Macomb Local News Archives for 2020-01

Major Programming and Staff Expansion 

Regional Media Macomb Major Programming and Staff Expansion 


Regional Media, parent company of radio stations and multimedia news and sports websites in Iowa, Illinois, and Hawaii, announced today that it has made a major improvement and investment in localized radio in Macomb Illinois.


Starting Monday February 3rd, Regional Media will begin a series of new local programs on its newstalk station MacombNewsNow 104.7 WLMD. AM Macomb, a high energy community-based talk show with Bill Schmalfeldt will feature in depth conversations and important issues facing Macomb and the surrounding area.  The show will feature expansive local news and weather, sports, business news, agriculture news, obituaries, and many other community focused segments. During the show, just 15 minutes before 9AM, the Macomb Meeting will be featured. A segment that will feature local guests daily. In the first week, Mayor Mike Inman, Macomb Police Chief Curt Barker, Macomb Fire Chief Rick Driskell, and Executive Director of Macomb Park District Rachael Lenz have been slated to appear. AM Macomb will air from 6:30A-9:30A each weekday.


Schmalfeldt, A 43-year award winning broadcasting veteran, relocated to Macomb from Wisconsin last month, and looks forward to bringing a unique blend of gravitas and humor to AM Macomb "I once applied for a TV news job," Schmalfeldt said. "Although they didn't hire me, they were very encouraging, suggesting that my face was perfect for a broadcasting career -- in radio. I hope you'll make our programming a part of your day!” As part of the programming change, PM Macomb will air from Noon to 12:45P each weekday. Similar to AM Macomb, this hour will focus on developing and expansive news, breaking information, and events of the day. 


“After a long management career working with disabled adults, I chose to come to Regional Media because of the impact I can have on the community through our products. The launch of AM Macomb will further impact our community!” Said Tricia Taylor, who was recently named the Group Manager.


As part of the ongoing efforts to bring this programming to the market, Regional Media has invested hundreds of thousands of dollars in new studio and transmitting equipment at the Jackson Street studio location.


Regional Media President Fletcher Ford went on to say “We have been working to build a local talk-based Macomb radio station for some time, and seeing it finally launch is absolutely amazing! The goal of our company was not only to launch AM Macomb, but also to bring someone into Macomb that can mentor young broadcasters as they look to join our industry.”


Radio remains at its strongest level yet.  As the largest state wide independently owned broadcaster, Regional Media’s commitment is unmatched. The most recent Nielsen Total Audience report (September 2019) put radios reach at 92%, higher than any other medium.


MacombNewsNow.WLMD is on 104.7FM, online at, and on your Alexa by simply saying, “Alexa, Play Macomb News Now”


Regional Media: Regional Media operates 20 Radio stations in Iowa, Illinois and Hawaii, along with numerous digital products specializing in High Impact Radio Marketing, Brand and Digital Marketing, Contesting and Promotions, Discount Gift Certificate Programs, Events, E-Mail, and Text Marketing, Social Media Engagement, Online Display Advertising, Graphic Design, Web Design Services, Advertising Consultant Services, Branding Jingles, On-Hold Phone Messaging,  and Video Services for its clients. For more information visit Regional Media online.


For media inquiries, contact the Regional Media at:

815-264-2289 | Email



Retention, New Graduate Enrollment on the Rise

MACOMB/MOLINE, IL – Western Illinois University's fall-to-spring retention for new, full-time freshmen has increased to 89.7 percent, compared to 86.3 percent for Fall 2018-to-Spring 2019, according to 10th-day data released by WIU's Institutional Research and Planning. Total undergraduate retention (Fall to Spring) has increased to 90.4 percent, compared to last year (89.7 percent).

"Increasing our retention is one of our main priorities, and I'm happy that we've seen an increase. The new early intervention initiatives we implemented in Fall 2019 are helping to ensure the success of our students and to catch any issues early so we can help those students who may be struggling," Interim President Martin Abraham said. "Our proactive efforts are paying off. In addition, our new initiatives in regard to enrollment are also beginning to pay off as we're seeing an increase in admitted students for Fall 2020 compared to last fall at this time. The challenge is to convert these admits into registered students."

WIU's Spring 2020 new graduate student enrollment has increased to 209 (186, Spring 2019). The University's Spring 2020 total enrollment is 6,994.

"Our efforts on graduate enrollment continue to be successful, thanks to the hard work of the faculty and staff within our academic departments, along with Associate Provost Mark Mossman and the staff of Graduate Programs. Dr. Mossman and our Graduate Programs staff have worked hard to streamline the graduate admissions process," Abraham added. "We continue to view graduate programs as a growth opportunity for Western as we expand our graduate offerings."

Fall enrollment continues to be the focus of recruitment efforts, he added. In addition to the many existing programs in place to provide prospective students with an in-depth look at WIU, such as Western Express, Discover Western and events at the community colleges, the Office of Undergraduate Admissions has developed new programs to assist the yield effort, including a pre-game social for prospective students Saturday, Feb. 15, an Explore WIU Local Visit High School Day March 5 and an Admitted Student Day March 23.

"Since taking over as interim president, I have stated that our target was to have a larger incoming class for Fall 2020 than we did in Fall 2019. This remains our goal. But a secondary goal is to have greater enrollment in Fall 2020 than we currently have," Abraham said. "When we achieve our enrollment goal for Fall 2020, we will begin a new chapter in the history of WIU – one of growth and expansion."


Fifth Annual Foos for Families Tournament to be Held March 1

MACOMB, IL – The Macomb Park District, the Center for Youth and Family Solutions (CYFS), members of the Macomb community, as well as members of Western Illinois University's faculty and students have come together to plan the fifth annual Foos for Families human foosball tournament.

This family-friendly event will take place Sunday, March 1, with all proceeds benefiting CYFS.

The event will feature teams of six-eight people, over the age of 14, playing on an enlarged foosball field. To register teams, visit the Macomb Park District website at The cost per team is $30 before Feb. 22 and goes up to $40 per team after that deadline date.

According to Jeremy Robinett, assistant professor in the WIU Department of Recreation, Park and Tourism Administration (RPTA), the tournament will take place at WIU's Campus Recreation Center.

A few days before the event, there will be also be a Foos for Families benefit, including a raffle, that will take place at Chubby's in downtown Macomb from 5-8 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 26. A portion of the dinner sales will benefit the event and there will be a variety of raffle prizes.

The 16 students enrolled in Robinett's Spring 2020 RPTA "Event Planning and Management," course are responsible for planning and promoting the event, as well as providing labor during the tournament.

"We're excited that Campus Recreation has agreed to host again this year, so come snow, rain or shine, we'll be playing," he said. "The tournament will start at 2 p.m. Each team will have an opportunity to play at least two games. We'll also have tailgate-style games, so there will be plenty to do while teams are waiting for their next match."

Robinett explained that representatives of each participating organization draw on their organizations' strengths and resources to contribute to the success of the event.

"For example, the Macomb Park District provides promotional materials, a registration site and the equipment (staff at the Macomb Park District constructed the portable foosball courts), and because the CYFS is a non-profit organization, the event has non-profit tax status," said Robinett. "CYFS staff also provide us with contacts and help from its friends and donors. WIU's Campus Recreation Center is providing a home for the event so we don't have to worry about the weather as much, and our students provide their labor and energy to infuse the event. It is a wonderful opportunity for students to apply the knowledge they were gaining in class to a practical, community-based activity."

Carrie Depoy, youth, family and outreach supervisor for CYFS, said the event raises funds and awareness about the needs of families in the community.

"Specifically, this event helps us raise funds for items like school supplies, winter coats, activity fees, haircuts, hygiene products, cleaning items, fuel cards to attend counseling and many other everyday needs," she said.

Depoy shared that generous sponsors have already come forward this year.

"Without the generosity of our donors, Foos for Families wouldn't be possible," she said. "We're very appreciative of their support."

Individuals or agencies interested in learning more about sponsorship can contact Depoy at (309) 833-1791.

For more information about the events, contact Robinett at (309) 298-1967 or visit the Foos for Families Facebook page (


Undergraduate Application Fee Waiver Week at WIU Jan. 31-Feb. 9

MACOMB/MOLINE, IL – Interested in attending Western Illinois University? Here's your chance to apply for free!

Western Illinois University is waiving the $30 application fee for prospective domestic undergraduate students who apply to WIU ( between Jan. 31-Feb. 9. Graduating high school seniors and transfer students applying for admission to Western for Fall 2020 semester will have the application fee waived during the special week beginning at 12 a.m. Friday, Jan. 31 through 11:59 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 9.

WIU has also launched several new automatic scholarship incentives, details of which are available at

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


WIU Designated Tree Campus USA for Eight Years Running

MACOMB, IL -- Western Illinois University has once again been designated a Tree Campus USA by the Arbor Day Foundation. This is the eighth consecutive year that Western has been named a Tree Campus USA. The national program was created in 2008 to honor colleges and universities for effective campus forest management and for engaging staff and students in conservation goals.

According to Tree Campus USA, Western continues to achieve the title by meeting the organization's five standards: maintaining a tree advisory committee, having a campus tree care plan, dedicating annual expenditures toward trees, hosting an Arbor Day observance and sponsoring student service-learning projects.

Western's landscape maintenance department, within facilities management, maintains more than nearly 2,700 trees on the Macomb campus. Each fall and spring, as part of the Western's volunteer campus beautification program We Care, trees are planted and/or mulching is completed around existing trees. Also as a part of Arbor Day, Forestry Instructor Paul Blome and WIU urban forestry management students lead tree plantings with elementary schools in western Illinois, a tradition that was started in 1993 by WIU Forestry Professor Tom Green. In addition, each spring, two trees are planted on WIU's Macomb campus to honor WIU employees and students who have passed away. A complete WIU tree inventory can be found at

"We're pleased to be recognized for the eighth year in a row as a Tree Campus USA by the Arbor Day Foundation. The work of our landscape maintenance staff and others in keeping our campus beautiful is to be commended," said Troy Rhoads, executive director of Facilities Management.

Since 2018, landscape maintenance staff have completed Emerald Ash Borer treatments on campus as part of the WIU Foundation's special GoFundMe 'Save WIU's Ash Trees' campaign. WIU alumni and certified arborists Aaron Schulz and Charles Goodrich volunteered their services to make the treatments to 37 Ash trees, with landscape maintenance staff treating an additional 31 trees. Treatments will continue on a rotating basis to ensure the health of the campus' Ash trees.

"Tree Campuses and their students set examples for not only their student bodies but the surrounding communities showcasing how trees create a healthier environment," said Dan Lambe, president of the Arbor Day Foundation. "Because of Western Illinois University's participation air will be purer, water cleaner and your students and faculty will be surrounded by the shade and beauty the trees provide."

According to WIU English Professor Emeritus and Historian John Hallwas, the WIU campus was designed by landscape architect Thomas Hawkes of Chicago, and in 1903-1905 noted horticulturalist John Van Ness Standish selected and supervised the planting of approximately 500 trees.


WIU Veterans Resource Center Meet and Greet Jan. 30

MACOMB, IL - - The Western Illinois University Veterans Resource Center will host the center's bi-annual meet and greet at 4 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 30 at the WIU Multicultural Center.

The event, which is hosted every semester by the Veterans Resource Center, gives student veterans the opportunity to meet with other veterans, faculty and staff. Veterans also have a chance to speak with student organizations about their functions, activities and services they can receive from Western and the Macomb community.

Food and drinks will be provided. For more information about the event, call (309) 298-3505 or email For more information about the WIU Veterans Resource Center, visit


IRS: Beware of 'Ghost' Tax Preparers

As the tax-filing season begins, the IRS said some tax preparers are promising bigger returns that might seem tempting. 


“They may invent income so that you qualify for tax credits, they may claim fake deductions so that you qualify for a larger refund,” IRS spokesman Michael Devine said. 


But these ghost prepares won’t sign the return and often ask for cash so they’re not tied to the return in anyway. Devine said the filer will then get audited, fined, or worse.


“It could even cross over into tax fraud,” he said. “That’s when you get into criminal penalties.”


An April 2019 report by the U.S. Treasury found that the IRS “identified 3,529 tax returns with approximately $15.8 million claimed in fraudulent refunds and prevented the issuance of $12.2 million (77.2 percent) in fraudulent refunds.”


No matter who prepares the return, Devine encouraged taxpayers to review it and ask questions about anything unclear before signing. He said anyone who suspects they are a victim of a ghost preparer to contact the IRS immediately.


Taxpayers also can look for the tax preparer’s P-TIN number. Devine said never to trust a deal that seems too good to be true.


Both the IRS and the state of Illinois began accepting tax filings Monday. The deadline for filing is April 15.


MDH Offers Community CPR and First Aid Classes in February

MACOMB, Ill. - McDonough District Hospital will offer a Community First Aid class on Tuesday, February 4, at 6 p.m. in the MDH Auditorium (lower level) at MDH, and a Community CPR class on Tuesday, February 11, at 6 p.m. in the MDH Auditorium.


The First Aid course covers injury assessment, various medical situations, and safety and injury prevention. Learn up-to-date first aid knowledge that will help individuals respond appropriately and confidently to an emergency that could save a life. The class will cover adult, child, and infant first aid techniques.


The First Aid classes offered at MDH follow the American Heart Association guidelines and focus on remaining calm, performing proper first aid techniques, and obtaining medical assistance.


CPR (Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation) is a life-saving technique used if someone would choke, stop breathing, or experience cardiac arrest. This class offers adult, child, and infant techniques for CPR and obstructed airway. Instruction for the Automated External Defibrillator (AED) will also be covered.

Pre-registration and a $50 fee are required for both courses. A minimum of 10 participants are necessary for each class to be held. In accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act, anyone having special needs should give advance notice when pre-registering for the course. For more information or to register, please contact MDH Outreach Services at (309) 836-1584. To learn more about MDH Community Classes, visit


WIU Scuba Students Test Skills Worldwide


MACOMB, IL - - Western Illinois University scuba diving students are getting out of Illinois to test out their diving skills in the Pacific Ocean and Honduras.

Last October, 15 WIU students traveled to San Pedro, CA to spend three days living, eating and sleeping on the Pacific Star dive boat. Each student dived up to 14 times, which included deep dives, wall and reef dives, night dives and two oil rig dives.

"These are all things that cannot be done anywhere in Illinois," said Dan Walter, kinesiology senior instructor. "The other main attraction for travelling to the Pacific in October is lobster diving. Every fall, the new lobster season starts, and attempting to catch lobsters is an excellent way to put a very fine point on the training we offer our students."

Western students brought home 142 lobsters. As part of an effort to replenish the lobster population for next season, they let 14 large female lobsters go, as well as issued a challenge, the WIU and Pacific Star Lobster Challenge, which included a video posted on Youtube ( of the class challenging other lobster divers in southern California to do the same.

This semester, students will have a new opportunity to travel to Roatan Island, Honduras over spring break for a diving trip. This trip will also allow students the opportunity to give back and spend time volunteering with the indigenous population. Students will be assisting in the efforts to bring clean drinking water to a remote village, stabilize home foundations and bring much needed supplies to villages.

"Roatan is one of the most awesome diving venues in the Northern Hemisphere," Walter said. "Unfortunately, it also has some of the poorest people anywhere. Our students are going to have a great opportunity to help out and give back while we are there. We have been twice before, and spending money as tourists helps the local economy, but this time we will be able to go much further and directly help individuals. Diving off Roatan will help make our students better divers, while volunteering on Roatan will help make our students better people."


MDH Hosts Community Heart Health Program

Last September, McDonough District Hospital and Blessing Health System formed a heart care partnership, bringing convenient access to advanced heart care.


As part of February being American Heart Month, MDH will offer a Heart Health program on Tuesday, February 25, free to the public.


The event begins at 5:30 p.m. at the Spoon River College Community Outreach Center, 2500 East Jackson Street in Macomb. A free heart-healthy dinner will be provided for those who RSVP to the program.


Featured speakers for the program are: Blessing Cardiologists Dr. Steven Krause and Dr. Jeffrey Cook, MDH Cardiopulmonary’s Peggy Jones, NP-C, and staff from the MDH Cardiac Rehabilitation department.


Blessing Health System is proud to provide west-central Illinois with convenient access to advanced heart care, and its team of specialists treat a wide range of heart and vascular conditions, including: arrhythmia, heart attack and strokes, heart failure, heart disease, and heart valve disease.


Drs. Cook and Krause will highlight a new procedure performed at Blessing Health System - Transcatheter Aortic Valve Replacement (TAVR), a minimally invasive procedure in which the doctor positions a new heart valve via a catheter.


Dr. Krause will also detail a new procedure performed inside MDH, a Transesophageal Echocardiography (TEE). This diagnostic test consists of a doctor inserting a tube into the mouth and esophagus and uses an ultrasound to get a more detailed view of heart valves and chambers.


Highly trained and credentialed specialists in the field of cardiopulmonary and vascular diagnostic and therapeutic procedures provide cardiopulmonary services at MDH. They treat patients of all ages and needs, tailoring the procedure and education to meet the needs of each patient.


Certified by the American Association of Cardiovascular and Pulmonary Rehabilitation (AACVPR), MDH Cardiac Rehabilitation provides programs of exercise and education to help people with heart conditions live to their fullest potential, including those recovering from: open heart surgery, heart attack, stent placement, valve repair or replacement, stable angina, and other additional conditions.


To RSVP for the program, contact MDH Outreach Services at (309) 836-1584 or register online at by February 21.


West Prairie FFA Blood Drive Cancelled

The Blood Drive sponsored by West Prairie FFA  for today is cancelled due to the weather. It is rescheduled for February 24th


Weigandt Exhibit to Open at WIU's Annex Gallery

MACOMB, IL – An exhibit by artist Danielle Weigandt, titled "Standard," will be on display in the Western Illinois University Annex Gallery from Monday, Jan. 27-Friday, Feb. 14.

The Annex Gallery is located in WIU's Heating Plant Annex.

Weigandt is a ceramic installation artist. A reception in honor of her work, including a gallery talk, will be held from 4:30-5:30 p.m. Monday, Jan. 27 in the Annex Gallery.

"Going beyond just a clock on the wall, I seek to make time, a seemingly invisible event, visible," said Weigandt. "My art, given sufficient time, will work within a dynamical system that has the same behavior over time in all the different phases of creation and through site specific installations will create different interpretations of its meaning."

Weigandt will also be giving a free ceramics workshop, open to WIU students, faculty and staff, and the Macomb community, from 8 a.m.-1:30 p.m. Monday, Jan. 27 and from 10 a.m.-1 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 28 in room 111 of the Heating Plant Annex.

For more information about the Annex Gallery, visit


'Underground Cabaret' Performance at WIU to Honor Former Professor

MACOMB, IL – The Western Illinois University Department of Theatre and Dance will present "Underground Cabaret" at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Jan. 31 and Saturday, Feb. 1 in the Simpkins Hall Theatre.

The performance, directed by Theatre and Dance Instructor Lara Petrin, features WIU musical theatre and theatre majors. "Underground Cabaret" is a performance to honor the career of Professor Emeritus Maughan McMurdie. As a former operatic baritone and bass, McMurdie taught at Western, and performed throughout the region from 1969 until his retirement in 1992. He passed away in 2007.

"Underground Cabaret is a fun evening with something for everyone: song, dance, fights scenes, comedy and much more," said Petrin. "You won't be disappointed."

The scene/song list planned for the performance includes:

• "A Musical" from "Something Rotten" performed by the 476 class," - choreographed by Petrin
• "Old Red Hills of Home" from "Parade" – by Eric Clemons, a senior musical theatre major from Sellersburg, IN
• A scene from "Henry VI, Part I," by William Shakespeare - Rose Blume, a senior musical theatre major from Peoria, IL; Warren Freeland, a senior musical theatre major from Mount Carmel, IL, and ensemble
• "Stupid With Love" from "Mean Girls The Musical" - Kayla Breitbarth, a junior musical theatre major from Brimfield, IL

• "Mama I'm a Big Girl Now" from "Hairspray The Musical" - Hannah Bullock, a junior musical theatre major from Indianapolis, IN; Brooke Kassal, a sophomore musical theatre major from Lombard, IL; and Jamie Rediger, a sophomore musical theatre major from Henry, IL

• Beyoncé medley - Kaela Dawn Massey, a senior musical theatre major from Winfield, KS; Ondreya Seahorn, a senior musical theatre major from Winfield, KS; Matt Porter, a senior music education major from Winfield, KS; and Jack Warring, a senior musical theatre major from Glenpool, OK

• "Shine Like The Sun" from "9 to 5 The Musical" - Amanda Buch, a senior recreation, park and tourism administration major from Springfield, IL; Megan Graal, a junior musical theatre major from West Chicago, IL; Jessica Patrick, a senior musical theatre major from Evergreen Park, IL; and ensemble
• Title song from "You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown" - Performed by the 276 class, Choreographed by Blume
• "A Little Priest" from "Sweeney Todd" – Associate Professor Lysa Fox and Assistant Professor Ricardo Supúlveda
• "Times are Hard for Dreamers" from "Amélie" - Jamie Rediger, a sophomore musical theatre major from Henry, IL; and Colin Stansky, a senior musical theatre major from Florence, AL (piano)
• "Revolting Children" from "Matilda The Musical" - performed by the 176 class, choreographed by Fox
• "Dear Theodosia" from "Hamilton" - Freeland and Danny Hollander, a senior musical theatre major from Palatine, IL
• "Let The Sun Shine In" from "Hair The Musical" - Full company, choreographed by Fox

Tickets are available at the door and are $5 for general admission. WIU students will be admitted free with valid student identification.

For more information about the WIU Department of Theatre and Dance, visit


Dr. Amy Waschull Named Medical Director for MDH Home Health/Hospice

Family Practice physician Amy Waschull, MD, has been named Medical Director for Home Health and Hospice at McDonough District Hospital, replacing Dr. George Roodhouse, who recently retired following 41 years of service to patients throughout west-central Illinois.


Dr. Waschull will continue working as a Family Practice physician with the Springfield Clinic in Macomb while also taking on the additional duties with MDH.


Waschull began in September 2007 practicing in the area. She is Board Certified with the American Board of Family Practice.


A graduate of the University of Illinois College of Medicine, Waschull completed her Residency at St. Luke’s Family Practice in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. She served as the Assistant Chief Resident from 2002-03.


To learn more about MDH Home Health and Hospice, log onto


WIU Student Awarded FAMOUS Travel Grant from AAS

MACOMB, IL -- WIU graduate student Emmanuel Sanchez-Tovar (Applied Statistics and Decision Analytics, Department of Economics and Decision Sciences), of Costa Rica, received the FAMOUS (Funds for Astronomical Meetings: Outreach to Underrepresented Scientists) grant from the American Astronomical Society (AAS) to attend the 235th meeting of the society.

The meeting was held in Honolulu, HI, in early January. Sanchez-Tovar presented an e-Poster at the conference, which is a new poster format using large, tactile monitors. This technology allows researchers to include animations and dynamic graphs that would not be possible in regular posters. Sanchez-Tovar presented the research "Spectral Line Survey of Ionized Jet Candidates from Broadband VLA Observations." The work is supervised by Associate Professor of Physics Esteban Araya.

"Thanks to support from the National Science Foundation, we are investigating how very massive stars are forming, these are the stars that would later explode as a supernova," said Araya.

Sanchez-Tovar developed a computer program to extract information about molecular and atomic transitions otherwise overlooked in observations conducted with the Very Large Array (VLA), which is one of the most powerful radio telescopes in the world.

"In many projects, observations conducted with the VLA focus on the averaged microwave radiation, but within the data, there could be hidden signals from specific atomic and molecular species that can give us a new view into the nature of star formation," said Araya. "With the program created by Emmanuel, they can now uncover these hidden signals in observations previously conducted with the VLA."

In addition to the prestigious grant and scientific results, Sanchez-Tovar's experience exemplifies the interdisciplinary nature of research at the WIU Physics Department.

"Emmanuel is a student in the Applied Statistics and Decision Analytics MS program, and he is applying the skills he has learned to forefront research in astronomy," said Araya. "This work is a perfect example of the exciting opportunities for interdepartmental collaboration and student mentorship at WIU."

"The experience of traveling and being part of a conference with more than 3,000 people passionate about astrophysics was amazing," said Sanchez-Tovar. "In my first AAS meeting I was being able to make new friends and to learn about their research, goals, and adventures."

The WIU Astrophysics Research Laboratory is supported by a grant from the National Science Foundation (AST-1814063 in collaboration with AST-1814011), and computational resources donated by WIU Distinguished Alumnus Frank Rodeffer.

For more information about the WIU Department of Physics, visit


Ag Mech Club's 50th Annual Farm Expo and School of Agriculture 100th Anniversary Dinner

MACOMB, IL – This year will mark the 50th annual Farm Expo, hosted by Western Illinois University's Agriculture Mechanization (Ag Mech) Club. The expo will take place Saturday-Sunday, Feb. 8-9 in Western Hall.

Admission to the expo is open free to the public from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Sunday. Free parking for the event is located in Q-lot, adjacent to Western Hall.

"This year's show has extra meaning as it is not only the 50th Ag Mech Show, but the 100th anniversary of the WIU School of Agriculture," said Ag Mech Club Advisor Jana Knupp. "We hope to see many of our alumni come through the show to see some new additions to the show, as well as stay to attend our celebration dinner on Saturday evening. It will be a great weekend to celebrate the long standing success of the WIU School of Agriculture."

This year's expo will be fun for all ages. There will be a "Kid's Corner," which will have bouncy houses, face painting, balloon artists and caricatures, all which are also free.

A new addition to the Ag Expo this year is a "Grain to Glass" section featuring samples of products from local breweries and vineyards. Guests may purchase sampling tickets or a full glass of their favorite beverage at the show.

In addition to this Farm Expo being the 50th, the School of Agriculture will celebrate it's 100th anniversary. One portion of the expo will be dedicated to the School of Agriculture and it's history.

The School of Agriculture 100-year anniversary dinner will be held Saturday, Feb. 8. There will be a cocktail hour at 5 p.m. and dinner will be at 6 p.m. The anniversary dinner will be held in the WIU University Union in the Heritage Room.
Free will donations will be accepted at the event.

Follow the Farm Expo on Facebook at For more information about the School of Agriculture, visit


WIU Nursing Student Awarded Study Abroad Scholarship

From left to right --  Dana Sistko (Scholarship Committee chair), Alexis Barnes (scholarship recipient) and Rich Cangro (Phi Beta Delta chapter president. (Photo credit -- WIU)


MACOMB, IL -- The International Honor Society Phi Beta Delta's Eta Epsilon Chapter at Western Illinois University has awarded a $500 scholarship to a student studying abroad in Ecuador.

Junior nursing major Alexis Barnes, of Ellisville, IL, said the scholarship has helped her realize a dream to study abroad.

"Studying abroad has always been an unrealistic dream of mine, something I never believed would be in the cards," she said. "In college, it is not an uncommon thing for students to do. Many of my friends have studied abroad, and one commonality I discovered between them is that they come back with the most amazing stories to tell, having gained the most enriching experiences from all different corners of the world."

Barnes said she hasn't had many opportunities to travel domestically or internationally, but when she heard about the International Healthcare Systems Study Abroad trip, she knew it was for her.

"The only thing holding me back was the expenses," she said. "Because of this scholarship, I have now been afforded the opportunity of a lifetime to travel across the world to help people of varying statuses and cultures gain access to healthcare. As a nursing major, helping others is an important attribute to my profession, as is cultural diversity, both of which are being afforded to me through this study abroad experience. This scholarship helped open doors for me that would have never been possible otherwise, and for that I am forever grateful."

One of the objectives of the Phi Beta Delta International Honor Society is to fund scholarships for international students and student participating in a study abroad course. Funds are raised through the annual scholarship fundraiser dinner, as well as selling international items at the annual International Bazaar. 

For more information on study abroad programs at WIU, visit For more information about joining Phi Beta Delta, and membership requirements, visit

The next Phi Beta Delta induction ceremony will be held in April 2020. To donate to the Phi Beta Delta scholarship fund, email


Illinois Tax Filing Season Starts Monday

The Illinois Department of Revenue (IDOR) will begin accepting 2019 state individual income tax returns on Monday, January 27, the same date that the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) begins accepting federal individual income tax returns. If a taxpayer electronically files an error free return, they should receive a direct deposit refund within four weeks. Last year, IDOR saw a 2.5% increase in the number of electronic fliers; of the 6,179,810 individual income tax returns, 88.3% were filed electronically and 63% received refunds. 


“The fastest way for taxpayers to receive their refund is to file electronically and request direct deposit,” said IDOR acting Director David Harris. “Taxes are due April 15th. I encourage taxpayers to take their time to accurately file, making use of all tax credits and deductions legally available to maximize any refund owed.”


IDOR is highly committed to protecting taxpayers from identify theft and will continue to work with the IRS and other states to strengthen protections while refining processes. Last year, IDOR streamlined its identify verification process through MyTax Illinois resulting in faster processing times and quicker delivery of refunds. Taxpayers can do their part by protecting their personal information and staying alert to phone scams or phishing emails. For more tips and up-to-date information, taxpayers should visit IDOR’s website.


Free filing of Form IL-1040 is available through MyTax Illinois. Individuals may also utilize MyTax Illinois to make payments, check the status of their Illinois Individual Income Tax refunds using the Where’s My Refund? link, and look up their IL-PINs, amounts of any estimated tax payments they have made, and (when necessary) amounts reported on Form 1099-G.


For the most up-to-date information, forms, schedules, and instructions for the 2019 tax year, please visit IDOR’s website at:


Illinois DCFS Offers College Scholarships

CHICAGO – The Illinois Department of Children and Family Services is currently accepting applications for the 2020 DCFS Scholarship Program. Through the program, 53 academic scholarships will be awarded to current and former youth in care for the upcoming school year, with four awards reserved for the children of veterans.


Nearly 1,400 current and former youth in care have had an opportunity to pursue a college degree since the DCFS scholarship program began in 1971. Scholarship recipients receive up to five consecutive years of tuition and academic fee waivers to be used at participating Illinois state community colleges and universities, a monthly grant of $537 to offset other expenses and a medical card.


“Scholarships reduce the financial burden of a college education and allow students more time and energy to focus on studies rather than worrying about their college expenses,” said Illinois DCFS Acting Director Marc D. Smith. “We want our current and former youth in care to access higher education that can pave the way to numerous workforce opportunities.”


The DCFS Scholarship Program is open to youth who have an open DCFS case, whose cases were closed through adoption or guardianship or who aged out of care at 18 or older. Youth who are at least 16 years old and not yet 21 on March 31 may apply.
Scholarship recipients will be selected based on their scholastic record and aptitude, community and extracurricular activities, three letters of recommendation from non-relatives and a written statement illustrating their purpose for higher education. In 2019 the department received 205 application packets.


Applications are available at any DCFS regional office and on the DCFS website: (Form CFS 438 under DCFS Features on the homepage). Students or caregivers may call the DCFS Office of Education and Transition Services at 217-557-2689 or 312-814-5959 with questions about the application process or for more information.


BCA Brings The Second City to WIU Feb. 19

MACOMB, IL – The BCA will bring The Second City and "Laughing for all the Wrong Reasons" to Western Illinois University at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 19 in the University Union Grand Ballroom.

Fresh, fast and always spectacularly funny?,? The Second City is celebrating nearly 60 years of producing cutting-edge satirical revues and launching the careers of generation after generation of comedy’s best and brightest. 

BCA is a student-run organization that offers the best in arts and entertainment by featuring national and internationally touring artists in the WIU and Macomb communities. The BCA strives to foster in its members and patrons a life-long appreciation for the performing arts.

Tickets are $15 for the public, $10 for senior citizens, WIU employees and youth and free for WIU students with valid student identification. The comedy may contain adult or mature content. This program is partially supported by a grant from the Illinois Arts Council Agency.

To purchase tickets, visit


Two New Officers Sworn In to Macomb Police

Two new officers were sworn in to the Macomb Police Department at Tuesday afternoon's City Council meeting. WIU graduate Daniel Dorich and Bushnell native Anthony Taylor took their oaths at the start of the meeting. Among other items, the council approved an ordinance authorizing the issuance of up to 4-point-3 million dollars in general obligation refunding bonds to help cover refinancing of bonds issued in 2012. The Council also approved the Residential Initiative and Stabilization Effort, also known as RISE, which is designed to reimburse up to 50 percent of demolition and renovation costs, up to 10-thousand dollarsper property, as an incentive to property owners to remove broken down properties in the city.


Check out the video from Tuesday's Macomb City Council meeting, posted on the Macomb News Now Facebook page.


U.S Cellular Celebrates Next Generation as The Future of Good

MACOMB – U.S. Cellular’s The Future of Good program will return for its fifth consecutive year, to champion and invest in young people who are bringing fairness to their communities. U.S. Cellular is raising awareness for youth causes and increasing their impact through financial contributions.


Now through April 15, 2020, anyone over the age of 18 is encouraged to visit to nominate young people ages six through 17, who are making a positive impact in U.S. Cellular communities. U.S. Cellular will ultimately announce six winners – three in February and another three in May. These six individuals will join the community of over 40 extraordinary The Future of Good winners and receive $10,000 each to put toward their cause. 


“More common today, when youth see something unfair, they do something about it,” said Nakeita Stewart, director of sales for U.S. Cellular in Illinois. “The Future of Good program celebrates those that turn an injustice into a positive impact for the community. U.S. Cellular has always been committed to the future of the communities we serve, that’s why we support the next generation of young humanitarians taking a leading approach to create a brighter future.”


To enter, nominators should visit and describe the nominee’s cause, how it is helping his/her community and how the nominee could use a cash grant for technology or other means to continue and grow his/her efforts. Nominees must not turn 18 before August 30, 2020.


Kathleen Neumann Joins MDH Board of Directors

MACOMB, Ill. –  It was the first meeting of the new year, and the first one for new McDonough District Hospital Board of Directors member Kathleen Neumann Monday, Jan. 20.


Neumann joined the MDH Board this month, starting her three-year term. A 20-plus year employee at Western Illinois University, Neumann served in various administrative roles, including: Chair of the Computer Science Department, Dean of the College of Business and Technology, Associate Provost, and nearly four years as WIU’s interim Provost.


She joined WIU in 1995 as an assistant professor in Computer Science and in 2004 was named full professor. Prior to her time at Western, Neumann worked at UCLA for three years as an associate faculty member in the Department of Mathematics.


Neumann earned her bachelor’s and master’s degree from WIU and a Ph.D. at Northwestern University.


“All of us are very pleased to have Kathy Neumann appointed to our Board. Her professional background at WIU as interim Provost and as a respected member of the College of Business and Technology serving as Dean will add value to our Board,” said MDH President/CEO Brian E. Dietz, FACHE. “We are very much looking forward to the contributions she will make to McDonough District Hospital and the community we serve.”


Also during the January meeting, the Board voted on its officers for the 2020 year.


Dr. Rick Iverson will serve as Board Chair for the third consecutive year. Andrew Baker (Vice Chairman) and J. Scott Clauson (Secretary/Treasurer) will return to their respective roles.


Battle of the Brushes Back at the MAC

Macomb Arts Center is preparing for the return of Battle of the Brushes on Saturday, January 25! This will be the third year for this exciting fast-paint competition and fundraising event. Proceeds support the programs and events of the MAC, including 8-10 free art exhibits annually, Rising Stars youth theatre experience, plays, concerts, and more.

Throughout the evening 14 adventurous artists will create paintings in just 30 minutes.  Event guests will vote to determine the final round participants, as well as the ultimate winning artist. Guests will also enjoy a variety of hors d’oeuvres, a cash bar, a silent auction of various items (including paintings created throughout the evening), raffle prizes, and a live auction of the final round paintings. Doors will open at 6:30pm, with the first round of painting beginning at 7:00.

The 14 participating artists are: Bethany Barr, Dustin Berg, Ray Bunch, Kaitlin Findley, Julie Fiscella (Ray Bunch’s daughter—nothing like a little friendly father/daughter competition!), Jeannie Galioto, David Garrison (winner of the 2019 Battle), Steven House (winner of the 2018 Battle), Adam Kozlowski, Lindsey Moore, Sam Myerson, Kevin Nichols, Jan Rockwell, and Josh Wroblewski

Tickets purchased online at through Friday, Jan. 24 are $15 for members; $20 for non-members. Tickets at the door will be $20 for members and $25 for non-members.


Icy Cold Cancellations for Monday, Jan. 20



There will be no congregate or home-delivered meals today provided by the YMCA Senior Center due to icy and cold conditions. This includes the Bushnell and Macomb area.


WIRC Announces Grant Awards for Local Improvements

Macomb, Illinois, January 17, 2020 – Through grant applications prepared and submitted by Western Illinois Regional Council (WIRC), six communities have been awarded Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funds by the Illinois Department of Commerce & Economic Opportunity.


Five of the awarded grants are for public infrastructure, and one grant is for housing rehabilitation.


Public infrastructure CDBG grants were awarded to the following communities: the City of Abingdon in Knox County ($450,000 for water system upgrades); the City of Bushnell in McDonough County ($500,000 for a new well); the City of Farmington in Fulton County ($500,000 for sanitary sewer upgrades); the City of Macomb in McDonough County ($500,000 for a water main replacement); and the City of Monmouth in Warren County ($500,000 for a water main replacement). The City of Colchester in McDonough County was awarded a $500,000 CDBG housing rehabilitation grant.


WIRC, based in Macomb, serves its member communities in the six-county region of Fulton, Hancock, Henderson, Knox, McDonough and Warren counties. WIRC Community Development staff assists local governments in addressing public infrastructure and housing needs by utilizing state and federal funding opportunities.


For more information, call WIRC at (309) 837-3941, find them on social media, or visit


Funding Received for Immigration Training at WIU

MACOMB, IL – Western Illinois DREAMers, a local not-for-profit organization, has obtained state funding through the Access to Justice Program, administered by The Resurrection Project, for two projects created through a partnership with Western Illinois University.

The funding will provide training for faculty and staff on how to better serve undocumented, DACA and students from immigrant backgrounds, as well as educate students about immigration and the lives of their fellow immigrant students

Six faculty and staff workshops will be led by WIU Political Science Professor Julia Albarracin, Associate Director of Admissions Melissa Telles and WIU College Student Personnel graduate student Marcy Olague-Jamaica, of Lisle, IL.

The sessions will be held from noon-1 p.m. in the Multicultural Center's DeRenzy Board Room, Thursday, Feb. 13, Wednesday, Feb. 19, Wednesday, Feb. 26, Thursday, March 5, Monday, March 16 and Thursday, March 26.

Class content will include:

• Current immigration policies and how people become undocumented

• DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) and the differences with the DREAM Act

• Hardships faced by undocumented and immigrant-family students

• The rights of undocumented students and their families

• How to better serve undocumented, DACA and immigrant-background students.

The project also includes presentations in various classes by peer navigators to educate students about immigration. Albarracin and Olague-Jamaica will coordinate the presentations.

For more information, contact Albarracin at


Ribbon Cutting for Dustin Berg - Shelter Insurance

The Ambassador Committee of the Macomb Area Chamber of Commerce held a ribbon cutting on January 16 for Dustin Berg - Shelter Insurance Agent (137 S. Randolph Street, Macomb), a Chamber member since November 2019. Shelter Insurance has been at the Downtown Macomb location for numerous years and has been dedicated to providing insurance and coverage options for a variety of personal and professional needs within Macomb and the surrounding area.

For more information: Call (309) 836-3000 or visit


Early Dismissal Friday for Macomb Schools

On Friday, January 17th there will be an early dismissal for grades K-12 in order for Macomb School District staff to have school improvement activities. The junior high will dismiss at 12:00 p.m., the high school at 12:05, Edison at 12:25, and Lincoln at 12:40. (This is the reverse order from normal days.) MacArthur Early Childhood Center will not hold morning or afternoon classes on this day. 


Also, a reminder that there will be no school on Monday, January 20th in observance of Martin Luther King Jr.’s Birthday. 


WIRC-CAA's Wig & Turban Program Aims to Help Cancer Patients

MACOMB – Receiving a cancer diagnosis is a life-changing, emotional event.  Chemotherapy saves lives, but the treatment can cause hair loss due to side effects.  With the rising costs of healthcare, purchasing a wig or turban may not be financially f accessible for some individuals.  In order to help cancer patients to feel better about their situation, Western Illinois Regional Council-Community Action Agency’s (WIRC-CAA) Wig & Turban Program will provide free wigs and turbans for individuals suffering from this terrible disease.  


“A person may have a lot of money going out for treatment, and being able to get a wig and turban for free helps take some of the pressure off,” said Program Coordinator Teresa Cadle.  “Losing your hair is one of the hardest parts of chemo.”  


The only requirement for the program is the individual must have a cancer diagnosis; no paperwork is required.  Interested individuals are asked to make an appointment so they can browse in privacy. To obtain an appointment, call WIRC-CAA at (309) 837-2997 between 8:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m., Monday through Friday.    


The Wig & Turban Program has been in place at WIRC-CAA for over 20 years and relies on donations from the public in order to provide these items to those in need.  Monetary donations can be mailed or brought to WIRC-CAA, 223 South Randolph Street, Macomb, Illinois 61455. The program also accepts new and/or gently used donations of wigs; turbans; brassieres; and silicone breast forms. 


WIRC’s Community Action Agency department provides efficient and diverse human services to help individuals and families help themselves.  WIRC-CAA offers a wide variety of programs designed to help those in need, including a clothing center, an energy assistance program, and a food pantry program. 




MDH Announces New Department Directors

MACOMB – McDonough District Hospital announced four new Department Director that were hired during the month of January.


Craig Fields began January 2 as the Director of Human Resources. Fields joined the MDH Senior Leadership Team, bringing 20-plus years of experience to the organization. Fields have worked for seven years as the Director of Human Resources at MSA Professional Services. His HR experience in health care includes four years with Genesis Health System and seven years with Iowa Health Home Care. Fields also spent time with the Principal Financial Group in Human Resources.


MDH announced the promotion of Kim Laird, MS, LCPC to Director of Behavioral Health Services/Psychiatry Clinic. She steps into the role following the retirement of Kay Lee, MDEd, CSA DC, LCPC who worked for 32 years at the hospital. Lee will remain on the registry with the organization.


Laird spent her entire career working in the area and then joined MDH in May 2007 as a Counselor within Behavioral Health Services. She also worked at the North Central Behavioral Health System, Bridgeway, and the Community Mental Health Center of McDonough and Fulton County.


Jimmy Rogers takes over as the Director of Plant Engineering, effective January 13. After a brief stint outside of healthcare for the past year, Rogers brings experience in facility management, security, life safety measures, and working with The Joint Commission. Rogers served as the Director of Facilities/Security at Mercy Medical Center in Clinton, Iowa, in charge of a 149 licensed bed hospital and oversight of the daily operations. Rogers also worked in a supervisory role during his time with the Capital Region Medical Center in Jefferson City, Missouri.


Later this month Albert Ferrabone joins MDH as the Director of Quality. During the past three years, he worked in Grand Rapids, Michigan, at the University of Michigan Health. As the Director of System Quality, Ferrabone oversaw a staff of 12 full-time in quality improvements. For three years he worked in the Chicago Health System, which followed 11 years at the SwedishAmerica Health System all in quality management and medical analytics roles.



Obituary for Vera Jean McCoy

Vera Jean McCoy, 84, of Macomb passed away at 5:55 a.m. Saturday, January 11, 2020 at St. John’s Hospital in Springfield.


She was born on September 19, 1935 in Macomb to Clair E. and Ruby Irene Robeson Butcher. She married Edward “Bud” McCoy on August 12, 1952 in Kahoka, Missouri. He passed away on January 13, 2013.


She was also preceded in death by her parents; step-mother, Blanche Butcher; daughter, Donna Davis; grandson, Jamie Davis and two sisters, Barb Rittenhouse and Shirley Ann Butcher.

Vera is survived by two daughters, Jackie (Kent) Oster of Macomb and Debbie (Stephen) Miller of Macomb; two sons, Ed (Jan) McCoy of El Paso , Texas and Mike (Tracy) McCoy of Macomb; fourteen grandchildren, Valerie (Josh) Peters, Marlena (Scott) Lee, Amanda (Matt) McCraven, Shanna (Aaron) Wilson, Jason Miller, Digger (Sarah) Oster, Amy (Trish) Oster, Abby (Allen) Wiseman, Buffy (Matt) Simmons, Lucas McCoy, Dustin (Judy) Foulk, Miranda McCoy, Ashley (Curt) Lynn and Brittiany (Wes) McCoy and 36 great-grandchildren.


Vera lived all of her life in Macomb where she worked for Western Illinois University in building services for 31 years before her retirement. She also worked at MDH in the laundry department and Sherwin-Williams.

Funeral services will be held at 10:30 a.m. Wednesday, January 15, 2020 at Clugston-Tibbitts Funeral Home in Macomb with Reverends Dan Colvin and Mark Merrill officiating. Visitation will be held from 5 to 7 p.m. Tuesday January 14, 2020 at the funeral home. Burial will be in Camp Creek Cemetery south of Macomb.


Memorials may be made to the Scotland Trinity Presbyterian Church. You may leave condolences and sign the guest book online at


Obituary for Robert A. "Bob" Bland

Robert A. “Bob” Bland, 87, of Macomb passed away at 6 a.m. Monday, January 13, 2020 at his residence surrounded by his family. He was born on July 9, 1932 the son of Lloyd and Grace Strader Bland. He married Norma Robinson on April 16, 1952 in Kahoka, Missouri. She survives. 


Also surviving are three daughters, Linda (Scott) Mahan of Girard, Illinois Debbie Bland (Gwen Davis) of Havana, Illinois and Mary (Aaron) Downey of Avon, Illinois; grandchildren, Jamie (Shannon) Ganschow, Shanna (Thomas) Phillips, Jessica (Jim) Wetzel, Chance Downey and Fiancé` Sydney Lovekamp; great-grandchildren, Addison, Lena and Elsah Ganschow and Isaac, Alyssa, Maya and Lola Phillips; sister, Mary Kay (Dale) Vogler and three nephews.


He was preceded in death by his parents, Lloyd Bland and Grace Bland Armstrong.

Bob graduated from Macomb High School. He was a loving husband, father and grandfather. He worked at Porcelain Products and farmed until he retired.


He is a member of Assembly of God Church and the Lamoine Trails Saddle Club. He enjoyed camping, fishing, dancing, horseback riding, playing cards and going to auctions. He loved  his family, his dogs and his horses. He never met a stranger. Anyone he met he knew everything about them within a short period of time. He was very caring, patient, compassionate and loving. He was always concerned about others. He had a generous heart and was loved by many.


The family appreciated the love and care that the staff at Fresnius Kidney Care of Macomb gave him. Funeral services will be held at 11 a.m. Thursday, January 16, 2019 at the Macomb Assembly of God Church with Pastor Carl Redding officiating. Visitation will be held from 10 to 11 a.m. Thursday at the church. Burial will be at Forest Lawn Memory Gardens in Macomb.


The family requests in lieu of flowers that memorials be made to Fresnius Kidney Care, MDH Hospice or Macomb Assembly of God Church.

Clugston-Tibbitts Funeral Home in Macomb is in charge of arrangements.

You may leave condolences and sign the guest book online at


Local Program Helps Off-Campus College Students With Their Energy Bills

MACOMB – College can be an exciting time for many students, but for some, it can also include economic struggle.  Western Illinois Regional Council-Community Action Agency (WIRC-CAA), based in Macomb, wants college students to know they have programs that can help them.  One of their programs, the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP), can help income-eligible students living off-campus in Hancock, Henderson, McDonough, and Warren counties with paying their energy bills.  


A household may qualify to receive energy assistance if the gross income for all household members for a 30 day income period does not exceed the following levels: $1,561 for a one-person household; $2,114 for a two-person household; $2,666 for a three-person household; $3,219 for a four-person household.  For each additional household member, add $553.


People applying for assistance must provide the following information to document eligibility for the program: proof of gross income for all household members for a 30 day income period; a complete and current copy of the heating and electric bills; and social security cards for all household members. To obtain an appointment, call WIRC’s Community Action Agency department at (309) 837-2997.  Local outreach sites are available for filing an application. This season’s program ends May 31, 2020. 


WIRC’s Community Action Agency department provides efficient and diverse human services to help individuals and families help themselves, as well as providing services to survivors of domestic and/or sexual violence.  For more information, visit, find them on social media, or call (309) 837-2997. 



IDPH Investigating Legionnaires' Disease Cases at Two Chicago Nursing Homes

SPRINGFIELD - The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) and the Chicago Department of Public Health (CDPH) are investigating cases of Legionnaires’ disease at two separate nursing homes in Chicago.  Two residents at Balmoral Nursing Home and one resident at Admiral at the Lake have been diagnosed with Legionnaires’ disease. The cases at the two facilities do not appear to be related. Residents at each of the nursing homes were at the facility for the entire 10 days before they started showing symptoms, also known as the exposure period. 


Balmoral Nursing Home has implemented water restrictions and installed water filters in certain areas of the facility.  IDPH has collected water samples for testing and is awaiting results. Water samples collected by the facility and tested by its consultant were negative for Legionella bacteria.  The facility has provided verbal and written notification to residents and employees. The facility is also conducting surveillance to identify other potential cases and to ensure appropriate testing and clinical management. 


Admiral at the Lake is in the process of informing residents and staff about the Legionnaires’ disease case and will work to identify other potential cases while implementing appropriate testing and clinical management.  IDPH environmental health staff conducted an onsite visit and is coordinating with CDPH and the Chicago Department of Water Management. The facility is implementing processes to reduce exposure and has hired, and been working with, a water management company.


Legionella bacteria occur naturally in the environment.  Water containing Legionella can be aerosolized through cooling towers, showers, hot tubs, and decorative fountains, and can cause Legionnaire’s disease, a serious lung infection (pneumonia) when inhaled.  Legionnaires’ disease is not passed from person to person. Outbreaks are most commonly associated with buildings or structures that have complex water systems like hotels, hospitals, long-term care facilities, and cruise ships. 


The bacteria can become a health concern when they grow and spread in human-made water systems, like hot tubs, cooling towers, hot water tanks, large plumbing systems, and decorative fountains. Most healthy people do not get Legionnaires’ disease after being exposed to Legionella bacteria. 



State Fire Marshall Opens Applications for Small Equipment Grant Program

SPRINGFIELD - The Office of the State Fire Marshal (OSFM) today announced the application period is open for the Small Equipment Grant Program. All interested departments should send an application to OSFM no later than February 29, 2020. OSFM will award $3.5 million to eligible fire departments and ambulance services during this application period.


The Small Equipment Grant Program was established to provide grants of up to $26,000 for the purchase of small firefighting and ambulance equipment. This program is an innovative approach to a problem that has long caused difficulties for the fire departments and not-for-profit ambulance services in Illinois, particularly those that have hardships in generating the necessary revenue for small equipment. The purpose is to allow eligible applicants the opportunity to purchase small equipment that they may otherwise not be able to purchase. Most Illinois fire departments, fire protection districts, and township fire departments are eligible to apply. In addition, stand-alone, not-for-profit ambulance service providers are eligible to apply.


Fire department, fire protection districts, and township fire department applicants are required to have participated in the National Fire Incident Reporting System (NFIRS) for a minimum of two years prior to applying.



Regular Macomb City Council Meeting

MACOMB-  The Macomb City Council met on Monday (Dec 23) at 5:15 p.m at City Hall to discuss a few items on the City Council’s agenda. 


The first item on the agenda to discuss was Downtown and Community projects. There are nine new places being developed in downtown Macomb, with a 96% occupancy rate. Downtown Director Kristen Terry reports there were various events downtown and in the Chandler Park area. She stated Dickens on the Square was a huge success, working with the Downtown Business owners who were pleased with the performance. There were 17 WIU students who interned with her coordinating during the Town and Gown event. Mayor Inman Stated that the efforts to involve WIU Students were huge during the event and paid off well. Alderman Moon mentioned encouraging budgeting for this event each year.


The second item on the agenda was pertaining to cannabis and drug paraphernalia in the town. This ordinance will be presented for a second reading and the final action as the Committee has been given Power to Act. City Attorney Kristen Petrie presented the ordinance for second reading and final action. All Alderman members voted to approve the ordinance to amend Chapter 16, Sections 54,57, 58, 59, and 60 of the Municipal Code of Macomb pertaining to cannabis and drug paraphernalia.  As a result, Mayor Mike Inman declared the motion to carried and the ordinance was approved.


Lastly, on the agenda for discussion, was the Ordinance to create Chapter 14, Article XIII entitled Adult-Use Cannabis Consumption Onsite Establishment of the Municipal Code of Macomb, pertaining to conditional use permits for adult-use cannabis consumption in public. Alderman G. Carper stated the city is controlling only granting or denying a license for a cannabis cafe. Mayor Mike Inman stated the subject will be placed on the agenda for a second reading, and the final action will be declared Monday, January 6, 2020 council meeting.



Spoon River College Offers Microsoft Word Classes

MACOMB – The Spoon River College Office of Community Outreach will be offering classes at the Outreach Center. Classes will be instructed by Erin Orwig.


Introduction to Microsoft Word will be held on Thursday (Jan 23) from 1-3 p.m. What is Word? How can you use it? This class will cover the basics of Word and the kind of documents you can create with the program. If people need to learn how to create a basic letter, write a paper, or create a quick flyer, this class will help you learn how to accomplish that goal.


Microsoft Word Level 2 will be held on Thursday (Jan 30) from 1-3 p.m. Once you know the basics of Word, master more advanced options such as inserting charts, shapes and smart art; tracking changes; and the mail merge wizard. This class is designed for students who use Word on a daily basis or those who have already taken Introduction to Microsoft Word. 


There are fees to attend and pre-registration is required. Classes will be held at the Spoon River College Macomb Outreach Center located at 2500 East Jackson Street in Macomb. For more information or to register, call Spoon River College at 309-833-6031 or sign up online at


Standing Up Against Racism Resolution

Mayor Mike Inman extends an invitation to the community to join the City/County leaders at 8:15 a.m. Thursday, Jan. 9 as they gather in the Macomb City Hall Community Room to sign a resolution that reinforces the community and county’s commitment to inclusion and diversity.


The resolution will be signed by Mayor Inman, McDonough County Board Chair Michael Cox,

WIU Interim President Martin Abraham, McDonough County NAACP President Byron Oden

Shabazz, Macomb Area Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Lauren Merritt, MAEDCO

Executive Director Kim Pierce, Jan Rockwell of the Interfaith Alliance of Macomb, Kelly

Ingersoll of the Macomb Area Ministerial Alliance, Macomb Area Convention, and Visitor

Bureau Director Jock Hedblade, Macomb School Superintendent Mark Twomey and Regional

Superintendent of Education John Meixner. The signing will take place at 8:30 a.m.


This is a time for residents to come together as a city. This will be a chance for the county and community leaders to demonstrate that the community and region, is dedicated and committed to all of our residents, friends, and guests. There will be no more hatred and prejudice, and we will ensure that we have a welcoming, inclusive and diverse community.



Macomb PD Announces Emergency Contact Database


In a press release on Wednesday, January 8, the Macomb Police Department announced that it will be participating in the Secretary of State’s new emergency contact database initiative. It is said that this will help police and other emergency workers locate contacts should a person be in a situation where help is needed.


In the release, posted to the MPD Facebook page, the MPD says this is meant for people to voluntarily enter information into the database to be recorded as an emergency contact. It is primarily intended for, but not restricted to, guardians and caretakers, and people can enter information such as disabilities, special needs, or medicinal needs. 


This will be a big task for the Crisis Intervention Team in the MPD, and they would like the public to know that their officers have been well trained and are well-equipped to handle a variety of stressful situations. They would also like to inform the public that the registration process is relatively quick and easy, and the information can be found here:


Battle of The Brushes is Back in The Mac

The Battle of the Brushes will return Saturday, January 25, as the first event of the new decade will be held at the Macomb Arts Center. This is the third annual year for the fast-paint competition and fundraising event.


Throughout the evening, guests will observe adventurous artists create paintings within 30 minutes and will vote to determine the final round participants. Guests will also get to enjoy a variety of hors d’oeuvres, a cash bar, a silent auction of various items, raffle prizes, and a live auction of the final round paintings. Guests can possibly get a picture with a surprise celebrity.


Doors will open at 6:30 pm, with the first round of painting beginning at 7:00. Tickets are $35 for one; 2 or more are $25 each. There is a $5 discount for MAC members. Tickets may be purchased through PayPal at or reserved by emailing or calling 309-836-2782. Tickets will also be available at the door.


There are still a few spaces open for artists who would like to engage in this fun and friendly battle. You don't have to be a professional (or even practicing) artist to join in the fun--just someone who enjoys seeing what you can create in 30 minutes with a brush, some paint, and a canvas!



WIU'S Cannabis Use Laws and Regulations

MACOMB - Cannabis use is now legal as of January 1, 2020. Only adults 21 years and older are allowed to possess or use recreational marijuana in Illinois. No individual regardless of age can have cannabis on Western University property. No use of marijuana is allowed on campus.  


Students under 21 years that are found with cannabis on or off-campus will be held under the Code of Student Conduct. Any employer at any time has the right to adopt a zero-tolerance policy even though it is now legal. Depending on the worksite and their rules, people need to be understanding and respectful. Driving under the influence of marijuana is still considered illegal.  


Sources say the government will come out with a breathalyzer similar to the alcohol breathalyzer already being used. Smoking cannabis in any public place, streets, or parks will be considered illegal. Each community has different rules and laws about the possession of cannabis. To be sure if you are following the rules and regulations in your community, check the local ordinance online.



Paul Mellema meets with Joe and Sansa from the MCAS!

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Check out Paul's meeting with Joe and Sansa from the McDonough County Animal Shelter! Always great when a friendly pup stops by the station, and we had a great talk with Joe as well! 


WIU Will Host Job Camp Fair Jan. 23

MACOMB - Western Illinois University students and Macomb community members will have a chance to think about summer next week as the University's Department of Recreation, Park and Tourism Administration (RPTA) will host its annual Summer Camp Job Fair (SCJF) from 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 23 in the University Union Grand Ballroom.


This event is one of the largest job fairs in the country. This year, the SCJF will feature 50 camps from locations ranging from New Hampshire to California, with many camps from the Midwest. These camps represent various formats including overnight camp, day camp, and religiously-affiliated programs for individuals with disabilities. The camps come to WIU to recruit and interview students from all majors for a variety of summer camp positions.


"Attending the fair provides students of various majors with employment possibilities and networking opportunities with camp directors. Real-world skills can be developed by working in a summer camp job such as communication and leadership skills, creativity, collaboration, problem-solving and critical thinking. These are important skills that employers across all career fields seek in today’s college graduates." Owens said. "Additionally, WIU students would likely work with individuals from across the country and globe, as camps also engage international staff and campers."



Katie Ruebush Receives Healing Hand Award at MDH

MACOMB - McDonough District Hospital congratulates Katie Ruebush, DPT for receiving a Healing Hand award, an honor within the Grateful Patient Program at MDH.


Grateful Patients Virginia Diehl and Cathy Early recognized Ruebush for her dedication to her patients.


Diehl and Early shared, “Cathy went to Katie for a bicep injury, and Virginia after a hip and shoulder replacement. Katie took the time to make sure she understood our concerns. She was willing to think outside the box in order to facilitate each of our recoveries. Her interest, her sense of humor, and her positivity were motivating.”


The Grateful Patient Program provides an opportunity for patients and families to show their appreciation in honor of the excellent care they received. In addition to recognizing a Healing Hand, patients and families may make a financial contribution to support an area of care or direct their gift to a more specific cause. This gift was designated to the Sports Medicine & Rehabilitation Department.




No War With Iran Informational

Macomb, IL - Members of the community, including clergy, local officeholders, non-profit leaders, veterans, and everyday citizens, are gathering in a vigil for peace as an act of protest against the escalating threats of war with Iran. Demonstrators will meet at Chandler Park in Macomb at 5:00 p.m. on Wednesday, January 8. Speakers will begin promptly at 5:05 p.m.


The event is nonpartisan and calls on all citizens to make their voices heard in opposition to another deadly, expensive, and unnecessary war in the Middle East. Participants are encouraged to dress in multiple layers for the weather, bring their own signs & candles/cups, and stand together with other members of our human family.


All are encouraged to express their opposition directly to our leaders by calling Congressman Darin LaHood (IL-18) at (309-671-7027), and Senators Dick Durbin (217-492-4062), & Tammy Duckworth (217-528-6124). Additionally, all are encouraged to post on their social media accounts with the hashtag #NoWarWithIran.


Christmas Tree Disposal

MACOMB - Waste Management will offer pickup of live Christmas trees for Macomb customers through January 15, 2020, at no additional charge to the customer. Waste Management will pick up trees on the customer’s regular route day.


Christmas trees are to be cut into lengths of six (6) feet or less and placed at the curb for pickup and disposal. Trees placed at the curb are to be removed from the stands and have all ornamentation removed.


Contact: Public Works Department



New Minimum Wage Rates in Effect for 2020

SPRINGFIELD – Illinoisans rang in the New Year with a new, higher minimum wage, and the Department of Labor is encouraging employees to watch their paychecks to ensure that time worked in 2020 is paid at the new rate.


Governor JB Pritzker signed the new minimum wage law last February providing a path to a $15 minimum wage by 2025. Minimum wage earners received an increase of $1 to $9.25 an hour on January 1, which will be followed by an increase to $10 an hour on July 1. The minimum wage will then increase an additional $1 an hour each January 1 until it reaches $15 an hour in 2025.


“While we expect compliance by all employers regarding the new minimum wage, it is important that workers earning minimum wage are aware that the $1 increase should be reflected in their paychecks for any time they work after the first of the year,” said Michael Kleinik, director of the Illinois Department of Labor.


The last time Illinois increased its minimum wage was a decade ago in 2010 when it was raised to $8.25. Since that time, Cook County has put in place a $12 per hour minimum wage and Chicago’s minimum wage is now $13 an hour. More than 1.4 million adult hourly workers in Illinois currently make less than $15 per hour, according to the Illinois Economic Policy Institute at the University of Illinois.

The new law maintains provisions for employers to count gratuities to offset wages for workers such as food servers who regularly earn tips. Tipped employees may be paid 60 percent of the hourly minimum wage. These workers must still earn the minimum wage after receiving tips.


Workers who are under 18 years old and work fewer than 650 hours a year earn a minimum wage of $8 per hour beginning January 1, up from the old youth minimum wage of $7.75. The youth minimum wage rate will gradually rise to $13 an hour by Jan. 1, 2025.