The January Christian County Board Meeting was held on Tuesday evening. Mike Specha, Bev Graham, Dave Puccetti were sworn in to replace Clark Pearce, Mike McClure, and a resigning Donna Hibbits. The main topic of the board meeting concerned the Christian County Jail.
At the end of 2019 and the beginning of 2020, the board had discussed and approved putting in the ballot a vote on possibly raising taxes in the county to pay for a much-needed jail overhaul. Cecil Polley, Jail Administrator, says that remodeling or building a new jail is way overdue after an inspection came back that showed there were some serious issues. Polley says that some of the conditions of the jail could cause lawsuits in the future.
Polley says that they’ve already gotten help with the jail doors from the Warren Buffet foundation as the doors cost $45,000. While many people may wonder why people in jail need good conditions to live, Polley says it’s all about civil rights.
The building was built in 1970 to house 15 people, but at times there are 80 people in a small area with people that are locked down almost 24 hours a day. The jail houses more than just prisoners, it also has the Sheriff’s Office and other admin that work there. The discussion continued on the jail and State’s Attorney Mike Havera echoed a lot of the sentiments from Cecil Polley.
Sheriff Bruce Kettelkamp agreed.
This is set to be on the ballot in April. It does not mean that the decision has been made already to remodel the jail. No action was taken on this. Personnel Policy meetings were moved to the second Monday of the month.
The Taylorville City Council met on Tuesday evening. The board discussed renovations and beautifying of the city with the downtown taylorville.org Facebook page. Steve Craggs spoke about some of the latest efforts including a huge promotional for promoting the city. The organizers of downtowntaylorville.org are working on the website.
The motion to approve the Class O Liquor License for MG Gaming at 120 North main was approved 4-3 with Bryant, Dorchinecz, Olive, and Budd voting yes. There has been talk about what to do with the road that ends behind the Steak and Shake. Mayor Bruce Barry praised the opening of the industrial park although the actual action was tabled due to a mishap with the paperwork so it will be approved in February.
Mayor Barry says that the Police Department will continue to perform their duties to the best of their ability despite the newest legislature going through on police reform.
The board approved equipment purchases for both the Taylorville Police and Fire Departments. The next City Council meeting is set for February 1st, 2021.
Taylorville Police along with the Christian County Coroner’s Office is investigating a death that took place on Wednesday morning at 9:33. A 9-1-1 call came in for an unresponsive 12-year-old female in Taylorville. Emergency crews responded and contacted the coroner’s office. An autopsy is scheduled for Thursday in Bloomington. Christian County Coroner Amy Calvert Winans says that the investigation is ongoing and more information will be available in the coming weeks.
The Christian County YMCA has recently been able to offer 24 hour access to its members. While it’s a feature they are proud of, Executive Director of the YMCA Chris Weittenhiller says it was a long road to get to this point.
Since the YMCA began to offer the 24 hour access in late December, Weittenhiller says nearly 200 members have taken advantage of the program. It’s available to any current member at a very low cost.
As with anything new, a few bugs are expected. Weitenhiller acknowledged fixing an issue with the motion sensors inside the building. However there was also the issue of non-members or members without an access fob entering the facility. The YMCA decided to try and turn that into an opportunity.
Weitenhiller explained that their app can be downloaded on both Apple and Android.
Weitenhiller appeared as a guest on the NEWSTALK WTIM morning show.
Memorial Health Systems is relaxing restrictions on visitors, as new COVID cases continue to decrease. Restriction easements will go into effect on Wednesday at the five Memorial Health System hospitals, Memorial Medical Center, Abraham Lincoln, Decatur, Passavant, and Taylorville. These hospitals will allow one visitor at a time for adult inpatients between 8 AM and 8 PM. For inpatient obstetrics patients, the hospital will allow one support person and one additional visitor. The two people must be the same for the duration of the stay.
There will still be no visitors allowed for anyone being treated for COVID or patients being evaluated for COVID. All visitors must wear a facemask at all times.
For all other visitor guidelines, emergency department allows one visitor, two visitors are allowed for inpatient end of life, and two parents or guardians are allowed for pediatrics inpatient and outpatient. For surgery or procedure, one visitor is allowed in the waiting room for the duration of the procedure.
For more information please contact Taylorville Memorial Hospital or the Memorial Health System.
Vaccines are the talk of January for COVID-19, as the virus has been at the forefront of the headlines for nearly a year now. As the vaccinations start to roll out, hospitals continue to be at the forefront of not only handling the virus, but also handling the vaccinations. Pana Community Hospital Marketing Manager Melissa Rybolt says that PCH has already been vaccinating its front line workers.
All of PCH employees that wanted a vaccine received one. Rybolt, who had already received the vaccination talked about some of the mild side effects.
Rybolt maintains that she did not have any side effects from the vaccine and feels that the risks are low.
Rybolt believes that we will start to see more popup sites for COVID vaccinations.
Melissa Rybolt appeared as a guest on the Newstalk WTIM Morning Show.
Nobody anticipated the COVID-19 vaccine drive-thru in Taylorville to be as successful as it was on Tuesday morning. The event had people camping out the night before desperate for a spot in the first come first serve vaccine line. Kevin Schott, Spokesperson for the Chris-Mont Emergency Management Agency, says that he was shocked at how many people showed up.
Taylorville Police who were on hand to help guide traffic, and make sure nobody cut in line, said that at some points the line up of cars extended past Shumway on Franklin Street. It then came up two blocks to Webster and Main Cross before extending all the way to the Christian County Fairgrounds, where the vaccines were actually given. Schott was thrilled that they had more vaccines on hand than they thought they were going to receive.
If you are getting the vaccine in the future, Schott says it’s a pretty straight forward process.
Since this is a double dose vaccine, instructions have been given for those who got the vaccine today to receive the next dose. If you are interested in getting the vaccine, stay tuned to Regional Radio News, and the Chris-Mont EMA for more information on the next drive-thru clinic.
For more information on the COVID-19 vaccine, please visit the Chris-Mont EMA Facebook page and as always stay tuned to Regional Radio News for more.
With January comes the release of the top baby names in 2020 and Amelia and Oliver remain the top for boy’s names. Amelia and Oliver were at the top in 2019 as well. At HSHS St. John’s Hospital and Memorial Medical Center, there were a total of 32 baby girls named Amelia while 28 baby boys were given the name Oliver.
Rounding out the top ten for girls names are Emma, Ava, Charlotte, Sophia, Olivia, Harper, Everly, Ella, and Isabella. For boys, the top ten were Benjamin, Noah, Asher, Liam, Henry, Hudson, Jack, William, and Lincoln.
Susan McCarty, one of the nurse managers of Family Maternity Suites, which is the maternity unit at Memorial Medical Center is excited for getting things back to normal in the baby ward, “While last year presented a very unique challenge as COVID-19 restrictions prevented grandparents, siblings, and friends from visiting, our new parents had more time to themselves to bond with their new babies. We look forward to when we can safely lift our visitor restrictions.”
Nationally, Sophia and Liam held top spots in their respective categories.
State Representative Sue Scherer says that she is looking forward to working hard for the new assembly. Representative Scherer says that she remains committed to ensuring that the state’s response to COVID-19 protects vulnerable residents while giving relief to families and small businesses that have been hit hard by the pandemic.
Scherer released a press release saying, “I will continue my fight to ensure that all families in our district have equitable opportunities for quality education, good-paying jobs, and quality healthcare. No matter where you come from, or what you look like, families in our community deserve the opportunity to thrive and I will continue to put working families in Central Illinois first.”
Scherer is confident that the State will be able to work through fiscal problems caused by the pandemic and is encouraged to work not as democrats or republicans, but as Illinoisans. “It has been my greatest honor to serve our community and I look forward to continuing my work fighting for central-Illinois families.”
For more information and to reach out to Representative Scherer, call 217-877-9636.
There are plenty of things to be excited about in 2021 and Taylorville Mayor Bruce Barry says that 2021 is going to bring great things to Taylorville. Mayor Barry says that one great thing that’s coming is the COVID-19 vaccine.
If you need a form to fill out for the vaccine, Mayor Barry has some available in his office. Mayor Barry says that Chief Dwayne Wheeler and the Taylorville Police are working through the latest police reform bill.
Mayor Barry praised Senator Andy Manar, who is moving into an administration position with Governor JB Pritzker, for his hard work on schools and the help for tornado relief.
Another exciting thing about 2021 is the industrial park and downtown area refurbishing in Taylorville.
Taylorville Mayor Bruce Barry appeared as a guest on the NewsTalk WTIM morning show.
With hospital staffing on the increase, the Illinois Department of Public Health is starting to open back up again. Regions 8,9,10, and 11 will move from Tier 3 to Tier 2. Regions 1 and 6 will move to Tier 1, and Regions 3 and 5 will return to Phase 4 of the Restore Illinois Plan.
Hospital leaders and local health departments have been working with IDPH to bring in additional staffing and add staffing contracts to address shortages from battling COVID-19. IDPH feels that mitigation tiers will allow more regions to advance as healthcare workers feel more in control if hospital numbers do in fact start to rise again.
In order to move to phase 4 a region must have a test positivity rate less than 6.5% for three consecutive days, a 20% available staffed ICU hospital beds for 3 days, and no sustained increase in the number of people in the hospital with COVID-19 for 7 out of 10 days.
Under phase 4, bars and restaurants can open with limited capacity, theaters can open with limited capacity, gatherings of up to 50 people are allowed, and all outdoor recreation is allowed. The next phase for Region 3 would be phase 5 which would be completely opening everything.
Region 6 which is in tier 1 allows all the things as phase 1 except for only 25% capacity for restaurants and indoor service is suspended if there is no food served. Gatherings can only be 25 people or less.
With the inauguration of President-Elect Joe Biden taking place on Wednesday, Washington DC has extra security set in place, just in case anything may happen. US Representative Rodney Davis says that security on Wednesday will send a message to those who may want to attack our Government so that we don’t have a repeat of January 6th.
Security measures have gotten better and Representative Davis says that January 6th taught us some valuable lessons about safety.
Rodney Davis is happy that the National Guard is there to provide that extra layer of security.
Rodney Davis appeared as a guest on the NewsTalk WTIM morning show.
The Christian County Board will meet on Tuesday evening at 6:30 PM at the Christian County Courthouse for a virtual meeting due to COVID-19 mitigations. To get the log-in information for the meeting, please see below. New County Board members will be sworn in. Board member Donna Hibbits announced that she is resigning her position with the board. Mike Specha will replace Clark Pearce, Bev Graham will replace Mike McClure, and Dave Puccetti will replace Donna Hibbits.
Greg Nimmo will give an update on COVID-19. Discussion will continue on the supplemental beacon speed limit sign in Assumption. The Christian County Hazard Mitigation plan will be reviewed. There will be a discussion of changing the time of the regular meeting nights. Vince Harris will be appointed as flood plain manager.
For more on this story, stay tuned to Regional Radio News and see below for a full agenda.
CHRISTIAN COUNTY BOARD MEETING
Christian County Courthouse
Tuesday, January 19, 2021-- 6:30 p.m.
In accordance with EXECUTIVE ORDER 2020-07 issued by Governor Pritzker, this meeting will be conducted via remote participation and the
new region 3 COVID-19 Resurgence Mitigations does allow us to social distance and to limit the number of people in a room. There are 20 seats in the county board room and 22 in courtroom C. These meetings will continue to be done by freeconferencecall.com as well. Seats are given preference to members and requested quests.
Dial-in number (US): (701) 802-5367
Access code: 7943957#
Join the online meeting: https://join.freeconferencecall.com/christiancounty
1. Call to order
2. Pledge of Allegiance
3. Reading letter of resignation-Donna Hibbetts
4. Swearing in new county board members-
*District 3-Mike Specha replacing Clark Pearce
*District 3-Bev Graham replacing Mike McClure
*District 2-Dave Puccetti replacing Donna Hibbetts
5. Roll Call
6. Approve minutes from the regular County Board meeting of the
December 15, 2020 as printed with any corrections or amendments to them.
7. Public Comments
8. EDSA Update: Greg Nimmo
9. Present in writing petitions, resolutions/or ordinances, proclamations to be addressed in committees.
10. Reading of Communications:
11. Agenda items:
Highway/Building/Grounds/Environmental/ Zoning/ Welfare—1/12/2021
1. Highway business:
o Request for Supplemental Beacon on Speed Limit Sign, Village of Assumption
o Petition to Remove from Plat, an Alley in Block 7, Rosamond Original Town Subdivision
2. Discuss request for new/used truck for animal control/zoning.
3. ZBA update: Fee schedule for solar/wind personal property energy systems.
4. Request to amend Animal Control Ordinance as a separate appendix for kennel and hobby breeders/licenses.
Any other matters that properly come before the committee and/or comments from the public
1. County Board Rules review/changes.
2. Review and recommend approval of the Five Year Christian County Hazard Mitigation Plan.
3. Review approved Resolution 2019CB029 “Proposition to be placed on the ballot for the consolidated election on April 6, 2021 which was approved December 2019.
4. Discuss personnel proposed policy to continue paid time for COVID illnesses.
5. Determine duties of the position of the Assistant to the Board/HR.
6. Discuss change of this committee’s regular meeting night.
7. Personnel issues and/or personnel/other county policies/procedures, personnel or labor updates or any other matters or referrals that properly come before the committee and/or comments from the public and/or executive session for any personnel issue.
1. Approve claims as presented for January.
2. Review website contract.
3. Discuss final financial status from Illinois County Insurance Trust 2001 and 2009 [from former liability carrier]
4. Remove Assistant to Board/HR starting salary from current policy.
5. Assign salary to the upcoming Assistant to Board/HR position.
6. Referrals from any other committee, any other matters that are properly brought before the Committee and/or comments from the public.
12. NEW BUSINESS/OLD BUSINESS/OTHER:
a. Extend the Emergency Declaration Proclamation.
b. Authorize Board Chairman to hire Asst/HR applicant
c. Secondary committee reports:
911 Board-Ken Franklin
13. Mileage and Per Diem Report:
14. Appointments/terms: Vince Harris-Flood Plain Manager
15. Adjourn meeting until Tuesday, February 16, 2021
Early childhood development can make a huge difference towards learning and towards taking those extra steps to transitioning to Preschool. Shelbyville School District Early Childhood Coordinator, Shannon Shallenberger talked about her program called baby steps.
There are openings in the program. If you have an interest give the Shelbyville School District a call at 774-4731. Another program is the Stars Preschool.
Shallenberger says that with extra funding from the state, it has created home learning kits.
There will be developmental screenings held in March.
For more information contact the school. Shannon Shallenberger appeared as a guest on the NEWSTALK WTIM morning show live from our downtown studios in Shelbyville.
The Taylorville City Council will meet on Tuesday evening for their regular scheduled bi-monthly board meeting. During the meeting, there will be an update on www.downtowntaylorville.org. There will be ordinance updates on some agreements between the city and CTI. There is also a look at approving a class O liquor license for MG Gaming at 120 North Main. There will also be a discussion on training for jiu-jitsu for Police.
Under committee reports, Night vision goggles for police will be discussed along with portable alcohol breath testers and an evidence technician trailer. Fire Chief Matt Adermann is looking at purchasing some turnout gear and a few chainsaws. The Lake Department and Water Collection Office will be hiring. Low bids will be approved for the water environmental committee and there will be changes made to Lake Lot and Campground Leases including a lottery system and for the removal of fish from Lake Taylorville.
As always bills will be ratified and there will be city attorney and Mayoral updates as well. Stay tuned to Regional Radio News for more on this story and click here for a complete look at the agenda.
EDIT: This article originally said the meeting was taking place Monday evening, it's actually taking place Tuesday night.
The Shelbyville luminary or candlelight walk has been going on for ten years now and coordinator Bob Niestradt is excited for what this year brings. The walk this year will be held on February 20th.
There is a lot of work that goes into coordinating everything, but Niestradt looks forward to it every year. The walk is being held later than usual due to COVID. Niestradt says a lot of it couldn’t be done without the dive team.
Niestradt confirmed there will be ice globes and hanging luminaries in the trees but there will be some changes this year due to COVID-19.
The event will be held on February 20th at General Dacey Trail Head in Forest Park from 6:30 to 8:30 PM. Bob Niestradt appeared as a guest on the NEWSTALK WTIM morning show live from our downtown studios in Shelbyville.
The COVID-19 vaccine is giving a ray of hope for a nation that has seen over 390,000 people across the US killed from the virus. The FDA has authorized through emergency use two vaccines and they have both been rolled out and are being distributed. Side effects for the drugs include reactions, headache, muscle pain, chills, joint pain, and fever.
Dr. Victor Chan, an Emergency Department physician says that the benefits outweigh the negatives despite feeling the side effects himself.
According to the CDC more serious side effects to the vaccine are extremely rare. The risk of a severe allergic reaction is also extremely low. Of the 1.89 million people to receive the shot between December 14th and the 23rd, 99.99% did not have a allergic reaction. Dr. Chan says there is a lot of misinformation floating on the internet.
Just because the vaccine was fast-tracked, Dr. Chan says that it doesn’t mean it’s not safe. According to the CDC and the FDA, The US has the safest vaccine supply in history. There are clinical trials, monitoring, and extended monitoring to make sure vaccines are distributed as safe as possible.
Dr. Chan reminds everyone that by taking the vaccine, you are looking out for others.
For more information visit osfhealthcare.org, visit the IDPH, FDA, and CDC website.
Reading is still an integral part of learning, studying, and relaxing. During times of COVID-19, when more people are at home, reading is something that can be done to help combat the stay at home blues.
Monica Cameron, Director of Shelbyville Public Library, announced a new winter reading program for different age groups.
Cameron says the gift bag also comes with popcorn, soda, a blanket, and much more for a great night to stay home. This isn’t a competition to see who can read the most.
Getting books and getting registered is very easy. Cameron encourages you to go online to get registered for the program.
The Shelbyville Library is still doing curbside service.
For more information on the Shelbyville Public Library, you can call 774-4432. Monica Cameron appeared as a guest on the NEWSTALK WTIM morning show live from our downtown studios in Shelbyville.
The state of Illinois is starting to open back up again. That is the message from Governor JB Pritzker on Friday who announced regions are now starting to see COVID restrictions lifted, however, indoor dining is still not there yet. Regions 1, 2, and 5 (north, north-central, and southern Illinois) are dropping from tier three mitigations.
The state’s other regions are believed to be moving out of tier three relatively soon. The Governor saying, that when areas move to tier one, there will be limited indoor dining allowed.
All this comes as Director of Public Health, Dr Ngozi Ezike, says that the new variant of COVID-19 has arrived in Illinois and while it isn’t more dangerous, it does spread easier.
For regions to drop down to tier one, test positivity rates, hospitalizations, and ICU bed availability will dictate how quickly these regions can move down. Region 3 and Region 6 are still in tier three which has the strictest mitigation rules. For more information visit https://www.dph.illinois.gov/restore.
The Business Development District (BDD), accoding to Greater Taylorville Chamber of Commerce CEO Patty Hornbuckle, is extremely important for the City of Taylorville.
The BDD can cover a variety of different things for businesses within the district, according to Hornbuckle.
The BDD is funded, according to Hornbuckle, by a 1% tax within the district.
Patty Hornbuckle was a guest on the NEWSTALK WTIM Morning Show.
State Republicans highlighted their wishlist for 2021 as the new General Assembly was sworn in on Wednesday. The Representatives took the oath of office in front of Appellate Judge Mary K. O’Brien of the Illinois Third District. State Representative Avery Bourne pushed for transparency in 2021.
State Representative Brad Halbrook says that changes have to come to the Illinois unemployment issues and FOID issues.
January 13th was the Inauguration Day for the 102nd Illinois General Assembly. The House and Senate just finished a 5 day grueling lame-duck session.
Findlay Assistant Fire Chief Jason Fleshner has been a volunteer firefighter for twenty years and he got involved partially because of his father-in-law.
When he started out as a firefighter Fleshner says that he had no idea what he was doing.
Fleshner says that the Findlay Volunteer Fire Department is taking a variety of different precautions to protect everyone from COVID-19.
The Findlay Volunteer Fire Department, according to Fleshner is also in need of additional volunteer firefighters.
Findlay Assistant Fire Chief Jason Fleshner was a guest on the NEWSTALK WTIM Morning Show during the Findlay and Bethany Home Town Tour.
US House of Representative Rodney Davis said he was mortified over the events that happened at the US Capital earlier in January when the US Capital was overrun by supporters of President Trump. Representative Davis thought it was going to be a normal day and had no idea things were going to turn out the way that they did with him locked down for over 5 hours.
Davis said that during the debates over the Electoral College is when things started to break down.
It was during that time when the members of the house were trying to escape that the Capitol Police really stepped up and saved their lives.
Rodney Davis appeared as a guest on the NewsTalk WTIM morning show.
COVID-19 has had a huge impact on the economy in the Village of Bethany, according to Mayor John Book.
Budget cuts from the State of Illinois could potentially have a huge impact on the village, according to Mayor Book.
Mayor Book has been Mayor of Bethany for approximately two years now.
Mayor Book has a variety of different goals for 2021 for the Village of Bethany.
Bethany Mayor John Book was a guest on the NEWSTALK WTIM Morning Show during the Findlay and Bethany Home Town Tour.
As Legislators wrapped up the lame-duck session and a new General Assembly was sworn in, many questions came in concerning one of the more controversial bills that were passed by both the House and the Senate, the police reform bill. Many police stations went on social media to post their frustration with the bill in what many Law Enforcement agencies are saying will make communities less safe.
The Pana Police Department posted to their Facebook page saying that many of the new rules that will be put in place, the department already does including body cameras and training on the use of force. The bill when introduced into law will be introduced in stages so it will not be an overnight change. This will allow Departments to catch up and have time to get in compliance.
Patrick Windhorst, a Representative of Metropolis in Southern Illinois says that the bill will decrease public safety.
Jack Campbell, Sangamon County Sheriff, did not mince words. In a press release issued on Thursday morning, the Sheriff voiced frustration over what he felt would negatively impact safety.
“By now you have heard of the devastating legislation passed in the middle of the night, that will negatively impact your safety. Law Enforcement agencies, many legislators and partners across the state, fought this legislation. Unfortunately, many uninformed legislators, after changing the bill number to cause confusion, adding more eviscerating language and leaving no time for review, rushed it to a vote. The sponsors were unable to answer simple questions about their own bill during testimony.”
State Senator Andy Manar, who voted yes for it said in a statement that he had originally opposed the original bill after talking to multiple state agencies but after talking to the bill sponsors they were able to get some parts of the bill amended. Manar said the original bill “would have eliminated significant collective bargaining rights for law enforcement employees; 2) the bill would have eliminated qualified immunity for law enforcement employees while exercising their sworn duties; 3) the bill would have financially penalized units of local government that do not implement police body cameras under strict parameters (de-funding police departments); 4) the bill would have implemented sweeping changes for pre-trial services for individuals who have been charged with crimes.”
Representative Justin Slaughter spoke during the presentation of the bill. He said that it is time for change.
After many modifications, Senator Manar says that the bill has been changed from what was previously pushed through, preserving collective bargaining rights, qualified immunity for law enforcement was preserved, funding changes were removed, and de-funding a police department’s ability to purchase body cameras was also removed. Because the bill is being put in through stages, some of the bill won’t even go into effect until January 1st, 2023 to give police departments time to buy body cameras and other equipment that they may need to comply with the new law if Governor Pritzker signs it.
The bill will also support victims of crimes by expanding portions of the Crime Victims Compensation Act. While Governor Pritzker, has not come out fully saying that he will sign the bill verbatim, he did release a statement praising the legislation saying, “I've long held that an essential mark of good governance is a willingness to change the laws that have failed the people of Illinois.”
Christian County Public Health is holding a drive-thru COVID-19 vaccination clinic for those citizens in Christian County 65 and over. The vaccinations will be conducted on Tuesday, January 19th from 9AM until 3 PM on a first come first, serve basis. There are approximately 300 doses on hand. The vaccination clinic will be held at the Christian County Fairgrounds in Taylorville and you can access the clinic through the East entrance of the fairgrounds off of West Main Cross Street from Houston Street.
When the doses are gone, the vaccination site will be closed. It is expected that the Chris-Mont EMA will be holding a vaccine clinic every week with the low dose volume currently available. When more doses become available it will be distributed. Stay tuned to www.taylorvilledailynews.com for future updates.
For anyone that has been asking questions, the Chris-Mont EMA says it is a very fluid situation and changing every day. The clinic is for those 65 and older. You can not receive the shot if you are currently under quarantine. If you have a history of serious allergies to injections, contact your healthcare provider. Pregnant women are encouraged to also consult their doctor before getting it. Wear a mask at all times on site. You can obtain a vaccination form at any Casey’s in Christian County or the Ayerco station in Edinburg. You can also print one from the Chris-Mont EMA or at www.chirstiancountyil.com.
There will be a 15 minute holding period while parked in your car after the vaccination for monitoring in case a situation may arise. For more information, please contact the Chris-Mont EMA or your local healthcare provider.
Ag in the Classroom Coordinator for the University of Illinois Extension Office, Rebecca Livingston, is hoping that she’ll be able to return to the classroom this fall.
The future is always at the top of Livingston’s mind.
Livingston is so passionate about agriculture because farming is in her blood.
One of the most exciting projects is with local FFA groups doing question and answer sessions for kids.
Rebecca Livingston was a guest on the NEWSTALK WTIM Morning Show.
The Taylorville School District, according to Superintendent Dr. Chris Dougherty, is excited to finally have students back in the classroom.
Dr. Dougherty says that the first two days of hybrid learning couldn’t have gone any better.
The Taylorville School District is doing a number of different things to keep staff and students safe from COVID-19 while on campus.
Dr. Dougherty went on to say that the teachers have really stepped up this school year.
Dr. Chris Dougherty was a guest on the NEWSTALK WTIM Morning Show.
The 102nd General Assembly was sworn in Wednesday with Don Harmon being reelected as President of the Illinois Senate. Harmon promised to continue delivering results for the people of Illinois and calling on the Senate to focus on jobs and justice. Senator Harmon vowed to continue working forward through the pandemic.
Senator Harmon wants to continue to foster an environment where people can have jobs and justice for all with fundamental fairness.
Senator Harmon says at the end of the day every Senator is different but they all need to work together for Illinois.
Harmon’s term as president which is his first full term runs for two years. Chris Welch was also appointed as Speaker of the House of Representatives. He replaces Michael Madigan who had previously held that position every year except for two since 1983.
Connie Young, the Sales Director at Life’s Journey Senior Living wants to see seniors have the best life that they possibly can.
Young says that it’s important for seniors to maintain mobility as long as possible.
There are a number of different things you can do at home to keep up with your mobility, according to Young.
When it comes to addressing the issue of loneliness, Young says that a pet can sometimes make a huge difference.
Connie Young was a guest on the NEWSTALK WTIM Morning Show.
In a 60-50 approval, the State House concurred with the State Senate to approve House Bill 3653, a bill that will bring sweeping change to police reform. Some of the changes to police reform that are included in that bill are elimination of cash bail, prohibition for purchasing militaristic equipment, police body cameras for all officers, eliminating qualified immunity for individual police officers, potentially exposing them to civil lawsuits, and eliminating the felony murder charge.
Representative Avery Bourne, says that the process that pushed it through was unacceptable.
Representative Bourne believes that since this was two bills merged into one, it will make it hard for law enforcement to enforce it.
At the end of the day Representative Bourne agreed that the whole process seemed rushed.
Representative Sue Scherer voted in favor of the police reform bill. She was unavailable for comment. The bill now heads to Governor JB Pritzker’s desk for final signature.
A criminal justice reform package will head to the house floor after being approved by the Illinois Senate. The bill was brought to the Senate floor around 3:40 AM and voted on at 4:49 with debate taking place for roughly 45 minutes. The bill itself is 764 pages long.
Some of the changes to police reform that are included in that bill are the elimination of cash bail, prohibition for purchasing militaristic equipment, police body cameras for all officers, eliminating qualified immunity for individual police officers, potentially exposing them to civil lawsuits, and eliminating the felony murder charge.
Concern from some Senators in Illinois was the timing and the fact that there wasn’t enough time to review the entire document in such a short time. Senator Chapin Rose posted on Facebook saying,
“After multiple versions on multiple different bills with countless changes over 3 days, Dems filed their final Defund Police Bill of 764 pages at 3:04 a.m. to HB 3653 ... debate started at 4:02 a.m. I am telling you right now, not a single person in this Senate Chamber knows what the final provisions of this bill are. Citizens of Illinois - ask those who vote Yes - how could they possibly digest 764 pages in less than an hour? I'm voting NO!”
State Senator Andy Manar, who voted yes on the bill, was unavailable for comment. Supporters of the bill say that police reform has been needed for a while and that this will help towards ending systemic racism.
The Illinois Law Enforcement Coalition says that the bill makes Illinois less safe, arguing that more than 112,000 citizens so far have signed a petition to oppose the legislation. The Coalition also said that they had been working on a bill with the Attorney General but that it was scrapped. There is also concern that there is no money included in the bill to pay for all of these new measures so taxpayers will have to pay more.
The bill passed the Senate 32-23. It now heads to the house for a concurrent vote. If you would like to look at the bill in its entirety, click here.
The 764 page bill--Photo Courtesy of Chapin Rose
State Senator Chapin Rose discussed some of the actions taking place during the lame-duck session in Springfield. Rose says the biggest frustration is that there is nothing going on.
Senator Rose says there is still a lot of discussions that need to take place especially on COVID relief before the sessions end on January 13th.
Senator Chapin Rose represents the 51st district which covers all or parts of Mclean, Dewitt, Macon, Shelby, Moultrie, and other counties.
Speaker Madigan’s decision to suspend his race for Speaker cis be one of two things, according to Dr. Kent Redfield who is the Professor Emeritus of Political Science at the University of Illinois Springfield.
Dr. Redfield went on to say that this could be a face saving move by Speaker Madigan.
There are a number of individuals who could end up as Speaker, but the difficulty, according to Dr. Redfield, is the huge number of different caucuses.
Dr. Kent Redfield was a guest on the NEWSTALK WTIM Morning Show.
State Senator Steve McClure spoke on the lame-duck sessions and says that he is excited to be back in session for the first time since May. Senator McClure says that the issues that the Republican party would like to see haven’t been brought to the forefront of the discussion. The Senator also said that legislation on police reform has been less than adequate especially with the potential of removal of cash bail.
Senator McClure says that he is not opposed to the bail system but believes this is being rushed through.
At the end of the day, Senator McClure wants better clearer language in the bill.
State Senator Steve McClure represents parts of Macoupin, Madison, Jersey, and Sangamon and other counties.
The Taylorville Park District, according to Recreation Director Bailey Hancock, has big plans for 2021.
One of the first things that the Park District, according to Hancock, will be working on is upgrading a few of the ball diamonds.
Hancock says that one of the biggest projects on the agenda for the Taylorville Park District this year will be the pool.
Once they settle on an engineer, Hancock says that they’ll go to work figuring out exactly what the issues with the pool are.
Bailey Hancock was a guest on the NEWSTALK WTIM Morning Show.
Shelby Electric announced earlier this week via Facebook that there will be select power outages in the Central Illinois listening area. According to a Facebook message from Shelby Electric, the outage will take place from 10 AM until 4 PM on Wednesday, January 13th.
The entire Pana substation will be turned off to move power back to a permanent feed following repairs to allow for upgraded capacity. The outage will move the feed back to an upgraded transformer. Construction Crews are expecting it to take up to 6 hours but hopeful to get it done sooner.
Those affected should have received an automated call. The outage is for those who are served by the Pana substation only. For more information, please call 774-3986 or 1-800-677-2612.
The Centers For Disease Control announced that they are now recommending that states offer the COVID-19 vaccination to anyone 65 and older and Chris-Mont EMA Deputy Director Kevin Schott says that’s what they’ll be doing.
The Christian County Health Department along with the Chris-Mont EMA will be holding a drive-thru COVID-19 vaccination clinic for those 65 and older on Tuesday, January 19th at the Christian County Fair Grounds from 9-3.
Schott anticipates getting approximately 300 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine each week. If you are interested in getting the COVID-19 vaccine you need to go to the nearest Caseys General Store or download and print the necessary paperwork off of the Chris-Mont EMA’s or the Christian County Public Health Department Facebook Page and bring that filled out with you to the fair grounds.
It’s important that the documents are filled out before you arrive to the fair grounds to help keep things moving and Schott went on to say that when you arrive at the fair grounds, just follow the signs.
Schott went on to encourage everyone who is concerned about receiving the COVID-19 vaccine to reconsider because Schott says that there is no reason to be concerned about the vaccine.
Kevin Schott was a guest on the NEWSTALK WTIM Morning Show.
Safe Passage Program Coordinator Denise Evans has been hearing from communities all across Central Illinois about helping bring the program to their community.
The community of Gillespie has also shown interest in the Safe Passage Program, according to Evans.
Evans is also working with the Salvation Army to bring the Safe Passage Program to Springfield.
The Safe Passage Program just a few weeks ago started up once again in Kincaid and Evans says that they’re already having an impact.
Denise Evans was a guest on the NEWSTALK WTIM Morning Show.
Monday was human trafficking awareness day. The Department of Children and Family Services wants to alert citizens of some of the warning signs of child trafficking. According to DCFS, the average age of someone who is trafficked is 14.
DCFS partners with the FBI, and multiple government entities to solve the case and help find the child. In 2020, DCFS investigated 239 allegations of trafficking of children, though many experts feel the actual number was higher than that. Often victims do not seek help because they are scared, distrust the law, or become trusting of their abductor.
Warning signs of trafficked children might include having an adult control them by speaking for them, seem out of place given the time of day or night, look disheveled or dressed in clothes they couldn’t afford to buy, show signs of physical abuse such as bruising or red marks, not possess any ID, or perform inappropriate work for their age.
If you believe a child has been trafficked or is in danger of being trafficked, please contact 9-1-1 or the Child Abuse Hotline at 1-800-25-ABUSE or (800-252-2873).
The Central A&M School District started the 2nd semester with one week of remote learning and Superintendent Dr. DeAnn Heck says that it went well, but she’s excited to have kids back in the classroom.
Dr. Heck says that they do have a few staff members who are quarantined because of COVID-19.
One of the reasons as to why Central A&M started the 2nd semester remote is because of the issues that they and other school districts have had when it comes to contact tracing.
Another concern that Dr. Heck has is having enough substitute teachers to be able to cover any teachers that have to quarantine.
Dr. DeAnn Heck was a guest on the NEWSTALK WTIM Morning Show.
The Taylorville School Board met virtually on Monday evening for their monthly meeting. The board held a public hearing to discuss increasing the working cash bonds to increase the cash fund for the district following the budget hit from the pandemic. Business Manager Wendy Dulakis explained the process.
The resolution is set to be voted and adopted at the February meeting.
Superintendent Dr. Chris Dougherty announced that students came back to hybrid learning today.
IDPH is looking at reducing COVID quarantine times from 14 days to 7 days.
The Superintendent’s Contract was extended and the Superintendent and administration team received a 3% raise to go in accordance with what was agreed upon in the executive session. Dr. Dougherty says that the school district will be receiving help for COVID relief from the Federal Government.
The vote passed 6-0 with one abstention. The next School Board meeting is set for February 8th.
Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan today suspended his campaign for Speaker of the House. Illinois State Representative Avery Bourne explained the process that both the Republican and Democrat caucus went through yesterday and outlined where things stand right now.
The State House is operating out of the Bank of Springfield Center in Springfield and Rep. Bourne says that Speaker Madigan has things locked down so tight that members of the media have to be escorted to the bathroom.
One of the biggest topics of conversations in Springfield over the next few days will be the Police Reform Bill, House Bill 163. Rep. Bourne says that she is completely opposed to this bill and that it would all but end the law enforcement profession in Illinois as we know it.
Governor Pritzker over the weekend announced that he doesn’t want to implement COVID-19 relief for small businesses. Rep. Bourne says that this shows the Governor’s priorities are with increasing tax revenue instead of saving small businesses.
Illinois State Rep. Avery Bourne was a guest on the NEWSTALK WTIM Morning Show.
After Governor JB Pritzker announced that he is freezing a new set of state business tax credits that could help small businesses recover from COVID, Republican Representatives are upset, saying that too many businesses are suffering that need the help. Governor Pritzker also called for decoupling the Illinois tax law from recently enacted federal business tax changes that would cost Illinois in excess of $500 million. They were scheduled to take effect on January 1st of this year. Representative Avery Bourne says she doesn’t understand why since it had full bipartisan support.
Representative Bourne says that they have too many businesses still asking for help.
The state tax credits would have cost the state over $20 million a year and were authorized in 2019 as part of a series of tax changes.
Governor Pritzker says that “Right now, we cannot afford to expand tax breaks to businesses that already receive tax breaks. As we recover from the pandemic, we must focus on job creation and balancing our state budget. I am confident in our ability to grow our economy and put our state on firmer fiscal footing.”
The Central Illinois Food Bank is hosting drive-thru food distributions all over Central Illinois over the next few weeks, according to Public Relations Manager Beth Wakefield.
Wakefield went on to discuss how the Central Illinois Food Bank also has the food locator app on their website, centralilfoodbank.org, that you can use to find a food bank near you.
You can also text “Find Food” to the Central Illinois Food Bank at 855-536-6320 to find food in your local community.
If you have a need for food, Wakefield says that there are options in your community.
Beth Wakefield was a guest on the NEWSTALK WTIM Morning Show.
There will be a Taylorville School Board meeting Monday evening at 6 PM held virtually. The meeting will be held via zoom, due to the disaster proclamation set by Illinois Governor JB Pritzker. You can send a message to District Secretary Julie LeBeane at firstname.lastname@example.org to get the log-in information.
There will be an open hearing concerning the intent of the Board to sell $15,685,000 working cash fund bonds for the purpose of increasing the working cash fund of the district. After the hearing is complete, the meeting will continue with their regular agenda.
After the approval of claims and a treasurer’s report, the board will go over old business including a recap of strategic planning, a COVID-19 return to school update, and a look at a grant from the USDA. Under new business, the board will look at the adoption of the Christian County Hazards Mitigation Plan, the IASB Policy Updates, and a closed session.
The meeting will conclude with a superintendent report from Dr. Chris Dougherty, and the next school board meeting is set for February 8th. For a full look at the agenda click here.
The COVID-19 pandemic has entered month number 10 and the Shelby County Community Services Clinical Director, Ed Lacheta, said that it has been very stressful for everybody.
Self care during the COVID-19 pandemic is crucial, according to Lacheta.
Another crucial part of staying healthy during these difficult times, according to Lacheta, is making sure that you get plenty of sleep each and every day.
If you don’t see yourself improving, then Lacheta says that it may be time to get some help.
Ed Lacheta was a guest on the NEWSTALK WTIM Morning Show.
A police reform bill that has been discussed at the lame duck session taking place in Springfield has both sides of the aisle weighing the pros and cons of it. Advocates for the bill say that police brutality has gotten out of control and there are not enough checks and balances on law enforcement. House Bill 163 would amend the acceptable forms of force by officers, banning chokeholds and restraints that can restrict breathing as well as severely limiting the situations where deadly force is authorized. The bill would also enforce body cameras on every police officer. Senator Kimberly Lightford says that they support police officers but something has to change.
Senator Elgie Sims says that nothing has been done for too long and there needs to be change to the way that policing is done.
Those against the bill say that the bill prohibits pre-trial detention when an offender poses a danger to the community at large, will significantly limit offenders being detained which will pose a risk to victims, witnesses, and the community, impedes any law enforcement investigation, severely limits accountability for accomplices to murder by amending the felony murder rule, and removes all due process protections for police officers. Illinois Association of Chiefs of Police President Chief James Black says that this bill will strip police of legal protections.
Senator John Curran says that the bill implies that the police are the enemy of the state. “Quite simply, this legislation, if adopted, is just as bad as ‘Defunding the Police’ and will make our communities less safe and make us all more vulnerable to criminal acts.”
Many representatives feel the bill is being rushed. There is also no monetary support for police forces to get body cameras for all their officers, something that Chief James Black says is impossible to due in this time of COVID-19. The “lame duck” session runs until January 13th. The amendment for the bill is nearly 600 pages long. To view the full amendment click here.
The Christian County CEO Program is back to meeting in person, according to the CEO of the Greater Taylorville Chamber of Commerce, Patty Hornbuckle.
Hornbuckle went on to discuss how the CEO students are figuring out what they’re going to do for their second class business.
Hornbuckle is also excited about Small Town Taylorville saying that it’s going to be a really big deal moving forward.
The Small Town Taylorville Committee meets on a weekly basis and currently they’re working on getting the website up and going.
Patty Hornbuckle was a guest on the NEWSTALK WTIM Morning Show.
A group of community colleges have teamed up to try and launch the Central Illinois Manfacturing Academy that in part would offer specialized training for manfacturing companies. Greater Taylorville Chamber CEO Patty Hornbuckle says that it would be funded by a grant through the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO).
Hornbuckle went on to discuss the difficulty that manfacturing companies have in getting their employees trained to handle the upper level jobs.
The Central Illinois Manfacturing Academy would be located in East Peoria.
Local manfacturing businesses would have access to the academy, according to Hornbuckle, to get their current employees trained.
Patty Hornbuckle was a guest on the NEWSTALK WTIM Morning Show.
With the lame duck session taking place next week, Avery Bourne is hoping to see some transparency towards the public for what goals the legislature has for 2021. The state has a nearly $4 billion budget deficit and many social issues are expected to be brought up. Bourne says it’s all about accountability.
Bourne says that she hopes that the Democrats don’t try to push a tax increase but instead look at cutting spending.
The last time legislature was able to meet was in May of 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Central Illinois Food Bank last week received an an anonymous donation of $500,000. Public Relations Manager Beth Wakefield says that they’re working on a plan so that money can help serve the most people in need within the Central Illinois Food Bank service area.
Wakefield says that they’re so thankful for the donation.
That’s not the only donation that the Central Illinois Food Bank has received, according to Wakefield. A Springfield based author, Teressa Shelton, is donating the proceeds from her book, “The Sergeant's Daughter” to the Central Illinois Food Bank and Habitat For Humanity.
Wakefield went on to discuss how you can pickup Shelton’s book on Amazon or at Barnes and Noble.
Beth Wakefield was a guest on the NEWSTALK WTIM Morning Show.
Missions For Taylorville continue to help those who need it. Steven Tirpak, who lost almost everything in the 2018 December tornado, was given some furniture today from Missions For Taylorville at the Gagne Building. Tirpak says that the community has been phenomenal.
Tirpak says that he is so appreciative of everything that people have done.
For more information on Missions For Taylorville and how you can help, visit the group’s Facebook page.
From Left to Right Larry Budd, Jim Olive, Steven Tirpak, Mayor Bruce Barry
The University of Illinois Extension Office, according to Horticulture Educator Andrew Holsinger, is busy with a variety of different virtual programs over the next few months including with the 4 Seasons Gardening Webinar Series that will tackle the topic of Fruit Tree Pruning on Tuesday, January 19th at 1:30.
There are a variety of different things that you need to know before you prune your fruit tree, according to Holsinger.
On February 9th at 1:30 Holsinger will be hosting a program all about starting seeds.
Holsinger went on to discuss how starting seeds has become a lot more popular over the past several years.
Andrew Holsinger was a guest on the NEWSTALK WTIM Morning Show.
Illinois State Representative Avery Bourne says that the upcoming legislative session should be all about accountability.
Something that may be looked at, according to Rep. Bourne, is a bill to allow the legislature to meet remotely. Rep. Bourne thinks that the bill needs to be very narrowly tailored.
A tax increase during the upcoming legislative session is very possible, according to Rep. Bourne.
Rep. Bourne says that any potential budget cuts need to start with Governor Pritzker’s agencies.
Avery Bourne was a guest on the NEWSTALK WTIM Morning Show.
As the winter season is here and the weather gets colder, the possibility of more slips and falls from ice and snow can become a real threat. Staying safe this winter can help you avoid surgery, and more importantly help you avoid a potentially dangerous injury. Dr. Sujal Desai, an orthopedic surgeon with OSF Healthcare says that keeping your bones safe, can go a long way to prevent issues from breaking.
Common injuries from falls include torn ligaments, broken bones, sprains, strains, and according to Dr. Desai, rotator cuff tears.
If you hear a pop or a tear you should seek help and definitely treat it from home as soon as possible.
You can take preventative measures to avoid a fall.
If you experience a fall that causes pain that continues for more than 48 hours, go to your nearest emergency room or make an appointment with your primary care physician.
Taylorville Memorial Hospital President and CEO Kim Bourne says that approximately 70-80% of staff and almost 100% of physicians across Memorial Health System are willing to take the COVID-19 vaccine.
As of yesterday morning, almost 60% of staff willing to take the vaccine have been vaccinated, according to Bourne.
Bourne went on to share a conversation with Memorial Health System Chief Medical Officer Dr. Rajesh G. Govindaiah in which he said that you can choose to get immunity from COVID-19 by taking the vaccine or by taking the risk of getting the coronavirus.
Vaccines have been around for decades and Bourne is thankful that there’s a COVID-19 vaccine to help give us that immunity.
For more information on the COVID-19 vaccines, please click here. Kim Bourne was a guest on the NEWSTALK WTIM Morning Show.
The Essex Wiring Building in Pana has been sold to the Illinois Emergency Management Agency. Joe Curvey sold the building to the state. Curvey says that the State has a need for warehousing and have bought multiple buildings throughout the state.
Curvey says that while there are some similarities to residential and commercial selling, it’s quite different as well.
Joe Curvey says the sale went through last week, and IEMA has already started moving stuff into the building.
Illinois Congressman Rodney Davis believes that the GOP should have won both of the Senate runoffs in Georgia, but because of the Republican infighting, it looks like the Democrats were able to pick them both up and gain control of the US Senate.
Some wish to blame President Trump for the GOP defeat in Georgia, but Rep. Davis says that it’s impossible to blame just one person.
The recent runoff election in Georgia isn’t the only thing that’s on the mind of Rep. Davis. The issues with the distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine, according to Congressman Davis are very similar to the early issues with distributing PPE and sanitizer.
Rep. Davis has a few priorities for the next Congress including passing a much-needed infrastructure bill and passing his Social Security Fairness Act.
Congressman Rodney Davis was a guest on the NEWSTALK WTIM Morning Show.
The popular Conservation Reserve Program has its general sign-ups open from now until February 12th. This program is administered by the USDA’s Farm Service Agency and provides annual rental payments for land devoted to conservation purposes.
Through the CRP, farmers and ranchers can establish long-term, resource-conserving plant species including grass and trees to control soil erosion, improve the quality of water, and enhance wildlife habitat on cropland. According to the USDA, Farmers and ranchers who participate in CRP help provide benefits to their local region and the nation’s environment and economy.
CRP Signup is held annually and can be very competitive. New cropland offered in the program must have been planted for four out of six crop years from 2012-2017. Producers with land already enrolled but expiring on September 30th, 2021 can re-enroll this year. Accepted offers will begin on October 1st.
The USDA says that some of the successes of this 35-year program include preventing more than 9 billion tons of soil from eroding, reducing nitrogen and phosphorous runoff relative to annually tilled cropland by 95% and 85%, and sequestering an annual average of 49 million tons of greenhouse gases equal to taking 9 million cars off the road. The program has also created more than 3 million acres of restored wetlands while protecting more than 175,000 stream miles with forest and buffers.
For more information visit farmers.gov/coronavirus.
Kevin Schott is the Chris-Mont EMA Deputy Director and he says that they have started to see a slight uptick in cases of COVID-19 in both Christian and Montgomery County.
Schott says that the COVID-19 numbers aren’t quite down to where they need to be.
The COVID-19 pandemic has been extremely difficult and taxing on the Chris-Mont EMA, according to Schott.
The coronavirus vaccine distribution hasn’t gone as Schott has hoped, but they’re adjusting every day.
Kevin Schott was a guest on the NEWSTALK WTIM Morning Show.
South Fork Superintendent Chris Clark is always concerned about an outbreak of COVID-19, but the holiday season doesn’t play any role in that concern.
The South Fork School District has been contacted by Christian County Public Health and Clark says that roughly 3/5th of the staff at South Fork are interested in taking the vaccine.
Clark is thankful that the South Fork School Board pushed him to give in-person learning a chance.
Clark went on to say that his staff has really stepped up and impressed him so far this school year.
Chris Clark was a guest on the NEWSTALK WTIM Morning Show.
With elections, come the posting and displaying of political signs in public to support your candidates. To follow local ordinances, Taylorville Mayor Bruce Barry has issued a press release regarding the authorized placement of signs and where they cannot be legally placed.
Political signs may not be added to telephone poles or any other type of utility pole, no city-owned property or on city right-of-ways (including boulevards). You may not put political signs on state-owned property or state right-of-ways and no railroad owned property or railroad right-of-ways. Finally, no placement of political signs is allowed on another person’s property without the owner’s permission.
If you have any questions, please contact Taylorville Mayor Bruce Barry at 217-28707946.
Portions of Central Illinois saw a significant amount of snow last week. National Weather Service Warning Coordination Meteorologist Chris Miller says that they were expecting portions of Central Illinois to get 1-3 inches of snow, but not anywhere close to what actually occured.
Some portions of Central Illinois saw, according to Miller, as many as 10 inches of snow.
Central Illinois doesn’t see 6 inches of snow very often, according to Miller.
Miller went on to say that with temperatures holding steady right around freezing it’s having a huge impact on the powerlines.
Chris Miller was a guest on the NEWSTALK WTIM Morning Show.
Illinois Legislators will be returning to Springfield for session for the first time since May on January 8th. House Republicans have been asking to return for a while and have gotten their wish as lawmakers will return to Springfield for 5 days of lame-duck sessions before the 102nd General Assembly is sworn in.
House Speaker Michael Madigan’s Chief of Staff emailed legislators on December 30th that the session would run from January 8th through January 12th and will take place at the Bank of Springfield Center. It is still unclear what the agenda will be from Speaker Madigan but one concern from House Republican Representative Tom Demmer is raising taxes as the democratic majority released over 100 bills to be amended.
House GOP Leader Jim Durkin says that democrats may turn to taxpayers to fix a budget deficit caused by the pandemic, no federal bailout, and the failure of the graduated income tax.
There is some proposed legislation that would let the General Assembly meet remotely in cases of emergency. Supporters of the bill say that the pandemic has highlighted the need for the possibility for remote sessions and Leader Durkin agrees.
Session days last year were extremely limited the last session due to the virus to the point that even the Fall Veto session was canceled. Representative Dan Brady says that we should have an open mind to this.
Other topics expected to be brought up include proposals on police reform and COVID relief.
A lot of people may have added a few additional pounds on during in 2020 because of stress or being quarantined. St. Louis District Dairy Council Registered Dietitian and Nutrition Educator Jill Williams says that it’s not at all surprising.
Williams went on to say that the best way to get back on track is to take a close look at your habits.
If you would like to make improvements to your eating habits, Williams says that you shoudl first look at your eating pattern.
Williams also said that you need to look at what you are eating and you need to make sure that you’re eating from every major food group.
Jill Williams was a guest on the NEWSTALK WTIM Morning Show.
The Taylorville Police Department, according to Chief Dwayne Wheeler, adapted well to an extremely difficult 2020.
Chief Wheeler does worry about his officers getting sick, but he is hopeful that this year is better than last year.
Chief Wheeler would like to do something to improve the technology that TPD has and he is also thankful for all of the community support that TPD receives.
One piece of technology that TPD will be getting in 2021 is a new computer system that Chief Wheeler says will have a huge impact.
Taylorville Police Chief Dwayne Wheeler was a guest on the NEWSTALK WTIM Morning Show during the Taylorville Hometown Tour.
The Taylorville School District, according to Superintendent Dr. Chris Dougherty will have three days of remote learning starting on Wednesday, January 6th and then students will return to campus for hybrid learning starting on Monday, January 11th.
Dr. Dougherty is hoping for improved health in the community in 2021 and is excited to get students back on campus next week.
The staff of the Taylorville School District will soon be able to receive the COVID-19 vaccine and Dr. Dougherty says that they’re in process of surveying staff and she expects about 50% of the school district staff to signup to receive the COVID-19 vaccine.
Dr. Dougherty went on to discuss the vital importance of the social and emotional counselors for the school district.
Taylorville Superintendent Dr. Chris Dougherty was a guest on the NEWSTALK WTIM Morning Show during the Taylorville Hometown Tour.
The Taylorville Fire Department, according to Fire Chief Matt Adermann had a crazy 2020. It was the busiest year that the Fire Department has ever had.
Chief Adermann took a variety of different steps to keep his staff safe from COVID-19.
Last week the Taylorville Fire Department was called out to an incident involving a grain bin in Stonington. Chief Adermann says that everyone made it out alright and that incidents involving grain bins are happening a lot more often.
Chief Adermann says that he wouldn’t have gotten through this past year without the support of the city and the other members of the fire department.
Taylorville Fire Chief Matt Adermann was a guest on the NEWSTALK WTIM Morning Show during the Taylorville Hometown Tour.
2020 was a rough year for everyone, but Taylorville Mayor Bruce Barry says that the City of Taylorville is in pretty good shape financially all things considered.
Mayor Barry went on to say how excited he is about the Small Town Taylorville committee.
The Mayor has a variety of goals for 2021 for the City of Taylorville, but his first goal is to get more businesses in the downtown area.
Despite 2020 being a difficult year, Taylorville saw a number of different businesses come to the area. Mayor Barry suspects that is due to the Business Development District.
Taylorville Mayor Bruce Barry was a guest on the NEWSTALK WTIM Morning Show during the Taylorville Hometown Tour.
Taylorville City Council met on Monday evening to discuss business and the main topic of discussion was sewer lines. The motion was brought to the floor that had been worked on in committee about the bill being split in half between resident and the city but Aldermen Larry Budd had some concerns on it over how much the City of Taylorville should be responsible for.
Alderman Ernie Dorchinecz rebutted saying that actually this does more for the people than previous ordinances had.
Attorney Rocki Romano was asked about clarifying Alderman Dorchinecz’s points. Romano agreed.
The motion passed 6-2 with Aldermen Jim Olive and Alderman Larry Budd voting no. A motion was also approved to approve a permanent boat dock on Lake Taylorville at 2701 Eastwood Drive. Mayor Bruce Barry thanked State Senator Andy Manar for all of his help for Taylorville during his time in office. Manar is resigning from the Senate to take a Senior Advisor position in Governor JB Pritzker’s office. Mayor Barry also says that it is time to start cleaning up the individual wards.
The next city council meeting is set for January 18th.
Senator Andy Manar has been appointed by Illinois Governor JB Pritzker as his Senior Advisor. Governor Pritzker made the announcement on Monday afternoon about an hour after Senator Manar made his announcement that he’s retiring.
Governor Pritzker praised Senator Manar in a series of tweets saying, “Andy Manar has been one of the most thoughtful and successful lawmakers of his generation, and I’m proud to announce he’s joining our administration to serve as senior advisor, bringing a wealth of experience and accomplishments on vital issues in Illinois. Andy Manar has done so much to improve the lives of working families. He led the effort to reform our school funding formula, made insulin cheaper for millions, led efforts to reform election laws & oversaw the appropriations committee during challenging times. Any of those accomplishments would be hailed as a career capstone and Senator Manar has too many to name. I value his insights and look forward to him joining my administration as we overcome this pandemic and rebuild Illinois together.”
Senator Manar announced on Monday that he will be resigning his position as Senator of the 48th District on January 17th.
Senator Andy Manar has announced his resignation from the Illinois State Senate. Senator Manar who has been in office for 8 years with more than 22 in public service, announced that he will be resigning on January 17th.
Senator Manar was first elected to the Bunker Hill City Council at the age of 21 in 1997. He was elected Mayor of Bunker Hill in 2001 and Chaired the Macoupin County Board until his election to the Senate in 2012.
Senator Manar has passed numerous laws that have had an impact on Illinois families including Automatic Voter Registration, a statewide minimum wage for teachers, elimination of police ticket quotas, capping out of pocket insulin costs at $100 per month, and the first-ever regulation of pharmacy benefit managers.
Senator Manar says that his most defining piece of legislation was school funding reform. For decades, Illinois was the worst-ranked state for its contributions to school funding, and over the course of four years, Senator Manar established the Evidence-Based Funding for Student Success Act.
During his time with the Senate Appropriations Committee, Senator Manar secured funds for infrastructure investment for local communities not only in places like Macoupin and Bunker Hill but also for Decatur, Litchfield, and Carlinville.
Recognized with multiple awards and recognitions, Senator Manar received the Dawn Clark Netsch “Straight Talk Award, The President’s Award, Vince Demuzio Legislator of the Year Award, 2019 Friend of Education award, and the 2016 Wall of Honor Inductee at Bunker Hill High School.
This is a breaking news story. We will have more on this as it develops. A replacement to fill the vacancy in the 48th Legislative District will be chosen by the Democratic Party Chairs in Christian, Macon, Macoupin, Madison, Montgomery, and Sangamon Counties.
January is Radon Action Month. This is the message from the Illinois Emergency Management agency. The IEMA says that now is the timem to test your home for radon as most radon health related risks are preventable with a simple home detection test.
Radon is a naturally occuring radioactive gas that is the second-leading cause of lung cancer in the United States. Radon is part of a breakdown of uranium and radium in the soil and is odorless, colorless,tasteless, and a gas. It is found all over the US and is in the air that we breathe in buildings, homes, and offices. If it is not taken care of it can cause major health concerns. According to the IEMA more than 1,100 people in Illinois develop radon-related lung cancer each year.
IEMA alongside the American Lung Assocation in Illinois are teaming up to increase public awareness of radon risks and ways to reduce radon exposure. A new statewide contest will feature Illinois High School Students that should create a 30 second commercial style video while the Radon Poster Contest asks middle school students to make a poster encouraging people to test their homes for Radon.
For more information please visit IEMA's radon website at www.radon.illinois.gov. You can also get more information at IEMA's Radon hotoline at 1-800-325-1245.
Taylorville City Council is set to meet on Monday evening at 7 PM at the Municipal Building for their first meeting of 2021. Not a lot is on the agenda for the January meeting as there were no committee meetings this last month due to the Christmas holiday. The building sewer repairs will be discussed along with a motion to approve the permanent boat dock on Lake Taylorville at 2701 Eastwood Drive.
The meeting will have City Attorney Updates and Mayoral updates along with a public comment section. The meeting will also approve the payment of bills. Stay tuned to Regional Radio News for more on this after the meeting is over.
The University of Illinois created what Illinois State Senator Chapin Rose calls a Shield Test, which is a COVID-19 test that comes back within 4 hours. Because of that Shield Test Senator Rose says that the positivity rate around Champaign County has dropped to right around 2%.
Senator Rose went on to say that Governor Pritzker has had the authority since May to take the Shield Test and offer it across all over Illinois.
The entire state of Illinois could be down to a 3% COVID-19 positivity rate within 3 weeks with this test, according to Senator Rose.
The University wouldn’t be able to offer the Shield Test, according to Senator Rose, outside of Illinois.
Illinois State Senator Chapin Rose was a guest on the NEWSTALK WTIM Morning Show.
Although we are in a new year, the effects of COVID-19 are still being felt around the nation. The Macon County Conservation District is working along with the Illinois Department of Public Health in an effort to keep people safe encouraging them to stay home as much as possible, and avoid group gatherings and travel.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Rock Springs Nature Center will be temporarily closed to the public until further notice. In addition, in-person programs and events will be suspended through January. Nature Kits will still be available for curbside pick-up, and virtual programs are still on tap for the winter season.
All conservation areas remain open for hiking. This includes Rock Springs, Fort Daniel, Sand Creek, Friends Creek, and Griswold Conservation Area. Pets are welcome but must be leashed. Macon County Conservation encourages you to social distance from those outside of your household.
For updates and virtual programs, please visit maconcountyconservation.org or follow the Conservation District on Facebook. You can also call them at 423-7708.
Illinois Congressman Rodney Davis says that while there is always concern about the mutating coronavirus, the Congressman is glad to hear that the vaccines are still effective against the new strand of the virus.
What is frustrating to Congressman Davis is the fact that it took so long for the Moderna vaccine to be approved for use.
Mental Health during the COVID-19 pandemic has been a huge concern of Congressman Davis. The Congressman says that the good news is that Congress has passed historic mental health reforms, but there is a lot more work to be done.
The lockdowns have been devastating for a variety of different reasons, but because of the vaccine we will eventually put it all behind us, according to Congressman Davis.
Illinois Congressman Rodney Davis was a guest on the NEWSTALK WTIM Morning Show.
The Illinois minimum wage increased to $11 on Friday, The Illinois Department of Labor is encouraging all employees that get paid hourly to check their paychecks to ensure that time worked in 2021 is paid at the new rate. The law that was signed into effect in 2019 by Governor JB Pritzker will increase the minimum wage slowly to $15 by 2025.
8 States and Washington DC all have laws slowly working towards $15 an hour. Minimum wage earners received two pay increases in 2020. One for $9.25 in January and one in July for $10. The minimum wage will continue to increase an additional $1 an hour each January 1st until it reaches $15/hr in 2025.
Illinois has not seen a minimum increase wage since 2010 when it was raised to $8.25. Cook County's minimum wage is $13/hr while the City of Chicago minimum wage is $13.50 an hour for small employers of up to 20 employees and $14 for large employers with more than 20 employees.
As far as waitstaff is concerned, the new law maintains provisions for employers to count gratuities to offset wages for workers who regularly earn tips. Tipped employees may be paid 60% of the hourly minimum wage and the employer must make up the difference to earn that minimum wage.
For minimum wage employees under the age of 18 who work fewer than 650 hours, minimum wage is $8.50/hr which will rise to $13/hr by 2025.
If you feel you are being underpaid or have an issue with minimum wage please call the Illinois Department of Labor at 312-793-2800.
The job of Christian County Clerk is one that has a variety of different tasks, according to Christian County Clerk Michael Gianasi, including elections and vital records.
Clerk Gianasi himself primarily deals with tax extensions.
The Christian County Clerk’s Office also has an accounts payable and payroll department, and Clerk Gianasi also acts as the Clerk of the County Board.
Gianasi became Christian County Clerk after the previous clerk retired.
Christian County Clerk Michael Gianasi was a guest on the NEWSTALK WTIM Morning Show.
Pana Community Hospital will be working with the Decatur Orthopedic Center in collaboration. Trina Casner, President of Pana Community Hospital and CEO says that Dr. Jacob Sams and Dr. Donald Sullivan will be providing high-quality orthopedic services to the Pana area and surrounding communities. Both Dr. Sams and Dr. Sullivan have been in the Decatur and Monticello area over the last 7 years. Casner says she is excited to have them in Pana.
“We completed a brand new OR suite as part of our building project in anticipation of bringing a joint replacement program to Pana and the surrounding communities. I look forward to working with Dr. Sams and Dr. Sullivan to build an orthopedic service exactly like those available in the larger cities.”
The teams at PCH and Decatur Orthopedic Center are working hard to get this service set up and expected to announce the first clinic dates soon.
Two men were rescued from a grain bin incident on Wednesday evening in Stonington. At approximately 6:48 on Wednesday, December 30th, Stonington Fire was notified of a grain bin entrapment in the area of 2225 N 2000 East Road. Stonington Fire rushed to the scene and upon arrival found two men trapped inside. One subject was waste deep and the other shin deep. Both patients were alert and attempting to free themselves from the grain. Less than ten minutes later, Taylorville Fire was dispatched to aid in the rescue.
After climbing to the top of the bin and making contact with both patients, Stonington Fire was able to lower an oxygen bottle to the men. At 7:10 Decatur Fire was dispatched as well. Taylorville Fire arrived at 7:11 and rescue ropes were lowered into the bin. Both patients were able to secure lifelines around themselves to prevent sinking any deeper into the grain.
Once arrived, Decatur Tactical Rescue Team began to help by securing the patients by lowering harnesses into the bin. Both men were able to strap themselves in and at 9:05, a little over 2 hours later, both men were free from the grain, removed from the harnesses and free from the bin.
In a press release issued by The Stonington Fire Protection District, SFPD thanked Dunn’s Ambulance, Taylorville Fire Department the Christian County Sheriff’s Office, Stonington Police Department, Decatur Fire Department Tactical Rescue Team, and the CCSO dispatchers for all of their hard work on Wednesday evening.
Michael Gianasi is the Christian County Clerk and Recorder and he hopes that he never has to experience an election cycle like the November 2020 election ever again.
Gianasi says that there were a number of restrictions placed on his office during the election cycle and that his office's staff was limited during the election as well due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
County Clerk offices around the country processed more mail-in ballots than ever before, and Gianasi said that the process in Christian County went well.
Election security is a hot topic around the country and Gianasi says that the problems that have been discussed in the media are not an issue in Christian County.
Christian County Clerk Michael Gianasi was a guest on the NEWSTALK WTIM Morning Show.
OBGYN appointments are important and reconnecting with your doctor is a good New Year’s resolution that can help keep you safe. Dr. Christina Kramer, an OBGYN with OSF Healthcare says that if you’ve been putting off this appointment, make one and check it off your to-do list.
Dr. Kramer says that a lot of times women are afraid to speak up if there is an issue.
For an exam, normally the Dr. will include a breast exam, an abdominal exam, and a pevlic exam and check for abnormalities. Dr. Kramer says that if you know your family history that is important as well.
For OBGYN appointments Dr. Kramer will usually try to keep the woman as comfortable as possible knowing that OBGYN appointments can oftentimes give women anxiety.
As always make sure you have a checklist for any questions that you have and be active in your own personal health care. For more information contact your regular physician.
The Greater Taylorville Chamber of Commerce held their annual meeting virtually live on NEWSTALK WTIM last week.
Greater Taylorville Chamber CEO Patty Hornbuckle and President Sarah Van Huss co-anchored the meeting with Miller Media Group president Randal J. Miller.
Miller was surprised by Van Huss and Hornbuckle during the live broadcast with the Chamber Volunteer of the Year award.
Van Huss said that she was excited to be able to help Hornbuckle present the award.
Van Huss presented the award to Miller and she went on to say that he has gone above and beyond the call of duty and has worked hard to make sure that the Kiwanis name would not be forgotten.
Van Huss went on to outline all of the wonderful work that Miller has done within the Taylorville community.
Miller said that it is a community effort and that he is both surprised and humbled by this honor.
For more information on the Greater Taylorville Chamber of Commerce please visit taylorvillechamber.com.
All Illinois Secretary of State offices along with Commercial Driver License facilities, and Driver Services facilities will be closed on Friday, January 1st. All other driver facilities have been closed until January 5th due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
CDL facilities are scheduled to reopen on Saturday, January 2nd. Offices and facilities that open Monday through Friday will reopen on Monday, January 4th, and facilities that run from Tuesday through Friday will open on Tuesday, January 5th.
Secretary of State Jesse White has extended all expiration dates to June 1st, 2021 for driver’s licenses/ID cards. As always, you can visit www.cyberdriveillinois.com for services including renewing license plate stickers, obtaining replacement driver’s licenses/ID cards and renewing driver’s licenses.
For more information visit cyberdriveillinois.com.
Every year is a good challenge for Greater Taylorville Chamber CEO Patty Hornbuckle, but this year has been especially difficult.
The Chamber does a lot more than send out e-blasts and talk on the radio, according to Hornbuckle.
There are a number of lessons that can be taken away from 2020, according to Hornbuckle.
Hornbuckle has big plans for the Chamber in 2021 including an extended shop local campaign contest.
Patty Hornbuckle was a guest on the NEWSTALK WTIM Morning Show.