This fall, you can find James Altenhein, owner of Windy Hills Farms and Gardens, hosting tours and field days educating the community about his newest venture, Catahoula Blue, gourmet popcorn.
What many may not know about the gourmet grower is he recently received status as a verified Veteran Owned Small Business (VOSB) through the U.S. Department of Veteran’s Affairs.
Altenhein was referred to the Illinois Procurement Technical Assistance Center at Western Illinois University (IL PTAC @ WIU) by the VA’s Veteran Business Outreach Center. The IL PTAC @ WIU has one of the five counselors in Illinois who are trained to assist veteran owned firms with the verification process. The counselor at WIU assisted Mr. Altenhein by providing resources and troubleshooting questions about the process.
In addition to working the PTAC, Altenhein has been working with WIU’s Small Business Development Center (IL SBDC @ WIU). The SBDC has helped many other facets of the business. After Altenheim attended a business writing workshop presented by the IL SBDC at WIU, he continued to work with the center, preparing a marketing plan for his popcorn and his fall field day at the farm. Future demos, farm tours and classes are in the works.
"Mr. Altenhein typifies a Veteran entrepreneur," said Theresa Ebeler, director of PTAC. "He is organized, strong willed and adaptive. I am thankful that he is utilizing the program and resources at Western Illinois University for business development."
The Illinois PTAC and SBDC of WIU celebrates his verification achievement and his commitment to educating the community about this beautiful, centennial family farm.
Windy Hills Farms and Garden is located in Quincy, IL. The popcorn can be found at Popping on Main and Edgewood Orchard, with more locations to come. For more information on the farm, visit facebook.com/WindyHillsFarmQuincyIL/.
Western Illinois University will celebrate Military Appreciation Week Monday-Saturday, Nov. 11-16.
This year's theme is "Honoring Leathernecks: Past, Present and Future."
The celebration begins with volunteers setting up the Flags of Love at 7 a.m. in Chandler Park on Veteran's Day, Monday, Nov. 11. The flags will be taken down at 5 p.m. the same day.
The schedule for the remainder of the week includes:
Monday, Nov. 11
• 11 a.m.-noon – Military Tribute Ceremony, Sherman Hall flag pole: The ceremony will honor veterans and service members. In case of inclement weather, the ceremony will be held in the Sherman Hall Auditorium, third floor.
At noon, the Sherman Hall Bell Tower carillon with play the anthems from the military branches.
• Noon-1 p.m. Family Salute, Sherman Hall, third floor: The Veterans Resource Center and others will host an informal reception to recognize the sacrifices made by spouses, dependents and other family members of veterans and service members. Refreshments will be provided.
• Noon-4 p.m.- Christmas Cards for Deployed Soldiers: All are invited to join the Rocky’s Pawsitives Student Group in the Union Concourse to fill out Christmas cards that will be sent to deployed soldiers.
Tuesday, Nov. 12
• 3:30-5 p.m. – "Honoring Our History" and All-Star Tug of War at Spencer Student Recreation Center: WIU's World War I and World War II veterans have contributed to the rich legacy of WIU, including our symbols, our traditions and our commitment to inclusion. In recognition of Col. Rock Hanson's contributions to WIU, Campus Recreation is proud to host the inaugural All-Star Tug of War, honoring Col. Rock Hanson. The event is free for student organizations and the winner will be recognized with a trophy housed at Campus Recreation. For more information, or to register a team, visit bit.ly/WIUTugofWar.
• 6-7:30 p.m. – "Why Appreciate the Military" in the University Union Heritage Room: The event will include a community discussion on what it means to appreciate the military. Panelists will address questions related to the understanding of and values civilians and military service members attribute to service. Following the panelists' comments, Veteran Resource Center liaisons and other facilitators will lead participants in discussions exploring the question of what does it mean to appreciate the military. Refreshments will be provided.
Sue Martinelli-Fernandez, dean, College of Arts and Sciences
Erin Taylor, professor, political science
Scott Coker, city administrator, Macomb
Wednesday, Nov. 13
• 3:30-5 p.m. - "In their own words: Korea and Vietnam" in the University Union Lamoine Room: Local veterans who served in the military during the Korean War and the Vietnam War will share how their experiences shaped them and the Macomb community. Refreshments will be provided.
Ken Cole, Korea Veteran
Richard Frowein, Korea Veteran
Bill Carle, Vietnam Veteran
Lyle Payne, Vietnam Veteran
Kent Slater, Vietnam Veteran
• 6-7 p.m. - Battle of the Branches Bench Press Competition, Campus Recreation: Veterans and service members will have a bench press competition in the Spencer Student Recreation Center. The winning branch will have a trophy or plaque with the total weight lifted and the branch name displayed in the Recreation Center. The public is invited to attend and support the competitors. No registration is required.
Thursday, Nov. 14
• 3:30-5 p.m. – "In their own words: Middle East and Afghanistan," University Union Lamoine Room: Veterans of military operations in the Middle East and Afghanistan will discuss how their military experiences have shaped them as individuals and students. Refreshments will be provided.
Nick Pettigout, sheriff, McDonough County
MAJ Michael Porter, assistant professor, military science
• 6:30-8:30 p.m. - Military Trivia, Macomb VFW Post #1921, 1200 E. Jefferson, St., Macomb: The Veterans of Foreign Wars Post #1921 and WIU’s Military Science Department will host a military trivia night to raise funds for the Greater Peoria Honor Flight. Teams of eight will compete in five rounds of 10 questions on the topics of Military History, Slang Terms, Symbols, Screens and Songs and Local Military History. The VFW Ladies Auxiliary will provide snacks and teams may bring additional refreshments. A cash bar will be available. The entry fee per team is $40 and teams should register by Friday, Nov. 8 at wiu.com/alumni.
Friday, Nov. 15
• 3–5 p.m. - Veterans Resource Center 10th Anniversary - Veteran Resource Center Open House and Anniversary Celebration, 333 Ward St., Macomb: The event will recognize the contributions of individuals who established and have contributed to the Veterans Resource Center. Refreshments will be provided throughout the afternoon. A program recognizing those who have contributed to the success of the Veterans Resource Center will take place at 4:30 p.m. A tree planting ceremony to commemorate WWI Veterans will immediately follow.
Saturday, Nov. 16
1 p.m. - Military Appreciation Football Game, Hanson Field: Western Illinois Athletics will pay tribute to service men and women for the military appreciation football game. The Leathernecks play host to Southern Illinois University; kick-off is set for 1 p.m. All service men and women with a military ID will receive free admission for themselves and a guest. A special halftime recognition is scheduled to honor all those that have served and are currently serving our country.
For more information about any of the activities, contact the Veterans Resource Center at (309) 298-3505.
To prepare Western Illinois University female students, faculty and staff to defend themselves against potential assaults, WIU's Office of Public Safety (OPS) will offer Rape Aggression Defense (RAD) courses, beginning Monday, Nov. 11.
The courses, which run from 4-8 p.m., will also be held Wednesday, Nov. 13 and Nov. 20 at the Donald S. Spencer Student Recreation Center on the WIU campus. The class is designed for women only and topics include avoiding victimization, patterns of date rape encounter, basic principles of defense, full-speed hands-on exercise and dynamic simulation training.
"This class teaches you the most effective methods of defending yourself. I walked away with a great sense of confidence," said a RAD graduate.
There is no cost for the 12-hour course, which is taught by RAD-certified OPS Interim Director Derek Watts, Officer Jerry Allen and Detective Sarah Worthington.
Lifetime re-training is free. Due to limited class size (20 per class), pre-registration is required. While WIU female students will be given first priority to enroll, females from the region are encouraged to participate. Spots are filled on a first come, first served basis.
The RAD courses are sponsored by OPS, Office of Student Judicial Programs, Campus Recreation and the WIU Women's Center. For more information, or to register, email Worthington at SE-Worthington@wiu.edu.
The Illinois Department of Agriculture will host a Hemp Summit on December 17th at the Orr Building on the Illinois State Fairgrounds. The Illinois Hemp Summit follows the release of USDA’s 2019 Hemp Rules that have raised questions and concerns amongst Illinois hemp farmers and their advocacy groups.
“We’ve heard from the hemp farming community and understand their concerns related to the USDA rules,” said Jeff Cox, IDOA Bureau Chief for Medicinal Plants. “The summit will provide a great opportunity to provide an in-depth presentation on the USDA’s rules and the implications for Illinois’ emerging hemp industry.”
The Summit’s agenda is structured to optimize the distribution of information and limit repetition—there will be three separate panels, each consisting of three to four presenters.
“We’ve assembled grower, processor and university researcher panels to share their unique perspectives, contributions, lessons learned and visions for the future of the hemp industry in Illinois,” said Cox.
Hemp Benchmarks, a leading provider of financial, business and industry data for the North American hemp markets will be the final presenter of the day with a presentation on market dynamics. Information on the additional panels will be available in the coming weeks.
Tickets for the Summit are $25 and include lunch. Those interested in attending can register online at https://www2.illinois.gov/sites/agr/Plants/Pages/Hemp-Summit.aspx. Space is limited and registration will be handled on a first come first served basis.
The Illinois Department of Corrections (IDOC) is implementing a new procedure for reviewing publications entering its correctional facilities. The revised policy is designed to ensure a review process with more oversight and consistency in order to increase access to reading and educational materials.
“I am pleased the Department now has a process for publication reviews that is sound and meets national standards,” said IDOC Director Rob Jeffreys. “This administration is committed to expanding opportunities for educational advancement while maintaining the safety and security of our institutions.”
The policy ensures publications cannot be disapproved solely based on social, sexual, religious, philosophical, or political content. Reading materials for educational programming are now assessed by the Educational Facility Administrator of each institution. The Department’s Central Publications Review Committee, which is comprised of individuals from IDOC’s Operations Division and Legal Services, is overseeing the new procedure and will make final determinations on reading materials. The Department also instituted a Statewide Publications Determination List to ensure consistency across all correctional facilities.
IDOC incorporated feedback from education experts and the National Institute of Corrections into the final policy. To view the policy in its entirety, click here.
MACOMB - The McDonough District Hospital plans to recognize Tim Biagini in the Grateful Patient Program as he received numerous of compliments from patients/families.
The Grateful Patient Program provides an opportunity for patients or families to show their appreciation in honor of excellent care. This event is to acknowledge Dr. Biagini for all his hard work and compassion for patients.
Furthermore, he is being recognized as the doctor with the Healing Hand. Patients or families can make financial contributions during the event to help support the McDonough District Hospital. To learn more about the Grateful Patient Program visit MDH.org or call (309)-836-1757.
On Thursday, November 7, Western Illinois University announced the winner of its “Advisor of the Month” award for the month of October. The winner for October was Academic Advisory, Ashley Wilkinson.
Wilkinson works at the Quad Cities campus and was nominated by not just one of her students, but three. She has received high praise from all those who have had the pleasure of being around her, with students remarking on her ability to help them develop a future plan, course selection and helping them stay organized.
Winners of this prestigious award are determined every month, with the winner receiving a certificate and a trophy. The winners are decided by a committee that takes the entire month to sift through and judge applications.
MACOMB — A locally owned family restaurant made a huge change over the summer.
The Old Dairy, just off the Macomb downtown square area, just completed a mural project with the help of the community members.
Owner Emily Gamage said the building needed change, so she started brainstorming ideas for projects at the beginning of the year. The building was over 15 years old and Gamage wanted to bring some new light to it.
Dozens of community members contributed to the mural. Gamage said bringing the community together was one of the main goals of the project. The purpose of the Mural is to represent the history of Macomb.
Gamage said the Performing Arts Society of Macomb donated $2,000 to help pay for supplies. The original story can be found in news3wiu.com.
On Thursday, November 7, the West Prairie volleyball team finalized an effort that will be remembered for years to come. As the end of the team’s season long Defend and Dig out Cancer has come, the Cyclones presented a check worth $2,698 to Linda’s Fund.
Linda’s Fund provides financial support to breast cancer patients using MDH’s incredible cancer research services. The fund has received support from all over the area, from organizations such as schools and community groups and from individuals.
West Prairie’s campaign to raise money for the fund began in 2011, and has been used as a sponsorship for each block and dig recorded by the team. The team has raised an awe-inspiring $9,300 to Linda’s Fund, while they have added an additional $7,345 to Cancer Education and Screening at MDH. Their efforts have been incredible, and deserve utmost admiration.
MACOMB — Sen. Andy Manar looks to make a change so that everyone in Illinois can move their clocks ahead one hour in spring, and never have to change them again.
Sen. Manar said in his Twitter post-Wednesday that he plans to push for passage of Senate Bill 533 when lawmakers return next week for the fall veto session. As a result, the bill will allow people to set their clocks ahead one hour to daylight saving time. If the bill is issued then people can take action Sunday, March 8, 2020, which will leave the state on Central Daylight Time forever.
Manar said the idea for the bill came to him from a High School student on Twitter. The student’s tweet linked to a recent Newsweek article that cited research that suggests the twice-yearly clock changes in most of the United States can cause health impacts.
Daylight saving time was used during the first half of the 20th century. The idea was to move one hour of daylight from morning to evening in order to give people more daylight after work or school. Under the current schedule, clocks are moved forward one hour, to daylight saving time, at 2 a.m. on the second Sunday in March, then moved back one hour, to standard time, the first Sunday in November.
According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, daylight saving time reduces energy consumption because it reduces the need for household lighting and appliances. More benefits are it helps prevent traffic accidents and reduces crime because more people are traveling to and from work or school and conducting daily activities during daylight hours.
Manar's bill passed out of the State Government Committee on May 23 and has since been referred to another committee. Lawmakers will return to the Statehouse on Tuesday and will continue through Nov. 14. 8, 2020, then leaving the state on Central Daylight Time permanently.
Macomb, IL—A Resident of Muscatine, IA was arrested by Macomb Police after a traffic stop turned into a drug bust.
According to a story posted by Emily Manley on WIU News 3, 55 year old Penny Gipson was a passenger in a vehicle that was pulled over by Macomb Police for having a loud muffler.
During the stop, police found meth in the vehicle belonging to Gipson. Upon her arrest, Gipson confessed to law enforcement that she had additional meth hidden in her undergarments. Police retrieved the stash and an additional 13.2 grams. Later in the stop, police found brass knuckles in Gipson’s purse.
Gipson was charged with unlawful use of a weapon, delivery of meth and possession of methamphetamine and is currently being detained in McDonough County Jail.
The driver was charged with driving on revoked license and not having a muffler.
Macomb - In light of news reports that a member of the Illinois House of Representatives was arrested by Federal agents for attempted bribery of a public official, State Representative Norine Hammond (R-Macomb) is co-sponsoring legislation that would ban lawmakers from performing paid lobbying work with local government units while in office.
“It is a significant conflict of interest for sitting lawmakers to perform paid lobbying work while in office,” said Rep. Hammond. “It’s not possible for lawmaker-lobbyists to serve their constituents and their lobbying clients at the same time. Current law allows lawmakers to push legislation they can benefit from financially. That’s wrong. I hope my Democratic colleagues in the majority will support this bill so we can end conflicts of interest and clean up state government. Now is the time to act.”
The legislation, House Bill 3947 (HB 3947), would ban members of the General Assembly, their spouses, and immediate live-in family members from performing paid lobbying work with local government units. Currently, members of the Illinois General Assembly – state representatives and state senators – are prohibited from lobbying the State of Illinois, but are not prohibited from lobbying local government units, such as a counties or municipalities.
On Friday, October 25, Democratic State Representative Luis Arroyo of Chicago was arrested by Federal agents for attempted bribery of a public official. Arroyo works as a registered lobbyist with the City of Chicago in addition to his duties as a state representative. According to the United States Department of Justice, Arroyo attempted to bribe an unnamed state senator $2,500 per month in exchange for supporting legislation that would benefit one of Arroyo’s lobbying clients. If convicted of the corruption charges, Arroyo faces up to 10 years in prison.
If HB 3947 were law prior to Rep. Arroyo’s attempted bribery scheme, he would have been precluded from performing paid lobbying work on behalf of his client while serving in office.
MACOMB — A nurse at Wesley Village in Macomb was recently arrested for stealing pills from a nursing home resident on Monday.
Jennifer Greer, 36, of Macomb, was caught on camera entering a resident’s room while the resident was not there. Once the resident got back to her room, she noticed she had fewer pills then she had before. The resident immediately notified the staff about her missing.
Once staff called the police the resident said she was missing some of her Tramadol pills. Macomb Police found nurse Greer with Tramadol that matched the resident’s prescription.
Greer was charged with three counts of residential burglary and one count of possession of a controlled substance. She is currently in the McDonough County Jail with a $20,000 bond.
Carthage, IL—The Illini West Drama Club is in preparation for its annual Winter Theatre on Friday, Nov. 15th at the Hancock County Extension Center. Doors will open at 6 p.m and the productions will begin at 7 p.m.
Students for the Drama Club will be performing two one act comedies, both written by Werner Trieschmann. The productions are titled: “Hells Cafeteria” and “All I Really Need To Know, I Learned By Being In A Bad Murder Mystery”. Both Productions will be student directed by Anna Slater and Amanda Spangler.
Along with a night of laughter, there will be a silent bake sale as well on the same evening to raise funds for a future production in the Spring.
Tickets can can be purchased at the door, $10 for Adults and $5 for Students.
MACOMB, IL – The Western Illinois University Department of Theatre and Dance will present "Arcadia," by Tom Stoppard at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday-Saturday, Nov. 6-9 and at 2 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 10, in Hainline Theatre.
The play is directed by WIU Associate Professor Carolyn Blackinton.
"ARCADIA takes on the concepts of the meaning of life through the love of learning; the disruption of Newton’s theory by the variables of love and sex; and the sparring of Classical and Romantic perceptions," said Blackinton. "It was such a joy working with the cast, designers and crew members on this timeless play."
The performance moves back and forth between 1809 and the present at an elegant estate owned by the Coverly Family. The 1809 scenes reveal a household in transition. As the Arcadian landscape is being transformed into picturesque Gothic gardens, complete with a hermitage, 13-year-old Lady Thomasina and her tutor delve into intellectual and romantic issues. Present day scenes depict the Coverly descendants and two competing scholars who are researching a possible scandal at the estate in 1809 involving Lord Byron.
General admission tickets are $15; $13 for senior citizens and students and free for WIU students with valid student identification.
For more information about the performance, visit wiu.edu/cofac/theatre.
MACOMB - - The Western Illinois University Marketing Club will host an event to raise money for a local homeless shelter.
The Marketing Club scheduled their event “Sleep Out for the Homeless” on Nov. 8-9 from 6 p.m. to 6 a.m. It will take place at 1545 Riverview Drive in Macomb.
The night will include plenty of games, activities, food, live music, and guest speakers. To participate in the event it is $25 per person and kids 10 and under are free.
All money will go to Macomb’s men’s and women’s homeless shelter, Samaritan Well Inc.
MACOMB - - Western Illinois University Housing and Dining Services are now teaming up with the WIU Parking services on Wednesday. The purpose of the meeting will be to allow students to wipe away their parking tickets.
Parking Citation Relief Day will be from 7 - 10 a.m. This is a golden opportunity for students. Any parking fines received up to $40 can be waived with non-perishable canned or boxed food items. The amount you pay will depend on the number of items and the list goes as follows:
3 items- $0 to $10
6 items- $11 to $20
9 items- $21 to $30
12 items $31 to $40
Bring donations to WIU Parking Services at Mowbray Hall on Murray Street. The more you bring the more parking tickets can be erased.
All proceeds will go towards organizations like Stuff the Bus, Macomb Loaves and Fishes, Western Illinois Regional Council Community Action Agency, WIU Food Pantry, and The Salvation Army of Macomb.
Western Illinois University’s Dance Marathon has launched its ongoing efforts to continue its fundraising for Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals. The Macomb American Legion will be partnering with DM to host their yearly Pancake Dinner on November 7.
The Pancake Dinner is also a way for them to raise money for the hospitals. Why not get served pancakes after participating in the marathon? The event will have dairy and gluten-free options for those with food restrictions. The meal will also include complimentary orange juice. Tickets can be purchased before the event from anyone who is a part of the Dance Marathon. Tickets can also be purchased online or residents can pick them up from the office of Student Activities which is located at the University Union. Tickets will cost $7.
Dance Marathon is a year-round effort to raise money for the Children’s Miracle Network hospitals. Since the Dance Marathon’s event in 2014, the group has raised $600,000 for two hospitals located in St. Louis.This will be Western’s seventh year hosting the Dance Marathon. Their goal is to raise up to $175,000 this year as the year prior that raised $160,000. The Dance Marathon will be set for March 28, 2020. The original story can be found on westerncourier.com.
Macomb high school students are using their lunchtime to learn leadership. Macomb High School health and P.E. teacher Zach Keene is using his lunchtime on Wednesdays to talk to the students in high school about the importance of being a leader.
Keene was inspired by a program called “What Drives Winning”. Students at the high school love the program and are voluntarily using their lunchtime to listen and get more familiar with the topic at hand.
“I think what it does for them is it paints a picture for them down the road,” Keene said. “It makes them a better person. Don’t focus so much on the winning and losing, more so on the process, and it doesn’t necessarily mean getting better at your particular sport, maybe you’re just becoming a better person.”
Keene has been trying to get the program to be added to the school’s curriculum for almost two years. It took a while but with the help of Karissa Ham, it is now a reality. “She has been phenomenal, she’s kinda taken it on as far as paperwork, and done a lot of the leg work, she put pen to paper and presented it to the curriculum committee,” Keene said.
The Macomb Board of Education unanimously approved the class being added to the curriculum starting fall of next year as an elective, but due to the popularity of the course, students must fill out an application or be recommended by a teacher The class will be offered to students in the fall of 2020. The original story can be found at news3wiu.com.
Woof Rock 104 WMQZ is On!
Macomb – (October 31) – Regional Media, parent company of radio stations and multimedia news and sports websites in Iowa, Illinois, and Hawaii, announced today that it has added a new Mainstream Rock station to it’s lineup in Macomb, Illinois.
Woof Rock 104 WMQZ picks up where most classic rock formats end featuring, 80s, 90s and Today’s New Rock with core artists like Foo Fighters, Three Days Grace, Slipknot, The Beastie Boys, Green Day, Hellyeah, Halestorm, Metallica, AC/DC, Shinedown, Sublime, Atreyu, Stone Temple Pilots and more.
Regional Media’s CEO, Fletcher M. Ford, “I'm really excited to flip the switch on Woof Rock 104, as it’s been a long time in the making! “
Woof Rock104 WMQZ will feature local news, weather, sports, and entertainment from the Regional Media staff. Listeners can expect the station to align with Regional Media’s Vision to be the most valued, vital, and vibrant media and entertainment resource for its communities. One that inspires, one that engages, and one that will seize the responsibility laid on us as a community leader.
“Being able to bring this type of rock format to the area is very exciting. I can’t wait to see how excited the community is going to be once they’ve had a chance to listen to Woof Rock, they’re going to love it! “ said Regional Media’s COO, Darren Brown.
The format became live at 3:00PM on 104.1 WMQZ covering the following areas.
A two-vehicle accident has taken the life of a Henderson County man. District 14 State Police in Macomb say 91 year old Lee Avery of Media died in the Wednesday afternoon crash. According to the report, Avery was driving his car northbound on 1400 East in Henderson County when he failed to yield at a stop sign and pulled in front of the SUV being driven by 76 year old Terry Edwards of Smithshire. Avery's vehicle was struck on the passenger side, went off the road and overturned. Edwards also went off the road. Avery was not wearing a seatbelt and died at the scene. Edwards was wearing his seat belt.
Macomb has lost a longtime resident, businessman and hero at the age of 103. Western Illinois University Alumni, lifetime Macomb resident and World War II veteran John Moon was born in Macomb on April 3, 1916 and after graduating from WIU served in the Marine Corps in the Pacific Theater. He is believed to be the oldest surviving Marine from the battle of Iwo Jima. After the war, Moon returned to Macomb and ran S & J Cafe for nearly 20 years and a candy store on the square for another 20. He also spent time as a driver’s ed teacher at Macomb High School. Moon passed away Tuesday morning at Wesley Village Healthcare Center in Macomb.
Hancock County – The Memorial Hospital Foundation helped local residents get into the harvest season spirit early on Saturday.
The first-ever Harvest for Hope featured events like a pie baking competition, carving pumpkins and etc. The proceeds went to the Hancock County Addiction Coalition’s “Hidden in Plain Sight” campaign.
Hancock County Addiction Coalition Maureen Crawford said: “That money will help us in several different ways, with our mental health councilors, with our Hidden in Plain Sight display, with bringing educational speakers in, with our direct support to those struggling with addiction,”
Officials with the Memorial Hospital Foundation said their goal this year is to raise about $78,000 for their annual campaign. For more information visit wgem.com
MACOMB, IL -- Western Illinois University Housing staff brought home top awards and recognition from the recent GLACUHO conference held last week at Michigan State University in East Lansing, MI.
Katalina Erbes (Crystal Lake, IL), assistant complex director in Lincoln-Washington-Grote Halls and a Law Enforcement and Justice Administration graduate student, received the Outstanding Graduate Practitioner Award for the state of Illinois, which is presented to a full-time graduate student who has greatly contributed to the institution at which they work. The nominee must be in the final academic year of graduate studies at the time of the GLACUHO conference.
Selection is based on significant contributions to the nominee's area of academic study regardless of the program of study; exceeding expectations stated in the nominee's job description by displaying initiative or creativity; significant housing- or residence life-related contributions to the nominee's institution and the profession; experience fostering inclusiveness and an appreciation of differences and active membership in and significant contributions to the mission, vision and goals of GLACUHO.
"We are extremely proud of Kat and the work that she has done during her time at WIU," said Mishelle Oaks, director of residence life at WIU. "Kat continues to raise the bar for herself and others within UHDS. Her work ethic is second to none and she is a great role model and leader for our campus."
John Biernbaum, associate vice president for student services and Justin Schuch, director of student rights, responsibilities, and retention initiatives, received a Top Ten Program Award for their session, "Connections Still Matter: Retention Focused Data Utilization."
"With retention and student success a central focus for college campuses, it can be difficult to determine what factors play in a student’s success or decision to leave their college/university," Biernbaum and Schuch explained. "This session was designed to pinpoint the importance of connections and explain the process that WIU underwent to flip a traditional sociogram programming model to apply data based on student decisions the first six weeks of classes, which led to identifying students who may be struggling early on in the semester and then focus on programmatic and follow up efforts."
"I am proud of these individuals and of UHDS as a whole for their continued efforts to represent Western Illinois University within the state of Illinois and region," said John Smith, interim vice president for student services.
For more information about housing at WIU, visit wiu.edu/housing.
The Illinois House of Representatives passed a bill on Wednesday, October 30 that could be looked at as extremely damaging to Illinois public workers. The bill, SB1784 contains several elements that will serve to block public access to unions and limit their exposure through the media.
Among the more damaging aspects of this bill is the section limiting media access and non-union access to records on retirees as well as updates on membership. This type of censorship appears to be in heavy favor of the unions themselves and does not value the opinion of the public or the employees. Another of the more problematic concepts this bill establishes is the unprecedented new access given to unions. They will now have nearly unlimited access to contractual information on their employees, whether or not the employees are union contracted. This also allows unions to carefully decide which pieces of information they decide to release to the public, taking that power away from the employees.
Overall, this feels like a net negative for Illinois, though the good news is that this bill still has to pass through the Senate and Governor J.B. Pritzker’s desk before it will be enacted into law. This type of censorship and power should not be handled lightly and these measures do not seem to have the public’s nor employee’s best interests in mind.