Local News

Illinois Recognizes Juneteenth Holiday

Illinois will now recognize a new holiday. Governor JB Pritzker signed HB 3922, a bill that declares June 19th or Juneteenth as an Official state holiday. This holiday commemorates the abolition of slavery throughout the US and its territories in 1865. Juneteenth will be referred to as National Freedom Day in Illinois. 


In commemoration of the event, and to recognize Juneteenth, all flags will be lowered to ½ staff, and a Juneteenth flag will fly over the State Capitol in Springfield. The legislation clarifies that Juneteenth will be a paid holiday for state workers and public education professionals when June 19th falls on a weekday. 


State Senator Doris Turner spoke at the bill signing saying that this is something that she could not be prouder of.



Senator Turner says this is all something that she has worked hard in Springfield in both city hall and in the Capital.



Senator Turner became emotional thinking about how much this day has grown.



She says that she is so happy to see this as a National Holiday and thanked Governor Pritzker for being on the right side of history.



Many other politicians spoke at the signing including Senate Majority Leader Kimberly Lightford, Speaker of the House Chris Welch, and of course Governor Pritzker himself.

Cell phones are a great resource to have in case of emergency. In fact, most have a way to make an emergency call without opening the phone itself. That has been happening a lot lately. Christian County Sheriff Bruce Kettelkamp says that the dispatchers have gotten tons of those unintentional emergency calls where the owner of the phone doesn’t realize what happened.



Sheriff Kettelkamp says a lot of these accidental calls they get are from phones sitting in cup holders that just happen to hit the right button.



While the calls are accidental, Sheriff Kettelkamp says they do take up the time of a dispatcher who could be handling an emergency situation.



Sheriff Kettelkamp appeared as a guest on the WTIM Morning Show.

Heartland Forward Working On Bringing Internet To Everyone

There are far too many people who don’t have internet, and with COVID-19 resulting in many events using Zoom, Skype, and other internet-connected activities, the time is now to get as many people as connected as possible. For Heartland Forward, a company helping people who live in the midwest, the internet is a top priority. They are alerting people to the FCC’s Emergency Broadband Benefit Program. Angie Cooper, Chief Program Officer of Heartland Forward, says that their mission is to help communities in America’s Heartland. 



With the Emergency Broadband Benefit Program, Cooper says that it is partly being run by funds from the pandemic.



There are many ways to find out if your eligible for the program, and how to sign up for it.



As far as the numbers are concerned, Illinois is behind other states in the midwest who have already signed up for this program.



When the money’s gone for this program, it’s gone. Cooper encourages you to at least see if you are eligible. For more information visit, https://heartlandforward.org/.

Avery Bourne Discusses Difference In Legislative Maps

House Representative Avery Bourne, while she has voiced concern over the redistricting maps in the past, says that there will be some lawsuits put forward to challenge Governor JB Pritzker on the maps that were put together. Representative Bourne says that the lawsuits challenge the constitutionality of the maps.



As far as the data went for putting together the maps, Representative Bourne says they did not use the census for putting together the maps.



With Christian County, it’s been split into 4 different districts which Representative Bourne says does not keep communities together.



For more information and to see the new maps, click here

U Of I Extension Office Welcomes New 4H Youth Coordinator

The University of Illinois Extension Office and acting county director Lisa Peterson, has announced a newcomer to the Extension Office in Alexis McDowell.  McDowell will take over as a 4-H youth development program coordinator serving Christian County in Taylorville. She will be coordinating many 4-H activities throughout the County including general and livestock shows at the Ag Fair, various workshops, and working with area youth and volunteers. She says that she is from Nokomis and is excited to start working.



McDowell also says that working with youth is something that she has always wanted to do.



McDowell says she is most excited to use her marketing skills and things that she has learned to help the kids. She says that she started last Wednesday.



For more information on the University of Illinois Extension Office, visit https://extension.illinois.edu/cjmm.


Christian County Board Meets; Discusses Issues

The Christian County Board met on Tuesday Evening to discuss old business, new business and discuss committee reports. The board honored Mickie Ehrhardt. Ehrhardt, a 9-1-1 dispatcher was moving on from the Department. She had been with the Department in some capacity since 1993. Christian County Sheriff Bruce Kettelkamp said, despite the challenges, Ehrhardt was up for them.



The board discussed the Pet Crematorium. Vince Harris, in charge of animal control, has expressed desire to sell it on a Government Deal. Dale Livingston brought it to the board. 



The motion passed. The board also is looking into a Cyber Security Recommendation working with CTI after the pipeline on the East Coast was hacked. Under new business the board elected not to extend the Emergency Declaration Proclamation, since Governor JB Pritzker moved to Phase 5. There will be a Special County Board Meeting to be held Tuesday, June 29th at 6:30 PM at the courthouse.


With tax season right around the corner, the Board is trying to make things easier on Treasurer Betty Asmussen. Due to money coming in from the federal government from COVID, there are many reports that need to be filed to track where that money is going including how much to spend, and what it’s being spent. Chairman Matt Wells says there is a company that is engaged in that business and can make things easier for the County.



There was quite a lengthy discussion. Craig Corzine put a motion to table it to the finance committee to see if this is something they want to spend money on. The motion to table failed 10-5 and it was voted on.  The motion passed. 


The next regular Christian County Board Meeting will be held on Tuesday, July 20th. Click Here to watch it.

The Taylorville Kiwanis Club heard about a new exhibit at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum in Springfield, during their weekly meeting Tuesday at the Taylorville Moose Lodge.  


Director of Public Relations at the Library, Joe Crain, told Kiwanis members about the new exhibit, called “The State of Sound”, featuring the world of music in Illinois.  The exhibit highlights the music and artists that were either native to Illinois, or whose music originated in the state.



Crain said that in addition to the many genres of music featured in the exhibit, almost 150 musical artifacts from Illinois artists or music events connected to the state, are also on display.  The exhibit is part of the library and museum thru next January.


Crain also told Kiwanis members that the library is seeing daily attendance start to increase since re-opening following the coronavirus pandemic.  



The museum is offering free admission thru June 30th for anyone who’s had at least one COVID vaccine shot.

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