Macomb Local News

Illinois Payrolls Up for the Sixth Straight Month

CHICAGO-- The Illinois Department of Employment Security (IDES) announced today that the unemployment rate fell to 4.2 percent in July and nonfarm payrolls increased by +3,700 jobs over-the-month, based on preliminary data provided by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) and released by IDES.


Job growth increased during the May to July period. An additional 9,500 jobs became available over this three-month period, higher than the 6-month average monthly gain of +8,200 jobs between February and July 2018.


“The state’s unemployment rate continued its downward trend in July and stands at its lowest point in 18 years,” said IDES Director Jeff Mays. “Illinois payroll employment also saw its largest over-the-year gain in more than two years.”


In July, the three industry sectors with the largest over-the-month gains in employment were: Manufacturing (+2,400); Leisure and Hospitality (+2,000); and Professional and Business Services (+1,900). The industry sector with the largest payroll decline was: Government (-1,700).


The state’s unemployment rate is +0.3 percentage points higher than the national unemployment rate reported for July 2018, which fell to 3.9 percent. The Illinois unemployment rate has decreased by 0.8 percentage points from a year ago when it was 5.0 percent. The last time the Illinois jobless rate stood at 4.2 percent was in February of 2000.


“The Illinois economy continues its comeback,” said Illinois Department of Commerce Director Sean McCarthy. “We are seeing what reduced red tape, a competitive economy, and investment in workforce and career pathways can do to promote growth and opportunity across the state.”


To help connect jobseekers to employers who are hiring, IDES’ invites you to explore the state’s largest job search engine, (IJL), which recently revealed 55,888 posted resumes with 204,916 jobs available.


Congresswoman Bustos to help cut the ribbon at opening of non-profit dedicated to providing clothing to kids in foster care

Congresswoman Cheri Bustos will participate in a ribbon cutting ceremony at a non-profit in Rock Island called Closet2Closet this Thursday, August 16, 2018.


Rock Island High School Seniors, Amber and Amy Haskill, founded their nonprofit organization to help provide clothing for foster kids after their personal experiences with foster care. In 2017, Closet2Closet was one of 10 national finalists for the Peace First Challenge, which allowed them to attend the Allstate Foundation Good Starts Young Rally. After that, they competed with teams nationwide and won the grand prize after pitching their idea to a panel of judges.


Following the win, the Haskills were able to rent store space and provide nearly 5,000 customized clothing care packages to children in the area.


The Haskills and Congresswoman Bustos are inviting members of the community to join them for the ribbon cutting ceremony on Thursday, August 16, 2018 at 5:00 p.m. at Closet2Closet, 2613 5th Ave, Rock Island, IL 61201.


Macomb Lakeview Medical and Psychiatric Healthcare Center Open Now

Macomb Downtown Development has announced the opening of Macomb’s Lakeview Medical and Psychiatric Healthcare Center located 1601 W. Jackson Street, Suite 104, in Macomb.


Provider Ashley Martin participated in the Downtown Macomb Retail Competition and used this information to help her become the first business owner to open the doors.


“We are excited that the workshops and resources helped Ashley with going forward with the business” said Downtown Development Director, Kristin Terry.


Lakeview Medical and Psychiatric Healthcare is committed to providing families with top quality care in a compassionate and friendly atmosphere. They have a team that consists of Psychiatrist, Psychologist, Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner, Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, Licensed Clinical Social Worker, and an Addiction Treatment Specialist.


“These services are needed in our community and surrounding communities” stated Ashley Martin.


Lakeview will be hosting an open house on Wednesday, August 15, 2018 from 5:00pm-7:00pm at 1601 W. Jackson Street, Suite 104.


For more information about the Macomb Lakeview Medical and Psychiatric Healthcare Center, contact (309)575-3222.


Recommended Vaccines during National Immunization Month

During National Immunization Awareness Month, learn what vaccines you, your kids, and other family members need.


“Vaccination is a shared responsibility,” said Illinois Department of Public Health Director Nirav D. Shah, M.D., J.D. “Although you may be healthy and only experience mild illnesses from a vaccine preventable disease, you could pass that disease to people around you who may become seriously ill. Babies who are too young to be vaccinated, older adults, and people with chronic conditions like heart disease and diabetes are at greater risk for severe illness or complications. If you’re not willing to get vaccinated to protect yourself, do it for the loved ones around you.”


The Food and Drug Administration thoroughly test vaccines before licensing and carefully monitor them even after they are licensed to ensure that they are safe. Talk with your health care provider if you have concerns about vaccines and what vaccinations you need and when you need them.

Vaccines protect babies from 14 diseases by the time they reach two years of age. It is important that babies receive all doses of each vaccine and receive each vaccination on time. Diseases are unpredictable, so making sure your child is protected is extremely important. Vaccines are the safest and most cost-effective way to prevent several diseases and are even required to attend school.


However, the need for vaccinations does not end in childhood. Vaccines are recommended throughout our lives. Adults should get flu vaccine each year and receive a Td (tetanus and diphtheria) booster vaccine or Tdap (tetanus, diphtheria, pertussis) every 10 years. Tdap is also recommended for pregnant women during each pregnancy. Adults 50 years and older should think about receiving the shingles vaccine. Doctors also suggest that Adults 65 and older should receive both pneumococcal vaccines. Some adults younger than 65 years with certain conditions are also advised to receive one or more pneumococcal vaccinations. Adults may need other vaccines (such as hepatitis A, hepatitis B, and HPV) depending on their age, if pregnant, occupation, travel, medical conditions, vaccinations they have already received, or other considerations.


For more information about immunizations, including vaccination schedules for infants, children, teens and adults, visit Adults can also take a vaccine quiz to see what vaccines are recommended at


There are programs available to help families as well. The Vaccines for Children program, which provides vaccines at no cost to eligible children who do not otherwise have access to recommended childhood vaccines, can be contacted at (312) 746-6050 in Chicago or (217) 785-1455 for the rest of the state.



"Back to School Bash" this Saturday, August 11, 2018

The Macomb Assembly of God, 112 Robin Road, Macomb, IL 61455, are holding their seventh annual "Back to School Bash" at the church this Saturday, August 11, 2018 from 11AM-2PM.
Many schools have received less funding and fewer supplies, which makes it hard for students to be successful. More parents every year are finding it difficult to provide all the proper school supplies for their children.
This event hopes to change that by giving families FREE backpacks, school supplies, lunches, haircuts, actvities and games. They have given out over 250 backpacks filled with supplies, all at no costs to the families. Macomb Assembly of God's lead pastor, Carl Redding, stopped by the K100 studio for an interview this morning with Mark Hespen to discuss the upcoming event. 
"Our church is excited about the people that are all involved. Everyone is just excited to share hope. We're in a culture today where sometimes people are living with a lack of hope, so we just want to connect with kids and hangout and be able to bless them in a physical way by giving them a backpack and school supplies" said Pastor Redding. 
This is made possible through partnering with other local businesses and organizations. If you become a partner, then your business logo will will be included on the flyer in each student bag along with being announced during the event. There are a few ways that these businesses or organizations can help. They can make a tax-deductible financial contribution (this allows the church to get special discounts on backpacks and supplies), donate supplies, offer services and resources, or just to come out and help during the event.
If you would like to become a partner for the "Back to School Bash", please contact the Macomb Assembly of God at 309-837-5470 or by email at 
Mark Hespen's full interview with Pastor Carl Redding can be found here: 


Volunteens Log More than 650 Hours at MDH

A total of 40 local teens participated in the 2018 MDH Volunteen Program, which provides working experience in 17 different departments throughout McDonough District Hospital.


The teens completed a total of 691 volunteer hours in departments such as: Acute Care/ICU, Emergency Services, Family Clinic, Food Services, Foundation, Obstetrics, Radiology, Reception Desk-Front Lobby, Service Excellence, Sports Medicine and Rehabilitation Services, Staff Development, Storeroom, Patient Financial Services, and Volunteer Services.


“Volunteering at MDH is very rewarding for teens. They serve others and have the opportunity to make new friends, network with medical professionals, develop self-esteem, and create meaningful memories. Plus, our patients’ lives are deepened through the energy and compassion of our Volunteens,” shared MDH Volunteer Coordinator Meagan Wohlfeil.


The Volunteen Program works to enhance the community youth by providing opportunities for personal growth and development. The program runs every summer throughout June and July, and looks for responsible teens, age 13 and over, to help volunteer up to 8 hours per week at MDH.


“Being a part of this program isn’t just about providing services at MDH and learning about careers in healthcare – it is also about the new skills a teen can learn from volunteering. These skills can often be used anywhere in their future endeavors, skills such as: communication, customer service, organization, time management, and the list goes on. Many Volunteens come to us without having previous work experience, but the skill sets and experiences they acquire here can help build resumes for jobs and college applications” said Meagan Wohlfeil.


Application packets are available each year starting April 1 online at



Registration Open Now for the Seventh Annual WIU Fallen Soldiers 5K Run/Walk

The 2018 Fallen Soldiers 5K Run/Walk will be taking place on Saturday, Oct. 27 beginning with a ceremony at 8:30 a.m. in the WIU Recreational Center and the race starting shortly after at 9 a.m. in front of Western Hall.


The event will pay tribute to members of the armed forces and two of WIU’s own fallen soldiers. Capt. Derek Dobogai graduated from Western in 2003, but was killed in a Blackhawk helicopter crash in 2007 while in Northern Iraq. Lt. Col. Robert Baldwin graduated in 1993 from WIU and was killed in 2010 after his helicopter carrying international troops crashed in Afghanistan.


The WIU Fallen Soldiers 5K Run/Walk has raised more than $100,000 since 2012 for the WIU Fallen Soldiers' Scholarship Fund, which honors the two alumni who were killed in the line of duty. The WIU event is the largest race in McDonough County with close to 600 participants.


Early bird race registration, which guarantees a t-shirt and a finisher medal, is $25 (student registration is $20) until Oct. 8. Registration will then be $35 after Oct. 9. 


Race sponsorships are available as well. Sponsorship levels include: race route sponsor, $250; mile-marker sponsor, $1,000; and finish line sponsor, $2,500. 


People will also have an opportunity to donate and honor a friend or family member who has served or is currently serving in the military by “Honoring a Vet”. For a $100 donation the honorees will have his/her name, rank, and military branch listed on an individual sign, which will then be showcased on “Veterans Row”.


To register and/or to become a race sponsor, visit or email 


IDVA Honors Over 5,000 Illinois Heroes with Purple Heart Ceremony

Today, The Illinois Department of Veterans’ Affairs (IDVA) honored approximately 5,000 Illinois heroes who’ve received a Purple Heart for their service to the country.


The Purple Heart is awarded in the name of the President of the United States to any member of the Armed Forces of the United States who, while serving under competent authority in any capacity with one of the U.S. Armed Services after April 5, 1917, has been wounded or killed.


“Our Purple Heart recipients are true heroes whose courage cannot be matched,” said Governor Bruce Rauner. “They are the epitome of bravery and we are stronger because of their service. We owe them a tremendous debt of gratitude.”


IDVA Director Stephen Curda, Ph.D. recognized the Purple Heart recipients during a ceremony in the Illinois State Capitol rotunda in Springfield today, and paid a special tribute to those who lost their lives on the battlefields.


“There is no greater honor than to recognize the men and women who have been killed or wounded while protecting our freedom,” said IDVA Director Stephen Curda, Ph.D. “We can stand proud because of the sacrifices they made. We honor them today and every day.”


In honor and tribute to all Purple Heart Recipients, the Capitol Grounds in Springfield will be lit in purple tonight, August 7, 2018.





State Fire Marshal and the Illinois Finance Authority Opens Applications for Fire Truck and Ambulance Revolving Loan Programs

The Office of the State Fire Marshal (OSFM) and the Illinois Finance Authority (IFA) announced today that the application process for loans through Fire Truck and Ambulance Revolving Loan Programs is now open. 
The Fire Truck and Ambulance Revolving Loan Programs are designed to assist emergency personnel purchase vehicles they otherwise couldn't afford.  Under the programs, zero interest and low-interest loans are provided to fire departments, fire protection districts or non-profit ambulance services for the purchase of ambulances and fire trucks. 
The ambulance loans are available for amounts up to $200,000 and can be repaid over a 10-year period. Fire truck loans are available for amounts up to $350,000 and can be repaid over a 20-year period.


More than $33 million in loans for fire trucks and $2.5 million in loans for ambulances have been given out to over 200 fire departments and not-for-profit ambulance services across the state because of these programs.


Most Illinois fire departments, fire protection districts and township fire departments are eligible to apply. Not-for-profit ambulance service providers are also eligible to apply.

Additional information including the application can be found here:


Completed applications should be submitted to:

Office of the State Fire Marshal
Revolving Loan Programs
1035 Stevenson Drive
Springfield, IL 62703


Author of "The Miracle Season" to visit Macomb this week

There will be a book signing coming up in Macomb involving a coach who's story has impacted the lives of many. 
Kathy Bresnahan was the women's head volleyball coach at Iowa City West High School for 26 years and produced two state titles during her tenure.
One of those titles came in 2011 after the tragic death of the team's setter, Caroline Found. Caroline was killed in a moped accident at the young age of 17, but the team somehow found a way to persevere through that season and win the state title. I spoke with Kathy earlier this morning and she was proud of the way her team responded to a challenging time. 
"It kind of showed me the resiliency of youth and what we're capable of when we put others' needs before ourselves. It was an amazing, life-changing journey."
The remarkable story behind the team's success was recently made into a film starring Helen Hunt playing Kathy Bresnahan and William Hurt as Caroline's father. The film was based on Kathy's book, "The Miracle Season". The book covers the emotional journey that the team embarked on throughout the season and how they battled through adversity.
Kathy will be coming to Macomb for "The Miracle Season" book signing this Wednesday on August 9th. She will be at the Macomb High School at 3 p.m. to meet the local community.
"I'll be talking first and asking questions. Questions and answers, book signings, a lot of kids already have the book or volleyball to sign, that's all fine too... It's great to go out and empower people to say, hey there's gonna be some struggle in life but you can get through them" said Kathy Bresnahan.
Again, people are invited to take advantage of this opportunity to meet the inspiring coach and author on Wednesday. 
To learn more about the story behind "The Miracle Season" check out


McDonough County Special Recreation Association to host upcoming Macomb Softball Play Day

The McDonough County Special Recreation Association (MCSRA) are hosting their upcoming Macomb Softball Play Day on Saturday, August 11, 2018 at Veterans' Park.
Jessica Stephens works at the MCSRA and will help run the event. I spoke with her earlier this morning and she mentioned how they are still searching for a 4th team to play. 
"We are playing a team from Jacksonville and a team from Monmouth. We are also looking for a 'celebrity' team too, so anyone from Macomb that wants to play, such as the Police or Fire Department, can put together a team and be there with us. It's just going to be a really fun day. A whole family fun day."
The MCSRA rely heavily on donations and they are asking for support from the local community to provide some donations for their silent auction during the Softball Play Day. The silent auction begins at 12:30 p.m. and some of the highlights include Buffalo Wild Wings gift cards and gift packages to the movie theater and Platinum Hair Salon. There will be more items available, but they are still looking for donations from local businesses to be auctioned off.
The proceeds from these donations will assist individuals with disabilities by giving them the opportunity to enjoy recreational experiences with the park district and surrounding areas. 
If you are interested in playing or want to donate for the silent auction, contact the Park District office at 309-833-4562. 
My full interview with Jessica Stephens and others from the MCSRA can be found here: 


Regional Media Grand Auction Blowout Prices Today Only!!!

Tune in to your favorite Regional Media station RIGHT NOW to save BIG money on our remaining certificates and bid items!  We have set Buy It Now prices on our bid items at ridicuously low prices!  Call 309-837-5551 to purchase any item you see here or certificates you hear Thaddeus talk about going on now until Noon!  Our Buy It Now priced items are:


From Gamage TV & Appliance: Gen Air 34" Downdraft Cook Top in White. 

Retail Value $1995.00          BUY IT NOW PRICE: $700.00

From M&B Furniture: La-Z-Boy plush, chocolate brown recliner,

Retail Value $829               BUY IT NOW PRICE: $380.00



From Sunroom Designers: 

  1. standard insulated steel door and frame with installation included       Retail value: $1275.00

                                                                                                           BUY IT NOW PRICE: $500.00


  1. storm door and frame with installation included                                  Retail value: $975.00

                                                                                                           BUY IT NOW PRICE: $300.00


From Cassady Martial Arts Academy: 1 year Full Membership                 

Retail Value: $1200.00               BUY IT NOW PRICE: $500.00



From More Medical:  MedLift Electric 3 position lift chair, 6 month warranty   

Retail Value: $750.00

BUY IT NOW PRICE: $350                                                              


Duckworth Statement on Trump Administration Proposal to Roll Back Federal Fuel Efficiency Standards

The Trump Administration’s proposal to roll back federal fuel efficiency standards, which support more than 9,900 jobs in Illinois, and revoke the right of states to protect their residents from tailpipe emissions and carbon pollution is upsetting for some Illinois politicians. U.S. Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) responded with the following statement:


“This proposal, which was drafted by disgraced former EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt as a gift to the largest oil companies, will force families to spend more money filling up their gas tanks. It will undermine clean car standards that support more than 9,900 jobs in Illinois, lead to an increase in greenhouse gas emissions and carbon pollution and make our country more dependent on foreign oil. As someone who fought to defend this nation, I’ve seen firsthand the price we pay for our dangerous dependence on foreign oil. Our government should do everything it can to encourage the use of American-made renewable fuel and Congress should oppose the Trump Administration’s misguided proposal.”


Today, Duckworth joined U.S. Senators Kamala Harris (D-CA), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Dick Durbin (D-IL) and 30 of their colleagues in introducing a Senate resolution in support of the current emission standards.


$1.5 Million Grant Announced for Peoria International Airport

Congresswoman Cheri Bustos and Senators Dick Durbin and Tammy Duckworth have announced today that the Greater Peoria Airport Authority received $1,500,000 in grant funding from the Department of Transportation.


“The Peoria International Airport serves as an integral transportation center, connecting Central Illinois to the rest of the country and around the world,” said Durbin. “This federal funding will help pay for much-needed upgrades, and I will continue working to ensure communities across Illinois have access to programs and funds that drive economic growth and make air travel safer and more efficient.”


This federal funding will go towards completing the rehabilitation of the General Wayne A. Downing Peoria International Airport apron. Specifically, it will improve 30,920 square yards of the existing terminal apron pavement. The grant will also fund the final phase, which includes construction.


“Airport infrastructure investments are vital to the strength of our state’s transportation systems and our local economies, which is something I understand as both a pilot and a working mom,” Duckworth said. “This funding will help ensure that the General Wayne A. Downing Peoria International Airport has the necessary resources to make much-needed improvements and support local job growth. Along with Senator Durbin and Representative Bustos, I will continue to advocate for funding that results in safer, more reliable airports, as well as increased economic development in the Peoria region.”



Illinois Department of Veterans' Affairs recognizes Purple Heart Day in Illinois

The Illinois Department of Veterans’ Affairs (IDVA) will recognize Illinois Purple Heart Recipients during a ceremony in the Illinois State Capitol on August 7th.


The Illinois General Assembly has designated August 7th as Purple Heart Day in Illinois. This day will honor and remember those in the military who have been wounded or killed in battle and honored with a Purple Heart.


The Purple Heart is the oldest military decoration still awarded to members of the United States military. General George Washington established the award on August 7, 1782. The Purple Heart, which was initially called the Badge of Military Merit, is a decoration awarded to any member of the Armed Services who has been wounded or killed in action.


The Capitol Grounds in Springfield will be lit in purple on the night of August 7th to honor the recipients.


This event is open to the public and begins at 12:00 Noon at the Illinois State Capitol Rotunda, 401 S. 2nd Street, Springfield, IL.



29th Annual Purple and Gold Auction set for Saturday, August 11, 2018

Join Leatherneck fans, coaches, and alumni on Saturday, August 11, 2018 at Western Hall for the 29th Annual Purple and Gold Auction.
There will be a silent and live auction during the night with over 250 bid items. Some of the highlights include framed and autographed Dick Butkus and Mitchell Trubisky Bears' jerseys, a one-week getaway to Frisco, Colorado, and VIP trips with WIU Men's Basketball to Nebraska, WIU Men's Football to Illinois, and WIU Women's Basketball to Las Vegas. There will also be a cash raffle with two $500 prizes.
I spoke with Jerry Cremer, who is involved with the auction, earlier this morning and he encourages people to help support the student-athletes by attending the auction. 
"Western's a great part of the community, the student-athletes put a lot of effort into what they do. Not only going to school here, but whatever sport they participate in, so it's a great way to thank them."
This is a great way for people around the community to help support the athletic department and all the students involved. 
The Purple and Gold Auction's social, Silent Auction and cash raffle will begin at 5:00 p.m. The dinner will begin at 6:30 p.m. with the Silent Auction closing at 7:45 p.m. and Live Auction beginning at 8:00 p.m.
It is $40 per person which gets you a steak, chicken, or vegetarian dinner, a preview of the bid items, and access to the social with the local community.
You can sign up online or by calling the WIU Athletic Department at 309-298-1190. 
My full interview with Jerry Cremer and Michael Jones, from Leatherneck Athletics, can be found here: 


Families of Fallen Police Officers to Benefit from New Lottery Game

Gov. Bruce Rauner signed a bill today to create a new Illinois Lottery scratch-off game from which proceeds will fund police memorials, support for the families of officers killed or severely injured in the line of duty, and protective vest replacements for officers.


“Our police officers stand in the face of danger every day to keep us safe. We are proud to stand with them and support their families when they are faced with a devastating loss,” Rauner said. “This new ticket will help fund scholarships for their children and honor their bravery at memorial parks across the state.”


House Bill 5513 has been pushed forward by House Republican Leader Jim Durkin, R-Western Springs, along with the help of prominent police memorial funds. The Bill will create the police memorial instant ticket and require that net proceeds go to the Criminal Justice Information Projects Fund. The funds will then be divided equally among the Chicago Police Memorial Foundation Fund, the Police Memorial Committee Fund, and the Illinois State Police Memorial Fund.


These three designated police memorial funds provide support to families of officers who have been killed or severely injured in the line of duty.


“Our police officers wake up every day and put their lives on the line to ensure the safety and security of their citizens and communities,” Durkin said. “It is our duty to help them and their families when they are catastrophically hurt protecting Illinoisans, and this legislation ensures more money will be available without relying on additional state funding.” 


The funds raised through this new scratch-off ticket will be used to build and maintain police memorials and parks, hold annual memorial commemorations, give scholarships to children of officers killed or severely injured in the line of duty, provide financial assistance to police officers and their families when a police officer is killed or injured in the line of duty, and provide financial assistance to officers to purchase or replace protective gear.


“No dollar amount raised could ever replace a loved one who has paid the ultimate sacrifice in the line of duty,” said Illinois State Police Director Leo P. Schmitz. “The funds raised by this new bill will serve as a tribute to these fallen heroes for their sacrifice, and more importantly help future generations of police officers, their families and their children.”


The new law goes into effect Jan. 1, 2019.



Congresswoman Bustos Applauds Passage of Bipartisan Bill to Strengthen Career and Technical Education

Congresswoman Cheri Bustos issued the following statement after the House passage of the Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act. Earlier this week, the bill also passed the Senate. This legislation reauthorizes the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act, which provides federal funding for community colleges, high schools and technical campuses providing career and technical education (CTE) programs.
“It is incredibly important that we prepare our children with the skills they need to get ahead,” said Congresswoman Cheri Bustos. “This bipartisan legislation will help close the skills gap and better prepare our 21st century workforce by bringing businesses and educators together to develop enhanced training programs. I will continue to champion initiatives that connect hardworking Illinoisans with the career and technical education they need to succeed in our rapidly changing economy.” 
Congresswoman Bustos, a longtime advocate for expanding CTE programs, joined Congressman Raja Krishnamoorthi urging the Senate to act on this legislation. The House passed an initial version of the bill in June last year. View the letter here:


Illinois Department of Veterans' Affairs Accepting Nominations for their 'Honor 200'

200 veterans from across the state will be honored by the Illinois Department of Veteran Affairs. They will be recognized those who have gone above and beyond the call of duty on their achievements and on the extent to which their contributions have aided, benefited and provided inspiration to their community.
More than 100 veterans have already been nominated to be recognized as part of Illinois’ Bicentennial celebration, but they are looking for more nominations. Nominees will be evaluated based on their achievements in dedicating their time and energy to build their communities and assist their fellow veterans and service members.
The honorees will be announced in September and will be featured guests at the Bicentennial Party Gala, which will be held at Chicago’s United Center. Anyone can nominate a hero. 
The Governor’s Office of the Illinois Bicentennial and the Illinois Department of Veterans’ Affairs will accept nominations through August 31, 2018. Written nominations can be sent to the Illinois Department of Veterans Affairs, 69 W. Washington Street, Chicago, IL 60601 or online by clicking on “Honor 200” at
The Official Illinois Bicentennial Celebration began last December 3rd, 2017 with events in Springfield and Chicago. The celebration has continued with programs and events throughout 2018, ending with the Bicentennial Birthday Party on December 3rd, 2018 at the United Center. The HONOR 200 veterans will be recognized during the Birthday Gala.
For information on the Bicentennial and to find out how your community can participate go to


Spoon River College Offers Pharmacy Tech Program in Macomb

The Spoon River College (SRC) Office of Community Outreach is offering a Pharmacy Technician Program in Macomb this Fall.


This affordable 12-week program prepares students for a career as a Pharmacy Technician in a retail or hospital setting. Classes are Wednesday Evenings, September 5th-December 5th from 6-10pm at the Spoon River College Macomb Outreach Center- 2500 East Jackson Street.


In Illinois, a state license allows people to work as a pharmacy tech for two years. After, they are required to become certified by passing a national exam, administered by the Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB).  


This program at SRC will provide students with the basic skills necessary for an entry level career as a pharmacy technician. The coursework will prepare students to sit for the PTCB certification exam as well.  This course is taught by licensed Certified Pharmacy Technicians who are professionally employed in regional pharmacies. 


Coursework includes:  Origin and history of pharmacy, drug regulation and controls, routes and formulations, transcribing of Physician’s orders, correct medication packaging, calculating doses, labeling prescriptions, preparing IVs, drug distribution systems, and the top 200 drugs Brand/Generic.


There is a free informational session to meet the instructor and learn about the program.

Registration is required for the session. Dates include: Wednesday, August 8th from 6-8pm OR Saturday, August 25th from 10am-Noon.




Duckworth, Durbin Announce $70,000 for Strategic Economic Planning in Western Illinois

U.S. Senators Tammy Duckworth and Dick Durbin have announced that $70,000 in federal funding will help create jobs and support economic development throughout Western Illinois.


This funding is provided by the Economic Development District Planning Program, a program within the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration (EDA) that assists communities as they develop and implement plans to enhance their local economies.


“It’s important for local communities and business leaders to have access to the resources they need to create opportunities that drive economic development in Western Illinois,” Duckworth said. “These investments will go a long way toward helping revitalize parts of our state that could use a boost, and I will continue working closely with Senator Durbin to secure additional investments that strengthen local economies across our state.”


“This federal funding will help give Western Illinois communities the tools to reach their economic goals and incentivize local investment,” Durbin said. “Senator Duckworth and I will continue working to ensure that all parts of our state have access to these critical federal investments that drive growth.”


Under the announcement, the Western Illinois Regional Council (McDonough, Fulton, Hancock, Henderson, Knox and Warren Counties) will receive $70,000. The Council will use this funding to develop a Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy (CEDS) in coordination with the EDA – a process that brings the public and private sectors working together to produce a blueprint for economic prosperity that improves the quality of life for community members throughout the region.



Famous Lincoln Portrait to Arrive at McDonough County Courthouse

A high-quality reproduction of a famous Abraham Lincoln photograph will be

presented to the McDonough County Courthouse on Friday, July 27, 2018.


The photograph was taken in Springfield by well-known photographer

Alexander Hesler on June 3, 1860, for Lincoln’s presidential campaign.

Historians consider Hesler’s portrait one of the best taken of Lincoln during

his pre-presidential years.


Noted writer, speaker and educator, John Hallwas, will be speaking at the presentation.


The unveiling ceremony will take place at 2:00 p.m., at One Courthouse Square in Macomb, Illinois.


Will Illinois Join National "Raise the Age" Wave?

New science on brain maturity is evolving and some states have raised, or are looking at raising, the age of juvenile court jurisdiction beyond age 18. A bill considered in Illinois calls for an incremental process to raise the age to 21 for those facing misdemeanor charges by 2020. 


Advocates and policymakers are hopeful Illinois will become part of a wave of national juvenile-justice reform. Vermont recently passed a law expanding juvenile jurisdiction to include youths up to age 20, and Massachusetts lawmakers are studying a similar measure as part of a new criminal-justice reform law.


Here in Illinois, raising the age is an issue state Representative Laura Fine has been working on for a few years. The Glenview Democrat says brain science shows the brain doesn't fully mature until age 26.


"Somebody under the age of 26 might do something that they would never consider doing once their brain is fully developed. Based on this, we really feel like the age of a misdemeanor should be increased so that child [,] in many ways who may commit a misdemeanor [,] doesn't have to pay for that for the rest of their life”.


Fine introduced House bill 4541 earlier this year. If passed, it would allow 18 to 20-year-olds charged with misdemeanors to have their cases heard in juvenile court. The bill passed out of committee, and Fine hopes it will get a hearing in the full House.


Since young adults can vote and serve their country, some argue they should have to face the consequences of breaking the law as an adult. But, Garien Gatewood with the Juvenile Justice Initiative counters there's a flip side to that, considering Illinois just raised the age to purchase tobacco products from 18 to 21.


"It's the same kid that you're talking about that you want to protect from tobacco, or you want to protect from moving out on your own at 18, 19 and 20, if you're a ward of the foster system. We should look at protecting their mental well-being, their physical well-being and emotional well-being” says Gatewood.


"It says that we could increase it to at first 19 or 20 and examine how is it working. Is it working well, and we should go on, or it's not working, and we should go back? So, we're really trying to do this carefully” says Fine.


Thomas Rhett Set to Perform At 2018 Illinois State Fair

Illinois State Fair organizers announce that two-time Academy of Country Music award winner, Thomas Rhett, will perform at the 2018 State Fair on Thursday, August 16th.


Thomas Rhett’s latest album, Life Changes, is the first country album of 2017 to climb to the top spot on the all-genre Billboard 200 chart, according to Rolling Stone magazine.


Rhett says the status backs-up his belief that the album appeals to everyone from Millennials to Baby Boomers.  Hits such as, “Marry Me,” “Unforgettable,” and the album’s title track, “Life Changes” are sure to appeal to fans of FM radio and Spotify playlists. He has continued an upward path to county music stardom since scoring his first hit, “It Goes Like This,” in 2013. He crosses genres of country, pop, R&B, soul, and rock. These influences can be heard throughout the album from “Sixteen” to “Craving You” with Maren Morris.  


Rhett is also an accomplished songwriter.  In addition to writing for his own albums, he co-wrote songs with Danielle Bradbery – who will be the opening act on Thursday, August 16th in Springfield.  The two share a duet, “Playing with Fire,” which is featured on Rhett’s album Tangled Up.


Danielle Bradbery won “The Voice” five years ago at 16 years old and since then has seen much success. Bradbery met Thomas Rhett while touring with Brett Eldredge on the Suits & Boots Tour in 2015.  After more than four years, she is releasing new music, much to fans delight. Her new album I Don’t Believe We’ve Met includes hits “Sway” and “Worth It”.


Tickets to see Thomas Rhett and Danielle Bradbery at the Illinois State Fair will go on sale on today, July 23rd, via and the Illinois State Fair box office.


Mark your calendars for the 2018 Illinois State Fair, August 9th – 19th, in Springfield, IL.


Illinois State Police Joins Forces with Agencies Statewide for The 2018 Illinois Speed Awareness Day Campaign

The Illinois State Police are taking a proactive approach to promote safety for motorists, pedestrians, and cyclists through enforcement and education during Illinois Speed Awareness Day on July 25th.


In 2016 the total number of crashes in Illinois involving motor vehicles was 324,274. These crashes resulted in 92,957 people being injured and 1,078 people killed. Speed accounted for 32.2% of all overall crashes, and 34.2% of all fatal traffic crashes in 2016.


Lives can be easily saved by being aware of our speed and understanding how speeding impacts a crash.


On Interstates, speeding can have the following consequences:


• The probability of death, disfigurement, or debilitating injury grows with higher speed at impact. Such consequences double for every 10 MPH over 50 MPH.

• When a vehicle crashes it undergoes a rapid change in speed. However, the occupants keep moving at the vehicle’s previous speed until they are stopped, either by hitting an object or by being restrained by a safety belt or airbag.

• The effectiveness of restraint devices like airbags, safety belts, crumple zones, and side beams decline as impact speed increases.

• 37% of the speed-related crashes result in injuries.

• Speeding extends the distance required to stop a vehicle in emergency situations.

• Crash severity increases with the speed of the vehicle at impact.

• Speeding reduces a driver’s ability to navigate safely around curves or objects in the roadway.

• Speeding can lower gas mileage by 33% at highway speeds.


Drivers are reminded to be proactive to prevent traffic crashes, fatalities, and to reduce injuries on the roadways by being cognizant of our speed, obeying the speed limit signs and all traffic laws.


If you would like more information about Illinois Speed Awareness Day, please visit



2018 Burlington Kennel Club Dog Show Coming to Macomb this Weekend

The Burlington Kennel Club (BKC) Dog Show will be returning to Macomb tomorrow for the third straight year and continue through Sunday, July 22 at Western Illinois University's Rec Center. With an estimated 200 exhibitors from over twenty states, this event provides a welcome boost to Macomb’s summer economy. 
The event begins at 8 a.m and will feature hundreds of different dogs representing dozens of AKC breeds. People will even have a chance to interact with the dogs in the grooming area of the gym. There one can learn about certain breeds, what is involved in showing a dog, and view the dogs being prepared to enter the show ring. 
The Humane Society of McDonough County will also be accepting donations of pet food for their pet food pantry. They will be holding a raffle giving away Walmart gift cards for those who donate food.
On Saturday, the BKC will be debuting the Beginner Puppy Competition, which begins at 10:30 a.m. These puppies are between four and sixth months old. There is another event on Saturday with two of the K-9 dogs who serve Macomb , Kenzo and Drax, and they will perform a demonstration at 1 p.m. There will be a basket of toys to also raffle off and the proceeds will be split between the two service dogs. 
I spoke with Joyce Johanson, who is competing in the dog show, earlier this morning and she encouraged people to come experience a dog show for themselves. 
"We really are encouraging spectators to come and see what dog showing and pure bred shows are all about. A lot of times people just get to see the end of the show. T.V. just shows the final group judging and the best in show judging, and that's all very exciting, but there is a lot that comes before that as each indivdual breed has its own competition."
AKC has seven different groups of dogs competing for that big prize, so make sure you stop by to check out the wide variety of dogs in the rec center this weekend. 
Admission to the show is $3 for those 12 and older, $1 for kids ages 5-11 and those under 5 get in free. 
My full interview with Amy Betz, from the McDonough County Humane Society, and Joyce Johanson can be found here: 


Local 12U Softball Team Qualifies for their Third Straight National Tournament

A local softball team is going to the Northern National Tournament in Yankton, South Dakota. 
The 12U CATS softball team from McDonough County have qualified for the tournament for the third year in a row. The team finished in 1st place after two national qualifiers in Washington, IL and Moline, IL to become eligible for the National Tournament. 
The National Tournament begins on July 26 and runs through July 29. The CATS will be playing teams from multiple states and after finishing in 2nd and 5th place the past two years, they are looking forward to playing for that 1st place trophy. 
You can help support the team in a couple ways. They have a fundraiser going on right now called Adopt-A-Cat. I spoke with one of the players, Kylie Robinson,  this morning and she briefly explained how it works. 
"You can go on our facebook page and email us and ask if you can adopt a certain player, and it costs 100 dollars" 
You can visit their facebook page here:
The team will also be having a car wash tomorrow at the Hy-Vee gas station in Macomb from 4:30-6:30 p.m. to help support their trip to Nationals. The car wash is free, but donations are accepted.
My full interview with three of the CATS players can be found here:


State Sen. Tracy-Sponsored Quincy Veterans' Home Rehabilitation Act Now a Law

The Quincy Veterans’ Home may now begin its five-year capital development plan after
State Sen. Jil Tracy signed the Senate Bill 3128. It which provides design-build
contracting for the facility’s projects. Governor Bruce Rauner enacted the legislation on
July 17 in Springfield.
“Securing the design-build contract is one of the final steps to kick start the Quincy
Veterans’ Home $52-million capital development plan,” said Tracy. “Over the next five
years, the campus will undergo a major rehabilitation to update the care facilities and
residence to ensure it is up to code and safe for all of our veteran residents and their
families. I’m glad to see the Governor taking such swift action to begin construction on
one of Quincy’s most important landmarks.”
Senate Bill 3128 authorizes the Capital Development Board (CDB) and the Illinois
Department of Veteran Affairs (IDVA) to use design-build contracting in the upcoming
projects at the veterans' home. It also provides for the deposit and use of federal funds
received as reimbursement for capital improvement project expenses.
The legislation details that the state construction agency is required to comply with
federal regulations to stay eligible for federal aid for the renovation, restoration,
rehabilitation or rebuilding of the Quincy Veterans' Home. To ensure compliance, the
Governor’s Office, CDB and IDVA must provide the General Assembly with un-redacted
copies of all correspondence with the United States Department of Veterans Affairs
related to securing funding for the development projects.
“The Quincy campus is the largest veterans’ home in Illinois, and this remodel will be
life-changing for its hundreds of residents,” said Tracy. “The plan will also allow for the
residents to continue living in the facility undisturbed during the construction.”
The Act is effective for five years, and CDB may not impose fees for contracts awarded
under the Quincy Veterans' Home Rehabilitation and Rebuilding Act.


Local Resident Hired to Coordinate Regional Professional Development Consortium

Julia Burns of Macomb is hired by Regional Offices of Education #26 and #33 as the
new Professional Development Coordinator to help the two regional offices expand and
improve their PD Consortium serving eight counties stretching from Galesburg to
The two ROEs created the PD Consortium to better coordinate resources and provide
more professional learning opportunities for educators in their regions. Burns will
provide in-service training and staff development opportunities, schedule Administrator
Academies, create and execute a detailed Regional Professional Development plan and
ensure the regions are informed and understand the latest research on school
ROE26 Regional Superintendent John Meixner said Burns stood out among a group of
talented candidates. "We have been thrilled to see the phenomenal success of our PD
Consortium, and we believe Julia has the right combination of skills, experience and
vision to help us guide our educators and improve instruction for students in classrooms
throughout our regions.”
Burns says the move to PD Coordinator is a natural evolution in an education career
devoted to helping students reach their potential. "I view myself as an instructional
leader. I moved from a teaching position to principal with the hope that I could influence
more students with the practices and initiatives about which I was passionate," Burns
said. "As the coordinator for the PD Consortium, I believe that I will have an even
broader reach."
After graduating from college in Minnesota with a math education degree, Burns taught
at middle schools in Texas before returning to Illinois in the mid-1990s. She has taught
at Carl Sandburg College and at Macomb Junior and Senior High School, and most
recently she has been principal at West Central Middle School in Stronghurst.
ROE 33 Regional Superintendent Jodi Scott said hiring Burns is an important step for
the PD Consortium. “Julia brings to our office a real passion for education, and she will
greatly help us ensure our programs are helping educators lead children to reach their
full potential.”


Illinois Department of Human Rights Releases Important New Guidebook for Housing Providers

The Illinois Department of Human Rights (IDHR) is releasing a first-of-its-kind
Guidebook that will help housing professionals eliminate housing discrimination and
achieve diverse, inclusive communities.
The Guidebook offers clarification on which accommodations and modifications must be
made in housing for persons with disabilities, in accordance with the Federal Fair
Housing Act.
"This Guidebook is unique because it compiles all the "must have" information in one
place,” says IDHR Director Janice Glenn. "This Guidebook will act true resource for all
housing professionals on the accommodation and modifications they are required to
provide under the Federal Fair Housing Act and will create greater access, to housing,
to persons with disabilities. This is a huge accomplishment for Illinois and releasing a
guidance of this nature is a great way to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the Federal
Fair Housing Act."
The Guidebook was created by IDHR in partnership with Access Living, a Chicago
based change agent committed to developing an inclusive society that enables
Chicagoans with disabilities to live fully–engaged and self–directed lives.
“Expanding housing options for people with disabilities is critical for our community to be
fully integrated into society. The right to reasonable accommodations and modifications
is one of the best tools we have to achieve that end,” said Marca Bristo, CEO and
President of Access Living. “We hope the Guidebook becomes a ‘go to’ resource for
housing providers and serves to demystify the requirements.”
It comes as we celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the Federal Fair Housing Act, an
important civil rights law that guarantees equal access to housing for all Americans by
prohibiting discrimination in the sale, rental and financing of housing.
It was funded from the Department of Housing and Urban Development and is available on IDHR’s


Duckworth, Durbin Statement on FCC's Sinclair-Tribune Merger Action

Following Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Ajit Pai’s statement
yesterday expressing “serious concerns” about Sinclair Broadcast Group’s proposed
acquisition of Tribune Media, U.S. Senators Tammy Duckworth and Dick Durbin
released the following statement:
“After months of sounding the alarm on a proposed merger that would provide
questionable public benefit, pose a threat to localism and diversity and reduce
competition in Illinois, this is a positive step from the FCC that underscores our
concerns,” the Senators said. “We look forward to the FCC’s hearing designation order
and hope the Commission will protect the public interest by blocking this merger once
and for all.”
In April, Duckworth, Durbin, and 20 of their Senate colleagues called on Chairman Pai
to end all media ownership, rulemaking, and pending merger reviews until the
commission completes a review of the U.S. broadcast landscape and the federal court
makes its ruling on the FCC’s previous media ownership actions. In January, the
Senators and eight colleagues insisted that the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ)
Antitrust Division and FCC closely scrutinize media mergers that fall within their
jurisdictions, particularly the proposed Sinclair Broadcasting-Tribune Media merger.
Last year, Duckworth, Durbin, and 12 Senate colleagues requested the inspector
general of the FCC to open an investigation into the objectivity and impartiality of the
FCC’s review of the proposed merger of Sinclair Broadcasting and Tribune Media. In
their letter to the inspector general, the senators point out 16 actions and events that
suggest a disturbing pattern of a three-way quid-pro-quo involving Sinclair, the Trump
Administration and Chairman Ajit Pai.


Sunday at Spring Lake

There is an upcoming event in the local area that is great for the whole family. The First Christian Church and First Presbyterian Church are sponsoring the event, called Sunday at Spring Lake,  which will be from 2-7 p.m. this Sunday, July 22. 
There are various activites planned like a bible story/craft, games, fishing, pontoon boat rides, and a guided hiking trail. You may do all the events or just choose some to participate in. 
"If you can't do all of it, can't do the hike, don't worry about it. There will be different places just to sit and relax, so bring a lawn chair and come and join us at the lake this Sunday." said Kelly Ingersoll, who is a minister at First Christian Church. 
There will be musical entertainment from The Troublesome Ridge Bluegrass Band who will provide a sing-along opportunity as well. A hot dog roast with watermelon and S'Mores is also planned. 
People of all ages are invited to spend a fun-filled day over at Spring Lake on Sunday. Children 12 and under must be accompanied by a parent/adult and children under 18 must have a signed parental permission waiver to attend. Anyone 16 and older must have a valid fishing license. Fishing poles and life jackets will be provided, as well as a first-aid station and watering hole. 
If necessary, both churches will provide transportation to the park at 1:30 p.m. and plan to arrive back at the church at approximately 7:30 p.m. Call the First Christian Church at 309-837-6473 or The First Presbyterian Church at 309-833-3333 if you need a ride. There will also be transportation up and down the hill at Spring Lake for those who need it. 
You can register for the event online , at the church, or at the park at the large shelter. 
My full interview with Kelly Ingersoll can be found here 


Western Illinois University Prepares for the Future

Western Illinois University is investing in some of its most notable academic programs as the future of the University depends on the reorganization of these programs.
"Two years ago, we established the President's Executive Institute to signify that we will be an innovative and forward-thinking institution that is on the cutting edge of operations and services as we interact with external communities for the good of the University and communities that we serve. Today, we take Western's innovation to a higher level," said WIU President Jack Thomas. "We are investing in our academic programs and service operations that will further place Western Illinois University on the leading edge and position our institution for growth, as we prepare students, faculty, and staff to lead in diverse and dynamic communities. With our new Strategic Plan, the President's Executive Institute and our investments, we enter the future. "
According to Thomas, Neumann will be in charge of the new academic plan that is based on the strength of its programs. The focus includes science and technology, business, education, community service and regional and state need.  
"As Dr. Thomas has shared, Academic Affairs will restructure and reorganize as we continuously evolve and improve to meet our goals of attracting and retaining students. To determine where we are going, we must evaluate the outcomes of where we have been," Neumann said. "We have seen strong and successful outcomes in the academic areas of business, education, community service, science, technology, and in areas that meet the need of our region. These have been built on a solid foundation of general education to enhance and reinforce the importance of critical thinking, solid communication skills, the pursuit of knowledge, diversity and wellness. Long term, these Centers of Excellence will define and form our investment structure in academics within our four academic colleges."
The reorganization of colleges and departments includes:
College of Arts and Sciences- Select departments will form two new schools: the School of Humanities and Social Sciences, and the School of Natural Science and Mathematics, in addition to biology, the School of Nursing and psychology.
College of Business and Technology- Economics will join accounting and finance to form the School of Accounting, Economics and Finance, and engineering technology will merge with the School of Engineering to form the School of Engineering and Engineering Technology.
College of Education and Human Services- Emergency management will join the School of Law Enforcement and Justice Administration to capitalize on the natural commonalities in these disciplines. Social work will return to a department dedicated to that discipline with additional discussions underway about how best to support the remaining disciplines in health sciences. The various programs dedicated to education will merge to form the School of Education.
College of Fine Arts and Communication- graphic design and graphic communication will be brought together to increase and improve the student experience in the area of graphics.
The creation of centers of excellence include:
Business with focus on accounting, finance, human resource management, management, marketing (including fashion merchandising) and supply chain management. 
Education and Community Services with focus on education, law enforcement and justice administration, fire science, kinesiology (including dietetics/nutrition), social work and recreation, park and tourism administration (including hospitality).
Regional with focus on agriculture, broadcasting and journalism, communication, counseling, economics, English, museum studies, math, music, nursing, theatre, public health, psychology and speech pathology and audiology.
Science and Technology with focus on biology, chemistry, computer science, construction management, cyber security, engineering, engineering technology, GIS, information systems and physics.
Creation of new online degree programs:
Undergraduate: Accountancy, economics, finance, geography and GIS, human resource management, law enforcement and justice administration, management, marketing, sociology and supply chain management.
Graduate: Educational studies, geography, liberal arts and sciences, and sport management, as well as minors in business, finance, history, nonprofit administration, philosophy and pre-MBA.
Post graduate certificates: Community development and planning and GIS analysis
Facilities enhancements: As a result of donations, a law enforcement and justice administration crime lab will be established in Tillman Hall, and the Centennial Honors College will move to Simpkins Hall.
Recruitment: Internal recruitment to encourage eligible WIU students to explore integrated degree program opportunities to earn bachelor and master degrees in five years.
Dual Enrollment: Greater emphasis on high school dual enrollment programs, with 10 new agreements established.
WIU-Quad Cities: New classes/programs will be established at WIU-QC including psychology and social work undergraduate degrees; a hybrid speech pathology and audiology program; and select ROTC courses.
WIU Board of Trustees Chair Carolyn Ehlert Fuller is confident in President Thomas and his team's ability to lead Western in this advancement of the institution's quality, opportunity and affordability.
"We were extremely pleased with the creation and adoption of the new Higher Values in Higher Education Strategic Plan. This plan, coupled with today's announcements, show that Western Illinois University is positioning itself for the future," Ehlert Fuller said. "The Board thanks President Thomas and his leadership team for advancing our great University. We look forward to realizing the plans set forth today."
"Western is entering a future that defines its unique mission and niche within Illinois public higher education. Thank you for ensuring optimal use of limited state resources by focusing on your centers of excellence. This is what defines you as a University community and an integral component to Illinois public higher education. Western is truly an outstanding institution and I know that you will be successful in your endeavors," said Illinois Board of Higher Education Executive Director Al Bowman.
The archived live stream of the press events can be found on the University's YouTube channel here
"Western Illinois University is further positioning itself for the future. We are a preeminent institution in terms of quality, and we will have a new academic structure, state-of-the-art equipment to support our leading edge instruction, new admissions teams and an increased emphasis on student persistence and completion," Thomas added. "Today, we take the next step in academic excellence as a leading institution." 


Illinois State Fire Marshal announces $2.2 million in Small Equipment Grants

The Illinois State Fire Marshal is announcing the recipients of their Small Equipment Grant on Tuesday, July 17, 2018 at the Collinsville Fire Station, 130 S. Clinton, Collinsville, IL 62234.


This grant allows fire departments and not-for profit ambulance services across the state to purchase safety equipment, protective clothing, breathing apparatus, and other needed tools.


One-hundred grants totaling $2.2 million are being awarded.


Regional Media Grand Auction Bid Items

In case you missed it, here is a list of our bid items for our Grand Auction.  Call 837-5551 to place your bid today!

From Discount Furniture and Bedding: Brown Leather reclining sofa, Retail Value $999.00


From Gamage TV & Appliance: Gen Air 34" Downdraft Cook Top in White.  Retail Value $1995.00


Also from Gamage TV & Appliance: 65" Haier Ultra HDTV, Smart TV with Chromecast, Retail $1600.00




From M&B Furniture: La-Z-Boy plush, chocolate brown recliner, Retail Value $829



From Sunroom Designers: 

  1. standard insulated steel door and frame with installation included       Retail value: $1275.00
  2. storm door and frame with installation included                                  Retail value: $975.00


From Cassady Martial Arts Academy: 1 year Full Membership                 Retail Value: $1200.00        


Regional Media Grand Auction Is Back!!!

The Regional Media Grand Auction returns today from 11 am to Noon on your favorite Regional Media Station.  The Grand Auction will air each weekday 11 am to Noon for the next couple of weeks, giving you the chance to bid or buy on awesome items from these local retailers:


Western Illinios Detailing
Adair Cafe
Gamage TV & Appliance
Hart's Nursery
Nelson's Clothing
Sunroom Designers
Tillitt Collision Center
Cuba Corner Power Wash
El Rancherito
Larry A's
Rocky's Bar and Grill
Sweet Shack 2.0
Tink's Cafe
Highway Family Restaurant
Nomad Tattoo
Gelsosomo's Pizza
Cassady Martial Arts Academy
Scotties Fun Spot
M&B Furniture
Tattoo Blue
Jimmy Johns
Dad's Garage
Make Fit Happen
Discount Furniture and Bedding
Peoria Riverfront Museum
More Medical
Rubix Vaporizors & Smoking Accessories
The Flower Post
Gamage Tv & Appliance
Behr Necessities Custom Cakes & Coffees


Don't miss your chance to grab a great deal and save up to 70% on select items.  It's never too early to start Christmas shopping for family and friends or treat yourself to something you have been needing.  Tune in each weekday from 11 am to Noon for the Regional Media Grand Auction!


Allergy Treatments Added to MDH Ear, Nose, and Throat Clinic

The McDonough Medical Group’s Ear, Nose and Throat clinic has added an Allergy clinic for new and existing patients. Starting today, July 16, patients can call to schedule an allergy appointment. 
The Ear, Nose and Throat staff of Jeffrey Sparks, D.O. and Kamie McKee, NP-C are accepting allergy patients ages 10 and older. Both Sparks and McKee have increased their knowledge about treatments by recently attending a national allergy education course. 
“We are excited to offer this new service to the residents of west-central Illinois. This service has not been readily available to area residents in the past,” said Dr. Sparks. “We offer allergy testing and immunotherapy treatments for people suffering from allergies on a daily basis.”
You can call the MDH Ear, Nose and Throat clinic at (309) 833-6937 to make an appointment. 


Cyclospora Infections in Illinois Possibly Linked to Fast Food Chain

The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) has received confirmation of approximately 90 cases of cyclosporiasis, an intestinal illness caused by the microscopic Cyclospora parasite. 


Cases have been reported in counties across Illinois with people becoming ill starting in mid-May. The initial investigation indicates a link to consumption of McDonald’s salads produced for McDonald’s restaurants.  Approximately one-fourth of Illinois cases reported eating salads from McDonald’s in the days before they became ill. 


“Although a link has been made to salads sold in McDonald’s restaurants in some Illinois cases, public health officials continue to investigate other sources,” said IDPH Director Nirav D. Shah, M.D., J.D.  “If you ate a salad from McDonald’s since mid-May and developed diarrhea and fatigue, contact a health care provider about testing and treatment.”


McDonald’s says it is in the process of removing these salads from its restaurants and distributions centers.  McDonald’s say it is re-supplying restaurants with salads from other suppliers.


People can become infected by consuming food or water contaminated with feces (stool) that contains the parasite.  Cyclospora is not spread directly from one person to another.


Symptoms usually begin about a week after exposure, although some people who are infected may not have any.  Symptoms may include the following:

  • Frequent bouts of watery diarrhea (the most common symptom)
  • Loss of appetite and weight
  • Cramping, bloating, and/or increased gas
  • Nausea (vomiting is less common)
  • Fatigue
  • Low-grade fever


Cyclospora infection can be treated with specific antibiotics.  If not treated, the illness may last for a few days to a month or longer. 


Previous cyclosporiasis cases have been linked to various types of imported fresh produce including raspberries, basil, snow peas, and lettuce. 


More information can be found on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website.



Downtown Macomb Announces Business Retail Competition

Macomb Downtown Development and the Illinois Small Business Development Center have joined forces to bring entrepreneurs and new businesses to Macomb.


Future business owners have attended a series of classes/workshops over the last six weeks to learn how to run a small business, including writing a business plan. The entrepreneurs will then write their own business plans and create their own pitches for their prospective businesses. Both the business plans and the business pitches will be judged.


“Come and support these entrepreneurs in their business ideas and find out who will be the winner of $28,000 in incentives,” stated Kristin Terry, Downtown Development Director.


Join these future entrepreneurs on Thursday, July 19, 2018 at the Forum, located at 124 N. Lafayette Street. Doors will open at 5:30pm and pitches will begin promptly at 6:30pm.


For more information, contact Downtown Development at 309-575-3015 or facebook/downtownmacomb.


Beware of Bats and Exposure To Rabies

The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) is reminding people to beware of potentially rabid bats and other animals. This year, 17 bats have tested positive for rabies. The number of bats submitted for testing has ranged from 1,300 to 1,700 each year over the past five years, but the number testing positive for rabies is typically around three percent. More bats are typically submitted for testing in August and September. 
"People can receive preventive treatment if they are exposed to an animal infected with rabies," said IDPH Director Nirav D. Shah, M.D. "Although most bats are not infected with rabies, it's important handling bats, get and keep your pets vaccinated, and make sure your home has no openings where bats can come in. 
Rabies in bats can only be diagnosed by laboratory testing. General appearance of sickness or a change in the animal's normal behavior are signs that a bat or other animal could have rabies. However, you can't tell just by looking at a bat if it has rabies. Only in instances when a person or pet has been exposed to a bat will the bat need to be tested for rabies. Bats, like all wild animals, should never be handled. 
Do not feed, touch, or adopt wild animals or stray dogs or cats. If you find yourself near a bat (in your home or other indoor area) close the door to the room where the bat is and call the local health department. They can help determine if you could have been exposed to rabies and if the bat needs to be tested. If you are bitten by a bat or other animal, you should seek medical attention immediately. 
To keep your pets safe, make sure they are vaccinated and don't allow them to roam freely. If a wild animal comes on your property, bring children and pets inside and allow the animal to wander away. If the animal is acting abnormally, contact animal control.
More information about rabies can be found at


WIU to Host Press Events July 16 at Macomb, QC to Unveil Academic Plans

Members of the Western Illinois University community and residents are invited to attend press events on the Macomb and Quad Cities campuses. On July 16th WIU President Jack Thomas and Interim Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Kathy Neumann will unveil plans for the University’s realignment and growth.
The Macomb campus event will be held from 10:30-11:30 a.m. in the University Union Brattain Lounge and will also be live streamed to the University's Facebook page and WIU's YouTube channel. The Quad Cities campus event will be held from 2:30-3:30 p.m. in Riverfront Hall, rooms 103/104 and will be live streamed to the WIU-QC Facebook page and WIU YouTube channel. 
Thomas and Neumann, along with Joe Rives, Vice President of Quad Cities and Planning, will share the University's plan for investments in high demand academic programs. 
For more information about the July 16 events, contact University Relations at (309) 298-1993 or email


Updates from MDH Board of Directors Special Meeting

The McDonough District Hospital Board of Directors held a meeting on Monday night (July 9). Chairman Dr. Rick Iverson spoke on the topic of dissolving the consulting contract with Juniper Advisory. The company provided an evaluation of MDH and current status of regional healthcare during a MDH Board of Directors meeting in June.
“We have been engaged with an outside consulting firm, Juniper Advisory LLC, to assess healthcare delivery in our region. They also discussed strategies we could consider as we seek to understand what is best for MDH and our future success,” said Iverson. “However, in light of our transition of leadership and the need to focus on our search for our long-term CEO - and the need to study internally just what our needs are for the future - we have discontinued our relationship with Juniper Advisory. We could still reengage with them in the future if we decide that is in our best interest. We feel it is in our best interest to continue an internal examination of our needs, opportunities and strategies.”
The Board then discussed the Dolores Kator Switzer Women’s Center. The DKSWC was scheduled to be built in phases. After extensive discussions, the Board voted to instead do the entire project at once to better serve current and future MDH patients. 
Completing the project all at once will keep MDH from spending an extra $370,000 (estimated) and save 12-24 months of construction time – now scheduled to be fully completed by January 2020 says the Board.
“The McDonough District Hospital Medical and Nursing staff are greatly appreciative of the Board of Directors continued commitment of assuring that our community receives the highest quality care possible in up-to-date, state-of-the-art facilities designed to deliver optimum patient care,” said MDH interim CEO Brian Dietz.
With the construction of Health Services Buildings 1 underway (then eventually HSB 2), MDH will continue to evaluate and make improvements to better serve the people of west-central Illinois. 
In recent years, that commitment to facility improvements is shown by: the addition of the MDH Convenient Care Clinic inside Hy-Vee, opening the Bushnell Family Practice facility, the three-floor expansion in 2015 for Emergency Services, Senior Behavioral Health and Sports Medicine and Rehabilitation Services, and now the Dolores Kator Switzer Women’s Center.
To learn more about the DKSWC project or to donate call the MDH Foundation office at (309) 836-1757 or log onto


The National Kidney Foundation of Illinois Fundraiser to Take Place at Local Restaurant

There will be a fundraiser for The National Kidney Foundation of Illinois this Saturday, July 14 beginning at 12 p.m. at The Nugget Bar & Family Restaurant, 119 W. Main St in Industry, IL.


The Nugget Bar and Family Restaurant is owned by Steve Reed. In 2006, Steve moved to Canton, IL but his kidneys slowly started to fail. Steve went on Dialysis for 5 years, which was a tough process, but was worth it because he eventually got his name on the kidney donor list and received a transplant. It was during this time that Steve started remodeling his restaurant and 4 years later opened The Nugget Bar & Family Restaurant.


He will be hosting The Kidney Foundation Fundraiser at The Nugget for the first time this Saturday to raise money and find potential organ donors. The event begins at noon and there will be half-pound Pub Burger sales, raffles & prizes including a TV set, diabetes education, and an organ donor sign up. All of the proceeds will go towards donations to assist The National Kidney Foundation of Illinois. There will also be music during the event. Sean Griffith of Bucket Fish will be performing from 2-6 p.m. and Cold Snap will be performing 7-11 p.m.


During my interview with Steve this morning, he expressed his gratitude for the people who are thinking about going.


"I appreciate people coming by and saying hi, and maybe see and witness what the possibilities are, what transplant can really do for folks in their lives." 


My full interview with Steve can be found here 


For any questions or to find more details about the event visit


2018's Most & Least Energy-Expensive States

July tends to be the hottest month of the year. Many of us are already cooling down our houses with A/C. But, while you dry your sweat under cool air, you should also consider the month’s higher-than-usual power bill. It could burn a hole through your wallet. 


In the U.S., energy costs eat between 5 and 22 percent of families’ total after-tax income, with the poorest Americans, or 25 million households, paying the highest of that range. And lower energy prices don’t necessarily equate to savings. Where we live and how much energy we use are a big part of the equation.


To better understand the impact of energy on finances relative to their location and consumption habits, WalletHub compared the total monthly energy bills in each of the 50 states and the District of Columbia. Their analysis uses a formula that accounts for these residential energy types: electricity, natural gas, motor fuel and home heating oil.


Total Energy Costs by State (1-10)

Overall Rank*


Total Energy Cost

Monthly Electricity Cost (Rank)

Monthly Natural-Gas Cost (Rank)

Monthly Motor-Fuel Cost (Rank)

Monthly Home Heating-Oil Cost (Rank)





















~ $0







~ $0







~ $0














~ $0


West Virginia












~ $0


North Dakota







The full report can be found here


Macomb Area Chamber of Commerce Ribbon Cutting for New Member

The Ambassador Committee of the Macomb Area Chamber of Commerce held a ribbon cutting today for brand new Chamber member, Greaser’s Garage, located at 525 East Jackson Street in Macomb.


The owner, Bill (Knuckles) Dunaway and staff are marking their one-year anniversary in business with an open house celebration.


A full service auto repair shop, Greaser’s Garage can be reached at (309) 836-2411, email or find them on Facebook.


Summit League Unveils Academic Honor Roll for 2017-2018

The Summit League has  unveiled its list of Academic Honor Roll honorees. A total of 1,203 Summit League student-athletes from across 17 sports were recognized for their efforts. 
The Student-athletes must have used a season of competition (year of eligibilty) in the sport in which he/she is nominated and have at least a 3.2 (on a 4.0 scale) cumulative GPA for the year awarded to be eligible. 
South Dakota led with 207 honorees followed by South Dakota State with 194 and North Dakota State with 157. Western Illinois University followed up with 115 honorees. 
The Academic Honor Roll breakdown by school is as follows:
South Dakota (207) 
South Dakota State (194)
North Dakota State (157)
Omaha (141)
Denver (126)
Western Illinois (115)
Oral Roberts (113)
Fort Wayne (92)
Eastern Illinois (35) - men’s soccer and swimming & diving associate member
Valparaiso (11) - men’s swimming & diving and men’s tennis associate member
llinois State (7) - men’s tennis associate member
Drake (5) - men’s tennis associate member


Duckworth Statement on Long-Overdue Resignation of Scott Pruitt

“It’s abundantly clear that Scott Pruitt abused the public trust by using his government position to finance his lavish lifestyle. Pruitt wasted millions of taxpayer dollars on first-class plane tickets, private planes, luxury hotels, office furniture, and a large 24/7 personal security detail despite his own agency being unable to justify it. He is the subject of more than a dozen independent investigations, he retaliated against EPA staff who questioned his spending habits, and he likely violated ethics rules by renting an apartment from an industry lobbyist who did business with his office. The fact that Donald Trump allowed Pruitt to continue to serve in his cabinet and spend taxpayer money despite knowing all of this shows just how empty his promises to drain the swamp were.”


Duckworth voted against Pruitt’s nomination to be EPA Administrator in 2017. When reports surfaced exposing Pruitt’s wasteful and exorbitant spending of taxpayer dollars, Senator Duckworth asked a non-partisan government watchdog to investigate whether Pruitt’s EPA broke multiple federal laws. She called on Pruitt to resign or be fired in April and joined 165 Members of Congress in introducing a resolution calling for his resignation.


Best Hotel Rewards Program - WalletHub

There are many hotel rewards programs that are the best at offering free perks. Some
amenities include free Wi-Fi, late check out, and bar credits for rewards members. But,
most importantly, the top hotel rewards programs let you earn free nights quickly,
redeem them with ease, and enjoy yourself without worrying about fine-print restrictions.
Every major hotel chain has its own free loyalty rewards program, but according to
WalletHub, these hotel rewards programs are not equally rewarding for everyone. Their
rules, earning rates and point values, plus perks are all different. It also depends on
where you travel, how often you stay in hotels, and how much you’re comfortable
spending per night.
WalletHub compared the 12 most popular hotel rewards programs using 21 key metrics,
ranging from point values to booking blackout dates. And they did so for three different
hotel budgets.
2017’s Best Hotel Rewards Programs:
Best Overall- Wyndham Rewards
Best Rewards Value- La Quinta Returns
Best for Points that Won't Expire- Best Western Rewards
Fewest Earning Limitations- Club Carlson
Best Redemption Options- Wyndham Rewards
Best for Transfer Partners- Hilton Honors
Best for International Travel: Marriott Rewards


Best Gas Credit Cards According to WalletHub

Everyone knows that gas prices can be shaky, but many of the best gas credit cards can always help you save about 5% at the pump. For the average person, that’s around $130/year. People who have long daily commutes or enjoy the occasional road trip could benefit even more.
WalletHub has compared more than 1,000 credit card offers based on their fees and earning rates on fuel purchases. They also identified the top options for different types of drivers, specific chains, and gas rewards at any station.
This content is not provided or commissioned by any issuer. Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of an issuer, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by an issuer.
Here are 2018's Best Gas Credit Cards:
Points at Any Station: PenFed Platinum Rewards Visa Signature® Credit Card
Cash Back at Any Station: Blue Cash Preferred Card from American Express
Bad Credit: Discover it Secured
Business: Ink Business Cash Credit Card
Students: Discover it Student chrome
Fair Credit: ExxonMobil Gas Card
Costco Members: Costco Anywhere Visa Card by Citi
Military Community: USAA Cashback Rewards Plus American Express® Card
Travel & Dining: Citi Thank You Premier Card
Gas Station Credit Card: Marathon Credit Card
Seniors: AARP Rewards Credit Card
More information about specific programs and their perks can be found on; search “best hotel rewards”. You can also find out more about the different Credit Cards by visiting


Illinois Ranked as 8th Strictest State on Speeding and Reckless Driving

Illinois has been ranked as the 8th strictest state for speeding and reckless driving, according to personal finance website, wallethub. 
The website conducted an in-depth analysis of strict and lenient states on speeding and reckless driving by researching multiple factors to determine these rankings. For example, Illinois ranked as the strictest state to count speeding tickets towards a suspension and fifth strictest state to enforce a maximum fine on the second reckless offense. 
A few of the rankings are explained here:
Speeding and Reckless Driving Penalties in Illinois (1=Strictest; 25=Avg.):
15th – Speeding Automatically Considered Reckless Driving
29th – Average Increase in Cost of Insurance After One Speeding Ticket
1st – How Much Do Speeding Ticket Points Count Toward a Suspension
10th – Minimum Jail Time (first reckless offense)
13th – Minimum Jail Time (second reckless offense)
5th – Maximum Fine (second reckless offense)


Local Independence Day Celebrations

Fourth of July Celebrations and Firework Shows in the Local Area


  • Macomb Independence Day Celebration: July 4, 2018 at approximately 9:30 p.m. in the Q-lot of Western Illinois University. Musical entertainment will be provided by the Macomb Municipal band and The King Graffiti Band. The food vendor is Boss Food Truck. If rained out, the event is rescheduled for July 5, 2018 at the same time and location.


  • Bushnell Independence Day Fireworks: July 4, 2018 at dusk at the Industrial Park on Route 9.


  • Rushville Independence Day Fireworks: July 4, 2018 at 9:45 p.m. at the Schuyler County Fairgrounds.


  • Carthage-Hancock County Independence Day Parade, Festival, and Fireworks: July 4, 2018. Parade begins at 10 a.m. in the historic downtown district of Carthage with the theme being “Christmas in July: Grateful for the Gift of Freedom.” There will also be live entertainment, a variety of games available, great food and multiple vendors. The fireworks show will begin around 9:30 p.m. near Illini West High School, 600 Miller Street.


  • Quincy Independence Day Celebration: July 4, 2018. Vendors open at 5 p.m. and the fireworks show begins at 9:30 p.m. on the riverfront at Clat Adams Park, Front & Broadway Streets, Quincy, IL.


  • La Harpe, Illinois Independence Day Celebration: July 4, 2018 beginning at 7 a.m. and the fireworks show is scheduled for 9:30 p.m. on the Lamoine Valley Golf Course.


  • Monmouth Independence Day Fireworks: July 4, 2018 at 9:30 p.m. The fireworks show will take place over Citizens Lake. Parking will be available on the baseball fields surrounding the lake.


  • Keokuk Independence Day Celebration: July 4, 2018. A Kiddy Parade with decorated bikes, trikes, and wagons will kick off the celebration at 11 a.m. at Triangle Park and will head to Rand Park at 11:30 a.m. The fireworks display is scheduled for 9:30 p.m. in Rand Park


  • Burlington, Iowa Independence Day Celebration: July 4, 2018. Starts at 6:30 a.m. Events will include musical entertainment at Broadway and Wheeler streets, a parade, and more. Fireworks will begin at 10:01 p.m. Admission is free.


  • Fort Madison, Iowa Independence Day Celebration: July 4, 2018. The 106th annual Charlie Korschgen Kiddie Parade will begin at 10 a.m. at the intersection of 18th Street and Avenue G.


  • Nauvoo Independence Day Fireworks: July 7, 2018 at 9:30 p.m. in downtown Nauvoo.








Newest Addition to Western Illinois Museum's "Our Front Porch" Series

Join organizers of the Western Illinois Museum for “Our Front Porch” to learn about

Abraham Lincoln’s visit to Macomb on August 25-26, 1858, for what proved to be an important moment in his political career.


As a guest at the elegant Randolph Hotel on the square, he and his advisors prepared to debate his rival Stephen Douglas. The program will re-enact the scene to imagine how Lincoln used his visit to craft the “Freeport Question” about slavery that catapulted him into national attention and, in 1860, helped clear his path to the presidency.


Western Illinois Museum Welcomes The Corn Potato String Band

The Western Illinois Museum will be welcoming The Corn Potato String Band to Macomb on Sunday, July 1. The Detroit-based traditional American music duo of Lindsay McCaw and Aaron Lewis are known for their spell-binding reels, boisterous blues tunes, and even a bit of country gospel.


“What sets the music of the Corn Potato String Band apart is a deeply pervasive strain of soulful spontaneity,” Doug DeLoach wrote in his review for Songlines.


Pie will be served at 1:30 p.m. and the performance begins at 2 p.m on Sunday. There is a suggested donation of $5 at the front door. This is part of the Western Illinois Museum’s “Our Front Porch” exhibit, which allows people to learn about the history and experiences of their guests.


The Museum is located indoors at 201 South Lafayette Street, one block south of Macomb’s Courthouse Square. For more information, contact the Western Illinois Museum at 309.837.2750 or


For more information about the band and to listen to a sampling of their performance, visit their website at



Illinois State Fire Marshall Reminds You to Stay Safe this Summer

With summer in full swing so are summer activities. The Office of the State Fire Marshal

(OSFM) would like to remind residents to be safe this summer. “Safety should always be a priority when engaging in common summer activities,” said Fire Marshal Matt Perez. Here are some safety tips to remember when using barbecue grills, fire pits, and fireworks:


When grilling, propane and charcoal grills should only be used outside and should be placed well away from the home, deck railings and out from under leaves and overhanging branches.


Keep your grill clean and remove all grease or fat build up. Both of these practices will help prevent accidental fires. Always make sure to watch children and pets around grills.


Be sure that campfires are at least 25 feet away from any clothing, debris or structure that can burn. Before you light campfire, make sure to clear away dry leaves, sticks, low branches and shrubs. Avoid burning on windy, dry days. Both can cause a fire that can get out of control quickly.


Never leave a fire unattended. Always make sure you have a hose, bucket of water, or shovel and dirt/sand nearby to put out a fire and be sure to it is completely out before leaving the site.


4th of July and Fireworks! It is important to remember that fireworks are dangerous and best left in the hands of those licensed to use them. Utilizing fireworks improperly can lead to accidental fires and injury.


An average of 18,000 fires are reported each year as a result of improper use of fireworks. Sparklers account for roughly one-quarter of fireworks injuries. They heat up to 1,200 degrees Fahrenheit and can cause severe burns if not handled with care. Never allow children to use fireworks. All adults must have a permit to use commercial fireworks.


More information and fire safety tips can be found on the Office of the State Fire Marshals website


Duckworth Helps Introduce Legislation to Decriminalize Marijuana at Federal Level

U.S Senator Tammy Duckworth joined Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer, U.S. Senators Bernie Sanders, and Tim Kaine by introducing new legislation to decriminalize marijuana at the federal level. The Marijuana Freedom and Opportunity Act would allow states to continue to decide how they will treat marijuana possession by removing marijuana from the list of scheduled substances under the Controlled Substances Act.


The Federal Government will still have the ability to prevent trafficking from states where marijuana is legal to states where it is not. The bill also makes new investments in public health and safety and preserves the federal government’s ability to regulate marijuana advertising – just as it does tobacco - so that advertisers cannot target children.


“Far too many Americans are currently incarcerated for marijuana-related offenses and they are disproportionally people of color, despite the fact that African Americans and Caucasians use marijuana at the same rates,” said Senator Duckworth.


The Senators’ legislation is designed to help communities that have been disproportionally affected by our current marijuana laws. It would authorize grants to help individuals seal or remove marijuana possession conviction records, and it creates a new funding stream to make it easier for women- and minority-owned businesses to enter the marijuana industry. The bill would also make new investments in research to better understand the effect of THC on both driving and public health - particularly in adolescents - and to determine the effectiveness of medical marijuana treatments.


“The time to decriminalize marijuana is now,” said Senator Schumer. “The new Marijuana Freedom and Opportunity Act is about giving states the freedom to be the laboratories that they should be and giving Americans the opportunity to succeed in today’s economy.”


Fourth of July Food Safety

Whether you’re grilling out, packing a picnic, or getting a snack together to eat while you watch fireworks, there are some simple steps you can take that will reduce the chance of getting a foodborne illness. “One food safety essential is making sure food is at the proper temperature, whether it’s cooking it to the right temperature on the grill, or keeping it cold,” said Illinois Department of Public Health Director Nirav D. Shah.


There is a Danger Zone, when food sits at temperature between 40°F and 140°F, which is when bacteria grow most rapidly. Keeping at the proper temperature, making sure there is no cross-contamination, and keeping hands and utensils clean are key to avoiding foodborne illness. It can be difficult to keep food cold during the summer. Keep your cooler below 40°F is to pack beverages in one cooler and food in another. Chances are the cooler with the beverages will be opened much more frequently, causing the temperature to change, which would be bad for food.


Food should also be separated in the cooler: raw meat and poultry should be separate from fruits, vegetables, cheeses, salads, and even cooked foods. This will help avoid cross contamination.


The juices of raw meat can mingle with foods that are ready to eat and you could end up with a Salmonella sandwich instead of a hamburger on a bun. The cooler should be in the shade and out of the direct sun.


Whether you’re cooking on the grill or in a kitchen, make sure food reaches the proper

temperature. And don’t just eyeball the color of the meat. That doesn’t always indicate the level of properly temped foods. Use a meat thermometer.


145°F- whole cuts of beef, pork, lamb, and veal

145°F fish 160°F - hamburgers and other ground beef

165°F - all poultry and pre-cooked meats, like hot dogs


Make sure to use clean utensils and clean plate when you take food off the grill. Using the same utensils and plate that you did for the raw meat could add an unintended E. coli marinade to your food. Clean your hands before preparing food and eating.


Also make sure all leftovers are refrigerated or put on ice within two hours after cooking, or one hour if the temperature is above 90 F. Don’t let that potato salad bake in the sun and become a source of sickness.


More food safety tips or information about foodborne illnesses and symptoms can be found on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website 


Counselors Complete Bicycle Tour of Illinois' Colleges with Stop in Macomb

A group of high school counselors seeking to give their students firsthand advice about Illinois colleges pedaled into Macomb Tuesday afternoon. The group of seven ended a three-day, 170-mile bicycle tour of regional colleges and universities with their arrival at Western Illinois University.


The bicyclists visit included a campus tour, a reception with several WIU deans and administrators and Macomb Mayor Mike Inman and meetings with campus staff. The trip was organized by Fenton High School counselors, Paul Welsh and Sarah McDougal. Other counselor cyclists were Miles Katz, Beth McLaughlin, and Tiffany Kolb, Merle Wilder, and David Bennett.


“We wanted to provide the opportunity for Illinois counselors to see the schools their students attend, said McDougal. This gives in-state schools a chance to be highlighted, and it’s important for us to learn about these schools.” The cyclists were on a quest to learn what is unique about the WIU campus. “We want to give the schools an opportunity to showcase what they can offer our students,” said Welsh.


Katz said he was using the trip as a chance to improve his knowledge of Illinois schools and to train for the Chicago Marathon at the same time. “I have not been to any of

the four schools we visited, and our students apply to all of them,” he said. “It’s something unique. The knowledge we gained will be helpful to our students.”


Thursday morning the cyclists began their ride back to Peoria, where the trip began. Welsh said the goal is to make the Illinois Admission for College Admission Counseling (IACAC) Bike O’ Fun an annual event for counselors from around the state.


For more information about the WIU Admissions Office, visit


Duckworth Statement on Janus vs. AFSCME Supreme Court Decision

Following the Supreme Court decision in Janus v AFSCME, curtailing workers’ rights

and limiting the ability of public-sector unions to collectively bargain on behalf of their

members, U.S. Senator Tammy Duckworth released the following statement:


“As income inequality rises and middle-class wages lag behind, we need to do

everything we can to make it easier for working Americans to join a union and negotiate

for fair wages and a better workplace. Unfortunately, this decision by the Supreme

Court will do the opposite, overturning decades of precedent to make it harder for

unions to effectively protect and support working people trying to achieve their own

American Dream. I’m disappointed that the Court sided with the anti-union activists and

well-funded corporations who want to chip away at workers’ rights, but I will continue to

stand up to those who want to lower wages, roll back workplace protections and restrict

entry into America’s middle class.”


Duckworth recently joined a number of Senate and House Democrats in introducing the

Workers’ Freedom to Negotiate Act, which contains a number of much-needed reforms

that would make it easier for workers to form a union and collectively bargain for better

pay and safer working conditions.


Western Illinois University Board of Trustees Meeting

The Board of Trustees at Western Illinois University will be meeting at 9:30am on

Thursday, June 28 in the University Union Grand Ballroom. A scheduled closed session will begin at 8am for the purpose of considering matters provided for in 5 ILCS 120/2c, including personnel, collective bargaining, litigation and real estate, on Thursday, June 28 in the University Union Board Room.


The Board is meeting to consider a staff reduction authorization. The authorization would allow University administration to follow layoff procedures set forth within the University Professionals of Illinois 4100 WIU Chapter agreement.


Employee notices will be sent in accordance with the agreement and any mutually agreed upon extensions. The last date of employment is dependent upon the dates outlined within the agreement. The Board will hold a retreat July 12-13 in Moline.


The next regular meeting of the Board of Trustees will be held Sept. 27-28 in Macomb.


The complete agenda is available at


WIU Mourns Student Death

The Western Illinois University community mourns the death of a student, Anthony

Fillingham, 48, of Macomb. Fillingham died June 22 at the University of Chicago Medical Center.


Fillingham was pursuing a bachelor’s degree in special education. He was a member of the Illinois National Guard, serving as an infantryman assigned to the 1/131. He first graduated from Western in 1994 with degrees in computer science and law enforcement and justice administration. After retiring from the Macomb Police Department in 2014, he worked as a substitute teacher in Macomb.


“We extend our sincere condolences to Anthony’s family and

Friends,” said Western Illinois University President Jack Thomas.


A celebration of life will be announced at a later date.


More than 100 House Democrats Sign Bustos- Details On How Many Tax Dollars are Being Spent on President Trump's Family Separation Policy

Congresswoman Cheri Bustos and 107 of her Democratic colleagues sent a letter to Homeland

Security Secretary, Kirstjen Nielsen, and Health and Human Services Secretary, Alex Azar,

demanding to know how many tax dollars have been and are currently being used on President

Trump's family separation policy.


The letter asks several specific questions seeking to find the true cost to taxpayers covering the gamut of procedures these children have been put through - from capture, to transportation, to detainment and, hopefully, to reunification with their families.


Bustos, a member of Democratic House Leadership, released the following statement:


"Hardworking taxpayers have a right to know exactly how much of their money President Trump

is spending to keep kids in cages. Like virtually all moms, I've been haunted by the sights and

sounds of President Trump's policy of taking children away from their parents, putting them on

planes and locking them up. It's an outrage that the Trump Administration is thrusting the bill for this barbaric policy on the American people. House Democrats are demanding that the Trump

Administration come clean about exactly how much their family separation policy has already

cost taxpayers. The American people have a right to know who is making money from putting

kids in cages as well as how much it's going to cost to bring this dark chapter in our nation's

history to a close."


School of Global Education and Outreach: A Worldwide Educational Focus

WIU’s School of Distance Learning, International Studies and Outreach will be renamed the

School of Global Education and Outreach (GEO) effective July 1st. According to Executive Director Jeff Hancks, Global Education and Outreach encompasses a much broader involvement with global learning and all things international including educational learning experiences to

support the growth, development and the success of students of all ages.


GEO's mission is to prepare globally competent citizens, administer the General and

Interdisciplinary Studies degree programs, advance the development of in-demand online

academic degree programs, provide high-quality English language and cultural competency

instruction, support the growth, development and success of students, promote the intercultural

and educational exchange on campus and abroad and provide meaningful community service and

educational experiences for youth and adults.


The University continues to expand its online offerings, as well as international study

opportunities for domestic and foreign students. "By adding more online courses and degree

opportunities, as well as study abroad and other international education experiences, we are

extending Western's reach around the globe," Hancks added.


Western's School of Global Education and Outreach will continue as a unit under the direction of

the Provost and Academic Vice President. "We are excited to expand upon our efforts to extend

Western's educational opportunities beyond the state of Illinois and nation," said WIU Interim

Provost Kathy Neumann.


For more information about global education and online learning at

Western Illinois University contact Hancks at (309) 298-1929 or


Flags of Love Announced for Macomb

Mayor Inman and the Flags of Love Committee announce that the Flags of Love will be
displayed in Chandler Park on the Fourth of July, Wednesday, 6:00 a.m. until 6:00pm.
The volunteer help of the Elks & Eagles Clubs members will be present and all who would like to
volunteer are welcome. In the event of rough weather and the need to cancel, there will be a red
ribbon on a pole on the southeast corner of Chandler Park.


City of Macomb Announces 2018 Independence Day Celebration

The city officials and Western Illinois University announce that final plans have been made for
the 2018 Independence Day Celebration on Wednesday, July 4, 2018. Events will take place in
Q-Lot, on the WIU campus. Q-lot is located on University Drive on the east side of Western
Hall. Gates will open at 5:00PM.
All activities will be in "Q-lot" and the Macomb Municipal Band along with The King Graffiti Band will
provide musical entertainment. The "presentation of the colors" will be conducted by the
combined Honor Guard from Macomb American Legion Post #6 and The Veterans of Foreign
Wars Post #1921.
People attending are encouraged to park in Q-lot, bring lawn chairs, and enjoy the
entertainment and food. The food vendor this year is Boss Food Truck, which will be set up on
the south side of the lot. "Bring your family and friends and enjoy the Macomb Municipal Band,
The King Graffiti Band, and food before the fireworks display," said Mayor Mike Inman.
The entertainment stage will be placed in the southwest corner. The fireworks display will start
at approximately 9:15PM. In the event of rain, the fireworks display will take place on July 5th,
same time and location. More information can be found at Facebook- downtownmacomb or at


University of Illinois Educator to Host Informational Meetings about Japanese Beetles and Emerald Ash Borer

Join University of Illinois Extension horticulture educator, Chris Enroth, as he answers your questions about the Emerald Ash Borer and Japanese beetles, best practices for managing these pests, and the dos and don’ts on protecting our landscape plants. Chris will also showcase a type of Japanese beetle trap you won’t find in stores.


Three classes will be held throughout the West-Central Illinois:

-Galesburg on Friday June 29, beginning 10am at the Knox County Extension Office, 180 S Soangetaha Rd, Ste 108, Galesburg, IL 61401


-Macomb on June 30, beginning 3pm at the McDonough County Extension Office and  4-H Center, 3022 W Jackson, Macomb, IL


-Monmouth on July 21, beginning 2pm at the Warren County Library, 62 Public Square, Monmouth, IL


If you are interested in attending this class, please register at


For more information, or to register by phone, call Amanda Christenson at the Knox

County Extension office at 309-342-5108.


Two Local Attorneys Donate Table to WIU Used by Former University Presidents

Two members of Macomb’s legal community have returned an 1890s Empire-style table back to its rightful place on WIU’s campus. Attorney Alison Vawter and Judge Kent Slater donated the mahogany table to WIU on May 30th.


The table was once used in the office of WIU’s fourth President, Frank A. Beu. The table could have been part of the original furnishings of the president's office in Sherman Hall, according to Slater.


"I first noticed the table in the Macomb law office of Attorney C. Don Weston in 1975, when I was a newly-licensed lawyer and had dealings with Mr. Weston," said Slater. "Mr. Weston told me the table had once been located in the campus office of the WIU president. Prior to Mr. Weston's death in 2017, the table was used by him in three different Macomb office locations."


The table was sold at auction in October 2017 to Monte Lowderman after Weston’s death. The table eventually found its way to a Macomb law office when Vawter and Slater purchased the table, but it was deemed too big for the office space.


Slater then moved the table so that it could get restored by Brian Switzer, here in Macomb. Switzer added metal braces to the underside of the boards to reinforce them. He also worked on the table top to keep it original as possible.


Vawter credited Slater for "his discerning eye for local legal antiques, for having it restored and suggesting it be donated to WIU."

"I was truly a bit player in this affair," she said. "For my part, the table's long-term private owner, C. Don Weston, was a particular friend of mine and of my family. Don was a very generous colleague, both with his time and his local knowledge, and he was a principal user of the WIU Library's collection of legal research materials. I know he would be pleased to hear about this table making its way back to Western."


The University Archives offices will be the new home of the table, according to WIU Senior Library Specialist, Kathy Nichols. In Honor of the University’s bicentennial, the table will be placed across from a table donated by Slater in 1999.  


For more information about the WIU Archives, visit



First Human Case of West Nile Virus in Illinois for 2018

The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) is reporting the first confirmed human case of West Nile virus in Illinois for 2018. A Chicago resident in her 60s became ill in mid-May.


West Nile virus is transmitted through the bite of a Culex pipiens mosquito, commonly called a house mosquito, which has picked up the virus by feeding on an infected bird. Common symptoms include fever, nausea, headache and muscle aches. Symptoms may last from a few days to a few weeks.


However, four out of five people infected with West Nile virus will not show any symptoms. In rare cases, severe illness including meningitis or encephalitis, or even death, can occur. People older than 60 and individuals with weakened immune systems are at higher risk for severe illness from West Nile virus.


IDPH Director, Nirav D. Shah was quoted saying "West Nile virus can cause serious illness in some people so it's important that you take precautions like wearing insect repellent and getting rid of stagnant water around your home."


Precautions to Fight the Bite include practicing the three "R's" – reduce, repel, and report.

  • REDUCE - make sure doors and windows have tight-fitting screens. Repair or replace screens that have tears or other openings. Try to keep doors and windows shut. Eliminate, or refresh each week, all sources of standing water where mosquitoes can breed, including water in bird baths, ponds, flowerpots, wading pools, old tires, and any other containers.


  • REPEL - when outdoors, wear shoes and socks, long pants and a long-sleeved shirt, and apply insect repellent that contains DEET, picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus, or IR 3535 according to label instructions. Consult a physician before using repellents on infants.


  • REPORT – report locations where you see water sitting stagnant for more than a week such as roadside ditches, flooded yards, and similar locations that may produce mosquitoes. The local health department or city government may be able to add larvicide to the water, which will kill any mosquito eggs.


Additional information about West Nile virus can be found on the IDPH website.



Macomb Heritage Days 2018

Macomb 37th Annual Heritage Days is June 21-24th in the downtown Chandler Park.
This year’s theme is “The Illinois Bicentennial.” It is free to the public and features carnival
rides, an annual classic car show, pioneer demonstrations, craft vendors, armature contests and
two stages of music, a rock climbing wall and Bertrand's Miniature Horses & Petting Zoo for the
kids. Plus, food from many vendors in the Mid-West.
The main stage will feature international magician Geoff Williams and a lineup of musical acts including Murphy 500, Chicago's Expo '76, The Ronaldo Domino Experience and The Bottle Rockets.
For a full schedule or any questions please go to http:/ on Facebook at
https:/ or contact Macomb Area Convention and
Visitors Bureau at 309-833-1315 or 


Illinois to Receive $13.2 Million to Improve Voter Security

National security officials say voting systems in 21 states were targeted by Russian-connected
hackers two years ago. Illinois counties could get a cut of 13.2 million to fortify election
databases and avoid a repeat of the 2016 election, however voting experts say the need was there
long before 2016.
Illinois is expected to receive just over 13-million dollars to avoid hacker compromise in future
elections. It's one of 22 states that will share 380-million dollars to secure its elections process,
and experts say the federal funding is long overdue.
"I think there is definitely a cause for concern, but that cause for concern has been around longer
than the funding has. I think it's a case of finally fixing a problem that has likely existed for quitesome time” says Glen Sagers, a professor of cybersecurity at Illinois State University.
In 2005, a test of Diebold machines showed they could be hacked. This week, county clerks and
other election managers from across Illinois will be in Bloomington for a training session on
protecting the state's election information technology.
Half of the 13-million must be spent on a new “cyber navigator” program to defend against data
breaches according to the Illinois State Board of Elections. Officials are in the process of
creating the program, working together with police and state technology and terrorism agencies.
In February, President Donald Trump's top intelligence adviser told a Senate committee that
Russia is moving to build on its earlier efforts to interfere with U-S elections.


Macomb Heritage Days Opening Ceremony and Macomb Municipal Band

The Macomb Municipal Band will perform AT 5:30pm to kick off Heritage Days on June
21, 2018 at Chandler Park under the baton of Dr. Mike Fansler, the band's principal conductor.
Macomb Heritage Days is free and open to the public. For more information on Macomb
Heritage Days visit or on Facebook/HeritageDaysMacomb.
In the event of rain on June 21, 2018 the Open Ceremony and the Macomb Municipal Band will be
held at the Western Illinois Museum, located at 201 S. Lafayette Street.



Downtown Sculpture Project Features Two Works by WIU Alumnus

WIU alumnus, V. Skip Willits is adding two new sculptures to the public art project in and
around downtown Macomb. Willits graduated from Western in 1978, with a degree in fine arts
teacher education.
He has been a professional artist since graduation, "with a stint as a firefighter along the way."
His pieces, "Red Road Home" and "LaGrange Point," are two of the 11 pieces in this show,
which will be on public view for two years. All of the pieces were installed in May and June.
"Red Road Home" was placed in the green space just north of the Macomb square and is
sponsored by the WIU Foundation, and "LaGrange Point" was placed at the Macomb Public
Library and is sponsored by McDonough District Hospital.
After learning weld from his father, Willits learned how to work with a variety of metals. He
completed his first outdoor sculpture in 1983, and his work has been featured in many outdoor
sculpture exhibitions. He said his sculptures explain his life, and his ideas come from his
The sculpture project began in 2016 as a partnership between the University and the city of
Macomb. The initial idea was born from 2015 meeting between WIU Associate Professor of Art
Duke Oursler and Macomb Downtown Development Director Kristin Terry. Each artist in the
exhibit is paid $1,500 to display their work.
Each of the pieces is for sale and the city receives 20 percent of the proceeds of any of the pieces
sold. "The Downtown Sculpture Walk is a way for the community and visitors to view art in a
very dynamic way," said Terry. 
For more information about the exhibit, contact Terry at (309) 575-3015


Illinois State Police and Local Agencies Conduct Active Shooter Training at Brown County

Brown County High School and Middle School conducted an active shooter training session on
June 1, 2018. The training was a preparedness measure in the event an active shooter situation
was ever to arise at any of the schools within Brown County. School Officials along with Law Enforcement and Emergency Services came together in a collaborative effort to train students.
The training consisted of a classroom portion titled, "Civilian Active Shooter Preparation and
Response" that was presented to teachers and staff by Illinois State Police Sergeant Jason
Garthaus and Special Agent Matt Poulte.
The scenario involved the introduction of active shooter role players in both the middle and high
school buildings. This prompted teachers and staff to follow active shooter protocol, which
elicits a response from law enforcement and emergency services.
Officers from the Mt. Sterling Police Department and Brown County Sheriff’s Department and
Fire - Ambulance personnel, responded to the training scenario. Each agency followed protocol
currently in place in response. At the conclusion of the training exercise participants attended a
debriefing to discuss changes that need to be implemented to the current protocol in order to
better prepare for an active shooter incident at any of the public schools within Brown County.


59 Educators Recognized as the Best in Their Fields

59 educators whose professional organizations selected them as the best in their fields, during the
2017-18 school year, were honored yesterday at the eighth annual Exemplary Teacher
Recognition Award Luncheon.
The Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) joined the Illinois Federation of Teachers (IFT) and
the Illinois Education Association (JEA) to honor these special educators.
"Educators help students imagine and aspire to futures they would not otherwise think possible,"
said State Superintendent of Education Tony Smith. "Teachers, health professionals, librarians,
coaches, and other caring adults make our schools places of belonging for all students."
ISBE and the two state teacher associations co-hosted this years luncheon at the Bloomington-
Normal Marriott Hotel and Conference Center. ISBE names a Teacher of the Year and
recognizes more than 200 educators nominated by their communities as part of the “Those Who
Excel” program each fall.
The annual Exemplary Teacher Recognition Award Luncheon provides an opportunity to honor
other award-winning education professionals from across the state. “The award winners have
shown exemplary teaching in each of their fields, and they remind us that great education is
being delivered to our students every day in every school in Illinois” said IEA President Kathi


The Alliance Commends Mayor Inman for Declaring June 'General Aviation Appreciation Month'

The Alliance for Aviation Across America commended Macomb’s very own Mayor, Michael Inman, for proclaiming June as “General Aviation Appreciation Month.” General aviation contributes over $9 billion to Illinois’ total economic output.


“Mayor Inman’s proclamation helps highlight the economic benefits and valuable service that general aviation provides to the City of Macomb and the State of Illinois,” said Selena Shilad, Executive Director of the Alliance for Aviation Across America. “We sincerely thank the Mayor and the City of Macomb for recognizing this vital industry.”


To view the proclamation, visit


Multi-State Salmonella Outbreak Linked to Cereal

One case of Salmonella is reported by the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) that matches a
multi-state outbreak strain. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported 73 cases of Salmonella from 31 states. The investigation indicates Kellogg’s Honey Smacks cereal is likely
the source of the outbreak.
The IDPH is urging people to throw out any Kellogg’s Honey Smacks even if they ate the cereal
and haven’t become sick. “If you have recently eaten the cereal and experience diarrhea, fever,
and cramps, contact your health provider" said IDPH Director Nirav D Shah.
Kellogg Company issued a recall of the cereal and the CDC and health officials will continue to
Most people affected by Salmonella experience diarrhea, fever, and abdominal cramps 12 to 72
hours after eating contaminated foods. The illness usually lasts 4 to 7 days, and most people
recover without treatment. The elderly, infants, and those with compromised immune systems
are more likely to have a severe illness.