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Macomb Local News

Lotto Ticket Back for Breast Cancer Awareness Month

The Illinois Lottery is recognizing breast cancer awareness month with the re-launch of a scratch off ticket. The Illinois Lottery’s Acting Director Greg Smith says since the Ticket for the Cure’s creation more than 12 million dollars has been raised to support breast cancer programs.

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The three dollar scratcher is now for sale at your favorite lotto retailer.

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Central Illinois college hosting drone conference in November

Is it a toy or is it going to impact the bottom line of your operation? Farmers need to answer that question before moving forward with drone technology says GROWMARK’S Agronomy Information Services Sales Manager Brian Henze.
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Henze is participating in a drone conference next month, hosted by Heartland Community College and Scott Smigel.
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The conference is November 10th at Heartland’s Astroth Community Education Center in Normal. Advance registration is $69. You can register at “heartland.edu”.

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Emergency response test next month at Clinton Nuclear Plant

The Clinton Nuclear Power Station will be the scene of a first responder drill next month. On November first, the Illinois Emergency Management Agency has announced it will conduct an exercise to test emergency response plans for a potential radio-logical incident. Emergency response personnel from four counties will join the plant operator Exelon and the State of Illinois in conducting the four hour response test.

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WIU Take Back the Night March October 26th

Western Illinois University will be the site of a Take Back the Night Rally on October 26th. According to a release from WIU, the March from WIU's Sherman Hall to Chandler Park will begin at 7 Pm on Thursday, October 26th and will culminate at Chandler Park with a Survivors Speak Out event. In the days leading up to the March, people can purchase t-shirts to wear in support of the March at the University Concourse beginning October 23th throught the 25th. T-Shirts are going to be $5.00 for students and $8.00 for staff and members of the community. For more information about the Take Back the Night Rally, Thursday, October 26th, you can call 309-298-2242. 

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DNR Authorities Warning of Increased Deer Movement During Harvest

With harvest in full swing in Illinois, deer activity in rural areas has picked up and wildlife authorities are advising motorists to use extra caution.
DNR Conservation Police Sargent John Williamson indicates with the crops coming down, deer are much more active, especially in rural areas, and can be a major hazard for motorists.

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In the event of a car/deer accident and the deer dies, the driver of the car does have the option to keep the deer.

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In addition to increased deer movement, with farmers continuing the harvest, heavy machinery and slow moving vehicles will be on roadways for several more weeks. Always slow down and allow those vehicles plenty of space. 

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Dems look to Bustos to help engage rural voters

Not only will Western Illinois Congresswoman Cheri Bustos face a challenge from Republicans in the 2018 election cycle, but she’s also been appointed by Democrats to help candidates with game planning, specifically in rural areas. Bustos was one of just 12 Democratic lawmakers last year that won in a district carried by President Trump.
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Bustos says she represents rural interests as the only member of Democratic Party leadership from the Midwest.
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In the 17th District, three Republican candidates will be running in the March primary—Galesburg businessman Mark Kleine along with Craig Cameron and Jon Schuh.

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U.S. EPA tightens use of controversial herbicide

The U-S Environmental Protection Agency announced stricter measures on the use of a crop herbicide that led to complaints in Illinois and dozens of other states. E-P-A says it worked with states, land-grant universities, seed and crop protection companies to examine the underlying causes complaints about a soybean crop protection product containing dicamba. The Senior Director of Commodities for the Illinois Farm Bureau, Tamara Nelsen, says the decision allows Illinois farmers and others to have access to the technology;

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E-P-A Administrator Scott Pruitt called the actions "...intensive, collaborative efforts..." with states and university scientists working together to find a solution. As of earlier this month, the Illinois Department of Agriculture had received more than 200 dicamba-related complaints.

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Sock Monkey Saturdays

Children and their parents have an opportunity to get creative with their hands. WIU is inviting people to come out to “Sock Monkey Saturdays” in the University Art Gallery.  There are designated themes on the days of the event.  The first theme is a “Popsicle Stick Party” on Saturday, October 14th. The second theme is “Make a Mask” on Saturday, November 11th.  All activities for both days will begin at 10 a.m. and end at noon. This event is free and open to the public. 

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WIU Students Host the "Chemistry Rocks" Webinar

The WIU Chemistry and Geology clubs are teaming up to host a “Chemistry Rocks” webinar. This event will show chemists experimenting with rocks and minerals. This event is free and welcome to the public to view the live broadcast. There will be a chance for people to engage in discussion and activities with the chemist experts. “Chemistry Rocks” will be take place in room 203 in Currens Hall on Tuesday, October 24th. The webinar will begin at 6 p.m. 

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WIU Celebrates "Love Your Body Day"

The WIU Women’s Center will take part in the celebration of “Love Your Body Day.” The National Organization for Women is sponsoring this special campaign. There will be numerous displays of “Body Myth” collages on the first floor of the Multicultural Center. This campaign is a message for women to be comfortable in their own skin. This event will take place on Wednesday, October 18th at 10 a.m. and end at 5 p.m. 

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Agenda for Next Macomb City Council Meeting Monday October 16th

The Macomb City Council Committee of the Whole will meet at 7 Pm on Monday evening at the Macomb City Hall. For a downloadable copy of the agenda, click here

 

AGENDA
MACOMB CITY COUNCIL
MONDAY, OCTOBER 16, 2017
MACOMB CITY HALL
7:00 P.M.

MEETING CALLED TO ORDER
PLEDGE
ROLL CALL

CONSENT AGENDA

1. Minutes of the Macomb City Council meeting held on Monday, October 2, 2017 and minutes of the Committee of the Whole meeting held on Monday, October 9, 2017.

2. Department Reports: Fire Department, Police Department

3. Accept and place on file Treasurer’s Report for September.

4. Consideration to approve a façade grant application from Terrill Title, 117 South Side Square, for window replacements on the second and third floors in the amount of $16,697.47.

5. Consideration to approve a Downtown Revolving Loan application from Drive Studio of Dance, 14 West Side Square, in the amount $7,770.00 for 7 years at 3% interest.

6. Consideration to approve a CDAP Revolving Loan application from Chicago Beef Factory, 202 West Carroll Street, in the amount of $15,000.00 for 7 years at 3.5% interest.

7. Consideration to approve the landscape plant materials for the downtown islands from Boehm’s Garden Center in the amount of $9,904.96.

PUBLIC COMMENTS

UNFINISHED BUSINESS

1. Consideration of an ordinance to amend the City fees for Alcohol Licenses, Rental Registration, Cemetery Services, Building Permits, Development Site Review and Plumbing Inspections by amending sections of the City of Macomb Municipal Code.
This ordinance will be presented for second reading and final approval.

2. Consideration of an ordinance to amend Section 17-927 of Chapter 7, Article VIII, Historical Preservation of the Macomb Illinois Municipal Code (metal awnings).
This ordinance will be presented for second reading and final approval.

3. Consideration of an ordinance to authorize the City of Macomb to lease property to be used as a Taxi Service Office – S & G Taxi.
This ordinance will be presented for second reading and final approval.

Agenda
October 16, 2017
Page 2

UNFINISHED BUSINES – Continued

4. Other unfinished business.

NEW BUSINESS

1. Consideration to authorize the solicitation of quotes for the City of Macomb’s property and casualty insurance.
Attached is a memo from CA Torreson for your review. Final action will be in order.

2. Consideration to authorize the Mayor to sign the documents for the City of Macomb’s electricity supply.
Attached is a memo from CA Torreson for you review along with a history chart of past electrical rates. Final action will be in order.

3. Consideration to authorize the Committee of the Whole Power to Act at their meeting to be held on October 23, 2017 to award the bid for the Pierce Street building improvements.
Attached is a memo from CA Torreson for your review. Final action will be in order.

4. Other new business.

COMMITTEE REPORTS

ALDERMANIC REPORTS

MAYORAL APPOINTMENTS

EXECUTIVE SESSION

a) Appointment, employment, compensation, discipline, performance or dismissal of an employee of the public body or legal counsel for the public body, pursuant to Sec. 2(c) (1) of the Open Meetings Act.

b) Collective Bargaining matters between the public body and its employees or
representatives or deliberations concerning salary schedules for one or more classes of employees, pursuant to Sec. 2(c) (2) of the Open Meetings Act.

c) The purchase or lease of real property for the use of the public body, pursuant to Sec. 2(c) (5) of the Open Meetings Act.

d) The setting of a price for sale or lease of property owned by the public body,
pursuant to Sec. 2(c) (6) of the Open Meetings Act.

e) Pending or probable litigation, pursuant to Sec. 2(c) (11) of the Open Meetings Act.

COUNCIL ADJOURNMENT
 

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Illinois Livestock Industry Seeing Youth Return to the Farm

The Illinois Beef Association happy with a trend they are seeing. Young people are actually coming back to the farm says the organization’s Jill Johnson.
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Johnson is a native of Henry County and grew up on a Galva farm that included Hereford cattle, corn and soybeans. 

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Pawar drops out of Democratic Governors Race

Illinois voters won't make a final decision on their choice for Governor for more than a year, but already two top contenders are dumping millions of dollars of their own wealth into their campaign warchests. In that high stakes fundraising game, Chicago Alderman Ameya Pawar is saying fold. After promising early polling numbers, Pawar says he's ending his bid for the Democratic nomination because he doesn't have enough money or resources to mount a successful statewide campaign.

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Report: Climate Change Bringing Severe Impacts to Midwest

Parts of the country along the coasts have been battered this year by Mother Nature, and a new report from the Midwest Economic Policy Institute warns that the threat of climate change extends much farther inland and could wreak havoc on transportation and infrastructure systems across the Midwest.

Study author Mary Craighead says policymakers need to understand the potential costs and consequences of climate change, and adds they need to be proactive to protect communities and the economy. Her report says the average air temperature has increased by more than 4 degrees since the 1980s, and there's been a 27-percent increase in the number of days of very heavy rain since the '50s.

"The higher temperatures and the stronger storms can reduce the lifespan of roads and bridges," she says. "They can cause railways to buckle. Flooding, obviously, is a huge issue that can impact the flow of traffic, the flow of freight, which can impact our economy."

Flooding is a key issue because there has been a steady reduction in ice coverage on the Great Lakes, and more frequent freeze-thaw cycles. Northern Illinois saw severe flooding from late-summer storms. Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner issued disaster declarations for four counties.

The study recommends limiting development in low-lying areas that already have experienced storm-related damage, and updating heat and rainfall standards used in the project-design process.

"It's just going to keep getting worse, so it's time we really need to stop debating it and start actually taking action and planning for it in the future so that we don't have to deal with the ramifications after the fact, we can actually plan for it ahead of time," she explains.

The study says national infrastructure needs are expected to top $2 trillion by 2025. It notes the state departments of transportation in Illinois, Michigan, Ohio and Minnesota have all pursued asset-management programs to address climate change and assess vulnerabilities.

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Kids Injured in Three Vehicle Crash in Mt. Sterling

The Illinois State Police have announced that two kids were injured a three vehicle crash involving a semi truck in Mt. Sterling. According to the release from the ISP, a 16 year old driver with a 12 year old passenger was turing left on US 24 to County Road 910 East, 1 mile east of Mt. Sterling when the vehicle driven by the 16 year old was struck by a Freightliner Truck Tractor Pulling a Semi-Trailer. According to the investigation, the truck driven by 28 year old Askhat Shermatov of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania failed to reduce speed and struck the 16 year old's vehicle in the rear. The collision caused the teenager's vehicle to be pushed into the westbound lane of US 24 where it was then struck by a Chevy S-10 truck driven by 37 year old Brandon Gallaher of Mt. Sterling. The unnamed 16 year old driver was taken from the scene by ambulance to Blessing Hospital. The 12 year old passenger was flown from the scene by Air Evac also to Blessing Hospital. Both were reported to have suffered serious injuries. Mr. Shermatov and Mr. Gallaher were not reported as injured at the scene. Mr. Shermatov was cited for Failure to Reduce Speed to Avoid an Accident. 

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Regional Media BusinessCast Brandon Deweese Pro Junkeez

Brandon Deweese is new to the business world in Macomb. His business, Pro Junkeez, a junk removal company, just got started earlier this year. On Today's Regional Media BusinessCast we talk to Brandon about the challenges of starting a new business, the reception he's had from other local business owners and what drew him to the idea of junk removal as a full time business. The business of hauling away unwanted items is pretty interesting and we want to wish Brandon the best of luck. You can learn more about Pro Junkeez at ProJunkeez.com. 

Click Here for the download link 

Click Here to Stream the interview. 

 

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Haunted Museum Tours

Western Illinois Museum presents it's Haunted Museum tour for the upcoming holiday season. Museum tours will be Saturday, October 14, 2017. Doors open at 11am and tours run continuously until 1pm.  Museum re-enactors will take you back to 1938 and see an old Elgin bike, football uniforms, radios and more.There'll be a cash bar with wine, beer, and soft drinks along with complimentary tasty treats. The museum is located at 201 S. Lafayette St, one block south of the Macomb Courthouse Square. Tours are free, donations are appreciated. Take a family friendly tour October 14, at the Western Illinois Museum. 

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Macomb Heritage Day

Macomb Heritage Day has officially been set for the dates of the 21st - 23rd of June, 2018. Check out the parade, car show, and many more events this upcoming spring. Anyone interested in becoming involved with the event or being a sponsor, contactJ.Armstrong@makeitmacomb.com or call 309-833-1315. For more information go towww.macombheritageday.com 

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Bustos challenger in Illinois' 17th has raised over $500,000 already

A GOP challenger in Illinois’ 17th Congressional District off to a strong start financially. Mark Kleine of Galesburg has raised $507,000 since the beginning of his campaign in late August. He says around $400,000 of that has come from within the district and he provided $100,000 of his own money to jump start the effort.
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Kleine is the former owner of John Deere implement dealer Kleine Equipment. Democrat Cheri Bustos of Rock Island has held the 17th District Congressional seat since 2013.

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Western Illinois Museum Holds Haunted Tours and Hallo-Wine

The Western Illinois Musuem (201 South Lafayette Street, Macomb) will hold two of its big annual events during the next two Saturdays. The events are free with a suggested $5 donation at the door.

 

On October 14 the museum welcomes in patrons of all ages for its Haunted Museum Tours. Those take place from 11:00 a.m. to 1 p.m. The event is set in 1938, with reinactors portraying the setting of Macomb during that time. 

 

On October 21, beginning at 6:30 p.m., the Hallo-Wine event will be held. This event will be very similar to the Haunted Museum Tours, only with a cash bar. 

 

For more information on these upcoming events at the Western Illinois Museum, listen to my interview with Sue Scott. 

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IDOT wants public input on rest stops

llinois Transportation officials are rethinking the layout and role of the state's highway rest areas in the Digital Age. IDOT's Kelsea Gurski says the agency has posted an online survey seeking public input...
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Gurski says the rest stops aren't just a convenience, they're a proactive life saver for drowsy drivers and those who would be in their path...
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The 20 question survey is available at idot.illinois.gov, is available through Sunday, Oct. 29. IDOT maintains a system of 30 rest areas and 11 welcome centers on highways throughout the state, serving more than 36 million visitors annually.

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llinois FFA prez not a farm kid

Illinois' FFA president enjoying his time in office. Joseph Birrittier was elected to the position last June and now represents 17,000 FFA members statewide. He doesn't live on a farm.
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After his one year term is up in June of 2018, he plans to enroll at the University of Illinois to study agriculture science education.

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Latinos Attend College, Still Struggle in Job Market

More Latinos are going to college, but they're losing ground in the labor market, according to a new report from the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce.

Researchers found that more Latinos are getting education beyond high school, but only 21 percent have college degrees, compared to 32 percent of blacks and 45 percent of whites.

According to Anthony Carnevale, the center's director and the report's lead author, relatively few Latinos are enrolling in more selective colleges that have higher graduation rates.

"They're stuck in the middle," he states. "That is, they're in the two-year colleges in certificates more than degrees. And relative to their growing share of the population, they're actually losing ground."

Education isn't the only factor. The report says in Illinois, white women who have only a high school diploma, or who haven't graduated at all, still earn more than Latina women.

The research found Latinos generally have the lowest median income of all groups.

Carnevale notes that, for those with some post-secondary education, the pay gap gets smaller, but income still lags behind white workers.

"Irrespective of what major Latinos enroll in, what college they enroll in, whether they graduate or not, in the end, they always make less than whites," he points out.

The report offers some good news. It says since the 1990s, high school graduation rates have risen faster for Latinos than for their black or white peers.

Carnevale adds that more than 100,000 Latino students have test scores that could get them into some of the top colleges in the country.

"They've done their part," he stresses. "The issue is whether or not we will have the kinds of supports that are required for lower-income, minority families to make that leap into the college ranks, especially at the B.A. level."

In some high-wage occupations, the report says race-based earnings gaps between whites and Latinos with at least a bachelor's degree essentially vanish.
 

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Tax filing Extension deadline Oct. 16

If you filed for an extension on your income taxes for 2016, the next deadline is rapidly approaching. Michael Devine says that penalties will begin after October 16…

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Further information available at irs.gov

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WIU President Thomas to Hold Brown Bag Lunch Forums

Western Illinois University President Jack Thomas is inviting people to join him for a brown bag lunch. According to a release from WIU, President Thomas will host a series of Brown Bag Lunch conversations beginning Thursday, October 19th, from Noon until 1 Pm at the University Brattain Lounge. The informal conversations are an opportunity for President Thomas to sit down with members of the community, students and WIU staff to  discuss issues of the day related to the University. As mentioned, the first Brown Bag Lunch Conversation with President Jack Thomas will take place October 19th from 12 Noon to 1 Pm. 

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Macomb School Launches GoFundMe Page to Buy New Piano

A 41 year old grand piano utilized by students at Macomb Schools needs to be replaced and modern social media is giving them a chance to raise funds in a unique way. Macomb School District Superintendent John Meixner announced via twitter that school members had launched a GoFundMe page to raise the $11,000 needed to purchase a new grand piano for students to use and learn on for the next 40 years. Organizers of the GoFundMe campaign have launched a YouTube video to promote their campaign and give you a closer look at the history of the current piano and what replacing it will mean for students in the future. If you'd like to make a donation you can find the Macomb High School Piano Project GoFundMe page linked here

 

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WIRC Working with Hunters to Feed the Hungry

Hunters will have the opportunity to help out in the war on hunger. The Western Illinois Regional Council has announced a partnership that will allow local hunters to donate deer meat to people in need. The partnershiip between the WIRC-CAA and local meat lockers, part of the Hunters Helping the Hungry Program, means that hunters will have the opportunity to take recently hunted deer meat to local meat lockers to be stored and donated to people in need. Participating meat lockers include Blandinsville Locker Service, Prairieland Processing Service in Bowen, Bushnell Locker Service, and Vancil's Locker in Stronghurst. The program is open to hunters in McDonough, Hancock, Henderson and Warren Counties.If you would like more information on the Hunters Helping the Hungry Program please contact WIRC at 309-837-3941. 

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Rauner hoping to see computer upgrade cash freed up soon

Illinois Governor Bruce Raner says Comptroller Susana Mendoza's refusal to pay for information technology upgrades does not compute. As Mendoza continues to address a backlog of billions of dollars in bills, millions for the Governor's computer technology iniative remain on ice.... Rauner is calling for Mendoza to end the wait....
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Rauner says recent spending decisions by lawmakers make it more important to release the I-T funds....
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In the spring, Mendoza suspended 27 million dollars in payments for Rauner's Enterprise Resource Program.

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Governor Rauner Still Mum on Gun Control Talk

Gun control is again a topic up for debate in Washington after the Las Vegas mass shooting. But that conversation will be one that does not include the voice of Republican Governor Bruce Rauner. He says his focus includes issues important to the state of Illinois.

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Rauner so far will not say if he approves of changing the law that makes bump stocks legal in Illinois.

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New Endorsement for Pritzker

It’s another endorsement for the gubernatorial campaign of JB Pritzker. The Illinois Democratic County Chairman’s Association voted to endorse the billionaire and Julian Stratton for Governor and Lieutenant Governor. IDCCA President Doug House says the vote shows that Pritzker has created a strong grassroots campaign that leaves him the best prepared next November.

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House says he thinks the top issues in the coming election will be healthcare and creating and supporting jobs.

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Renewable fuels industry expressing concern with EPA administrator

The renewable fuels industry expressing some reservations with EPA administrator Scott Pruitt. The issue is lowering the renewable fuel standard or RFS. Bob Dinneen with the Renewable Fuels Association believes President Trump is supportive of ethanol and other bio-fuels, but that may not be swaying the EPA chief.
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Pruitt was confirmed as EPA administrator last February. He formerly served as Oklahoma Attorney General.

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World War II Soldier Returning Home

It's a long delayed homecoming but a Springfield hero is headed home. Army Staff Sgt. Michael Aiello  was killed in action in the Netherlands in World War II. He had taken part in Operation Market Garden, the failed attempt to invade Northern Germany. His great grand nephew, Brian Aiellio .is thankful Army efforts to identify him have trudged on...

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Sgt. Aiello served in the 401st Glider Infantry Regiment. He and fellow glider and airborne troops were deployed to seize bridges in the Netherlands and hold them until British armored units could reinforce their positions. Once Sgt. Aiello’s remains arrive in Springfield, he will be buried at Camp Butler National Cemetery in Riverton. There will be a public ceremony at Camp Butler at 10 a.m. Oct. 28.

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Drought Conditions Mean Illinois Trees Need More Water

Parts of Illinois still recovering from the 2012 drought and your trees likely need water. That is the message from University of Illinois Extension small farms educator, Doug Gucker, who indicates your tree could be showing signs of stress.

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Gucker says it is a good time to try and get your tree some water and there's a few easy, practical methods to do that.

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When using a sprinkler to water the trees, Gucker says a good way to measure how much water you've used is to put a soup can down and when it measures two inches, you know how long to run the sprinkler on other trees. 

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Senator Duckworth Signs on to Anti-Bump Stock Legislation

Bump stocks have gone from a term familiar to gun collectors and owners to a household name after the tragedy in Las Vegas. Senator Tammy Duckworth is expressing her concerns about the device essentially allows a gun to operate like an automatic weapon while remaining legal. Duckworth wants to see bump stocks off limits and she wants action not words....
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Duckworth is teaming up with Senators Dick Durbin and Diane Feinstein to draft legislation closing the bump stocks loophole. 

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Antibiotics in Restaurants' Food Chain Ranked

A new nationwide report by the U.S. Public Interest Research Group (PIRG) Education Fund ranks the top 25 restaurant chains for their antibiotics policies and practices.

At issue is misuse of antibiotics in meat production, which experts say puts human health at risk by breeding drug-resistant bacteria.

Shelby Luce, an Antibiotics Fellow at the Education Fund, says for the third year in a row, Panera and Chipotle were the only two major chains to get an A grade, because they reject routine antibiotic use through their entire supply chain.

Further down the list is Kentucky Fried Chicken. Luce says KFC earned the "most improved" grade.

"Going from an F grade to a B-minus for its newly announced commitment to no longer serve chicken raised with medically-important antibiotics in its U.S. locations by 2018," she states.

According to the report, 14 restaurants have taken action this year to curb routine use of antibiotics in their supply chain, compared to nine last year.

Luce says the American Academy of Pediatrics and the World Health Organization both warn widespread overuse of antibiotics is pushing us closer to a time when medicines could no longer work.

"Right now, 70 percent of medically important antibiotics sold in the U.S. are for use in animal agriculture, and fast food restaurants are some of the largest meat purchasers in the world," she explains. "So, their policies can completely shift the meat industry, for the U.S. - and eventually, hopefully, globally."

The report says no new progress was made in reducing antibiotic use in beef and pork.

Luce says New England-based Dunkin Donuts moved up a grade to a D with its recent commitment to stop serving chicken raised with antibiotics by the end of 2018.
 

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Anti-Violence Groups Seeing Surge in Membership After Vegas

As the country mourns the loss of life at the hands of a gunman in Las Vegas this month, and the debate rages about gun control, some anti-violence groups are seeing an increase in membership.

Lee Goodman, an organizer with the group Peaceful Communities, said every time there's a mass shooting, more people decide they've had enough. He said while groups like his are happy to have more people on board, it's unfortunate that people have to join in the first place.

"Every time one of these things happen, we hear from more people who say, 'I feel awful that I didn't do anything before, but now I'm going to take action,'" Goodman said.

According to FBI reports, Stephen Paddock opened fire on country music fans in Las Vegas on October 1, killing 58 people and wounding around 500 others in the worst mass shooting in modern U.S. history. Paddock owned 47 guns, 23 of which were with him in his Vegas hotel room. A dozen of those were outfitted with bump stocks, which allow semi-automatic weapons to fire rapidly, much like automatic rifles.

Goodman said the nation needs legislation to limit who has access to weapons like these, but he doesn't feel that's the only solution. He said society has become numb to violence because of television and video games and the lack of empathy for others.

"[It is] Almost something we can count on happening with the regularity of the rising of the sun and the moon," he said. "And that's a terrible, tragic commentary of the times that we live in that people are so violent that the rest of us have to get accustomed to their violence."

Goodman said in the past, big cities such as Chicago were most likely to experience violence. And while the city does have a high crime rate, rural areas are seeing a spike as well.

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Sigma Alpha Episilon Fundraising for Children's Miracle Network Hospitals

The WIU male fraternity, Sigma Alpha Epsilon, is hosting their “WIN” event to raise money towards the Children’s Miracle Network. They have a schedule of events from Sunday, October 8th through Thursday, October 12th. Activities include volleyball, softball, flag football, and more. The fraternity will also have dum dum sucker drives at the County Market, Walmart, and Hy-Vee. The sucker drive will be Monday through Thursday from 3-6 pm each night. 

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Congressman Davis wants closer look at bump stocks

After the tragedy in Las Vegas, Congressman Rodney Davis wants a closer look at laws governing bump stock technology. That weapons modification was apparently used in the attack on the Vegas strip outdoor concert where 59 people were killed and more than 500 people were wounded. Bump stocks allow gun users to legally simulate a fully automatic weapon even though fully automatic weapons have been off limits to the general public for the last three decades. Davis has signed onto a letter to asking the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) to review the law regarding bump stock technology. Davis says he hadn't heard of bump stocks until the Vegas incident. He says There is no place for politics in this debate or knee-jerk reactions, but I believe we can have a thoughtful, non-partisan discussion about the facts. To be clear, those who believe that gun control or one law is going to put an end to mass shootings are, unfortunately, severely shortsighted. As someone who experienced gun violence a few months ago, I know all too well that this is a much larger issue of hate, of mental illness, and of evil and we cannot lose sight of that.”

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Luke Bryan Concert Moved to State Fairgrounds in Springfield

Due to the rain and wet field conditions, the Luke Bryan concert originally scheduled to be at the Ayers Family Farm in Edinburg has been moved to the Illinois State Fairgrounds in Springfield. The concert will be on the infield of the grandstands just north of the grandstand at the fairgrounds. The concert is still scheduled for Friday with the gates opening at 5 and the concert starting at 6.

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Western Illinois native returns home to open for Stapleton

Western Illinois native Margo Price returns home to open for Chris Stapleton. The concert was Thursday night at the TaxSlayer Center in Moline. Price says Las Vegas will continue to be on the mind of the music industry for many days to come.
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Price is a 2001 Aledo High School graduate. Her career took off last year—making appearances on such shows as Conan, Jimmy Fallon and Saturday Night Live.

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Macomb Public Works Announces Hydrant Flushing on Wednesday

The City of Macomb Public Works Department has announced that they will begin Hydrant Flushing e on Wednesday, October 11th. Hydrants across the city will be flushed between 8 Am and 3:30 Pm and will continue each weekday until all hydrants across the city have been flushed. During the hydrant flushing residents may experience water discoloration and loss of water pressure. Public Works officers advise that if water is discolored you should wait before using the water until it clears. If you wash laundry in discolored water, rust remover is available at the Public Works Office. Be advised also that if your water pressure drops below 20 PSI a boil order will be necessary and you are advised not to use hot water until pressure is restored and after you have run cold water through your system for 5 to 10 minutes. If you have any questions regarding hydrant flushing please contact the City of Macomb Public Works Department at 309-836-3916. 

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Regional Media BusinessCast Kelsey Boyer from Wesley Village

Kelsey Boyer from Wesley Village is our guest on this week's Regional Media BusinessCast. Kelsey joined us to talk about the unique history of Wesley Village in Macomb, what makes Wesley Village special and about Wesley Village's place in the business community in Macomb. You can contact Kelsey at Wesley Village by calling 309-833-2123 or go online to WesleyVillageMacomb.com.
Click Here to Download the Interview
Click Here to Stream the Interview 

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Hallo~Wine

The Western Illinois Museum will hold its annual hallo-wine event on Saturday, October 21, 2017. Doors and cash bar open at 6:30 PM, program begins at 7 PM. Music, refreshments, and a hunting is by the museums re-in actors will be available to guest. The program location is 201 South Lafayette St. at the western Illinois museum, one block south of Macomb's Courthouse Square. This year's musical guest will be areas favorites Sally Weisenberg and Dan Berbarm, performing to 40 minute set at 7 o'clock and 8 o'clock. so don't forget to bring your dancing shoes. refreshments will be provided by Hy-Vee's catering, treats will also be served. For more information, visit the museums website at www.wimuseum.org contact the museum at 309-839-2750

 

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Columbia Missouri Man Arrested in Macomb on Methamphetamine Charges

McDonough County Sheriff Rick Van Brooker has announced the arrest of a Missouri man found with Methamphetamine during a traffic stop in Macomb. According to the Sheriff's Office release, 28 year old Travis L. Emmers of Columbia, Missouri was arrested on Wednesday, October 4th after a traffic stop in the area of Highway 67 North of Macomb. After speaking with Emmert during the traffic stop the Sheriff's Deputy callled for a canine unit to come to the scene. The canine unit investigation led to the discovery of more than 2 grams of Methamphetamine ICE, a Digital Scale and a Sawed Off Shotgun. Emmert was arrested and taken to the McDonough County Jail on Charges of Illegal Use of a Weapon, Possession of Methamphetamine, Possession of Drug Paraphenalia, and Driving While Suspended. 

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Bushnell Pink Warriors Make Donation in Honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month

As part of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, the Bushnell Pink Warriors have announced a major donation to McDonough District Hospital. According to a release, the Bushnell Pick Warriors have donated a check valued at $4000.00 to Linda's Fund, a Breast Cancer Charity at McDonough District Hospital. Linda's Fund provides financial assistance to breast cancer patients at McDonough District Hospital. The $4000.00 donation came from funds raised at last March's Cancer's a Drag, Drag Show put on each year by the Bushnell Pink Warriors. 

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Christian County Farm Owner Excited to Bring Country Music Superstar to Central Illinois

A Christian County family-owned farm has been working since January to bring country music superstar Luke Bryan to Central Illinois. The big concert will finally happen on Friday night. Cathryn Ayers is a part of the Ayers family hosting the concert on their farm. She says the family is honored to be the hosts of the event, but they also are thankful for how Luke Bryan is supporting agriculture.

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Gates for the event will open at 5 p.m. with the show scheduled to start at 6 p.m. at the Ayers Family Farm, located at 2535 North 800 East Road, about five miles north of Edinburg in Christian County.

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New entry in Democratic AG race

Highland Park Mayor Nancy Rotering is jumping into the Democratic field after last month's announcement Lisa Madigan wouldn't seek re-election. .Rotering ran a spirited campaign against Congressman Brad Schneider in the last year's Democratic primary. She landed more than 46 percent of the vote cast. She won a high profile battle with the NRA as Highland Park enacted an ordinance banning assault weapons and high-capacity magazines. State Representative Scott Drury and State Senator Kwame Raoul are also in the Democratic field.

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Davis Says Middle Class Wins Under New Tax Reform Plan

After another failed healthcare push, the U.S. House is now turning their focus to tax reform, and GOP members have unveiled their framework for how the new tax code may look. Central Illinois Congressman Rodney Davis says the goal is to make the tax code simpler, and put more money into the pockets of middle income families.

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Davis says the proposed tax code would also reduce the corporate tax rate, as well as reducing taxes on small businesses.

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Another lawmaker preparing to pack his bags

The exodus continues at the Capitol. Another experienced member of the General Assembly is calling it a career. Republican State Rep. David Harris of Arlington Heights has decided not to seek another term. That means half of the Illinois GOP's ten longest serving members won't be on the ballot next year. Harris joined Democrats in voting for an income tax increase over the summer, ending a multi-year budget stalemate. That vote made him a target of conservative activist and radio host Dan Proft, who is backing a primary opponent Katie Miller of Mount Prospect.

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Drought Having Minimal Impacts on Markets

Central Illinois is in a moderate drought but Doug Gucker, University of Illinois Extension small farms educator, notes the drought is very limited in a section that spans from Missouri to Illinois and Iowa.
Gucker says the localized drought is not impacting the markets because it isn't widespread.

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Gucker says this is going to leave a lot of Illinois farmers wondering why prices aren't reflecting their yield numbers this harvest season.

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West Prairie Middle School to Hold Fifth Annual Spooktacular 5K Fun Run/Walk October 21

West Prairie Middle School will hold its Fifth Annual Spooktacular 5K Fun Run/Walk on Saturday, October 21. The event features a 3.1 "around the horn" loop on a level surface through both the town and country. The event begins and ends at WPMS. 

 

Money from the event goes to the school's PBIS program. That stands for Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports. The program rewards students for positive behavior throughout the school year. 

 

The entry fee for the event before October 10 is $25 for adults and $15 for students k-12 (k-6 need to be with a parent). Children who are in a stroller are free. Registering before October 10 guarentees you a t-shirt. Registration after that date is $30 for adults and $20 for students. 

 

To register, stop by the WPMS office (600 S. Hun Street, Colchester) where you can fill out a form and bring your payment. The form can also be downloaded off the school's Facebook page. For more information visit the school's website or email principal Caitlin Watson at watsonc@wp103.org. 

 

Also be sure to listen to my interview with two students who've helped organize the event, Brayden DeCounter and Ava Kilburn. 

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WIU Board of Trustees Agrees to Sell Former Quad Cities Campus

On Tuesday the Western Illinois Board of Trustees announced that the University has agreed to sell the former WIU Quad Cities campus. According to a press release from the Board of Trustees the former campus on 60th Street in Moline was sold to DJL Associates, LLC of Rock Island, for $1.4 Million dollars. Western Illinois operated their Quad Cities campus on the 60th Street location from 1997 to 2014. In 2014 Western Illinois accepted a gift of 20 acres of land on the Moline riverfront from Deere & Company and built the brand new WIU Quad Cities campus which has operated since 2014. The next meeting of the WIU Board of Trustees is set for December 14th and 15th, 2017, 

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Keeping stored grain from spoiling

Harvest season means it’s once again time to store grain. GROWMARK’s Randy Houltaus says it’s important to keep the crop from spoiling and then also making sure the product comes out of the bin when it’s time. Among the tips he’s promoting is knowing the proper airflow rate.
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Holthaus says once you know the airflow rate, that will help you determine how long to run the fans. And he adds when to run the fans is determined by following Equilibrium Moisture Content charts. 

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Illinois Air Guard continues to help hurricane victims

You may have heard the phrase "Will it play in Peoria". Well the works of the Illinois river city's 182nd Airlift Wing are being well received in areas ravaged by recent hurricanes. Wing Commander Robbie Robertson says it's been a busy time in the weeks since their first C-130 cargo aircraft brought supplies to victims of Hurricane Harvey in Texas...
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Robertson says his personnel put a wide array of day jobs aside to help hurricane victims...
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Two C-130s delivered items to St. Croix in the U.S. Virgin Islands on Friday. The 182nd is also preparing to send about 15 security-force members to support airfield operations at Jose Aponte De La Torre Airport in Puerto Rico. Eight members of the 126th Air Refueling Wing at Belleville based Scott Air Force Base arrived in Puerto Rico last month. That unit is providing 24-hour voice and data communication to emergency responders.

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Governor Rauner gets flu shot

Governor Rauner is practicing what he preaches when it comes to preparing for the arrival of flu season. Rauner received his flu shot during a morning press conference with the Illinois Department of Public Health. He says he is no worse for wear....
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State Public Health Director Dr. Nirav Shah says there are no supply issues for the flu vaccine...
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Governor Rauner is urging everyone six months and older to get their flu shot. Flu season typically arrives in October and can last until March.

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Senator Dick Durbin reflects on Vegas tragedy

Senator Dick Durbin has weighed in on the tragic events in Las Vegas. After his colleague Connecticut Democrat Chris Murphy called for an end to what he called legislative indifference, Durbin isn't outlining any specific gun legislation but he believes its a time for action...
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Durbin also saluted first responders in his remarks on the Senate Floor...
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On Twitter, Durbin said "The notion that there’s no way to prevent gun violence is false—and without action to stop gun attacks, Congress is complicit in them. There’s a tendency in Congress to debate how the latest attack could have been prevented. But what are we doing to prevent the next attack??

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Some in IL Scramble to Meet DACA Deadline This Week

There's an important deadline this week for thousands of "Dreamers" across the state. Thursday is the last day to apply for renewal under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival program, or DACA.

If your permit expires between now and March 5, said Laura Mendoza, immigration organizer with the Resurrection Project, a nonprofit helping immigrants in Illinois, you must apply to renew by Thursday's deadline. Since President Trump took office and vowed to deport more immigrants, she said, groups such as hers have been flooded with questions. Many people who have been in the United States for years are worried they'll be sent back to a country they barely remember - but also worried about the DACA renewal process.

"Some people have actually chosen not to go forward with their renewal even though they were eligible to renew," she said, "and it's because of that fear - that fear of not knowing what the government is going to do with their information."

The Obama administration launched DACA in 2012 to protect immigrants who came to the United States as children from deportation and to allow them to work or go to school. An estimated 800,000 have benefited from DACA, including 42,000 in Illinois.

Mendoza urged immigrants and those who are supporting them to get advice about the DACA renewal process only from trusted sources. She said it's also important to stay informed and involved in the immigration debate.

"This is the time that we need to make sure that our politicians are passing legislation that would be law that ... wouldn't be able to be taken away like DACA was," she said.

Mendoza said the Resurrection Project has posted informational videos about DACA renewals and other immigration issues on its Facebook page..

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Citizens October Community and Seniors Day Features Flu Shots and Retinopathy Screenings

Citizens Bank, a division of Morton Community Bank, will hold its monthly Community and Seniors Day on Thursday, October 5. The bank holds the event at its Downtown Macomb branch on the first Thursday of every month to provide beneficial services to senior citizens in the area. 

 

For this month, the list of services includes retinopathy screenings courtesy of the lions club and flu shots from MDH Home Health Care. To get all of the event details listen to my interview with Rochelle Seaver, Jack Schoonover, and Karen Kelso. 

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WIU to Host Coffee with a Cop Event Wednesday

Students and WIU employees are encouraged to attend coffee with a cop on Wednesday, October 4th from 9 Am to 11 Am at the University Union Concourse. The event. part of an initiative by the Department of Justice will feature representatives from the Macomb Police Department, the McDonough County Sheriff's Office and the Illinois State Police answering questions and interacting with attendees regarding issues related to law enforcement. The effort is intended to foster cooperation and understanding among members of the community and members of law enforcement. If you have any questions regarding Coffee with a Cop you can contact WIU OPS at 309-298-1949. 

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Two More Sexual Assaults Reported on WIU Campus

Two more students have reported sexual assaults in WIU dorm roooms bringing the number of reported sexual assaults on campus to 4 since the beginning of the new school year. According to the WIU Office of Public Safety Report on Saturday, October 1st, a female student reported to the Office of Public Safety that she was assaulted on September 16th by a male student who was known to her. Another sexual asault was reported on September 28th. Once again a female student reported having been sexually assaulted in a residence hall by a male who was known to her. The WIU Office of Public Safety is investigating both incidents and no other details are being released at this time. 

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September Closes Out With Plenty of Heat Records

Hot and dry is a good way of describing the weather in Illinois over the month of September. State Climatologist Jim Angel says it was the fourth driest August through September on record. Now about 80 percent of the state in listed as abnormally dry according to the US Drought Monitor. On top of the dryness, Angel says it’s was also remarkably warm.

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Angel says early warm weather this week will break and bring more seasonable temps to Illinois by the midweek.

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Illinois Lawmakers Team Up To Keep Students at Illinois Universities

Keeping the top students in Illinois is the theme of a piece of legislation put out by a pair of Illinois Senators.State Senator Chapin Rose teamed up with Senate Minority Leader Dan Brady to keep Illinois' top high school students in the state, going to Illinois universities. Outmigration of students is not a new problem according to the two....

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Sen. Rose hopes to keep students in Illinois through a variety of means including reforming the marketplace for education among Illinois universities.

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The two leaders are also looking at streamlining the application processes for students in Illinois to universities in the state. Sen. Rose indicates that part of the legislation has been well received by both families of their districts and the universities they have spoken with.

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Cost of Trump tax reform plan remains key question

How much will the Trump tax reform plan cost? That’s one of the key questions says Mark Gebhards, the Executive Director of Governmental Affairs for the Illinois Farm Bureau.
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Trump’s plan calls for three federal income tax brackets—12 percent, 25-percent and 35-percent, but it’s unclear at this time which incomes will fall into each tax bracket. As for the corporate tax rate, the Trump plan calls for a 15-percent reduction—from 35-percent to 20-percent.

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Lincoln Presidential Library captures memories of high school sports/extracurricular activities

The Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum has devoted much of its time and space this year to sports role in Illinois history. After launching the Cubs and Cardinals Rivalry exhibit, the Presidential Library is focusing on sports at the grass roots level. The Library's oral history program has teamed up with the Illinois High School Association to capture decades of memories of high school sports and activities like chess, debate and journalism. 54 interviews have been produced so far. Longtime school administrator volunteer Philip Pogue, who served with Fairbury Prairie Central and Greenville/Bond County among other stops, says local sports is truly local history...
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For more information, visit www.presidentlincoln.illinois.gov .

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Healthcare for Kids At Risk

Federal funding for some healthcare programs has expired, including the Children’s Health Insurance Program or CHIP. It covers around 180,000 kids in the state and Congress missed a deadline for reauthorization. Democratic Senator Dick Durbin says the problem can be fixed but CHIP is at risk of running out of funding in about 6 months.

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Meetings are underway on Capitol Hill to work on the problem according to Durbin and he wants to see reauthorization done by the end of the week.

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Macomb Police Investigating Shots Fired Incident

Macomb Police have announced that they are investigating a shots fired incident in the area of the 300 Block of West Adams Street. The incident happened at approximately 3:45 Am on October 1st when officers were called to the area regarding shots fired. A subsequent investigation determined that a fight had occurred and that one of the subjects in the fight had fired a gun several times, shooting into the air. No one was hurt in the incident. Several subjects were detained following the incident and Macomb Police are continuing to investigate. 

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Illinois' Food Insecurity Numbers Remain High

Even though there have been improvements in the economy since the Great Recession, 13 percent of Illinois residents are still living in poverty, according to new U.S. Census Bureau data, and 512,000 of them are children.

The overall cost of living, including housing and taxes, has risen steadily, yet Illinois' minimum wage has remained stagnant, with Gov. Bruce Rauner vetoing a plan this summer to increase it to $15 an hour.

Diane Doherty, executive director of the Illinois Hunger Coalition, says too many people in the state don't have enough to eat - and it isn't because they're out of work.

"They're not in jobs where their wages are adequate enough, so one of 11 people in the state of Illinois that are working participate in the SNAP program," she explains. "That continues to be way too high."

Doherty says threats by the Trump administration to cut federal nutrition programs such as SNAP will send more people into poverty if they become reality, and food banks across the state are already stretched thin trying to meet the high need.

Doherty points out many parents are working multiple jobs to make ends meet for their families, and older folks who should be enjoying retirement are forced to continue working.

"It just seems so unfair to me that people that have worked all their lives or they've raised their families - they've contributed so much to their communities, veterans who served their countries, put their lives on the line - and they're still suffering from hunger," she laments.

The Census Bureau report also found nearly 7 percent of Illinois residents don't have health insurance.

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McDonough County United Way Hires a New Executive Director

McDonough County United Way announced the hiring of their new Executive Director, Jessica Heitner. She is replacing Cayla Nord, who left the position back in April of this year. Heitner’s new duties include her focusing on event planning, fundraising, and continuing the growth of United Way. Heitner says she is excited for the opportunity to join with board members who care about the community and helping out people in need. 

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WIU BOARD OF TRUSTEES APPROVES BUDGET FOR FISCAL YEAR 2019

The WIU Board of Trustees met at 8 am this morning to discuss the budget recommendations for Fiscal Year 2019. The board approved both operating and capital budgets for the year. There was an approval to increase the operating budget to $15.6 million. That budget will help support cost increases and postponed maintenance. The board also approved the capital budget request of $358 million. This will help renovate multiple buildings on campus. These recommendations will be presented to the Illinois Board of Higher Education. The next Board of Trustees meeting will be on December 14th and 15th on the WIU campus in Macomb.

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Macomb Police Announce Street Closures and Detours for WIU Homecoming Parade

Macomb Police have put out a statement regsarding road closures and detours related to the Western Illinois University Homecoming Parade on Saturday. 

 

Western Illinois University will be having their Homecoming Parade traveling through the streets of Macomb on Sept 30, 2017.  Be aware that this will alter travel ways and parking throughout the city that day from 5:00 a.m. to approximately 1:00 p.m.

The parade participants will be lining up on W. Jefferson St.  On Sept 30, 2017, expect W. Jefferson St. to be closed, from Ward St. to Randolph St., beginning at 7:00 AM. 

Parking will be temporarily prohibited on W. Jefferson St., but will be reinstated after the event has ended.  Residents on W. Jefferson St. should expect an increase in traffic.  It may be difficult for residents to exit their driveways.  We suggest using the alleyways behind houses, if one exists, or park your cars a block away, on Washington St. or Piper St., if you expect to leave before, or during the parade. 

A detour of Hwy 136/67 will start at 9:30 a.m. routing traffic around on West University Drive to Wigwam Hollow Road until the event is concluded. The bypass will be closed from the intersections of Johnson and Jackson Street to Lafayette and Calhoun Street intersection.

Also at 10:00 A.M. the intersection of Wigwam Hollow will be closed for traveling east on Adams St.  Southbound traffic will also be prohibited from the intersection of Murray St. and Western Ave. during the parade.

Local traffic trying to commute across town is advised to travel east and west on Grant Street to avoid the congestion the parade provides. 

We apologize for in advance any inconvenience or disruption this provides in your weekend travels.

Macomb Police Dept.
 

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Bushnell Resident Arrested on Meth and Weapons Charges

McDonough County Sheriff Rick Van Brooker has announced the arrest of a Bushnell man on Meth and Weapons charges. According to a release from the Sheriff's Office, 21 year old Drake L. Tafflinger of Bushnell was arrested on Wednesday following a traffic stop. Tafflinger was pulled over by police while on his motorcycle in the area of Blaine Street and East Hail Street in Bushnell for several traffic violations. Police observered Tafflinger throwing away a small case containing syringes and approximately 3 grams of Methamphetamine. Shotgun shells were then found on the motorcycle itself and a sawed off shotgun belonging to Tafflinger was found hidden in a tree. Tafflinger was arrested and held at the McDonough County Jail on charges of Meth Possession, traffic violations, Driving under the influence and the illegal possession of a weapon by a felon. 

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Illinois Treasurer Frerichs Calling on Legislators to Override Veto of Insurance Benefits Payout Bill

Illinois State Treasurer Mike Frerichs among those who hope lawmakers in Springfield will override a veto of a bill that would get more money into the hands of state residents. Governor Bruce Rauner vetoed House Bill 302 which would require insurance companies to pay out benefits to the loved ones of policy holders after they die. Frerichs says there are hundreds of millions of dollars owed to Illinois residents.

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The Illinois House and Senate will take up the bill at their veto session scheduled to start in late October.

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White supports DACA suit against Trump

Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White is announcing his support of Attorney General Lisa Madigan's joint lawsuit against President Trump in his attempt to rescind the DACA program for young undocumented immigrations. Madigan joined 15 of her Attorney General colleagues in the lawsuit. White says DACA program "Dreamers" are displaying the values that we in the United States consider so important: getting an education, working hard, raising families and contributing to their communities,” White said, and noting that Dreamers receive background checks, attend colleges and universities, have work authorizations and serve in the United States Military.

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MacombNewsNow Podcast Macomb Chamber of Commerce President Kathy Waters

Kathy Waters, President of the Macomb Area Chamber of Commerce was Sean's guest on the latest MacombNewsNow Podcast. The Macomb Chamber is teaming up with Downtown Macomb and the Spoon River Outreach Center for Business Institute 2017 on Friday October 13th. Business Institute 2017 is a one day event for business owners or future business owners who want advice on best practices for running a business. Workshops and featured speakers will go on for most of the day with a luncheon and featured speakers. Registration is open now at $25.00 per ticket until October 3 and $30.00 per ticket from October 3rd through the day of the event. We also took a few minutes to talk about the remarkable teaming of Macomb High School students and local business owners as part of the Macomb Youth Leadership Organization. Stream or download our interview with Kathy Waters, President of the Macomb Area Chamber of Commerce on the MacombNewsNow Podcast. 

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Click Here to stream the interview. 

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Answers on the Way to Illinoisans' Medicare Questions

As older folks in Illinois age and make more trips to their local hospital or to see a doctor, questions may come up about their health care options and insurance coverage.

Courtney Hedderman, the associate state director for advocacy and outreach with AARP Illinois, says many seniors spend sleepless nights worrying about their own health or other family members and don't always know where to turn to get answers. So next month, AARP Illinois is hosting "Medicare 101" informational sessions around the state.

"What is happening?" she asks. "What could happen? What does it mean for myself and for my family? People are absolutely interested, engaged and desperate for information."

If you can't make it to one of the informational sessions, she says AARP's website covers many Medicare basics, including costs, information about inpatient hospital care and nursing-home facilities, along with hospice and home health care. It also mentions deductibles and co-payments.

Hedderman says AARP's Illinois Web page has information and links to the Senior Health Insurance Program in Illinois.

"There are individual counselors who can help people compare and contrast plans, give them additional information and allow them to make the most informed decision on what coverage they should have," she explains.

AARP's Medicare 101 sessions are being held during the month of October, starting October 11 at a couple of public library branches in Chicago, and in Maywood on the 14th.

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