Local News

Taylorville, Shelbyville, Others Receive Funding For Airports

Illinois Governor JB Pritzker announced that the Illinois Department of Transportation will be awarding $94 million to improve public airports throughout the state as part of the Rebuild Illinois capital program. There is also $11.5 million in local funding on top of it and the Governor spoke about how much this is a huge help for the state.



There are 96 projects selected for funding to help both large and small airports. The projects will include planning, construction, reconstruction, development, and improvement of public airports for both safety and efficiency. 



Many local projects are receiving funding including Taylorville Municipal Airport, which is receiving $1.4 million for runway rehabilitation, Shelby County Airport, which is receiving $460,000 for hangar construction, and Effingham County Memorial Airport, which is receiving $3.5 million for runway extension and $1.5 million for taxiway extension. 


Illinois Transportation Secretary Omer Osman says that public airports in Illinois have to have the resources they need to thrive.



A total of $150 million in state bonds has been identified in Rebuild Illinois for the state’s airports, with $6 million committed to air traffic control in Romeoville and other airports near Chicago. Illinois has over 850 individual airports. It contributes more than $95 billion annually to the state’s economy. 


The new Scooter's Coffee location at the intersection of Illinois Routes 29 and 104 on Taylorville's northwest side, is nearing completion.


Construction started a few months back towards the December target date to open.


The location will be strictly drive-thru, and offer all types of coffees, teas, and "grab and go" pastries.


Employment opportunities can be found here.

Four People Plead Guilty To Fraud Charges

Four individuals responsible for approximately $1.3 million in losses for the state of Illinois plead guilty to mail and wire fraud and money laundering. 


42-year-old Tarnavis Lee of Burbank, 42-year-old Demetra Jackson of Chicago, 40-year-old LaShanda Hudson of S. Maplewood in Chicago, and 47-year-old Elizabeth McFarland of Madison, Tennessee all pleading guilty to various charges. 


According to the three indictments as well as their plea agreements, the individuals engaged in schemes to defraud the Illinois Department of Human Services Child Care Assistance Program. They submitted false claims for childcare services that were not provided. 


Both Lee and Hudson have agreed to pay a total of more than $160,000 in fines. 


Lee pleaded guilty on two counts of mail fraud, two counts of wire fraud and two counts of money laundering as she was responsible for over $900,000 in losses. 


In October, Jackson pleaded guilty to one count of wire fraud. She agreed she cost the government approximately $250,000. 


Also in October, McFarland pleaded guilty on one count of wire Fraud. She agreed she caused a loss of over $228,000. 


In November, Hudson pleaded to one count of wire fraud and one count of money laundering. She agrees she cost the government over $421,000. 


All defendants remain free on bond pending sentencing. 


Investigations by the Department of Health and Human Services – Office of Inspector General, St. Louis Field Office and the Illinois State Police Medicaid Fraud Control Bureau - Central Division helped in the investigation.

Doctors Concerned About New COVID Variant

Yet another new variant of the COVID-19 virus has doctors concerned. The World Health Organization or WHO, classified the new variant as omicron. On December 1st, the variant was detected in California and is being classified as a variant of concern. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, a variant of concern is a variant that has the potential for higher disease transmission and more severe cases.


Dr. Bill Walsh, Chief Medical Officer for OSF Healthcare in Evergreen Park says that the Omicron variant has origins in South Africa.



According to the WHO, the omicron variant has many concerning mutations and one is an increased risk of infection. Doctors are concerned that people who have previously had COVID-19 could become re-infected more easily. Studies indicate a lot more information is needed though. Meanwhile, Dr. Walsh says you can continue doing the things you do now to help keep yourself safe from COVID.



Health experts are still recommending you get your booster when you are eligible. Even with the mutations, Dr. Walsh says that getting the booster is your best protection against getting COVID.



Dr. Walsh compares getting your COVID-19 vaccine to wearing a seatbelt and says if you can do more to protect yourself, why wouldn't you.



For more information on COVID-19 vaccines, boosters, and the Omicron variant, contact your primary healthcare physician. 

Pana Students of the Month For November Announced

Genuine Country 94.3 WMKR along with People's Bank and Trust are recognizing the Pana Students of the Month for November. The November Pana Students of the Month are Isaiah Harbert, Ryan Karbach, Zoey Cvengros, and Austin Karbach.



Holiday Parade In Downtown Taylorville This Saturday

Sign up now to participate in the Taylorville Christmas Parade contest!


It starts at 5 p.m. Saturday. Lineup begins at 4:30

That’s Smalltown Taylorville Executive Director Marsha Neal. She welcomes everyone to walk in the parade, but you must register if you’d like to be part of the contest. 

Neal says that there are some great prizes at stake for the window decorating contest. 

Make sure to bring some lights for your parade entry. 

Sign up for either contest at smalltowntaylorville.com. Registration closes Friday, Dec. 3rd. 


Neal appeared as a guest on the WTIM Morning Show.

Holiday Season Gardening Tips

Deck out your garden with plants of the season. 


University of Illinois Extension Horticulture Educator Andrew Holsinger says there’s a lot you can do.

Groundcovers are a great way to fill space with holiday vibes. 

Trees can be a good way to provide cover from winds and adverse weather, but also shade for when spring returns. 

Holsinger also gives advice on how to maintain your holiday tree.

Learn more at extension.illinois.edu.


Holsinger appeared as a guest on the WTIM Morning Show.

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