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Macomb Local News

Hancock County Sheriff's Bust Two for Meth Possession

Two people are under arrest following a traffic stop in Hancock County. According to the Hancock County Sheriff's Office, 41 year old Chad Marmion of Hamilton, Illinois was stopped by police near 900 East County Road 1800, after Marmion had run a stop sign late Sunday night. The officer on the scene picked up the odor of illegal narcotics during the stop and called for a canine officer. The subsequent search of the vehicle turned up 39 grams of Methamphetimine. Mr. Marmion along with his passenger, 45 year old Priscilla Avery-Wear, also of Hamilton, were arrested at the scene and charged with Possession, Marmion with Possession of Methamphetimine and Avery-Wear charged with Possession of a Controlled Substance and Possession of Contraband. Both suspects remain held at the Hancock County Jail at the time of this story. 

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Governor Rauner Calling for State Ethics Reforms

Governor Bruce Rauner wants further ethics reform in the state of Illinois. In a conversation with reporters on Tuesday the Governor says the aim of new ethics reform would be to close the revolving door of people working for state agencies and then immediately moving into lobbying positions where they can leverage their previous relationships. Our Kim Howard has more on the Governor's ethics reform plans. 

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ACA Repeal is DOA: Is Medicare for All the Solution?

With the GOP's plan to replace the Affordable Care Act now off the table, the debate over how to fix health care in the U.S. is heating up again. 

Although deep partisan division still exists, Glenn Pearson, former president of Physicians for a National Health Program, says the failure of the American Health Care Act presents a unique opportunity for President Trump to make good on campaign promises for more coverage and better benefits by moving beyond for-profit models.

"America is the only wealthy country in the world that has a free market, for-profit system," he said. "It treats health care as a commodity, like buying a TV. In every other country, healthcare is a human right."

Pearson notes the Medicare for All Act, introduced by Rep. John Conyers, would provide immediate and comprehensive coverage to all Americans by expanding Medicare, the popular single-payer program already in place for people age 65 and older. 

Critics have said the move would be too costly, but independent analysis of similar legislation found that 95 percent of U.S. households would pay less than the current system of insurance premiums, deductibles and co-pays.

Pearson, while not a fan of the ill-fated Trumpcare proposal, notes the Affordable Care Act still leaves many without coverage and channels billions of taxpayer dollars to private insurance companies. He says a majority of Americans, including Republicans, support a system where money currently going to administrative overhead and private profits is spent on patient care instead.

"There would be no deductibles, no co-insurance, there would be very small co-pays," he explained. "So nobody would ever go bankrupt because they became ill."

He says even though more people have insurance since the roll-out of the ACA, nearly two million Americans go bankrupt each year because of health-care expenses. A National Day of Action calling for universal guaranteed health care is set for April 8, the first day of the congressional recess.

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New Movies on Blu Ray and DVD March 28th, 2017

There are quite a few new movies available on Blu Ray and DVD today and a few of them I have reviewed fairly recently. Below is what is new on Blu Ray and DVD on this March 28th, 2017. Spoiler alert: DO NOT RENT or BUY "Why Him" 

 

"Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them" - An offshoot of the Harry Potter universe, "Fantastic Beasts" stars Eddie Redmayne as Newt Scamander, a wizard, recently kicked out of Hogwarts and now just arriving in America. Along for the ride with Newt are his collection of Fantastic Beasts, hidden inside his magical briefcase. When those beasts get loose the adventure begins. Katherine Waterston, Dan Fogler and Colin Ferrell co-star. Here's my review of "Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them." 

http://regionaldailynews.com/movie-reviews/280812

 

"Why Him" - "Why Him" stars Bryan Cranston as the stuffy, upper middle class dad of Zoey Deutch, who's gone off to California for college and fallen in love. When the family is offered the chance to meet the boyfriend, a tech billionaire played by James Franco, as an obnoxious, over-sharing man-child. Here's my review of "Why Him?" 

http://regionaldailynews.com/movie-reviews/285793

 

"A Monster Calls" - A young boy is losing his mother to cancer and as a coping mechanism, he begins having vivid dreams of a giant monster who comes each night at Midnight to tell a story. The monster claims that he will tell three stories and that the child will tell the fourth and final story. Liam Neeson, Sigourney Weaver and Felicity Jones co-star. Here's my review of A Monster Calls. 

http://regionaldailynews.com/movie-reviews/297269

 

"Patriot's Day" - Mark Wahlberg stars as a Boston Police Detective caught up in the aftermath of the Boston Marathon Bombing in "Patriot's Day." The story centers on the bombing and subsequent search for the bombers and follows several different storylines from before and after the tragedy. John Goodman, J.K Simmons, and Kevin Bacon co-star. Here is my review of Patriot's Day. 

http://regionaldailynews.com/movie-reviews/287611

 

"20th Century Women" - Annette Bening stars as a mother of a teenage boy, Lucas Jade Zumann, in the mid-1970's in southern California. She's unconventional and so is there home which is a crash pad for a variety of transient souls, most notably, a free spirit played by Greta Gerwig and a handsome handyman played by Billy Crudup. Elle Fanning also co-stars as the boy's unrequited, slightly older crush. "20th Century Women" is a smart, sensitive and quite funny movie about a boy overrun by the women in his life and how he comes to terms with those women and their influence on his life, especially his mother who is a maddening yet beloved character. Though I didn't get to write about it at the time of it's release I can tell you here that "20th Century Women" is excellent and definitely worth picking up today on Blu Ray or DVD. 

 

Also available today among movies I haven't seen or reviewd 

 

Martin Scorsese's latest epic "Silence" 

The latest bizarre collaboration between John Cusack and Nicholas Cage called "Arsenal" 

And a relatively unknown historical drama directed by and starring Natalie Portman called "A Tale of Love and Darkness." 

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Macomb Rotary and Local Rotary District Offering International Scholarship

The Macomb Rotary Club is offering a scholarship for students looking to study abroad. According members of the Macomb Rotary Club, applications are being accepted now for this $18,000 scholarship aimed at students looking to travel and learn overseas. To qualify for the scholarship a student must live in or have graduated from a school in the Macomb Rotary District #6460. The student must also have completed a minimum of 48 Credit Hours of University Credits, the student must not have lived in or studied in the country of their choice previously and students must maintain a GPA of 2.5 or higher on a 4.0 scale. Prior to departure the student must attend meetings of their local Rotary Club, present at least one talk to a Rotary forum, must become actively involved in Rotary Club and must develop a relationship with the international Rotary Club where they intend to study and must maintain communication with their local and internation Rotary Clubs. To enter, submit a typed essay, no less than 500 words, detailing your commitment to your Major and your career goals, explain your course of studies and detail the expenses involved in studying internationally. Applicants need to submit their essay, along with a resume, three letters of recommendation and their transcripts to Kris Rosentreter of Rotary District 6460 at 514 E. South Street, Carlinville, IL, 62626. 

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Community College Students Now Have More Opportunities in Illinois

The Community College Board wants to make it a little easier for students looking at career and technical training. The board says students will now have better access when looking for specific classes. CCB Spokesman Matt Berry says they have pledged that all 39 community college districts will let students take classes anywhere for in district rates, as long as the class someone wants isn’t offered in their home district.

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Today is WIU Women's Basketball Day in Macomb

Macomb Mayor Mike Inman proclaimed, Tuesday, March 28th as WIU Leatherneck Women's Basketball Day in the City of Macomb. In a proclaimation made during Monday Night's Cify Council Meeting, Mayor Inman stated "I encourage all citizens of this city to join me in recognizing the Leatherneck Women's Basketball team for their accomplishments during the 2016-17 season. We are so proud of you," Inman added. The trip to the NCAA tournament was the first for the WIU Women's basketball team since 1996. That fact, plus the Women's 26 and 7 regular season record, their Summit League Championship and individual honors for team members Emily Clemens, Morgan Blumer and Coach J.D Gravina, all went into the City's decision to honor the WIU Women's Basketball team. Regional Media Virden Broadcasting is happy to join the City of Macomb in offering our congratulations to the Summit League Champions. 

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Legacy Theater Carthage to Host Easter Egg Hunt

The Legacy Theater in Carthage will host an Easter Egg Hunt and an Easter Movie on Saturday, April 1st. According to a release from the theater, the Easter Egg Hunt will take place beginning at 10:30 Am with the youngest kids and adding more kids over the course of an hour searching for Easter Eggs on the grassy lawn across the street from the theater. The Easter Egg Hunt will be followed at Noon by the showing of an Easter themed movie. For more information you can go to LegacyTheater.com. 

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Vietnam Veteran's Day Reception Wednesday at Macomb City Hall

There will be a Vietnam Veterans Day reception at Macomb City Hall on Wednesday, March 29th. In a release from the office of Mayor Inman, it was announced that on Wednesday beginning at 9 Am there would be a reception to honor Vietnam Veterans Day, marking the last day that American soldiers were on the ground in Vietnam, March 29th, 1973. Anyone who would like to attend this reception is encouraged to do so while Mayor Inman encourages everyone to do something to mark the occasion this Wednesday. 

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Infrastructure Report Card: Lots of Work Needed

While Illinois lawmakers continue to grapple with how to balance an overdue budget, they're being urged to keep the safety of the state's roads and bridges in mind.

According to the latest report card by the American Society of Civil Engineers, there's a lot of work to be done in Illinois, and across the country.

Nationwide, three areas saw a decline since the last report card was issued in 2014: parks, solid waste and transit.

The nation's grade this year is D-plus.

Greg DiLoreto, chairman of the Committee on America's Infrastructure at the American Society of Civil Engineers, says Illinois was given a C-minus in 2014 with a new state scorecard expected to come out in a few months.

"About the lowest grade in Illinois was in navigable waterways, which earned a grade of D-minus because the facilities there were built in the 1930s and are now in desperate need of upgrades, rehabilitation and repair," he states.

The report points out that a significant back­log of maintenance work needs to be done in Illinois.

DiLoreto says lawmakers need to keep campaign promises to make roads and bridges safer, and taxpayers have to be willing to foot the bill for it.

"We have to recognize that just like your house that needs constant maintenance and repair to keep it looking good and working for you, these systems also require that same level of care and contact," he points out.

DiLoreto says keeping infrastructure sound is not only a safety issue, it's important for the economy as well.

"Americans lose 43 hours per year stuck in traffic," he points out. "We have some 240,000 water main breaks a year in this country. When one of those happens in front of a business, then the business closes,
workers get sent home, they don't make wages that day and the business doesn't earn any income."

The report gave the nation better grades this year in the categories of hazardous waste, inland waterways, levees, ports, rail, schools and wastewater.
 

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Burlington Woman Arrested on Meth Charges in McDonough County

One woman is under arrest following a traffic stop that led to the discovery of meth. According to a release from the McDonough County Sheriff's Office, 34 year old Crystal D. Huggins of Burlington, Iowa, was pulled over for a lane violation in the area of East 350th and North 2100th, the Blandinsville-Tennessee Blacktop. The stop revealed that Huggins had an outstanding warrant in Henderson County leading top Police searching her vehicle and turing up 2 grams of Methamphetimine. A subsequent body search of Huggins then turned up 12 grams of Meth hidden in Huggins' bra. Huggins is now in custody at the McDonough County Jail awaiting disposition. 

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Macomb Park District Puts New Renovations on Lakeview Nature Center

The Macomb Park District has ramped up renovations on its Lakeview Nature Center. To discuss all of this, Natalie Shelly from the Park District came in studio to chat. Shelly brought up details on what the Park District has going on, including their new "Lakeview Live," video that they put out every Monday at 9:30 AM. You can listen to my conversation with Natalie Shelly below. 

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Regional Media Movie Review Life

Life stars Ryan Reynolds and Jake Gyllenhaal as astronauts aboard the International Space Station who are tasked with retrieving a probe from Mars that may contain proof of alien life. The probe indeed, does have an alien species and when it is unleashed, all hell breaks loose aboard the station as our heroes try to keep this new life away from Earth. Here's my review of Life. 

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Governor Rauner Calls for Stay of Judge's Ruling on Lawmaker Pay

Members of Governor Bruce Rauner's team are calling on State Comptroller Susana Mendoza to seek a stay on a Judge's ruling that would fast track pay for lawmakers despite the state having no budget for state services. In a statement from Deputy Governor Leslie Munger, the Governor's office called on Mendoza to seek a stay pending an appeal of the Judge's ruling. 

 

"Today, we witnessed the ultimate act of self interest - lawmakers putting their very own paychecks ahead of taxpayers, vital human services and those in need. For more than two years, lawmakers have failed to do their job and now believe they should be paid for doing nothing. As the judge said last week, if lawmakers did what they were sent to Springfield to do and passed a balanced budget this wouldn't be an issue.

"Rather than immediately releasing all the back pay, the Comptroller should request independent counsel and ask for an immediate stay of the ruling pending her appeal. The fact the Comptroller didn't immediately request a stay is further proof that the Comptroller, Attorney General and Speaker Madigan are engaged in a coordinated abuse of taxpayers."

 

While Governor Rauner and state Republicans argue that lawmakers are prioritizing their pay over basic services in the state, Democrats argue that holding up lawmaker pay is an attempt by the Governor to leverage the legislature into passing his budget. 

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State to Close Galesburg Animal Disease Laboratory

llinois Department of Agriculture officials discussed the Galesburg Animal Disease Laboratory closing this week with board members of Illinois Farm Bureau. The lab will stop accepting samples this Wednesday. Illinois Farm Bureau President Rich Guebert says the Galesburg facility was fairly unique in its location.

Guebert added that there are already a limited number of scientists nationally who are qualified for such work. Some of the equipment will be transferred to the University of Illinois. U of I Vet Med staff has been accredited for some testing and is working toward further approvals. Guebert says this closing, which follows the closing of the similar Centralia facility in 2012, is concerning.


Illinois Ag Director Raymond Poe told Farm Bureau board members that the Galesburg lab closing was not on account of the state’s budget crisis.
 

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Senator Duckworth: American Health Care Act a Tax Hike on Veteran's Health Care

Senator Tammy Duckworth, a combat veteran herself, took on President Trump Thursday, claiming he was trying to impose what amounts to a tax hike on millions of Veterans’ healthcare. Duckworth says an eleventh hour amendment made to the Republican healthcare repeal plan would make Veterans ineligible for health care tax credits that could help them afford private health insurance. Duckworth says the President is breaking a promise to vets on the healthcare front..

Duckworth says the change could make health care more expensive, or even out of reach, for millions of Veterans who are either ineligible for coverage in the VA Health Care system.

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LaHood, Illinois House Republicans Release Joint Medicaid Medicare Statement

Congressman Darin LaHood was among Republican members of the Illinois House of Representatives to release a joint statement regarding how Illinois Medicaid and Medicare payouts would be effected by the new American Health Care Act. 

 

“Today our delegation received assurances from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) Director Seema Verma that the State of Illinois will have the opportunity to accurately report its 2016 Medicaid payment information to CMS. This information is critical to ensuring our state receives the correct per-capita allotment of federal funds.”

“Illinois has long been disadvantaged by below average Medicaid reimbursements. Moving forward, our delegation is committed to working with the Trump Administration, state leaders, hospitals and providers to better calculate the federal funding our state receives.”

 

The bill backed by President Trump and proposed by House Speaker Paul Ryan faces an uphill battle with both Conservative Republicans and most members of the House Democratic party opposed to the plan. Voting and debate of the American Health Care Act will take place today. 

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Study Tallies Wildlife Habitat Loss Near Ethanol Plants

Wildlife habitat near corn ethanol refineries has been destroyed at a fast pace since a federal law was passed to produce more biofuels. A new study says that across the U.S., 4 million acres of land within a 100 mile radius of ethanol plants have been converted to agricultural use within four years of passing the Renewable Fuel Standard.

Landscape ecologist and study coauthor Chris Wright said the corn belt states have seen much of the habitat destruction.

"It was the ethanol refineries out on the periphery of the industry where we saw significant land-use change," Wright said.

Ethanol production in Illinois in 2016 topped 1.6 billion gallons. Congress passed the RFS in 2007 to require blending corn-based ethanol and other renewable fuels with gasoline.

Ben Larson, senior manager of forestry and bioenergy at the National Wildlife Federation and a report coauthor, said the federal law contains language to protect wildlife habitat by not allowing recently converted land to be used for biofuel production. But he said the EPA took a shortcut in implementing the policy: it adds the total of all cropland and looks at whether it increases over time at the national level.

"Well at that national level, you really can't see the concentrated pockets of conversion that we show are happening around ethanol plants," Larson explained. "It's like if you pull back from the earth far enough, you lose sight of where the impacts are happening."

Another study found 7 million acres of land nationwide had been converted to crop production in the four years following the passage of the RFS, with corn being the most common crop. Larson said this kind of conversion rate has a serious impact on wildlife.

"For the wildlife species that rely on grasslands and wetlands that are being converted to cropland, habitat loss is not an academic issue," he said. "For instance, grassland birds as a group have suffered the most severe population declines of about any group of species. And that's largely as a result of habitat loss."

The study was conducted by researchers at the University of Minnesota Duluth, University of Wisconsin, and the National Wildlife Federation.

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Regional Media Movie Review The Last Word

Shirley MacLaine is a national treasure. Sure, I don’t like several her films but when she’s good, there are few better. Don’t believe me? Watch “The Apartment” and then try to tell me I am wrong. MacLaine is in the twilight of her career and with her new movie “The Last Word” she has determined to write the last chapter of her career in glorious fashion.


“The Last Word” stars Shirley MacLaine as Harriet Lauson, a lonely, bitter woman whose control freak tendencies have driven away most everyone in her life. After a failed suicide attempt, Harriet stumbles across the obituaries page of her local paper and wanting the chance to control even her death, she decides to go to the paper to start the process of writing her obituary, so she can make sure she gets the last word on what is said about her.


Ann (Amanda Seyfried) is the paper’s obituary writer, a lonely but quite talented writer who lacks the courage to strike out on her own. When Ann meets Harriet, they don’t exactly hit it off but it’s only a matter of time before Harriet’s unique life and domineering personality begin to inspire Ann. After hearing that most of the people in her life despise her, Harriet decides to change her life completely to change her story and what a story it turns out to be.


I will leave the rest of the plot for you to enjoy. Shirley MacLaine is a joy to behold as Harriet makes one oddball choice after another to give herself the obituary and indeed the life she truly wants. As I write this, the story does sound clichéd but trust me when I tell you that MacLaine is so delightful that it doesn’t matter if the story seems overly familiar.


Amanda Seyfried’s job in “The Last Word” is mostly reacting to the bizarre twists and turns of MacLaine’s Harriet but she does put a nice spin on that role. Seyfried seems at times in awe of MacLaine and it feeds well into the character who, though she may not be in awe of Harriet, she’s at least consistently surprised by her new friend’s sudden evolution from crotchety old hag to fun loving yet still domineering, hipster.


Director Mark Pellington makes the smart choice to just let MacLaine drive the train. There is nothing special about the direction of “The Last Word,” but just allowing MacLaine to take the lead fits the character and the movie quite well. MacLaine’s Harriet is the dominant force for everyone around her so it makes sense that MacLaine’s performance dominates the film.


“The Last Word” is funny and sweet, sad at times, yes but with a genuine heart and wit behind the sadness. It’s a film about age and the cruelty of time and about a woman who refused to be defined by that time. In many ways that reflects MacLaine who has approached aging in Hollywood with wit and aplomb. MacLaine’s wit is as strong as ever in “The Last Word” and I recommend you enjoy it while you can. “The Last Word” is opening in limited release across the country on Friday, March 24th. 

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IDNR Offering Hunter Safety Courses Around Illinois

The Illinois Department of Natural Resources continues to offer hunter education safety courses throughout the state. Allen Henshaw of Keithsburg has served as a certified IDNR instructor for 40 years.

A 1996 state law requires that all hunters born on or after January 1, 1980 successfully complete the course before they can receive their first hunting license. You can find the location of a hunter safety education course near you by checking the IDNR website.

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Illinois House Votes No on Making President Obama's Birthday a State Holiday

The Illinois House of Representatives narrowly voted down a bill aimed at turning former President Barack Obama's birthday a state holiday. Had it passed, the bill would have made August 4th in the state of Illinois a holiday on which schools would be out and state offices would have been closed. The bill fell short by six votes. Our Kim Howard on why the bill came up short. 

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Governor Rauner Calls for Upgrade of Cyber Security

Governor Bruce Rauner on Tuesday announced a new cyber-security plan. The plan calls for modernizing the state computer infrastructure but while many agree the planned upgrade is neccessary and that the threat to cyber-security in Illinois is real, the plan is not without controversy. State Comptroller Susana Mendoza has criticized the Governor for announcing this plan while many of the state's other bills aren't being paid. Our Kim Howard has more. 

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MacombNewsNow Interview Hemingway's Secret Adventures Author Nicholas Reynolds

So much is known about author Ernest Hemingway, mostly from his own well told tales, and yet Author Nicholas Reynolds has uncovered one part of the legendary author's life that he rarely bragged about, his time as a spy during World War 2. In the book "Writer, Sailor, Soldier, Spy: Ernest Hemingway's Secret Adventures" Nicholas Reynolds uncovers a part of Hemingway's history that was well beyond fiction. In Reynolds accessed not only Hemingway's FBI file but also a file kept on Hemingway by Russian intelligence, where some of the books best stories are culled. Though known as a legendary braggart and storyteller, this part of Hemingway's life is newly uncovered and just as fascinating as the outsized tales the author did tell. Here's my interview with author Nicholas Reynolds. The book is now available via Amazon.com or any of your favorite book stores. 

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MacombNewsNow 104.7 WLMD Welcomes the Chicago Cubs

As part of our continuing effort to serve our community with the best possible programming in all aspects of radio, Regional Media is proud to announce a brand new partnership with the World Champion Chicago Cubs. Beginning Sunday, April 2nd, the opening of the 2017 Major League Baseball season, every game of the 2017 Chicago Cubs season will be broadcast live on MacombNewsNow 104.7 FM WLMD.


Program Director Sean Patrick:
“As a Cubs fan I could not be more excited about this partnership with the Cubs. Last season was miraculous and we look forward to listening as the Cubs build a winning tradition in 2017 on WLMD.”


Sports Director Sam Kuperman:
“Having the Cubs on board with us at Regional Media is a huge get. The interest around this team is enormous in any event, but especially after their exciting World Series run. I'm looking forward to all that comes with having such a popular sports franchise on our airwaves.”


General Manager Jason Chute:
“I was born and raised a CUBS fan, so it's very exciting to bring CUBS baseball to our local airwaves”


The World Championship era of Chicago Cubs baseball begins April 2nd at 7:30 Pm against long time Cubs rival the St. Louis Cardinals, live from St. Louis, on MacombNewsNow 104.7 FM WLMD.

 

 

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Blue Dress Gala to Benefit the Macomb Men's Shelter Set for Saturday, March 25

Samaritan Well Inc. will be holding their Blue Dress Gala on Saturday March 25th from 5-9 PM at the Macomb VFW to benefit the men's homeless shelter in Macomb. The shelter is in need of some essential repairs so that it is suitable for living for its residents. 

 

The event features dinner, kareoke, a silent auction and more. Tickets are $15 in advance and $20 at the door. If you's like to purchase tickets in advance call (309) 837-3357. For more information listen to my interview with Jen, Cassidy, and Courtney from Samaritan Well Inc.

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McDonough County Health Departments Offer Help with Cupcake Law

The McDonough County Health Department is seeking to educate residents about laws related to selling baked goods either online or at farmers markets. According to the McDonough County Health Department there are regulations in the state of Illinois that could effect those who wish to turn their favorite recipe into a home based or small scale small business. Laws such as the Cottage Food Act and the so called "Cupcake Law" exist to make sure that those who sell baked goods comply with the same general rules of safety and cleanliness that professional food sellers such as restaurants and grocery stores must adhere to. That said, each of these regulations does have flexibility to allow for you to operate your home based business but you need to be aware of the rules. The McDonough County Health Department is now offering consultations to those who wish to sell baked goods either online or via local farmers markets or other such means. For an appointment with the health department call 309-837-9951. 

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GOP Pushing for Redistricting

State Representative Tim Butler is among a chorus of House Republicans seeking to change the way Illinois political maps are drawn. He is co-sponsoring a House Joint Resolution Constitutional Amendment to create an Independent Redistricting Commission.

The proposal calls for the selection of Commissioners and establishes the authority of a Special Commissioner to design a redistricting plan in the event that the Commission fails to properly adopt and file a redistricting plan. The measure would be effective beginning with redistricting in 2021 and applies to members elected in 2022 and thereafter.

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State Senator Biss Announces Run for Governor

Another Democrat is up for running for Governor. State Senator Daniel Biss announced today that he’s a candidate, calling his campaign one “for the rest of us.” Biss made the announcement on Facebook Live and then took questions. He says that the state needs to break free from the way it’s been run for years.

The Biss diss could be seen as referencing not only Governor Bruce Rauner and Speaker Mike Madigan but also wealthy Democrat candidate Chris Kennedy and JB Pritzker who’s thinking about running for Governor. The Republican party wasted no time in calling Biss the North Shore branch of the Madigan Machine.

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One Dead in Pike County Motorcycle Crash

One man has died after his motorcycle went off the side of the road in Pike County. According to a release from the Illinois State Police 49 year old L. Andrew Grimsley was traveling south bound on IL Route 96, 2 miles south of Kinderhook when his 2014 Harley Davidson Motorcycle went off the side of the road and overturned several times according to witness statements. Illinois State Police state in their release that Improper Lane Usage and excessive speed played a role in the Saturday afternoon crash. 

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Conservation Urged for World Water Day

Wednesday is World Water Day, and Illinoisans are being asked to step up conservation to help people in this country and all over the world. 

According to the U.N, there are more than 663 million people living without a safe water supply close to home. 

Although it's not at crisis level in most of the U.S., safe water has been brought to the forefront recently because of contamination in Flint, Mich. 

Dan Haseltine is the lead singer of the band Jars of Clay, which was formed in the 1990s by four students at Greenville College. He says during a trip to Africa to visit areas devastated by the AIDS crisis, the band was shocked to see people digging for water in dry riverbeds.

"And it didn't take long to kind of put some of the pieces together that if people are wrestling with this disease that destroys the immune system, and then they're having to drink water that is filled with bacteria and disease, it was the water ultimately that was killing people," he relates.

After the trip to Africa, Haseltine helped start Blood:Water, which partners with African grassroots organizations to combat HIV/AIDS and the water crises. 

The group encourages people to have some fun with conservation efforts by taking a water challenge, which could mean drinking only water for a number of days or going without it for an entire day.

Daniella Bostrom Couffe, communications manager of U.N. Water, says the theme for World Water Day this year centers on ways to conserve it.

"In your home, you can do just simple things as turning off the tap when you brush your teeth, or you can stop putting oil or leftovers in the plug hole so that the wastewater becomes easier to treat and then to reuse," she explains.

Haseltine believes getting involved in the effort to bring clean water to those in need may be just what is needed. He calls it a good respite from the political strife that's been happening in America.

"We just need a breath," he states. "We need somebody to tell us a better story that we can connect with, something that just means a little bit more."

Tips on how to conserve are online at www.unwater.org.

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Rep Lahood Touting Benefits of GOP Health Care Plan

Congressman Darin LaHood is touting what he sees as the benefits of a Republican plan to replace the Affordable Care Act. LaHood says the proposal will defer to states to make key decisions on medicaid....

LaHood says competition is king, borders are not with the GOP plan....

LaHood is happy to see that adult children are able to stay on family insurance plans into their mid 20s and he also is happy with the effort to avoid discrimination against individuals with pre-existing conditions.

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Durbin, Grassley Pushing for Cameras in Supreme Court

Senator Dick Durbin is reaching across the aisle in a bid to bring cameras to the nation's most important courtroom. Senator Durbin has joined Republican Senator Chuck Grassley of Iowa, the Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman, in offering legislation that calls for televising open proceedings of the Supreme Court. The bipartisan Cameras in the Courtroom Act would allow Justices to shut down the cameras if they believe coverage would violate the due process rights of or more parties appearing in court.

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Fort Madison Woman Arrested in Bushnell on Meth Related Charges

A Fort Madison, Iowa woman was pulled over for a traffic violation and ended up under arrest on multiple charges related to methamphetimine possession. According to a release from the McDonough County Sheriff's Office, 35 year old Jodi L. Koepke was arrested on Wednesday night after she was pulled over by police for a traffic violation. Upon stopping Koepke Police found that she was driving on a suspended license. A subsequent search of Koepke's vehicle then turned up Methamphetimine, syringes, a glass pipe with Meth residue, several rounds of ammunition and an assortment of prescription pills. Koepke was arrested at the scene and charged with multiple counts including methamphetimine possession, possession of syringes, drug paraphenalia, unlawful possession of ammunition, driving while suspended and speeding. Koepke is also facing an outstanding warrant for her arrest in Washington County. Koepke is currently being held in the McDonough County Jail awaiting disposition. 

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Regional Media Movie Review Beauty and the Beast

Beauty and the Beast stars Emma Watson as Belle, a peculiar young lady in a small French village, prone to reading while walking and daydreaming about life outside her quiet little town. When her father, played by Kevin Kline, is captured in a strange forgotten castle in the middle of a forbidding forest, Belle goes to rescue him and winds up taking his place as a captive of the Beast (Downton Abbey's Dan Stevens). The Beast is a prisoner in his own right, cursed to be a Beast until he finds true love. Emma Thompson, Ian McKellen, Josh Gad, Luke Evans, and Ewan McGregor co-star for Director Bill Condon. Here is my review of Beauty and the Beast.... 

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LIHEAP Applications Being Accepted Now Through the WIRC

The Low Income Heating Assistance Program is now accepting applications via the Western Illinois Regional Council. The WIRC administers the program in four counties in Western Illinois and they are reminding anyone in need that applications can now be filled out at the WIRC office located at at 223 South Randolph in Macomb. A household may qualify to receive energy assistance if the gross income for all household members for 30 days income beginning with the date of the application and does not exceed the following levels.

 

$1,485 for a one-person household
$2,003 for a two-person household
$2,520 for a three-person household
$3,038 for a four-person household
For each additional household member add $520

Persons applying for assistance must provide the following information to document eligibility for the program: proof of gross income for all household members for 30 days income beginning with the date of the application; a complete and current copy of the heating and electric bills or a statement from the energy suppliers (if the household is responsible for paying its own bills); and social security cards for all household members. If additional information is needed, the household has 15 days to provide the necessary documentation.

The amount of assistance is determined by choice of program between the LIHEAP Direct Vendor Payment (DVP) or the Percentage of Income Payment Plan (PIPP ). The LIHEAP-DVP benefit amount is determined by factors such as: household size and total income, type of fuel and whether the household pays its own heating bills, or if the heating cost is included in rent payments. Funding is distributed on a first-come, first-served basis until each county’s allocation is depleted.                                 
                                                                                                                     
Assistance payments are made to the energy supplier, or to the household according to the program guidelines. Funding may be applied toward current bills, past-due bills, late charges, and reconnect fees.

A household that resides in public subsidized housing must have a “subject to surcharge” clause in their lease to be eligible for energy assistance. The applicant, however, must have monthly rent costs greater than 30 percent of the household income.  

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Citizens Utility Board Battling AT&T Over Illinois Landlines

AT&T is backing two bills in the Illinois General Assembly that the Citizen's Utility Board is against. S.B. 1381 and H.B. 2691 would kill traditional home phone service in Illinois, according to a spokesman with the utility watchdog, who says AT&T wants to force customers to use computer-based or wireless substitutes. Jim Chilsen of the Citizens Utility Board says there are millions of both residential and business landline customers across the state.

People who live in rural areas with spotty cell phone coverage could be affected, with their landline service made either unavailable or the price going up. The phone industry says there are many options now, including landline service from the unregulated cable TV providers.

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Senator Durbin Warns That Proposed Medicate Cuts Will Hurt Illinois Hospitals

Senator Dick Durbin had plenty to say about Republican efforts to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act. He told lawmakers on the Senate floor that he is concerned about the potential economic impact on the healthcare industry, with hospitals getting less medicaid reimbursement from patients....

Durbin says the GOP bill provides tax breaks for the wealthiest individuals and largest corporations in America while increasing out-of-pocket health costs and leaving 24 million Americans without insurance.

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Two Bushnell Residents Arrested on Meth Charges Following Car Accident

Two Bushnell residents have been arrested on Meth related charges. In a release from McDonough County Sheriff Rick Van Brooker it was announced that 30 year old Jeanna M. Masten and 33 Joshua I. Daniels, both of Bushnell had been arrested early Tuesday morning after Methamphetamine was recovered at the scene of a car accident the two were involved in. According to the Sheriff's Office release, Ms. Masten was driving when her vehicle struck a guardrail in the area of Highway 41 at County Road 2100N, not far from Prairie City. Once on the scene of the accident, Officers found both Masten and Daniels in possession of less than 5 grams of Methamphetamine. Each suspect was seen to have attempted to destroy evidence and obstruct officers from recovering the evidence. Both were arrested and taken to the McDonough County Jail. 

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AARP Vows Continued Fight against GOP Health-Care Plan

AARP has joined the chorus of groups that say the American Health Care Act won't work for their members. The legislation could see a vote in the U.S. House as soon as next week. 

Courtney Hedderman, associate state director of AARP Illinois, says it raises premiums and weakens Medicare, along with increasing deductibles and co-pays. She says older Americans already spend about 20 percent of their income on healthcare, and this plan would raise out-of-pocket costs so much, they might not be able to afford other necessities. 

Hedderman points out that most older Illinoisans have worked hard their entire lives. 

"It is an extraordinary moment for a person to be able to retire and be able to do something else, or nothing at all, if that's what they choose," she said. "And then, they get into a situation where they can't afford other things because they have to worry about their health care."

Republicans call it commonsense reform that makes health care more affordable and reduces the number of uninsured Americans, while at the same time increasing quality. But this week's Congressional Budget Office report says as many as 24 million Americans could lose health insurance, and that Medicaid would be drastically cut, affecting older and lower-income people the most. 

Hedderman points out that huge medical bills are the cause of many bankruptcies in the U.S. She says AARP is convinced this proposal could increase those numbers, and is urging people - regardless of their political affiliation - to find out more about how the plan would affect them. 

She says that's what her group is doing.

"Beat that drum consistently, and sharing our thoughts to our elected officials," she added. "And hopefully there's a proposal that can have our health-care system work better, but certainly not on the backs of seniors. They can't afford any more."

House Republicans who support the new plan say it makes the Tax Code more fair by giving tax credits to people who don't have health insurance through their employers, to help them pay for it on their own. But Hedderman says it gives bigger tax breaks to businesses and the pharmaceutical industry, and does nothing to address the skyrocketing cost of medications.

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Chicago Representative Pushing for $15 Minimum Wage

Representative Will Guzzardi of Chicago is renewing the push for a $15 minimum wage. According to numbers cited by Representative Guzzardi some 40% of all workers in Illinois make less than $15 per hour. According to Guzzardi the rise in minimum wage would be gradual with the goal of getting to $15 per hour by 2022. Our Kim Howard spoke with Representative Guzzardi and has more on this story. 

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WIRC Offering $2000 Scholarships

The Western Illinois Regional Council is offering 5 $2000.00 Scholarships. According to a release from the WIRC, residents of McDonough, Warren, Henderson and Hancock counties, are eligible to apply for one of the 5 $2000.00 scholarships available. Those applying for the scholarship must be looking to further their education at an Illinois University, College, Vocational School, or Community College and should be pursuing work in a high need field. If you would like to apply for the WIRC Scholarship go to WIRPC.org or call 309-837-2997. 

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Slick Roads Across the Area Tuesday Morning

Wind and a little more snow creating some difficult driving conditions in the Regional Media listening area. The National Weather Service says there was up to an inch of accumulation overnight leading to slick roadways and with high winds, visibility on some roadways could be severely diminished. Readers are reminding to increase following distance to give yourself more braking time on potentially slick roadways. 

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Obama Attorneys Want Clarity from Trump Administration

There's a call for the White House to release its policy on how it will keep from interfering in law-enforcement matters. Less than two months into the new administration, Ian Bassin, executive director of United to Protect Democracy, says there have been three reported instances of the White House appearing to do just that. 

The group is made up of former Obama administration lawyers who helped craft rules of conduct, and Bassin says since Watergate, both parties have abided by guidelines when it comes to contacts with such federal enforcement agencies as the Department of Justice and the FBI. He says the Trump administration needs to make public its plans to avoid even the appearance of inappropriate political interference.

"These rules are incredibly important to protecting the health of our democracy," he said. "They are hallmarks of the difference between healthy democracies around the world and more authoritarian forms of government."

United to Protect Democracy has issued a memo on the importance of policies governing the White House's contacts, saying the American people need to know that the Trump administration will abide by these rules. It's also reminding Americans of why they were established in the first place.

Bassin says there's no law preventing someone from the White House from speaking to the FBI, for example, about a current investigation that's under way. But he adds that's something normally left up to the White House Counsel's office. He says there have been extensive studies about democratic decline around the world.

"It's not always unlawful activity by an executive that really undermines the democracy," he explained. "It's the slow unraveling of oftentimes legal activities, and it's incredibly important that we pay attention."

Bassin says the U.S. should be setting an example of what a healthy democracy should look like, and says it's hard for this country to do that if we aren't abiding by our own guidelines. Bassin says it lowers the standards and hurts the democratic movement around the world.

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Illinoians Urged to Get Colon Cancer Checkup

Colorectal cancer is the second leading cause of cancer related deaths in the U.S., and the third most common cancer diagnosed in both men and women, but it's also the most preventable.

March is Colon Cancer Awareness Month.

Dr. James C. Hobley, a member of the American College of Gastroenterology, says it begins as a polyp on the inner lining of the colon or rectum. 

Some changes of those polyps are harmless, but others turn into cancer over the course of a few years. 

Hobley says a lot of advances have been made, and treatment has improved over the last few decades, but he stresses the importance of early diagnosis.

"If we find something early, like an early cancer, it is a very treatable disease that people can absolutely live a full life in spite of having had that diagnosis," he stresses.

Men and women are advised to be screened at age 50, African-Americans at 45 and anyone with a family history of the disease is urged to be tested earlier.

Hobley says people tend to put off that checkup out of fear it will be painful. He says that's not the case and says the risk you take by not going to the doctor isn't worth it.

"It's much worse of a situation than if you go get the screening done, find the polyp, get rid of the polyp," he explains. "It all takes about 30 minutes, and then you're off about your day, and you just prevented that horror story from occurring."

Hobley says people tend to take their vehicles in for a checkup more often than they go to the doctor themselves.

"That one little small rattle going, and they're in the shop," he states. "Every year we get a state inspection, but yet our bodies, which I think are more precious vehicles than our cars, are neglected. And I think people just don't think about it until it's too late."

The American Cancer Society says diets that are high in vegetables, fruits and whole grains, and low in red and processed meats are linked with lower colorectal cancer risk.

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Governor Signing Criminal Justice Reform Legislation

Governor Bruce Rauner is signing new legislation for criminal justice reform in Illinois. The new new law will create new trauma services for victims and expand rehabilitation services for offenders. The law will also give judges more discretion in sentencing, removing restrictive sentencing rules. Our Kim Howard has more on the Governor's criminal justice reforms. 

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Macomb Heritage Days Meeting Tuesday Evening

The Macomb Heritage Days Committee will hold their next meeting on Tuesday evening at 5 Pm at the Macomb Area Convention and Visitors Bureau. Among items on the agenda for the Tuesday evening meeting include updates from each of the committees, comments from the public, a discussion of who should be this year's Grand Marshall and an update on the Macomb's Got Talent Talent Show. Tryouts for the Macomb's Got Talent Show are happening on March 28th at Wesley Village. You can get details on taking part in Macomb's Got Talent and stay up to date on Macomb Heritage Days online at MacombHeritageDays.com and MacombNewsNow.com. Macomb Heritage Days is set to take place June 22nd to the 24th, 2017. 

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Winter Weather Advisory in Effect Until Monday Evening

A Winter Weather Advisory is in effect for the entire Regional Media listening area. Snow is blanketing McDonough and most surrounding counties following a front that moved in overnight, Sunday into Monday morning and we remain under that front, according to the National Weather Service, until 7 Pm Monday night. In all the storm is expected to drop between 3 to 5 inches of snow across the Regional Media listening area. The soft, powdery snow may seem harmless but with very cold temperatures it is causing some difficult areas for driving. The snow is loose and wet and in areas not yet plowed it can be dangerously slippery. Be cautious on the roads throughout Monday. 

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WIU School of Agriculture to Hold Chili Cook Off

The WIU School of Agriculture is holding a Chili Cook Off on March 22 at the AGR house (1010 N. Lafayette Street). The event will run from 5-7 PM. The cook off will feature all you can eat chili, hot dog, relishes, drinks, and dessert. 

 

Tickets are $5 in advance for adults, $4 for children 6-12 (5 and under are free), and $6 at the door. You can purchase tickets in the AG Office, Knoblauch room 145, and at the door. If you have any questions you can contact (309) 298-1080. For more details listen to our interview below with Christian Thurwanger from the WIU School of Agriculture on Koop & McCool this morning. 

 

 

 

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Hy-Vee Adds Cheesecake Factory Cheesecakes to Bakery

Hy-Vee has landed an exclusive partnership with The Cheesecake Factory in which the grocery chain will carry eight varieties of Cheesecake Factory Cheesecakes at its stores. Hy-Vee will sell these desserts in their bakery section for $7 by the slice, and for between $44 and $69 for a whole cake. Included in the eight varieties of cheesecakes is a special flavor that can only be found at Hy-Vee. 

 

To hear more about this new addition to Hy-Vee, check out our conversation on Koop & McCool with Lance from the Bakery Department at the Macomb Hy-Vee.

 

 

 

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Daylight Savings Begins This Weekend

The Red Cross is reminding everyone that with Daylight Savings Time kicking off this weekend you should also take the opportunity to check the batteries in your smoke alarm. Before you head to bed on Sunday night make sure to set your clock ahead by one hour for Daylight Savings TIme but while you are at it, check the batteries on your smoke detector. The Red Cross encourages everyone to replace your smoke alarm batteries, test the alarm to make sure it is working properly and considering testing your escape plan for a fire or similar emergency in your home. Remember that batteries in smoke detectors can age and that testing or changing the batteries on a twice a year basis is a good way to make sure your smoke alarm is always in working order. 

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Representative Norine Hammond Proposes Goodwill Repair Bill

Representative Norine Hammond is putting forward what is being called the Goodwill Repair bill aimed at relieving farm retailers and secondary market sellers of some of their sales tax burden. 

House Bill 505 amends the Use Tax Act, the Service Use Tax, the Service Occupation Tax and the Retailers Occupation Tax Act to exempt repair and replacement parts from taxes imposed by each of those acts.  

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Regional Media Movie Review Kong Skull Island

A seemingly undiscovered island is about to be invaded by soldiers and scientists on a mission of discovery. It's the cold war and America wants what is on Skull Island before the Russians get their first. So, a team of soldiers led by Samuel L. Jackson and a team of scientists, led by John Goodman, are given the chance to discover Skull Island and what they find is something man has never seen before, Kong. Brie Larson, Tom Hiddleston and Corey Hawkins co-star. Here is my review of Kong Skull Island. 

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SRC Foundation Murder Mystery Dinner and Silent Auction to be Held March 25

The Spoon River College Foundation will hold its Murder at the Juice Joint Murder Mystery Dinner and Silent Auction March 25. The event will take place at the Spoon River College Outreach Center at 2500 East Jackson, starting at 6:00 PM.

 

The premise of the event is that it's like a real life version of Clue. Atendees actively take part in a fun 1920's themed mystery mystery game. Participants can also bid on a number of items during the silent auction, and have the choice of a steak, chicken or pasta dinner. 

 

Tickets are $50 per person, and you can also sponsor a table. Tickets are on sale until March 15. Call (309) 649-6260 to purchase your tickets or sponsor a table. Also, listen below to my interview with Colin, Mandy and Erin from the Spoon River College Foundation. 

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Macomb Food Coop Touting the Benefits of Slow Food

The Macomb Food Coop wants you to take a chance on Slow Food over Fast Food. On Saturday, March 18th, the Macomb Food Coop will play host to Lynn Henderson of Henderson Healthy Farms for a pair of public conversations on the benefits of Slow Foods of the kind you can find at your local Coop. The talks will be at 11 Am and 1 Pm with grab and go Slow Foods on hand for you to try like Soups, Salads, and Wraps. There is no cost to attend either of the talks with Lynn Henderson and you can get more information by contacting the Macomb Food Coop at 309-255-5572.

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Company Touting World's Healthiest Coffee

The health benefits of coffee are relatively well known as are the potential drawbacks, especially for those of us who go a little heavy on the cream and sugar. A new kind of coffee is aiming to make coffee even healthier without losing that coffee flavor we love so much or the caffeine kick that gets us going in the morning. Bio-Coffee claims to be the healthiest coffee in the world. I spoke with Bio-Coffee spokesman Kaaba Majeed so he could lay out his coffees claim to fame. 

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Yard Waste Site in Macomb to Open March 30th

Macomb Public Works announced on Wednesday that the City Yard Waste Site will open on March 30th. The Yard Waste Site located on Tower Road in Macomb will be open from Thursday through Sunday from 10 Am to 6 Pm beginning on Thursday, March 30th. If you have any questions about the Yard Waste Site please contact Macomb Public Works at 309-833-2821. 

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Governor Rauner Expressing Concerns over Proposed ACA Changes

How might Illinois fare in the proposed changes to Affordable Care Act? The Governor says it bears watching but he says that the current health care act is anything but affordable. The state has a number of residents taking part in some kind of federal healthcare, about 1 in 4 citizens are on Medicaid. And the state’s getting more than $14 billion to support the program.

 



The plan from House Republicans would possibly reduce the amount of funds the state gets to run Medicaid. 

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Illinois Treasurer Wants Trump Administration to Clarify Position on Marijuana

Illinois State Treasurer Michael Frerichs wants clarity from the Trump Administration on their intentions in dealing with the medical marijuana industry in Illinois..

 


He has sent his second letter to the Trump Administration after White House spokesman Sean Spicer said that he expects states to be subject to “greater enforcement” of federal laws against marijuana use. Attorney General Jeff Sessions complained President Obama wasn't tough enough on marijuana and called it dangerous. Frerichs is especially concerned heightened enforcement of laws that could shut down banks that have a relationship with the medical marijuana industry. Frerichs fears vague talk of greater enforcement could also impact doctors who prescribe medical marijuana. . Illinois is one of 23 states that permit the use of medical marijuana for the treatment of pre approved medical conditions. Frerichs has not received a response from the Trump Administration.

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Two Arrested on Drug Charges Following Traffic Accident

Two people are under arrest after drugs were discovered in a vehicle involved in a traffic accident. According to a release from McDonough County Sheriff Rick Van Brooker, 30 year old Robert A. Henry and Kimra A. McGraw of Quincy were arrested after drug residue and materials were found in their vehicle after it had been involved in a rear end accident at Highway 336 and 225th Street, just outside of Macomb. Mr. Henry was said to be driving when his vehicle struck the rear end of another vehicle traveling eastbound on Highway 336. An inventory of the vehicle prior to towing turned up a metal pipe with cannibis residue, a glass pipe with suspected Methamphetimine residue in the door panel of the vehicle and illegal fireworks. Mr. Henry was also charged with Driving Under the Influence.  

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March is National Nutrition Month

March is National Nutrition Month and while healthy eating sounds easy, habits tend to be easier and if your habit is a fast food stop for lunch each day, eating healthy is nearly impossible. In honor of National Nutrition Month I caught up with nutrition expert Dr. David Magnano to discuss several ways you can break the habit of fast food and improve your nutrition and digestion for a healthier lifestyle.

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No One Injured Semi Rollover in Warren County

One person was shaken up but no one was harmed when a freightliner semi truck overturned in Warren County on Monday. High winds and heavy rain are said to have been what cause the semi driven by 38 year old Ramshav Mamatov of Kent, Washington, to overturn late Monday, at approximately 11:24 Pm, in the area of Eastbound U.S 34 and 10th Street. One lane of U.S 34 was closed for about 4 hours while crews worked to remove the overturned truck. The driver was uninjured at the scene and refused medical treatment. 

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Illinois Women Ditching Work, Wearing Red Today

Many workplaces might be short staffed today because employees across the globe are taking today off to speak out about the plight of women. It's A Day Without Women, part of International Women's Day, and rallies, marches, protests and special events are being held to bring attention to issues such as gender equality while touting the social, economic, cultural and political successes of women. Women are being asked to skip work, shop only at women-owned businesses and wear red today. 

Seong-Ah Cho with Fair Economy Illinois calls it a show of solidarity.

"It's an opportunity," she said. "Millions of people are waking up to what we can do if we actually focus on not just resisting but actually fighting for the vision of the future that we need."

Marches and rallies are scheduled across Illinois today, with the larger events in Chicago, Carbondale and Springfield.

Cho says it's a plea for politicians such as President Trump to find the root cause of inequality and take steps to rectify it.

"What we would need is a global minimum wage that would start to lift women and workers out of the kind of poverty and the exploitation from corporations and Trump's pro-corporate agenda that's been going on before him but is getting worse under him," she added. 

Cho says people are becoming more politically active than ever, making themselves more aware of what's happening in the news, and taking action by participating in rallies and marches. She says it's not just about women's issues either; it's about inequality in general.

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McDonough County Emergency Management Holding Storm Spotter Training

McDonough County Emergency Services has announced it's first storm spotter training session for the Spring. In a release from McDonough County Emergency Services it was announced  that the Tornado and Thunderstorm Spotter Training will take place on Tuesday, April 4th at 6 Pm at the McDonough County 4H Auditorium at 3028 West Jackson Street in Macomb. The two hour training session is being coordinated with meteorologists with the National Weather Service from the Quad Cities. There is no cost to attend the storm spotter training course and no pre-registration required. 

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Red Flag Warning for Fire Conditions in McDonough County

The National Weather Service has issued a Red Flag Warning for fire conditions across the Regional Media listening area including McDonough, Hancock, Warren, and Henderson counties. Dry brush conditions across the area combined with strong winds, low relative humidity, and mild temperatures are conditions that can contribute to grassfires that, with wind conditions, can cover vast distances. There are no reports of grassfires at the time of this writing but be aware that this Red Flag Warning for Grass and Brush Fires will remain in effect until 6 Pm for most of the Regional Media listening area. 

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Get Out of My Space is Theme for Ag Safety Awareness Week

Ag Safety Awareness Program Week is March 5-11, with the theme of Get Out of My Space. Each day has its own program, and Monday was about confined spaces. This includes grain bins, manure pits, and other potential dangers on the farm. For grain bins, Dave Newcomb with the Illinois Fire Service Institute says to stay out of bins unless it’s absolutely necessary. He says if you must go in, be sure to first shut off all equipment and then use a lock-out tag-out system to alert others you’ve entered a bin. 54-percent of grain bin entrapments are fatal. Newcomb says there is a protective system that can be worn when entering a bin.

 

 

Bin safety is also important for the family member who discovers the entrapment. Newcomb says 60-percent of victims are would-be rescuers.

 

 

Newcomb adds that many rural fire departments need more volunteers to help service communities, and many departments don’t have members with farm experience, increasing the need for training.

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Illinois Politicians React to President Trump's New Travel Ban

Washington is reacting to President Trump's new travel ban for a number of Muslim majority countries. Senator Dick Durbin released a statement... saying “No amount of relabeling will change the fact that President Trump’s travel ban is unconstitutional and un-American. . Trump’s first travel ban was blocked by multiple federal courts, and his latest will no doubt face the same fate.” Congressman Rodney Davis saw positive developments in the revised ban, saying quote :"“I’m glad President Trump is taking steps to clarify his executive order, especially the exclusion of those who have already gone through the very lengthy process to obtain legal status. I hope there were some lessons learned from last time and the implementation of this new executive order is successful because these are steps needed to secure programs that even Obama security officials admitted were not secure.”

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Casino Expansion Gets State Senate Endorsement

There are higher hopes than in the past for gambling expansion legislation, although some are questioning the revenue impact of adding casinos in six locations. Although the grand bargain was derailed this past week, the casinos plan did get the endorsement of the Senate. The state has 10 profitable casinos. But the legislation recognizes competition would cut into existing riverboats' profit. So it would cut the tax rate on casino revenue significantly. One analysis found the expansion would only increase tax profits by only $87 million a year.

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Western Illinois Career Fair Tuesday

Nearly 70 businesses from around the area will be taking part in a career fair on the Western Illinois University campus on Tueday. Martin Kral is the Director of the Western Illinois University Career Development Center and faculty advisor for the Career Fair which will take place from 12 Noon until 3 Pm in the University Union Grand Ball. Mr. Kral dropped by our Regional Media studios for a chat about the career fair and to highlight the many benefits the fair will have for both students and the businesses attending the fair. 

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Illinois State Police Taking Applications for American Legion Youth Police Camp

The Illinois State Police have announced the 45th Annual American Legion Youth Police Camp is acccepting applications. According to a release from the ISP, applications are being accepted for youth 14 to 16 years of age to take part in learning about police work and helping to forge a better relationship between teenagers and law enforcement. The camp will be held in residence in Springfield at the Illinois State Police Academy from June 25th to June 30th. If you need a teenager, age 14 to 16, who would like to attend the Youth Police Camp, contact coordinator Delmar Buske 217-556-9555 or Special Agent Melissa Uhles at 618-346-3482. 

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Doctor: Cure May be Near for Parkinson's

Actor Michael J. Fox has drawn attention to a disease that plagues about 1 million people in the U.S. - Parkinson's. It's a chronic, degenerative neurological disorder that causes shaking, tremors and a loss of balance. 

Parkinson's disease affects about 1 in 100 people, and on average it strikes at age 60. Although not as common, it hits young people as well. 

Fox was diagnosed at age 30. Illinois resident Kelly Weinschreider received her diagnosis at 29 and now reaches out to other young people who need advice, or just someone to talk to. 

Weinschreider chose to have a procedure called Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS) so she wouldn't have to rely on so many medications, and says the idea of brain surgery was terrifying but adds she's better now because of it.

"The thought and the hope that DBS would help my symptoms and essentially reduce my medications and just really improve my quality of life, made it worth it," she states. "It's kind of like if you can get through one hard day in your life that improves so many - hopefully many - years ahead of me, it's well worth it."

Doctors say DBS isn't the answer for everyone. Fox revealed that shortly after having the surgery to correct the tremors on the left side of his body, the right side of his body started showing symptoms. He later announced he would rely on medications until researchers find a cure. 

While there is no cure for Parkinson's right now, Dr. Christopher Goetz, director of the Parkinson Disorder and Movement Disability Program at Rush University, says scientists are close to understanding why some cells that send signals to the body controlling movement are destroyed.

"This is an area where the whole brain is not affected," he explains. "It's quite selective, and therefore we think that if we understand that biochemistry we really can nip this at the very earliest stage. It is envisionable that we will crack this disease within the next decade."

Until that happens, those with Parkinson's are able to live a mostly normal life. 

Weinschreider says there are a lot of side effects with medications, and some of them don't work very well. She says that can have a big impact on daily life.

"Especially for people that are working or have small children," she states. "It affects a lot of people at young ages that are at different stages of their lives. And it's difficult to remember to take your meds, and the disease itself varies from day to day."

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U of I Extension, McDonough County Master Gardners 22nd Annual Gardners Day

The University of Illinois Extension wants to help you cultivate your green thumb. The Extension is teaming up with McDonough County Master Gardners for their 22nd Annual Gardners Day, April 1st from 9 Am to 2:30 Pm. 13 different classes will be offered and will serve any level of gardening knowledge from beginners to expert. Registration is required if you'd like to attend and the cost is $30.00 if you register before March 10th. After March 10th the cost increases to $40.00. The cost includes classes, access to local vendors, speakers, lunch and entry to win a Grand Door Prize. The 22nd Annual Gardners Day will be held at the Spoon River Outreach Center in Macomb. If you'd like more information or would like to register to attend contact the University of Illinois Extension at 309-342-5108. 

 

For more information check out Sam Kuperman's interview with Chris Enroth from the McDonough County U of I Extension Office. 

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McDonough County Quality of Life Announces Youth Awards

The McDonough County Quality of Life Youth Task Force  has announced their annual awards program. Nominations are being accepted starting today and going through March 31st for McDonough County youth who have shown a dedication to volunteering in their community. You can nominate a young McDonough County resident for the Quality of Life Awards by sending your nomination to the Regional Office of Education, 130 South Lafayette Street, Suite 200. Awards will be handed out at youth assemblies throughout the Spring. 

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Bardolph Teen Arrested on Multiple Theft Charges

McDonough County Sheriff Rick Van Brooker has announced the arrest of a 17 year old suspect from the village of Bardolph in a series of thefts. According to the Sheriff's office release, the 17 year old suspect over a period of several weeks stole a Compoudn Bow, Bow Equipment and an Acetylene Torch and Torch Kit. The juvenile suspect was finally apprehended on Thursday and taken into custody before being transferred to the Mary Davis Youth Home while he awaits disposition of his case. 

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Regional Media Movie Review Logan

Logan stars Hugh Jackman as Daniel Howlett aka Logan aka Wolverine. In this iteration of the story, Logan, along with Charles Xavier (Patrick Stewart), is among the last mutants alive.A company has wiped out mutant kind for the most part or so we are led to believe. Here is my review of Logan. 

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Attorney General Madigan Investigating Age Discrimination on Job Websites

Attorney General Lisa Madigan is launching into an investigation into allegations of age discrimination against major online job websites. In a release from the Attorney General's office, there is concern that major online job websites are actively discriminating against people of an advanced age in favor of younger job candidates. Our Kim Howard filed this report. 

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