Macomb Local News Archives for 2017-01

YMCA of McDonough County Family Outdoor Show

Saturday February 4 from 9AM-4PM and Sunday February 5 from 10A-3PM, The YMCA of McDonough County will be holding their Family Outdoor Show at Lowderman Acution Center in Colchester. The event will feature a wide variety of events and fun for the whole family. A number of food vendors will be on site along with fun and games, unique items to buy, auction items, and the Big Buck Contest, where people can enter their biggest buck head from the hunting season for a chance to win a $50 prize. 


General Admission tickets will go for $5 per person, with those 12 and under entering for free. The Big Buck Contest costs $7 to enter. Again, this will take place over at Lowderman Auction Center, 8550 US Highway 136 in Colchester. Listen below to my conversation with two representatives from the McDonough County YMCA for more details. 


Illinois Treasurer Touting Illinois Able Investment Program

Illinois Treasurer Mike Frerichs is touting a new state program aimed at opening up investment opportunities for the disabled. In a release on Monday the State Treasurer discussed the program known as Illinois Able and described it as an effort to create tax free investment opportunities for the disabled. Our Kim Howard filed this report. 


Illinois Life Insurance Policy Locator Recovers More Than 1.7 Million Dollars

Illinois residents have recovered more than 1.7 million dollars through a new state effort called the Illinois Life Policy Locator Service. Governor Bruce Rauner on Monday made the announcement that this new effort by the state to ensure residents receive money entitled to them from Insurance payouts was paying off for people who may not have been aware they had money owed to them. The service is free and if you believe you may have money coming to you from a life insurance settlement to access the searchable database of open life insurance claims. Our Kim Howard filed this report. 


Illinois Flu Numbers Up This Year

Noroviruses are on the rise in Illinois and across the country this winter, prompting some warnings from health officials. The Illinois Department of Public Health says numbers this month are higher than in January during the past two years. More than 800 students fell ill at St. Charles East High School earlier this month, prompting classes to be canceled for two days. Doctors are telling patients to be alert for symptoms, which often can mirror other illnesses. 

Dr. Cori Repp, regional director for U.S Healthworks, says they're spread through fecal matter and these painful stomach bugs are scary because they're highly contagious.

"So when someone doesn't wash their hands after they use the bathroom and goes on to touch a doorknob or prepare your food, it can be transmitted to another person," she explained.

Norovirus outbreaks happen throughout the year but the CDC says more than 80 percent occur from November to April. Symptoms include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, stomach pain, fever or body aches. A person usually develops symptoms 12 to 48 hours after being exposed, with the illness typically lasting about one to three days.

While Woody Allen once said 80 percent of success in life can be attributed to simply showing up, doctors advise against that when it comes to norovirus infections or influenza that's also been spreading rapidly around the country. 

Dr. Don Bucklin, another regional director for U.S Healthworks, says do your co-workers a favor and stay home.

"You just cough a little bit and you put considerable virus into the air and it's going to hang there for a couple of hours, so you can go to work and get a lot of people sick without trying very hard," he said. 

Bucklin says while you can't control whether or not people stay home when they're ill, you can help yourself by making sure you wash your hands often and use an anti-bacterial agent.

"Before I rub my nose or touch my forehead or touch my hair or touch anywhere on my head, I would always give my hands a squirt first because I don't want to transfer virus from whatever I've touched to my face, where it can get into me," Bucklin added.


Navy Seal Killed in Yemen Identified as Peoria Native

A Navy Seal killed in action against Al-Qaida in Yemen has been identied as a Peoria native. Chief Special Warfare Operator William "Ryan" Owens of Peoria was killed when Navy Seals engaged with Al-Qaida operatives in Yemen during an intelligence gathering mission. Owens was honored with three Bronze Stars in his career, two of them carrying a special V distinction signifying combat valor. Chief Special Warfare Operator William "Ryan" Owens was 36 years old. Three other Navy Seals were injured in the raid. 


WIU Dance Marathon Kids Clinic




The annual WIU Dance Marathon Kids Clinic will take place Saturday February 4. The event will be for kids from grades K-6. Participants will learn the dance from 10-noon in Brophy Hall Room 235 at Western. The kids will get to perform this dance at halftime of the WIU Men's Basketball game that night against Omaha.


Registration for the event is $30. You can register online with this link


WIU Dance Marathon is an organization that works all year to raise money for the Children's Miracle Network Hospitals in the Greater St. Louis area. This year the organization is targeting $100,000, and the total amount raised will be revealed at their final push on April 1. There, dancers will be on their feet for 12 hours. 


To learn more about the event and how to register, listen to my conversation with Connor Shinberger below. 


Governor Rauner Promises State Workers Will be Payed

Governor Bruce Rauner is responding to Attorney General Lisa Madigan's legal motion to stop the paychecks of the state's 68,000 employees until a new budget agreement is reached. On Friday the Attorney General filed a motion that would stop paychecks for state workers by the end of February. That same Friday Governor Rauner addressed the Attorney General's motion following a speech to business leaders and Kim Howard filed this report. 


McDonough District Hospital to Hold Breast Cancer Support Group

McDonough District Hospital will host their Breast Cancer Support Group on Monday, February 6th at 5:30 Pm. The subject of the meeting will be pain management with Regional Director of Operations of the Pain Management Group Jane Balka will be on hand to answer questions. There is no charge to attend the Breast Cancer Support Group which meets on the first Monday of each month. 


Trump's Travel Ban Leads to More Protests, More Fear

Immigrant rights groups are stepping forward to help those affected by President Trump's executive order barring entrance into the U.S. by refugees from seven predominantly Muslim countries. 

Lawrence Benito, CEO and executive director at the Illinois Coalition for Immigration and Refugee Rights, said people shouldn't be subjected to this kind of discrimination. He said his organization is one of many offering free legal help.

"[We] Continue to fight and organize to make sure that immigrant voices are heard and respected,"Benito said. "We're going to be asking our elected officials in our state to join us in this effort to push back against these executive orders."

Attorneys have stationed themselves at airports around the country to help those affected by Trump's travel ban. White House press secretary Sean Spicer said the travel ban does not single out Muslims.

Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi, a congressman from suburban Chicago, said the president's orders are dividing the country and distracting from important work that needs to be done.

"When you have laws or executive orders that come down the pipe that divide us, we're not able to deal with the real challenges that affect all of us," Krishnamoorthi said; "whether they're economic, whether it's climate change, whether it's other issues that demand action."

Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan has joined attorneys general from 14 other states and the District of Columbia in condemning as unconstitutional Trump's ban. They said religious liberty has been a bedrock principle of the country and no president can change that. 

The states taking part in the joint statement issued Sunday are Illinois, Washington, California, New York, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, Hawaii, Virginia, Oregon, Connecticut, Vermont, New Mexico, Iowa, Maine and Maryland.


On Stage Band at Grand Prairie Saturday Jan. 28

The On Stage Band, out of Colchester, will be performing at Grand Prairie Assisted Living tomorrow from 1-3 PM. The show will take place in their dining room. There will be a free prize at the door.For more information on the show, listen to my conversation with Kim below.


Agenda for Monday's Macomb City Council Committee of the Whole Meeting





5:00 P.M.






1.    Discussion on the Amtrak/Depot ADA improvement project.

Attached is a memo from CA Torreson, along with additional information,

for your review. Discussion is planned.


  1. Other business.


Executive Session


            To consider information relative to:


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 it’s 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.


Regional Media Movie Review Resident Evil The Final Chapter

Milla Jovovich takes on the role of Alice for the 6th and supposedly final time in Resident Evil: The Final Chapter. The film finds Alice needing to return to Raccoon City, site of the very first outbreak of the T-Virus from the first film in the franchise. Supposedly there is a cure for the zombie plague and only our super-power enhanced heroine can get to it and use to save what little is left of humanity. Here's my review of Resident Evil The Final Chapter. 



Regional Media Movie Review A Dog's Purpose

A Dog's Purpose features the voice of Josh Gad (Frozen's snowman) as Bailey, the dog of Ethan. Bailey however will have many different lives and owners throughout the film as he passes from one life to the next via reincarnation going from Golden Retriever to German Shepard to Corgy among other breeds all while hoping to sniff his way back to Ethan. Here's my review of A Dog's Purpose. 


Adopt a Dog: Shadow




We are introducing a new dog for our latest installment of Adopt a Dog. This dog's name is Shadow. She is an extremely friendly and loveable two year old pitbull. She is currently available for adoption at the McDonough County Animal Shelter. 



Listen below for more details about Shadow and why she would make a tremendous addition to your home!



Full Text of Governor Bruce Rauner's State of the State Address

Full text of Governor Bruce Rauner's State of the State Address: 


Good afternoon:


President Cullerton


Speaker Madigan


Leader Radogno


Leader Durkin


Lieutenant Governor Sanguinetti


Attorney General Madigan


Secretary White


Comptroller Mendoza


Treasurer Frerichs


Members of the General Assembly


Ladies and Gentlemen: It is an honor to stand with you today to discuss the State of our State. Despite the problems and uncertainties we face, I am deeply optimistic about the future of our beloved Illinois. We have big challenges and like many of you, I’m frustrated by the slow pace of change in Springfield. But with great challenge comes great opportunity. By working together, we can overcome any obstacle. We have the best people and best location of any state in America. Through bipartisan cooperation, Illinois can once again be the economic engine of the Midwest and the home of innovation and prosperity for everyone.


Two years ago, when our Administration came into office, we set about to return Illinois to a state of growth and opportunity. We knew that we could not simply tax our way out of our fiscal problems; we needed to grow; we needed to fix a broken system. We needed to make Illinois more welcoming to job creators; to restore confidence in government; and to ensure that all of our children could receive a high quality education and job training so they could obtain high-paying careers here, at home.


Given those realities, we set key goals for our Administration:

·                     Make Illinois the most ethical and efficient state in the nation
·                     Invest in education so that Illinois has the best schools and vocational training in every neighborhood and in every community
·                     And most importantly, make our state more competitive, more attractive to job creators, to grow our economy and bring more good-paying jobs to our state

Working together, we’ve begun to accomplish these goals, but much remains to be done.


Inside government over the past two years, we’ve made great strides in ethics reform.  We closed the revolving door on Executive Branch employees leaving government to become administration lobbyists. We tightened the gift ban loopholes that lobbyists and contractors used to influence regulators and win favor with decision makers. We increased transparency, so that any resident of the state can now go online and review state spending on contracts and at-will hires. We required more comprehensive economic interest statements so we all could see who was being paid, and by whom.  We cleaned up the hiring mess we inherited at IDOT – and we’re working cooperatively with Michael Shakman to strengthen state hiring rules even more.


We are modernizing and streamlining state government, and building toward a higher level of transparency through our new Department of Innovation and Technology.  In the last year, the Department has protected more than 5 billion records of Illinois residents that were previously left unsecured and unencrypted… and we’re moving millions of pieces of paper out of file cabinets and into the digital age.


Kirk Lonbom leads our cybersecurity efforts at DoIt. He is working around the clock to ensure that our efforts are successful and state records are secure. He is here today, let’s give him a hand.


We’ve cut red tape and made it easier for constituents to interact with state government. We are moving to a digital application process for professional licenses and reducing processing times by 70 percent. We are cutting paper and postage costs through online license renewal notifications, saving money and 16,500 hours of work every year.


Richard Morris works for the Department of Financial & Professional Regulation and has been a leader in our transformation to online licensing. Working across agency lines and with professional associations outside of government, he has put the time and effort in with the right people, at the right level, and at the right time to make this initiative a success. He is here with us today – let’s all give him a hand for his service to our state.


We are using technology and innovation to stop fraud and abuse, and we’re already saving taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars inside Medicaid alone. And working together, we enacted historic reforms to crack down on unemployment insurance fraud as well.


We signed innovative new contracts with 20 of our state government unions to drive more value for taxpayers, by paying more for productivity and high performance rather than just seniority; by starting overtime pay after 40 hours rather than just 37.5; by adding greater flexibility in the workplace; and, we have laid the groundwork for allowing volunteers to work at our state parks and health facilities. These are all common sense changes that are good for employees and taxpayers alike.


We formed a bipartisan task force led by Lt. Gov. Sanguinetti to recommend ways we can reduce the cost of our bloated bureaucracy and worst-in-the-nation 7,000 units of local government. Every dollar we save in reducing bureaucracy is a dollar we can invest in education and human services, along with reducing our highest-in-the-nation property taxes. The task force made 27 recommendations that we can implement together through legislation to save hundreds of millions of dollars. The communities of Grayslake and Hainesville are leading by example, saving $500,000 per year through sharing services while providing more support to their local police.


Grayslake Mayor Rhett Taylor is with us today. Let’s give him a round of applause for his service – and for setting an example for all of us to follow.


We worked hard to change our broken political system and restore competitive general elections in our state. We encouraged the people of Illinois to put more than one million signatures on petitions to get term limits and fair maps on the ballot. Unfortunately, our judges, who themselves are elected through our state political process, decided that a million signatures weren’t enough. They decided that only you, the members of the General Assembly, could pass the necessary legislation to enable the voters to have their say.


I ask you today, on behalf of all the people of Illinois – Democrats and Republicans – please do the right thing and pass the bills to put term limits and fair maps on the ballot. Let the people decide these issues for themselves. End the power of incumbency and special interest groups, and give power back to the people of our state. Illinois turns 200 in 2018. What better time to give us a brighter next 200 years than by bringing greater integrity to our political system?


When it comes to providing a better future for the people of Illinois, nothing we do together is more important than educating our young people. We all want our children to be able to stay here in Illinois with good-paying jobs. And we want employers to come to Illinois because we have the best people.  So our administration has made education from cradle to career a top priority.


Two years ago we delivered unprecedented funding for our K-12 schools, and the next year we came back and did it again. In all, our kids are receiving $700 million more per year from the state than two years ago, including an extra $100 million for early childhood education. The practice of proration has come to an end.


We formed a bipartisan task force to recommend changes to the unbalanced way our K-12 public schools are funded. For years Illinois has provided the lowest percentage of education financial support from any state in the country. And we have the largest gap between funding for high income schools and low income schools in the country, both across the state and within the city of Chicago. The task force expects to finish their work in the coming weeks, and we look forward to working on a bipartisan basis to implement their recommendations.


We created the Governor’s Cabinet on Children and Youth, bringing together all state agencies that serve our children to ensure that Illinois’ young people are healthy, safe, well-educated and on the road to becoming self-sufficient. The commitment, cooperation and effective problem solving among the agencies involved is extraordinary; in partnership with external partners in the private sector, they will make Illinois a better place for all children.


Working with the Illinois State Board of Education, local high schools, community colleges and local employers, our youth Cabinet is striving to expand vocational training and apprenticeship programs for all our high school students so each of them has a clear path to an attractive career.


Another critical initiative of the Children’s Cabinet is reducing young children’s exposure to lead. We’re proud to recognize Jen Walling from the Illinois Environmental Council, who is working with us on this effort, and she’s here today. On Martin Luther King Day, all of us, Democrats and Republicans, stood together in signing a bill that requires all schools and day care centers to test their drinking water regularly, and inform parents of the results. Dr. King spoke about the threat of lead in 1966, so it was particularly appropriate that we were able to sign that important piece of legislation on his birthday.


Reducing lead exposure—which disproportionally affects low-income children and children of color—is a social justice issue.  So too is ensuring that we provide a means for those in our criminal justice system to rehabilitate and return to productive lives.  Over the past two years our Administration has worked to reform our criminal justice system, reduce recidivism and address underlying behavioral and mental health issues for those in our systems of care, in order to keep our communities safer.


We’re making great strides in implementing initial recommendations from our Commission on Criminal Justice Reform – helping non-violent ex-offenders get back on their feet and giving them meaningful skills to find employment.  We’re turning around the Department of Children and Family Services, and we’ve safely reduced the juvenile justice population by 49%.  We’ve shuttered the outdated Roundhouse at Stateville Prison while repurposing two other facilities in Murphysboro and Kewanee as life skill centers to help non-violent offenders return to the work force more effectively.


Sadly, our progress in reducing non-violent crime is overshadowed by the skyrocketing rate of violent crime in Chicago.


The violence occurring in Chicago every night is intolerable; we’ve got to bring it to an end.


Violence experts say there’s no single cause and no single solution.  But with the right mix of policies – with a joint commitment between the city, the county, the state and the federal government – we can and must find solutions to curb the violence. 


At the Illinois State Police, we’re providing the Chicago Police Department with a wide range of resources – and we stand ready to do more wherever and whenever called upon.  Our troopers have already surged to counter the violence that’s spilled over to our expressways – and we’re committed to hiring more State Police officers to help patrol Chicago expressways, and other high violence areas.


Law enforcement plays a critical role in violence reduction – but in the end, it’s a treatment, not a cure.  Addressing the roots of this plague will take much more: to restore hope where hope has been lost, to build a long-term future of quality education and good jobs for communities that need it most. Tearing down the barriers to good jobs and economic opportunity. Getting rid of blight and incentivizing redevelopment. Making sure both the state and Chicago Public Schools treat low-income kids the same as high-income kids. Giving parents more choices and support to give their kids a world class education.  Putting vocational training back into our high schools so young people can see a clear path to a career rather than falling victim to the gang recruiters. 


As my good friend Reverend Marshall Hatch has said, nothing stops a bullet like a job.  And so we are focused on building opportunity in every community in our state so that EVERY resident of Illinois can share in the American dream. That’s our single greatest priority: growing more good paying jobs everywhere in Illinois.


Improving transportation is critical to our goal of growing more jobs across the state.


We’ve advanced critical transportation projects to improve the quality of life for residents, and attract new families and businesses. We rebuilt 62 miles of Interstate 90 between Rockford and Chicago and replaced or rehabilitated 100 bridges along the way. We expanded the I-57/70 corridor in Effingham and completed a new flyover ramp connecting the Dan Ryan and Eisenhower Expressways in Chicago.


With your approval in the General Assembly, we are hoping to create a public-private partnership to create a new managed lane on I-55 paid for by private investors – not taxpayers. The project will create thousands of construction jobs, expand the quality of life for commuters, and support faster economic growth throughout the region.


We created a partnership that draws upon the wisdom and experience of our state’s top business executives to recruit employers. We call it Intersect Illinois, and it includes people like Sheila Morgan of the Minority Supplier Development Council; Inga Carus, a 30 year environmental business leader and Chairman of the Peru, Illinois-based Carus Group; Jim Wong a CEO and business entrepreneur with more than 20 years experience; and Chairman Jim Schultz – a fifth generation Illinoisan and agribusiness entrepreneur – working together to bring hope and opportunity to our state.


Sheila, Inga and Jim Wong are here today, let’s thank them for their service to our state.


They’ve already been successful in recruiting employers like Amazon to expand here in Illinois – creating thousands of new jobs across our state.


Working with the General Assembly, we were also able to save jobs in the Quad Cities and in Clinton by passing legislation that ensured energy plants there stayed open. We protected families and job creators by putting caps on business and residential energy rates. And at the same time, we were able to advance green energy by improving our Renewable Portfolio Standard that will lead to billions of dollars in private investment in wind and solar energy.


Jeff Wrage and his wife Stephanie live in Clinton with their two daughters, eight-year-old Halle and six-year-old Maesie. Jeff works as a Chemistry technician at the plant, Stephanie is an IT analyst for State Farm and their daughters attend Clinton Public Schools. They were understandably nervous about the potential plant closing and elated when we successfully passed the Future Energy Jobs Bill. The Wrage family is here today – and we can all be thankful that they’ll be Illinois residents for years to come.


But this is just a start. Illinois is home to some of the greatest research universities in the world.  Working in partnership, we can create a technology and innovation center here in the Midwest that can rival Silicon Valley or North Carolina’s Research Triangle, creating tens of thousands of high-paying jobs.  We can recruit companies who are drawn to our great transportation system, our natural resources and our Midwestern work ethic and quality of life. 


Working together, we can accomplish this kind of growth and opportunity.


Critical to our success is helping our world-class research universities like the U of I and SIU to extend their footprint in the state, form alliances with other great research institutions like the University of Chicago and Northwestern, and significantly expand their efforts in research and innovation. Our goal must be for our great research universities to drive the same stunning level of company formation, entrepreneurship, innovation and wealth creation as Harvard and MIT have done for New England and Stanford and Berkley have done for California.


A few months ago I met a native son of Illinois, Sam Yagan, who has moved his family back to Illinois after many years of success in Silicon Valley.  He came back because Illinois is his home. He loves the people, the values, and the quality of life here in our great state.  And he’s working to make the next great tech success story right here in Illinois.


I know how he feels. I bet you do too. We love this state, the people here, and our way of life.  This is our home, and we’ll never give up trying to make it better.


Clearly we’re excited about the achievements we’ve made, and the unlimited opportunities open to us.  But we still face significant challenges.


We haven’t had a full year budget of some kind in a year-and-a-half– and we haven’t had a state budget that is truly balanced in decades. We have more than $11 billion in unpaid bills, a $130 billion unfunded pension liability, and the worst credit rating in the nation. We have the 5th highest overall tax burden and one of the lowest rates of job creation of any state.


These problems aren’t new. They’ve been building up for many years as past governors and General Assemblies – from both political parties – kicked the can down the road to avoid making tough decisions.


Years of irresponsible borrowing and deficit spending have been devastating to human service organizations that assist children, senior citizens, people with behavioral health issues and disabilities, and our other most vulnerable residents. It has caused student and faculty departures at our colleges and universities. Decades of undisciplined spending and uncompetitive regulations and taxes have made employers hesitant about coming or staying in Illinois, limiting job opportunities across the state.


We are seeing the collective impact of those realities from Carbondale to Chicago, from East St. Louis to Danville. Families and employers are leaving. Nonprofits and small businesses are cutting staff and services. We are failing to be compassionate because we are failing to be competitive.


These problems aren’t new, but these problems are now ours to solve.


We can, and we must, do better.


We know that much in our state has been broken for many, many years; but we know that there is a way forward – there is a path to a better future for ALL Illinois families.


All of us, on both sides of the aisle – President Cullerton, Leader Radogno, Speaker Madigan and Leader Durkin, we all agree that we must have a truly balanced budget and we must make changes to our broken system to return our state to a path of prosperity.


Listen to these comments from recent news reports:


“What is going on is not good for the state.”


“The only way we can solve our problems is in a bipartisan fashion.”


“To break the impasse, both sides must respect each other’s priorities. That means negotiate, compromise.”


“We should focus on working together and finding common ground to address the issues facing our state.”


Those statements were made by Leader Radogno, President Cullerton, Leader Durkin and Speaker Madigan.


I agree with every single one of them.


Now, let’s get it done!


Our state’s economy could take off like a rocket ship if we could just come together on major pro-jobs changes that need legislation to take effect. Lawmakers from both parties deserve credit for working for many months to find ways to reduce regulatory costs and property tax burdens that make businesses in Illinois less competitive than our neighbors. Hopefully we can build upon these initial proposals to ensure they drive big results on job creation. And hopefully we can work together to cut the red tape even more – reducing filing fees and costly licensing barriers that prevent hard-working Illinoisans from qualifying for good, high-paying jobs.


When it comes to the budget, we all can agree Illinois HAS to do something different.  Our Administration has offered many proposals to achieve a truly balanced budget with changes that fundamentally fix our broken system. We must remember that to keep budgets balanced in the future, our rate of economic growth must be higher than our rate of government spending growth. It’s just simple math.


Changes to the worker’s compensation system to prevent misuse and abuse, and attract employers and good jobs. Property tax relief to reduce the immense burden felt by our families and businesses – and to give them reason to stay here. Term limits and redistricting, where voters pick their representatives and not the other way around, in order to restore the confidence of job creators and working families in our state.


We have offered these proposals to drive the change that we ALL KNOW is necessary.

It’s heartening to see the Senate coming together on a bipartisan basis to acknowledge these changes are needed. Let’s build on that cooperation to achieve a truly balanced budget and changes that really move the needle on job creation and property tax relief.

Our aim to have the most ethical and efficient government in the nation, the best schools in every community of our state, and good jobs for all of our residents – these goals are all within our reach…

All of us are here to build a better future for families across this state.

To build a future where our economy booms and job creation soars. Where states around America watch with amazement as Illinois takes the lead in innovation, job growth and economic opportunity. Where people around the country say to themselves, you know what – we want to live in Illinois – that’s where we want to build a business, that’s where we want to start a family, that’s where we can achieve the American dream.

It’s a future where our schools are the envy of the world.  Where every child from every background gets the same, high-quality education – from cradle-to-career – to get on the path to wealth, prosperity and a high-quality of life.

It’s a future where our budgets are balanced for decades to come – where our credit ratings rise as our pension liabilities drop – where our economy grows faster than government spending - where taxpayers are treated with respect and their government squeezes every penny to go the extra mile.

We’ve been at the bottom for far, far too long. It’s time we race to the top. To lead the nation in job creation. To lead the nation in education funding and outcomes. To lead the nation in ethics and accountability. To lead the nation in poverty alleviation and violence reduction.

Yes, we’ve made important gains in government efficiency and economic development these last two years.  Now let’s work together to make Illinois more competitive – so we can realize a better future of jobs and opportunity for all.

Yes, we’ve made important gains in education these last two years.  Now let’s work together to ensure that every child, in every neighborhood, and in every community, has the opportunity to succeed. To ensure the violence that plagues Chicago and other communities comes to an end. To give people hope that tomorrow will be better than today.

All of us – Republicans, Democrats, and everyone in between – have a moral obligation to work together to bring change. We…together…can return Illinois to a place of hope, opportunity, and prosperity.

Illinois is home. All of us love it here. Ultimately, we all want the same things for our home – good jobs, strong schools and safe communities – it’s just a question of respecting each other’s views on how we get there.  If we negotiate in good faith, we can move Illinois forward as a state which is both competitive and compassionate.

Now, let’s work together to get the job done.

Thank you.  God bless you, God bless our beloved State of Illinois, and may God continue to bless the United States of America. 


Macomb Chamber to Host President of the Illinois Manufacturing Association

The Government Affairs Committee of the Macomb Chamber of Commerce will host Greg Baise, President of the Illinois Manufacturer's Association at a luncheon on Thursday, February 2nd. Mr. Baise will speak at the luncheon and unveil the IMA's Middle Class Manufacturing Agenda. Seating for the event is limited so the Chamber is encouraging everyone who would like to attend to RSVP by January 30 by calling 309-837-4855. The cost to attend is $10.00. 


Illinois State Police Promote Dively to Captain and District Commander

Illinois State Police District 14 has announced the promotion of Lt. Jon K. Dively to the rank of Captain and District Commander. The announcement came on Tuesday for Dively who will celebrate 20 years as an Illinois State Trooper in November of 2017. Commander Dively was born and raised in Macomb and has a son, Tyler, who is a sophomore at Western Illinois University and a daughter, Anna, who is a Junior at Macomb High School. Our congratulations go out to Commander Dively. 


Tax Forms Available at WIU Malpass Library

If you are doing your own taxes you can pick up tax forms today at the Malpass Library at Western Illinois University. Through the Tax Form Outlet Program the library has been able to make available the 1040EZ, 1040 and 1040A Federal Tax forms. Instructions for how to fill out the forms have yet to be made available through the program but can be obtained here


New Guidelines Out for Eating Fresh Fish

Good news for people who love fresh fish. Two U.S. agencies have released new advice on how much and which types of fish are safe to eat - especially for women who are pregnant or may become pregnant. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the Environmental Protection Agency say more than 90 percent of fish are safe to eat. The agencies have categorized more than 60 types of fish and shellfish as best, good or choices to avoid. Elizabeth Southerland, director of science and technology at the EPA's Office of Water, says fish that are safe to eat contain essential nutrients and fatty acids that are beneficial for pregnant women.
"They're a high quality source of protein, which is especially important for fetal development and for young children," she points out. "Again, the only concern we have about eating a lot of fish is if you're eating a lot of fish that's high in mercury."The agencies recommend two to three servings a week from the "best choices" category and only one serving from the list of "good choices." The recommended serving size is 4 ounces - or about the size your palm - for adults, and 2 ounces for children ages 4 to 7 years old.The new guidelines are a shift from earlier messaging, when federal agencies advised the public about the dangers of eating too much fish. 
Now, Southerland says federal agencies want to highlight a more positive message - even suggesting pregnant women or women who may become pregnant eat a minimum of 8 ounces of fish a week." FDA did an analysis of fish consumption back in 2005, and pregnant women ate fewer than 2 ounces a week," she relates. "And that's a shame because again, it is a high nutrition source, with nutrients and high quality protein." Southerland says as a general rule, fish that live longer tend to accumulate more mercury in their tissue and should be avoided. Some of those on the list to avoid include shark, swordfish and bigeye tuna. Many states also publish guidelines about where it's safe, or not, to catch and consume fish from local waters.


WIU Gwendolyn Brooks Cultural Center Announces MLK Jr Commemorative Dinner

Western Illinois University's Gwendolyn Brooks Cultural Center will host its annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. commemorative program on Thursday, January 26th at 7 Pm. LaDrina Wilson, Dean of Students at Scott Community College will be the keynote speaker and the program will include presentations to recognize former Gwendolyn Brooks Cultural Center Director Belinda Carr and former WIU Association Vice President of Student Services Earl Bracey. There is no cost to attend the commemorative program which will get underway at 6:30 Pm at the Western Illinois University Multicultural Center. 


McDonough District Hospital Welcomes Biggest Loser Finalist Sonya Jones

McDonough District Hospital will play host to reality show finalist Sonya Jones. Jones is touring the country giving motivational speeches on health and wellness. The appearance by the Biggest Loser finalist is part of a partnership between McDonough District Hospital and the Prairie Heart Institute. You can attend this motivational talk from Sonya Jones, called "Join the Journey," on Tuesday, February 28th at 5 Pm in the Spoon River College Community Outreach Center. There is no cost to attend but you are asked to RSVP if you would like to attend by contacting McDonough District Hospital at 309-836-1584. 


Rep Hammond Calls Out Democratic Leaders for Not Allowing Debate

Representative Norine Hammond is criticizing Democratic leaders in the House for not allowing debate on particular bills. According to Representative Hammond, despite bills being proposed not all bills get a proper hearing. Instead, House Democrats use their majority rule in the House to prevent a number of bills from reaching the House floor for debate. Representative Hammond stated in a press release "The average person in Illinois thinks of a ‘schoolhouse rocks’ explanation of how a bill becomes a law.  However, what many Illinoisans don’t realize is that bills are not debated or considered just because they’re proposed.  In reality, Speaker Madigan and his top lieutenants have complete control over which bills are even debated.  Having served on boards with legislators from across the US, they are befuddled by the complete control the Speaker has in the Illinois House Rules.  It’s simply undemocratic," 


Regional Office of Education Suffering Substitute Teacher Shortage

A lack of substitute teachers is plaguing school districts across the country, including right here in Macomb. Regional Superintendent of Schools John Meixner joined our Sean Patrick for this exclusive interview laying out the numbers of teach absences that must be filled each year, the lack of qualified subs and how many people may be qualified to be a substitute teacher but don't know it. You can apply to become a substitute teacher in the Macomb School District by contacting the office of the Regional Superintendent of Schools at 309-575-3226. 



McDonough District Hospital Offering New First Aid Class

McDonough District Hospital announced on Monday a new First Aid Class. The class will be held on Wednesday, February 1st at 6 Pm in Auditorium A on the lower level at MDH. The new class offers up to date first aid knowledge following the guidelines set forth by the American Heart Association. The class will also cover injury assessment, various medical situations and safety and injury prevention. Pre-registration is required and there is a cost of $32.00 to attend. 


Cathy Early Among Four Re-Appointed to WIU Board of Trustees

Governor Bruce Rauner has re-appointed four people as members of the Western Illinois University Board of Trustees. In a release from the Governor's office the Governor named Cathy Early, Lyneir Cole, Todd Lester and Steve Nelson to the Board of Trustees with Early continuing in her role as Board Chair. The Western Illinois Board of Trustees was created  by Governor Jim Edgard in 1996. 


Macomb C.U.S.D Releases Agenda for Next Meeting

The Macomb C.U.S.D #185 will meet tonight at 7 Pm in the C.T Vivian Library at Macomb Jr/Sr. High School. On the agenda, recognition for a pair of students named Seniors of the Month in November and December, Evan Baker and Hayley Coker, and several other items. You can see the full agenda by clicking here


Illinois Women Make Their Voices Heard

Illinois had one of the largest Women's Marches in the country over the weekend, and organizers say their next goal is to make sure the calls for equal treatment and social justice continue. 

Marches were held across the state on Saturday, including in Carbondale, Rockford and Springfield. The event in Chicago was so big that the group didn't march to Federal Plaza downtown as planned due to safety concerns. 

Organizer Ann Sholhammer said she and her colleagues adjusted the plan after Chicago Police told them there were about 250,000 people at Grant Park.

"They just said, 'Look at what you guys did' - I mean, they were so overjoyed themselves - and they said, 'What do you want to do?' And I went back to my co-chairs and we were just like, 'We broke Chicago, I think!'" Sholhammer said.

Organizers from around the country estimate that crowd totals were in the millions at Women's Marches from the nation's capital to cities around the world on President Donald Trump's first full day in office. The rallying cry at many of the events was, "Welcome to your first day - we will not go away!" 

Thousands of men and children joined the women at the marches. Participant Pete Koenig said he came to support his wife, his mother, and his daughters. 

"I think it's really important to remind Washington that there were almost 3 million people more that voted for Hillary than Donald Trump," Koenig said, "and it's really important that all voices are heard with the new administration."

Illinois State University student Dani Black said she couldn't join a bus caravan that left from Bloomington/Normal for the Washington, D.C., rally, so she traveled to the march in Chicago. She said she's still reeling from November's election.

"It was my first time being able to vote," she said. "I voted in New York City, and I was so proud walking out of there with a bunch of girlfriends, voting for what we thought would be the first female president of the country - and waking up the next morning and knowing that we were walking to class teary-eyed."

Speakers at many of the rallies urged people to channel their energy into work that improves their communities - including running for office.


Wesley Village Pursuit of Home Lunch and Learn Event

Wesley Village is working on the completion of its new Pursuit of Home household model. It is scheduled to be completed in March. In the meantime, Kassie Courson over at Wesley Village is holding a Lunch and Learn event on Wednesday, January 25 at 11:30 AM. The event will go over the structure of these new units and the importance of the aforementioned changes.


To reserve a place at this event call Wesley Village at (309) 833-2123. Listen to my conversation with Kassie below to learn a little more about what the Pursuit of Home household model entails.




Quincy Man Arrested on Meth Charges

The Illinois State Police on Thursday announced the arrest of a Quincy man on charges of possession of Methamphetamine. According to a spokesman for the Illinois State Police, 40 year old Nathan P. Craig of Quincy was arrested on Wednesday night as part of an ongoing, multi-agency task force investigation of a meth making operation at a local Quincy Hotel. After executing a search warrant on the room Craig was occupying, Task Force Officers found Mr. Craig attempting to dispose of evidence in bathroom toilet. After a brief struggle he was taken into custody and transferred to the Adams County Jail to await disposition of charges of Unlawful Possession of Methamphetamine and Obstruction of Justice. 


MacombNewsNow Ongoing Series Alzheimers Every Minute Counts

As part of our continuing series of discussions about Alzheimers care, diagnosis and treatment, we spoke with Daryl Carlson, Education and Outreach Manager for the Alzheimer's Association, to talk about a new documentary set to air January 25th at 9 Pm on PBS. The documentary "Every Minute Counts" is a one hour long examination of of the emotional and even financial toll that Alzheimer's can have on a family. Daryl Carlson joined us in studio on Friday to talk about "Every Minute Counts." 


Rep Hammond Re-Appointed as Assistant House Republican Leader

Representative Norine Hammond has been re-appointed to the position of Assistant House Republican Leader. The announcement was made on Wednesday by House Republican leader Jim Durkin of Western Springs. Hammond served in the same position during her previous term in office. In a statement Representative Hammond said “I am so honored that Leader Durkin has provided this opportunity to continue to provide leadership for Western Illinois as well as helping to guide policy for all of Illinois,” said Rep. Hammond.  “Leader Durkin has been a powerful voice for righting our fiscal ship of state and I am humbled to be asked to be a part of his new Leadership Team for the 100th General Assembly.”


University of Illinois Announces Plan to Increase Enrollment

University of Illinois President Tim Killeen announced on Wednesday that his goal was to increase enrollment at the University by nearly 100,000 students over the next five years.The plan, which will be delivered to the University of Illinois Board of Trustees on Thursday, is the result of the work Mr. Killeen has done with the Strategic Enrollment Committee that the University President created himself back in 2015. That committee was tasked with coming up with ways to increase enrollment on each of the University of Illinois campuses in Champaign-Urbana, Springfield, and Chicago. While the full breadth of the plan has yet to be revealed President Killeen did point to new initiatives related to encouraging more minority enrollment on each campus as part of the plan. 


Quincy Farmer Found Guilty of Insurance Fraud

A Federal jury deliberated for two hours on Wednesday before returning a verdict of guilty for a Quincy farmer. 53 year old Dean Mowen of rural Quincy was accused of conspiring with 68 year old David Speer, also of Quincy, to purchase a tractor and a combine which Mowen then paid Speer to set on fire once the implements had been added to Mowen's insurance. When Mowen's insurance company asked for proof of payment for the tractors, payment that had only been in the range of $30,000, Mowen submitted fraudulent documents that claimed the value of the combine and tractor exceeded $108,000, more than twice the actual value. Speer pleaded guilty to conspiracy and fraud charges in August of 2016. Mowen is currently out on bond and will be sentenced in May on charges of Conspiracy to Commit Mail Fraud and Transporting Stolen Goods.He faces up to 10 years in prison. 


Report Gives Framework for Offering Sanctuary from Deportation

A new report offers guidance to state and local jurisdictions and institutions that want to protect immigrants threatened with deportation. 

About 400 counties, cities and states around the country, as well as churches, schools and hospitals, already have taken steps to create sanctuary for immigrants in their communities. Report co-author Joanna Cuevas Ingram said with widespread fear of racial profiling, hate crimes and mass deportations, the report is intended to give those who offer sanctuary and those considering offering sanctuary some important legal background.

"The U.S. Constitution and civil rights law supports a wide range of local pro-immigrants' rights policies, including policies that protect undocumented community members from draconian federal immigration enforcement," Cuevas Ingram said.

President-elect Donald Trump has said immigration enforcement efforts will focus on those with serious criminal convictions. But advocates fear millions could be swept up in a wave of mass deportations.

Cuevas Ingram noted that some jurisdictions with some kind of sanctuary in place already now are looking for ways they can do more.

"They have already begun passing even stronger, more inclusive protections, and even a bill that would provide some legal support to immigrant members of the community that are facing administrative hearings for deportation," she said.

Chicago has been been designated as a sanctuary city.

There have been concerns that the federal government could threaten to withhold funds from jurisdictions that offer sanctuary or other protections to immigrants. But Cuevas Ingram said that even then, there may be some legal recourse.

"If they do get these threats of withdrawal of funding from the federal government, there is precedent and there are cases that they can look to to find some legal authority to resist any unconstitutional coercion or commandeering," Cuevas Ingram said.

The report included a number of policy recommendations for actions that local governments can take to protect their undocumented community members.


ePitome Dog Rescue Pounds for Hounds

At Regional Media, we working with ePitome Dog Rescue to help provide dog food to malnurished dogs in need. Ongoing until February 28, the Pounds for Hounds program will be taking place in partnership with us here at Regional Media.


Participants can donate dog food at any of our Regional Media branches (Macomb, Kewanee, and Davenport). The idea is that for every pound a person loses or gains (depending on their fitness goal), they can donate one pound of dog food. For every pound donated Regional Media will match that pound of dog food. Together we hope to help as many dogs in need as possible. 


Listen to today's conversation below for more information.



Crop Insurance and Farm Bill Forum in Macomb Friday

Country Financial and the Illinois Farm Bureau are sponsoring a forum for farmers and landowners in Macomb on Friday. The forum aimed at keeping farmers and landowners up to date on the latest changes in Farm Insurance and potential changes to the national Farm Bill now that Congress is back in session and a new Presidential Administration is taking over. The forum is free to attend and will be held at the Spoon River Outreach Center in Macomb, beginning at 12 Noon on Friday, January 20th. The forum should last about two hour and will feature Joe Camp from Agrivisor and Doug Yoder from Country Financial. Doug Yoder joined for a preview of Friday's event. 


Lost Puppies Report

We received a call this afternoon about two lost male Siberian Husky puppies in Industry. They are 4 weeks old. They are red and white with blue eyes and are roughly 4 pounds. They have been missing since around 10:30 AM, and were last seen with their mother, who has since been found. If you have any information about these lost puppies, please contact the owner at (217)-408-8233.


Welcome Ty, Kelly and Chuck to Back Road Country

Welcome Ty, Kelly and Chuck the new Back Road Country Morning Show beginning Monday at 5 Am. 



Illinois Budget and Higher Education Forum Coming to Macomb

The Center for Tax and Budget Accountability will hold a forum on Illinois' ongoing budget issues and how they effect higher education on February 14th in Macomb. The panel is open to anyone who would like to attend but you must RSVP by clicking HERE. The forum will be held on the Western Illinois University campus in the student union capitol room. Registration begins at 10:30 Am and the two hour panel discussion will begin at 11 Am. There is no fee to attend panel which is presented by the Center for Tax and Budget Accountability. 


Arkansas Homicide Suspect Captured by Illinois State Police

The Illinois State Police announced on Tuesday the capture of a suspect wanted on Homicide charges in Arkansas. According to an Illinois State Police Spokesman, troopers arrested Jerrold Howard of West Memphis, Arkansas on Tuesday following a traffic stop along I-55 near Springfield. Howard led troopers on a brief chase before pulling over and then attempting to flee troopers on foot before he was finally apprehended. Howard was carrying a handgun at the time of his arrest but thankfully was taken into custody without violent incident. Howard is accused of fleeing a homicide charge in Little Rock, Arkansas and is expected to be turned over to Little Rock investigators for disposition of that charge. 


Regional Media's Back Road Country to Announce New Morning Show Hosts Today

Back Road Country 95.9 WNLF will announce the hosts of it's brand new morning show this morning at 10 Am in a video here at and on the WNLF Facebook page. The new morning show is several months in the making, an intentionally deliberate process intended to find the best morning show team possible for the station. In celebration of the announcement of the new Back Road Country Morning Show, WNLF will be giving away 3 Mall of America prize packages with a Like Share and Win Contest. Simply like or share the video announcement of the new Back Road Country Morning Show and you will be entered into the drawing to win one of the 3 prize packages valued at nearly $300.00 per package and including unlimited rides at Nickelodeon Universe, tickets to the the Sealife Minnesota Aquarium and 2 admissions to the Crayola Experience. Three lucky winners will be drawn on Monday morning and announced during the debut of the new Back Road Country Morning Show, Monday morning from 5 Am to 10 Am. 


Lost Dogs Alert

Two lost dogs have been reported in the Macomb area this morning. The dogs were last spotted by Pierce Liquor in Macomb. The dogs were last seen together.


One is a tan boxer mix named JJ. The dog is roughly 80 pounds and should have a leather collar on. The other dog is a black Australian Sheppard mix. This dog's name is Midnight. The dog is identifiable by the white under its neck and a red collar. 


According to the owners, JJ and Midnight do not typically respond well to strangers, and may run off. The best course of action would be to keep track of their location, then contact the owners and report where the dogs are located. Try calling their names, as that could be helpful in keeping them close until the owners arrive. The owners live in Blandinsville, and can be contacted at (309) 331-3863. 


McDonough County United Way Imagination Ball Tickets On Sale Jan 25

The 4th Annual McDonough County United Way Imagination Ball will be held February 25 at the Spoon River Outreach Center. This year's theme is "Bookworm Ball." Tickets go on sale January 25 at the First Bankers Trust Company main branch on North Lafayette in Macomb. Tickets are $15.


For more information, here's my conversation with McDonough County United Way Director Cayla Walsh. 


State of Illinois Mourns Eugene Cernan Last Man on the Moon

Eugene Cernan, the last American to walk on the Moon, passed away on Monday, he was 82 years old. Born in Chicago in 1934, Cernan joined the Navy while in college at Purdue University in 1956. In 1958 he became a Naval Aviator and logged more than 5000 miles in the air. In 1962 he was among a select group of pilots who would be groomed for the space program and by 1966 following the tragic deaths of fellow astronauts Elliott See and Charles Bassett during training, Cernan was chosen to pilot Gemini 9A, the seventh American spaceflight. One of only two people to travel to the moon twice, Cernan first made the journey in 1969 as pilot of Apollo 10 and then returned to the moon in 1972 on what has been for some time the last American space mission to the moon. While on mission in 1972 Cernan set a lunar land speed record when he piloted the lunar land rover at over 11 milers per hour on the lunar surface. In later years Cernan wrote a book about his NASA missions called "The Last Man on the Moon," testified before Congress in an attempt to keep alive programs that would take America back to the moon and most recently Cernan was the subject of a documentary film called "The Last Man on the Moon" which has been honored at film festivals and by the AARP. Illinois's own Eugene Cernan was 82 years old. 


Big Foundations Make Money, but Charitable Giving is Down

Foundations receiving tax-deductible contributions have been booming, but a new report says little of the new money pouring in makes its way to those working on social justice issues. The National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy report says between 2003 and 2013, which included the Great Recession, the assets of the country's grant-making foundations increased by more than $320 billion. 

But Ryan Schlegel, NCRP senior research and policy associate, and the report's author, says little of that new money reached those who suffered the most during that same decade.

"While grant-making from the 1,000 largest foundations in the United States for under-served communities grew by a little bit, about five percentage points, grant-making for social-justice philanthropy was stagnant," he explained. 

The report defines "social justice organizations" as not-for-profits working for structural changes that will benefit those who are least well off politically, economically and socially.

Schlegel notes that, in the eleven years of the study, the 1,000 largest foundations gave an average of less than 31 percent of their total grant-making dollars to under-served communities.

"And social justice grant-making was still only about 10 percent, and both of those are pretty troublingly low when you consider the challenges that are facing those under-served communities and our nation as a whole," he added. 

The NCRP report asks if foundations will continue to enjoy generous tax benefits in a political climate that's increasingly hostile to equal-rights issues, or if they can change course to better guard the public trust they've been given.


WIU Music Professor Named to Inspiring List

College Magazine has released it's nationwide list of "Music Professors Who Inspire Us" and Western Illinois University's own Courtney Blankenship landed at number 2 on the Top 10 list. According to WIU, the magazine called Blankenship the "Cool Mom of inspirational Music Teachers." Blankenship's numerous accomplishments helped her land on the list including heading the Music Merchandising Division at the Lotus Music Festival and her degrees in Marketing, Piano Performance and Arts Management on top of being a trained Ballet Dancer. Congratulations Mrs. Blankenship. 


Memorial Hospital in Carthage Touting New 3D Mammography

Memorial Hospital in Carthage is touting new 3D Mammography equipment. In a release to the media, Memorial Hospital officials state that the new state of the art Mammography unit will be able to detech cancer at it's earliest stages, earlier than could be detected by 2D Mammography. The new equipment delivers a more finely detailed picture and will allow for the detection of invasive cancers. 3D Mammography also decreases the chances of false positives up to 40% which can save patients on costly return visits. You can find out more about the brand new 3D Mammography online at 


Three People Arrested in Adams County Meth Bust

Three people are under arrest following a traffic stop that turned into a meth bust. According to a release from the Adams County Sheriff's Office, officers were investigating a vehicle stolen in Hannibal, Missouri. When the vehicle was stopped by officers three suspects were inside including 25 year old Heather C. Lewis of Quincy, 33 year old Charles Dustin Crosby of Liberty and 34 year old Wendy N. Richie of Quincy and the suspects were found to be carrying the means for making Methamphetamine. Each of the three stand charged with a Class X Felony for Unlawful Production and Possession of Methamphetamine Manufacturing Materials, and several other meth related charges. The trio was taken to the Adams County Jail where they await disposition.  


Thousands Rally Against ACA Repeal

Rallies were held across the country over the weekend to oppose repeal of the Affordable Care Act. 

Democratic Sen. Dick Durbin of Illinois attended a rally at the SEIU Healthcare Office in Chicago on Sunday. He said that the GOP-led assault on President Obama's signature healthcare law could cause more than a million Illinoisans could to lose their coverage. 

In Illinois alone, Durbin said, 4 million people with employer-based health insurance will no longer benefit from a ban on lifetime caps and protections against discrimination for those with pre-existing conditions.

"If you had a pre-existing condition called being a woman, you were going to pay a higher premium," Durbin said of the state of the healthcare system before the ACA. "We got rid of that. Lifetime limits on health insurance coverage? That can be destroyed in one trip to the doctor or one accident in your car."

Over the weekend, incoming White House Chief of Staff Reince Preibus said President-elect Donald Trump does not have plans to touch Medicare. Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders said he'd like to see a tweet from Trump confirming the campaign promise that he would not cut Social Security, Medicare or Medicaid.

Durbin said that older folks will be hit particularly hard if the ACA is repealed.

"Senior citizens on Medicare have full coverage for their prescription drugs," he said. "Affordable Care Act, Obamacare, is saving the average senior in Illinois $1,000 a year on drug costs."

Also, thousands of young adults in Illinois could be removed from their parents' health plans, Durbin said. He also warned that repealing the law will cause job losses that would be devastating to the economy.

"We're going to lose, we estimate, 95,000 jobs in Illinois of healthcare professionals," Durbin said. "We're going to see hospitals losing 40 percent of their revenues as we eliminate Medicaid coverage for people."

Trump has vowed to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act. Congressional Republicans took the first step in that process late last week.


McDonough County Sheriff Investigating Injury Crash

The McDonough County Sheriff's Office is investigating a multi-vehicle accident that happened on Friday. According to the McDonough County Sheriff's Office, a 1999 Volkswagon Beetle driven by 20 year old Chase Alexander of Bloomington, IL was traveling westbound on County Road 2200 North when he failed to stop at a stop sign and struck a 2003 Ford Taurus driven by 21 year old Josiah T. Boyd of Raritan. Both drivers were airlifted from the scene and taken to Blessing Hospital in Quincy with both drivers in serious condition. No charges have been filed as of yet in this accident and the McDonough County Sheriff is continuing to investigate the accident. 


Winter Weather Advisory and Closures

A Winter Weather Advisory remains in effect through most of your Sunday across McDonough County. According to the National Weather Service light snow and sleet will be in the forecast with up to an inch of snow and ice accumulations around a 10th of an inch are possible on Sunday. The winter weather has led to the cancellation of the performance of the Moody Symphonic Band at Calvary Baptist Church scheduled for Sunday. Bethel Baptist Church south of Colchester is also cancelled for today. 


Illinois Residents Encouraged to Volunteer on Martin Luther King Day

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day is Monday, January 16th and is traditionally a day off for many in the state of Illinois. Now, however, government officials and activists are calling on Illinois residents to make Martin Luther King Jr Day a Day On rather than a Day Off. Our Kim Howard has this report. 



MacombNewsNow Ongoing Series Alzheimers 10 Signs to Look For

Continuing our series of conversations about Alzheimers I once again talked with Susan Johnson from the Alzheimers Association. Among the most important things people must consider about Alzheimers is early detection. The earlier the disease can be diagnosed, the more prepared people can be for the long journey ahead. The Alzheimers Association has come up with a list of 10 Signs for people to watch for for early detection of Alzheimers. The full list is below but first, my interview today with Susan Johnson at our studios. 


1. Memory changes that disrupt daily life

2. Challenges in planning or solving problems 

3. Difficulty completing familiar tasks 

4. Confusion with time or place

5. Trouble understanding visual images and spatial relationships

6. New problems with words in speaking or writing

7. Misplacing things and losing the ability to retrace steps

8. Decreased or poor judgment 

9. Withdrawal from work or social activities 

10. Changes in mood and personality. 


Icy Mix Causing Local School Cancellations

A wintry mix of ice and rain is forcing some school closures today, Thursday, January 12th. Check the list below for the latest school closings updated throughout the morning. 



Weight Watchers at First Baptist Church Macomb just morning meeting cancelled


La Harpe Schools Closed Evening Activities Cancelled 

Dallas City is Closed 

Illini West is Closed

Bushnell Prairie City Schools Closed 

Carthage Elementary School Closed 

Nauvoo-Colusa Schools Closed 

Rushville Schools Closed

Western Illinois University Open for Regular Business with a Winter Advisory in effect until 10 AM

Macomb Senior Center Senior Meal Program Cancelled today 

West Prairie CUSD 103





Rep Norine Hammond Sworn in to 5th Term in Springfield

State Representative Norine Hammond was sworn in for her fifth term as the Representative of Illinois District 93 at a ceremony at the University of Illinois at Springfield. Representative Hammond told reporters that she hopes to help bridge the divide between the two parties that has held the state back in recent years. 

And Representative Hammond went on to say that she is starting the latest legislative session with plans already in place for bills she hopes to introduce and get passed. 



Free Range Yoga Presents Adopt a Dog Week 7




This week's Adopt a Doggie segment is brought to you by Free Range Yoga and Wellness Center. 


We are introducing two new dogs this week. They are a pair of beagles pictured below. They're named Thelma (foreground) and Louise (background). They came from the same home, so the goal is to keep them together. 



Thelma and Louise are leash broken, calm, and loving dogs that are perfect for someone looking for a less active dog. When they came into the studio today, they couldn't have been behaved any better. Here's our segment this week, as Ali Weston speaks with Billy from the McDonough County Animal Shelter. 



Additionally, we are still looking for a home for Kalibak, our previous featured dog. He is a 3-year-old blue pitbull that is playful, calm inside, and great with people. Here he is pictured below.


If you are interested contact the shelter at (309)-837-2989. You can stop by to visit at 101 E. Tower Road in Macomb. 


WIRC Names Pritchard New Executive Director

The Western Illinois Regional Council has a new Executitive Director. Search committee chairman Chuck Gilbert made the announcement on Tuesday night that Shaun Pritchard, currently of Cameron Park, California, will become the next WIRC Executive Director. Pritchard will replace Suzan Nash who retired from the position in October of 2016. Nash held the position of WIRC Executive Director for 35 years. Mr. Pritchard will take over the position as of February 1st, 2017. 


'Enough is Enough' Message Sent to Lawmakers

Illinois' budget stalemate is more than two years old now and it's not sitting well with state residents. 

Illinois is projected to spend $13 billion more than it will collect in taxes this year, and Ryan Gruenenfelder, the manager of advocacy and outreach for AARP Illinois, says there's also more than $10 billion in unpaid bills from previous fiscal years. He says the impact of the money shortage is felt by college students, working families, older residents and social-service providers. 

In response, AARP has launched a campaign to put pressure on state lawmakers to get a budget approved.

"Enough is enough," he said. "Sit down and compromise and find a comprehensive balanced budget that helps make life better for residents of all ages of Illinois and is as equitable as can be for Illinois residents and businesses."

The Tax Foundation says Illinois has the fifth-worst tax structure in the nation, and the second-highest property tax rate in the country.

Gruenenfelder said the cost of living also is on the increase, and it's putting a big burden on people who are on a fixed income.

"Illinoisans, every single day, are facing a future of having to pay for this massive amount of debt," he continued. "It's growing by around $500 million per month. If we don't get a handle on this thing, the future of the state of Illinois is in jeopardy."

Gruenenfelder said spurring lawmakers into action is going to have to come from state residents. He encouraged everyone to call or email their local representative and ask them what their specific plan is to pass a budget, and to tell them, 'Enough is enough.'


MacombNewsNow Celebrity Interview Sex Pistols' Steve Jones

Steve Jones was one of the unsung members of the most iconic punk rock bands in history, The Sex Pistols. But Steve Jones is unsung no more thanks to his new book "Lonely Boy" which gives you his side of The Sex Pistols story for the first time. But while many others may define Steve Jones by The Sex Pistols, his life is so much more. From being part of punk's most iconic band Steve went on to America and specifically Los Angeles, where he remade himself with his very own radio show which became iconic in it's own way. Steve Jones joined me, Sean Patrick, for this celebrity profile to talk about his new book "Lonely Boy." 



Knox County Family Honored by American Farm Bureau

The American Farm Bureau Federation honored Illinois farmers Grant and Kristen Strom (STRAHM) with the group's young farmer program achievement award. Grant Strom describes the family farm in Knox County;



Strom's wife Kristen grew up in suburban Chicago, but she's now an active partner on the farm and in the community. The farm couple have three young children;

The Illinois farm family beat out competitors from 28 other states to win the young farmer achievement award at the national Farm Bureau organization's convention taking place this week in Phoenix.


IDNR Reminding Anglers About Ice Fishing Safety

As the temperatures drop in Illinois, those who enjoy year-round fishing may start heading to their favorite location to participate in ice fishing. The Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) is reminding anglers that heading to their favorite frozen fishing holes does come with risks this time of year.  “The IDNR cannot stress enough the importance of safety when ice fishing.  Ice fishing can be a great and fun time, but can change into a dangerous situation in just seconds.  Being prepared and ready for anything can save your life,” said IDNR Conservation Police Chief Rafael Gutierrez. Those planning to ice fish should stay off of ice that is less than 4 inches thick.  It is recommended anglers carry a rope or floatation device with them to help assist if someone falls through the ice.  Wearing a life jacket/personal floatation device (PFD) is always recommended when fishing offshore, including when ice fishing.  For additional information on ways to make your next ice fishing trip a fun and safe one, visit the website


Illinois Teens Aim to Attend Washington Women's March

There's an effort underway in Illinois to get young women more involved in the political process. The Women's March on Washington will take place on January 21, and young members of the Illinois chapter are trying to raise enough money to go so they can make their voices heard at the nation's capital. 

At age 16, Chloe Wagner said she and some of her politically-minded friends felt powerless after the election, because they couldn't vote. 

"Even though youth can't vote, we still have voices that are valid and our experiences should be shared," Wagner said, "because we are the generation that will be affected by this administration."

Organizers of the Women's March said the grassroots effort began in response to the divisive rhetoric of the presidential election, when they said they saw the rights of women, immigrants, the LGBTQ community, survivors of sexual assault, and religious and ethnic minorities being threatened. 

The Illinois Youth Chapter of the Women's March on Washington has set up a GoFundMe account to raise money to send the teens to the event.

Morenike Fabiyi is a high-school junior who said it's critical that people her age get involved in this movement. 

"I wanted to make a change and I wanted to be involved, even though I wasn't necessarily able to, like, vote," Fabiyi said.

The Women's March on Washington starts at 10 a.m. on Saturday, January 21, near the White House. It will include a march and rally featuring nationally-recognized activists, artists, entertainers and entrepreneurs.


MacombNewsNow Special Report The Golden Globe Awards

The Golden Globe Awards are happening on Sunday night at 7 Pm on NBC. The wild and crazy cousin of the Academy Awards, the Globes prides itself on an anything can happen atmosphere of flowing drinks and surprise winners. E News Managing Editor for Film, Mark Malkin will be on hand to cover all of the events on Sunday night and he joined MacombNewsNow's very own film critic Sean Patrick, to talk about the potential surprises (Annette Bening?) and the not so-surprises (La La Land for the Win!). 


Department of Education Highlighting WIU

Western Illinois University has been selected by the Department of Education to be part of a new initiative highlighting innovative ways schools can help raise college completion rates. WIU was chosen as one of 11 schools to be part of the Department of Education's new College Completion Toolkit. WIU was chosen because of such University initiatives as the FYE Program, University 100, the Building Connections Mentoring Program and activities through the Gwendolyn Brooks Cultural Center and Casa Latina. 


DOJ: More Police-Involved Fatal Shootings Than Reported

Police officers have the legal authority to take lives, but keeping tabs on how many people are killed each year hasn't been easy. Brandon Patterson, a reporter for the news organization Mother Jones, broke down new Department of Justice data, which show police-related fatalities in the United States are significantly higher than earlier estimates.

Just a few days into 2017, there have been two fatal shootings by police officers in Illinois. Trevon Johnson, 17, was shot Monday by a DuPage County sheriff's deputy during an altercation after a domestic disturbance call. An unarmed 38-year-old man was fatally shot on the same day in a Chicago neighborhood; the officer has since been stripped of police power.

"This new DOJ number is the fullest - I won't say complete because it is an estimate - but the fullest, and likely the most accurate, estimate that we have at this point of how many of these deaths occur every year," Patterson said.

After searching through media reports and other sources, the DOJ has estimated that 1,900 people died during a police encounter in the 12 months ending in May 2016. In 2014, police departments reported only 444 police shootings to the FBI.

The Death in Custody Reporting Act, passed by Congress in 2000, requires police departments to report deaths, and agencies that don't comply can lose 10 percent of their federal funding. However, Patterson noted that Congress only added an enforcement component to the law in 2014.

"Essentially," he said, "the number was significantly lower than the new estimate because law enforcement agencies simply were ignoring the reporting mandate because there were no consequences under the old law."

Patterson said it remains unclear if the reporting act will be enforced after President Obama leaves office.

"Both (President-elect Donald) Trump and his pick for attorney general, Jeff Sessions, have been critical of the Department of Justice's involvement in local policing issues, and have indicated that they would sort of pull back on that under a Trump administration."

The lack of good data got national attention when Michael Brown, an unarmed black teen, was killed by a police officer in Ferguson, Mo., in 2014. The Guardian and The Washington Post responded by making independent counts, in a process similar to the one adopted by the Justice Department.

The DOJ report is online at and the Mother Jones report is at


The Enchanted Florist Presents: Adopt a Doggie Week 6




We are still searching for a new home for Kalibak (pictured above), a one and a half year old blue pitbull. He is very friendly, energetic but calm inside, and great with children and other dogs. Check out our most recent Adopt a Doggie segment where in addition to discussing Kalibak some more, we highlight our recent Adopt a Doggie success story. 


If you are interested in meeting Kalibak contact the McDonough County Animal Shelter at  (309) 837-2989. They are located at 101 E. Tower Road in Macomb. 


Below is this week's segment, as well as some new pictures of Kalibak I took yesterday when visiting the shelter. 





MacombNewsNow Celebrity Interview Shaun Cassidy Emerald City

He became a teen idol in the 1970's with The Hardy Boys Mysteries and a series of hit songs but now Shaun Cassidy is working behind the scenes and finding just as much success and even more fulfillment as a television producer. Shaun's latest project is one of the more unique and ambitious projects on television today. Emerald City is a gritty adaptation of L. Frank Baum's Oz series, the same series that inspired the legendary film The Wizard of Oz. I spoke with Shaun about this unique take on this very familiar material, his newly discovered star, Adria Arjona, the veteran supporting cast, including Vincent D'onofrio and Joely Richardson, and Shaun's transition from Teen Idol to powerhouse producer. Emerald City debuts on Friday night at 8 Pm Central with a two hour premiere on NBC. 


MacombNewsNow Ongoing Series: Alzheimers Disease Breakthrough

Part of an ongoing series of stories and expert interviews on the topic of Alzheimers and Dementia I spoke with renowned Brain health Expert Dr. Al Johnson about a breakthrough in Alzheimers research at Northwestern University. Researchers at Northwestern have announced that they have discovered Alzheimers patients who present with no memory loss. On autopsy, Alzheimers was discovered in the brains of these research patients but not in the part of the brain that controls and stores memory. Could this breakthrough lead to new and better treatment for Alzheimers Disease? I spoke with Dr. Al Johnson on Thursday for this latest part of this ongoing MacombNewsNow Series. 


Attorney General Madigan Calls Out For Profit Colleges

Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan is calling on the Department of Education to forgive student loans given to students who attended a pair of for profit colleges found to have been involved in fraud. Students who attended the criminal justice program at Westwood College were left without the ability to complete their degree after a fraud investigation led to the school being shut down. A similar instance happened to students attending for profit Everest College which Madigan claims lured students into fraudulent, non-accredited courses for which they received student loans. The Illinois Attorney successfully sued Westwood College last year and was able to settle private loans for students but that settlement did not help students who had taken out Federal student loans to attend the now defunct for profit college. 


Winter Weather Causing Driving Difficulties Across McDonough County Thursday

The National Weather Service has issued a special weather statement for McDonough County regarding difficult winter driving conditions. Driving conditions across the area today will be difficult with loose blowing slow and packed accumulating snow creating slippery conditions. These conditions combined with notably low temperatures can create a number of hazards for those traveling either long or short distances. Make sure you and your vehicle are prepared for any situation and that you drive carefully today. Freezing cold temperatures are expected to remain through the weekend before rising significantly early next week. 


Celebrate Local at Western Illinois Museum and Macomb Food Co-op




On Friday, Jan. 6, the Western Illinois Museum and the Macomb Food Co-op will partner to hold a "Celebrate Local," event at the Museum. The celebration runs from 6:30-9:30 PM at 201 S Lafayette St. in Macomb. 


The night features unique food items, informative exhibits, and performances from numerous talented local musical artists. For more details on the event, listen to my conversation below with Sue Scott from the Western Illinois Museum.


The event is open to the public and there is a suggested $5 donation at the door.


Western Illinois Museum Contact Information:

(309) 837-2750


Macomb Food Co-op Contact Information:

(309) 255-5572



McDonough District Hospital Announces Baby New Year

McDonough District Hospital announced on Tuesday it's Baby New Year. Parents Jawaher Shawaf and Abdulkhalik Alghamdi welcomed baby Sattam Abdulkhalik Alghamdi to the world at 9:54 Am on January 2nd making Sattam the first baby born in 2017 at McDonough District Hospital. Sattam is a healthy 6 pounds and 9 ounces and 19 and half inches long. Mom and dad are originally from Saudi Arabia and are making their home in Macomb while mom atttends Western Illinois University. 


Macomb City Council Officially Hires City Administrator and Fire Chief

At Tuesday night's Macomb City Council meeting it was made official that Dean Torreson would be returning as Macomb City Administrator. Torreson held the position of City Administrator in Macomb for 8 years before retiring in January of 2016. Torreson replaces departed City Adminstrator Sue Mclaughlin who left the position last August after only 8 months on the job. Torreson had returned to the position on an interim basis following Mclaughlin's departure. Also at Tuesday's CIty Council meeting J.R Hyde was named as the new Macomb Fire Chief. Hyde, department veteran, had been serving as Interim Fire Chief since the passing of Chief Andy Taylor in September of last year. 


Gun Sales Slow in Illinois Since Trump's Election

Gun shop owners in Illinois say the rush to buy weapons has slowed down. Roger Krahl, president of "R Guns," a firearms dealer and manufacturer in Carpentersville, said some people were worried that Hillary Clinton would become President, and her campaign promise to push for "common-sense gun laws" sent them scurrying to buy guns. 

Krahl said now that Donald Trump will be in charge, the rush has died down. The day after the election, stock prices plummeted for big gun makers and Krahl estimates he's selling one-tenth of the firearms he would have if Clinton had won the White House. He added that this has happened before. 

"Every time the government tries to go in and legislate firearms even further, they just make them continually more popular," he said. 

Voices on both sides of the issue expect guns will be a topic of legislation, both in Washington, D.C., and in Springfield, in the coming months.

Lee Goodman, an organizer with the group Peaceful Communities, said one of his biggest fears is that a Trump Administration will reverse some of the work that's been done. 

"There are definitely efforts around the country to relax legislation about guns," he said. "Primarily, for instance, the National Rifle Association is backing efforts to have national legislation preempting state laws that restrict where and when people can carry concealed or open guns."

Goodman said President-elect Trump appealed to voters who put faith in their firearms, and hopes he doesn't follow through on campaign promises about giving them more freedom.

"The disturbing thing is he was willing to appeal to this very violent element of society to encourage it, and to even make the promises," he added. 

A year ago, President Obama issued an executive action to make the national criminal background-check system used for gun purchases more effective. Throughout his campaign, Donald Trump vowed that, if elected, he would reverse the President's order.


Interview Code Black Star Boris Kodjoe

Actor Boris Kodjoe never expected to be a full time cast member on the CBS medical drama Code Black. Kodjoe signed on for a four episode arc in season one of the series and he thought that might be it. However, producers loved his work so much they invited him to become a full time cast member for season two joining fellow cast newcomer Rob Lowe and series star and Academy Award nominee Marcia Gay Harden. Code Black is set in the busiest Emergency Room in the country and it's a show that moves at an incredible pace that keeps both the audience and the actors on the edge of their seats. But acting is only part of Boris Kodjoe's unique life story. Born in Vienna Austria, Boris was raised in Germany and did not learn English until he was 19 years and now speaks with little to no accent. On an even more personal level however, Boris's life today is dedicated to his family and to his daughter Sophie who was born with Spina Bifida. In my conversation with Boris we talk about the Sophie's Voice Foundation which is raising money not just to help treat Spina Bifida but also to provide support for families caring for people with Spina Bifida. Actor Boris Kodjoe with our Sean Patrick in this interview.... 


Macomb City Council to Hire New City Administrator

Months after the stormy and quite short tenure of City Administrator Sue McLaughlin ended ignominiously, the Macomb City Council is poised to announce the official hiring of a new City Administrator at Tuesday night's Committee of the Whole Meeting. Former City Administrator Dean Torreson will return to his former position, coming out of retirement. Torreson was Macomb City Administrator for 8 years before retiring in January of 2016. Also at tonight's meeting it is expected that the City will officially hire Deputy Fire Chief J.R Hyde as the new head of the Fire Department and Kent Cox, currently the Manager of the City Water Treatment Plant, will be named Interim Public Works Director. 


Report: Fear Holding Back Students of Color

study done by youth researchers cites fear as a major barrier to wellness for students of color.

Youth of color represent the fastest growing segment of the United States' child population, and, according to America's Promise Alliance, fear and less access to opportunities place this group at an increased risk for poor health. 

Linda Sprague Martinez, a research fellow with the Center for Promise, says young researchers in five large cities talked to people of their own age to find out what makes them afraid. 

The top answers were police interaction, community violence, lack of food, drug use and not enough access to college. 

Sprague Martinez says racism also was also cited.

"If I'm going to cross over from my side of the neighborhood to another side of the neighborhood that's a difficult choice to make because there could be a number of hazards that I would run into, or violence that I might experience just from moving from one side of the community to another side of the community," she explains.

The research was done in Chicago, Boston, Philadelphia, St. Paul and Denver. Sprague Martinez says the answers were very similar in each city.

She maintains media coverage of violence isn't always balanced.

"We have a lot of shootings and violence that don't make the news in terms of what we hear, so if we use only what makes the news as kind of our thermometer around community violence, we miss a lot, particularly in communities of color," she explains.

Sprague Martinez says fear and stress can have a negative effect on the body, leaving young people and adults alike at greater risk of chronic disease.


Erinn Hayes (Kevin Can Wait) Interview





Today I spoke with Erinn Hayes, who co-stars in the CBS sitcom "Kevin Can Wait". The show returns to the CBS Monday Night lineup tonight. Erinn and I discuss the show evolving into its own after Kevin James' anticipated return to TV (0:00-3:02), Erinn's personal growth into a role on a family sitcom (3:02-5:19), and the impact that the supporting cast has had on the show (5:19-8:13).