Macomb Local News

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: 
 

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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: https://www.facebook.com/McDonoughCountyCATS/?ref=page_internal
 
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:

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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.

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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
Macomb.
 
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
improvement.
 
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.”

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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

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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.

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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 https://form.jotform.us/81794453404157 , at the church, or at the park at the large shelter. 
 
My full interview with Kelly Ingersoll can be found here 
 

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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 https://www.youtube.com/user/WesternIllinoisU/videos
 
"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." 
 

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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.

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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        

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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
Dominos
Tattoo Blue
HyVee
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!

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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. 
 

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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.

 

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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.

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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 www.dph.illinois.gov
 

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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 DR-Shinberger@wiu.edu
 

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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 www.MDH.org.
 

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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 http://www.thenuggetbarandfamilyrestaurant.com/kidney-fundraiser.html

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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*

State

Total Energy Cost

Monthly Electricity Cost (Rank)

Monthly Natural-Gas Cost (Rank)

Monthly Motor-Fuel Cost (Rank)

Monthly Home Heating-Oil Cost (Rank)

1

Wyoming

$372

$112
(38)

$37
(12)

$221
(1)

$1
(26)

2

Connecticut

$366

$156
(3)

$37
(16)

$126
(37)

$47
(3)

3

Georgia

$349

$154
(4)

$39
(11)

$157
(15)

~ $0
(42)

4

Alabama

$341

$173
(2)

$18
(41)

$150
(17)

~ $0
(39)

5

Mississippi

$340

$147
(9)

$15
(48)

$178
(2)

~ $0
(51)

6

Alaska

$338

$136
(16)

$58
(1)

$107
(49)

$37
(5)

7

Indiana

$337

$129
(25)

$33
(22)

$175
(4)

~ $0
(29)

8

West Virginia

$332

$147
(8)

$24
(33)

$158
(13)

$3
(15)

9

Oklahoma

$331

$132
(19)

$30
(25)

$168
(6)

~ $0
(44)

10

North Dakota

$330

$132
(23)

$20
(38)

$175
(3)

$3
(14)

 

The full report can be found here https://wallethub.com/edu/energy-costs-by-state/4833/

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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 greasersgarage61455@gmail.com or find them on Facebook.

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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
 
 

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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.

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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
 

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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 WalletHub.com; search “best hotel rewards”. You can also find out more about the different Credit Cards by visiting https://wallethub.com/best-gas-credit-cards/
 
 

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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)
 

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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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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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.

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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 info@wimuseum.org

 

For more information about the band and to listen to a sampling of their performance, visit their website at https://cornpotato.com/.

 

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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 www2.illinois.gov/sites/sfm/Pages/default.aspx

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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.”

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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 https://www.cdc.gov/ 

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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 wiu.edu/admissions

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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.

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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.edu/bot

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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.

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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."

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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 JL-Hancks@wiu.edu

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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.

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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
www.cityofmacomb.com

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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 http://go.illinois.edu/LearnPest

 

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

County Extension office at 309-342-5108.

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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 wiu.edu/libraries/archives/.

 

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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.

 

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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:/macombheritagedays.com on Facebook at
https:/www.facebook.com/HeritageDaysMacomb/ or contact Macomb Area Convention and
Visitors Bureau at 309-833-1315 or www.makeitmacomb.com. 

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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.

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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 www.macombheritagedays.com 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.
 
 

 

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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
experiences.
 
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

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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.

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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
Griffin. 

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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 https://www.aviationacrossamerica.org/wp-content/uploads/IL-Macomb-Proclamation-618.pdf

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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
investigate.
 
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.

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WIU 2018 Agronomy Field Day

The school of Agriculture’s 2018 Agronomy Field Day at WIU is Thursday June 28th and will
feature information on weed management. The program begins at noon with a lunch at the
WIU Livestock Center, on 2265 Wigwam Hollow Rd.
 
The keynote speaker, William Patzoldt of Blue River Technology, will speak during lunch. He will
discuss his company’s technology “See and Spray” with presentations about artificial
intelligence learns to identify and spot-spray weeds while mowing.
 
There will also be a tour and discussion of the lessons learned in WIU’s weed management
plots. The field day is open and free to the public. More information can be found at the office
of WIU School of Agriculture at (309) 298-1080.

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Duckworth, Durbin Introduce Legislation to Provide A Better Deal for American Workers

As working families across the country struggle to achieve basic economic security and income inequality reaches its highest level since the Great Depression, U.S. Senators Tammy Duckworth and Dick Durbin joined a number of Senate and House Democrats in introducing legislation to provide a better deal for American workers and strengthen workers’ rights to collectively bargain.

 

The Workers' Freedom to Negotiate Act contains much-needed reforms that would make it easier for workers to form a union and collectively bargain for better pay and safer working conditions. The legislation is a stark contrast to efforts by the Trump Administration and Congressional Republicans to maximize corporate profits, cut taxes for the wealthy and roll back crucial labor rights designed to protect American workers. Corporate profits are soaring but across our state, too many Illinoisans are being left behind.

 

“We need to ensure every American has the chance to work a good-paying job that allows them to support their families and save for a secure retirement," said Duckworth.

 

"Workers' rights have come under attack by Republicans in Congress to stack the deck in favor of big corporations and special interests. Middle class families feel that the system isn't working for them anymore," Durbin said.

 

The Legislation would:

-Strengthen workers' rights to organize for basic workplace improvements, including higher wages and better working conditions.

-Authorize meaningful penalties on corporations that violate workers' rights to organize a union through intimidation and retaliation.

-Closes loopholes in federal labor laws that allow employers to misclassify their employees as supervisors and independent contractors.

-Allow workers to seek justice in court when employers unlawfully interfere with their rights to form a union or are retaliated against.

-Protect integrity of union elections by preventing employers from forcing workers to attend captive audience meetings.

-Empower the National Labor Relations Board to enforce its own rulings like other federal agencies instead of waiting for a decision from the Court of Appeals

-Safeguards workers' access to justice by clarifying employers cannot force employees to waive their right to class-action litigation.

-Create mandatory mediation and arbitration process to ensure corporations and newly formed unions reach a first contract

-Use federal purchasing power to protect workers by requiring federal contractors to disclose any.

 

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Macomb Rotary Club to hold Heritage Days raffle to benefit local literacy programs

The Macomb Rotary Club will hold a raffle leading up to 2018 Heritage Days. The raffle will go towards funding for local literacy programs. The Rotary Club will distribute the money to local organizations, including the United Way of McDonough County.

 

Prizes from the raffle include, a 2017 Kubota Kommander, 2017 Rambler 200cc Double Seat Go-Kart, $300 cash, and $200 cash. Tickets can be purchased leading up to Saturday, June 23, when Macomb Mayor Mike Inman will draw for the winners at Heritage Days. 

 

Tickets can be purchased from a member of the Macomb Rotary Club, at Edward Jones Corey Clem in Macomb, and at Hertiage Days before the Saturday night drawing. For more information on the raffle, listen to my interview with rotary club member Ted Renner.

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Macomb City Council meeting agenda for Monday, June 18

After a week hiatus, the Macomb City Council will meet on Monday, June 18 at 5:15 p.m. in Macomb City Hall. The full meeting agenda can be viewed below. 

 

AGENDA
MACOMB CITY COUNCIL
MONDAY, JUNE 18, 2018
MACOMB CITY HALL
5:15 P.M.
 
MEETING CALLED TO ORDER
PLEDGE
ROLL CALL 
 
SWEAR IN NEW POLICE OFFICER ZACHARY HILL
 
PROCLAMATION FOR GENERAL AVIATION MONTH
 
CONSENT AGENDA
 
1. Minutes of the Macomb City Council meeting held on Monday, June 4, 2018.
 
2. Claims and Accounts
 
3. Department Reports: Fire Department
 
4. Accept and place on file Treasurer’s report for May 
 
PUBLIC COMMENTS
 
UNFINISHED BUSINESS
 
1. Consideration to approve the first addendum to Spring Lake Management and Maintenance agreement between the City of Macomb and Independent Contractor.
A copy of the addendum is attached for your review. Final action will be in order.
 
2. Consideration to approve the first addendum to Funding Agreement between the City of Macomb and the Western Illinois Regional Council – Community Action Agency.
A copy of the addendum is attached for your review. Final action will be in order.
 
3. Other unfinished business.
 
NEW BUSINESS
 
1. Consideration of a resolution to establish the general prevailing rate of wages for public works for the City of Macomb, McDonough County, Illinois for the twelve-month period commencing June 1, 2018.
A copy of the resolution is attached for your review. Final adoption will be in order.
 
2. Consideration of a resolution for temporary closure of State maintained roadway for a public event – Western Illinois University homecoming parade.
A copy of the resolution is attached for your review. Final adoption will be in order.
 
 
Agenda
June 18, 2018
Page 2
 
NEW BUSINESS – Continued
 
3. Consideration of an ordinance to create a special event liquor license for the MHS Class of 98 event.
This will be presented for first reading and due to the timeline, staff is asking for second reading to be waived. A copy of the ordinance is attached for your review.
 
4. Other new business.
 
COMMITTEE REPORTS
 
ALDERMANIC REPORTS
 
MAYORAL APPOINTMENTS
 
EXECUTIVE SESSION
 
a) Appointment, employment, compensation, discipline, performance or dismissal of an employee of the public body or legal counsel for the public body, pursuant to Sec. 2(c) (1) of the Open Meetings Act.
 
b) Collective Bargaining matters between the public body and its employees or 
representatives or deliberations concerning salary schedules for one or more classes of employees, pursuant to Sec. 2(c) (2) of the Open Meetings Act.
 
c) The purchase or lease of real property for the use of the public body, pursuant to Sec. 2(c) (5) of the Open Meetings Act.
 
d) The setting of a price for sale or lease of property owned by the public body, 
pursuant to Sec. 2(c) (6) of the Open Meetings Act.
 
e) Pending or probable litigation, pursuant to Sec. 2(c) (11) of the Open Meetings Act.
 
COUNCIL ADJOURNMENT 
 
 
 

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Illinois unemployment rate declines for fifth consecutive month

The Illinois Department of Employment Security (IDES) announced today that the unemployment rate has decreased by -0.1 percentage point to 4.3 percent in May. IDES also released preliminary data provided by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) which revealed that nonfarm payrolls have increased by +8,600 jobs over-the-month. 
 
Average monthly gains of +4,600 jobs from the March to May period compare to about the same average monthly gain of +4,500 jobs between December 2017 to May 2018. 
“Through the first five months of the year, jobs are growing faster than each of the past two years,” said IDES Director Jeff Mays. “More than half of the year-to-date gain of nearly 28,000 jobs is coming from those sectors with higher-than-average wages.”
 
In May, the three industry sectors with the largest gains in employment were Education and Health Services (+3,500); Government (+2,600); and Financial Activities (+2,100). The industry sectors with the largest payroll declines were: Information services (-900) and Leisure and Hospitality (-800). 
“Since Governor Rauner took office, Illinois has added 192,700 jobs and the unemployment rate has fallen 1.7 points,” said Illinois Department of Commerce Director Sean McCarthy. “We’re seeing increases in job creation, retention, and investment due to the implementation of a pro-business climate. Our work certainly continues as we look to build upon these results to generate opportunity and success for all Illinoisans.”
 
The national unemployment rate reported for May 2018 dropped to 3.8 percent, which makes Illinois +0.5 percentage points higher than the national rate. Overall, the Illinois unemployment rate is down -0.6 percentage points from a year ago, when it was 4.9 percent. 
 
The unemployment rate identifies individuals who are out of work and are seeking employment. IDES’ provides jobseekers with the state’s largest search engine, IllinoisJoblink.com (IJL), which recently showed 55,668 posted resumes and 200,555 available jobs. 
 

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"Mythic Creatures: Dragons, Unicorns & Mermaids" exhibition opens at Peoria Riverfront Museum

“Mythic Creatures: Dragons, Unicorns & Mermaids” opens to the public June 23 through Sept. 30 at the Peoria Riverfront Museum throughout the summer. The show features a European unicorn with a magical horn, a dragon with a wingspan of more than 19-ft., a kraken coming up through the floor, mermaids, an Asian phoenix, a Greek Pegasus and other whimsical creatures of mythology.
 
“Mythic Creatures” was organized by the museum featured in the film “Night at the Museum,” the American Museum of Natural History in New York City. It draws content from cultures around the world that brought magical and mythic creatures to life through storytelling, music and works of art. Often they were inspired by fossils and living animals. Today these creatures and the legends around them continue to inspire stories and film.
 
“This will certainly be a summer of mythic proportions,” said Bill Conger, curator of the Peoria Riverfront Museum, in a museum press release. “We’ll be displaying ‘life-size’ models of these fictional creatures along with amazing artwork including paintings and textiles, and historic cultural objects from around the world.”
 
The exhibition will be accompanied by a summer of family programming and events that celebrate and tell the story of how these creatures come to be. As part of the “mythic” programming, “Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom,” will be shown in the museum’s giant screen theater June 21 through July 19 at 7 p.m. (2D) and 10 p.m. (3D). 
 
Exhibition entry costs $5 in addition to regular museum entry. For more information about the “Mythic Creature” exhibition or museum programming, call 309.686.7000 or visit RiverfrontMuseum.org.
 

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SummerStage Theatre returns to WIU with 'Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat'

The College of Fine Arts and Communication at Western Illinois University announced the first season of SummerStage, with performances of "Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat" beginning Friday through Saturday, July 13-14, in Hainline Theatre.
 
“Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat" is a reimagining of the Biblical story of Joseph, his father Jacob, eleven brothers and the coat of many colors. 
 
This project is funded by donors, with a generous donation from Dr. Rick and Mrs. Monica Iverson, and is sponsored by Citizens Bank, a division of Morton Community Bank. "SummerStage as an important part of the arts in Macomb and we wanted to see it brought back to the community," the Iversons noted in a WIU News release.
 
Tickets, $20 for the general public and $15 for senior citizens and students, are available by calling 309-298-2900, from 8:30 a.m. - 4 p.m. Monday-Friday, or visiting Browne Hall 115 (8:30 a.m.-4 p.m. M-F). Tickets may also be purchased online at https://bit.ly/2y5l4zB. For more information, visit wiu.edu/cofac/summerstage.
 

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State Fair and Lincoln Museum offer half price discount

The Illinois State Fair and Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library & Museum (ALPLM) are announcing special discount admission tickets for families looking to find some family friendly activities for the summer.  This “Double Play’ ticket promotion offers visitors half price admission at both the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum and the Illinois State Fair. 
 
These $12 discount admission tickets are available for a limited time only. The “Double Play” tickets can be purchased at the Emmerson Building on the state fairgrounds (Monday– Friday 8:00-4:30pm) and at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum (Monday-Friday 9:00-4:00pm). 
 
These special discount tickets make it easier for visitors to enjoy both events on the same day, However, the purchaser of the tickets has until the end of the year to use the ALPLM ticket. “This is a great opportunity, a great offer, for families to explore all the fun activities our city has to offer,” said State Fair Manager Luke Sailer. “Both venues are family friendly destinations, and with the “Double Play” promotion we can help families affordably enjoy both tourist destinations.”   
 
This year’s theme for the Illinois State Fair is Celebrate Illinois: 200 Years of Amazing in respect to the state’s bicentennial. The Illinois State Fair is proud to celebrate the best attributes of our state. The bicentennial celebration only adds more excitement to the event. Look for various bicentennial programming, along with a bicentennial flare to the annual Twilight Parade, during the 2018 Illinois State Fair. 
 
The Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library & Museum will have some new content for visitors this year by highlighting four U.S. presidents who lived in Illinois. From Illinois to the White House: Lincoln, Grant, Reagan, Obama is a special exhibit that will be on display through 2018 to celebrate Illinois’ bicentennial. Visitors will also have the opportunity to view unique artifacts and fascinating photos, test their knowledge of presidents through trivia, or step into the president’s shoes by delivering a presidential address from the teleprompter. 
 
“As Illinois celebrates its 200th birthday, we hope every family gets a chance to explore the state and learn more about all it has to offer,” said Alan Lowe, executive director of the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum. “We’re happy to make that a little more convenient by teaming with the Illinois State Fair to offer these special prices for admission to the fair and to the museum. This year, the museum has its usual great displays about Lincoln and also a once-in-a-lifetime exhibit about the other presidents with Illinois roots.”
 
The Illinois State Fair is now only 60 days away, so start planning your visit today. Gate admission, parking passes, and Mega Pass are on sale now through the Illinois State Fair website.  In addition, discount admission booklets will be available for purchase starting July 1st at participating County Market grocery stores. There is also an Illinois State Fair mobile app available for download to help plan for the 11-day event. 
 
The Illinois State Fair will take place August 9 –August 19 in Springfield, Illinois.
Stay connected by following them on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. 
The Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum can also be found on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram
 

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Macomb Police adds internet purchase and child custody exchange location

The Macomb Police Department, through a donation from the City of Macomb, has added an internet purchase and child custody exchange location. The meet up spot is located on the south side of the MPD parking lot (120 S. McArthur St.). There is video recording on the premises, to ensure that people feel safe making purchases with others. 

 

(Via Macomb Police Department on Facebook)

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WIRC-CAA Victim Services to hold annual 'Silvie's Ride' Saturday

The annual Western Illinois event dedicated to a child who lost her life as a result of child absue, will take place Saturday, June 16. 
 
Western Illinois Regional Council-Community Action Agency Victim Services will hold 'Silvie's Ride' in memory of Silven “Silvie” Iris Yocum, who became a fatal victim of child abuse on September 16, 2006 at just the age of five. The ride, as well as a full slate of events Saturday centered around it, will raise money for WIRC-CAA Victim Services as it continues its mission of helping children and families in West Central Illinois who have experienced or witnessed abuse. 
 
The ride is for anyone with a vehicle of any kind, not just a motorcylce. It costs $20 to register ($5 for passengers) with registration between 8 30 and 10 a.m. that morning at the Macomb Elks Lodge (401 S. Deere Road, Macomb). It will encompass McDonough Fulton Warren and Hancock counties.
 
There will be a breakfast before the ride, served at the Elks Lodge from 7-10 a.m. This costs $7 per person. 
 
Food and entertainment will be ongoing at the Elks Lodge after the ride, from 4:30-9:00 p.m. There will be a silent auction and $100 drawing for those who have completed the ride. The band 'Bucket Fish' is scheduled to perform. You do not need to take part in the ride to participate in the breakfast or the food and entertainment aspects of the day. 
 

For more details on Silvie's Ride, listen to my interview with Diane Mayfield of WIRC-CAA Victim Services. 

 

 
 
 

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Wallethub study ranks Illinois 4th best for teenage driving

The personal-finance website Wallethub released its report on 2018’s Best & Worst States for Teen Drivers today. This was released due to teens obtaining driver’s licenses during the summer more than every season and an average of six teens die every day from motor vehicle injuries. 
 
Wallethub compared the 50 states based on 23 key metrics to determine the safest and least costly driving environments for U.S. teenagers. The research concluded that Illinois is the 4th best state for teenage drivers. The data in the report covers a wide range of factors, including the following:
 
Teenage Driving in Illinois (1=Best; 25=Avg)
15th – Teen Driver Fatalities per Teen Population
2nd – Teen DUIs per Teen Population
17th – Avg. Cost of Car Repairs
1st – Presence of Distracted-Driving/Texting-While-Driving Laws
3rd – Provision of Teen Driver’s Graduated Licensing Program Laws
6th – Vehicle Miles Traveled per Capita
6th – Presence of Occupant-Protection Laws
25th – Quality of Roads
1st – Presence of Impaired-Driving Laws
 
The full Wallethub report can be seen here
 
 

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Jensen Woods Camp Foundation to hold celebratory event at Adams County Fairgrounds

The Jensen Woods Camp Foundation, a  501C3 raising money to purchase Jensen Woods Camp located near Timewell and reopen it as a non-denominational Christian camp, has announced a celebratory event to be held at the Adams County Fairgrounds on Saturday, June 23. 

 

The free event will go from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Lunch will be served by the Corn Dog Stand of Mt. Sterling. Other elements of the day include live music, cotton candy, popcorn, a bake sale, kids’ games, archery and a petting zoo. A live auction will be held at 2 p.m. and a silent auction ends at 4:30 p.m. A wall of Jensen Woods pictures and testimonials will also be displayed. 

 

For more information on Jensen Woods Camp and the Jensen Camp Foundation, visit www.jensencampfoundation.org. You can also get in touch with the Foundation via email and Facebook

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Dietz named MDH Interim CEO

McDonough District Hospital announced Monday evening that Brian Dietz will take over as Interim CEO, effective Friday, June 22. This comes as current President/CEO Kenny Boyd officially resigns. He first announced his impending resignation on April 27. 

 

The decision was made to accept Dietz as Interim CEO at a Monday Special Meeting of the Board of Directors. 

 

Dietz comes to MDH with experience serving in an interim role at various hospitals throughout the country. He has done so on several occasions for B.E. Smith, the search firm that MDH is using to find its permenant replacement for Boyd. 

 

Dietz most recently served as Interim CEO at INTEGRIS Bass Baptist Hospital in Enid, Oklahoma. He has also worked as the CEO of Saint Francis Healthcare in Wilmington, Delaware for four years.

 

 In a MDH press release, Board of Directors Chairman Dr. Rick Iverson provided the following statement:

 
“When the committee narrowed down the list of candidates, Brian impressed everyone in the group. He has an impressive track record as an interim CEO. We will not be sitting idle until a permanent CEO is named, Brian will continue to move our organization forward and strengthening our brand. I know he will do an excellent job for McDonough District Hospital,” Iverson said. 

 

Dietz's stops in Illinois include Blessing Hospital in Quincy (as Interim CEO from September 2008 through May 2009) and St. Mary's Hospital in Streator (Consulting CEO from April through October 2012).

 

He has also worked in an interim role in healthcare facilities in Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, and Oregon. He has worked as a senior executive healthcare professional for over 35 years. 

 

Dietz earned his bachelor's degree from Frostburg State University and a MHA degree from George Washington University. 

 

No time-table of the search for a permanent CEO has been announced. 

 

 

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Ethics scandal 'a much more serious threat to the Speaker's power' than any other time, longtime observer says

The crumbling of House Speaker Michael Madigan’s inner circle amid one ethics scandal after another is the most serious threat to the longest-serving state House Speaker’s power, according to a longtime observer.
 
Madigan’s longtime chief of staff was fired this week. A leading ally in the House was demoted. Another is retiring. And there are calls for independent investigations into the speaker's office from within his own caucus. 
 
Madigan’s been in the House since 1971. With the exception of a two years in the 1990s, he’s been Speaker since 1983. That’s the longest-serving state House speaker in U.S. history.
 
University of Illinois at Springfield politics professor emeritus Kent Redfield has been following Illinois politics since 1975.
 
Redfield said the retirement of Madigan’s top lieutenant, House Majority Leader Barbara Flynn Currie, isn’t as significant as other loses. Madigan has managed to stay in power for decades amid turnover. What is significant is the recent demotion of state Rep. Lou Lang, D-Skokie, from leadership and the resignation of Madigan's longtime Chief of Staff and House Clerk Tim Mapes, both within a week and after public allegations of wrongdoing.
 
“This is a much more serious threat to the Speaker’s power and his longevity than anytime in my memory,” Redfield said.
 
Earlier this year, two of Madigan's political operatives also were outed for inappropriate behavior. Political operative Kevin Quinn allegedly made unwanted advances toward campaign staffer Alaina Hampton during the 2016 election cycle. He was fired, but only after Chicago media outlets were preparing to publish the story in February. Within that same week, another campaign operative, Shaw Decremer, left Madigan’s operation after claims he was creating a hostile environment in a political campaign.
 
Hampton sued in federal court, claiming she was retaliated against for trying to report the harassment internally. Madigan’s team motioned to have the case thrown out last week.
 
Also earlier this year, Madigan unveiled a list of nine different incidents that his statehouse office handled dealing with allegations of harassment, intimidation and retaliation spanning five years. When asked if such a pattern reflects a culture within his office, Madigan said “there’s no culture with me … we don’t tolerate inappropriate behavior. We just don’t tolerate it.”
 
Last week, Sherri Garrett, a Madigan statehouse staffer, came forward with several allegations against Mapes, who served as Madigan's chief of staff. Within hours Mapes resigned at Madigan's request. The week before that, Maryann Loncar, a medical cannabis activist, alleged state Rep. Lou Lang harassed and intimidated her. Within hours, Lang stepped down from his deputy majority leadership post, his post on a commission that writes administrative rules, and another post on a commission that oversees ethics complaints against lawmakers.
 
A few weeks before that, state Rep. Kelly Cassidy, D-Chicago, alleged that Mapes and Madigan ally state Rep. Bob Rita, D-Blue Island, tried to use her part-time job as leverage against her because she was critical of Madigan’s handling of harassment allegations. Rita denied the allegations. Cassidy said Madigan can no longer claim he’s one step removed from attempts at intimidation and retaliation.
 
Following Cassidy’s allegations, Madigan called for the special legislative inspector general to investigate his office, but state Sen. Karen McConnaughay, who sits on the commission that oversees the LIG, said there are too many conflicts of interest as a Madigan attorney interviewed the special LIG for the job.
 
State Reps. Kelly Burke, Deb Conroy and Ann Williams called for an independent investigation into all operations of the House of Representatives and Madigan's office.
 
Redfield said with all of this, Madigan will likely be an albatross around some House Democrats' necks this November.
 
“Most (legislative) districts in Illinois are not competitive,” Redfield said. “It’s not going to make much difference one way or another, but it certainly can become an issue in the targeted districts that do make a difference in terms of who controls the legislature.”

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"We're stuck:" Illinois residents' underwater homes keeping them here

Steinar Andersen is a disabled veteran, widower and father of a disabled stepson who is ready to move out of Illinois.

But he can't. Employed as a information technology manager, he and his wife bought an old farmhouse near Huntley in 2005. After the housing bubble burst and the state widened a nearby road, he’s deeply underwater on his loan.

“I still owe $187,000 in principle,” said Anderson, 55, now fully disabled from a service-related injury. “Once I get to $90,000 in principle in about 10 years, I’ll be able to sell at a $130,000 loss.”

Andersen would like to move out of state.

“We really should be living in Arizona as it is more ‘disability’ friendly and the property taxes are much less,” he said.

Andersen isn't alone. 

Collen Percy and her recently retired husband are $85,000 underwater on their suburban Plainfield home. They’re worried about property taxes eroding their home’s value further, pushing a potential payoff of their home further into their twilight years.

“We’re stuck,” she said. “We would love to sell [our home] and go live in a smaller home so we don’t have the upkeep and tax burden.”

It’s no secret that a large number of Illinoisans want to become ex-Illinoisans. A poll conducted by Southern Illinois University at Carbondale showed that every other person they asked about running for the border would if given the opportunity. Their reasons were common gripes for residents here; taxes, weather, lack of jobs or education elsewhere.

Two new reports on home equity reveal that a number of Illinoisans, like Anderson and Percy, may be chained to to the state by a mortgage larger than their home is worth.

A study of negative equity by real estate site Zillow found 16.4 percent of Illinois homeowners with a mortgage owed that is more than their home was valued as of the end of 2017.

“There are several metro’s throughout Illinois that are even higher,” Zillow economist Sarah Mikhitarian said.

Centralia, Dixon and Canton are the highest, with nearly two of every five mortgages underwater. Chicago, Illinois’ economic engine and home to the state’s highest wages, saw 15 percent of mortgages carrying negative equity, representing $28 billion in lost home value.

CoreLogic’s data from the first quarter of 2018 showed nine percent of mortgages in Illinois are underwater. Nationally, only Louisiana (10.3 percent) had a higher percentage of underwater mortgages.

Having an underwater home mortgage can create serious hurdles.

“It makes it difficult to move for a new job opportunity to relocate elsewhere,” Mikhitarian said.

The state’s income growth since the recession has run congruent to Mikhitarian’s notion. According to Pew Charitable Trusts, Illinois has seen 0.6 percent income growth since 2007, less than half the national average and only better than Connecticut.

High property taxes can push the value of homes further into the depths, experts say.

According to Zillow’s estimates, almost one in 10 Huntley homeowners are underwater on their mortgages, amounting to $62 million in negative equity. Like Andersen, those borrowers would have to pay the balance to sell their home.

“There is nothing left in this state to want to remain living here,” Andersen said.

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WIU BOT approves FY19 spending plan, tables Thomas contract resolution

The Western Illinois University Board of Trustees met Friday morning in the Quad Cities and approved its Fiscal Year 2019 Preliminary Spending Plan, which comes out to $224.3 million. The plan must be prepared prior to July 1 for submission to the Illinois Board of Higher Education, the Illinois State Legislature and the Governor. 
 
Board members also approved the implementation of University's Higher Values in Higher Education Higher Values in Higher Education 2017-2022 Strategic Plan. 
 
A subject of much discussion in the Macomb community in recent months has been the future of President Jack Thomas at WIU. The BOT agreed to table the resolution of updating Thomas’ contract to a later date. This comes as Thomas has been named a finalist for jobs at other colleges in recent months. 
 
Twenty-six faculty members were also granted tenure at this meeting. The board will hold a retreat July 12 through 13th in the Quad Cities. Their next regular scheduled meeting will be held September 27-28 on the WIU-Macomb campus. 

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Illinois among five states in Salmonella outbreak linked to pre-cut melons

The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) has reported six cases of Salmonella that match a multi-state strain. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is reporting 60 cases from five states, with pre-cut melons, including fruit salads, the likely source of this outbreak. Indiana, Michigan, Missouri, and Ohio that have seen similar cases. 

 

“The Illinois Department of Public Health is urging people not to eat pre-cut melon purchased from any Walmart store in Illinois, or any of the other affected states, at this time,” said IDPH Director Nirav D. Shah, M.D., J.D.  “If you have recently purchased pre-cut melon from Walmart, throw it out.  If you have recently eaten pre-cut melon from a Walmart store and experience diarrhea, fever, and cramps, contact your health care provider.”
 
Illinois cases range in age from 23 to 87 years, and have been reported in all regions of the state. It is recommended that people do not eat pre-cut watermelon from Walmart stores in Illinois. Other grocery stores may be added to the list as the investigation continues. 
 
Walmart stores in Illinois have removed pre-cut melons linked to this outbreak from their shelves. 
 
IDPH advises people to use the proper food safety measures when buying whole melons. Make sure to wash the melons before you start cutting. Also make sure you’ve washed your hands and all utensils, knives and cutting boards, and don’t let fresh fruits and vegetables come into contact with raw meat.  

 

 

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Illinois' pension buyout plan savings depend on volunteers

Illinois plans to borrow $1 billion to buy employees out of their underfunded pension plans, but just how much the state will save depends on how many opt for the buyout.
 
Illinois state pensioners looking to get more control of their retirement will soon have that option with several pension buyout plans passed by the legislature and enacted by the governor for the coming fiscal year. But it will take time for the state’s pension systems to crunch the numbers and get everything in order.
 
Illinois’ worst-in-the-nation pension liability stands north of $130 billion. The state's five pension funds range from a 39.3 percent funding level for the Teachers Retirement System down to a 14.4 percent funding level for the General Assembly Retirement System. Funding for the systems are further stressed by the 3 percent compounded annual increase for Tier I pensioners.
 
For years, lawmakers have proposed various ideas to reduce the liability. In 2011, lawmakers created a Tier II system with less costly benefits for new employees. A 2013 pension reform plan was shot down by the Illinois Supreme Court back in 2015 as an unconstitutional diminishment of benefits.
 
As a workaround, lawmakers this year brought about three different plans to try to lower the growing liability that is set to take up to a quarter of every tax dollar the state brings in.
One option is an automatic annual increases buyout program that lawmakers said would save $380 million.
 
“It’s voluntary,” state Sen. Heather Steans, D-Chicago, said. “For retiring Tier I members, they have an option to have their automatic annual increases calculated at 1.5 percent in exchange for an accelerated pension benefit payment equal to 70 percent of what that difference would be in the life of the value of their pension benefit.”
 
Another plan lawmakers say will help save $40 million is a buyout that state Rep. Mark Batinick, R-Plainfield, said is for eligible members who aren’t old enough to retire or have moved on to another job.
 
“They might get a small annuity down the road and they can trade that in for a lump sum that they can roll into a 403(b), which is similar to a 401(k), and invest it how they see fit,” Batinick said.
 
Both options would give annuitants instant control over retirement money, rather than leaving the fiduciary duty to a state government beset by financial problems, including billions in overdue bills.
 
Wealth management adviser and Phase 3 Advisory Services President John Bever said pension plans have the advantage of lasting a retiree’s entire life, but after that, it’s done, except for what’s due to surviving spouses.
 
Defined contribution plans, like an IRA, gives the beneficiary more control, even when someone dies, Bever said.
 
“So it’s legacy money in that it goes onto the next generation,” Bever said. “Even if they don’t name a beneficiary, that money is part of their estate and will be distributed according to their will.”
 
But the plans are optional, something S&P Global Ratings said this week doesn’t guarantee taxpayer savings.
 
“The state would finance the buyouts with proceeds from the issuance of up to $1 billion in bonds authorized by the payout legislation,” S&P’s report said. “This follows a familiar pattern in which lawmakers favor the immediate recognition of any potential savings related to pension policy changes while deferring those that result in higher costs.”
 
Illinois lawmakers have said they based the savings of one pension buyout plan by looking at a state like Missouri, which has offered two rounds of pension buyouts to vested employees that are no longer employed by Missouri state government.
 
The Missouri State Employee Retirement System communications department said 25 percent of those eligible took the buyout plan that was offered up in October 2017, November 2017 and again in May 2018.
 
MoSERS’ plan “allows certain members who are no longer employed by the State of Missouri to choose to cash out their future retirement annuity in exchange for a one-time lump-sum payment.”
 
An example of a buyout MoSERS has on its website: “If the member is currently age 58, he would be 4 years from retirement eligibility, so the present value would be $48,550.68. Multiplied by 60% (0.60), the lump-sum buyout amount would be $29,130.41.”
 
MoSERS estimates the buyout will save the state $90 million over the next 26 years. Missouri’s unfunded pension liability is $4.3 billion.
 
There’s no firm timeline of when the buyout plans will be ready as the systems have to do a lot of calculations to make individual offers to eligible members.
 
“[Teachers Retirement System] is actively working to draft and win legislative approval for the administrative rules necessary to implement the accelerated benefit payments, as well as the changes to our computer systems we need for two programs that didn't exist a week ago,” TRS Communications Director Dave Urbanek said in an email. “But because the act requires the funding for the buyouts to come from $1 billion in state bond proceeds, the program will not start until the bonds have been sold and the money deposited with the comptroller's office. The bond sale is completely out of our hands.”
 
A third part of pension savings lawmakers approved would change the cap for what the state will cover for salary increases at the end of a worker’s career, a practice known as spiking. The cap goes from 6 percent to 3 percent, so any employer like a local school district would be responsible for the pension contributions required from the salary spiking of more than 3 percent. That’s expected to bring about $22 million in savings.
 
While calling the overall spending plan last week as bad for taxpayers, state Rep. David McSweeney, R-Barrington Hills, said lawmakers should have taken a different approach to reform pensions.
 
“We need to do a constitutional amendment like Arizona that’s a negotiated settlement that addresses the fact that we have a 3 percent annual increase of benefits,” McSweeney said. “We have a $130 billion pension liability. That’s using a 7 percent rate of return. If you use a real rate of return, we have a $200 billion problem. We are insolvent.”

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Illinois lawmakers urge Congress to make Chicago nation's 51st state

While state lawmakers continue the 200-year-old rivalry between Chicago and the rest of Illinois, there’s a move by downstaters to make the Windy City its own state, a plan one political science professor said is outlandish yet possible.
 
House Resolution 1138 notes Illinois is often regarded as having two distinct regions, Chicago and downstate. It also notes state legislation frequently exempts Chicago while targeting the rest of the state, and that downstate residents often disagree with Chicago on policy issues from gun ownership, abortion, immigration and others.
 
“Even communities north of Chicago are considered ‘downstate’ because they have more in common with rural southern and central Illinois counties than they do with the City of Chicago,” the resolution states.
 
One of the co-sponsors of the measure is Shelbyville Republican state Rep. Brad Halbrook.
 
“I think people downstate don’t like all the corruption in the city, the crime ... they’re just kind of tired of all that stuff,” Halbrook said.
 
Chicago state Rep. Robert Martwick said such a measure won't help Illinois.
 
“This is just a distraction,” Martwick, a Democrat, said. “We have a lot of problems in Illinois, the last thing we need is a movement to split us up. That won’t help anybody on either side of this issue.”
 
Northern Illinois University Political Science Chair Scot Schraufnagel said it’s entirely possible and constitutional for an area within a state to break away and become its own state. He cited several examples like Maine being created out of land from New York. Kentucky and Tennessee were both created out of other states. The most recent example, Schraufnagel said, was the creation of West Virginia in 1863.
 
“It’s Article IV of the Constitution, Section 3,” Schraufnagel said, “and it states that the process for becoming a state says specifically that you can’t create a state out of another state without the approval of both of those entities and the U.S. Congress.”
 
Schraufnagel said that means entities like Cook County would have to approve such a plan, in addition to the state legislature and the U.S. Congress.
 
“But in so much as the [current] initiative being put forward by downstate legislators, that just doesn’t seem very viable or realistic,” Schraufnagel said.
 
He called it "outlandish."
 
Halbrook said Chicago-area lawmakers often say the city, with it’s 2.7 million people, drives the state’s economy. The state, Chicago included, has a total population of 12.8 million.
 
“The opponents will say that, ‘well Chicago subsidizes downstate so downstate should just be happy,' ” Halbrook said. “Well, if that’s the case then the Chicagoland folks all ought to be first in line to secede so that they quit sending their money downstate.”
 
Martwick said Chicago's importance can no more be overlooked than the importance of the rest of the state.
 
“If I was trying to feed into the selfish needs of the people of the city of Chicago from a financial perspective, I would say, ‘sure, that makes perfect sense,’ but that’s ridiculous,” Martwick said. “We have a state that is tied together by so many different things,” noting the state’s universities, energy and agricultural systems as examples.
 
“Chicago is the economic generator,” Martwick said. “That’s not a matter of interpretation, that’s a fact. We provide money.”
 
The resolution notes that “Chicago is often bailed out by taxpayers in the rest of the State, such as the $221 million bailout for the [Chicago Public Schools] pension system that was signed into law last year.”
 
The resolution also highlights the city of Chicago passed a resolution in 1925 to form the state of Chicago, western Illinoisans declared their region the “Republic of Forgottania,” and in 1981 state Sen. Howard Carroll passed a Cook County secession bill through both chambers of the legislature. It also notes an organization called Southern Illinois Secession Movement.
 
A Facebook page called “The Illinois Separation” has a poll with 92 percent of 21,400 votes in favor of removing the Chicago area from the rest of the state.
 
“I guess the motivation was just to start the discussion about how such a small geographical region with a lot of population is controlling the rest of the state,” Halbrook said.
 
The chief sponsor of HR1138 is state Rep. Reginald Phillips, R-Charleston. State Rep. Joe Sosnowski, R-Rockford, is another co-sponsor.
 

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Macomb City Council Meeting canceled for Monday, June 11

There will be no Macomb City Council meeting on Monday, June 11. The meeting is canceled as there is no business to be conducted for that day. The next weekly meeting will be Monday, June 18 at 5:15 p.m. at Macomb City Hall. 

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Chick-fil-A coming to WIU campus in mid-Fall 2018

Western Illinois University will add a new dining option to its University Union Food Court during the Fall 2018 semester. 

 

Chick-fil-A, "the home of the original chicken sandwich, will have an "express," version of its restaurant opening during mid-Fall 2018. This will replace the Sbarro at the food court, as it closed at the end of the Spring semester. 

 

The Chick-fil-A Express and renovation of the Sbarro site is funded by a donation from Sodexo, which, along with University Housing and Dining Services (UHDS, will oversee the restaurant on the WIU campus.

 

"We are excited to continue to invest in Western, and to provide another food choice that our students and members of our campus and local communities have asked for," said Kay Martin, Sodexo senior vice president-universities. "Chick-fil-A is one of the largest quick-service restaurant chains in the country. It is a financially sound company that will add even greater value to the University Union and our food service offerings."

 

The Chick-fil-A will complement Burger King, Einstein Bros. Bagels and the One Stop Rocky Shop in the University Union Food Court. 

 

John Biernbaum, associate vice president for student services-UHDS, said that the University's five-year contract with Sbarro is set to end this summer, which enabled Western to look at other options. Per the current agreement with Sbarro, WIU could not house another pizza-related franchise in the Union for one year.

 

"We looked at all of that, and we also reviewed what is currently available in our community. It is important for us to be good community partners, and to not compete with local and franchised businesses within the city of Macomb," Biernbaum added. "After much consideration, including looking at the successes of the Chick-fil-A Express venues at other public institutions in the state, we determined that this was a fiscally responsible decision for Western, and that our students and local community would be happy to see this choice added to our line-up."
 
Hours for the Chick-fil-A will be determined once the renovations are complete. 
 

 

 

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Fatal crash in Warren County

An accident occurred Wednesday afternoon as a driver failed to properly yield. 
 
Miriam Temple, 84, of Cedar Falls, Iowa, along with her passenger, Thorn Thompson, 86 of Cedar Falls, died in the accident after Temple failed to yield at a stop sign. 
 
Temple was traveling westbound on 270th Avenue, also known as the woodpile blacktop in her 2015 Nissan Altima. Meanwhile, Robert Gates, 29, of Aledo, Illinois, was traveling northbound on Illinois Route 135/94. Temple failed to yield to Gates at the intersection of Route 94, as Gates’ 2001 Ford Taurus struck Temple’s vehicle on the drivers side door. Temple was pronounced dead on the scene. Thompson was taken to OSF Hospital in Peoria where he succumbed to his injuries. 
 
Gates was hospitalized as OSF with non-life threatening injuries. His two passengers were treated and released from OSF Hospital in Monmouth. 
 
No charges were filed. GHAS, Alexis Ambulance, Little York Fire, Alexis Fire, Monmouth Fire, Warren County Sheriff’s Office, Warren County Coroner’s Office, IDOT, OSF Life Flight and the Peoria County Coroner’s Office were the assisting agencies. 

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Illinois business advocates: We had no say in state budget

An Illinois small business advocate said reforms that businesses have been seeking to help their industries fell by the wayside in the legislative session that ended last week.
 
When Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner signed the budget into law, he and other lawmakers touted reforms, better funding for education and other benefits of the bipartisan legislation.
 
Missing from the conversation was any of the reforms Rauner campaigned on that he said would make the state’s business environment more competitive.
 
Mark Grant, director of the National Federation of Independent Business in Illinois, said the group and other representatives of the business community were on the outside looking in on budget negotiations.
 
“We were not involved in any of the negotiation or any of the pieces that went into the budget negotiations,” he said. “I think they believe it may have derailed their negotiations.”
 
Grant said the small business owners that he talks with have become cynical about state government and any promise of improving the state’s relationship with job creators.
 
“They think that state government in general in Illinois really doesn't include them,” he said.
 
Rauner had campaigned on a “turnaround agenda” that included dozens of pro-business reforms. At the budget bill signing he said that he would have liked to have seen some of his reform items in the budget, but they didn’t make it into the negotiated 1,200 page bill.
 
"Unfortunately, a lot of businesses feel like we were left out but, quite frankly, we've been left out the last three years," said Zach Mottl, Chairman of the Technology Manufacturers Association of Illinois. "We are pleased that they have a budget, but that's just the first step." 
 
The budget for the new fiscal year, which begins in July, spends more than $38 billion. That’s more than Illinois has ever spent in a budget year.

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Citizens June Community and Seniors Day includes free eye screenings, hearing checks

Citizens Bank (127 S. Side Square Macomb), will hold its monthly Community and Seniors Day tomorrow (Thursday, June 7). The bank holds the event at its Downtown Macomb branch on the first Thursday of every month to provide beneficial services to senior citizens in the area. 

 

In addition to the monthly free services provided to the community by Heartland Health Care, the Lions Club will be on hand to offer free eye screenings and hearing checks. This will be offered from 8:30-11:00 a.m.

 

The Lions Club also encourages area residents to donate used eye glasses and hearing aids. These items can be brought in to Citizens tomorrow, or can be dropped off at the Lions Club location on West Jackson Street as well as the Macomb Farm King. 

 

To learn more about the services that will be provided at this month's Community and Seniors Day, listen to my interview with Rochelle Seaver of Citizens Bank and Jack Schoonover of the Lions Club.

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McDonough County Genealogical Society releases details about coffee-table book celebrating McDonough County history

Acclaim Press and the McDonough County Genealogical Society are proud to announce the release of their upcoming book celebrating the history of McDonough County, Illinois. The book is in production and scheduled for release in September 2018. 
 
The 8.5 x 11-inch, hardbound coffee-table book will include nearly 300 pages of historical facts and photographs, over 400 family biographical portraits from past and present, and multiple special features on local businesses, churches, and organizations. 
 
Copies of the book may be reserved for $54.95 through the McDonough County Genealogical Society. Feel free to email the society mcgs@macomb.com for more information.
 
 

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