated up in recent weeks, he doesn't feel that anything major will come of it.
Bohannon also mentioned the threat North Korea's conventional arsenal poses.
Bohannon appeared as a guest on the Newstalk WTIM Morning Show.

Dove and Goose Hunting Underway at Lake Shelbyville

As fall begins, hunters get ready for another season out in the wilderness. At Lake Shelbyville, the hunting season has already begun, with Dove and early Goose seasons starting on September 1st.
Ashley Florey with the US Army Corp of Engineers at Lake Shelbyville says if you happen to hear gunshots near lake Shelbyville, dove and goose hunting is why.
Although hunting permit applications for youth hunting happened in August, there are days where you can head out to the field and find an open blind.
For more information on hunting at Lake Shelbyville, contact the Army Corp of Engineers Lake Shelbyville Office.
Florey appeared as a guest on the Newstalk WTIM Morning Show live from our downtown Shelbyville studios.

Landmark of Taylorville Makes Generous Donation to Taylorville Tornadoes Sports Boosters

The Taylorville Tornadoes Sports Boosters received a generous donation from the Landmark Auto Group in Taylorville last night during the Effingham vs. Taylorville football game.
As the halftime festivities were coming to an end, Landmark General Manager, Jason Johnson, presented a check in the amount of $1,257 which was $3 for every 3-pointer made during the 2016-17 Boys and Girls Basketball seasons.
Landmark Auto Group is not only the exclusive sponsor of every 3-pointer made during the basketball seasons, but they also donate $10 for every 1st down during Taylorville Tornadoes football.
The Taylorville boys basketball team hit 264 3-pointers last season, good for 15th all-time in IHSA history for a single-season. 

State Police: Don't Drink and Drive This Holiday Weekend

The Labor Day Weekend means fun and festivities while people are enjoying the last unofficial week of summer, and the Illinois State Police want you to enjoy the weekend safely.


Trooper Sean Ramsey with the Illinois State Police says enforcement will be up over the holiday weekend, and with the ride options available today, there’s no reason for anyone to get a DUI.



Part of Ramsey’s work includes speaking to driver’s education classes about road safety. He says part of his presentation includes drinking and driving, and that every class has a child whose life has been affected by drinking and driving.



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

Local School Superintendents React to Signing of School Funding Compromise Bill

With Governor Bruce Rauner’s signature now on Senate Bill 1947, local school superintendents are reacting to the passing of school funding reform in Illinois.


Pana School District Superintendent Jason Bauer says he and his school superintendent counterparts are breathing a huge sigh of relief.



Darrell Gordon, the superintendent of the Cowden-Herrick School District, says his district’s plan was to borrow money if necessary, which isn’t ideal.



In Nokomis, superintendent Dr. Scott Doerr says his district can finally plan for the future of the district, and worry about the quality of education rather than how much money will come in.



School districts are expecting to receive the August state aid payments that were allotted in the state budget now that a school funding formula has been signed into law.

Taylorville Breaks Ground on New Water Treatment Plant


Many local leaders gathered Friday morning for the groundbreaking of Taylorville’s new $25 million water treatment plant. The plant will replace the current plant that was built in 1951.


Water Superintendent David Speagle says the plant will be the second in the country to use biotta to treat the city’s water.



Taylorville Mayor Bruce Barry says there are plenty of people before him that helped to make this plant a reality.



The plant is expected to be completed in January of 2019.

Taylorville Fire Department Training Facility Nearing Completion


The Taylorville Fire Department will soon have a new training tool for their firefighters. Crews started the setup Friday for a new training center behind the Taylorville Fire Department building.


Taylorville Fire Chief Mike Crews says the center will be a simulated apartment.



Crews says it has taken about a year to come get to the point of setting up the facility Friday.



Crews is excited to start those training drills, which as he says should start this coming week.

Water Shutoff in Langleyville; Boil Order Causes Immediate Need for Water at Senior Center

Some residents of Langleyville should expect to have their water shut off parts of Friday and to be under a boil order through the Labor Day weekend. The shutoff should start around noon Friday, and once service is restored, the boil order will go into effect. The shutoff and boil order affect water customers west of Parker Street in Langleyville.


Langleyville water operator Mark Jacoby says crews will be repairing a leak in a water main in that area.



Jacoby says because it is a holiday weekend, the EPA cannot receive water samples until Tuesday, meaning he doesn’t expect the boil order to be lifted until Wednesday. Only water to be consumed needs to be boiled, showering and laundry water is ok.


Also in Taylorville, there is a boil order right now for the area around the Christian County Senior Center in Taylorville, and the center is in immediate need of donated water. If you can help, please take water over to the center so they can continue to operate. If you have any questions, call 824-4263.

United Way of Christian County Kicks Off 2017-2018 Campaign

The United Way of Christian County is kicking off their campaign for the upcoming fiscal year. The campaign is designed to help raise funds for the various member organizations of the local United Way.


Susan Lawrence is the Executive Director of the United Way of Christian County, and says that although the campaign officially gets underway Today, the unofficial start was earlier this week.



The Campaign's primary goal is to raise funds for the United Way's 27 member agencies, and Lawrence says the money raised stays local.



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

Planes and Combines Kicking Off This Years Christian County Ag Literacy Program

The Christian County Ag Literacy Program is getting ready for another year of teaching area students about different subjects concerning the agriculture industry. The program is getting things started this year by talking about combines and crop dusters that the kids will see, and may have seen over the summer.


Charlotte Schuricht is the Program Coordinator for the Christian County Ag Literacy Program, and is commonly referred to as the Ag in the Classroom teacher. Schuricht says younger students will be learning about combines, and how they work during the fall season.



Many may have seen planes flying above fields over the summer. Older students in the program will be learning more about what those planes do, as well as the implementation of other technology to help farmers in their fields.



Schuricht also wanted to remind everyone about Ag Safety Day, taking place on September 27th at the Christian County Fairgrounds.


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

Early Week Rains Didn't Deter Farm Progress Show Crowds

Farm Progress Show week started with 3-and-a-half inches of rain but finished with below average temps and plenty of sunshine.

That's Events Manager for Farm Progress, Matt Jungmann who says the show saw huge crowds, especially Wednesday with several dignitaries in town.

The 2017 Farm Progress Show was highlighted by the House Ag Committee listening session at Richland Community College Wednesday morning. Ag Secretary Sonny Perdue was in attendance of that session.

Two Illinois Visits in Three Weeks for U.S. Ag Secretary

Another visit in Illinois for U.S. Ag Secretary Sonny Perdue. His latest stop at the Farm Progress show in Decatur earlier this week.

Perdue attended a Farm Bill listening session at the Farm Progress Show on Wednesday. He was also in Illinois earlier in August—stopping at several farms as part of his RV Tour. 

LaHood Ready for Comprehensive Tax Reform

Central Illinois Congressman Darin LaHood ready for comprehensive tax reform. He’s happy to hear that the White House wants to move in that direction.



LaHood also wants to protect the tax deduction for implements. He says that provision under the tax code has worked very for farmers and the ag community. 


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