The Circle stars Emma Watson as Mae, the newest employee of a massive tech company with roots in every form of innovation from basic tech to the most advanced social media. Tom Hanks is the Steve Jobs-esque company founder wtih Patton Oswalt as his second in command. As Mae rises through the ranks she comes to find that there is more to the company and it's commitment to radical honesty than what appears on the surface. Here's my review of "The Circle."
2017-04-28 11:45:00 by City of Macomb Downtown Development
City of Macomb Downtown Development announces the beginning of construction on the Downtown Revitalization project. The Downtown Revitalization project (Phase I) will address the storm sewer drainage on the south side of the Square, removing and rebuilding the middle islands and milling/overlaying of the pavement to include one block coming off of the square in each direction. Staging for this project has begun and full construction will start May 15, 2017.
Monday, May 1 - Begin sawing of pavement for the installation of storm sewer in all
parts of the Square. Should take two days. Nothing more until about May 15 until all materials arrive on site.
About May 15 - The crew will begin excavation and installation of storm sewer in the NE quadrant of the Square. After completing that quadrant, the crew will do the same in the NW quadrant, moving counter- clockwise around the Square until done with the storm sewer. Also while working in each quadrant, the crew will remove and replace the corner islands before moving on. This process will take 8 – 12 weeks.
July 15/Aug 1 – The crew will begin to mill and overlay the streets with about 2 inches of new hot-mix asphalt. Again, this will be taken one quadrant at a time, starting in the NE quadrant. The total project is scheduled to be done by August 15.
“The square will never be closed down, at any point, during construction,” said Downtown Development Director, Kristin Terry. “All construction will be done in quadrants and we want to remind folks that United Contractors Midwest (UCM) will utilize the minimum space needed to work safely and efficiently”, stated Terry.
The estimated date of completion for the Downtown Revitalization Project is August 15, 2017. More information can be found City of Macomb website, Downtown Macomb/Facebook, Downtown Kiosk, or join us in the City Hall Community Room for weekly update meetings each Thursday at 2:00 p.m.
As the project progresses updates will be provided in a timely manner. “We appreciate your patients during this amazing transformation of the Historic Downtown,” stated Terry.
2017-04-28 11:26:00 by Office of Governor Bruce Rauner
Governor Bruce Rauner today released an open letter to school districts and higher learning institutions on opportunities to address acts of discrimination and bigotry in academic environments. The letter, sent through the Illinois Department of Human Rights (IDHR), urges educational institutions to develop proactive strategies aimed at preventing acts of hate before they occur.
“Acts of bigotry and hate have no place in our society. All of us need to come together and take the necessary measures to ensure that our schools, colleges, and universities are safe and welcoming environments for students,” said Governor Rauner. “Our administration stands strongly with educational institutions across Illinois as they expand opportunities to prevent these acts.”
In addition to suggested preventative measures for educational institutions, the Rauner Administration is pledging that IDHR, in partnership with the State Board of Education, the Illinois Community College Board, and the State Board of Higher Education, will investigate any and all reports of discriminatory acts occurring in academic settings.
“Illinois has long been a leader in challenging discrimination and ensuring that hateful, unlawful actions are not tolerated,” said IDHR Acting Director Janice Glenn. “We are committed to assisting administrators, educators, and students in setting a strong example for our communities by condemning discriminatory acts.”
Administration officials recommend that institutions establish and implement sound and consistent policies that address discrimination and promote equal opportunity. Preventative strategies could include consistent review and dissemination of bullying, harassment, and anti-discriminatory policies, training on recognizing and acting on the signs of students being victims of discrimination, ensuring clear lines of communication, being aware of actions that could occur outside of institutional settings, and developing programs to promote cultural understanding.
“Through an ongoing collaboration, we intend to continue engagement with educational leaders and stakeholders on how to promote welcoming and supportive learning spaces throughout the state,” said Secretary of Education Beth Purvis. “Continued success in identifying best practices requires open lines of communication between state agencies and educational institutions."
The Illinois Small Business Development Center and the Small Business Administration are hosting a event on May 3rd to help educate small business on the different resources that can help grow their business. This event will include refreshments, a raffle drawing, and presentations from Valerie Ross of the Small Business Administration and Jim Boyd of the Illinois Small Business Development Center at WIU. This event will be from 9 to 10 am and will be located at the Macomb City Community Room right on East Jackson Street. To make a reservations call 309-837-4684 .
Senator Dick Durbin is weighing in on President Trump's tax ‘proposal’. For starters, in a statement the word proposal is placed in quotation marks. Durbin's statement called for sunlight on Trump's financial life. "President Trump should release his own tax returns if he wants to have any credibility in a debate about America’s tax code. Let’s be clear, his ‘plan’ would add dramatically to the national deficit to fund a massive tax giveaway to corporations and millionaires."
33 -year old Jared D. Beans is now facing charges after police suspect him of burglary and theft of a motor vehicle. The McDonough County Sheriff's Office says, that on April 22nd a 2001 mustang was stolen from a residence in Tennessee Illinois. Police also determined that the keys had been stolen from a residence located on west Jackson street in Tennessee. The vehicle was later found struck in a field north of Macomb. A warrant was issued for Beans arrest. He was not found until yesterday April 25th. Police arrested Beans in Bushnell IL at 9:30 at night. Beans is currently set at a $50,000 bond.
33- year old Kenneth D. Dainty is in custody after police say he failed to notify officials about where he was living. Dainty who is registered as a sex offender in Colchester IL, had not lived there in approximately a month police say. The Colchester police and McDonough County Sheriff's Office both worked together to conduct a investigation regarding Dainty whereabouts. He was later found and arrested by McDonough County police at 806 E. Pierce Street in Macomb.
(Springfield, IL)- More than 100 Illinois citizens are coming together to make their voices heard in Springfield. Alzheimer's Advocates from across the State will meet with legislators today in an effort to make Illinois a dementia-capable state. The group is lobbying for crucial legislation addressing the pressing problems of improper discharges and insufficient facility staffing levels.
The bills advocates are asking their representatives to support are SB 1624 and HB 3392. This legislation would protect the growing number of long-term care residents currently being abandoned in hospital psychiatric units and provide the necessary penalties to enforce legally-required staffing levels, saving lives and greatly enhancing quality of life for long-term care residents.
Illinois is among the worst in the country in the number of complaints of improper discharges of seniors and individuals with disabilities. According to data published by the federal Administration on Community Living (ACL) and the Illinois Long-Term Care Ombudsman, Illinois recorded more than 1,000 complaints of improper discharges that included complaints of residents being abandoned at hospitals.
Andrew Kretschmar, Senior Manager for the Alzheimer’s Association Illinois Chapter Network spoke to the role the bill would play for people afflicted with the disease. “For over a year the Alzheimer’s Association has advocated for this legislation because we know this law will stop the unfair treatment of people with Alzheimer’s in Illinois. Between 2011 and 2015, the number of nursing home beds in the state of Illinois decreased by 7%, in that same time the number of complaints of improper discharges leading to hospital abandonment increased 158%. The math just doesn’t add up. Some of these facilities are self-reporting understaffing upwards of 50% - certainly the care of residents in those facilities is suffering. Today we’re doing something about it. If passed, these bills will change the lives of thousands of Illinoisans living with Alzheimer’s residing in long-term care settings.”
The 2017 Illinois Action Summit, hosted by the Alzheimer's Association- Greater Illinois Chapter, will give Advocates a chance to meet with their elected lawmakers to help draw critical attention to the sixth deadliest disease in America. Advocates, those diagnosed with the disease, caregivers and champions of the cause, will be at the Capitol speaking with lawmakers from 12:30pm-2:30pm.
There are many opportunities for video and interview requests today. We have people traveling from all across Illinois to attend, so we can set up an interview with someone from a specific area if requested.
A conservation group is raising questions about Dow Chemical's attempts to convince the Trump administration to drop studies that show its pesticides could harm endangered species.
In a series of leaked letters, Dow executives asked Environmental Protection Agency chief Scott Pruitt to withdraw recently released "biological evaluations" that show three insecticides - including Dow's chlorpyrifos - are likely to harm 97 percent of threatened or endangered species.
Brett Hartl, government-affairs director for the Center for Biological Diversity, said killing those studies would scuttle a four-year process undertaken to calculate risks and set limits on where the pesticide can be sprayed.
"Dow is now saying, 'Oh, the science is flawed. We need to start completely over' - which is an absurd delaying tactic," Hartl said, "because they don't like the result."
Dow also reportedly has asked the secretaries of Commerce and the Interior to go back to court to challenge a 2014 settlement that requires the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the National Marine Fisheries Service to release their own draft biological opinions by May. Opponents of reducing the number of pesticides available for use say it is making it increasingly difficult for the industry to produce large-scale crops with fewer tools.
Hartl noted that Dow contributed $1 million to President Trump's inauguration, and that Trump named Dow CEO Andrew Liveris to lead the American Manufacturing Council.
"Given Dow's very close relationship with Trump," Hartl said, "it's not surprising that this is happening, but obviously very frustrating and very alarming."
Pruitt hasn't publicly responded to the release of the letters. However, he rejected the recent findings of his agency's staff scientists, who suggested that the government revise the acceptable level of chlorpyrifos residue on food down to zero.
The letters are online at biologicaldiversity.org.
Another day another rally in Springfield, Tuesday marked the Woman’s Rights Rally at the Capitol. Supporters spoke on the needs of women but one lawmaker says don’t stop there. Rep. Lou Lang told the group that after leaving Springfield they need to be engaged and ready to be active in support of important issues.
The state house was in session today and will be this week, work is still being done a possible state budget that now may include a stop gap funding plan.
Rain gauges throughout Illinois will be getting a good workout over the next several days. A system will be moving through the state Wednesday with another one behind it for the weekend says State Climatologist Jim Angel.
As far as temperatures are concerned, Angel says Illinois is about five-and-half degrees above normal for the month of April.
A recent study shows that men between the ages of 18 and 34 are three times more likely to be a victim of fraud than the overall population. Detective Jones of the Office of Public Safety in Macomb has been a officer for 10 years, and says he is not surprised by this study. He says particularly college males might be more "naive" towards these scams, because of they need money and look for fast money as a option. Also with the lack of jobs in the area there are more young adults looking for ways to make money. There are many ways you can identify a scam. For one If they ask you for your social security number then that should raise a "big red flag." says Detective Jones. Also you can tell from the headers in the email. If you don't recognize a email then you should be mindful of what your clicking and replying to. Phone and e-mail scams can happen to anyone. If you have been a victim of e-mail or phone scams you should call your local police, and have a case number put on file. Also Detective Jones says you should contact the Illinois Attorney General to file a report.
A women is in custody after the being arrested Monday around noon.. Police say there was a warrant out for 29-year old Kristi S. Roark who was accused of 32 counts of Deceptive practice. Sergeant Patrick Frazier says she was arrested in her home in Payson Illinois, where they found methamphetamine and drug paraphernalia. A child was also located in the home at the time. Frazier says they "did not release the young male," but he was handed over to another family member.
2017-04-25 11:47:00 by Illinois Policy Institute
CHICAGO (April 25, 2017) – A new analysis by the nonpartisan Illinois Policy Institute finds that Illinois lawmakers have been “shopping without looking at the price tag” by voting for bills without knowing how much they will cost.
The 99th General Assembly was in session from January 2015 to January 2017. The Institute’s analysis found that during this time, lawmakers passed 938 bills – but only 27 had fiscal notes, which serve as price tags for legislation.
“If you want to understand why Illinois is burdened with massive state debt, soaring deficits and a giant pile of unpaid bills, just look at how irresponsibly our elected officials operate. They’re passing bills left and right without a clue as to how much they will cost – or considering whether Illinois even has enough money to pay for them,” said Kristina Rasmussen, president of the Illinois Policy Institute. “No private citizen, family or business can afford to act this way. It’s unacceptable that our elected officials are allowed to get away with this.”
Even bills seemingly unrelated to more spending can have an impact on the state’s budget. That’s why law in at least 10 other states requires fiscal notes. Among the states with fiscal note requirements are Indiana, Missouri, Oklahoma, Maryland, Nebraska and Colorado.
But here in Illinois, where there is no such requirement, the state is on pace to spend billions of dollars more this fiscal year than it will take in. The state also has a backlog of bills that now exceeds $13 billion, as well as $267 billion in unfunded government worker retirement debt.
“Lawmakers must know the price tag of a bill before they vote on it – and embrace fiscal notes as other states have,” Rasmussen said.
While the solution seems simple, it has not become a reality. Perhaps this is why: In order to pass a fiscal note requirement, lawmakers would need to impose this rule on themselves.
CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates for Children) of McDonough County, is holding a 5K Run and Walk on Saturday, April 29. The Run for CASA's Kids will take place at The Old Dairy, beginning at 8:00 AM. The $30 event will raise money for CASA, which relys on donations and volunteer work to function. The race is one of several ways the organization is being active in Child Abuse Awareness and Prevention Month.
Earlier in the month, CASA held a flag raising at City Hall in Macomb. Additionally, the organization ran their Koins for Kids event that they annually use to help with funding. CASA is looking for more volunteers and is holding training sessions starting May 1.
To learn more about the Run for CASA's Kids and what the organization does, listen to my interview below with Vicki Duba and Becci Steelman from CASA of McDonough County.
The Quad City Symphony will host their Family Music Weekend this Saturday and Sunday. The weekend will include a music carnival, and concerts form the quad city symphony and other non-professional musicians. Quad City Symphony director Mark Smith say this is a "unique opportunity for non-professional musicians to sit side by side with musicians of the quad city symphony." This weekend of events is free and open to the public. The music carnival will on Saturday April 29th from 10am to 5pm, and the Quad City Symphony concert will be this Sunday April 30th starting at 3pm. These events will take place at the Great River Hall of the RiverCenter 136 E. 3rd Street Davenport.
With recent cases of the mumps surfing through Illinois the director of the Illinois Department of Public Health Nirav Shah is asking that parents make sure that their children are fully immunized if they haven't been already. This week is National Infant Immunization week and Director Shah says that "vaccines are the most successful and cost-effective public health tools for preventing disease and death." This is why it is important for parents to follow the recommended immunization schedule, so that they can help protect infants and children in their early lives before they are exposed to these live threatening diseases. There is a federal program called The Vaccines For Children program where you can take your child to get vaccinated for free. For more information you can visit the Illinois Department of Public Health website. http://www.dph.illinois.gov/
This week is Illinois distracted driving awareness week, and the Illinois State police have announced that they will be participate by making sure people are mindful of driving laws and obeying them. The Illinois State capitol held a press conference today to help bring attention to the movement in hopes that more people will make better decisions when driving on the road. Statistics from the AAA Foundation for Traffic shows that an estimated of 3,477 people were killed in 2015, because of distracted drivers. The Illinois State police encourage drives to eliminate distractions, and stay focused on the task at hand. Violating driving laws can cost you $120. So avoid getting a ticket, and help prevent fatal crashes and causing injury.
Refreshment Services Pepsi has stocked the Macomb HyVee with a brand new Mountain Dew product called DEW-S-A. This USA inspired flavor is a combination of three Mountain Dew varieties; Mt. Dew code red, Mt. Dew White Out and Mt. Dew Voltage. The product was delivered to HyVee today, with a Macomb Police Department convoy escorting the Pepsi truck from West Jackson over to East Jackson.
We will have a remote broadcast on K100 at HyVee Saturday from Noon-2 PM. There will be free sampling, free Mt. Dew swag and an opportunity for attendees to meet and thank their local heros from the Macomb Sherriff's Department and Macomb Police Department.
For more on Saturday's big event at HyVee, listen below to my interview with Trent from Refreshment Services Pepsi and Amy from HyVee.
President Trumps Cabinet isn’t fully stocked. The United State’s Department of Agriculture is still without a Secretary. That’s set to change this week with a pending vote in the US Senate. One Illinois Senator says he’s leaning towards approving him. Democrat Dick Durbin says he’d like to know a little more about some business dealings that Sonny Purdue had.
Purdue is expected to pass the test in the Senate. He was the last appointee selected by Trump.
Women will be making their voices heard at the state Capitol Tuesday.
The Illinois Women March on Springfield is being held to bring attention to the lack of a state budget, equal pay, and immigration and LGBTQ issues.
March organizer Tracy Baim says women and minority groups will likely experience some setbacks from the federal government, so it's important to tell state lawmakers about what matters most to them now.
"Illinois, being one of the few blue states in the Midwest, we knew that it was critical for us to keep these issues in the forefront on a state basis because we can at least hold back some of the changes, including on Medicare, other things that we can push and fight for," she states. "This is a really, really important time to hold the line."
Baim says march participants want to get several messages to Illinois lawmakers, including the need for a fair and balanced budget, equal pay and treatment for women and minority groups, and House Bill 40, which repeals a trigger provision in the Illinois abortion law. It confirms that abortion will remain legal in Illinois even if the U.S. Supreme Court rolls back Roe v. Wade.
Baim says the momentum started with the election of President Donald Trump, then the nationwide women's marches that followed in January. She says it's important for people to make their voices heard even if they can't attend public events such as this one.
"We've printed thousands of pink postcards for people to send into their rep (representative), or to hand deliver in Springfield, so people have been hosting parties where they're filling these cards out to send to their senators and representatives."
Tuesday's event starts at noon in front of the Lincoln statue. There will be a march around the Capitol, then participants will go inside the statehouse to talk to lawmakers. A rally will follow at around 2:30 p.m.
One year ago, April 21st, 2016, we lost music icon Prince. One of his closest friends and collaborators, Sheila E. is among those who've kept the legend of Prince front and center, celebrating his music and his unique life. In this interview we talk about one year since the passing of her friend and mentor. We also talked about Sheila's new record called "Iconic." This daring record features politically charged covers of classic protest songs and features incredible guest appearances from Ringo Starr, George Clinton and Bootsy Collins. Sheila is, for the first time, turning to crowd funding for her new record and you can actually be part of the album, literally. Among the options to help fund the record is the chance to play on the record. Check out PledgeMusic.com/Projects/SheilaE to see all the options you have from t-shirts, to signed drums, to a signed drum kit, to dinner with Sheila E. to, no kidding, actually playing on a track with Sheila E. Here's my chat with Sheila E. as part of Regional Media Celebrity Interview series.
Western Illinois University Infant Preschool is hosting a fundraiser Friday April 28th. The Infant Preschool Center will be selling hotdogs, ribeyes, butterfly pork chops, and more to help raise money for a tree house that the kids can play on. The event will be from 11am to 3:30 pm on the east side of Horbin Hall.
The Illinois Department of Transportation will reduce IL 9 to one lane of traffic at Spoon River in Fulton County. The lane reduction will be enforced from Tuesday April 25th to Friday April 28th. IDOT says that the lane reduction is necessary for bridge repair work to be completed. People are encouraged to contine to be safe and aware when driving through work zones.
Starting Monday April 24th The westbound lanes of I-74 at County Highway 9 near Knoxville will be closed off from 10pm till 2am. The reason for the closure according to The Illinois Department of Transportation is to do some "bridge beam setting work." The ramps at Exit 51 will be used as a detour for traffic during this time. IDOT ask that people slow down and use extreme caution while driving through all work zones.
WIU Police Sergeant Derek Watts came on K100 this morning to promote Monday's Public Safety Expo. That will be held from 10:00 AM to 2:00 PM in the East Arena at Western Hall. Sgt. Watts went into more detail about how it will be structured, and what people can expect from the free expo.
Sgt. Watts also briefly discussed the Fire Truck Pull on Sunday, April 30. Registration will be that day at 2, with the event being held at 3 at 200 West Jackson, just outside the firehouse. Proceeds from this will support the Special Olympics Illinois.
Academy Award winner Billy Bob Thornton's first passion was music and he's now channeling that passion into his band The Boxmasters. Celebrating 10 years as a band, The Boxmasters on their Tea Surfing tour, supporting the album of the same name and they are going to be not to far from Macomb on Saturday night, performing in Springfield at Boondocks Pubs. Billy Bob Thornton and bandmate JD Andrew were my guests today as part of our Regional Media Celebrity Interview Series.
A 19 year old from Roseville is facing multiple charges including DUI following an accident that injured a Macomb woman on Thursday. According to the Illinois State Police, 19 year old Casimir Stodolkiewicz was driving under the influence on Thursday when his vehicle rear-ended a vehicle driven by 50 year old Heather McIlvaine-Newsad of Macomb on U.S 67 in Warren County. The collision pushed Mcilvaine-Newsad's vehicle into a nearby ditch where it came to rest while Stodolkiewicz's vehicle traveled further up the road before landing in another ditch. Both were taken from the scene to local hospitals with what the Illinois State Police spokesman described as minor injuries. Stodolkiewicz is charged with Driving Under the Influence, Illegal Transportation of Alcohol, Leaving the Scene of an Accident that Caused Injury, Illegal Possession of Alcohol by a Minor and Failure to Reduce Speed to Avoid an Accident.
Gifted stars Chris Evans (Captain America) as Frank, the Uncle and caretaker of 7 year old Mary, a math prodigy played by McKenna Grace. When Frank sends Mary to school after a few years of homeschooling and staying off the radar, Mary's math skills are recognized by her 1st grade teacher (Jenny Slate) and then by the school principal who insists that Mary is sent to a school for gifted children. This gets the attention of Mary's grandmother who ends up taking Frank to court for custody of Mary. Here's my review of Gifed.
Two WIU Alumni may have the opportunity to tour with heavy metal band Metallica this summer. Western Illinois University Alumi Aly Jados and Jeff Loehrke has been named one of the final 8 finalist for the "Hit The Stage" contest. Jeff and Aly both graduated in 2008 as music majors at WIU. They have been friends since freshman year of high school, and every since they have been performing together at many events and places around Chicago and Macomb. Aly who is the singer of the band says she came up with their band name, Blood People which stands for "family and being all one blood." Both Jeff and Aly expressed their appreciation and love for the band Metallica. Jeff who plays guitar, says he "always loved Metallica" and it would be insane if they could open up for them this summer. Jeff says the craziest thing about this whole experience is that they are the only band that's not signed to a label or a international tour band. They are also the only band in this contest with female artist. Aly says it's "nerve wracking" being the underdog, but she is confident that they will win the contest. Jeff and Aly says they are humbled by this experience so far, and ask that people continue to submit their votes online on the Metallica website. The voting dealine is Tuesday April 25th at noon. Click here to vote for Blood People.
Governor Bruce Rauner is moving. The move is connected to the repair and renovation of the Governor’s mansion in Springfield. So that has Rauner shifting residences to the state fairgrounds where he will now live in the house that’s for the state’s director of Agriculture.
The work on the Governor’s mansion is expected to last about year and cost about $15 million. The repairs are being funded by private donations.
Actor Geoff Stults stars in the new thriller "Unforgettable alongside Katherine Heigl and Rosario Dawson. "Unforgettable" stars Stults as the ex-husband of Katherine Heigl and the fiancee of Rosario Dawson which sounds like a pretty great life until you find out that Heigl is not so happy about being the ex-wife and is set out to destroy her replacement. The film is a callback to the thrillers of the 80's and 80's such as "Fatal Attraction" and "Basic Instinct." I spoke to Geoff Stults this week as part of our Regional Media Celebrity interview series.
Dr. Afriye Amerson, new to the Women's Health Department at McDonough District Hospital, came on K100 this morning to discuss a number of important topics pertaining to local health.
This month is Minority Health Month at Western Illinois University, which features a number of events, including a STI Panel in Stipes 121 today at 5:00 PM. Dr. Amerson will be on that panel. Additionally, she discussed the importance of minority health from everyone, not just minorities. Dr. Amerson also touched on some of the new services and medical advances MDH is rolling out with their new Women's Health Campaign.
Listen to my full conversation with Dr. Amerson below.
A 30,000 gallon LP tank hit by lightning in western Illinois. It happened Wednesday morning as a storm rolled through the Gold Star FS plant—east of Aledo. Aledo Fire Chief Dennis Litwiler says thankfully, there were no injuries or major damage.
A portion of Illinois Route 17 was shut down for two hours as emergency responders handled the situation. The lightning strike caused a pressure relief valve to release and Litwiler says there’s no way to shut that off without emptying the tank.
Illinois Lawmakers this week heard from officials in Colorado regarding how the legalization of Marijuana has affected the state. Colorado Department of Revenue Executive Director Barbara Brohl appeared before Illinois lawmakers this week and our Kim Howard was on hand for this report.
State Representative Norine Hammond released a statement on Wednesday regarding the recent protests outside of her office in Macomb, organized by the group Indivisible of Western Central Illinois. The Representative also offered an update on the current legislative session and where things stand in terms of the ongoing budget battle in Springfield.
“For those of you that are not aware, there was a demonstration outside of my Macomb office on April 17 from 4:00 to 5:00 PM. As a result, I wanted to address not only these passionate constituents but all of the citizens of the 93rd District to provide an update on the Spring Legislative Session.
I’d like to thank all of the constituents who have reached out to me and continue to do so through these trying times. The concerns continue to be well-recognized by all Illinois residents. The top, salient concern continues to be that Illinois does not have a budget, which in turn leaves social services, higher education, services for seniors, and so much more underfunded or, in the worst case, completely unfunded. For the past two years, I have repeatedly called on our state leadership (i.e., leaders of both parties in the House and Senate, and the Governor) to negotiate a compromise and comprehensive budget. Unfortunately, even with these efforts, some members have not been able to negotiate and/or compromise in good faith, which has ultimately resulted in this ridiculous impasse in which we find ourselves.
In addition to regularly calling on leaders to negotiate and compromise – that is, agree to terms no one necessarily prefers but nevertheless settles in order to end this impasse – I continue my attempts at working with rank-and-file members to come up with consensus on different portions of budgetary items. To be clear, by budgetary items I am referring to bills that will have a significant fiscal impact to the state. For example, there has been a large consensus in the House and Senate that Illinois absolutely needs constitutional pension reform in order to address the near $130 billion unfunded liability. There have been agreed upon terms concerning pension reform for the last 9 months, at least, and we, the members of the General Assembly, are unfortunately not having an on-the-floor discussion or taking votes on this issue.
Instead, as we saw at the beginning of this month, we participate in inadequate debates about incomplete bills with no negotiation or compromise. In my opinion, this type of finger-pointing and, frankly, disrespect needs to end in order for all of us – Democrats and Republicans, House and Senate and the Governor – to come together and do what is right for the state. Moving forward, I will be even more vocal than I have been in the past about these efforts.
Another concern that was brought up by protestors on Monday is transparency. I hope some of the previous comments help to again explain what I have been doing to move a budget forward more transparently. It’s important to understand that it’s the citizens of Illinois and not just a legislative minority who suffer when the state budget is handled in the very untransparent manner in which it’s been handled for too many years. I continue to lead the efforts to add transparency to our legislative process in Springfield through supporting far more transparent House Rules.
Additionally, from the request of a constituent, I created a public Facebook page where I can disseminate more information about what I am doing and what is happening in Springfield. There I cover everything from the bills I am sponsoring to explaining my votes and everything in between.
In another effort to increase office’s transparency I plan to provide more website updates and press releases so that the constituents of the 93rd, especially those who are not on Facebook, can receive updates on what I am doing to represent this great district and other pertinent happenings in the district and state in this cost-effective manner.
Furthermore, I want all of the constituents of the 93rd District to know that I am supportive of funding social services and higher education as well as other important budget priorities for our region. In fact, I have regularly requested to continue to serve on Human Services and Higher Education committees because I am dedicated to these aspects of the state. I care deeply about the vital social services Illinois provides and the first-rate higher education system within the state. And, moreover, this is exactly why I believe we should fund them adequately and through a comprehensive budget plan that allows our social service agencies to operate at full strength and our institutions of higher learning to plan for the future and attract eager students and gifted faculty. If there are to be cuts, we should be forthright about them and then enact budgets that allow our institutions to plan accordingly and not be in continual crisis mode jumping from one stopgap to the next. It is unfair and poor public policy to allow this to continue.
As always, I remain ready and committed to doing the job the citizens of the 93rd District elected me to do. I will continue to tirelessly work toward compromise and resolution to fix the prevailing and future problems facing the state and the district. Your comments, suggestions, and concerns are always appreciated and only help me do this job more effectively.”
The Hornfied campus is hosting Earth Fest this Saturday April 22nd. This event will kick off with a Bike and foot parade at 9am, and will follow with the event starting at 10am to 5pm. There will be live music, kid activities, guest speakers, and more fun things going on as well. This event is open to the public and will be located in Macomb's Downtown Chandler Park.
If you missed tax day you will be penalized. According to Becky, who works for the Girl Friday Office Services in Macomb, you can still submit your tax return form if you are receiving a refund. However it it is too late to submit your form if you" owe the government money." According to the IRS the failure to file your taxes is "10 times" more likely than the failure to pay tax penalties. The IRS encourages that if you cannot pay your taxes in full, you should file your tax returns anyway, and pay as much as you can.
McDonough Couny Sheriff Rick Van Brooker announced four more arrests related to the ongoing investigation into vehicle burglaries in Bushnell and the WIU Campus this past weekend. According the McDonough County Sheriff's Office, 21 year old Brandon L. Hughes, 21 year old Daphne N. Keithley, and a pair of juveniles aged 15 and 17, were arrested on Wednesday as part of the ongoing investigation. The initial investigation was related to vehicle burglaries in Bushnell however, the latest arrests also investigated vehicle burglaries on the campus of Western Illinois University. Sheriff Van Brooker is asking if anyone on the WIU campus had items stolen from their car on the night of April 16th or April 17th in the area of Q-Lot East, L-Lot or the west side lot of Harrabin Hall to please contact the Sheriff's Office. Hughes faces two charges of Burglary from a Vehicle and Possession of Stolen Property. Keithley faces one count of Burglary and Possesion of Stolen Property while the two teenagers have been referred to Juvenile Probation.
Attorneys for former Governor Rod Blagojevich are once again seeking to cut his fourteen year prison term. Blagojevich's attorneys argued today (Tuesday) before the Chicago based 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals that the Democrat's record of good behavior since entering prison five years ago calls for a shortened sentence. Prosecutors object to the request, noting Blagojevich has never admitted committing major crimes.The three-judge panel will rule in the coming months.
Some warm temperatures for much of Illinois in the middle portion of this week with readings in the 70’s and 80’, but that will change moving toward the weekend. Meteorologist Eric Schmidt is with EJS Weather in Newton.
Schmidt anticipates more wet weather for Saturday for much of central and southern Illinois.
Action on amending the Illinois Livestock Management Facilities Act is on hold for now. Although the legislation was announced earlier this year, movement has stalled at this time says Bill Bodine the associate director of state legislation for the Illinois Farm Bureau.
Bodine says the legislation is not dead it’s just likely being fine-tuned by Koehler before being brought back to committee. The Illinois General Assembly returns to session next week.
The Samaritan Well has announced that they will host the 17th annual John Bliven Memorial Walk/Run Saturday June 24th. The race will start and end at the Old Dairy on 210 South Lafayette Street, Macomb. All age groups are welcome to participate in this event. There will be a race for both children and adults. Fruit, snacks, and water will also be provided for all participants. T-shirts will be given out to those who register by June 16th, so if you plan on participating you can visit the Samaritan Well website at www.samaritanwellinc.org and click on the link labeled Beliven registration form 2017.
Peter Engel was in the television business for over 20 years before he finally found his hit. In a meeting with his then boss and head of NBC at the time, Brandon Tartikoff, Engel received the unusual task of creating a live action series aimed at kids who were beginning to grow out of cartoons. While Engel was disappointed to not have a primetime timeslot he nevertheless accepted the challenge and exceeded NBC's expectations with the monster hit "Saved by the Bell." Engel recounts the creation and evolution of his hit series along with the changes of his 50 plus career in television in the new book "I Was Saved by the Bell."
A LaHarpe teen is facing charges of Auto Burglary and Possession of Stolen Property following a series of thefts from vehicles in Bushnell over the weekend. 18 year old Michael E. Diercks of LaHarpe was arrested on Monday following an investigation by the McDonough County Sheriff's Office which connected him to a series of vehicle robberies in Bushnell on April 15th. Diercks was found to be in possession of stolen fishing equipment among other items identified as missing following the vehicle thefts on the 15th. Diercks is being housed at the McDonough County Jail awaiting disposition of his case. The investigation of the auto burglaries in Bushnell is ongoing and the McDonough County Sheriff Rick Van Brooker stated in his release that more arrests are pending.
The Illinois Department of Transportation has announced a series of lane closures coming to I-74 near Galesburg and Peoria this Summer.
· One lane will be closed in both directions of I-74 at Lincoln Street (MM 47) in Galesburg until mid-May for a bridge replacement project. Beginning in mid-May and continuing until the end of November, all traffic will use the eastbound lanes – one lane in each direction, separated by barrier wall. The westbound bridge will be replaced this year; the eastbound bridge will be replaced in 2018.
· One lane will be closed in both directions of I-74 until the end of November between the Spoon River and IL 78 (MM 61-70) for a resurfacing project. This project also includes guardrail replacement, shoulder widening and drainage work.
· Intermittent lane closures in both directions of I-74 will be in effect at the Heinz Lane, Thousand Dollar Road, IL 78, Knox Station Road, and Knox Road bridges until August for a bridge painting project. The lane closures will be in effect at one location at a time.
· Intermittent lane closures in both directions of I-74 will be in effect until mid-July between Exit 54 near Knoxville and Exit 88 in Peoria for a guardrail replacement project.
· Lane closures in both directions of I-74 will be in place at Exit 51 near Knoxville until mid-July for a bridge construction project. This is a continuation of a project from 2016.
Please slow down and use extreme caution while driving through all work zones.
The Illinois State Fair is adding more star power to their grandstand shows. According to spokesman for the Illinois State Fair, rock n'roll legends Foghat, country star Chase Rice and pop phenomenon Pentatonix have been added to this year's grandstand shows. Foghat, which has toured consistently since it was formed in 197 is set to take the state fair stage in Springfield on August 10th. Chase Rice will perform on August 11th with opening act Runaway June and Pentatonix, a group that performs without instruments, will perform on August 12th. Tickets are already on sale for the grandstand shows at this year's Illinois State Fair, August 10th through the 20th in Springfield.
Despite some setbacks on the national level when it comes to clean, renewable energy, Illinois is moving forward in the solar and wind sector.
The Future Energy Jobs bill was signed into law late last year, and it requires the state to have at least an additional 3,000 megawatts of solar power, and 1,300 megawatts of wind energy by 2030. It also establishes the first community solar program in the state.
Andy Olsen, Senior Policy Advocate with the Environmental Law and Policy Center, says it's a huge step forward for Illinois.
"The momentum right now is toward renewable energy, and even with some of the setbacks that we see at the national level from the utility industry they recognize that the way to go is with renewable energy," he said. "The technology is there, it's the right thing for our environment, for our society."
Olsen says a new website called ruralsolarstories.org has recently been launched to provide more information about solar power and to provide success stories from those who have made the switch to renewable energy.
Community solar farms are highlighted on the website. They work by allowing home and business owners who can't install their own solar panels to buy into a nearby solar farm. Olsen says it makes solar both more accessible and more affordable. He expects it to continue to grow rapidly in Illinois.
"It's important for the members of rural electric cooperatives to speak up and and let their cooperatives know that they want more solar," he added. "If they do so it's very likely that they'll see more solar get built, and that's good for jobs, it's good for public health and it's good for the Illinois environment."
Illinois has been called a national leader for implementing the Future Energy Jobs bill. The legislation sets aside $200 million for the construction of new solar and wind facilities. It takes effect on June 1.
Governor Rauner met with the Quad Cities Chamber of Commerce to discuss how they can fix the lack of jobs in the Quad Cities. Governor Rauner said "The Quad Cities have every reason to thrive and succeed" and that "we need real lasting solutions to protect taxpayers." Governor Rauner says the administration is currently working on making Illinois more competitive for small businesses by freezing property taxes, and empowering local voters to decide when and if their property taxes go up. Governor Rauner signed the Future Energy Jobs Bill in December 2016 in hopes to keep high quality jobs in Illinois, and protect both taxpayers and ratepayers.
This Saturday April 22nd is Earth Day, and the Macomb Food Co-op will be having a outdoor Farmer's Market. This event will include local growers selling their produce, as well as a petting zoo and outdoor games for children. The event will be from 10am to 2pm, and will be located in the Co-op parking lot, 211 S. McArthur in Macomb. For more information you can contact Crystal Kepple at (309)-255-5572.
The McDonough District Hospital will having a event to inform people about women's health on Tuesday May 2nd. Individuals who attend this event will be able to learn about a variety of women health issues, and talk with Women Health Providers from the McDonough District Hospital.. This event will start at 5:30 pm in the MidAmerica National Bank Conference Hall at the Spoon River College Community Outreach center, 2500 East Jackson Street, Macomb. If you plan on attending this event you will need to make reservations by April 27th. You can make reservations by calling (309)-836-1584.
The Western Illinois University Veterans Resource Center will host a recourse fair for veterans this Saturday April 22nd. The event will give veterans the opportunity to gain information about services, programs, and resources. The event will be from 10am to 2pm, and will take place at the Illinois National Guard Armory on 135 W. Grant Street in Macomb. This event is free and open to the public.
McDonough County Sheriff Rick Van Brooker has announced the first of several arrests as part of Operation Icemelt. Operation Icemelt is a three month old intra-agency investigation intended to slow the movement of Methamphetimine in McDonough County. 34 year old Leslie V. Clark was arrested on Sunday, April 16th following a late night traffic stop. Clark had been stopped for speeding and then was found to have an outstanding warrant for Delivery of a Controlled Substance. This lead to a search of Clark's vehicle by a McDonough County canine unit which turned up 4 Grams of Ice (Methamphetimine) packaged for delivery inside of a Pringles can. The search also turned up a digital scale and cash. Clark is being held at the McDonough County Jail on multiple charges. The McDonough County Sheriff's Office stated that several arrests are still to come as part of Operation Icemelt.
The WIU Office of Public Safety is holding its First Annual Public Safety Expo on Monday, April 24. The event will take place at the East Arena in Western Hall. It runs from 10:00 AM-2:00 PM.
A police scenerio simulatior, an impaired driving simulator, and a K-9 Demo highlight the different events and activities taking place that day. For more information on this free event, listen to my interview with Officer Jim VanVlymen from this morning on K100.
Since 2004, home ownership rates for African Americans have been on the decline in Illinois and across the country.
Several groups have teamed up to try to reverse that trend - including the NAACP, the National Urban League, and the National Association of Real Estate Brokers. Ron Cooper, president of the National Association of Real Estate Brokers, said the Fair Housing Act of 1968 enabled more people to be able to purchase real estate. And in the decades since then, home ownership for people of color has increased to 46 percent.
"It has declined now to 41 percent, which is very dangerous," Cooper said. "So we're on the campaign as an advocacy organization, raising the alarm to how important it is in building communities and building wealth."
There's a significant gap in the rate of home ownership based on race in Illinois: 67 percent of whites own their home, compared with only 42 percent of African Americans.
This year, Wells Fargo committed to working to reverse the downward trend in home ownership. The group's executive vice president and head of housing policy and home ownership Brad Blackwell said he blames the decline on a number of factors, including stagnant wages in the middle class, a decline in access to credit and a lack of generational wealth.
"It will cause people to invest in not only their home, and take pride in that home, but take pride in their community," Blackwell said of home ownership. "It makes for better schools. It makes for better economics for the larger community. It is a really good thing."
Cooper said people of color have a much harder time getting a loan. He said the reason the National Association of Real Estate Brokers was originally formed was because African American soldiers weren't being given equal opportunities for Veterans Association loans when they returned from World War II.
"Historically, there has been an issue in terms of race and in terms of mortgage access," Cooper said. "And we're still, at this point, discussing where's that level of parity at?"
Cooper said renting puts families further behind. And he adds that about 60 percent of renters spend close to a third of their income on rent.
Two people were injured in a crash in McDonough County over the weekend. According to the Illinois State Police, 79 year old Rose Dodd was northbound on McDonough County Road 750 and 39 year old Travis Bartell was traveling Westbound on 336 when their cars met in the intersection, Bartell's vehicle striking Dodd's vehicle on the passenger side after being unable to swerve to avoid contact. Dodd was transported from the scene via helicopter to Blessing Hospital in Quincy. Bartell was taken from the scene by ambulance to McDonough District Hospital. Illinois State Police did not disclose the extent of the injuries. Three children traveling with Bartell were left unharmed in the crash. Dodd was cited by police for failing to yield the right of way.
There has been speculations on if the university was on the verge of financial emergency. The university president Jack Thomas addressed these statements saying they were "false" and "server only to harm our institution." The lack of funding has caused some people to believe that the university would not be able to reopen next semester. President Thomas has made it clear in his statement that the university will be open in the fall of 2017, so students can continue to recieve quality education. The university will continue to stress the importance of the having proper funding for Western Illinois, and for public higher education.
The Fate of the Furious stars Vin Diesel once again as Dominic Torretto, street racer turned thief turned secret agent kind of(?) who, along with his 'family,' including Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson, Michelle Rodriguez, Tyrese and the aptly named Ludicris, battle a cyber-terrorist played by Charlize Theron. The twist however, has Dom playing for the other team and his family have to battle him to get to the big bad. Here's my review of The Fate of the Furious.
The Illinois State Board of Education voted to release the Annual Financial Profiles for school districts . The reports shows that more than a fourth of all Illinois school districts struggled with short or long term debt in order to maintain normal operations . State Superintendent of education Tony Smith, says every school district in the state is having to make hard choices to cover the day to day cost of keeping their school's doors open." Some schools are forced to get rid of programs, and have to cut staff. This continues to be a problem in the state of illinois, so the ISBE is providing tools and guidance on financial management for all school districts seeking assistance.
A local organization known as the "Indivisible of West Central Illinois" is starting a weekly protest against state representative Norine Hammond and State Senator Jil Tracy over the ongoing budget crisis. It's been 2 years since Illinois has been approved for a budget, and Indivisible is demanding that Hammond and Tracy come up with a solution. According to spokesperson Heather McMeekan Hammond "needs to put politics aside and do what's right for our district. " Hammond voted "no" on a stopgap that would give the state $817 million including $14 million for Western Illinois University. Indivisible will continue protesting Monday April 17th outside the state representative and senator office from 4 to 5pm.
The First Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) of Macomb is holding an Egg Glow event Saturday night at Glenwood Park. The nightime Easter egg hunt will take place at 7:30 PM. Registration takes place at 7:15 that night. Children in preschool though sixth grade can participate, as long as they are accompanied by an adult. Prizes will be awarded at the Egg Glow.
For more information on this event, listen to my conversation with Minister Kelly Ingersoll from the First Christian Church.
State Senator Jason Barickman is offering his concept for school funding reform. The pending bill calls for the state to look at each district and their resources separately without a blanket funding formula. Barickman hopes to get legislation moving sooner rather than later....
Barickman calls his K through 12 funding plan an evidence based model, with 27 separate points figuring into each school district's funding formula. .
Brad Jones is known to many on YouTube as The Cinema Snob, the savagely funny send up of a pompous movie critic who applies his snobbish sensibilities to reviewing everything from late period Bela Lugosi movies to straight up pornography. But Brad is more than just his Cinema Snob character. With four YouTube shows and counting coming from his website TheCinemaSnob.com, you would think he'd be too busy for anything else but to top that, he's also a filmmaker having made several movies and now ready to launch a brand new movie called "Jesus Bro." A send up of the spate of religious based films that have crowded theaters with remarkable success in recent years, "Jesus Bro" tells the story of famed internet atheist, played by David Gobble, who discovers that Heaven is totes real yo, and must now try and bring people to God. I talked with Brad about the inspiration for "Jesus Bro" and how you can see this independent production yourself starting this weekend.
The Governor has been touring the state, spending campaign fund cash to do so, but he says he’s not campaigning.Bruce Rauner finished his first day of stops around the state in Springfield on Tuesday and said the tour is to get his message directly out to citizens and voters. And that message is, the failure to get a budget done in Illinois is not his fault.
Rauner has yet to formally announce a reelection bid in the Governor’s race but has already donated $50 million of his own money to his campaign fund. And he was using that fund to pay for tour stops.
The effort to legalize marijuana is getting a more official push next week. Supportive lawmakers are going to hold committee hearings next week on how laws are working in other states. But State Rep. Kelly Cassidy says they aren’t in a big rush make Illinois the next state with legal recreational marijuana.
Lawmakers say selling and then taxing pot could bring in more than $350 million in taxes each year for the state. The proposed law would make it legal to posses no more than 28 grams of the drug.
A new report shows that business is booming for those who work to stop leaks in natural gas pipelines across the country.
While cleaner air is good news for the environment, it might also be a boon to the job market, as these companies hire workers to perform methane mitigation. The report showed there are at least 60 mitigation companies working in 45 states, including Illinois.
Marcy Lowe, CEO of Datu Research, explained why it's important to stop these leaks.
"Methane is a very powerful greenhouse gas. Actually, in the short term, it's much more powerful than carbon dioxide," Lowe said. "So, it's very, very important to try to keep it out of the atmosphere."
Critics of methane recapture claim this type of service comes with too high a price tag for natural gas suppliers. But Lowe said the savings from preventing the loss of product to the atmosphere nearly always outweigh the cost of stopping the leaks.
According to the report, unmitigated leaks cost an estimated $1.3 billion in lost natural gas each year. And recapturing those leaks creates job opportunities. Particularly in states with methane regulations, Lowe said the mitigation industry has experienced up to 30 percent employment growth, across a broad range of demographics.
"We found that they were offering a range of jobs with different experience needed, starting with just out of high school to highly skilled engineers and Ph.Ds," she said.
The report said the majority of methane mitigation firms are small businesses founded in the last six years, that have high upward mobility with salaries ranging from $27,000 $100,000 per year.
The Graphic Communication Club at Western Illinois University will team up with the McDonough County Mounties to sponsor a food drive. The food collected will benefit local families in need. On Monday April 17th and Thursday April 27th donations will be accepted in the WIU department of engendering technology at Knoblauch Hall. for more information contact Joyce Runquist at 309-298-1091
Republican National committee chairwoman Ronna McDanile will be the keynote speaker for its 55th anniversary Spring Gala. Federation President Larry Falbe says this will be McDaniel's first engagement in Illinois since her election in January. The Spring Gala is set to take place on Tuesday, May 2nd at the Chevy Chase County Club in Wheeling, Illinois. Tickets are $125 per person and $1,250 for a table of ten. You can contact Erin Westphal at 847-680-6680 for more information.
Make Fit Happen will continue its Body Fat Wars event this year. Make Fit Happen, at 118 N. Side Square in Macomb, will run this six week program for the fifth straight year, in order to help members of the local community lose weight in a fun environment. Teams of four people at least sixteen years old can sign up for $150.
April 26 is the kickoff date, with body fat measurements running from then through the 28. On Friday the 28, the kickoff rally will take place, with various other events taking place in between then and the June 8 finale. For more information on the event, listen to my interview with Kristen Conrad and Greg Todd from Make Fit Happen, as they outline the process.
The Macomb Band Boosters are holding a raffle through May 2 that will help provide funds towards new instruments for students. Buying a ticket gives you a chance to win $1,000. Tickets are $5 or five tickets for $20. The money goes right back into the Macomb band program. On May 2 at 7:00 PM, during the MHS Band Recital, the winner of the raffle will be announced.
Doug Mattsey from the MHS Band was on K100 this morning to discuss the raffle. Listen to my conversation with him below.
Ongoing issues related to a boil order will keep the doors closed on LaHarpe Schools. According to a release from LaHarpe schools officials on Monday, despite EPA guidelines that stated the school could operate during the ongoing boil order in the city, the school decided to be extra cautious and closed school on Monday and when conditions did not improve decided to keep the doors closed on Tuesday. The School District is in contact with city officials and the EPA regarding the ongoing boil order in LaHarpe but for now school is not expected to resume for the LaHarpe School District until April 18th. Track practice and Scholastic Bowl however will go on as planned with the bus leaving this afternoon at 3:05. Both the track practice and Scholastic Bowl are being held at Dallas.
Severe weather brought on by climate change is threatening crops in Illinois and across the U.S., and a study is underway at the University of Missouri to determine how corn grows in drought conditions. It's part of a grant by the National Science Foundation and university engineers have built robots to monitor soil and air temperature, humidity and light levels.
Electrical engineering and computer science professor, Gui DeSouza, says crops are struggling with the changing weather and won't be able to produce enough food for a world population of nine billion by 2050, as they're learning firsthand.
"Last year, for example, we were trying to plant," he said. "A sequence of very intense rain came and we had to start over from scratch. So, plants are subjected to a lot more stress than they used to be."
DeSouza says the idea is to find plants that can resist the changing climate, and that may mean developing new genotypes.
DeSouza explains how the technology works, saying measurements are taken from a mobile sensing tower in the field, and if plants are under stress, the robots are sent out.
"So, we study different types of corn, different types of sorghum, and we're looking at those areas and trying to identify when the plants are not responding well, or responding better than the other areas," he explained. "And the mobile robot can go and inspect individual plants."
DeSouza says science has to adapt to the changing conditions, with an end goal of producing crops that are able to feed as many people as possible, and for that, there's much more work to be done.
"We want to collect more and more data and be able to address those issues, but we don't expect those questions to be answered completely," he added. "Every time in research you ask one question, you find a few more that you don't understand, that you have to pursue."
The states that produce the most corn every year are Iowa, Nebraska, Minnesota, Illinois and Indiana.
The McDonough County Health Department has confirmed that a case of the mumps has been discovered on the Western Illinois University Campus. According to John Smith, the Beu Health Center director, this is the first confirmed case of the mumps on the WIU campus. Students, Staff, and Faculty are encouraged to wash their hands frequently, and to avoid contact with other individuals who are sick. For more information on how to prevent this illness from occurring you can contact the Beu Health Center at 309-298-1888.
The Memorial Hospital will be hosting a book and gift fair next Thursday. This event is open to the public, and the money raised will go to the Memorial Hospital. The event will be from 8am-4:30pm in the Memorial Hospital lobby. The hospital is located at 1454 N. Country Rd 2050, Carthage IL. All forms of payment will be accepted cash, checks and credit cards.
For this week's edition of Adopt a Dog, Billy from the McDonough County Animal Shelter brought in a brand new dog. Her name is Socks, and she's a 13 year old Boston Terrier mix full of energy and compassion. As Billy describes, she has all of her shots, she's in good health, and gets along well with kids. She can be a bit bossy around other dogs, but is not rambunctious in that sense.
Listen below to Ali Weston's interview with Billy, as they talk about Socks, as well as out other two dogs still up for adoption, Gizmo and Kalibak.
Western Illinois Regional Council Suzan Nash is going into retirement at the end of the school year. Nash is known for being the first woman executive director of a regional planning agency in Illinois. According to a press release Nash said in a statement that she is "honored to have worked for this agency, and that the staff is the best an executive director could ask for." The WIRC and Tim Howe will be hosting a retirement party for Suzan on Thursday, April 27th at Taylor Hall, 125 S. Randolph Street, Macomb. This event will be from 3-5:30 pm and is open to the public.
April Brooks is best remembered as A.J Lee, one of the longest raining Women's Champions in WWE history. A.J rose to fame on the strength of both her in ring skill and her character, a seemingly unhinged persona that parodied mental illness. What fans may not know however is that mental illness was among the bigger battles in A.J's life and career. Having grown up amid the chaos of not having a permanent home and being surrounded by family members battling mental illnesses of their own, A.J was actually more prepared for the rigors of the pro wrestling lifestlyle than most others because the chaos of her upbringing nearly exceeded the chaos of the life of a pro wrestler. A.J chronicles her incredibly nomadic life and her journey to her first stable home with husband Phil "C.M Punk" Brooks in the new book "Crazy is My Superpower" and she was my guest for this MacombNewsNow.com celebrity interview.
Two years ago Governor Bruce Rauner told the Chicago Tribune Editorial Board that quote "Crisis. Crisis creates leverage.” But now he’s denying that he’s using inadequate funding for state universities and social service agencies as a leverage point for his turn around agenda items.
Rauner continues to say the state needs term limits, fair maps, property tax freezes and other structural reforms to fix the state for the long haul.
LaHarpe Schools are canceled today as a health precaution with the current boil order that is in effect. Below is a statement from LaHarpe Community District 347's Jeanne Clayton.
"Due to some recent information shared by an Illinois EPA official regarding the current boil order in effect, La Harpe schools will be closed on Tuesday, April 11 as a precaution. Although the district was operating under Illinois Department of Public Health Guidelines for food preparation during a boil order, and the EPA official stated that using soap and/or a hand sanitizer would be sufficient, the district believes it is in the best interest of the students and any other immune compromised individuals to cancel school as a health precaution. We will be in contact with city officials, the Illinois EPA, and the Illinois Department of Public Health throughout the day Tuesday to stay current with the water situation in La Harpe. Special Ed classes out of district, the track meet at Warsaw, and Scholastic Bowl practice are not cancelled.Thanks for your understanding."
Representative Norine Hammond over the weekend released a statement regarding why she voted no on the so called "Lifeline Bill" aimed at getting much needed funds to Illinois schools and social services.
Assistant House Minority Leader Norine K. Hammond (R-Macomb) issued the following statement after the passage of HB 109, also known as the “lifeline” bill:
“I want to make it abundantly clear to all of the citizens of the 93rd District my reason for voting ‘no’ on HB 109. First, let me address the timeline for context. The amendment, which became the bill, was filed less than 24 hours before it was voted on in committee and on the House floor. In that time, I quickly read the bill and our research staff did an on-the-fly analysis of the funds that would be appropriated as a result of the bill’s passage.
On the morning of April 6, my intention was to vote ‘yes’ on HB 109 because at the time all I knew was our state universities need operating funds and Illinois college students need MAP grants. After being able to assess the funds that would be appropriated, a few key elements ultimately shaped my vote. In regard to the funds that would be appropriated to higher education (including MAP grants), all of this money in the bill is appropriated from the Education Assistance Fund. Moreover, based on our estimate, if the money gets appropriated (i.e., assuming it passes the Senate and the Governor signs the bill), the fund would break even by the end of the fiscal year. On this point, I wanted to vote yes.
The bill didn’t just appropriate funds for higher education, though; the bill also appropriated money to social services. This would not have been an issue if this bill was not drafted in haste. There were programs that were being funded in this bill that do not exist. Let me repeat that: millions of taxpayer dollars would be appropriated to programs that do not exist. Additionally, and unfortunately, the social services portion of this bill is underfunded by over $60 million. And, if this bill were to pass into law, this means the millions of dollars going to non-existent programs won’t be able to go to the social services and programs not included in this bill from the start.
Even more concerning, the Senate had already adjourned by the time the House voted on the bill. This wouldn’t be a problem except that the Senate is not scheduled to return until April 25. At that point, they could take up the bill and pass it. However, we would all be foolish not to think what the Governor would do if the bill passed the Senate. The Governor has already vowed to veto this bill. I am not pointing this out to say that we shouldn’t pass bills that the Governor doesn’t like; I am pointing this out because if the Governor vetoes the bill and it comes back to the House and then the Senate, so much time will have been wasted over a bill that could be so much more comprehensive. Simply put, a reasonable, compromise budget that truly funds higher education, social services, services for seniors, and so many other worthy state services and programs has just been delayed as a result of this bill’s passage in the House.
I remain ready and committed to working with any and all members of the General Assembly, who want to take this process seriously, on a comprehensive, compromise budget that adequately funds all of the state’s vital services. I only hope that this can be accomplished sooner, rather than later.”
Hammond encouraged residents of the 93rd district to contact her with questions or concerns on this or any other state issue. Hammond’s Macomb district office can be contacted at (309) 836-2707 or via her legislative website at www.norinehammond.org.
The McDonough County Sheriff's Office has released the name of the person killed in an accident on the morning of Thursday, April 6th. 81 year old Patsy D. Schisler of Vermont, Illinois died from injuries suffered in a crash that took place in the area of County Road 350 North and County Road 1700 East. Schisler was traveling northbound on 1700 East when her vehicle was struck by a vehicle traveling eastbound on 350 North. The driver of the eastbound vehicle, 20 year old Alex K. Hance of Industry suffered only minor injuries. The McDonough County Sheriff's Office are still investigating the cause of the accident.
April is National Child Abuse Prevention Month and in Illinois, 125,000 children are the victims of abuse or neglect each year.
According to the Department of Children and Family Services, the problem could actually be worse, with as many as 100,000 abuse cases a year going unreported.
Veronica Resa, deputy director of the office of communications at DCFS, said in the last four years, the agency has received more than 1 million calls to its child abuse hotline. She said that means Illinois residents are making the socially responsible choice to keep kids safe, and get families the help they need before it's too late.
"Sometimes, these calls are referral to services," Resa said. "But the first thing we do, hopefully within 24 hours, a social worker tries to reach that family or that family member that needs our help."
Child abuse is defined as mistreatment of a child under 18 by a parent or their romantic partner, an immediate relative or someone living in the child's home, a babysitter or daycare worker, or any person responsible for the child's welfare. That could include a healthcare provider, teacher, coach or youth program volunteer.
The Illinois Child Abuse Hotline number is 800-25-ABUSE.
It's estimated that 1-in-5 children will experience abuse before age 18. Resa said people shouldn't be afraid to report suspected abuse or neglect because it doesn't automatically mean a child will be taken from the home.
"What we're going to do is hopefully find them family services, help them stay united through supporting them, with things such as parenting classes or anger management classes," she said. "We even have classes to help them with finances."
National Child Abuse Prevention Month events and awareness campaigns are being held across the state, including an art exhibit at the Thompson Center in Chicago, a pinwheel and blue ribbon display at the Governor's Mansion in Springfield, and the first-ever "Twitter Chat" of parenting advice on April 25.
Actress Joey King stole our hearts in "Ramona & Beezus" and grew up before our eyes in "Wish I Were Here." Now she's getting a true acting education in the new movie "Going in Style." In her second time working with director Zach Braff, King plays granddaughter to Sir Michael Caine in this comedy about old men robbing a bank to recover their pension. King says in this interview that the three actors could not have been nicer to work with or learn from as young actor.
A group of citizens calling themselves "Indivisible of West Central Illinois" have circulated a petition aimed at getting Representative Darin LaHood to attend a local townhall. According to a release from Indivisible, 443 people across Macomb signed the petition which has been sent to Representative Darin LaHood. In the past Representative LaHood has held tele-townhalls and private events in the area where he spoke only with invited participants. Indivisible member and Vice President of the Western Illinois University College Democrats, Ricky Newcomb expressed enthusiasm over the response from citizens to the petition saying “I’m excited that so many people are taking a positive role in our political process. It’s disappointing that Congressman LaHood refuses his constituents the chance of a civil discourse in the form of a town hall.” Indivisible hopes to have an open and civil forum with the Republican Representative whose district is made up of some 19 counties though his only offices are in Jacksonville and Peoria. Thus far there has been no response from Representative Darin LaHood or his staff regarding the petition.
With Governor Rauner dumping millions of his own money into his reelection campaign and billionaire J.B. Pritzker entering the race for Governor today, there will be lots of talk about money. Chris Kennedy's campaign has announced they've received more than $1 million from 3,000 individual contributors, since he launched his candidacy six weeks ago. Kennedy's campaign reports he has raised more individual contributions in the first six weeks of his campaign than Governor Rauner did between announcing his campaign and the Republican primary in 2014.
Going in Style stars Michael Caine, Morgan Freeman and Alan Arkin as three old friends who, after losing their pension to a corrupt company and a corrupt bank, decide their is only one thing to do, rob the bank and get their money back. Here's my review of Going in Style....
One person is dead following a two vehicle crash in McDonough County. According to a release from the Illinois State Police, an 81 year old driver from Vermont, Illinois was killed when their vehicle was struck by another vehicle at a rural intersection at County Road 350 North and County 1700E near Industry. The vehicle driven by the 81 year old victim was Eastbound on 350 when their vehicle was struck on the side by a vehicle driven by 20 year old Alex K. Hance of Industry. Hance was treated at the scene and released. The investigation of the crash is ongoing.
Macomb Police are investigating the death of an infant in Macomb. According to the Macomb Police Department, the investigation began Thursday morning with a phone call regarding an unresponsive 4 month old at a residence in the area of 821 South Ward Street. No other details are being released at this time. MacombNewsNow.com will bring you more infomation as it is made available.
The Friends of the Macomb Public Library will be hosting their annual public lecture featuring Western Illinois University Professor Dr. Ginny Boynton on Thursday, April 13th, at 7 Pm at the Macomb Country Club. The title of the lecture is "Farmerettes and Factory Inspectors: Women's Roles in Illinois During World War 1." Dr. Boynton has written numerous articles on the subject and made frequent presentations. For more information contact the Friends of the Macomb Public Library at 309-833-1146.
Three people are under arrest in Quincy on methamphetimine related charges. According to a release from the Illinois State Police 47 year old Benjamin F. Cameron, 35 year old Jennifer F. McNay, both of Quincy, and 21 year old Kaitlin M. Frohn of Beverly Hills, Michigan, were arrested on Tuesday at a residence located at 1506 Park Avenue in Quincy folliowing an investigation by the Illinois State Police, The West Central Illinois Drug Task Force and the Adams County Sheriff's Office. At the scene of the arrest Methamphetimine, Lidocaine and Drug Paraphenalia were found. All three suspects were taken to the Adams County Jail where they await disposition.
Illinois is one of the states taking the lead in the effort to raise the minimum age of how young adults are prosecuted for misdemeanor crimes.
Legislation has been proposed to allow 18, 19 and 20-year-olds to have their misdemeanor cases heard within the juvenile justice system, as opposed to adult court.
Rep. Laura Fine (D-Glenview) says brains are still developing at that age and keeping children out of adult jail is in everyone's interest.
"Once they're in the system, that's really going to have a negative impact on the rest of their life," she points out. "But if we can say, 'OK, you committed this crime,' or, 'You did this thing that was really stupid. What can we teach you about this?'"
Connecticut was the first state to launch the age-reform effort, and since then Illinois, Massachusetts and Vermont also have started considering it.
Lael Chester is a research fellow at Harvard Kennedy School and studies the effects on juveniles who have been incarcerated. She says states that raised the minimum age from 16 to 18 have seen many benefits, and maintains the same would happen if it were increased to 21.
"The adult system is not rehabilitative, it's not individualized," she stresses. "Emerging adults are lumped in with adults all the way up to the end of life and there's no distinction made between an 18-year-old high school kid and a 35-year-old who's had work experience, a spouse, maybe kids."
A report by the Department of Human Services says moving 17-year-olds from criminal to juvenile courts in Illinois in 2010 resulted in a sharp decline in juvenile crime.
The 68th Annual Macomb Kiwannis Pancake and Sausage Day will take place tomorrow from 6:00 AM to 7:00 PM. The event will be held at American Legion Post 6, 221 East Washington Street, Macomb. Tickets are $5 at the door (children five and under are free), with proceeds benefitting the many causes and groups Macomb Kiwannis works with. These groups and programs include the Kiwannis Kids Carnival, Shopping with Santa, the Macomb Little League and McDonough County Girls Softball League.
For more details on the event, listen to my conversation with Casey Grant from Macomb Kiwannis.
The ClotheslIne Project is on display today from 9 Am to 3 Pm in the University Union on the North Lawn behind the Multicultural Center. The Clothesline Project is a display of t-shirts designed by survivors of sexual assault and domestic violence and is a project undertaken by the Victim Services Department and the Western Illinois Regional Council. If you need help from the Victim Services they have a 24 hour help line available at 309-837-5555. The Clothesline Project will be on display again next week at the Spoon River College Outreach Center. Contact WIRC for more information at 309-836-2148.
Congratulations to Evan Stegall of Macomb on winning the Illinois Elementary School Attitude Award. Evan was among 15 students across the state of Illnois honored with the Attitude Award given to students who excel in the classroom, in school activities and have shown leadership in their community. Evan will receive his award alongside his Principle Dana Isackson at a luncheon Tuesday, May 2nd, in Bloomington, Illinois.
Senator Dick Durbin is among Democrats making their intentions known on how they will vote during the confirmation vote for Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch. Durbin is solidly in the no column.... but long term he isn't just expressing concerns about Gorsuch but how the process has changed with Republicans expected to shut down a potential filibuster....
Durbin will vote against Gorsuch on the Senate floor and in his capacity as a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee.
If you thought Women's History Month would go out with a wimper in Illinois, think again. On Friday, Comptroller Susana Mendoza wasn't handing out awareness ribbons when she took on what she called "rape culture" language and other actions directed at her last week....
Mendoza is seeking an apology but she says that apology won't just be about one person...
The McDonough County Special Recreation Association will be holding a Paint and Sip Fundraiser on Wednesday, April 12. The event will take place at the Macomb VFW Post 1921 from 6-8:30 PM. Cost is $35 per painter, with all funds going towards cutting participant costs in MCSRA programs.
Everyone in attendance will be painting a picture entitled "Just Dandy," with instructors from Canvas Connections Painting Parties on hand. You can pre-register at canvasconnections.com. For aditional details, listen to my interview, originally aired on K100, with Kayla Morphey from the MCSRA.
Two people were injured and one person was killed in a three vehicle crash in McDonough County on Friday. According to the McDonough County Sheriff's Office, 84 year old Charles D. Weston of Macomb was traveling westbound on US 136 near the intersection with County Road 1600 North when his vehicle veered across the center line and struck the vehicle being driven by 60 year old Harlan R. Brown of Table Grove before sideswiping another vehicle driven by 31 year old Derek J. Woodruff of Lewistown. Weston was airlifted from the scene to Blessing Hospital where he succumbed to his injuries. Mr. Brown's injuries are unknown though he was taken from the scene to a local hospital. Mr. Woodruff was treated at the scene and was mostly uninjured. McDonough County Sheriff's investigators are still determining what caused Weston to veer into to the oncoming lane.
The McDonough County Sheriff has announced an arrest following the investigation of a threat of a mass shooting. 26 year old Kevin C. Corrigan was arrested without incident at his home in Macomb following an investigation that included the FBI, the McDonough County Sheriff and Macomb Police Department. A search of Corrigan's home did not turn up a weapon. Corrigan is being housed at the McDonough County Sheriff's Office awaiting a court appeance.
One man has been convicted following an investigation of charges of Predatory Sexual Assault of a Child and Aggravated Criminal Sexual Abuse. 48 year old Christopher K. Kitch of Industry was was convicted on March 29th following a two day bench trial and will be sentenced in May with the potential to face between 6 and 60 years in prison. Kitch was arrested back in December of 2016 following an investigation that began with charges on November 11th of 2016 in which McDonough County Sheriff's investigators found evidence that Kitch had abused two children ages 7 and 12 years old. Kitch's bond has been revoked and he will remain in jail until his sentencing in May.
An estimated one in 68 children has an autism diagnosis, and communities around Illinois are "Lighting It Up Blue" to show support during World Autism Month in April.
This is the 10th year for the global observance, and Tamara Golden, field development manager for Autism Speaks in Illinois, says the focus has grown to build understanding and acceptance of people with autism and their loved ones.
"We've raised a lot of awareness throughout the years and now it's time to understand that people with autism are just like us and their brains work a little bit differently but they are wonderful and we should accept and love everyone," she states.
Many children are diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder, or ASD, as young as 2 or 3 years of age.
And Golden says better understanding of the disorder can help ensure young children get the early intervention they need to address language deficits, social delays, sensory sensitivities and other challenges.
Homes and businesses throughout Illinois and nearly 150 countries will shine blue lights to show their support for autism awareness.
While early intervention is a cornerstone for development, Golden says there also comes a time when those impacted by autism should start thinking about their future and how they will live as part of the community.
In their early teens, she says a transitional plan should be in place that could include the introduction of vocational skills and educational training.
"They need jobs and they can be really great members of society and hold jobs, so we're working to show companies how wonderful people on the spectrum can be for their companies and they have so much to offer," she stresses.
National autism prevalence rates are up about 30 percent from 2008, and nearly double since 2000. Experts believe the rise is due to increased awareness and changing diagnostic criteria.