Local News

Crowley Pleads Not Guilty; Tobin Pretrial continued

A former Taylorville youth minister accused of grooming was in court via zoom on Friday and plead not guilty to charges of grooming. Zachary Crowley along with his counsel, Daniel Fultz waived their preliminary hearing, waived arraignment, and plead not guilty. He also requested a trial by jury. 


Pretrial is set for April 29th at 10 AM. The State is still awaiting a forensic evaluation of some electronic devices the state confiscated for evidence. 


In other news from court on Friday in Christian County, Robert T. Tobin of Taylorville is accused of 3 counts of child pornography. He was also in court via Zoom in custody. A negotiated plea in that case was sent to the public defender, Tiffany Senger, but the State is waiting on whether or not the Federal Government will be pressing charges before the plea can be accepted. His pretrial was continued for March 26th. 

WMKR & People's Bank And Trust Recognize Pana Students Of The Month

WMKR along with People's Bank and Trust are proud to recognize the February Students of the Month from Pana High School. Regional Radio News salutes you!




L - R:  Peoples Bank and Trust Representative Laura Dudley; Senior Amanda Hunter; Junior Grace Fitzpatrick; Sophomore Delaney Epley; Freshman Chloe Bland; Peoples Bank and Trust Representative Joani Jones

Sullivan FFA Students Have Learned A Lot From The Program

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


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



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



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



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

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

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



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



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



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


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

Learn The Warning Signs Of Heart Disease

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



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



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



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



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

State Senator Rose Talks Budget, COVID

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



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



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



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



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

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

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

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


 SOPHOMORE Gabrielle Kelm 

Illinois Says Schools Must Take Standardized Tests; No Waivers Allowed

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



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



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



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



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

Taylorville Kiwanis Club Hears from VisionWay Administrator at Weekly Meeting

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


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


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


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


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


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


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

Meridian High School FFA Students Are Excited About Their New Program

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



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



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



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



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

Nokomis FFA Students Gain Many Skills Through Their FFA Program

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



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



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



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



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

Celebrations Continue For Taylorville FFA During National FFA Week

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



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



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



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



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

New Food Benefits Coming To Children

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



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



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



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



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

447 Area Code Coming To Central Illinois

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


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


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


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

Springfield Police Officer Arrested For Sexual Misconduct

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


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


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

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

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



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



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



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



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

Inclement Weather Delays Vaccination Shipments

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



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



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



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


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

Rodney Davis Talks Police Reform

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



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



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



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



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

Christian County Sheriff Investigating Fatal Crash In Edinburg

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

Taylorville FFA Students Highlighted During National FFA Week

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



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



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



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


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

ISP Ramping Up Tickets For Scott's Law Violations

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



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



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



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

Representative Davis Frustrated With Blame Game In Springfield

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



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



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



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


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

This Week Is Grain Bin Safety Week

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


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



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

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



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

Taylorville Teacher Nominated For Prestigious Award

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



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



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



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



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



Benld Man Dies In Vehicle Accident In Macoupin County

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

Taylorville Man Arrested For Solicitation & Meth

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


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

The Giving Plate Providing Meals For Busy Families

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



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



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



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



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

Firnhaber Pushes Her Commitment To Public Safety

Public safety can be quite a commitment but for Martha Firnhaber, police commissioner for Shelbyville, it’s been something she has wanted to do for a long time. Firnhaber didn’t have children but still felt that she had something to give. 



Sitting on the board, Firnhaber has tried to get more people involved in local government.



Firnhaber says that these conversations need to be had so people can participate. 



Firnhaber says as police commissioner it’s hard to keep emotion out of her opinion, but she tries to do what she feels is right for the city.



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

Avery Bourne Discusses Agenda For 2021

For 2021, Representative Avery Bourne is keeping busy with four plans for what she wants to focus on including ethics reform and some criminal justice issues.



Bourne is excited for committee assignments to start soon and is looking forward to the committees that she is on.



For more information or to reach Avery Bourne’s office, call 324-5200.

HSHS Reporting Flu Cases Down This Year

While January and February are usually heavy with strep, flu, and other winter illnesses, Influenza cases are down and for Advanced Practitioner Registered Nurse Wendy Dorworth of HSHS Medical Group, it is definitely noticeable this year. Flu cases are at an all time low with HSHS Medical Group clinics reporting less than 50 since the beginning of September. Dorworth says that it all starts with protection from COVID.



Dorworth says that it’s not just the flu that has dropped in severity.



Dorworth believes that masks will become a part of our normal life moving forward.



Dorworth says to keep up with handwashing and staying home when sick to keep the spread of illness at bay. Last winter HSHS reported over 700 cases of strep throat, this year it’s less than half of that. For more information visit https://www.hshsmedicalgroup.org/.

Taylorville Park District To Meet Monday Evening

The Taylorville Park District will meet on Monday evening at Manners Park Dining Hall in Taylorville for their regular monthly meeting. The operating budget will be presented for the new fiscal year. There will also be reports from Maintenance Supervisor Gary Brown and a recreational director update from Bailey Hancock. 


Stay tuned to Regional Radio News for complete coverage on this story and for a full report on this meeting. 

Halbrook Talks Budget & JCAR

Governor JB Pritzker last week gave his budget plan for the next year and has gone on record to assure Illinoisans that the budget is balanced but State Representative Brad Halbrook doesn’t see how it’s actually balanced when you rely on unfunded liabilities.



Representative Halbrook says that this budget is a direct hit on small businesses that have already been ravished for over 10 months from a pandemic.



With Governor Pritzker in charge of the agencies, Representative Halbrook doesn’t understand how these are still issues.




Representative Halbrook also broke down the JCAR ruling on the teaching changes.            



The new teaching rules will be implemented at the college level. Brad Halbrook appeared as a guest on the Newstalk WTIM morning show live from our studios in downtown Shelbyville.

Plenty Of Food At Taylorville Food Pantry For Those Who Need It

The Central Illinois Foodbank is urging people to go to the Taylorville Food Pantry to get food if they need it. After receiving the USDA farmers to families grant, the Taylorville Food Pantry has enough food to take them to the end of April. Rural communities in central Illinois have been hit hard by the pandemic and the Taylorville Food Pantry has received six deliveries each month from the Central Illinois Foodbank.


In these deliveries are foods such as produce, dairy, and meat. The shipments include milk, cottage cheese, butter, yogurt, turkey, chicken, pears, kiwi, broccoli, tomatoes, potatoes, sweet potatoes, apples, onions, carrots, lettuce, and lemons. There is a shelf outside the door that is stocked and available 24/7 with food outside that doesn’t degrade under current weather conditions.


Based on current inventory levels, the Food Pantry is inviting surrounding communities to come to the pantry as there is need. For the safety of patrons and volunteers, distribution will continue via drive-thru and a line-up on Water Street in Taylorville.  Hours remain the same. Tuesday mornings from 8:30-10, Thursday evenings, from 5:30-7, and Saturday mornings from 8:30-9:30. If you are unavailable ot mcome due to transportation, illness, or COVID quarantines, a proxy agent can be sent in your place. 

Boil Order In Effect For Hillcrest Trailer Park In Taylorville

Hillcrest Trailer Park in Taylorville is currently under a boil order due to what is believed to be a frozen main. Residents are advised to boil all water used for drinking, preparing food, beverages, ice cubes, washing fruits and vegetables, or brushing teeth for five (5) minutes prior to drinking it.  This is a precautionary measure for residents’ protection.  It is not necessary to boil tap water used for household purposes, such as showering, bathing or laundry. 

Summer Registration Open At Lincoln Land College

There are plenty of events taking place at Lincoln Land Community College. Dee Kruger, director of Lincoln Land says that one of the big things taking place is summer registration.



Kruger says scholarships should be the focus for students right now and setting up financial aid.



Lincoln Land Community College has a one-stop shop for applying for all scholarships in one central location except for one scholarship that is being offered separately.



There will be a questionnaire and an essay to apply for the scholarship. Kruger says it’s quite interesting sitting on the scholarship committee and grading all the essays that come in.



Dee Kruger appeared as a guest on the Newstalk WTIM Morning Show.

Hornbuckle Dishes On Sweet Swing

The new Taylorville business after hours, “Vibe at 5” will be on Wednesday, March 17th at 5 PM. Greater Taylorville Chamber of Commerce CEO Patty Hornbuckle spoke about the upcoming event which will take place at Southern Ledge Pools and Patios. 



Hornbuckle is excited for the new event as it has been a long time since they’ve been able to hold something like this.



Hornbuckle also talked about another event upcoming called the Spring Swing which is putt-putt golf.



The event is still up the air but the hope is to have it in early April. Hornbuckle says there is plenty of food and ways to see businesses that you may not visit often.



Patty Hornbuckle appeared as a guest on the NEWSTALK WTIM Morning Show.

Governor Tours Facility In Belleville, Talks Vaccines

Governor JB Pritzker toured a new mass vaccine clinic in Belleville, Illinois on Thursday and spoke to the media concerning vaccines and when things will get back to “normal.” Governor Pritzker said he wished he could give a date.



Governor Pritzker says that they are doing what they can to bolster small businesses but it’s hard. 



The Governor says what is holding us up is getting everyone vaccinated. He also commented on former Speaker of the House, Mike Madigan, who announced his resignation from the house on Thursday.



There were 1,966 new COVID-19 cases announced in Illinois on Thursday with 11 new cases in Christian and Montgomery County combined.

Avery Bourne Talks Budget And Madigan

With the State of the State Address out of the way and Governor JB Pritzker’s budget plan set, lawmakers across Illinois have been outspoken either for or against it. State Representative Avery Bourne says that as far as the State of the State goes, she was disappointed that it seems that Governor Pritzker still wants to take on COVID by himself, and not include legislators.



As far as the budget is concerned, Representative Bourne says she is disappointed that the budget isn’t balanced.



Representative Bourne believes it’s dangerous to rely on federal money for a budget without knowing you are going to get it. 



Representative Bourne says that there are lessons to be learned from the resignation of Mike Madigan from the House




For more information or to reach Avery Bourne’s office, call 324-5200.

Legislators Respond To State Of The State Speech/Budget Address

Multiple Legislators spoke out for and against Governor JB Pritzker’s State of the State and the Budget Address on Wednesday afternoon with many Republicans accusing Governor Pritzker of using gimmicks to try to get around the same issues previous Governors had been criticized for doing. 


Representative Avery Bourne says that she is disappointed with the budget address. 



Newly appointed Senator Doris Turner issued a statement, “Today’s budget proposal from Governor Pritzker shows that he understands that crucial human services need to be maintained in order for a complete economic recovery once we return to normalcy. Those who have been disproportionately impacted by COVID-19 will reap the benefits of a bolstered Illinois Department of Employment Security, mental health services, and senior assistance programs. These investments will go a long way to ensuring the correction of systemic failures which hurt so many during the COVID-19 crisis. There are some encouraging aspects of the governor’s proposal, and I look forward to further discussions with him and his team to improve upon it. People from all corners of the 48th district are hurting, and I intend to play a key role in delivering the relief they sorely deserve.”


Senator Steve McClure says that while there are things that he agrees with, the budget is not balanced.



McClure warns Illinoisans that all this is doing is increasing taxes and hurting Illinoisans.



You can hear the whole State of the State and Budget Address below.



EMS Agencies Receive Grants From Memorial Medical System

32 different emergency medical service agencies are receiving over $17,000 in grant money from the Memorial Medical Center Foundation to purchase instructional materials for training and certification. Sara Brown, manager of Memorial Health System, says that a lot of these agencies have requirements that have been hard to meet due to the pandemic.



Melissa Hansen Schmadeke, executive director of the MMC Foundation, knows that this grant program is the right way to help these communities.



Heather Moore, Chief of Education at Springfield Fire Department was absolutely appreciative knowing how much these programs supply to Emergency Medical Technicians.



Dr. Matthew Johnston, EMS Medical Director at Memorial Medical Center Emergency says that the training that goes into this can recognize front-line issues and this education can save lives.



Among the 32 EMS agencies that will share the grant include: Taylorville Fire Department, Rochester Fire District, Rural Med EMS, Medics First Ambulance, and America Ambulance Service. 


The full list of EMS Agencies:


EMS agencies who will share in the grant include:

Lifestar Ambulance – Springfield

Logan County Paramedic Association

Sherman Fire Protection District

Springfield Fire Department

America Ambulance Service

Taylorville Fire Department

Lifestar Ambulance – Jacksonville

Beardstown Fire Department

Medics First Ambulance

Jacksonville Fire Department

Lincoln Rural Fire Protection District

New Berlin – Island Grove Fire Department

Rochester Fire Protection District

South Jacksonville Fire Department

Chapin Are Rescue Squad

Waverly Fire Department

Winchester EMS

Rural Med EMS

Meredosia Volunteer Rescue Squad

Williamsville Fire Protection District

Middletown Rescue

Emden Fire Protection District

New Holland Fire Protection District

Hartsburg Fire Department

Springfield Police Department ERT

Ashland Fire Department

Chandlerville Fire Department

Petersburg Community Fire Department

Murrayville-Woodson Emergency Ambulance Service

Northwestern Area Ambulance and Rescue Service

Alexander Fire Protection District

Arenzville Fire and Rescue

Ameren Gives Tips On Saving Energy In Winter

While Illinois is not facing the energy issues that other states like Texas and California are, Ameren Illinois is still requesting that you conserve electricity and gas use, to help save money and help the energy supply get through this cold snap. Ameren Spokesman Brian Bretsch says that everything is fine, but a little help goes a long way.



Bretsch encourages everyone to do their part, even if that means just lowering your thermostat 1 or 2 degrees.



Bretsch says that a lot of things use power that most people don’t realize is actually running.



Other things that you can do include making sure that you are doing full loads of wash and dishes.



If you are having an issue with smelling gas or an electricity issue call Ameren at 1-800-755-5000 to talk to a customer service rep. Brian Bretsch again emphasized that Illinois is doing fine and not having any energy issues.

Governor Pritzker Gives State Of The State Address

While not raising income tax, Governor JB Pritzker continued to blame Republicans during a State of the State and Budget Address which he gave remotely at the Illinois State Fairgrounds in Springfield. The Governor accused Republicans of ignoring working class families by not supporting the health department during the pandemic and not trying to help cut spending. 



The Governor says that the state of Illinois is working on a bare bones budget and that Illinois spends less money than most other states.



Governor Pritzker is asking for $60 million to the Employment Security Office.



The Governor announced that they have done fantastic work with telehealth, remote learning, and other video conferencing systems in an attempt to get universal internet access for all Illinoisans by 2024. 



The Governor is looking for federal funding to help cover a lot of the budget deficit issues and said that he is hoping with President Biden in office, that Illinois will get a decent amount of funding. See below for the full State of the State.




Taylorville School District Going Remote For Thursday

Taylorville School District released the following statement concerning remote learning for Thursday, February 18th. 


Due to the cold weather we are experiencing it is necessary to consider student and staff safety as we navigate through this extreme weather event. For this reason we will be switching to a remote school day tomorrow, Thursday. All teachers will be providing learning only through the remote learning platform. It is important that everyone charges their laptops and stays warm. We are doing our part to mitigate the energy demand for our community.


  • Wednesday, February, 17 Food Pick up 11:00-1:00 @THS and TJH and 4:00-6:00 @TJH
  • Thursday February, 18 Remote Student Day (delayed start check in by 10:00)
  • Thursday, February, 18 Food Pick up 11:30-1:30 @THS and TJH
  • Friday February, 19 Teacher Workshop (no student attendance - teachers report remotely)
  • Monday/Tuesday February 22/23 Hybrid Instruction 2:00 extended day with lunch (Cohort A)
  • Wednesdays remain remote for instruction and deep cleaning
  • Thursday/Friday, February 25/26 Hybrid Instruction 2:00 extended day with lunch (Cohort B)

Chris-Mont EMA Talks Vaccine Updates

The Chris-Mont Emergency Management Agency has a lot of separate responsibilities that take place throughout the year. During winter, the EMA serves as a response team. Kevin Schott, Public Information Officer for the ChrisMont EMA highlighted some of their responsibilities during this time and says that the weather prevented them from holding today’s drive-thru clinic. 


Schott says that plans for next week are going to be put out later, but there is talk of a clinic being held on Saturday, although that’s still tentative.



Schott was happy with how the vaccine clinics went for the teachers.


For more information on upcoming clinics visit the Chris-Mont EMA Facebook Page or visit www.taylorvilledailynews.com. 

Senator Doris Turner Excited For 2021

Senator Doris Turner still thinks it’s pretty surreal that she is the new Senator for the 48th District. She says that it still is a shock for her, as the first woman and the first African American to fill that position.



Senator Turner says that she relishes her role and will use her position to inspire others in the future.



Senator Turner has already started to reach out to people in the district. 



Senator Turner knows that she has her work cut out for her, but if anyone knows what that entails, Senator Turner does. She has spent time in multiple leadership roles in different departments to prepare her for this.



Senator Doris Turner is the new State Senator for the 48th District filling the role of former Senator Andy Manar who took on an advisory role with Governor JB Pritzker.

Christian County Board Meets; Discusses Courthouse Issues, More

The Christian County Board met on Tuesday evening to announce appointments, discuss ordinances, old business and new business. Greg Nimmo, ChrisMont EMA Director, gave a COVID-19 update. 



Nimmo says that despite all that, in Christian County, there have still been over 4650 doses given out and climbing every day. Right now, according to Nimmo, 34% of 65 years of age and older have received the vaccine. A public transportation ordinance was discussed with Nathan Nichols, a mobility manager, presenting the need for it. 



The motion was approved. Dale Livingston talked about some of the highway business including courthouse updates.



A vote was taken on a better controlled thermostat for the courthouse. It needs to be fixed and would cost over $5000. Matt Wells explained why it was important.



There were concerns over different temperatures in certain offices and Wells believes that this should fix and better control it. The board examined energy costs as there was still quite a lot of discussion over this. The motion passed. Jail tours were discussed. The hope is that the public will be able to see why the tax is necessary to fix the facilities. Christian County also voted in favor of adopting a resolution to urge Governor JB Pritzker, to veto House Bill 3563, which is the police reform bill. 


The next county board meeting is set for March 16th. 

Taylorville City Council Meets; Discusses Property Lien

A fiery Taylorville City Council meeting made for a hot evening on a cold night. The main discussion of the night was a motion to come out of the city council was for Andy Goodall to pay a total of $10,000 to release a lien on property located at 1423 West Adams. It also included forgiveness of fees and interest.


The vote was 4-4 with Jim Olive Larry Budd, Shawn Burtle, and Ernie Dorchinecz voting Yes and Chris Skultetty, Megan Bryant, Kathy Driskell, and Lee Lanzotti voting no.  The Mayor gave comments on the issue saying that “it smelled bad.” 



Barry continued by saying that it was the city’s fault and the city needed to be responsible for keeping the water flowing to the house.



Water was finally shut off to the unit, but by that time 7 months had ran and the damage was done. Mayor Bruce Barry was emotional in speaking but spoke strongly saying that the city should be ashamed of itself for how this all went down. After talking to the cleanup committee, Mayor Barry suggested that half of the lien goes to the Hendricks family (who owned the house prior) and the city gets 5K.  Discussion continued with Alderman Larry Budd saying that while it is an unfortunate situation, the money belongs to the water committee and shouldn’t be split. Alderman Shawn Burtle said that normally he would agree, but this was a city issue. Alderman Kathy Driskell said this was an apples and oranges issue. 



Aldermen Burtle stressed that at the end of the day, someone should have stepped in to help that family out to prevent an issue like this from happening.



The motion failed 5-4 with Mayor Bruce Barry voting “No.” Aldermen Kathy Driskell made a new motion to reduce the lien to $5,600. The motion passed 5-3 with Aldermen Larry Budd, Shawn Burtle, and Ernie Dorchinecz voting “No.” 


The next city council meeting is set for March 1st. 



Senator Doris Turner Excited To Get To Work For District

With Senator Andy Manar taking a position in Governor JB Pritzker’s administrative team, that left the seat for Senator Manar Senate Seat wide open. The democrats picked Springfield native, Doris Turner to fill that spot. Senator Turner was appointed last week and says that it has been a whirlwind for her, but she is excited and likes to stay busy.  Senator Turner has been working to get in contact with all of the leaders in her area.



Senator Turner wants to sit down with Manar to continue the work that he has done in the district towards future goals. 



Senator Turner says they are working hard to try to help small businesses overcome the many difficulties that they have had with COVID-19. 



Setting up programs to help the community is one of Senator Turner’s goals in the first few months. 



Senator Turner was picked unanimously by the heads of the Democratic County Chairs in her district. 

Shelbyville Athletic Director Talks Return Of Sports

Athletic directors all across Illinois scrambled as sports came back seemingly overnight. This resulted in AD’s everywhere rushing to schedule events in a short amount of time. Silas Pogue Athletic Director and Dean of Students at the Middle School in Shelbyville talked a little about sports enhancing the educational experience.



Pogue says he didn’t know what to expect but was hoping for something good despite the constant changes. 



Multiple schools have ran into issues of having students who play multiple sports and Pogue says that they will do what they can to help each student that wants to do that.



Silas Pogue appeared as a guest on the Newstalk WTIM Morning Show from our downtown studios in Shelbyville.

Taylorville City Council To Meet Tuesday Evening

The Taylorville City Council is set to meet on Tuesday evening instead of Monday due to the holiday. The meeting will be at 7PM following the water committee meeting at 6:30 at the Municipal building in Taylorville. The board will discuss the Ward III Storm Sewer Project, and approve new liquor licenses for Discount Liquor in Taylorville. The board will also talk about an ordinance discussing garbage and wastewater. 


Under personnel, the board will discuss a new timekeeping system and recommend the recommendation of twenty summer help for the 2021 season. Under emergency services, the City of Taylorville will be removed from the title of the fire department’s 2007 cab. There is also a motion to allow the fire department to purchase tires and a new ESO reporting system. Under Lake/Airport, lake and airport leases will be discussed along with bids for plumbing and keyless entry locks for the cabins. 


The meeting will also have city attorney and Mayoral updates. This is the second of two City Council meetings in February. The next city council meeting is set for March 1st. 

Christian County Board To Meet Tuesday Evening

The Christian County Board will be meeting on Tuesday at 6:30 PM. The meeting will be conducted online and you can join the meeting online at https://join.freeconferencecall.com/christiancounty with the dial-in number 701-802-5367 and the access code of 7943957#. There will be new members appointed including Jessica Franks, Steve Groll, Patricia Schneider, Jeffrey Waterman, Derek Page, Jason Blanchetti, Angela Castle, Will Peabody, and David Hadley. There will be a Emergency Management Agency update from Greg Nimmo. 


There will be updates on the public transportation ordinance, an animal control ordinance, and an extension of the emergency declaration for COVID relief purposes.  Under highway business there will be a farmer’s market update, courthouse updates, and a discussion on jail tours Building permit fees will be discussed along with property management updates as well. 

Under executive committee’s the board will discuss the five year Christian County Hazard Mitigation Plan. The board will also look at mental health board appointees, and adopt a resolution urging Governor JB Pritzker to veto House Bill 3563 regarding criminal justice reform. 


Under finance committee, the board will approve claims, review animal control truck quotes, look at a cannabis use tax for the Sheriff’s Office, and discuss IMRF accelerated payments. For more information on the County Board meeting, please call Janet Bland at 824-4011. 

Blood Drive In Taylorville on Thursday

While blood donation is important regardless of when you do it, however, due to COVID the need for blood is as strong as ever. Blood donation is a procedure that takes 45 minutes to an hour. There will be a community blood drive held on February 18th from 10:30 AM until 1:30 PM at 108 West Vine Street in Taylorville. 


Donors must be at least 17 years of age or 16 with parental permission, they must weigh more than 110 pounds, and must bring a photo ID. If you have questions about eligibility, please call the Central Illinois Community Blood Center at 800-747-5401. You are eligible to give blood at this drive if you last gave blood on or before December 24, 2020. 


To donate, please contact Kirsten Bolinger at 217-824-2211 or visit www.bloodcenter.org and use code 61295 to locate this drive. Masks and appointments are required. All donors will receive a T-shirt or gift card. 

Winter Storm Continues To Pound Central Illinois

Central Illinois continues to get pounded by snow.  Ben Deubelveiss, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service, says that there is still some heavy snow expected. 



Monday morning saw a wind advisory and a winter storm warning.  Deubelveiss says the wind can cause other issues as well. 



Deubelveiss believes that there is an end to the extreme cold weather.



Deubelveiss encourages you to stay indoors if you can, but if you must go out, bundle up.



For more information on travel and road closures visit www.gettingaroundillinois.com. 

Shelbyville Library Offering Winter Reading Program

There are plenty of things to keep you busy during the winter if you are living in Shelby County. Monica Cameron, director of the Shelbyville Library talked a little about the winter reading program. 



The proceeds go towards helping Shelbyville Sports and the School.



Everything is staying sanitary at the Library. Cameron makes sure of it.



Cameron says that the library just wants you to read. They aren’t picky about what you do read.



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

Taylorville Memorial Hospital Conducting Surveys

Taylorville Memorial Hospital will be conducting a survey in an effort to try to see what areas they can improve on to help the quality of life of Christian County Residents.  President and CEO of Taylorville Memorial Hospital Kim Bourne says that this survey is done every 3 years.



Bourne says that oftentimes smaller communities may bring up things that hospital leaders wouldn’t even think of. 



There are plenty of ways you can finish this survey, including clicking here. You can take the survey up until February 28th.



Results of the survey should be available later this summer.



For more information and to fill out this survey call 217-707-5250 or visit https://tinyurl.com/tmh2021.

Plenty Of Excitement Going On In Shelbyville

There is a long way to go, but for tourism directors and chamber of commerce presidents, the clouds are starting to open up. Freddie Fry, Executive Director of the office of tourism from Lake Shelbyville, is excited that things are starting to open up and she is excited for spring. 



The Roxie Theater is adding some more dates. 



The candlelight walk is coming up on February 20th.



There is an annual art show, and this year it’s going to be a little different.



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

Schools Concerned Over Assessments; Budget During Pandemic

Assessments are necessary for schools to be able to judge how well a student is doing, but many schools are asking for that to be waived this year. Superintendent Shane Shurict, of the Shelbyville School District says that it is mandatory from the school government. In order to get funds from the government, they have to do these tests.



The hope is that if there is a waiver allowed, Shelbyville will absolutely apply for it. The reasons for waiving the testing, Shurict says, is plenty. 



As far as COVID relief, there is help coming in, but of course, the concern is where does that money get spent on, and will it be enough.



The concern of course is that money from the federal government is a one-time payment for every school and it won’t be enough to help the budget.



Shane Shurict appeared as a guest on the Newstalk WTIM Morning Show. 

National Weather Service Issues Winter Storm Warning, Wind Chill Advisory for Regional Radio Listening Area

The National Weather Service in Lincoln has issued a Winter Storm Warning for the entire Regional Radio listening area, from 6 o'clock Sunday night until 6 o'clock Tuesday morning. 


The Weather Service says some 6 to 10 inches of snow is expected.


Due to continuing high winds, the Weather Service has also issued a Wind Chill Advisory until noon Monday, with wind chills expected as low as 20 below zero.


Weather officials say an extended time with periods of moderate snowfall is expected, resulting in large snowfall totals and slippery road conditions.


The hazardous conditions could impact commutes, and cold wind chills could cause frostbite on exposed skin in under 30 minutes.


Stay tuned to Regional Radio for the latest weather and school closing information.  And, you can find school closings, cancellations, and road conditions on the blue menu bar of taylorvilledailynews.com.

IDPH Announces Over 800 Locations Giving COVID-19 Vaccine Shots

The Illinois Department of Public Health late Friday afternoon announced that COVID-19 vaccines are now available at over 800 locations across the state.


Locations now include many Walgreen's, CVS, Kroger, Hy-Vee, and Meijer Pharmacies, as well as county health departments across the state.


Many of the newly announced locations are in or close to the Regional Radio listening area.


In all cases, an appointment must be booked on-line.  


To see the complete list, and find a COVID-19 vaccine location near you, please click HERE.

Vaccination Clinic Cancelled For Tuesday, February 16th Due To Weather

Due to expected cold weather, the Christian County Health Department’s drive-thru COVID vaccination clinic at the Fairgrounds that was scheduled for Tuesday, February 16th, has been canceled.


The Christian County Health Department, Pana Community Hospital, and Taylorville Memorial Hospital will be implementing contingency plans for inclement weather. The hospitals will be vaccinating local established patients through their facilities who qualify. This isn't open to the public, as all of these vaccinations that are being given out are already spoken for. 


Kim Bourne, President, and CEO of Taylorville Memorial Hospital says that as time goes on and the more the vaccine becomes available, the more people will and should get the vaccine. If you have concerns, talk to your doctor.



Bourne credits the work with the Chris-Mont EMA and the Christian County Health Department as to why things have ran so smoothly for the vaccination clinics. 



The Christian County Health Department’s 2nd Dose Closed Clinic is scheduled for Thursday, February 18th.  This is for those that were vaccinated on January 19th. This will be continued as scheduled at the Fairgrounds in a drive-thru type format. There is no need to line up early as there will be a vaccination shot for everyone who already had the first. 

Make sure you bring your index size record card, and regularly check your email, text, and voicemail.  If a message is left, please call back as soon as possible to receive further instruction.


For more information, please call Kevin Schott, Public Information Officer, at 971-8196.

Livingston Continuing To Help Students Through Ag Bags

With so much about schools being up in the air during this school year, Ag in the Classroom Coordinator for Christian and Montgomery County, Rebecca Livingston, had to adjust. She couldn’t be in the classrooms, so she starting putting together ag bags to help her continue teaching kids without being in person.



Ag bags are more prep work for Livingston to make, but they can cover a variety of topics.



Coming up in March is the butterfly kits lesson, and Livingston is excited for that. She’s not the only one, though, because she’s getting a great reception from teachers even after she’s run out of kits.



Livingston recently learned of a new potential lesson at a statewide coordinator meeting that she wants to do more research on before committing to using it. The lesson involves the study of eating insects.



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

Safe Passage Expanding

The Safe Passage Program in Taylorville has been a great success. Because of that, Program Coordinator Denise Evans has been in contact with many surrounding areas about starting their own Safe Passage Program.



Evans believes that every police department should have the Safe Passage Program, so she is excited about the potential of other communities starting their own. There are a few steps for the communities with interest, but Evans is more than happy to help them through the process.



The Safe Passage Coordinator role is a crucial one. Sometimes, though, it’s hard to have someone in that position from the start.



Kincaid was actually the first Safe Passage Program, but when Police Chief Dwayne Wheeler took the job in Taylorville, he moved the program with him. Now, it’s opening back up in Kincaid. 



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

Dealing With Cabin Fever Through Gardening

While you may be stuck indoors and dealing with cabin fever, there are still plenty of ways that you can look at gardens albeit, virtually. Christian County Master Gardner Gwen Podeschi says that you can find garden tours by joining other clubs or simply by visiting Youtube. 



Podeschi likes seeing the other classes like in the Missouri Botanical Garden because it teaches her about other gardens and gives ideas about what to do in her garden. 



Podeschi says the Christian County Master Gardener’s is a tight-knit group, but they work well together and are excited for outdoor activities coming in 2021. 



Gwen Podeschi appeared as a guest on the Newstalk WTIM Morning Show. 

Prevention From Dehydration During Winter

Dehydration is something that everybody thinks about during the summer, but in winter, dehydration can still plague your energy levels. Jill Williams with the St. Louis Dairy Council says that most people don’t even realize during the winter that they are dehydrated.


Williams says most drinks have higher levels of caffeine than people realize.



Williams urges you to choose dairy as it can give you the nutrients that you need.



There are many different ways to incorporate dairy, and Williams encourages you to find some recipes that will help fill the dairy void. 



For more information, check out STLdairycouncil.org for recipes and a blog. You can visit their Facebook Page or Instagram as well. Jill Williams appeared as a guest on the Newstalk WTIM Morning Show.

Davis Talks Impeachment, National Guard

The threat at the Capital is still very fresh in the minds of politicians at Washington, but Representative Davis is concerned that politics are already playing a part when it comes to rules as Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi has issued fines for Republicans for going into off-limit areas, then doing it herself.



Representative Davis praised the National Guardsmen out in Washington and urged caution about them leaving due to some possible threats incoming with the impeachment and future speeches.



As far as the impeachment trial, Representative Davis doesn’t believe this will lead to an actual impeachment.



Representative Davis says as far as arrests, there are going to be more of them in the future.



Rodney Davis appeared as a guest on the Newstalk WTIM Morning Show.

Fire Destroys Restaurant In Shelbyville

A fire at the Longbranch Grill in Shelbyville took eight fire departments to put it out on Wednesday evening. 9-1-1 received a call around 10 PM to the location of 203 East Main Street in Shelbyville. When firefighters arrived they found the building engulfed in flames and were forced to evacuate the building next door. Firefighters remained there past midnight to ensure the fire was completely out.


There were no people inside and no injuries were reported. Crews were still there on Thursday morning to help prevent hot spots. 

St. Louis Dairy Council Promoting Dairy In The Fight Against Tiredness

Dairy can help with energy levels, especially if you are feeling sluggish. Jill Williams with the St. Louis Dairy Council, says that you would be surprised at just how much dairy does to boost some of those systems.



There are ways to make sure you are including dairy in your day to day life and it all starts with breakfast.



There are plenty of nutrients for your body and we tend to focus on the negatives on food rather than the positives.



Dairy can also help you sleep better and Williams says you can always use a little extra sleep.



Jill Williams appeared as a guest on the Newstalk WTIM Morning Show.

Safe Passage Busier In Winter

Safe Passage in Taylorville is a program that Coordinator Denise Evans strongly believes in. The program has helped many people during its time and helps those who want to rehab from drug addiction without any consequences. Safe Passage is located in the Taylorville Police Department and is for those who are suffering from substance addiction.  Evans says after they come to Safe Passage, they are there to help them the entire way.



Evans says that winter is often busier than summer.



Evans says she’s lost some drivers due to COVID and is still looking for volunteers.



If you want to be a driver contact the Taylorville Police Department or contact Denise Evans at 217-777-0080. Evans encourages everyone to come volunteer as they can never have enough drivers.



Denise Evans appeared as a guest on the Newstalk WTIM Morning Show.

Republicans Frustrated With Lack Of New Rules

Illinois Legislators were in session on Wednesday and new rules pushed through the house, according to Avery Bourne, are keeping the minority party from being able to properly represent their constituents. While Mike Madigan is not in charge anymore, Bourne says, that the new house is playing the same game with the rules.



House Republicans had hoped to push forward new rules including ensuring all members have the rights to have their bills called in Committee, requiring notice to members and the public on what will be up for action in committee and on the floor, creating a waiting period for floor amendments, concurrence, and budget bills, and increasing the ability of members to debate legislation on the House Floor. 


None of those proposals were accepted. 

Illinois Secretary Of State Offices Closed For Holiday's

All Illinois Secretary of State Offices and facilities will be closed on Friday February 12th, in observance of Abraham Lincoln’s birthday. Any facilities that operate on a Monday through Friday  schedule will be closed on Monday, February 15th, while facilities open Tuesday through Saturday will be closed Saturday, February 13th, in observance of President’s Day. 


All driver services facilities will be open for business Tuesday, February 16th. You can do many things online 24/7 at www.cyberdriveillinois.com. Secretary of State, Jesse White, has extended all expiration dates on vehicles to June 1st, for driver’s licenses and ID cards. Online, you can renew license plate stickers, obtain replacement driver’s licenses and ID cards, and renew driver’s licenses. 


For more information, visit Cyberdrive Illinois. 

New Rules Including Term Limits For House

One of the new rules that the Illinois House pushed through on Wednesday includes setting term limits for party leaders including the Speaker of the House and the Minority Leader. The change is being pushed through after former Speaker of the House, Mike Madigan, held the position for 36 years. 


Another rule is that all bills are guaranteed to be assigned to a committee, but for Republican Representative Mark Batinick, that isn’t enough. He wants more notice about which bills will be up for discussion and that it is available to the public. 



Representative Lindsey Lapointe of Chicago says she’s pleased that another change got pushed through—remote committee hearings. 



Legislators met on Wednesday for a one-day session.

Local Law Enforcement Concerned About Police Reform Bill

With the new police reform bill sitting on Governor JB Pritzker’s desk waiting for signature, Christian County Sheriff Bruce Kettelkamp and Taylorville Police Chief Dwayne Wheeler are urging you to write and message the Governor’s office to tell him to veto the bill until he meets with law enforcement. Sheriff Kettelkamp says that he felt blindsided by the bill and that the legislature did not listen to the public.



Sheriff Kettelkamp says that he is not against police reform, but wants to be included.



Police Chief Dwayne Wheeler says that no matter what gets put through, the police department will adapt to the new policies.



Chief Wheeler says his department is already doing a lot of the stuff in this bill. He is also happy that qualified immunity did not go through on it but is concerned about no cash bail. 



Chief Dwayne Wheeler and Sheriff Bruce Kettelkamp appeared as guests on the Newstalk WTIM Morning Show.

Plenty Of Gardening Even In Winter

Even though it’s cold outside, Christian County Master Gardener Gwen Podeschi says that there is always something that can be done out in the yard. Even when you don’t realize it, Podeschi explains that there are good and bad things going on.



There are some online classes coming up which will be taught by Andrew Holsinger on February 18th and 25th and focus on berries. 



You can register for those classes online at the U of I Extension office’s website. Podeschi urges everyone to sign up for these classes.



Christian County Master Gardeners is always looking for new members.



For more information visit the U of I Extension office’s website or the Christian County Master Gardener’s Facebook page.  Gwen Podeschi was a guest on the Newstalk WTIM morning show.

Taylorville Kiwanis Resume Weekly Meetings at Moose Lodge; Discuss Plans for 2021

The Taylorville Kiwanis Club caught up on Kiwanis activities over the past few months, and what's planned for 2021, during their weekly meeting Tuesday at the Taylorville Moose Lodge.  It was their first meeting in 2021, since the Governor lifted meeting restrictions.


Kiwanis member Mellisa McMillan volunteered to be the new Kiwanis Club Priority One chairperson.


Plans are in the works for 2 annual Kiwanis fund-raisers.  The first is a revised version of the club's annual Pancake and Sausage Day as a drive-in breakfast event in April at the Moose Lodge.  the 2nd is its annual Kiwanis Days in September, when members man the Harrison Corner and the Wal-Mart entrance asking the community for monetary donations.


The club thanked Kiwanis member Duane Stock for chairing last fall's roof replacement on the Kiwanis Park Pavilion.  The club also announced it's seeking bids for removal and replacement of the concrete floor at the pavilion, which was built by the club in 1995.


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

Death Investigation In Pana

Pana Police and the Christian County Coroner's Office are investigating a death in Pana. On February 8th, 2021, 9-1-1 received a call that a 27-year-old male was unresponsive and not breathing at a residence in Pana. The male was transported to Pana Community Hospital where he was pronounced dead at 6:29 AM. 27 year old Trent Hunter of Tower Hill was identified as the male. An autopsy is being conducted. Toxicology results are pending. Stay tuned to Regional Radio News for more on this story.

Shelby Water Issuing Warnings About Freezing Pipes

Shelby County Water is issuing warnings on Tuesday alerting residents to keep a faucet dripping at night to prevent pipes from freezing. Having your faucet even just slightly dripping keeps enough water running through the pipe which will prevent issues like freezing the pipe which can cause significant damage. If the sound of the drip is bothering you, take a washcloth or rag and place it under the drip to prevent the annoying sound of water dripping. For more information, contact Shelby County Water.

Christian County Teachers Getting Vaccinations This Weekend

Vaccines are coming for the school districts of Christian County. Kevin Schott, Public Information Officer for the Chris-Mont EMA says the first round of vaccines for staff is scheduled for this weekend. 



Taylorville will also be doing a clinic for staff on Friday as well. 



Schott says that the Superintendents were excited to finally get the news it was their turn to receive the vaccination. 



The regular scheduled vaccination clinics are set to return next week which will also include a weather plan.



Continue to check the Christian County Health Department website along with the Chris-Mont EMA and Regional Radio for regular updates on information.

Rodney Davis Talks Congress Under President Biden

A new president always leads to differences in how Congress is held, and under President Biden it’s been no different, but Congressman Rodney Davis is frustrated with President Biden as he was hoping the President would try to bring a little bit more co-unity. Instead, he says, we’ve seen a bunch of new executive orders.



Representative Davis doesn’t know why we are talking about a new stimulus bill, when there is still a lot of money left from the last bill that has yet to be dispersed. 



As far as the new proposal, the committee for the stimulus proposal starts this week.



Representative Davis says there are more vaccines being distributed every day, to the point that there will be as many vaccines given out as tests.



Congressman Rodney Davis appeared as a guest on the Newstalk WTIM Morning Show.

How Food Banks Are Coping With COVID

The food bank is always important but never quite like a time as COVID. Adam Handy partner resource coordinator with the Central Illinois Foodbank and Amy Hagen is the co-coordinator of the Taylorville Food Bank. Handy says getting resources has been hard as the need has increased. 


Hagen says the Food Bank wouldn’t be anywhere without the help from the Central Illinois Foodbank.



Taking a look at the numbers, Handy says that the number is growing due to COVID but people want to help.



It’s thanks to those donations that the Central Illinois Foodbank is able to get out fresh produce including fruits and vegetables.



Adam Handy and Amy Hagen appeared as guests on the Newstalk WTIM Morning Show.

Free Appointments For Dental Work At Lakeland

While COVID has hit a lot of people hard, one area that has been often thought about is dental work. Dentists and Hygenists are needed on a regular basis and Kristen Holsapple, director of dental hygiene at Lakeland College says that at the College, they’re still training.  Holsapple says that while training in the classroom has it’s difficulties Lakeland is offering free cleanings during this time which includes plenty of incentives.



Holsapple says that you can feel safe because although the appointments are longer, instructors are checking to make sure things are done correctly.



During this time, there are requirements needed in order to graduate, so every semester that quota goes up. Holsapple says they need people to pass.



To get registered for an appointment is relatively easy. All you have to do is call.



Kristen Holsapple appeared as a guest on the Newstalk WTIM morning show.

National Burn Prevention Week

This week is National Burn Awareness Week. Burn, fire, and life safety educators have worked tirelessly to make the public aware of what they should do during a burn injury. This week introduces consistent and authoritative measures to prevent injuries from burns and how to care for those that are injured. 


For this year, the theme for Awareness Week is Electrical Safety from Amps to Zap! Office of the State Fire Marshall Spokesperson JC Fultz, says that there is a lot to focus on in this theme.



In the US there are nearly 400,000 people every year who receive medical care for the treatment of burns. In 2018 there were 3,655 deaths from fire and smoke inhalation and another 40,000 people were treated in hospitals for burn-related injuries.


Conducting risk assessments at home can make all the difference as it could prevent the risk of accidental electrocution. Fultz says, you never know when taking a few simple steps of precaution may save a life.



According to the National Fire Protection Association, every 60 seconds someone in the US sustains a burn injury serious enough to require treatment. Primary causes of injury includes fire-flame, scalds, contact with hot objects, electrical, and chemical. Most injuries occur in the home. Today over 96% of those who suffer burn injuries will survive. 


To learn more about this program visit: www.IFSA.org.

Taylorville School Board Announces Future Changes To Hybrid Learning

The Taylorville School Board met on Monday evening at the School Cafeteria and announced some hopeful changes with remote learning in the near future.


Michael Edwards has been leading the social and emotional program at Taylorville School District. He gave a brief summary on what he’s been working on including some programs to help with that.



Edwards says that their group of counselors were able to help anyone having a difficult time. The mentoring program is also ran through that program as well. IHSA keeps changing their target about how they want sports conducted with COVID. Winter sports season remains short, but Principal Matt Hutchison is just excited to be having a season. Superintendent, Dr. Chris Dougherty announced that the vaccine clinic is going to be on-site on Friday.



Dr. Dougherty also discussed the new hybrid schedule announcing that there will be some changes coming including extending the day.



Wednesday’s would remain remote and deep cleaning for all. The School is still responsible for taking care of those who want to stay remote.



For more on this story visit www.taylorvilledailynews.com and stay tuned for more updates as this is a changing story. Guidance is expected to lessen from the CDC on what is expected. The CDC is pushing for more kids to be in school.

4th Judicial Circuit Recognizes Court Reporters

Court reporters play a crucial role in the legal system, as it is their responsibility to make sure everything is officially documented and that they give an accurate representation of what is taking place in the courtroom. Chief Judge Douglas L. Jarman of the 4th Judicial Circuit is asking that court reporters and captioners be recognized during National Court Reporting & Captioning Week taking place between February 6th and February 13th.


Judge Jarman says that court reporters in the 4th circuit are valuable members of the court working diligently to preserve court records. In a press release, he called reporters impartial, reliable, dedicated, and outstanding individuals who strive for accuracy and accountability.


The 4th Circuit employs 17 court reporters who cover nine counties including Christian, Clinton, Effingham, Montgomery, and Shelby.

Navigating Rehab After A DUI

Substance abuse comes in all kinds and affects all kinds of people whether it comes to cannabis, methamphetamine, and alcohol. Natalie Inman, program coordinator of the substance abuse facility at the Shelbyville Community Services says that there are plenty of options for people out there for rehab but cannabis isn’t necessarily a treatment.



DUI Services can be confusing and Inman says that the legal system can be scary if you just get thrown into it.



There are different types of evaluations, and Inman urges you to know the difference.



Recommendations and evaluations are for reaching certain time limits in treatment along with risk assessments.



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

Looking At Winter At Lake Shelbyville

Taking a look at Lake Shelbyville, the US Army Corps of Engineers has a big job to make sure people know what’s open, what’s safe, and to help those at the lake with any recreational questions. Phil Manhardt, an assistant operations manager for the US Army Corps of Engineers talked about lake levels. As of Friday, the lake levels were at 595.38. Manhardt explained the different levels.



Manhardt said it wouldn’t be possible to do the things they do without the support from the staff and the public.



Fishermen have been active at the lake and habitat builds are something that will be started up again after stopping due to COVID.



There is a lot more going on at the lake including planning and preparing for the next season.



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

Zoom Causing Concern Over Looks

COVID has changed the way that people conduct business. One way that this has been noticeable is the many hours that are put into Zoom and other virtual platforms like Skype and Hangouts. As of January 2020, there were 56,000 people per day downloading Zoom.  By March, that number was up to 2.13 million. Since then Zoom has released a statement to adjust their servers and the heavy number of requests. 


Since Zoom has taken off, many people are starting to become self-aware of how they look on camera.  This has led to the term “Zoom dysmorphia. Zoom dysmorphia is a condition that consists of a preoccupation with imagined or slight defects in appearance and can be an obsessive-compulsive disorder. Marybeth Evans, an OSF Healthcare social worker says that body dysmorphia has taken off since the quality of Zoom calls is focusing on faces.



Nearly five to ten million Americans suffer from body dysmorphia. Evans says it can be everything from chins to acne, to large foreheads.



Plastic surgery cases have been increasing in the US. A lot of experts believe it is from these calls and from the video calls and meetings that tend to inadvertently focus on looks.



Evans says that the openness and acceptance of people no matter what they look like is more important now than ever before.



If you or a loved one are struggling with mental health, you can reach an OSF healthcare specialist at 309-308-8150 or talk to your primary care physician.

Taylorville School Board To Meet Tonight

Taylorville School Board will meet Monday evening at 6 PM at the Cafeteria.  The meeting is going to be held virtually as well. Contact the district secretary, Julie LeBeane by 5 PM at jlebeane@tcusd3.org for a reservation or to request a code to join the meeting on Google Hangouts. 


Matt Blomquist will be honored. He was selected as teacher of the week by CEFCU Channel 20. Under old business, there will be a COVID-19 update. There will be a look at the school bonds, and working cash funds of the district. 


Under new business, there will be a look at the FY22 public school calendar, and a look at the school district’s auditor for the next year. Superintendent Dr. Chris Dougherty will have comments as well. For more on this story and a look at the complete agenda, click here.

4H An Important Organization For Aspiring Leaders

For many people, 4H is the first time that they enter a club or organization. Sara Marten with the 4H extension office, says that there is something in 4H for everyone. 



Everything has changed due to COVID and 4H did not escape as far as what they were allowed to do in person.



Of course not everything in 4H can be done virtually, and Marten says that there is just a lot that gets missed when conducted virtually.



Marten says that there are so many opportunities that 4H provides.



Sara Marten appeared as a guest on the Newstalk WTIM Morning Show.

Christian County Coroner Wraps Up Death Investigations

The Christian County Coroner's Office finished up their investigation on a number of deaths in the county. Coroner Amy Calvert-Winans released her findings to the media.


Kenneth Mottershaw, 55, of Bulpitt died on November 22, 2020 at his residence.  His cause of death was gunshot wound. The death was determined to be suicide.  Christian County Sheriff’s Office handled the investigation.   


Allen W. Voudrie, 63, of Pana died on January 1, 2021 at his residence.  His cause of death was Methamphetamine intoxication.  The death was determined to be accidental.  Pana Police Department handled the investigation.


Jesse A. Cameron, 19, of Pana died on January 11, 2021 at his residence. His cause of death was asphyxiation due to hanging.  The manner of death was determined to be accidental.  Christian County Sheriff’s Office handled the investigation.

Woman Fatally Struck By Train Near Blue Mound

A Blue Mound woman was fatally struck by a train on Wednesday afternoon. 53 year old Karen Lynne Sammons was pronounced dead by Macon County Coroner Michael E. Day. Sammons was a pedestrian at the railroad tracks/embankment near the 500 block of Railroad Ave. in Blue Mound. Sammons is reported to have stepped into the path of the train. 


The incident was reported by the crew of the train and a passerby at 3:50 PM on Wednesday. Macon County Sheriff’s Office and the Macon County Corone rare continuing to investigate. 

Taylorville Man Arrested On Child Pornography Charge

A Taylorville man is in custody on Friday following an investigation from the Taylorville Police Department on alleged child pornography. 44-year-old Darrell K. Blake of Taylorville was arrested on charges of possession/distribution of child pornography after a search warrant at his home on Thursday. Blake is a registered sex offender. 


In his first appearance in court, State’s Attorney Mike Havera presented the charges to Judge Douglas Jarman. If charged, Blake is facing 4-15 years in the Department of Corrections with three years of mandatory supervised release. In the probable cause statement, Havera said that Blake had downloaded and uploaded multiple pictures and that he later made statements indicative of guilt. 


Bond was set at $150,000. First appearance with the public defender is set for February 12th. 

Nokomis School Staff In Process Of Getting Vaccinated

Superintendent Scott Doerr for Nokomis Schools is proud of his staff, who has started getting the vaccinations already for COVID-19. Doerr says that thanks to the Montgomery County Health Department, faculty and staff got their first dose already.



Doerr says that while 60% of the faculty and staff have gotten vaccinated, it is voluntary and he feels it’s a good number to start with.



Doerr was happy to report that all of his students were back on Monday, and they are excited for the second dose coming later this month on February 20th. 



Doerr says he is proud of all the hard work that his faculty, staff, and students have put in over the last year during the pandemic.



Scott Doerr appeared as a guest on the Newstalk WTIM Morning Show.

Millions Of Dollars In Illinois Lay In Unclaimed Property

There may be unclaimed property with your name on it and the state of Illinois wants you to have your money. Illinois Treasurer Michael Frerichs says that money that belongs to you is better spent in your hands than sitting in some holding account waiting for you.



Frerichs says that while a lot of money has been reclaimed by the rightful owners, there are new property claims that get added every day.



To look for any unclaimed property visit www.illinoistreasurer.gov and click on unclaimed property. 



To find out more information about unclaimed property and where you can go to look for yourself, click here. Michael Frerichs appeared as a guest on the Newstalk WTIM Morning Show.

Illinois Legislation To Meet February 10th

State Representative Avery Bourne is excited to be headed back to session on February 10th. There are four main issues that Representative Bourne is bringing to the legislature during the next session. She isn’t too happy that they’ve cancelled every day except for the tenth, so Representatives have to make the most of it.



Representative Bourne is still pushing strong for ethics and redistricting reform.



One of the new programs that Legislators are working on is a new program called “Back The Badge.”



Of course, one of the big issues that are going to be discussed is the budget and Representative Bourne says it all starts with a balanced budget.



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

Plenty Of Scholarship Opportunities At Lincolnland Community College

Karen Sanders, Executive Director of Lincoln Land Community College Foundation is trying to make things easier when it comes to getting scholarships.  One of the main things that Sanders says they are doing is making one application for all scholarships.



Sanders says the process is quite easy once you get started and should take about 30 minutes.



Having to dig for scholarships was quite a headache, and Sanders is excited to make things a little easier for students. 



Sanders encourages everyone to go through this process as there are plenty of resources available to help with all kinds of scholarships, not just Lincoln Land.



For more information on scholarships visit https://llccfoundation.org/scholarships.  Karen Sanders appeared as a guest on the Newstalk WTIM Morning Show. 

Dudley Smith Farm To Hold Winter Meeting

The University of Illinois Dudley Smith Initiative is in Christian County. This farm site is used for agriculture research. Ashley Belle with the University of Illinois says that this program has been very helpful towards learning research and moving towards the future.



Belle says that topics include cover crop, soil health, water quality, and much, much more at the Winter Farm Meetings. 



The meeting will take place on February 9th, online on Zoom from 10 AM until 3 PM. Belle has been so excited over some of the topics that have been discussed in the past. Surveys taken, have shown that these are great teaching lessons.



Belle says that there will be speakers talking about all kinds of different important topics.



To register, visit go.illinois.edu/dsfwinter2021. Ashley Belle appeared as a guest on the Newstalk WTIM Morning Show.

February Is Earthquake Preparedness Month

February is earthquake preparedness month and the Illinois Emergency Management Agency, wants you to be prepared. Earthquakes can happen anywhere and at any time, and for forecasters, earthquakes tend to be the hardest to predict. The US Geological Survey estimates that 500,000 earthquakes happen in the world each year, with Illinois experiencing 13 of them since September of 2017. 


Most injuries occur during an earthquake from falling debris, so IEMA encourages you to "Drop, Cover, and Hold On." If you are ever involved in an earthquake, drop down to the floor, take cover under a sturdy desk, table, or furniture, and hold on to the object until the shaking ends.  There will be a National earthquake that takes place in October. You can preregister now for the event at www.shakeout.org. You can learn more about preparing your home for an earthquake at www.ready.illinois.gov. 

Senators Rose & Bailey Appointed To Various Committees

State Senator Chapin Rose is once again serving as the ranking Republican on the budget negotiations and appropriations committee. In the past there have been two primary Appropriations committees, tasked with different parts of the budget process. Those have been now combined into a single Appropriations Committee and many sub-committees. 


Rose is also the lead budgeteer for the Senate Republican Caucus along with the Labor, Higher Education, licensed Activities, Transportation, and Inusrance committees. 


Meanwhile, State Senator Darren Bailey will be leading ag-related legislative efforts for Republicans for the chamber's Agriculture Committee. He will also serve on the Education Commitee and ENergey & Public Utilities, Health, Higher Education, and Labor Committees. 


For more information, please click here

Former Candidate For Governor Arrested For Tax Evasion, Money Laundering

A grand jury has indicted former Illinois State Senator Sam McCann on charges of fraud, money laundering, and tax evasion related to alleged misuse of campaign money. The indictment alleges that from 2015 to 2020, McCann was caught in a scheme to convert more than $200,000 in funds that were made to his campaign committees to pay for himself and make personal purchases.


51 year old William Samuel McCann Jr. of Plainview, served as a state senator for the 49th District of Illinois from 2012 to 2013, and for the 50th District from 2013 to 2019. Mccann ran for Illinois Governor in 2018. McCann allegedly used more than $60,000 in campaign funds to buy trucks, fuel, and insurance. He also allegedly used $18,000 in campaign funds to buy an RV, and $25,000 to buy a motor home. McCann is also being accused of using $20,000 cashier check to pay off personal loans. 


In addition to wire fraud, and money laundering, McCann is also facing one count of tax evasion. His next court appearance is scheduled for February 16th, at 2 PM before US Magistrate Judge Tom Schanzle-Haskins for arraignment. The penalty for each count of wire fraud and one count of money laundering is up to 20 years in prison.  For tax evasion, the penalty is up to five years in prison. 

U Of I Extension Office Bringing New Programs

Sara Marten, a 4H youth developer educator, with the University of Illinois Extension Office is excited about two programs coming up. The first program is the Cooking Connect program.



This program has been done in the past but this time it’s going to be focused on heart health.



Marten explains that there have been some other subtle changes from this year’s program to last year’s.



Marten says that she was surprised at the response that she got.



For more information and to register visit the U of I’s website by clicking here and on Facebook. Sara Marten appeared as a guest on the Newstalk WTIM Morning Show. 

Gov. JB Pritzker Names This Week Rail Safety Week

Trains move faster than it appears. 


Gov. JB Pritzker proclaims September 20-26 as Rail Safety Week in Illinois. 


During 2020, there were 98 vehicle crashes reported at public highway-rail grade crossings. 15 people died and 32 were injured in Illinois alone. 


Trains also struck 55 pedestrians resulting in 28 fatalities and 27 personal injuries. Illinois has the fourth highest rate in the nation for grade crossing fatalities in 2020.


Illinois Commerce Commission Rail Safety Program Administrator Brian Vercrysse says that there are too many lives lost and families devastated to crashes involving trains. 


You can follow the ICC on @ILCommerceComm on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. You can also find rail safety tips at the Operation Lifesaver website oli.org. 

Nokomis Schools Prepared For The Future

Superintendent Scott Doerr for Nokomis Schools says that things are going quite well with the pandemic situation and despite seeing an increase in numbers when they came back, it’s leveled off and kids are getting back into a routine. 



Having in-person learning, Doerr says, is not just important for students, but it’s also important for the staff. 



Doerr believes that COVID-19 has helped students realize that technology can be extremely helpful in multiple ways. 



The hope is to integrate technology like this on a regular basis, especially as kids come back for good.



Scott Doerr appeared as a guest on the Newstalk WTIM Morning Show.

Bourne Concerned Over Proposed Rule Changes

With the Joint Committee for Administrative Rules set to meet on February 16th, Representative Avery Bourne is urging Illinoisans to read the new rules and call the Illinois State Board of Education and members of JCAR concerning the new culture based rules for education. These culture-based rules, Bourne says, will impact the way that teachers teach students.



The concern of course for Avery Bourne is that they are over politicizing schools. JCAR will need 8 votes to block the new education rules that will be brought before them.



Bourne says not to take her word for it but to go read the new proposed rules. Bourne believes there are some great things in the new rules, but the negatives outweigh the positives.



Bourne is concerned that If these rules get passed, and teachers don’t abide by the new rules, teachers could lose their licensure.



To see the proposed rules click here. Avery Bourne appeared as a guest on the Newstalk WTIM Morning Show. 

Taylorville Kiwanis Club Resuming Weekly Meetings Next Tuesday

The Taylorville Kiwanis Club has announced that their weekly meetings at noon on Tuesdays will resume next Tuesday, February 9th, at the Taylorville Moose Lodge on McAdams Drive.


Meetings had been paused under Governor Pritzker's COVID-19 order in mid-November.


Local Kiwanis members are urged to attend, as the club resumes its weekly meetings to serve the children and youth in the Taylorville community.


More information on the club can be found on-line at taylorvillekiwanis-dot-com.

Central A&M Superintendent Excited To See Students Back In Classrooms

Superintendent of Central A & M, Dr. DeAnn Heck is very excited to be bringing students back into the classrooms. Heck is usually having to change things very quickly due to updated policy or guidance given by IHSA and her job has never been tested more, but this week, Dr. Heck says things are good.



Dr. Heck says that remote days have really been a big help for schools, but she knows that kids need to be in class.



Heck says that at Central A & M, the curriculum is always looking to the future at jobs that may not even exist yet.



Looking around, Dr. Heck knows that she has the best staff and they have overcome several technological difficulties.



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

It's Never Too Late To Save For College

College is expensive, but the state of Illinois has savings plans to help students in Illinois save up for some of those stiff costs. Illinois State Treasurer Michael Frerichs says that opening a 529 Savings Account can really make a difference. 



Frerichs says that starting early is helpful but the earlier you save the more you can make in interest.



Frerichs is concerned over negative stereotypes about college and knows that a positive message benefits everyone.


Saving, Frerich says, can eliminate debt in the future, and that can help further someone’s career.



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

Republicans Concerned Over ISBE Proposals

State Representative Brad Halbrook is urging parents to get involved with the new rules imposed by the ISBE. The “Culturally Responsive Teaching and Leading Standards” will require teachers to promote progressive ideology along with requiring teachers to embrace ideas that are more progressive. 


Halbrook is concerned about this, especially a section that he says is embracing far-left ideology in Section 24.50G. This section states that the curriculum will “Embrace and encourage progressive viewpoints and perspectives that leverage asset thinking toward traditionally marginalized populations.”



The proposed rule changes for teachers will be debated by the Joint Committee on Administrative Rules at their meeting on February 16th.  JCAR is composed of equal Republican and Democrat legislators. If approved, this would apply to teacher training programs rather than K-12 school curriculum. Republicans are concerned that there isn’t enough time already being dedicated to traditional subjects and test grades are down.  Democrats say that this is helping educators get trained to reach students across all backgrounds. To see the entire proposal click here.

Success Continues During Third Round Of Vaccination Clinics In Christian County

The third round of drive up vaccine clinics held by Christian County Public Health proved to be another success. Kevin Schott, Deputy Director with the Chris-Mont EMA, says the excitement for the vaccine is still there. And that is a good thing.



There will not be a clinic open to the public next Tuesday because they will be hosting a drive up clinic for teachers and educators on Saturday, February 13th. The 65 and older clinics will continue the following week.



For those who received their first round of vaccinations during the first drive up clinic, Schott says their second round of shots will be coming up on February 18th.



Schott talked about the mission to increase efficiency during these clinics. On top making things run smoother, he is extremely grateful to the volunteers they have.



Check the Chris-Mont EMA Facebook page and stayed tuned to Regional Radio News for more information on the vaccination clinics.

Non-Profits Helping Non-Profits A Huge Asset During COVID

The Charitable Trust Fund is a grant program to provide help to nonprofit organizations. Illinois State Treasurer Michael Frerichs says that this program provides up to $25,000 to small non profit organizations. It is funded by fees from non profits when they register. Frerichs says that while this program was created in 2007, it wasn’t implemented until Frerichs came into office.



Frerichs says that this has been one of the better parts of his job is helping people to get things they need.



Frerichs explained that essentially this program is non-profits helping non-profits. 



During tough times such as these with the pandemic, Frerichs believes that these programs are needed now more than ever.



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

Technology A Huge Part Of South Fork Schools

For Superintendent Chris Clark of South Fork Schools, adapting and overcoming is something part of his regular job. Clark says the school had already utilized a lot of technology before COVID due to the small size of the school, but it definitely got an upgrade after the pandemic hit.



Clark says that technology and the pandemic have really shown ways to improve online learning and opens the door for more opportunities.



Clark continues to work with the Christian County Health Department to coordinate vaccines for the teachers and staff at an upcoming date in a possible drive-thru format. 



Clark took a survey of staff that wanted the vaccine and have people that have already preregistered for it. He has been so appreciative of his staff since everything kicked off last March.



Chris Clark appeared as a guest on the Newstalk WTIM Morning Show.

Sponsors Needed For Summer Food Service Program

The Illinois State Board of Education announced that over 113 million meals have been served since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic from Illinois schools.  ISBE is currently looking for additional sponsorships to help with serving the Summer Food Service Program for this summer. ISBE Principal Consultant Tim Murphy, says that especially now with COVID these meals are extremely important. 



Some schools are doing advance meals on Monday which would save trips.



Families in need of meals should contact their school if they have questions about services. Families can also call 800-359-2163 or text “FoodIL” to 877-877. The Summer Food Service Program is funded by the USDA and administered by the ISBE. In Christian County, 316,828 meals have been distributed already. In Montgomery, 232,195 meals have been given out. In Shelby County meal totals equaled 188,722. For more information visit the ISBE and the USDA website.

Taylorville City Council Meets; Discusses/Tables West Cross Decision

The Taylorville City Council met on Monday evening and all Aldermen were present except for Chris Skultetty who was at the meeting via Zoom. All ordinances pertaining to the business district development were authorized and approved. A motion to approve a change order for the Franklin Street Sewer Project wasn’t necessary as there was no cost involved. 

The main discussion of the evening was on the demolition of 207 West Main Cross. Taylorville Mayor Bruce Barry gave a quick background on the building letting the Aldermen know that a potential buyer dropped out.



Mayor Barry says he doesn’t want to see the building tore down, but the safety of citizens and other buildings are something is his top priority. Alderman Ernie Dorchinecz says that he is concerned about the damage that’s already there. 



Aldermen Kathy Driskell asked if anyone had been interested in buying it to which Mayor Barry says they haven’t had any luck. 



There was still much to be discussed, so the board decided to table it 6-2 with Aldermen Larry Budd and Aldermen Skultetty voting no. Budd had asked Aldermen to come see it on Tuesday morning at 10 to see how bad the damage was on the second floor. 


In other news: Bid specifications were approved for the Police parking lot, a motion was approved for the downtowntaylorville.org 2021 calendar of events. A Waste Management contract was extended with the city. Clean up days were approved for March 13th and March 27th.  Tickets required for larger items were changed with trash bags at 1, mattresses at 2, and large and fluff items such as couches, chairs, etc. would be 5. 


The next city council meeting is set for February 15th. 


Taylorville City Council To Meet Monday Evening

The Taylorville City Council will meet on Monday evening at 7 PM for their first bi-monthly meeting of February. The meeting will take place at the Municipal building and will discuss ordinances, new business, old business, and public comments. Under ordinances, authorizations of the Business Development District along with several redevelopment agreements will be voted on. The Franklin Street Sewer Project will be updated with a change order. 


Discussion will continue on the demolition of 207 West Main Cross. Bid specifications for the police department parking lot will be recommended. We will also hear from committee meetings such as public facilities, street and sewer, and finance. There will also be Mayoral and City Attorney updates. 


For a full look at the agenda click here and for more on this story stay tuned to Regional Radio News.

Effingham Performance Center To Host 4 Upcoming Events

Being in charge of a performance center during a pandemic can be quite a challenging act, but Kim Jansen, Executive Director of the Effingham Performance Center, is up to the task including improvising and overcoming difficulties.



Jansen says that since shows are coming back, social distancing will once again be strict but doable.



There are four social distancing shows coming up with the first coming on February 27th.



The theater is only 25% full which according to Jansen, makes going to the performance center very safe.



For more information visit this story at www.taylorvilledailynews.com. Kim Jansen appeared as a guest on the Newstalk WTIM Morning Show, live from our studios in downtown Shelbyville.

HSHS Good Shepherd Promotes Red Event Fundraiser

Fundraisers are a big part of raising money for hospitals and towards helping achieve support during this time of COVID. Joel Fletcher, Foundation Director for HSHS Good Shepherd and St. Mary’s in Decatur and Lorrie Hayden spoke of the fundraiser “The Red Event.” Fletcher says This year’s event will be different because of COVID which will be a Red Event On the Go.



Lorrie Hayden and Fletcher say that things will be different with the meals including a drive up meal.



Hayden says that it is amazing how giving and generous people are.



Fletcher says The Red Event is February 27th. 



For more information visit https://www.hshs.org/goodshepherd/Giving/Red-Event. Joel Fletcher and Lorrie Hayden appeared as a guest on the Newstalk WTIM Morning Show live from our studios in downtown Shelbyville.

Safety From Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

When cold weather hits, Illinoisans raise the thermostat to stay warm. The Office of the State Fire Marshal is encouraging residents that now is a good time to check your furnace, your filters, and make sure carbon monoxide and smoke detectors are working properly. 


According to the National Fire Protection Association, heating equipment is a leading cause of home fires in the US. Local fire departments responded to an average of 52 thousand fires involving heating equipment each year from 2012-2016. Fires like this have lead to the loss of 490 civilians’ lives, 1,400 civilian injuries, and nearly $1 Billion dollars in property damage. 


State Fire Marshall spokesperson JC Fultz says that there are different kinds of alarms out there for you to buy to protect your home.



Fultz says symptoms of CO poisoning are similar to the flu. 


Illinois fire departments responded to 23,000 calls about carbon monoxide in 2019. Of those calls, 11,000 were actual leaks. Space heaters can also lead to fires due to improper use. Plug space heaters directly into wall outlets and not into extension cords and keep them at least three feet from curtains, clothing, furniture, and bedding. You can also purchase units that have automatic shutoffs in case it tips over or stays on too long. For more information, click here.

New Retail Store Open In Shelbyville

A new business in Shelbyville is getting its name out among the public. “Used To Be Yours” is a retail store that owner Nina Clark says there is something available for everyone. The store opened two weeks ago and carries all kinds of clothing, home décor, furniture, and more. Used To Be Yours is located at 152 East Main Street in Shelbyville. Clark says all kinds of people have come by to see some of the remodelings they’ve done to the location.



Clark says that Used To Be Yours is usually looking for donations of items.



Clark also encourages people to drop stuff off saying that if they can’t use it they will make sure people get it who need it.



While the store is usually looking for donations, Clark says that the backroom is full as of right now.



For more information on Used To Be Yours visit their Facebook page or call (217) 820-8239.  Clark appeared as a guest on the Newstalk WTIM Morning Show live from our studios in downtown Shelbyville.

Christian County Health Department Ready For Increase In Vaccine Availability

Looking at the future of vaccine clinics, the Christian County Health Department feels confident they can handle big numbers when there is more vaccine doses available. Greg Siders says that they will stay open till 3PM or when they deplete their supply to make sure they get those vaccines to those who need it.



Siders says as far as the clinics go, Tuesdays will be dedicated for first doses and Thursdays will be dedicated for second doses.



Siders urges county residents to go to their own county to get the vaccine as it is limited to those who live in the county and people who work in the county. 



Siders says side effects of the vaccine are very similar to the flu but nothing has been drastic.



Greg Siders appeared as a guest on the NEWSTALK WTIM Morning Show.

Taylorville Chamber Of Commerce Announces New Events; Name Change

The Greater Taylorville Chamber of Commerce is always keeping busy with activities throughout town and Patty Hornbuckle CEO of the Chamber says that there is something for everyone. There will be a canned goods canned soup drive taking place called “Lend a hand, give a can” at the Taylorville Skilled Nursing and Rehab Center. This event is taking place now until February 26th.



Hornbuckle announced a new member in the chamber called Specialized Hearing Solutions.



The formerly known Business After Hours has a new name called VIBE at Five.



Patty Hornbuckle appeared as a guest on the NEWSTALK WTIM morning show.


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