Macomb Local News

WIU Students Win Eight National Broadcasting Awards

MACOMB – Students in the Western Illinois University Department of Broadcasting/Journalism were recently in New York City for the Intercollegiate Broadcasting System’s (IBS) convention to receive their awards for eight categories.


During the 80th convention for IBS, the News Director/Advisor Emily Manley traveled with three students to the Big Apple for workshops and accepted their awards. The department was notified back in February that WIU was nominated for two radio play-by-play categories, two video news reports, the best website, best talk program, sports video play-by-play and best newscast.


Being nominated means the students were in the top five of each category, across the nation. Alumnus Michael Dion and senior Broadcasting and Journalism student Marcellus Angel both won first place for their submissions. Angel, of Rock Island, IL, was nominated for three total awards, but took home first place for his news report, "The Little Things." Angel will graduate in May and plans to use his experience and degree to work on television and film productions for major networks and studios.

Dion was nominated for two radio sports play-by-play categories. He was the winner for his call during the WIU football game against Illinois State. Dion’s other nomination was for a call during the WIU volleyball game. Dion graduated in December and hopes to pursue a job on the radio.


This year’s WIU nominations at the IBS conference include:

• Best Video News Report – Devin Brooks, junior broadcasting major, of St. Louis, MO.

• Best Website – Brooks and Alumna Emily Stieren

• Best Newscast – Brooks and Alumnus Terrance Black and Emily Kenney

• Best Talk Program – Brooks; Angel; Zac Lueder, freshman broadcasting major, of Chicago Heights, IL; Kelly Brown, freshman broadcasting major of Rolla, MO.

• Best Sports Video Play-by-Play – MaKenzie Yearby, senior broadcasting major of Kansas City, MO; Brendan Reidy, junior broadcasting major from Chicago, IL; and Michael Harms, junior broadcasting student of Colorado Springs, CO.

• Best Radio Sports Play-by-Play (other) – Dion


For more about the WIU Department of Broadcasting and Journalism, visit





WIU Creates Cancelled Events Website

MACOMB/MOLINE, IL – The Office of Risk Management at Western Illinois University has created a Cancelled Events site ( to keep the University community and guests apprised of the status of University-sponsored events.


University groups, offices and programs that are cancelling events should email so these events can be added to the cancellation page and also updated on if a news release was done to promote the event. Please include date of the scheduled event, event name and if the event is cancelled or postponed.


The WIU Office of Risk Management has launched a mandatory event registration form that members of the University community and external constituents must complete before an event can be held on either WIU campus. The registration form, which will remain in effect for the remainder of the semester, can be found at


Updated information is also available at


Copy By: WIU News


MDH Convenience Clinic Moving to Health Services Building 2 First Floor

MACOMB, Ill. – McDonough District Hospital announced that effective Monday, March 16, the MDH Convenience Clinic for walk-in patients will temporarily move out of MDH Family Clinic and into the former Internal Medicine clinic.


The new location will remain inside Health Services Building 2, but on the first floor.

After walking through the main entrance of HSB2, turn right and the temporary MDH Convenience Clinic is straight ahead.


“Should we get patients suffering from influenza, fever, cough, or respiratory ailments we can use the new temporary Convenience Clinic space on first floor to better meet those patients’ needs,” said Peter Rao, Vice President of the MDH Medical Group. “Moving the Convenience Clinic to first floor also allows us to keep the Family Clinic space to regularly scheduled appointments.”


Patients and visitors may be asked to wear a protective mask based on their presenting symptoms.


MDH Convenience Clinic will remain open seven days a week – Monday through Thursday from 8 a.m.-7 p.m. and Friday through Sunday 9 a.m.-6 p.m. If you are sick and want to check on reserving an appointment time, call the MDH Convenience Clinic at (309) 837-6937.


MDH Convenience Clinic Moving to Health Services Building 2 First Floor

MACOMB, Ill. – McDonough District Hospital announced that effective Monday, March 16, the MDH Convenience Clinic for walk-in patients will temporarily move out of MDH Family Clinic and into the former Internal Medicine clinic.


The new location will remain inside Health Services Building 2, but on the first floor.

After walking through the main entrance of HSB2, turn right and the temporary MDH Convenience Clinic is straight ahead.


“Should we get patients suffering from influenza, fever, cough, or respiratory ailments we can use the new temporary Convenience Clinic space on first floor to better meet those patients’ needs,” said Peter Rao, Vice President of the MDH Medical Group. “Moving the Convenience Clinic to first floor also allows us to keep the Family Clinic space to regularly scheduled appointments.”


Patients and visitors may be asked to wear a protective mask based on their presenting symptoms.


MDH Convenience Clinic will remain open seven days a week – Monday through Thursday from 8 a.m.-7 p.m. and Friday through Sunday 9 a.m.-6 p.m. If you are sick and want to check on reserving an appointment time, call the MDH Convenience Clinic at (309) 837-6937.


McDonough County Jail: No Visitors Until Apr. 4

Visitations at the McDonough County Jail have been placed on lockdown until April 4th.


According to McDonough County Sheriff Nick Petitgout, the clampdown on visitors is intended to limit the opportunity for COVID-19 to enter the facility. A release from the sheriff states, “This suspension is for precautionary purposes only as there are no known cases of COVID-19 among our staff or any offenders in the county.”


In addition, Petitgout said, all volunteer-managed programs will be canceled until further notice.


Petitgout also asked the public to limit their interactions in the lobby of the McDonough County Sheriff's Office. “Please call if you can,” Petitgout said, “and we will have a deputy or staff member call you.”


SRC Extends Spring Break Through March 20

Because of concerns raised by the COVID-19 outbreak, Spring break at Spoon River College has been extended to March 20. According to a news release, the college will use the extra week to allow faculty and staff the time to move as many classes to an alternate delivery mode as quickly as possible. The college will remain open during the week in the absence of classes. The release states that this is not a “college closure” as the institution will remain open and operational with faculty, administration and staff working normal hours. For more information and updates, check


Straight Talk on COVID-19

To share good information, you need good sources. With as many misconceptions about COVID-19, we went to the local experts: Lynette Cole, Director of the McDonough/Schuyler County Health Department; Pat Osterman from McDonough District Hospital; Edgar Rodrigues and Katie Colon from McDonough County Emergency and Disaster Services.


Ending Cash Bail, Bad Idea Says McDonough County Sheriff Nick Petitgout

McDonough County Sheriff Nick Petitgout talked about what he called misguided efforts to end the practice of cash bail in Illinois when he visited AM Macomb with Bill Schmalfeldt Friday morning (March 13).



Community Meeting Postponed, Residents Still Encouraged to Take Survey

BUSHNELL - The impact of the COVID-19 (coronavirus) continues to create concern both globally and in our community. Illinois Extension is in the process of activating strategies with campus to protect everyone’s health.

This week, the University of Illinois announced a suspension on all in-person events and meetings in campus facilities to protect you and our entire community. Illinois Extension, as the outreach program of the university, aligns with all policies related to public health and safety. As of March 13, all university-sponsored events with more than 50 anticipated attendees will be suspended indefinitely. 


As a result of this action, the City of Bushnell and the University of Illinois Extension has canceled the Community Meeting scheduled for March 25 in Bushnell. According to the Extension Educator, Carrie McKillip, “We are still actively working on the program, and encourage all Bushnell residents to complete the survey, but until we know we can safely host the meeting, we will postpone that portion of the program.”


The community survey is available in both electronic and paper formats.  The mobile or computer-friendly version can be accessed at and the paper version can be picked up and dropped off at Bushnell City Hall.  


The Community Meeting will be rescheduled as soon as possible, with information on the date and time of the rescheduled meeting available at Bushnell City Hall and the University of Illinois Extension Offices in both Macomb and Galesburg.  The media will also be notified of the rescheduled date and time. We are working to support all Illinois families at this time. We appreciate your support and understanding as we navigate this situation. A collection of resources to assist families and community leaders preparing for and coping with COVID-19 is available online at


The program is developed with a multi-state grant from the North Central Regional Center for Rural Development, which looks at a cross-section of economic and health issues as well as how community members perceive them.  According to Carrie McKillip, University of Illinois Extension educator, the concept came from the recognition that many people choose to live in rural communities. 


For more information contact: Carrie McKillip at 309.342.5108 or Tessa Hobbs-Curley at 309.333.2501



MDH Addresses COVID-19 Concerns

MACOMB, Ill. – With facts, rumors, speculation, and constant media attention surrounding COVID-19 (or commonly referred to as the Coronavirus), McDonough District Hospital wants to address some public concerns.


First and foremost, if a person is experiencing symptoms of fever, cough, or shortness of breath they should call their primary care provider. If they do not have a primary care provider, call the MDH Family Clinic or MDH Convenience Clinic at (309) 837-6937.


MDH staff are meeting on a regular basis to assess the current situation around the state and the country, anticipate any issue that could arise should there be a positive test in the area, and make sure staff and patients are educated on the latest news.


“What we have seen from the numbers so far, the vast majority of people who contract COVID-19 will recover uneventfully. In most cases, it does not require hospitalization but rather self-isolation at home,” said Dr. Edwin Card, MDH Chief Medical Officer. “As a hospital, we have isolation protocols already in place and have for a long time. We are prepared should COVID-19 arise in our community. I think COVID-19 is a cause for concern, but not a panic.”


Information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention ( as of March 12, 2020, there were a total of 1,215 cases within the United States with 36 fatalities. Among the cases that were diagnosed in the United States, 125 were persons with a history of recent travel in China or other affected areas, and 102 were persons in close contact with another confirmed COVID-19 patient (i.e., person-to-person spread).


There are cases reported in 43 states and the District of Columbia as of March 12 according to the CDC website. States that reported cases varied from 1-5 cases in the state to 267 (state of Washington). The Illinois Department of Public Health ( announced 25 total cases of COVID-19 in the state as of Wednesday (March 11).


It is important to remember COVID-19 is still not as prevalent as Influenza A & B. So far this flu season, the CDC estimates there have been 34 million cases of influenza, 16 million influenza medical visits, 350,000 influenza hospitalizations and 20,000 deaths.


What are some precautions I can take?

Here are a few suggestions on how to help stop the spread of not only COVID-19 but also influenza.

- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer comprised of at least 60% alcohol.

- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.

- Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue then throw the tissue in the trash.

- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects or surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.

- If you feel ill, stay at home unless it’s to seek medical care. If you feel ill and must be out in public, wear a protective mask.

- If you are NOT sick, you do not need to wear a facemask unless you are caring for someone who is sick. Facemasks may be in short supply, and should be saved for caregivers.


What symptoms should I look for?

If you develop a fever, cough or shortness of breath, AND have been in close contact with a person known to have COVID-19 OR have recently traveled from an area with widespread or ongoing community spread of COVID-19 then call your primary care provider.


What precautions have MDH put in place should there be a diagnosed case?

If a COVID-19 case appears in McDonough County, McDonough District Hospital is prepared to handle the situation. MDH is working with the McDonough County Health Department, and with the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) as needed, to make sure proper precautions and protocols are followed for the testing of a possible case and assist in a patient’s recovery if a test comes back positive.


Can someone who has had COVID-19 spread the illness to others?

The virus that causes COVID-19 spreads from person-to-person. Someone who is actively sick with COVID-19 can spread the illness to others. That is why CDC recommends these patients be isolated either in the hospital or at home (depending on how sick they are) until they are better and no longer pose a risk of infecting others. Current CDC guidance for when it is OK to release someone from isolation is made on a case by case basis and includes meeting all of the following requirements:

- The patient is free from fever without the use of fever-reducing medications.

- The patient is no longer showing symptoms, including cough.

- The patient has tested negative on at least two consecutive respiratory specimens collected at least 24 hours apart.

Someone who has been released from isolation is not considered to pose a risk of infection to others.


Current risk assessment per the CDC (

- For the majority of people, the immediate risk of being exposed to the virus that causes COVID-19 is thought to be low. There is not widespread circulation in most communities in the United States.

- People in places where ongoing community spread of the virus that causes COVID-19 has been reported are at elevated risk of exposure, with increase in risk dependent on the location.

- Healthcare workers caring for patients with COVID-19 are at elevated risk of exposure.

- Close contacts of persons with COVID-19 also are at elevated risk of exposure.

- Travelers returning from affected international locations where community spread is occurring also are at elevated risk of exposure, with an increase in risk dependent on location.


McDonough District Hospital, the McDonough County Health Department, the Illinois Health and Hospital Association (, the IDPH (, and the CDC ( are constantly monitoring the situation. Updates are posted daily on the CDC website.


WIU Cancels Classes, March 14-20

WIU Interim President Martin Abraham announced Thursday that all university classes will be cancelled from March 14th through the 20th. Classes will resume using what he called an “alternate format” on Saturday, March 21 and will continue in that fashion until at least April 3.


The press release did not make clear what is meant by “alternate format.”


While classes will be canceled, the University will remain open for regular business. Faculty and staff will resume their normal work schedule on March 15th. Student employees and graduate assistants should consult with their respective supervisors. Employees and students should stay home and contact their health care providers if they feel ill.


All events on the campus with more than 50 participants before April 3 should be cancelled, Martin said, unless they are deemed essential for University operations. The University has implemented a mandatory event registration form which will remain in effect for the rest of the semester.


Residence halls will reopen at 10 am Sunday as originally scheduled. However, Martin said, students may choose to remain in their permanent residences until further notice. If students choose to return to their respective residence halls, they must check in via their STARS account when they arrive on campus. Dining services will be available.


Western Illinois recently cancelled all summer study abroad trips and international business travel for students, faculty and staff through August 1st. All University-affiliated domestic air travel is also restricted until further notice, although waivers may be requested from the Executive Director of Risk Management for those who believe they have an essential reason to travel. Non-essential travel by bus and train is strongly discouraged, and students, faculty and staff are encouraged to refrain from travel to areas with high numbers of reported cases in the U.S. Those who return from high-risk areas could be required to self-isolate for 14 days.


Martin said there are numerous “what if” scenarios and questions that may not have available answers at the moment, those with questions can email The latest updates are also posted at and


Alderman Mike Eddy Shares Ideas for Lowering Water/Sewer Rates in Colchester

Colchester City Alderman Mike Eddy thinks the water and sewer users in Colchester could do with a break. He's suggesting that the money is there, with a six-month surplus in the water budget from July-December 2019 of over $62,000. Even though the same time period shows a deficit in the sewer budget of over $32,000, Eddy feels that deficit was caused by one-time expenses and, therefore, doesn't stand in the way of cutting rates for Colchester residents.


Alderman Eddy was a guest on the AM Macomb program with Bill Schmalfeldt, Thursday morning (March 12).





COVID-19 Website Provides Updates

MACOMB, IL -- The Office of Risk Management, in cooperation with Beu Health Center, has launched a Coronavirus website to keep the University community apprised of the latest news and information. 

As the situation evolves and changes daily, the most up-to-date information is available at Information available include tips to avoid transmitting illnesses, FAQs and links to policies, as well as links to the CDC and other agencies.

A direct link to the website has been placed on Western's homepage. The University will continue to post and share information on the Coronavirus website and at as the latest updates become available. 

Posted By: WIU News (
Office of University Relations


BREAKING: WIU Summer Study Abroad Trips Canceled; All International Business Travel Restricted

MACOMB, IL -- Western Illinois University has canceled its summer study abroad trips, and no further international business travel is authorized for students, faculty and staff through Aug. 1, 2020 due to the recent Coronavirus outbreak, according to WIU Interim Provost Billy Clow. WIU students, faculty and staff are also encouraged not to visit areas with high numbers of reported cases within the U.S.

Trips had been scheduled in May and June to Scotland and England, Nepal, New York City, Germany, Ireland and Spain. This week, during Spring Break, Western has students in Ecuador, Brazil, Galapagos, Denver and Florida. The countries are currently ranked level one; however, if these countries move to level two, students and faculty will be required to be in self-isolation upon their return to the U.S. If individuals return from high-risk areas in the U.S., they could be required to self-isolate for 14 days.

While there are no probable or confirmed cases of the Coronavirus at Western Illinois University, following the recommendations of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Illinois Department of Public Health, WIU is taking extra steps to ensure the safety of the University community.

"If individuals choose to travel to affected areas on their own, we ask that upon their return they closely monitor their health and seek medical attention if they begin feeling ill," said Dr. Mike Waters, medical chief of staff of Western's Beu Health Center.

As the situation evolves and changes daily, the most up-to-date information is available at and Information available include tips to avoid transmitting illnesses, FAQs and links to policies, as well as links to the CDC and other agencies.

Questions regarding the impact of these restrictions on travel that is already planned can be directed to Joe Roselieb, executive director of Auxiliary Services and Risk Management.

As a precautionary measure to help prevent any possible spread of illnesses, Western's Facilities Management staff have implemented additional disinfecting measures in high traffic areas. Offices on campus are also encouraged to keep hand sanitizer available and assist facilities staff by keeping disinfecting wipes on hand to wipe down doorknobs, phones, kitchen appliances and other shared surfaces.

It is also important for the University community to remain vigilant and responsible. To limit the spread of illness, wash hands frequently, or use hand sanitizers when soap and water are not available. Hand sanitation stations have also been placed throughout campus. Students on the Macomb campus who feel ill should contact Beu Health Center at (309) 298-1888 or their local health care provider, and avoid contact with others. Employees who are ill should contact their health care provider and stay home.

If the Coronavirus appears on campus, the University has plans in place to address a possible outbreak. If the Illinois Department of Public Health determines that isolation is necessary to limit the spread of virus on campus, Beu Health Center and University Housing and Dining Services, established isolation areas on campus. Infected students may return home, or be quarantined on campus for a period of 14 days. The ideal quarantine period has still not yet been firmly established by the Centers for Disease Control. If students are isolated on campus, they will receive medical care and meals.

For more information, the Illinois Department of Public Health has launched the Illinois Novel Coronavirus Hotline and email to answer questions. Individuals can dial (800) 889-3931 24 hours a day, seven days a week or email DPH.SICK@ILLINOIS.GOV to get answers and the latest information.

Copy By: WIU News


Macomb Alderwoman Brown-Edwards Visits AM Macomb

Macomb City Alderwoman Tammie Leigh Brown-Edwards hands AM Macomb host Bill Schmalfeldt a bottle of fresh water as part of a "(309) on 3-09" act of random kindness. Brown-Edwards came up with the idea of using March 9th (3-09) to get people in the 309 area code to exhibit small, random kind acts in the hopes of seeing the kindness get paid forward.


She was a guest on AM Macomb, Monday morning, March 9.




Three Local Artists Named Macomb Citizens of the Year

MACOMB, Il – Three local professional artists, all of whom have direct connections to Western Illinois University (WIU), were recently awarded the Citizen of the Year award for 2019 by Macomb Mayor Michael Inman.


Mr. William “Bill” Howard, WIU Department of Art Professor, Mr. Michael Mahoney-WIU Department of Art Professor Emeritus, and Mr. Henry “Duke” Oursler-WIU Department of Art Assistant Professor, were recognized for their collaboration and bringing the community together, in the Summer of 2019 through a mural project in Macomb’s Historic Downtown.


The mural was painted on the exterior of the north side of The Old Dairy restaurant, a community staple located in the 200 block of South Lafayette St. Through the “Old Dairy Community Mural Project”, Howard and Mahoney’s vision was executed by Oursler and a diverse group of literally hundreds of community members. The all-volunteer project “speaks” about and “celebrates” Macomb’s heritage in a prominent visual work of art.


Owners of The Old Dairy, Emily and Marc Gamage, as well as Macomb Downtown Development Director Kristin Terry and Jock Hedblade, Executive Director of the Macomb Area Convention and Visitor’s Bureau, all praised the vision of the three artists and the work of the volunteers from the community in making the vision a reality.


“We have many outstanding community members, but these three really exemplify commitment and dedication to the greater community, through public art”, said Mayor Inman. Downtown Development Director Kristin Terry noted, “The mural project will have a long-lasting positive impact on the community”.


March 9 is "309 Day"

The (309) area code stretches from Dewitt to Woodford counties, with 18 other counties in-between, including McDonough County, covering an astounding 9,486 square miles. And on March 9 (or 3-09), a Macomb councilwoman wants to get the people in the (309) range – and beyond – into the habit of paying it forward.


While Random Acts of Kindness Week just occurred Feb. 17, Macomb City Council Alderperson Tammie Leigh Brown-Edwards was brainstorming some ways to get the residents of her community, and county, to think of small ways they can make a difference.


"From feeding a quarter into a person's expired parking meter and leaving change for the next person’s purchase to paying book fines at your local library and donating nail polish to senior retirement centers or pillows and suitcases to transitional shelters. It doesn't have to be a large gesture. A small, considerate act may just make someone's day when they most need it," Brown-Edwards said. 


Macomb School District Board of Education member Jim LaPrad says although some schools in the 309 area code are observing Spring Break on March 9 he hopes students spread kindness wherever their travels may take them.


“Kindness in education goes hand and hand. Kindness, like education, doesn't stop at the schoolhouse door,” LaPrad said. “Smiling at people teaches the best lesson: that you're human and you matter. You can carry that all day long because you're human, you matter and we need you with us. We are a better planet because you’re on it and with us in the community.”


Brown-Edwards came up with "(309) on 3-09," as a way to bring a little brightness into the lives of others. As she noted, "I kept thinking of something like '3-Oh, that was so nice-9'!”


“Oh, what a great day to promote the positives in the Macomb area,” said Marketing Director of the Macomb Area Chamber of Commerce Shay Holland. “We are all busy, so go ahead and hold the door open for the person behind you, give them a hello and wish them a good day.”


Brown Edwards encourages (309) residents to mark their calendar for March 9, and set out that day with good intentions.


“We are very fortunate to live in McDonough County where kind things happen everyday,” McDonough County Clerk Gretchen DeJaynes. “So, to make a special day for people to take a moment to do an act of kindness, is a great day.”


"It's easy to be kind. And it doesn't have to be a grand, public gesture," Brown-Edwards added. "I hope everyone joins me to make (309) Day on March 9 a thing to continue each and every day."

"A kind gesture, be it on Random Acts of Kindness Day in February or March 9 - '(309) Day' - should really be something each of us does on a regular basis just for the good of our fellow citizens," she said.  


Mike Kirby, McDonough County Board member from District 1, said, “Everyone wins when we are kind to each other - let’s make McDonough County kinder this March 9 - find a neighbor, and make our county a better place to be!"


The Macomb Area Convention and Visitors Bureau, located at 201 S. Lafayette St., have (309) shirts and hats available for purchase. For more information visit,


Illinois Announces 5th Case of COVID-19

SPRINGFIELD – The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) and Cook County Department of Public Health (CDPH) today announced a fifth Illinois resident has tested positive at the IDPH laboratory for coronavirus disease (COVID-19).  The specimens have been sent to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for confirmatory testing.  The fifth individual is a Cook County resident in his 20s who flew into Chicago O’Hare Airport earlier this month after traveling to Italy. The individual acquired the infection while in Italy and is hospitalized at Rush University Medical Center in isolation.  Public health officials are identifying and contacting all close contacts.


“The state of Illinois is working around the clock to contain COVID-19 and educate the public,” said Governor JB Pritzker. “Public health officials anticipated there would be additional cases and we will continue to implement robust measures to contain the virus while also preparing for further transmission.  The risk of COVID-19 to the general public in Illinois remains low, but we encourage the public to be vigilant and take extra care with the normal precautions you should take during flu season.”


The CDC has confirmed one of the recent presumptive positive cases and we are still awaiting results on the other case.  Both remain in home isolation and are doing well.  At this time, the exposure route for the third and fourth cases is not known.  Both individuals recently traveled to another state, but health officials have not been able to link them to a COVID-19 confirmed case in Illinois or the other state. Therefore, because IDPH has been unable to identify a point of exposure for these two cases, IDPH believes it is possible these cases may be due to community transmission in Illinois.


“While we expect to see additional cases, we are not seeing widespread transmission of the virus in Illinois and we believe the risk to the general public remains low,” said IDPH Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike.  “We understand people are concerned, but we want to reassure residents that we have been working with local health departments, hospitals, clinicians, the CDC, and other state agencies around the clock and are using every resource at our disposal to prepare.”
Illinois’ two previously confirmed cases have both recovered.  Public health officials continue to monitor individuals throughout Illinois who have a history of travel to an affected area or who have had close contact with a confirmed case.


“We will continue to monitor all three recently identified cases daily for the presence of fever, cough, or difficulty breathing until CDC criteria for release are met,” said Cook County Department of Public Health Chief Operating Officer Dr. Terry Mason. “With the ability to test for COVID-19 in the IDPH laboratories, we were able to get results quickly and potentially limit further spread of this virus.”

Illinois was the first state to be able to test for COVID-19 and IDPH continues to test for the virus in all three of its laboratories - Chicago, Springfield, and Carbondale.


The need for testing will be determined by a physician based on the patient’s symptoms and epidemiologic factors, which includes health care workers, those who have had close contact with a confirmed COVID-19 patient, or those who have travelled from affected geographic areas. Currently, IDPH is prioritizing testing for individuals who meet previously defined criteria, as well as hospitals who are voluntarily participating in surveillance.  When commercial laboratory testing is available, the capacity for more people to be tested will increase significantly.


For information about how you, your school, your workplace, and your community can prepare, please visit  For general questions about COVID-19, call the hotline at 1-800-889-3931 or email


Spring 2020 WIU Admissions Events

MACOMB/MOLINE, IL – Prospective college students will have plenty of opportunities to check out Western Illinois University this spring as WIU's Undergraduate Admissions gears up for several events.


Thursday, March 5

Explore WIU Local Visit High School Day is set for Macomb-area high school students learn more about the college opportunities available right in their backyard (or close by). Students from high schools in Adams, Brown, Cass, Fulton, Hancock, Henderson, Knox, McDonough, Pike, Schuyler and Warren, as well as Rock Island, Henry, and Mercer interested in attending Western are invited to take part in the day-long event. Register at


Saturday, April 4

Discover Western open houses give students the opportunity to tour the Macomb or Quad Cities campus, meet with academic and student services staff, talk with current WIU students and more. Register at


Monday, March 23

Admitted Students Day gives admitted students the chance to meet with faculty and staff in WIU's academic departments, take part in a class, meet their future classmates, tour campus and more. Register at


Sunday-Monday, March 29-30
Sunday-Monday, April 19-20

Experience Western gives admitted students the opportunity get a taste of life at WIU, including spending the night in a residence hall, eating in on-campus dining facilities, and attending classes with a current Western student. Register at


Campus Visits

If a prospective or admitted student can't make it for a visit event during the Spring 2020 semester, several daily visit options are also available. Campus information sessions are offered most weekdays and several Saturdays throughout the semester at 10 a.m., followed by a campus tour at 11 a.m. The sessions are repeated on weekdays at 1 p.m., with a 2 p.m. tour. Register at


Scholarship Opportunities

The new Leatherneck Visitor Scholarship gives incoming (accepted) freshmen and transfers a one-time $1,000 award if they attend an on-campus WIU Undergraduate Admissions event. Prospective freshmen and transfers interested in being considered for the automatic scholarships available at WIU can apply at More information on WIU scholarships (automatic and donor designated application-based scholarships) can be found at


For more information about admissions at WIU, contact Undergraduate Admissions at (309) 298-3157 or email

Posted By: WIU News (
Office of University Relations


WIU School of Agriculture Offering Open House for Prospective Students March 20

MACOMB, IL – The Western Illinois University School of Agriculture will host its spring open house for prospective students and their parents from 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Friday, March 20 at the University Livestock Center, 2265 Wigwam Hollow Rd.

School of Agriculture faculty and current students will be on hand at the open house to answer questions and to lead tours of the WIU-Macomb campus, the University Farm and WIU's agriculture facilities. The event and lunch are free, and attendees will be entered into a drawing for a $200 scholarship. Students planning to enroll at WIU within the next two years will each get a $1,000 scholarship.

"Attending the School of Agriculture Open House is the best way for those interested in studying agriculture to learn about our program," said WIU Agriculture Instructor Janna Knupp. "Having the opportunity to visit with faculty, students and alumni, as well as tour the University Farm, gives future students an inside perspective of the opportunities available at WIU."

The lunch will be a Tex-Mex buffet, which will feature Leatherneck Country Meats.

The Spring 2020 Ag Open House schedule includes:

• 9-9:45 a.m. – Registration and student fair
• 9:45-9:50 a.m. – Welcome by WIU Agriculture Vocators
• 9:50-10 a.m. – Welcome by WIU School of Agriculture Director Andrew Baker
• 10-10:10 a.m. – Welcome from WIU Office of Admissions
• 10:10-10:20 a.m. – Alumni guest speaker, Michael Keane '15
• 10:20-11:20 a.m. – Farm tour
• 11:30-noon – Agriculture student panel
• Noon-1 p.m. – Lunch with faculty at the WIU Livestock Center
• 1:30 p.m. – Depart Livestock Center for optional walking tour of campus

Those who complete an undergraduate admissions application during the open house will have the $30 fee waived.

All participants should park at the WIU Livestock Center (located at 2201 Wigwam Hollow Rd.); a map of the WIU campus and directions to the WIU Livestock Center are available at

The event is sponsored by West Central FS.

For more information, contact the School of Agriculture at (309) 298-1080. Follow the WIU School of Ag on Facebook at, on Twitter at or on Instagram at WIUAg.

Posted By: WIU News (
Office of University Relations


Admitted Students Day Set for March 23 at WIU

MACOMB, IL -- Undergraduate students admitted to Western Illinois University are invited to the inaugural "Admitted Students Day" Monday, March 23 to get a sneak peak at what it's like to be a Leatherneck.

Activities include a specially designed class taught by WIU professors, a presentation for parents and guardians, a lunch social with current WIU students, opportunities to learn more about Western's many majors and in-depth sessions on campus resources. Campus tours, including residence hall tours, summer orientation registration and financial aid information will also be available.

To register visit During the registration, students can choose classes and sessions to attend during Admitted Students Day. Eight mock classes and 13 resource sessions are scheduled.

"This is a great opportunity for admitted students to really find out more about the outstanding resources we have on campus," said Sarah Gibson, WIU admissions counselor and coordinator of Admitted Students Day.

And just for taking part, students qualify for the new Leatherneck Visitor Scholarship, which gives incoming (accepted) freshmen a one-time $1,000 award if they attend an on-campus WIU Undergraduate Admissions event, such as Admitted Students Day. More information on all of WIU's scholarships (automatic and donor designated application-based scholarships) can be found at

Check out all the Spring 2020 WIU Admissions events at


Posted By: WIU News (
Office of University Relations


WIU Student-Run Event Raises Over $4,300 for Local Families

MACOMB, IL – A fundraising event organized and run by a Western Illinois University Recreation Park and Tourism Administration (RPTA) class raised more than $4,300 for the local office of the Center for Youth and Family Solutions (CYFS).

The fifth annual "Foos for Families" event, a human foosball tournament March 1 on campus, was organized by the event planning and management course, taught by Assistant Professor Jeremy Robinett. In addition to the event, a fundraising dinner and raffle was held at Chubby's, in downtown Macomb Feb. 26.

"It's incredible to see the learning that happens at this event," said Robinett. "Concepts we've talked about in class come alive as students coordinate and manage Foos. They get a richer sense of risk management, administration and how events have the capacity to positively impact communities. As we debriefed yesterday, they were able to specifically link their experiences at the event with concepts and shared stories about conversations they had with community members and other students. The event helps them see themselves not only as future event directors, but also as future community members."

Members of the Macomb Park District and CYFS staff also assisted with the event. Six teams took part in this year's tournament, which was won by Sigma Alpha Epsilon.

Money raised through the event helps buy items for families in need in the area, specifically school supplies, winter coats, activity fees, haircuts, hygiene products, cleaning items and fuel cards to attend counseling.

For more information about the tournament, visit

Posted By: WIU News (
Office of University Relations


WIU Organizations Took the "Plunge" in this year's Polar Plunge for Special Olympics

MACOMB, IL - - Multiple Western Illinois University faculty, staff and students took part in the 2020 Law Enforcement Torch Run Polar Plunge Saturday, Feb. 29. The event was held at WIU's Western Hall.

All Polar Plungers are required to raise a minimum of $100 in donations. They are encouraged to dress in costume and can participate in the event's costume contest.

Participants are given a Polar Plunge sweatshirt and additional incentive prizes are given to participants who raise $250, $500 and $1,000.

At this year's event, 60 participants took the plunge. Through donations, $10,857 was raised, with various WIU groups and organizations participating. Some WIU groups that participated included Alpha Sigma Alpha, the School of Law Enforcement and Administration, Western Emergency Medical Services (WEMS) and WIU Police and Friends.

Through the WIU Polar Plunge, 805 athletes are directly supported in the western Illinois region.

The Macomb Police Department was the top fundraising team, raising a total of $1,640. Brian Briggs, an employee of WIU, was the third place fundraiser, with a total of $505 raised and was a costume contest reward recipient.

In addition to sponsoring the Polar Plunge, Alpha Sigma Alpha, a sorority at WIU, spent the day volunteering at the event. Members set-up the event, worked the registration table, served lunch and tore down the event.

Members of Sigma Chi, a fraternity at WIU, assisted with set-up and tear down of the swimming pool for the plunge.

In the 21 years of since the event's inception, more than $22 million has been raised by more than 78,000 plunges. During the 2020 Polar Plunge season, all the proceeds collected by plungers will benefit 23,000 traditional athletes and 17,000 young athletes of Special Olympics Illinois. With the money raised by Polar Plunge events, year-round sports training and athletic competition in a variety of Olympic-type sports for children and adults with intellectual disabilities.

For more information on Polar Plunge, visit

Posted By: Hayley Porter (
Office of University Relations


Things Looking Positive for WIU Recruitment, Swegan Says

Gary Swegan, interim associate vice president of enrollment management at Western Illinois University, shared some optimistic views about the future of student enrollment at the university during his visit to AM Macomb with Bill Schmalfeldt on 104.7 WLMD Tuesday morning. (March 2)



Andy Baker from the School of Agriculture Discusses the New Cannabis Minor at WIU on AM Macomb

According to Forbes, the cannabis industry is among the fastest-growing job markets in America. According to Leafly's 2019 Cannabis Jobs Count, cannabis directly employs more than 211,000 full-time workers in the U.S. And now Western Illinois University students interested in careers in what Leafly calls America's hidden job boom will have the opportunity through a new Cannabis Production minor set to debut at WIU in Fall 2020.

A new course within the program, "Cannabis Biology and Production," as well as the minor itself, will assist with developing employees for the new Illinois industry in cannabis production, said School of Agriculture Director Andy Baker. He talked about the program Friday morning (Feb. 28) on WLMD's "AM Macomb" show with Bill Schmalfeldt.