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Macomb Local News

Illinois Farm Bureau Expressing Concerns Over Proposed Cuts in President Trump's Budget

In the wake of details of President Donald Trump's proposed budget being made public the Illinois Farm Bureau is among several groups offering reactions to elements of the proposed budgets. Illinois Farm Bureau President Richard Guebert Jr. stated that concerns are high regarding potential cuts to programs important to Illinois farmers. President Guebert's full statement is below..

 

“Illinois Farm Bureau is concerned that the president’s proposed significant cuts to vital programs like crop insurance and commodity programs come at a time of low commodity prices, reduced farm incomes and as Illinois farmers are struggling against Mother Nature to get the 2017 crop planted — or in many cases — replanted.

“Years like 2017 clearly demonstrate the risks farmers continually face and the need for a fully funded federal crop insurance program.

“The president’s budget proposal contains several provisions that would greatly reduce the availability and effectiveness of the single most important program to Illinois farmers.

“Illinois Farm Bureau looks forward to working with our congressional delegation on a USDA budget that adequately addresses the risk management needs of Illinois farmers.”

 

President Trump's budget was met with much criticism on Capitol Hill as well where members of both parties stated that the President's cuts in areas such as Medicaid and Medicare are too deep. 

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HCFC Hosting Block Party to Help Raise Money for Cancer Research

The Hancock County Fights Cancer organization is getting ready to host the 2017 HCFC Block Party on June 3rd. The event celebrates cancer survivors, honors those who have suffered from cancer, and raises money for cancer research to help local people being treated for cancer. There will be games for kids, entertainment, and a more fun activities going on as well. Last year the event rose over $40,000. The Block party will begin at 5pm and end at 9:30pm at the Hancock County Courthouse lawn.
Hancock County Fights Cancer is a not-for-profit organization that formed last year to raise money that will help people of the county with financial needs as they are treated for cancer, and to support cancer research. To learn more about HUGS, call Florine Dixon at 217-357-8565.

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New Movies on Blu Ray and DVD 05-24-17

New on Blu Ray and DVD today 

 

"Get Out" starring Daniel Kaluuya, Allison Williams and Bradley Whitford. Directed by Jordan Peele of the comedy duo Key and Peele, "Get Out" stunned audiences earlier this year with it's mix of horror, comedy and psychodrama. This story about a young black man traveling to the suburbs to meet the parents of his white girlfriend is a multi-layered story about race, fear, stereotypes and just plain old scares, that will keep you on the edge of your seat throughout. Not just one of the best horror movies of 2017 so far, "Get Out" is one of the movies of 2017 of any genre. 

 

"The Great Wall" starr Matt Damon. Savaged by many for it's white savior in the east story, "The Great Wall" was somewhat unfairly maligned as it was a science fiction story about aliens that happened to feature a white character helping a Chinese army battle monsters and not really a white savior movie as many had protested. The biggest failure of "The Great Wall" was failing to communicate in the marketing just how much fun the movie is, especially in it's terrific final act. 

 

"Logan" starring Hugh Jackman and Patrick Stewart. For me, "Logan" was more marketing campaign than movie. Using the success of "Deadpool" to angle for an R-Rating, "Logan" was set to be the first time audiences would really get to see Hugh Jackman's Wolverine cut loose with his crazy claws and draw some real blood. The film delivers on the blood and guts but the story is as familiar, predictable and plodding as any of the other X-Men movies. That said, I am in a vast critical minority on "Logan" so you might enjoy it. 

 

"Rock Dog" starring Luke Wilson, J.K Siimmons and Eddie Izzard. "Rock Dog" is one of the laziest, dullest, most insipid animated features to come along in some time. The story of a dog who dreams of being a rock star instead of a sheepdog, the follow your dreams story is a dimwitted, predictable mishmash of cliched characters and remarkably dull storytelling. Not even kids easily satisfied by dreck like "Norm of the North" will havie a hard time sitting still for "Rock Dog." 

 

"I Am Heath Ledger" Documentary. The incredible talent and tragic death of Academy Award winner Heath Ledger is chronicled in this sensitive, smart and well made documentary that is worth checking out for anyone who loved Heath Ledger's work. 

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Miss Macomb and Miss Teen Macomb Gearing up for State Competion

Miss Macomb and Miss Macomb Teen are hearding for state title competition in Maryland in June. Angelica Niemann and Emily Jones will compete with candidates in their respectiv age group in Marion, Illinois, beginning on Jun 14th and going on the rest of that week at the Marion Cultural and Civic Center in Marion. Should Niemann and Jones with the next competition they woud head to state competition where Niemann would have the opportunity to win Miss America. 

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Blood Drive in Quincy

 The American Red Cross in Quincy will host the 13th annual Summer Blood Drive this Friday May 26th. The 12 hour event will take place at the American Red Cross Blood Donation Center, 3000 N. 23rd St. Donor recruiment account manger Morgan Waterkotte said in a recent statment that "Red Cross is grateful to the community for supporting patients by donating lifesaving blood." The event will being at 7am and end at 7pm. For more information you can visit redcrossblood.org

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Iowa Residents Face Felony Charges After Being Arrested in Bushnell IL

Two Burlington Iowa residents was arrested in Bushnell, IL over the weekend. On May 20th McDonough County police recieved a Crime Stoppers tip that 35- year old Eric A. Shaffer and 32- year old Trista M. Roberts was traveling to Bushnell, IL on multipe Iowa warrants. Based on informtation that was provided to police, they was able to find Shaffer and Roberts and place them under arrest. Police searched the vechile that the two were in and found a loaded 22 caliber handgun, wrapped in a pair of underwear. Shaffer and Roberts are now in the McDonough County Jail facing Felony charges. 

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Bridgeway of Macomb to hold Mental Health First Aid Course

The mental health group Bridgeway is holding a mental health first aid course at the Spoon River Outreach Center in Macomb on Wednesday. This comes during Mental Health Awareness Month. 

 

The event runs from 8:30 AM - 5:00 PM, and provides participants with a certificate for the completion of the course after the day. To register, contact Luan Ippensen at luani@bway.org or call (309) 836-4102. 

 

For more information on the event and for some important mental health tips, listen to my conversation with Amy Anderson from Bridgeway below.

 

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Western Avenue In Macomb Closed for Two Weeks Beginning Today

Beginning Monday, May 22nd, 2017 at 7:00 a.m. Western Ave from W. Adams St. to North Edge of Corbin Hall (Phase 1) will be closed to traffic for approximately 2 weeks for road construction. 

Also, beginning on Monday, May 22nd, 2017 at 7:00 a.m. Western Ave from Riverview Drive to University Drive (Phase 2) will be closed until completed.

The Public Works Department appreciates the cooperation and indulgence of the public during this construction phase.  We apologize in advance for any inconvenience the construction activities may cause.  If you have any questions or concerns, please contact Public Works at 309-833-2821.

 

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Fulton Police Investigating Single Vehicle Crash

The Fulton County Sheriff's Department are looking into a single vehicle crash that took place early Sunday Morning. According to a release from the Fulton County Sheriff's Office, officers were called to Illinois Route 95 near the intersection of Grant Keime Road on a report that a vehicle in a ditch. According to witnesses at the scene the vehicle had driven slowly and erratically before going into the ditch. Investigation of the scene revealed that the driver, 23 year old Tiffany L. Deakin of Cuba had fallen asleep at the wheel before driving into the ditch. Deakin was then given a field sobriety test that revealed she's been intoxicated at the time and was cited for Driving Under the Influence and taken to the Fulton County Jail where Deakin was processed and released after posting a cash bond. 

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Commodity markets concerning many Illinois farmers

Shaky commodity markets continue to be on the minds of some Illinois farmers as spring planting marches on in many parts of the state. The weak markets concern McHenry County farmer Michelle Aavang (AY-vayng – end rhymes with fang).
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The northern Illinois farmer has been watching new farm bill discussions and debate closely. But, she says there’s still a long way to go in developing what could serve as a farm safety net for her and other farmers beyond next year.
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Aavang represents DeKalb, Kane, Lake and McHenry Counties on the Illinois Farm Bureau Board of Directors. She, her husband and son raise crops and livestock near the northern Illinois town of Woodstock.

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Louisville Slugger Museum brings its act to Springfield

The Louisville Slugger Museum and Factory is bringing an exhibit this weekend to the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum in Springfield. Louisville Slugger Museum Curator Chris Meiman (My-men) says the exhibit today and Sunday (5/20 and 5/21) is a perfect fit with the existing Cards and Cubs rivalry exhibit at the museum. As you might expect, they're bringing some lumber along....
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The exhibit has something for every baseball fan of every age, including a mainstay of the Kentucky museum.....
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While the Louisville Slugger exhibit will remain through the weekend, the Cubs and Cards Rivalry exhibit continues through year's end.

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Some Illinois Workers Cheated Out of Full Paychecks

Hundreds of thousands of people in Illinois live in poverty, and new research suggests that number would be lower if some workers weren't being cheated out of pay they have earned.

The Economic Policy Institute (EPI) examined reports of minimum wage theft in the 10 most populous states, including Illinois.

Among those states, the report found each year 2.4 million workers are being paid less than minimum wage, amounting to more than $8 billion in lost wages annually.

Report co-author David Cooper, a senior economic analyst with EPI, says nearly 1 in 5 of these workers live in poverty.

"If every worker who reported being paid less than the minimum wage simply got brought up, 160,000 fewer workers would be in poverty," he states. "That's not going to be a silver bullet that changes the whole poverty landscape, but that does mean a lot more folks who are able to afford their basic needs without having to turn to basic assistance programs."

The report says wage theft can take many forms, including paying workers less than the minimum wage, overtime and mealtime violations, tip theft and employee misclassification.

Cooper notes wage theft has a disproportionate impact on already vulnerable populations. He says research shows tougher wage-theft violation penalties would be beneficial.

"It tends to be younger workers," he points out. "It's majority women. People of color tend to be more likely to be victims of wage theft, and also immigrant workers.

"Workers who were not born in the U.S. tend to experience higher rates of wage theft than U.S.-born workers."

The U.S. Department of Labor's Wage and Hour Division investigates minimum-wage violations.

But Cooper notes the agency is stretched thin, with nearly the same number of investigators it had almost seven decades ago.

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WIU to Host Illinois Cooperative Council Youth Conference

Western Illinois University will be hosting the 2017 Illinois Cooperative Council Youth Conference on Thursday June 8th and Friday June 9th. The event will provide high school students the opportunity to learn about the cooperative business model. Students are allowed to attend this event for free but have to pay a $30 deposit fee before arriving to the conference. Students will be able to receive their $30 refund when they arrive to the conference. The registration form is available at http://bit.ly/2qwDgMJ. for any additional information about the Illinois Cooperative Council, visit http://Illinois.coop.

 

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Regional Media Movie Review Alien Covenant

Alien Covenant stars Katherine Waterston as a scientist, part of a group of people that are traveling to a distant planet with the intent of colonizing it. Along the way the group diverts to a new planet that may be even more habitable for colonization. Unfortunately, the planet is infected with the Alien virus that spreads and leads to the incubation and creation of the evil Xenomorph Alien which begins to stalk and kill everyone in it's path.
Click Here for my review of Alien Covenant.

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Champaign area start-up aims to keep top ag talent in Illinois

The ag industry remains focused on hiring and retaining top talent. That’s the mission of Champaign based Agrible, Inc. They’re home to agronomists, scientists and developers—who work for the grower in the field says the company’s Cynthia Bruno.
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Luke Zwilling has been with the start-up since the beginning and says their location provides a great advantage.
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The company opened in 2012 and now features a staff of 53 employees.

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IDOT Announced Future Road Closer in Galesburg

The Illinois Department of Transportation announced that IL 41 Linwood Road will be closed for railroad crossing repair work. The railroad tracks, just north of Monmouth Blvd in Galesburg will blocked off from Tuesday, May 30th to Sunday, June 4th. There will be a marked detour in place. IDOT encourages drivers to slow down and use extreme caution while driving through work zones.

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Man Arrested for Possession of Methamphetamine

Joshua A. Easley was release on bond yesterday after he was arrested for possession of Methamphetamine with intent to deliver. McDonough County Sheriff Rick VanBrooker stated that a warrant was issued after detectives were helping the Macomb Police Department look for a stolen car and firearms.  According to police the vehicle was found abandoned on May 10th west of Tennessee, IL. While searching the car detectives found methamphetamine, digital scales, and other drug paraphernalia. Easley later arrived to the scene and was arrest after stating the vehicle belonged to him. Easley was arrested on May 17th but was released after posting a $1,000 bond.

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Illinois Prison Suit Could Go to Trial Next Year

Advocates for the nearly 50,000 people incarcerated in Illinois say they won't give up the fight to ensure those people receive good medical and dental care.

A federal judge recently ruled that long standing problems must be addressed by improving the entire prison health care system.

Attorney Camille Bennett with the American Civil Liberties Union of Illinois says until now, her group has had to file individual lawsuits - and the ruling should mean shortcomings in the current system will be addressed.

She says the solutions must include every facility operated by the Illinois Department of Corrections (IDOC).

"The quality of health care has declined to the point where people are really suffering," she maintains. "And it's causing needless and unconstitutional pain and suffering - and sometimes, needless death."

The ruling by Judge Jorge Alonso relied heavily on a report by a team of medical experts that found pervasive problems across IDOC, ranging from broken equipment and lack of basic sanitation and infection control, to gross medical errors.

Bennett says the class action suit could go to trial as early as next year. A status hearing is scheduled for next Tuesday.

Bennett says the report also criticized IDOC for not having qualified physicians, and for a staff shortage that threatens the health of people behind bars.

"The inmates are actually afraid to get so sick that they have to go into the infirmaries, because they think that those are dangerous places," she states. "You can be locked in a little cell in there with no nurse call system, and being really desperately sick."

One example in the report was a 48-year-old man incarcerated at Hill Correctional Center in Galesburg who was coughing up blood. Six months later, doctors found a softball-size tumor in his chest, and he died four months after that.

The report cited "significant lapses" in care in 60 percent of the cases examined, and researchers called the disregard for the patients' obvious symptoms "stunning."

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Over 1,100 Illinois farmers respond to action request

A request to support reform the federal government's process to create and enforce environmental regulations stirred some 11-hundred farmers into action. Illinois Farm Bureau asked farmers to actively support a so-called "back to basics” effort by new federal Environmental Protection Agency administrator Scott Pruitt. I-F-B President Rich Guebert explains what it's about.

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And as for Springfield, Guebert says farmers await action on a state budget just like many other interests throughout Illinois.

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Guebert farms in Ellis Grove in Randolph County. 

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Rauner offers pro-Senate, anti-House message

Governor Bruce Rauner has good things to say about one chamber of the Illinois General Assembly, the other not so much. On one hand, he says he's cheering on the Senate as the chamber continues to consider the Grand Bargain series of bills....
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The temperature in the room cools a little when Rauner offers his opinions on the Illinois House....
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The Senate is expected to renew voting on bills tied to the Grand Bargain.

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American Pickers Returns to Illinois This Summer

The American reality TV show American Pickers will be returning to Illinois this summer to film their new season.  Antique and Collectible pickers Mike Wolfe and Frank Fritz are looking for people in the region who owns large, private collections of antiques that they can spend time looking through. Mike and Frank filmed 17 seasons so far exploring people’s homes, barns, sheds, and other places where they have stored antique and collectibles. They will both be in Illinois this June, so If you have an antique collection that you would want to show or know somebody who does send your name, phone number, location, and description of the collection with photos to americanpickers@cineflix.com or call 855-OLD-RUST.

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Durbin weighs in on Trump sharing of intelligence

President Trump's sharing of classified information with Russian officials is getting response from one of his most outspoken critics, Senator Dick Durbin. Durbin is expressing fears the developments will hurt the battle against terror threats like ISIS....
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Durbin once again turned back the clock to the early 70s and made comparisons to Watergate...
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Durbin also renewed his call for a special prosecutor and independent commission to investigate possible ties between the President’s inner circle and Russia.

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Macomb Rep Hammond Blames Amendment for Education Funding Struggle

Progress on an evidence based education funding formula takes a hit. State Representative Norine Hammond of Macomb says an amendment was offered Tuesday in Springfield that throws a wrench into things.
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Hammond believes the amendment is being motivated by Chicago special interests.
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The Governor’s Education Funding Reform Commission offered a report to the state legislature earlier this year. 

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House Dems Ask Governor to Understand Both Side of Issues

If you were hoping for things to go smoothly over the final two weeks of May in Springfield it looks like you won’t get your wish. House Democrats created a new slate of working groups to talk with Republican Governor Bruce Rauner. But those House members say that Rauner hasn’t met with them nor is he really willing to. Democrat Lou Lang says the Governor needs to learn to work with the legislature.

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Lang says if the Governor would call and want to meet he and the other members of the group would be in his office in two minutes. 

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WIU's 2017 Pennycress Field Day

This Thursday, May 18th, Western Illinois University will host the annual Pennycress Field Day. The event will be located in WIU’s Agriculture Field Laboratory just north of the Harry Mussatto Golf Course on Tower Road. This event will include researchers and industry representatives talking about this unique short season crop, and attendees will have the chance to tour the pennycress plots and the new greenhouse facility at Western. This event is free and open to the public. 

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Mosquito Spraying in Macomb

The battle against mosquitoes is underway as The City of Macomb gets ready to spray for mosquitoes this summer.  The spraying will being Tuesday, May 23rd, and will start one hour before sunset until midnight.  According to the city of Macomb Public Works Department, spraying will occur only when temperatures are between 60 to 85 degrees in the evening.

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Bipartisan group of House members try to nudge Senate

A bipartisan group of more than 30 Illinois House members are tired of sitting on the sidelines when it comes to the budget process. With the Grand Bargain seemingly stuck in neutral in the Senate, State Representative Tim Butler and others want to see the Senate craft the best compromise they can so the House can go to work.......

Butler says the bipartisan group will have more to say if there isn't progress toward a budget....

Lawmakers face a May 31 deadline to pass budget bills with simple majority votes.

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IDOT Is Working To Save Endangered Species

The Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) is changing their mowing routine to save Monarch Butterflies. The official state insect of Illinois is at risk of being endangered with their population being decreased by 80 percent in the last 10 years. Some people might ask why this is important. According to IDOT these butterflies play a vital role in agriculture and the state ecosystem by fertilizing and aiding in reproduction of flowers, fruits, vegetables and seeds.  Illinois Transportation Secretary Randy Blankenhorn says “As one of the largest land owners in the state, IDOT appreciates it’s tremendous responsibility to act as stewards of the environment.” Starting this month IDOT will only mow 15 feet of right of way beyond the edge of the roadway. By reducing the amount of land mowed IDOT hopes this will increase the growth of plant species such as milkweed, the only food source for Monarch Caterpillars. IDOT will continue to monitor roadsides to see if this approach is effective.

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Raul Health Center Receives Certificates of Accreditation

Memorial Medical Clinics in Illinois have received there certificates of accreditation in order to provide more and better healthcare for citizens in the surrounding areas.  With the limited amount of health clinics in rural areas, there are many people who struggle with finding the proper health care provider for them and their families. As of March 2nd 2017 Memorial Medical Clinics have their accreditation to provide Health Clinics in rural communities. This accreditation is good through March 7th 2020. 

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Meat and Poultry Burrito Products Recall Impacts Illinois

The following is a release from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) about a possible Listeria contamination in certain Green Chile Food Company burrito products. Illinois is one of the four states at risk. 

 

Green Chile Food Company, a Las Cruces, N.M. establishment, is recalling approximately 252,854 pounds of ready-to-eat (RTE) meat and poultry frozen burrito products because they may be adulterated with Listeria monocytogenes, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) announced today.
 
The ready-to-eat meat and poultry frozen burrito items were produced and packaged on various dates between March 8, 2017 and May 10, 2017. The following products are subject to recall:
 
8-oz paper wrap packages containing “am pm & Green Chile FOOD COMPANY, EGG & BACON BURRITO with Cheddar Cheese, Potato, Green Chile, Salsa & Jalapeños” with case code of 833425000900.
 
8-oz paper wrap packages containing “am pm & Green Chile FOOD COMPANY, POBLANO CHICKEN BURRITO with Monterrey Jack Cheese, Salsa, Rice, Onion, Green Chile and Green & Red Bell Peppers” with case code of 833425000931.
 
8-oz paper wrap packages containing “am pm & Green Chile FOOD COMPANY, BEEF & POTATO BURRITO with Cheddar Cheese, Green Chile & Salsa” with case code of 833425000887.
 
7-oz paper wrap packages containing “Green Chile FOOD COMPANY, Chipotle Chicken Burrito with Salsa & Monterey Jack” with case code of 833425001426.
 
7-oz paper wrap packages containing “Green Chile FOOD COMPANY, CARNITAS Burrito with Salsa, Monterey Jack & Cilantro Lime Rice” with case code of 833425001488.
 
7-oz paper wrap packages containing “Green Chile FOOD COMPANY, EGG & SAUSAGE Breakfast Burrito with HASHBROWNS, Salsa, & Cheddar” with case code of 833425000382.
 
7-oz paper wrap packages containing “Green Chile FOOD COMPANY, EGG & BACON Breakfast Burrito with HASHBROWNS, Salsa, Green Chile & Cheddar” with case code of 833425000368.
 
7-oz paper wrap packages containing “Green Chile FOOD COMPANY, BEEF Burrito with POTATO, GREEN CHILE, Salsa & Cheddar” with case code of 833425000320.
 
7-oz paper wrap packages containing “Green Chile FOOD COMPANY, CHICKEN FAJITA Burrito with Salsa & Cheddar” with case code of 833425000429.
 
7-oz paper wrap packages containing “Green Chile FOOD COMPANY, SHREDDED STEAK Burrito with Salsa, Monterey Jack, Green Chile, Onion, Rice & Jalapeño Peppers” with case code of 10833425008941.
 
7-oz paper wrap packages containing “Green Chile FOOD COMPANY, BEEF & BEAN Burrito with Green Chile, Salsa & Cheddar” with case code of 833425000344.
 
7-oz paper wrap packages containing “Green Chile FOOD COMPANY, FIESTA Breakfast Burrito with Beef, Egg, HASHBROWNS, GREEN CHILE, Cheddar & Sausage” with case code of 833425000405.
 
The products subject to recall bear establishment number “EST. 21740” inside the USDA mark of inspection. These items were shipped to institutions, retail stores and distribution centers in California, Illinois, Oregon, and South Dakota.
 
The problem was initially discovered by FSIS Inspection Program Personnel (IPP) during a routine Listeria monocytogenes product sample of beef and potato burrito.
 
There have been no confirmed reports of illness due to consumption of these products.
 
Consumption of food contaminated with L. monocytogenes can cause listeriosis, a serious infection that primarily affects older adults, persons with weakened immune systems, and pregnant women and their newborns. Less commonly, persons outside these risk groups are affected.
 
Listeriosis can cause fever, muscle aches, headache, stiff neck, confusion, loss of balance and convulsions sometimes preceded by diarrhea or other gastrointestinal symptoms. An invasive infection spreads beyond the gastrointestinal tract. In pregnant women, the infection can cause miscarriages, stillbirths, premature delivery or life-threatening infection of the newborn. In addition, serious and sometimes fatal infections in older adults and persons with weakened immune systems. Listeriosis is treated with antibiotics. Persons in the higher-risk categories who experience flu-like symptoms within two months after eating contaminated food should seek medical care and tell the health care provider about eating the contaminated food.
 
Consumers who have purchased these products are urged not to consume them. These products should be thrown away or returned to the place of purchase.
 
FSIS routinely conducts recall effectiveness checks to verify recalling firms notify theircustomers of the recall and that steps are taken to make certain that the product is no longer available to consumers. When available, the retail distribution list(s) will be posted on the FSIS website at www.fsis.usda.gov/recalls.
 
Consumers with questions regarding the recall can contact Green Chile Concepts, Premiere Response Contact Center, at (800) 695-0843. Members of the media with questions regarding the recall can contact Greg Flack, CEO, at (952) 666-2995.
 
Consumers with food safety questions can "Ask Karen," the FSIS virtual representative available 24 hours a day at AskKaren.gov or via smartphone at m.askkaren.gov. The toll-free USDA Meat and Poultry Hotline 1-888-MPHotline (1-888-674-6854) is available in English and Spanish and can be reached from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. (Eastern Time) Monday through Friday. Recorded food safety messages are available 24 hours a day. The online Electronic Consumer Complaint Monitoring System can be accessed 24 hours a day at: http://www.fsis.usda.gov/reportproblem.

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Action on truck/trailer length legislation expected this spring in Springfield

A key rural transportation item dots the legislative agenda in Springfield as the spring session winds down. Don Schaefer represents the Midwest Truckers Association and he expects action on legislation impacting the length of truck/trailer combinations….

Schaefer hopes for movement on the bill next week in the senate. He says increasing the length limit will result in greater efficiencies for farmers when hauling products like grain. The spring session wraps up May 31st.

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WIU Commencement Weekend

This weekend more than 1,600 students will be participating in Western Illinois University’s Spring Commencement. The WIU-Macomb ceremonies will be held on Friday May 12th and Saturday May 13th. And the WIU-Quad Cities ceremony will be held on Sunday May 14th. All ceremonies will include a Commencement Address from President Jack Thomas.  You can visit wiu.edu/commencement for the complete schedule of events.  

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UPDATE: Downtown Revitalization Project

United Contractors Midwest (UCM) will install ADA compliant ramps in the downtown area of Macomb as part of the Downtown Revitalization Project. According to the City of Macomb Downtown Development, the ramps will be installed from the outer to the inner part of the square leading up to the north side of the Courthouse. UCM started the revitalization project earlier this week on Monday by removing the island, median on the east side of the square. They are currently waiting for construction material to be delivered, so they can continue the project. This project is expected to be completed by August 15th. 

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Agreement between the U.S. and China, reopens the Chinese market to U.S. beef.

Illinois Farm Bureau president Richard Guebert, Jr., announced the reopening of the Chinese market to U.S. beef. Guebert said in a recent statement that “this new agreement will give Illinois beef producers access to nearly 1.4 billion new customers in China, all while boosting demand for corn, soybeans, and creating new economic opportunities for thousands of Illinois farmers.” Guebert ended his statement by thanking President Trump for his leadership and support in driving this new trade deal. 

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Upcoming Park District Events Highlight by Big Weekend at Ball Fore

With the start of summer just weeks away, the Macomb Park District has a number of upcoming events in the community. The heavy lifting for the park district starts this weekend, with the combination of Mother's Day and WIU Graduation opening up a number of opportunities for fun events at Ball Fore. 

 

Saturday night will feature the first of several After Glow parties at Ball Fore. On Sunday, there will be mini golf discounts for WIU graduates as well as free mini golf for mothers on Mother's Day. Megan Pierce from the Macomb Park District discusses these and other upcoming events below:

 

Additionally, Lakeview Nature Center has a number of events going on in the immediate future and throughout the summer. To discuss this further, I spoke with Natalie Shelley on Wednesday: 

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Downstate lawmaker wants state ag director position elected, not appointed

A downstate lawmaker believes the state ag director position should be decided by voters and not a gubernatorial appointment. State Senator Sam McCann of Plainview presented the constitutional amendment Thursday in Springfield.

McCann says twelve other states elect ag directors, including Illinois neighbors Kentucky and Iowa. 

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Southern Illinois man takes over lead role on National Rural Electric Cooperative board

A southern Illinois man takes over as president of the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association. Phil Carson of Oakdale has served on the organization’s board since 2006. He says it continues to be a challenge getting service to rural America.

And he says most of his focus involves environmental issues.

Carson serves on the Tri-County Electric Coop Board of Directors in Mt. Vernon. He spent 25-years as a dairy farmer before retiring in 2005. 

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Sen President Left Frustrated By No Budget Vote

Yet another failed attempt at passing a budget this week at the Illinois State House has raised the ire of the President of the Senate. Democrat John Cullerton was frustrated after not being able to pass initial bills with little to no Republican support. Cullerton pointed the blame for the lack of votes at Republican Governor Bruce Rauner.

Senate Minority Leader Christine Radogno says that she remains committed to the grand bargain processes. But she was unwilling to allow for votes this week on more contentious issues surrounding the package of bills, including a property tax freeze and changes to workers compensation. Cullerton’s point was there has to be compromise on all proposals to find 30 votes to pass the Senate and maybe Rauner isn’t used to working that way.

Both sides say they are willing to keep meeting.

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Road Closer by Corbin Hall

Starting Wednesday, May 17th the Macomb Public Works states that Western Ave from W. Adams St. all the way to the North Edge of Corbin Hall will be closed off for road construction.The construction will begin at 7 am, and will take approximately 2 weeks. The Public Works Department appreciates your the cooperation and asks anyone with questions or concerns to contact them at 309-833-2821.

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New Pavement Being Put Down in Bayberry

The Macomb Public Works announced today that the pavement in the Bayberry Cul-de-sac will be replaced. Starting 9 am on Monday, May 15th contractors will start their work on replacing the pavement.This project is expected to be completed in a week or two. Garbage pickup will be up the hill at a designated area. If anyone has questions or concerns they can contact Public Works at

309-833-2821.

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Durbin reacts to Comey firing and more signs of Russian tampering with elections

U.S. Senator Dick Durbin is weighing in on the Trump Administration firing of FB I Director James Comey. Durbin released a statement expressing his concerns about the investigation of possible Russian involvement in the Presidential Election.
“The termination and removal of James Comey as director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation raises the critical question as to whether the FBI investigation of Russian interference in the last presidential campaign will continue and as to whether the investigation of any collusion or involvement by the Trump campaign will also be investigated by the FBI. Any attempt to stop or undermine this FBI investigation would raise grave constitutional issues. Under these circumstances, I renew my call for an independent counsel and a special commission to fully investigate the Russian interference. We await clarification by the White House as soon as possible as to whether this investigation will continue and whether it will have a credible leader so that we know it will have a just outcome.”

Meanwhile, Durbin says something smells fishy about this week's French Presidential Election, even though the outcome appeared to be unaffected by outside meddling....

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IDNR reintroducing alligator gar to Illinois waterways

The Illinois Department of Natural Resources is moving forward with plans to reintroduce a fish that was once native to Illinois waterways. The alligator gar is coming back says Rick O’Neil with IDNR’s Department of Fisheries.

The last known catch of the fish, prior to the start of the reintroduction effort, was in the Cache River basin in southern Illinois in 1966. The alligator gar is the largest of the gar species and second largest freshwater fish in North America, next to the white sturgeon. The current all-tackle record alligator gar, caught in 1953 in Texas, weighed 302 pounds and measured 7-feet-6-inches in length. Researchers determined that prior to Illinois extinction, the state produced some individual gar that measured more than eight-feet in length, with the heaviest weighing 176 pounds.

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IHSA postpones state bass fishing tourney due to high water levels at Carlyle Lake

High water levels at Carlyle Lake have forced the Illinois High School Association to postpone the State Final Bass Fishing Tournament. The event was scheduled to be held May 19th and 20th, but will now be pushed to later this spring. This marks the 9th year for the IHSA state tournament series in bass fishing says the organization’s Kurt Gibson.

The IHSA Board of Directors made the decision to postpone the finals based upon discussions with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The IHSA was also forced to postpone the state final tournament in 2011 and 2013 due to high water levels. 

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1,242 crop claims and counting for Country Financial this spring

It’s 1,242 crop claims and counting for Country Financial. Those numbers are from Illinois this spring and compare to 150 last year at this time. The heavy rain in the southern half of the state is the culprit says Crop Claims Manager Brad Clow.

Even though claims are way up this year, Clow says Country Financial has been able to handle the workload. The company has 116 federally certified crop adjusters on staff.

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Severe Thunderstorm Watch in McDonough County

A severe Thunderstorm Watch has been issued in McDonough County IL. The National Weather Service announced that this watch will go into effect from 1pm until 8pm tonight. According to the department of Public Safety, you should find safe shelter immediately if you can hear or see thunder. For more information, you can visit https://www.rpi.edu/dept/public_safety/emergency/thunderstorm.html

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The Macomb Area Convention Celebrates National Travel and Tourism Week

This week is the 34th annual National Travel and Tourism week. People all over the country celebrate what it means to travel, and how they help American jobs, economic growth and personal well-being. The Macomb Area Convention will be celebrating this Thursday and Friday by greeting Amtrak travelers with local treats and information about Macomb Train Station. For more information, you can visit www.makeitmacomb.com 

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Illinois State Police Enforces Traffic Patrols This May

The Illinois State Police made it known that they will be conducting Special Traffic Enforcement Patrols in McDonough County through the month of May. As part of the Click It or Ticket campaign, the ISP will increase daytime and nighttime patrols to ensure the safety of automotive drivers. Nearly 50% of people killed in traffic crash were not wearing a seatbelt. The ISP wants to remind drivers to buckle up when driving on the roads. 

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Help To Combat Vet Suicides

A group of lawmakers are striving to eliminate a staggering amount of suicides committed by veterans. According to a study by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs 22 vet’s take their own lives every day. Republican State Senator Paul Schimpf, a Naval Academy grad, says the first thing they need to do is get the message to vets that it’s ok to get help.

Democrat State Senator Michael Hastings, a West Point grad and former Army Captain says they want to make the Illinois Department of Veterans Affairs reach out to returning vets of units that served in high conflict or casualty areas.

House Bill 2647 is advancing through the legislature and also strives to connect local chamber of commerce to hook vet organizations together with employers.

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At some point cash reserves won't be the answer for local schools

A downstate superintendent says at some point, all Illinois schools will be running out of cash reserves. That’s if the Illinois General Assembly doesn’t reach a compromise on a full fiscal year operating budget and education spending plan. Sherrard School District superintendent Alan Boucher says everyone knows it’s not good.

And Boucher says although a new education funding formula plan is being floated in Springfield that shows a modest increase for Sherrard, it still results in inequities when comparing his school to neighboring districts in the Quad Cities area.

Sherrard is currently owed over $500,000 in categorical funds from the state for such things as transportation and special education.

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More wet weather for parts of Illinois this week, followed by dry trend

More rain is in the forecast for parts of Illinois over the next several days. Not in the range of 4-to-8 inches like in some areas of central and southern Illinois last week, but still enough to get the rain gauge some work Wednesday into Thursday says meteorologist Richard Garuckas with Freese-Notis Weather.

Sothern Illinois can expect anywhere from a tenth to a half inch of rain Wednesday into Thursday. Dryer weather is then expected for most of the state beginning Friday into the early portion of next week and temperatures should be warming into the low to upper 70’s, and possibly 80’s by later next week. 

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Counterfeit Money Found in Bushnell

Counterfeit money is spreading through the Bushnell area.  According to Bushnell Police, two individuals found a $100 bill sitting on their doorstep yesterday morning.  Police collected both $100 bills, and encourage anyone who experiences similar incidents not to spend the money. Even though the 2 bills that were found were $100, police say it doesn’t mean other versions haven’t been made.

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Stamp Out Hunger Food Drive Will Take Place Saturday, May 13

The National Association of Letter Carriers is holding its 25th annual Stamp Out Hunger Food Drive on Saturday, May 13. Non-perishable food items will be collected nationwide and distributed to local food pantries. To participate, make sure to leave items for donation out by your mailbox on Saturday. A mail carrier will pick it up to distribute to a McDonough County food pantry. Four local organizations, Project Hope, Salvation Army, Loaves and Fishes and the Western Illinois Regional Council, will be taking part in this. 

 

Treigh Lasswell, who is in charge of the event locally this year, hopes to surpass the area's 6,400 pounds of food that was collected last year. Listen to my full interview with Treigh from K100 this morning below.

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Study: MD's Texts Can Help Patients Lose Weight

More than one in three adults in the U.S. are considered to be obese, and a new study suggests those who are struggling to lose weight might benefit if their doctors stayed in touch with them about the importance of eating a healthy diet.

In the study, one group of patients was given instructions on a healthy diet at the time of their doctor's visit. A second group got the same advice - but also received three text messages a week for 22 weeks, and after six months, they lost an average of 11.2 pounds, while the first group only dropped about two pounds.

Dr. Ashwani Singal, associate director of Hepatology at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, says for overweight people, shedding weight can be a matter of life or death.

"We know from experience that it can be relatively easy to lose weight at first but we want to know whether text messaging can help people over the long haul," he says.

Singal says obesity can lead to a variety of fatal illnesses including diabetes, heart disease and non-alcoholic liver disease, which can turn into cirrhosis or cancer.

The study is being discussed at the Digestive Disease Week conference in Chicago, which wraps up Tuesday.

The National Institutes of Health says obesity is associated with other chronic gastrointestinal illnesses and Singal says this study indeed indicates doctors may be able to help their patients by simply texting them.

"Based on the success in this study, we will be conducting additional larger studies over a longer period to examine the impact of this strategy on more long-term challenges," he adds.

People with a body mass index (BMI) of 30 or higher are considered obese. Nearly 70 percent of American adults are either overweight or obese.

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IL House Speaker Madigan Assembles New Budget Team

House Speaker Michael Madigan has assembled a four member team in a bid to seek out a budget compromise with Governor Bruce Rauner. He has tabbed Representatives Barbara Flynn Currie, Lou Lang, Arthur Turner and Jay Hoffman to work with the governor to identify areas of his agenda where compromise can be reached. Madigan released a statement noting critical services have been lost and the bill backlog has grown from a then shrinking 4.5 billion dollars to 13 billion dollars due to two years without a state budget. Madigan also expressed concern about bond rating agencies paying close attention to the state's lack of a budget. Madigan says "While we stand firm that the budget – and the budget alone – must be our top priority, it is also our desire to work cooperatively with the governor. It is our strong desire that Governor Rauner join us in putting the budget first. By showing the governor that House Democrats stand ready to work with him in good faith, it is my hope that he will return to the negotiating table and work with us to end the budget crisis.”

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Health official says no area of state immune from opioid crisis

They’re calling it an opioid crisis in Illinois and health officials say no area of the state is immune from the problem. The numbers don’t lie says Dr. Maria Bruni--the acting Assistant Secretary of the Illinois Department of Human Services.

Numbers are also on the rise for opioid overdoses that don’t lead to death, but lead to an ongoing addiction with illegal drugs like heroin.

Bruni says the Illinois Department of Human Services has been awarded a $16-million federal grant to respond to the opioid crisis.

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Quinn Portrait Hangs in State Capitol

Former Governor Pat Quinn was back at the statehouse today and now his image will hang in the hallways forever. Today was the day that Quinn’s official portrait was unveiled and hung in the Hall of Governors. The image shows Quinn standing in an office setting with interactive “found items” surrounding him. Quinn said once heard about idea he ran with it and knew there had to be one item…

Those items include a photograph of Quinn’s parents wedding day, his brothers and sons’. The portrait also includes nods to his professional achievements including advocacy of military families, expanding healthcare coverage and his signing of the Marriage Equality bill. 

 

By Chris Eaves - Ill. Gov. Pat Quinn, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=11174631

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A Man is in Custody on Burglary Charges

29-year old Eric Leonard was arrested on May 5th at his home in Monmouth after someone reported a burglary the day before. McDonough County Detectives say a 2007 Polaris 4-wheeler and a leaf blower was stolen from the victim’s home.  The 4-wheeler and Leaf blower were not found at Leonard house but police say they recovered them both at another resident in Monmouth on May 6th; the day after Leonard's arrest.  Leonard is now in the McDonough County Jail on a $7,500 bond.

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Hy-Vee Sushi Now 100% Certified

Hy-Vee continues to lead efforts to help promote healthy oceans. The supermarket chain announced today that their sushi is now 100 percent approved by legitimate sources.They assured that all the sushi that is prepared and sold at their stores across the mid-west, will contain seafood that is caught in an environmentally and socially responsible manner.  Hy-Vee’s Executive vice president of perishables Brett Bremser said we enjoy offering Hy-Vee customers the option of Japanese cuisine with fresh seafood, but we must also safeguard the health of our oceans.” Hy-Vee partnered with FishWise, a non-profit sustainable seafood consultancy, to help develop this new policy. Hy-Vee has currently ranked Top 10 most trusted brands, operating more than 240 retail stores across eight Midwestern states. 

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Illinois' Unsung Heroes Help Build Communities

Nominations are being sought for those who donate their time and energy to improve the lives of others.

Fifty of Illinois' "unsung heroes" are being recognized for their work helping nonprofit groups, the arts and culture, and small businesses in their communities with a special emphasis on those who can think outside the box and find creative ways to make Illinois a better place.

AARP Illinois is taking nominations for its 50@50 program. And Gerardo Cardenas, the group's communications director, says AARP is looking for individuals ages 50 and older who make tremendous contributions to improving cities and neighborhoods but often go unnoticed.

"A lot of these unsung heroes are unsung for a reason," he states. "They're modest. They don't necessarily try to get the spotlight shining on them.

"We're asking for others to nominate them, but also to fill out a nomination that includes a signature, so that they know that they're being considered."

Nominees are not required to be an AARP member, and those selected will be announced in the fall through a special section in Crain's Chicago Business, then recognized at a public event. Nominations are being accepted until June 30.

Nominees will be judged based on how they make a positive impact, and the work they do does not have to be through an AARP program.

Cardenas says it's a way to honor those 50 and older who strive to make Illinois a better place to work and live.

"A lot of times, people and organizations focus on those who are 40 and younger and who are business leaders and technology leaders and innovators, but in reality, when you think about it, age is not a limit," he states. "Age is a threshold."

Nominations forms and more information is available on the AARP website.

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Changing demographics in rural America

Demographics are shifting in rural America. The changes are being highlighted in research and commonly referred to as the three “D’s” says Illinois Farm Bureau Senior Economist Mike Doherty.

Doherty says the research shows several trends coming into play across rural America.

Doherty says a changing demographic pattern can have a significant impact on things like voting districts and the labor market. 

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Illinois Receives Millions of Dollars to Fight Opioid Addiction

The Federal Government is giving millions of dollars to the Illinois Department of Human Services(IDHS) to end opioid abuse. The I-D-H-S announced Wednesday that they will receive more than 16 millions dollars, and it will go towards prevention, treatment and recovery services for people suffering opioid addiction. In 2015 I-D-H-S reported 1,835 opioid-related deaths in Illinois which is a 16% increase form 2013. Emergency Room Physician Dr. Darrell Rust from O-S-F Health Care said “this is a widespread problem and that it is not just the junkies….It’s everywhere, so be aware.”  Dr. Rust recommends speaking with a physician if you or a family member are currently struggling with addiction. 

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High Risk Meat Recall in Six States, Including Illinois

Below is a press release from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service. If you think you may have come into contact with the contaminated meat, make sure you contact the toll-free USDA Meat and Poultry Hotline 1-888-MPHotline (1-888-674-6854) immeditaley. 

 

Marcho Farms, Inc., a Souderton, Pa. establishment, is recalling approximately 5,620 pounds of boneless veal, and ground veal, beef and pork products that may be adulterated withnon-O157 Shiga toxin-producing E. coli (STEC) O111, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) announced today.
 
The veal, beef and pork products were produced on April 11 and April 14, 2017. The following products are subject to recall:      
 
60-lb.cases of “VEAL BONELESS TRIMMINGS HALAL” with case code “5398” and “MANFU. DATE” of “04/11/2017.”
60-lb. cases of “VEAL TRIMMINGS USDA CHOICE” with case code “98” and “MANFU. DATE” of “04/11/17.”
9-lb. cases of “VEAL, BEEF, PORK GROUND FOR MEATLOAF” with case code “3122” and “Sell By” date “05/05/17.”
10-lb. cases of “VEAL, BEEF, PORK GROUND FOR MEATLOAF BULK PACK” with case code “3125.”
These items were distributed to retail stores and food service locations in Illinois, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, South Carolina and Virginia.                        
 
The problem was discovered when the Illinois State Meat Inspection Service notified FSIS on May 2, 2017, about positive non-O157 Shiga toxin-producing E. coli (STEC) samples made with source material produced by Marcho Farms, Inc. There have been no confirmed reports of adverse reactions due to consumption of these products.
 
Non-O157 Shiga toxin-producing E. coli (STEC) outbreaks are rare, but tend to primarily be due to contaminated food and person-to-person transmission. Like E. coli O157:H7, non-O157 Shiga toxin-producing E. coli (STEC) is a potentially deadly bacterium that can cause dehydration, bloody diarrhea and abdominal cramps 2–8 days (3–4 days, on average) after exposure the organism. While most people recover within a week, some develop a type of kidney failure called hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS). This condition can occur among persons of any age but is most common in children under 5-years old and older adults. It is marked by easy bruising, pallor, and decreased urine output. Persons who experience these symptoms should seek emergency medical care immediately.
 
FSIS and the company are concerned that some product may be frozen and in consumers' freezers.
 
Consumers who have purchased these products are urged not to consume them. These products should be thrown away or returned to the place of purchase.         
 
FSIS routinely conducts recall effectiveness checks to verify recalling firms notify theircustomers of the recall and that steps are taken to make certain that the product is no longer available to consumers. When available, the retail distribution list(s) will be posted on the FSIS website at www.fsis.usda.gov/recalls.
 
FSIS advises all consumers to safely prepare their raw meat products, including fresh and frozen, and only consume ground beef that has been cooked to a temperature of 160° F. The only way to confirm that ground beef is cooked to a temperature high enough to kill harmful bacteria is to use a food thermometer that measures internal temperature, http://1.usa.gov/1cDxcDQ
 
Consumers and media with questions about the recall can contact Herb Nicolo, Marcho Farms, Inc.’s plant manager, at (215) 721-7131.  
 
Consumers with food safety questions can "Ask Karen," the FSIS virtual representative available 24 hours a day at AskKaren.gov or via smartphone at m.askkaren.gov. The toll-free USDA Meat and Poultry Hotline 1-888-MPHotline (1-888-674-6854) is available in English and Spanish and can be reached from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. (Eastern Time) Monday through Friday. Recorded food safety messages are available 24 hours a day. The online Electronic Consumer Complaint Monitoring System can be accessed 24 hours a day at: http://www.fsis.usda.gov/reportproblem.

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Farmers may not like what they see on their tax bills this summer

Farmers will be opening up their tax bills around the state this summer and they’re probably not going to like what they see. Farmland market values have been declining, but assessed values will be increasing as will taxation says Brenda Matherly-- Assistant Director of Local Government for the Illinois Farm Bureau.

Matherly says poorer producing soils look to be hardest hit.

Producers should be looking in the mail for their 2018 assessed values for farmland, which are certified and released by the Illinois Department of Revenue.

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Party Line Vote By Illinois Reps to Repeal ACA

Republicans in Congress voted to repeal the Affordable Care Act and in Illinois it was a party line vote. All seven Republican congressmen voted for repeal and 11 Democrats voted against, the effort passed 217-213. Republican Rodney Davis said in an email statement “We promised the American people we would do whatever necessary to fix our broken health care system and this bill is just the start. Republican Governor Bruce Rauner who has stayed mostly on the sidelines of debate said in a released statement that the ACA was deeply flawed but the bill passed by the House is of deep concern because it did not address fundamental concerns about the bill's impact on the 650,000 individuals that are part of our Medicaid expansion population.

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American Health Care Act Moves to Senate.

A new health plan is in the works to potentially replace Obama Care. The American Health Care Act was voted on and passed by the House of Representatives today, and will now move on to the Senate. Congressman Darin LaHood said, “this is not a perfect bill, but is a positive step in the right direction.” This bill will also keep certain elements from Obama care like allowing young adults to stay on their parents' insurance until age 26.  LaHood states that “The American Health Care Act fulfills the promise to rescue Americans from the impending collapse of Obamacare and supports patient-centered reforms that will provide access to quality affordable care.”  Some republicans, on the other hand, are against the bill. Governor Bruce Rauner  released a statement today saying the bill is “a seriously flawed law that should be changed.” This will continue to be a debate as the bill moves forward to the Senate. 

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NRC looking at water spray valve issue at LaSalle Station

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission is still looking at an emergency water spray valve that was found to be bad during a LaSalle Station inspection two months ago. Senior Resident Inspector Robert Ruiz says other nuclear power plants have the same valve, so it’s important to know what went wrong.

There wasn’t a problem at LaSalle Station. The Unit 2 reactor was shut down for maintenance and refueling when the problem was found. So the inspections did what they were supposed to do by finding the bad part before it became a problem.

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Illinois State Fair fills Grandstand hole

The Illinois State Fair has filled its last remaining date on the Grandstand calendar. On August 15th, Sublime with Rome will be joined by Blues Traveler. The Fair's Rebecca Clark says the show will offer no shortage of 90s nostalgia....

Clark notes the prices are a throwback too, although they might seem more like prices from the 70s....

Tickets are on sale now through www.ticketmaster.com or at the Fair box office.

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Illinois Natural History Survey already monitoring pest traffic for farmers this spring

Spring planting is not even complete and the Illinois Natural History Survey has already begun monitoring pest traffic for farmers. The first area of concern is cutworm moth and army worm moth activity says the agency’s Kelly Estes.

Estes serves as the agency’s State Survey Coordinator of the Cooperative Agricultural Pest Survey Program. She is based at the University of Illinois in Champaign.

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WIU Announced The Date for The 14th Annual Memorial Tree Planting

Western Illinois University announced that they will host their 14th annual Memorial tree planting on May 8th. A tree will be planted at the Memorial Tree Grove to pay homage to all the employees who have passed away during the previous year. This ceremony will be located in the southeast section of WIU’s campus by University Village, near the West Pierce Street. This ceremony will be open to the public.

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Citizens May Community and Seniors Day Features AARP Smart Driver Course

Every month Citizens Bank holds a Community and Seniors Day in its main lobby. The event provides important services and amenities to the community. The event runs from 8:30 AM-10:30 AM the first Thursday of every month. 

 

For the May 4 event, AARP will hold its Smart Driver Course. This course runs from 8:30 AM-4:30 PM and costs $15 for AARP members ($20 for non-members). Instructor Kenneth Cole will teach the class, with insurance discounts available upon completion of the class. 

 

MDH Outreach Services will offer sun damage screenings using a UV camera. The screening is free and takes only a handful of minutes. The only preparation needed for this is just not to wear sunscreen on your face when taking the photo. 

 

These services, in addition to blood pressure testing from Heartland Healthcare and blood sugar testing from The Elms, will be offered. 

 

For more information on the services provided, listen to my conversation with Rochelle Seaver from Citizens and Kenneth Cole from AARP. 

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Contestants Bringing Solar Power to Low-Income Neighborhoods

Low- and moderate-income households represent 40 percent of America's population, but less than 5 percent of all solar customers.

A national competition is underway to expand solar electricity access to low-income communities. Forty-eight teams from 23 states and Washington, D.C., have been selected to compete for $1 million in prize money.

It's sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy's SunShot Initiative and run by SUNY Polytechnic University, where Michael Fancher - executive director of SUNY Polytechnic's Center for Advanced Technology in Nano Materials and Nano Electronics - said to win, teams must develop a business plan that will work in under-served communities.

"So that, long after the program, you have a vibrant community of these professionals able to continue and incorporate what they've learned from each other," said Fancher, "and replicating that in other low- and moderate-income communities."

Several teams from Illinois got seed money to put together a plan, but only one was selected as a finalist. Net Positive for All in Chicago will put a solar project together over the next 18 months. It must directly benefit low- and moderate-income households, local governments or nonprofits.

According to Fancher, the idea is to match solar installers with agencies that want to make the move to renewable energy.

"Getting the network activated, and then working with the not-for-profit community and the other participants in the low- and moderate-income communities, is really kind of the focus of this program," he said, "and you can see that in the allocation of its funding."

There's a grand prize of $500,000, with other awards of $100,000 and $200,000.

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New Retirement Home Coming Soon to Macomb

The former hotel Lamoine is being renovated into a new retirement community. The soon to be Lamoine retirement home will be located in Macomb’s downtown square at 203 E. Randolph Street. Some of the things that residents will be able to enjoy is the new elegant lobby, grand dining room, a stylish ballroom, and curbside restaurant which will be open to the public. The Lamoine is anticipated to open this fall 2017. Those who are interested can make an appointment at 855-526-6463.

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OPS and Parking Services to Host Bicycle Auction

WIU’s Office of Public Safety and Parking Services are hosting a bicycle auction with the help of Lowderman auction of Macomb. This event will be Friday, June 2nd at the University Service Building on West University Drive. The bicycles will be out for display at 4 pm, registrations will being at 5 pm, and the auction will begin at 6 pm. There will be over 80 bicycles and lost and found items being auctioned at this event. For more information, you can contact OPS at 308-298-1949

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The City of Macomb is Calling For The Help of Residents in City-Wide Clean-Up

The City of Macomb and Waste Management announced today that there will be a City-Wide Clean-Up will be this month. The City-Wide Clean-Up will begin on May 15 and end on May 18. The City of Macomb is asking residents to place all their waste and trash curbside no earlier than 48-hours before their regular pickup day. City Crews are lacking in time and resources due to some residents placing their waste and trash out too late. Mayor Mike Inman says the City-Wide Clean-Up is beneficial to the community, and “On-time placement of refuse and trash keeps the cost down.” Here are some things you need to know before placing your waste and trash out for clean-up:
1. Residents are advised that refuse and trash be placed in containers or bundles weighing less than 50 pounds.
2. Sturdy bags, including plastic trash bags, will be permitted.
3. “White goods” and bulk items are to be placed as close to the curb as possible
4. Lose refuse and electronics are not permitted.
5. Other items like yard waste, liquid waste,  and hazardous waste are not permitted.

 

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Comptroller Cuts Checks for Medicare Providers

Illinois Comptroller Susana Mendoza is telling health care providers the check is in the mail. Increased revenues from the tax season have paved the way for her to release more than $800 million in payments for health care services. The money will go to nearly a dozen managed-care operations in Illinois serving Medicaid patients.


 

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