Macomb Local News Archives for 2017-07

Agriculture Jobs Available, Trained Employees Lacking According to State Official

Agriculture jobs are plentiful across the country, but there aren’t enough people to fill those jobs according to one state official. Illinois Department of Agriculture Director Raymond Poe says one study says there will be about 58,000 new agriculture jobs over the next five years, but only 35,000 college graduates will be trained to fill those positions. Poe says these jobs are the kind of jobs people are looking for in today’s economy.
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Poe says the possibilities in agriculture are endless, and that the jobs in agriculture “aren’t just driving a tractor anymore.”

 

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Glenwood Pool Closed Monday

Mechanical problems have once again forced the closure of Glenwood Pool. The Macomb Park District did not offer details of the mechanical problems with the pool, only that the pool was closed and tonight's swim lessons are cancelled. 

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Republicans Ask For Compromise on SB1

It’s the final day of the special session at the Illinois Capitol. And as the Governor waits to veto parts of the education funding bill that Senate President John Cullerton is sending him, Republicans say hurry up and so all parties can work out a compromise. House Minority Leader Jim Durkin…

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Small groups of Democrats and Republicans were supposed to be meeting this weekend to find common ground on the funding formula changes proposed in Senate Bill 1.

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Republican Rep says Time Might be Now for Working Together on ACA

Early this morning the vote to repeal the affordable care act fell a vote short in the US Senate. The move deals Republican lawmakers who ran on repeal and replace a blow to campaign promises that were made. Illinois Republican Congressman Darin LaHood says he watched last night and feels as if there is still unfinished business on the heath care front.

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LaHood says Senator John McCain is the ultimate maverick and remained so with his deciding vote.

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Employment Building Slowly in Illinois

Job growth was seen throughout Illinois this past month but its tricky set of numbers to look says the state. Bigger cities in the state saw slow job growth numbers, with only Danville and Rockford losing jobs. But Bob Gough with the Illinois Department of Employment Security says our state is adding jobs at about half the rate of the rest of the country and the size of the potential work force has been shrinking.

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Study: Many Americans Dangerously Fatigued at Work

How many times a week do you say you're tired?For some, it's actually causing problems in their lives and on the job.A new report by the National Safety Council finds more than half of American workers feel less productive because they're too tired, and 4 in 10 have trouble focusing and remembering things. Sure to make the boss unhappy: 27 percent nod off while on the job, and more disturbingly, 16 percent have fallen asleep on the road. Report author Emily Whitcomb says those numbers should serve as a wake-up call. "Forty-three percent of the workers were not getting enough sleep every day," she points out. "That's almost half of our workforce that are working impaired. It jeopardizes safety at work and on the road." The report found people who live in the Midwest are least likely to be fatigued at work, while those in the southern states report the highest number of risk factors.

The report looked at nine different risk factors causing fatigue, and almost all of the respondents had at least one. Whitcomb says one problem is many Americans are working multiple jobs in order to make ends meet. "We actually found that in 60 percent of our survey respondents who worked multiple jobs, they were working 50 or more hours a week," she states. Nearly 3 in 10 reported falling asleep on the job at least once in the last month. Those most at risk work the night shift, long shifts or irregular shifts.

Whitcomb says fatigued worker productivity costs employers $1,200 to $3,100 per employee annually.

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Accidental Sirens Ring Through Macomb Late Night

Many nightowls were disturbed after Midnight Friday morning when warning sirens were sounded in Macomb. The Macomb Police Department published a statement on social media stating that the sirens were a 'technical difficulty' and that there was no actual emergency. No other details have been released regarding the cause of the technical difficulties. 

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Regional Media Movie Review Atomic Blonde

Atomic Blonde stars Charlize Theron as Lorraine, the top spy in Britain's MI6. Her mission is to retrieve sensitive and dangerous information from East Berlin just before the fall of the Berlin Wall. Helping and hindering her attempts are her officious boss, Toby Jones, the American CIA, headed by John Goodman, and her top Berlin contact David played by James McAvoy. Here's my review of Atomic Blonde.... 

Click the poster for the review..... 

 

 

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Rauner Asks for Cullerton's Homework

The special session lasted just a few minutes on Thursday at the Illinois Senate. The session was meant to move to an education funding bill to the Governor but it resulted in little action. This continues to the draw the ire of Governor Bruce Rauner who says Senate President John Cullerton needs to move the bill to his desk now and no one gains anything by waiting until Monday.

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Cullerton still says he he’d like to meet first with the Governor but that’s not going to happen. House Republican Leader Jim Durkin says they can begin telling Democrats what they want to change after the veto has gone through.

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Illinois State Fair Bans Ride Following Ohio Fair Tragedy

The investigation of a deadly amusement ride accident at the Ohio State Fair has led to Illinois Labor Department and Agriculture officials to give a ride the boot before next month's state fair kicks off. Ag spokeswoman Rebecca Clark ......
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Clark notes the Illinois State Fair goes to great lengths to ensure ride safety....
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The Department of Labor is shutting down eleven other similar rides across the state.

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MacombNewsNow Podcast WIU Associate Physics Professor Esteban Araya

On August 21st we will see a rare solar occurance, an eclipse that in some areas of the world will be a complete eclipse, not seen since 2009. Tonight at Western Illinois University at 7 Pm in room 205 of Currens Hall Associate Professor of Physics Esteban Araya, Optometrist Dr. Brigitte Colley and Linda Zellmer with the WIU Library who will discuss resources available for those who wish to learn more about the eclipse. Stick around after the presentation as Professor Araya will be showing off some of the University telescopes and letting you get a look through them, weather permitting. The talk is free and is open to anyone who would like to attend. Enjoy our very first in a series of MacombNewsNow podcasts, today Professor Esteban Araya on the August 21st, a little history of Physics and more... 

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Gas Prices Up Over One Year Ago in Illinois

The demand in both the gas and diesel markets remains strong this summer. The average price for gasoline in Illinois is $2.32 a gallon compared to $2.15 the same time a year ago, according to Triple-A numbers. GROWMARK’s Harry Cooney says crude oil production is also up in the US.
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Chicago currently has the highest average price at the pump in Illinois at $2.68 a gallon. The lowest average price is $2.11 in Champaign. Diesel prices are averaging $2.40 a gallon in Illinois compared to $2.32 a year ago. 

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Two Arrested Following Shed Break In in Bardolph

The McDonough County Sheriff has announced the arrest of two men in relation to a shed break in in Bushnell. According to McDonough County Sheriff Rick Van Brooker, 21 year old Donald H. Friday of Bushnell was arrested on Wednesday and charged with breaking into a shed in Bardolph and stealing the keys to a pair of ATV's stored in the shed. Also charged in the break in was 19 year old Braxton L. Connelly of Bardolph who was already in police custody following a recent arrest on Methamphetimine charges. 

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Teenager Arrested After Allegedly Vandalizing Park Bench in Industry

McDonough County Sheriff Rick Van Brooker has announced the arrest of an unnamed juvenile for the vandalization of public property. According to a release from the Sheriff's Office, the 17 year old suspect was arrested on Tuesday after police responded to a call regarding a park bench that had been destroyed in Pinhook Park in Industry. A brief investigation led to Sheriff's Deputies identifying the teenage suspect and placing him under arrest not long after. The juvenile was charged and processed at the McDonough County Sheriff's Office before being released to parents. 

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Rauner Says Dem's Playing Games with Kids and Schools

Governor Bruce Rauner is sticking to well worn talking points about an education funding reform plan that he wants to veto parts of. Rauner says waiting till Monday to get the bill on his desk is only a ploy of Speaker Mike Madigan’s majority to create crisis and scare teachers and students.

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Senate President Cullerton says he wants to meet before the Governor veto’s part of the bill so he can learn what the Governor intends to change. Cullerton says that’s how a compromise can be reached but according to Cullerton the Governor has refused to meet or tell him what he wants to change.

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Senate Bill 1 sponsor Claims Governor Rauner refused to meet with him

Democrats and Republicans continue the fight on where Senate Bill 1 is heading. Govenor Bruce Rauner said Wednesday that House Speaker Michael Madigan is using local school districts as a pawn in the game to get the education funding reform plan into law. 48th District State Senator and co-sponsor of Senate Bill 1 Andy Manar says that’s not true, and he has no idea what the governor’s plan is for school funding. He says he has made many requests for meetings with Rauner leading up to the special session that started Wednesday.
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Rauner says Speaker Madigan inserted the Chicago pension payment into the bill at the last minute, and it takes money away from other local school districts. Manar says he wants to hear the governor’s plans for the bill so the two sides can reach a compromise on the bill.

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Toddler's Death May Force Changes at DCFS

Changes are promised at the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services after the death this spring of a toddler from Joliet. And some state lawmakers say if more safety precautions aren't put into place, legislation forcing the issue will be forthcoming.

DCFS officials have been facing tough questions about why 17-month-old Semaj Crosby died. In April the little girl was reported missing by her family then found dead under a couch in the trash-filled house, just days after a social worker was there for an inspection.

Investigators learned Will County probation officers had visited the home 40 times in the last year, and the sheriff's office was there over a dozen times.

State Sen. Julie Morrison, D-Deerfield, said there was no communication between agencies, and that the system failed the toddler.

"There were multiple investigators over a period of several months who were called to the home for a variety of reasons," Morrison observed. "The investigators didn't know that anyone else had been there. There was no record."

A 22-page report details a host of problems at DCFS, including an incentive program for workers who close the most cases each month. New acting Director Beverly Walker has promised that changes will be made.

Morrison said legislation may be needed to make parents more accountable for cooperating with DCFS. Currently, cooperation with the agency is voluntary.

"These are the most vulnerable people that we'll ever interact with. These children have no one else besides us to make sure that we're doing this correct," she said. "A mistake can be a fatality. We absolutely have to do a much better job."

No charges have been filed in the death of the little girl. Will County State's Attorney James Glasgow said they are still interviewing witnesses. Police say several squatters were living in the family's home at the time the girl died. No cause of death has been determined.

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SB 1 Held Till Monday, Cullerton Says Gov is Having a Bad Month

A special session is underway at the State House but little has been accomplished. And that’s because of the Governor according to Senate President John Cullerton. The Senate President says today he asked Bruce Rauner personally for a meeting about education funding reforms in Illinois and the Governor flat out refused. Cullerton says a meeting is important so he and others can find out just how the Governor plans to use an amendatory veto but that won’t be happening.

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Cullerton says he told the Governor not to worry that Speaker Mike Madigan wouldn’t be at the meeting and that he could bring anyone he wanted. Even without the meeting, Cullerton has promised to get the bill to the Governor’s desk on Monday. 

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Bustos serving as spokesperson for Democrat's "A Better Deal"

Western Illinois Congresswoman Cheri Bustos serving as the leading spokesperson for a plan unveiled by House and Senate Democrats. It’s called “A Better Deal”—a new economic agenda aimed at boosting wages. Bustos announced the plan at a press conference in the Washington DC area yesterday.
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Bustos is the Co-Chair of the Democratic Policy and Communications Committee.

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House Vote on Nuclear Storage Bill has Illinois Implications

Environmental groups have a warning for the nation's leaders: Haste will make more waste.

A House vote could come as soon as this week on legislation known as the "Nuclear Waste Policy Amendments Act of 2017." The bill would mean building more temporary storage facilities around the nation to hold high-level radioactive waste from nuclear reactor sites, both current and closed. It calls for reopening the Yucca Mountain disposal site in Nevada.

David Kraft, director of the Nuclear Energy Information Service, said it also would double the amount of this waste coming through Illinois and other states by road, rail and barge.

"In addition, it's calling for the construction of new waste sites around the country, which are both expensive and unnecessary," he said. "And the bottom line to all this is Illinois is going to become the crossroads for high-level radioactive waste for the next couple of decades. "

House Resolution 3053 is sponsored by Rep. John Shimkus, R-Ill., who said it would modernize the energy infrastructure and environmental laws and enhance the nation's energy security.

Kraft countered that the Shimkus bill serves the interests of a nuclear power industry that is in decline. Instead, he said, he thinks the nation needs an environmentally responsible plan for a permanent disposal facility.

"Illinois is probably the worst offender, because we make more high-level radioactive waste than any other state because we have 11 operating reactors," he said. "But wishing for a facility that's flawed, like Yucca Mountain is, to work is a lot like wishing for a pony for Christmas."

The legislation is being opposed by dozens of environmental groups that have dubbed the plan "mobile Chernobyl." They have warned it would send spent fuel rods from nuclear reactors through 100 major cities in 44 states and 370 congressional districts.

The text of the bill is online at congress.gov.

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Dem's Want A Meeting Not A Special Session

It’s a special summer at the Illinois State House. Another special session is getting underway on Wednesday. Governor Bruce Rauner has called lawmakers back to town in order to get an education funding bill to his desk so he can veto parts of it. The bill in question, Senate Bill 1, is largely the work of Senator Andy Manar, a Democrat from Bunker Hill. Manar says he doesn’t need to be back in a special session to solve any differences, he wants the Governor’s office to be transparent and offer up room to compromise.

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Manar says he wants to meet and then take those requests back to the majority in the Senate.

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West Nile Virus Found in McDonough County

The McDonough County Health Department has confirmed West Nile Virus in a mosquito batch collected in McDonough County July 21st. According to the McDonough County Health Department, the Miller-Hunt Virology Lab at Western Illinois University confirmed the finding of West Nile Virus following more than a month of observing and collecting Mosquitos around the county. While West Nile Virus has always sounded dangerous the disease only 1% of people who contract West Nile Virus develop serious or dangerous symptoms. That said, the health department reminds everyone that practicing the three R's can save you the trouble of West Nile Virus: Reduce, Repel and Report. The McDonough County Health Department reminds residents to Reduce exposure by limiting time outdoors during the most active times of mosquitos, dusk and dawn. Make sure doors and windows have secure screens and eliminate standing water around your home, a common attraction of Mosquitos. Repel mosquitos by wearing mosqito repellent. And finally, Report, if you see dead birds in and around McDonough County between now and mid-October please contact the McDonough County Health Department at 309-298-1294. 

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Glenwood Pool Is Open Once Again

A day after being forced to close due to a chemical issue, Glenwood Pool is back open. The Macomb Park District announced via press release that the pool will be open regular hours today, Tuesday, July 25th, from 12 Noon to 5 Pm. 

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Special Session For SB 1 Starts Mid Week

Without an education spending reform bill on his desk at noon Monday the Governor held true on a promise. He’s ordering a special session to bring lawmakers back in order to try and force action on the matter. Senate Bill 1 is waiting to be sent to Rauner, it’s a bill he’s promised to veto parts of. Rauner contends Democrats are playing political games by not sending him the bill. He says it’s the Democrats that want a crisis of schools not opening on time to force their vision of school funding forward.

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Rauner has been vague on what changes he wants or how he’d alter the bill that passed both the House and Senate. The session starts on Wednesday.

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Speed awareness day Wednesday

Speed awareness day will be observed all across the state of Illinois on Wednesday. Illinois State Police Trooper Jason Wilson from District 7 in East Moline says the effort will involve basically all levels of law enforcement…
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Trooper Wilson adds that the goal is not to just simply write tickets, but to help save lives.

 

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Hires Bring Problems to Rauner

As a number of new hires have been brought into Governor Bruce Rauner’s administration one has been fired for past comments on social media and another is facing scrutiny. Brittany Carl, a communications staffer, compared abortion to Nazi Germany’s eugenics programs while writing a blog post. This after Rauner’s “body man”, a person who travels everywhere with him, was ousted just a day or so after being hired for past racist and homophobic tweets. According to Rauner he doesn’t agree with every position that everyone who works for him has taken.

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Rauner says even though many of these new hires are from extremely conservative groups his perspective isn’t any different than it was a when he decided to run for office.

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Breaking: Governor Rauner Calls for Special Session Wednesday on School Funding

Governor Bruce Rauner's deadline to lawmakers to send him a bill regarding school funding in Illinois. With the passing of the deadline the Governor announced that he was calling lawmakers back to Springfield with the intent of getting a bill done. Our Kim Howard has more from the Governor's office. 

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Glenwood Pool Closed, Swimming Lessons Cancelled

Glenwood Pool is closed this Monday though it has nothing to do with the weather. A chemical issue forced the closure of the pool according to the Macomb Park District. Not only did the chemical issue force the closure of the open swim but also tonight's swimming lessons. Makeup lessons will be held in early August. 

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Monday Deadline for Education Funding

There is another line in the sand from the Governor to the legislature. Send him Senate Bill 1, a bill focused on education spending, so he can use his veto pen and according to him make sure that schools open on time. Rauner today asked for the bill by Monday or he will call a special session every day until the bill reaches his desk. Rauner maintains that SB 1 is loaded with a bailout for Chicago public schools and it would add millions in spending to support CPS pension payments.

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Rauner continued to use Speaker Mike Madigan’s name when placing blame on the bill not reaching his desk, even though the bill is coming from the Senate.

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ACA Repeal Could Devastate Nursing Home Residents

The US Senate is planning on taking a vote this week on the repeal of the Affordable Care Act. US Senator Dick Durbin says a repeal would be disastrous with one Republican measure to replace the ACA ending health coverage for 22 million people another for 32 million. Along with those changes, Durbin says a pending massive cut to Medicaid funding would hurt seniors and families caring for elderly members.

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Durbin also stressed that he wants to see the votes go through regular order in the Senate so debate and committees could be held on the possible changes. 

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Mother Nature Wallops Northern Illinois

Mother Nature has been tough on northern Illinois this summer. Damaging floods have occurred as the Des Plaines and Fox rivers crest their banks after back-to-back violent storms.

The swollen Fox River in Alqonquin has been at flood stage for over two weeks. Vince Kilcullen, street supervisor for the village, said hundreds of volunteers have stepped up to help fill more than 40,000 sandbags to protect homes and businesses. He said some traveled long distances to help, and he's grateful for the support.

He noted that the area has been through similar disasters.

"You can never be ready, you know? Each time it floods, it seems to be a little bit different or maybe a little higher, a little lower," Kilcullen said. "It looks like possibly this time, we're going for a new record high. So you, know, obviously it's a little different than back in 2013, and different than 2008."

People who have lived near the rivers say some flooding is normal during wet years, but they feel the situation is getting worse. Some are questioning whether the earth's changing temperatures will eventually make the area uninhabitable.

Gov. Bruce Rauner has issued state disaster declarations in Cook, Kane, Lake and McHenry counties.

"The state is bringing a multi-agency center here - with our head of insurance, our head of public safety etc. - all in one center, so local residents can come in," Rauner said. "If they need advice, they need help, if their insurance company isn't responding, they don't have enough insurance, we can point them in a direction to get the help they need."

The State of Illinois says it will waive penalties and interest for residents who can't file their taxes on time because their homes or businesses have been flooded.

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Raising Saints Block Party Honors Local Heroes

The St. Paul Church in Macomb is holding an event Saturday aiming to honor our local heroes. The Raising Saints Block Party will be held all day July 22, with money being raised for the Shop With a Cop program. 
 
The day starts off with a chance for children in the area to come out and meet local law enforcement and first responders. That will take place from 1:00 PM to 4:00 over behind the St. Paul Parish. There will also be a bounce house there for children. Unlimited use of the bounce house is $5.00. 
 
A Blue Mass follows from 5:15 to 6:15 PM at the church. Those employed in the public safety field will be honored at this special service. From 7:00-10:00 PM, there will be a live stage performance by a local band called Madd Hoss Jackson. That will be held outside of Vitale’s under a giant white tent. Cover charge for this is $5.00, with beer, soft drinks, and water available for purchase. 
 
For more on the event, listen to my conversation with Steve Horrall, Vice Principal of Lincoln Elementary, from this morning. 

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Regional Media Movie Review Dunkirk

Dunkirk comes from the mind and talent of director Christopher Nolan who is well-known for the blockbuster Dark Knight trilogy along with Interstellar and Memento. Here, Mr. Nolan is taking of the famed battle of Dunkirk a significant setback to British forces who find themselves forced off of the European continent, literally driven to the sea by the onslaught of the German army. Against this backdrop several different characters emerge to tell different aspects of this non-linear story including a pilot played by Tom Hardy, an emotionally damaged soldier played by Cillian Murphy, a non-military boat owner played by Academy Award winner Mark Rylance and several young soldiers trapped on the beach, one played by One Direction singer Harry Styles. Click the photo for my review of Dunkirk. 

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Genesis Garden Names Candace Whitman as New Executive Director

Genesis Garden in Macomb has a new Executive Director following the departure of William Wetzel. Candace Whitman has been named the new Executive Director of the non-profit organization which gives aid to anyone left homeless following a home emergency. Candace's previous experience includes holding a Master's Degree in Community Counseling, a Bachelor's Degree in Psychology and she had her own counseling practice for a time. Candace also worked with  Interfaith Ministries and with the Boys and Girls Club of America while living in Atlanta, Georgia. You can welcome Candace to Macomb by helping out Genesis Garden through volunteer work or donations by calling 309-326-3075. 

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Macomb Park District Cuts Pool Admission to Help Residents Beat the Heat

With the heat continuing to make headlines, the Macomb Park District has announced that Glenwood Pool will be open on Friday with entry costing only $2.00. The lowering of the price is the Park District's attempt to help folks get cooled off during this significant heatwave. Glenwood Pool is open from 12 Noon until 5 Pm this Friday. Meanwhile the heatwave continues with a Heat Advisory for the Regional Media listening area going on through 8 Pm Saturday evening when a break in the temperatures will finally take place. 

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State Slow In Job Growth

The jobs picture in Illinois isn’t improving much nor is it getting much worse. The state saw a slight uptick in unemployment last month. The Illinois Department of Employment Security says June’s numbers are at four point seven percent. IDES’s Bob Gough says the state picked up more than eight thousand jobs in June but that’s not as good as it sounds.

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Nationwide the unemployment rate is four point four percent. 

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Car Care in the Heat

A few more days of oppressive heat are expected before a modest cool-down, so you are urged to not only check on the health of the at-risk, but also of your vehicle. Extreme temperatures, whether hot or cold, can test the mettle of any car, so you are being advised to not let maintenance be an afterthought. Duane Rister, owner of Rister's Automotive in Alton says there are a variety of things that can be affected by the heat of summer, including batteries.

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He says they are fixing a lot of brakes, cooling systems, and air conditioner issues in this heat wave.

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Durbin leading opposition to federal appeals court nominee

U.S. Senator Dick Durbin is fighting the nomination of John Bush to serve a lifetime appointment on the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals. Durbin told colleagues Mr. Bush has made dozens of provocative comments during his legal career that call into question his temperament and judgment...
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Durbin says he's getting little evidence that Bush can be a fair and impartial judge...
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Bush is an attorney based in Louisville.

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Streamlining Teaching Requirements in Illinois

There are plenty of young teachers out looking for jobs this summer and now landing a teaching gig might be a little easier. The State Board of Education says that there are one thousand open teaching jobs and a new law to streamline the licensing requirements for those jobs should help fill some of them. ISBE’s Emily Fox says that the new law will lower the minimum age to apply for an educator license and remove a coursework requirement for existing teachers looking to renew provisional career and technical education licenses. Fox says this should help out some specific
areas of the state.

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Districts around the state also say they are often faced with shortages of substitute teachers.

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Study: Illinois 3rd-Worst in U.S. for Unhealthy Air

Are your allergies acting up this summer? A new report says about 80 percent of Illinois residents live in counties plagued by a combination of high ragweed pollen levels and excessive ozone days.

It's one of the worst states in the nation for this "double whammy." Researchers from the Natural Resources Defense Council said it's a big problem for the 830,000 adults and 219,000 children with asthma.

Study author Kim Knowlton, a scientist with the NRDC and a professor at Columbia University, called on lawmakers to create an effective climate action plan to combat the problem at its source.

"Supporting state and national initiatives to reduce carbon pollution is going to pull us back from the brink of more of these effects in the future, and more and more air pollution challenges," Knowlton said.

Across Illinois, 20 counties reported an average of one or more unhealthy smog days each year. And every county has pollen-producing ragweed.

The study said rising temperatures fueled by the warming climate speed up ozone production. Carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas, helps ragweed flourish, while additional hot days mean more pollen over a longer period of time.

Knowlton said there are steps people can take to reduce their exposure to these allergens.

"If it's a really high pollen day, save your outdoor activity for a day later in the week when conditions are better," she suggested. "When you come indoors, you can take a damp washcloth and towel off your hair, launder your clothes, so that you're not breathing the pollen indoors as well."

Nationwide, the report found that 127 million Americans - or 40 percent of the population - live in counties plagued by ozone and ragweed. The NRDC's website has a searchable map to help people learn more about their local conditions.

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Ball Fore Closed Due to Extreme Heat

The Macomb Park District has announced that due to the extreme temperatures this afternoon, including a Heat Index of 105 degrees, the Ball Fore Complext will be closed today. No decision has been made yet regarding Thursday or Friday as the National Weather Service Excessive Heat Warning will remain in place until Saturday evening. 

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Glenwood Pool is Open Again

On Tuesday mechanical issues caused the closure of Glenwood Pool in Macomb. Today, everything is fixed and the pool will be open for one of the hottest days of the year. With the feels like temperature due to humidity, a Heat Advisory is in effect for the entire Regional Media listening area, temperatures will be up close 105 degrees with actual temps topping off in the mid-90's. A reminder, if you are not going to Glenwood Pool today but are still in need of a place to cool off click this link to see the areas of Western Illinois University that are open to the public as Cooling Centers. #Unplug #TrySomething 

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McDonough County Sheriff Announces Pair of Meth Related Arrests

Two men have been arrested by McDonough County Sheriff's Deputies on Meth charges. According to a release from the McDonough County Sheriff's Office, Jason R. Miller, 32 of Bushnell and Braxton L. Connelly, 19 of Bardolph, were arrested on Tuesday night after an arrest warrant was executed on Mr. Miller at a residence in Bardolph early Wednesday morning. Miller was arrested and the owner of the home where Miller was located at on Jackson Street in Bardolph. After executing the warrant, deputies located Braxton L. Connelly as he was hiding in the garage of the of the home. The search of the home turned up more than 2 grams of Methamphetimine along with a pipe and methamphetimine residue. Both Miiller and Connelly were arrested on Possession Charges with Miller already facing a charge that led Police to his arrest. 

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Dangerous Heat Continues Wednesday

A dangerous heatwave will work its way through Macomb and the entire Regional Media listening area on Wednesday and continue through Saturday, July 22nd. Humidity with the heatwave will push the feels like temperatures up into the triple digits with a feels like high of 105 degrees on Wednesday. These are dangerous temperatures for anyone working outside or for anyone without air conditioning. The National Weather Service is urging anyone who works outside or does not have in home air conditioning to seek out cooling centers. Western Illinois University is opening areas of the campus as cooling centers for anyone who needs a place to go to get out of the heat. Click here for a list of local Macomb Cooling Centers. If you know of cooling centers in your town please contact MacombNewsNow.com to let us know where your hometown cooling centers are located. Heat is expected to remain very, very, high through Saturday evening at 8 Pm. 

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Macomb City Council Committee of the Whole Meeting Cancelled for Monday

The Committee of the Whole City Council Meeting at Macomb City Hall for this Monday, July 24th, has been cancelled. According to Renee Lotz, Deputy City Clerk, the reason for the cancellation is a lack of items on this week's agenda. The next Macomb City council Committee of the Whole Meeting is set for July 31st, 2017 at 5 Pm at Macomb City Hall. 

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Facebook Friend Request Likely Harmless

Do not accept a friend request from Jayden Smith. That's just the latest of what an investigator from the Better Business Bureau calls harmless messages on that form of social media. The name on the message can change, but the theme is usually the same.

According to most of the messages, you can open yourself up to viruses and malware if you accept such a request. That is unlikely, unless there is a malicious link attached which you also click on, according to Dan O'Brien. He says a greater threat is sharing too much of your personal life on social media.

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And then there's the tried and true scams where crooks try to get you to send them money. You are advised to never wire money or provide personal information, double check with friends that send you things that may appear too good to be true, and remember that if you did not enter a contest you cannot be a winner.

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Governor Rauner Deflecting Talk About Administration Shake Up

Governor Bruce Rauner's staff has seen turnover in key positions since he suffered defeats on the state budget and tax hike votes, but Rauner maintains it's standard operating procedure....
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The shakeup now extends to Rauner's political operation. Former Rauner Chief of Staff Mike Zolnierowicz (zohl-nehr-oh-whitz) ,was expected to run Rauner's re-election campaign but he has resigned. .

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Western Illinois University to Provide Cooling Centers During Weeklong Heat Wave

Due to the extreme summer temperatures and high humidity affecting the region, two of Western Illinois University's residence halls and the University Union are designated as cooling centers for area residents. 
 
Corbin and Olson commons will be open from 8 a.m.-8 p.m. today (July 17) through Saturday, July 22 for anyone in need of a place to cool off. Drinking water refilling stations are available in each residence hall.
 
The University Union is open from 7 a.m.-8 p.m. Monday-Friday and 8 a.m.-8 p.m. Saturday. The Union is closed Sunday. A drinking water refilling station is located near the University Union Bookstore entrance.
 
Burger King is open in the University Union 7 a.m.-7 p.m. Monday-Friday, and 8 a.m.-8 p.m. Saturday. Burger King is closed Sunday.
 
Sodexo will also have food available for purchase in the Corbin-Olson Dining Center (hours subject to change):
Breakfast: 7-8 a.m. (Mon), 7:15-8 a.m. (Tues), 6:30-8:30 a.m. (Wed-Fri), closed Saturday.
Lunch: 11:45 a.m.-12:30 p.m. (Mon-Fri); closed Saturday.
Dinner: 4:45-5:30 p.m. dinner (Mon-Fri); closed Saturday.
 

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Glenwood Pool Closed Today Due to Mechanical Issues

Macomb's Glenwood Pool is closed today, Tuesday July 18, due to mechanical issues. 

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Study: Your Credit Affects Your Insurance Rate

If you have a good driving record but think your car insurance premium is too high, a new survey says your credit score could be the problem.

A report by the online marketing firm WalletHub found five of the largest insurance companies that write auto policies use credit ratings as a factor in determining insurance premiums.

WalletHub's Jill Gonzalez explains low credit doesn't mean companies think a person is more likely to be in an accident.

"It has to do with, 'Do you have a history of paying your bills, and do you think that history will carry on when paying out your insurance premiums?'" she says. "I think that's really where the mindset is here. I would say it's more of a cost risk than an actual driving risk."

The report shows the effect a credit score can have on the cost of an auto policy varies widely. Gonzalez says they found companies such as Farmers and Allstate weigh credit scores heavily in calculating premiums, while for GEICO and Progressive, low credit is much less of a factor.

She says costs also vary between states. The survey found bad credit in New Jersey can raise rates as much as 100 percent - while in California, poor credit adds very little to the cost of a policy.

Some critics say using credit scores to rate policies can unfairly raise insurance rates for lower-income families and communities of color.

"Depending on where you live and who your provider is, people with no credit - so, those are people who may be recent grads, people who are simply unbanked, people with no credit - pay on average 65 percent more for car insurance than people with excellent credit do," she explains.

Gonzalez says avoiding accidents and tickets will do the most to keep insurance rates down. But paying bills on time can help, too.

"If you are currently shopping around for a new policy or a new provider, then actively be trying to improve your credit score at the same time, because chances are the more you improve it, the lower that premium will be," she adds.

She says some companies are more transparent than others about how they use credit scores. Check the fine print on an insurer's website or call the company and ask them directly.

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Leader of Illinois group that backed controversial film to speak in Normal

The leader of a controversial new documentary about food and farming plans to discuss why the Chicago-based group backed it during an upcoming conference in Normal. John Coupland (COOP-lend), who heads the Institute of Food Technologists, says the film's theme, which examines opponents and supporters of biotechnology or G-M-O's, needed a fair examination;

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In addition to serving as president of the food tech group, Coupland serves as a food scientist at Penn State. He's been invited talk about the "Food Evolution" film at the Illinois Farm Bureau's Farm Income and Innovations conference on Tuesday, July 25th;

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Both The New York Times and L-A Times praised the new film that had its Illinois debut in Chicago last week. If you're interested in hearing Coupland, contact your county Farm Bureau or go to I-l-f-b-dot-org.

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Rauner's Latest Hire Quickly Out The Door

The Governor’s office is cleaning house. In the past few days more than 20 administration staffers have left on their own or have been fired by the Governor. And a newly hired one didn’t stick around long after people started reading his tweets. Ben Tracy was hired to be Bruce Rauner’s “Body Man” an assistant that travels with the Governor and moves between him and people he interacts with while out in the public. Once Tracy was brought on tweets he’d made in the past include homophobic slurs and other insensitive comments came to light. Tracy started Monday working for the Governor but was out of a job by the afternoon – but on Monday - Rauner said his team was hiring the very best people they could find.

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Rauner also defended making hires from the Illinois Policy Institute saying it isn’t showing any turn in his administration to a more conservative tone.

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McDonough County Bridge and Road Special Meeting to be Held Wednesday

A special meeting will be held Wednesday, July 19 by the Road and Bridge Committee in in McDonough County. The meeting will take place at 6:00 PM at the McDonough County Courthouse Law Library.

 

McDonough County Board Office Administrator Beth Jameson sent out the agenda this afternoon. The County Engineer Search and the Tennessee Blacktop are the two new orders of business that highlight the meeting. Following this special meeting, the next regular one will be held on Thursday, August 3 at 7:00 PM. It will also be held at the McDonough County Courthouse Law Library. 

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Genesis Garden Announces New Executive Director

Genesis Garden, a local non-profit agency serving the Macomb area, has announced the selection of Candace Whitman, LCPC, as its new executive director. Whitman will fill the vacancy created by William Wetzel’s departure.
 
Whitman holds a Master’s Degree in Community Counseling, a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology, and is a Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor in the State of Illinois. Candace has most recently served as owner of a private counseling practice, Hope, Harmony, & Holistic Health Counseling Center, LLC, and as the director of a Young Adult Interfaith Program. She has years of experience working in non-profit social service agencies including Bridgeway, Action Ministries, and the Boys & Girls Club. She has served as a volunteer counselor at Lost- N-Found, a homeless shelter for LGBTQ young adults in Atlanta, GA. She has years of volunteer service through organizations like Big Brothers Big Sisters in Springfield, IL, and the Young Adult Guidance Center and Malachi’s storehouse in Atlanta, GA.
 
“I am really excited to be a part of Genesis Garden as it grows and extends its arms to be of service to more people in the community,” reported Whitman. “I am thrilled to bring my clinical training and background to assist Genesis Garden in developing and sustaining programs to promote overall wellness and success in multiple aspects of life. I am also very excited to meet and develop relationships within the Macomb community!”
 
Genesis Garden is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization assisting local families through emergency homelessness services and by providing free, healthy lunches to children throughout the summer months. The summer feeding program is currently available through August 18th to anyone under the age of 18, with Genesis Garden serving meals Monday through Friday from 11 am to 1 pm at First Presbyterian Church in Macomb.

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Four Arrested Sunday in Macomb on Methamphetamine Charges

McDonough County Sheriff Rick VanBrooker reports the arrests of Holly J. Mason, age 34, Jason T. Beans, age 35, Joseph K. Simpson, age 26 and Rebecca L. Howell, age 32, all of Macomb.
 
On July 16 at 1:43 a.m. a McDonough County Night Patrol Deputy and a Macomb Police Officer went to a residence located at 539 River Run Drive in an attempt to serve an arrest warrant.  Upon approaching the residence the officers observed the occupants smoking Methamphetamine inside.  The above individuals were detained, a search warrant was obtained.  Officers then seized multiple items of paraphernalia and under 5 grams of Methamphetamine from the apartment.
 
The suspects were transported to the McDonough County Jail where they were lodged pending their first appearance.
 
(Above from left to right: Mason and Beans)
(Above from left to right: Simpson and Howell)
 
 

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Moody's Yet to Be Impressed with New Illinois Budget

The state hasn’t wowed anyone just yet at a credit rating agency. But a possible the state also hasn’t been downgrade to junk. Moody’s has offered an opinion on what Illinois did with a budget and tax increase. The extra revenue is going to generate $5 billion more dollars a year but the state’s short term is three times that and that concerns Moody’s. In a report released today (Friday) Moody’s questions the state’s ability to generate sustained surpluses that would be needed to reduce the pile of bills. 

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Hancock County Sheriff's Investigating Single Vehicle Accident from Saturday

The Hancock County Sheriff's Office is investigating a Single Vehicle Accident on a county Road Saturday. According to the Hancock County Sheriff's Office, Sierra Jones, 23, of Warsaw, Illinois, was traveling Nortbound on County Road 500 East nearing 250 East when she lost control of her vehicle and spun into a ditch on the east side of the road before striking a culvert. Jones was taken from the scene to Blessing Hospital in Quincy where her condition is currently unknown. Hancock County Sheriff's Office is continuing to investigate the cause of the crash. 

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Budget Stalemate Hurts Illinois' Children, Advocates Say

Not so fast when it comes to celebrating Illinois' newly finalized, balanced budget.

Advocates for low-income children say there's a lot of ground to make up after two years without a spending plan.

Vendors and service agencies didn't get paid for months on end, and many had to lay off staff and turn away many in need.

Tasha Green Cruzat, president of Voices for Illinois Children, says the state's children are feeling the pinch of what happened during the two years state lawmakers deadlocked on a budget.

She says programs that were helping struggling families weren't funded.

"You have the parents who are the caregivers of these kids that need the services," she states. "If they don't have jobs, if they don't have any kind of community development, it's hard to give a child a decent life."

Illinois' backlog of bills is at nearly $15 billion. Green Cruzat says the state comptroller will have to prioritize who gets paid first and that means it will be awhile before funding to all critical programs is restored.

The budget stalemate caused a domestic violence shelter in Aurora, Illinois' second largest city, to cut staff and turn away clients, and a homeless shelter for teens closed in Hardin County in February.

Green Cruzat says it's going to be hard for some to bounce back from that.

"Where are those kids right now, I'd like to know," she questions. "Those kids that need that service to have a place to lay their heads and have shelter and food. Where are those kids today?"

Green Cruzat wants to make sure the problems Illinois is facing don't get ignored just because lawmakers agreed on a budget.

"Everyone's popping the Champaign but wait, hold up," she states. "There's families and kids that have been damaged by this, so let's not rest on our laurels right now. "

Reach Green-Cruzat at: 312-516-5565. Info at: www.voices4kids.org
 

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City of Macomb Announces Acquisition of Modern Home West Building

The City of Macomb has acquired the deed to the Modern Home West building located at 133 West Jackson Street in Macomb. The deed was acquired through a blind bidding process at a recent tax deed sale. The Deed ended up costing $2500.00 for the City of Macomb and was paid for via the City's Community Improvement Fund. In announcing the Acquisition of the historic building Mayor Inman and the Macomb City council made clear that the City has no intention of holding on to the property for a lengthy period of time. Rather, the property will be brought up to code as funds become available and the property will be rehabbed for sale in the near future, again as funds become available for necessary improvements and code enhancements. 

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CME Group's Commodity Carnival helping youth better understand markets and agriculture

Chicago based CME Group having great success setting up shop at county fairs throughout the country. They have partnered with 4-H to offer a Commodity Carnival. CME’s Tim Andriesen says the goal is to have youngsters better understand the role of the farmer and agriculture and how markets operate.
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This year the carnival will be set up at 120 county and state fairs in Michigan, Ohio, Nebraska, Missouri, Iowa, South Dakota, Texas, Wisconsin and Illinois.

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What's Mike Madigan like behind closed doors?

House Speaker Mike Madigan has once again proven you can expect the unexpected as he oversaw the successful push for a new budget and tax increase. One man who has seen Madigan's work behind the scenes is former Senate Minority Leader Frank Watson. The Greenville Republican says Madigan speaks softly and carries a big stick....
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Watson is still amazed how Madigan has stood the test of time...
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Watson served as Senate Minority Leader from 2002 until suffering a stroke in 2008.

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Number of irrigated farms increasing in Illinois

The number of irrigated farms in Illinois has risen by nearly 500. State Climatologist Jim Angel says the latest data shows 1,590 farms—up from 1,091 in in 2008.
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Angel says for farmers, one or two doses of irrigation can make a big difference in yields in those dry years. 

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Regional Media Movie Review War for the Planet of the Apes

War for the Planet of the Apes picks up the story of Caesar (Andy Serkis), leader of the Apes as he defends his Apes against an encroaching human army led by a mad man Colonel played by Woody Harrelson. As the two battle get into a battle of wills the body count rises on both sides and tragedy looms for human and Ape alike. Here is my review of War for the Planet of the Apes. 

Click the Poster for the review 

 

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USDA financing will extend 100-miles of rural broadband in Illinois

The USDA extending over $43-million in financing this summer to expand broadband in rural areas. Over $3-million of that will go to Illinois and will be used to construct 104-miles of fiber cable by the Viola Home Telephone Company.
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The company’s Jay Barton says the USDA funding will also provide supporting equipment to deliver enhanced telecommunication services to customers. The USDA is also funding broadband projects in Texas, California and Iowa this summer with the goal of adding 1,000 miles of fiber cable in rural areas, including the Illinois project.

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House Appropriations Committee includes funding for Peoria ag research lab

An effort to keep the Peoria Agriculture Research Lab open cleared its first hurdle Wednesday. Western Illinois Congresswoman Cheri Bustos says the House Appropriations Committee included funding for the facility in their markup of the agriculture appropriations bill.
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Bustos and Central Illinois Congressman Darin LaHood sent a letter last month urging the Appropriations Committee Chairman and Ranking Member to maintain federal funding for the lab, which was proposed for closure under President Trump’s budget. 15 other members of the Illinois congressional delegation signed the letter.

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Macomb Police Explorers Program Car Wash Saturday at Hy Vee

Members of the Macomb Police Explorers Program will be washing cars this Saturday at Macomb Hy Vee. According to a release on the Macomb Police Explorers Facebook page the car wash fundraiser will take place in the Hy Vee parking lot on Saturday, July 15th from 2 Pm to 6 Pm. All proceeds from the car wash fundraiser will benefit the Macomb Police Explorers Program Post #4044 a mentoring program for young men and women looking into the field of Law Enforcement. You can help them raise money and get your vehicle cleaned up in the Hy Vee parking lot, in the area near the Hy Vee Gas Station, this Saturday, July 15th between 2 Pm and 6 Pm. 

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Two Prairie City Men Arrested on Burglary Charges

A pair of Prairie City men were busted by McDonough County Sheriff's Deputies after breaking into the home of a recently deceased homeowner. According to the McDonough County Sheriff's Office an anonymous tip led to the arrest of 37 year old Travis M. Purden and 21 year old Caleb Vannoy, both of Prairie City. On July 11th the McDonough County Sheriff's Office received a tip from a concerned citizen about about items being taken from the home of someone who'd just passed away. After conferring with the family of the recently deceased residence, a subsequent investigation led back to Purden and Vannoy where Deputies recovered numerous stolen items including $1100.00 in cash, a Drill Press, a John Deere Lawn Mower, Jewelry, Tools and a .22 Calibur Rifle. Both Purden and Vannoy now face 4 charges of Burglary and Theft of Over $500.00 Dollars, while Purden was also charged with Possession of Stolen Property and Unlawful Possession of a Firearm by a Convicted Felon. Both suspects are currently being held at the McDonough County Jail awaiting disposition. 

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Illinois Ag Leadership Foundation CEO stepping down

Adult learning important in the agriculture industry too. That’s the message from outgoing CEO Don Norton of the Illinois Ag Leadership Foundation.
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Norton has been with the organization for seven years and is leaving for a similar role in South Dakota.
The IALF is a non-profit educational corporation. The funds raised provide for a 19-month development program that focuses on building the skills, knowledge and character of leaders in the ag industry. There have been over 500 graduates from the program since its inception in the 1980s. 

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Macomb Family Diner Has Changed It's Name

The Macomb Family Diner is now officially Max & Molly's Bistro. The change was announced over a week ago but today the sign went up at 1315 West Jackson Street in Macomb. Max & Molly are the names of the family dogs of the owners of what was formerly known as Macomb Family Diner. You can hear the daily specials at Max & Molly's Bistro each weekday from 12 Noon to 1 Pm during the All Request Lunch Hour on K100. 

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Update: Macomb Police Have Located Ruth Dove

Update: Macomb Police Department says that Ruth Dove has been found and is safe at home. The Macomb Police Department is thanking everyone who submitted tips, and also the WIU Office of Public Safety, ISP Air Ops, and the Illinois State Police District 14. 

 

The Macomb Police Department is seeking your help in locating 81 year old Ruth Dove. Ruth is 81 years old and has dementia. She was reported missing just after 1 Pm this afternoon. She may be walking alone in the area near where she lives in the 1200 block of Adams possibly pushing a black cart. If you see Ruth Dove please contact the Macomb Police Department immediately at 833-4505 or call 911. With the extreme temperatures and Ruth's condition she could be in a medical emergency. 

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Tips on controversial product designed to protect crops

A product some farmers used this year to protect crops has generated hundreds complaints in Arkansas and Missouri. But here in Illinois, the Illinois Department of Agriculture had only received a half-dozen complaints of alleged dicamba (DYE-cam-bah) spray drift at the end of last week. Brad Clow, a crops claims manager with Country Financial, says if you farm and believe your crops may have suffered damage from alleged dicamba spray drift, it’s best to file a claim;

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A-P-H stands for actual production history on a particular farm. Some crop protection products containing dicamba can be used on soybeans to kill weeds that have become resistant to the popular herbicide known as glyphosate or 'RoundUp' as it's commonly known. Farmers and others can access more information on the issue from the Illinois Farm Bureau at i-l-f-b-dot-org-slash-steward. 

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National Weather Service Issues Heat Advisory for Wednesday

The National Weather Service has issued a Heat Advisory for Wednesday. According to the National Weather Service, the Heat Index will create a feels like temperature of 105 degrees between 12 Noon and 8 Pm. The actual temperature will be somewhere in the range of the upper 80's to low 90's but humidity will drive the feels like temperatures into the triple digits. Anyone who is expecting to be outside for any length of time this afternoon is urged to not stay outside very long and to drink plenty of water. Cooling centers will be announced but in recent weeks both Grand Prairie of Macomb and Western Illinois University have been opened as cooling centers. 

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Summer Blues? Try a Concert

For many people, summer means concert season as bands and other musical acts hit the road and people flock to see them, even groups that might not have had a new hit in decades.

A music theory professor says there's a good reason for that.

Richard Ashley, associate professor of Music Theory and Cognition at Northwestern University, says the human brain is wired to respond to music, even though music isn't essential for survival.

He says research shows that even day-old infants are able to detect differences in rhythmic patterns, and that's why people in all cultures sing lullabies to crying babies.

Ashley explains nostalgic music can have an especially strong hold on people.

"It's not just that they're feeling happy or sad," he says. "They're feeling all these kind of very complicated emotions that are changing a lot, and they don't know how to make sense of it.

"Words and the music together, the combination of those, is part of what gives it its power and its punch."

Ashley says research also shows that going to a concert can stimulate positive emotions in people who are feeling depressed.

He adds music is so powerful therapists all over the world use it.

Glen Phillips is lead singer in the band Toad the Wet Sprocket, and he's been writing songs for more than 30 years. Even though performers like to create new music, Phillips says they know people want to hear their favorite songs over and over again because it makes them feel good.

"It's doing what music is supposed to do," Phillips states. "They're out on the dance floor, in the moment, they're not thinking about the past or the future. They're just letting the rhythm move through them, and the words aren't distracting."

Phillips and Toad the Wet Sprocket are on tour this year, with stops in Chicago and Vernon Hills this weekend.
 

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MacombNewsNow 104.7 WLMD Officially Welcomes Todd Starnes to Daily Lineup

Listeners to MacombNewsNow 104.7 WLMD were surprised on Monday to tune in and here the voice of longtime Fox News commentator Todd Starnes as the host of his very own show in place of John Gibson, who had been the voice of midday programming on WLMD since the station returned to talk radio from Sports Talk Radio in July of 2016. Two weeks ago Fox News Radio announced that they were parting ways with John Gibson and discontinuing his daily talk show as of July 5th. On July 10th Todd Starnes made his debut in the John Gibson timeslot and today WLMD makes it official that The Todd Starnes Show will now be airing daily from 11 Am to 2 Pm and streaming live at MacombNewsNow.com. Station Program Director Sean Patrick says "We are very excited to welcome Todd Starnes to our daily lineup on WLMD. Todd has been a staple of Fox News Radio since it's launch, he is now a bestselling author and with his growing profile at the network we see big things for our relationship with Todd and with Fox News Radio." Fans of Dave Ramsey need not fret over the recent changes to the lineup that have seen his show move completely from the morning/midday lineup. Dave Ramsey's financial advice now airs weeknights from 6 Pm to 9 Pm immediately following Sean Hannity on WLMD. 

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Macomb City Hall Announces Municipal Band Summer Concert

Macomb City Hall will play host to the Macomb Municipal Band on Thursday, July 13th, featuring the return of retired band director David Wetmore. Director Wetmore, who often still played trumpet with the Macomb Municipal Band, will return to the lead podium for this special concert this Thursday evening from 7:00 Pm to 8:30 Pm. Current Municipal Band Director Mike Fansler says that former Director Wetmore will be returning to the podium to present brand new music in a show you won't want to miss. The performance this Thursday, July 13th, will take place at Macomb City Hall and is free to anyone who would like to attend. 

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Two Arrested Following Traffic Stop in McDonough County

McDonough County Sheriff Rick Van Brooker has announced the arrest of two people following a Friday traffic stop. According to a release from the sheriff's office, Chase Wilcoxen was stopped by Sheriff's Deputies on Friday, July 7th for disobeying a stop sign in the area of Highway 236 and 2000 East. Wilcoxen was then found to have been found to be driving under the influence. However, the bust didn't stop there as the stop led to the discovery of a cache of drugs 65 grams of Marijuana wrapped for delivery, 47 Adderall Pills, and 3 pills labeled as Amphetimines. Arrested for the drug offenses was the passenger and owner of the vehicle, 32 year old Jennifer L. Howell of Macomb. Howell was arrested and taken to the McDonough County jail where she posted bond two days later. Howell stands charged with Possession of 30 to 500 Grams of Cannibis, Manufacture/Delivery of Cannibis, and Possession of a Controlled Substance. 

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Illinois State Police Investigating a Single Vehicle Accident in Henderson County

Illinois State Police are investigating a single vehicle accident on Friday in Henderson County. According to the Illinois State Police, 29 year old Amanda L. Boggs of Weaver, Iowa was traveling westbound on Illinois 116 approaching the Y-Junction approximately 1/4 mile south of 750 North in Henderson County when her vehicle failed to turn right at the intersection and struck a tree. Two children were passengers in the vehicle but there were no injuries reported. The accident remains under investigation. 

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One Person Killed in Fulton County Crash

One person was killed in a single vehicle crash on Friday. According to a release from the Illinois State Police, 70 year Daniel M. Ahearn was traveling northbound on Lone Elm Road near M and M Road in Fulton County when his vehicle veered to the right and then back to the left overcorrecting and causing the vehicle to eventually overturn into a ditch. Mr. Ahearn was pronounced dead at the scene. Illinois State Police are continuing to investigate the crash. 

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Not Many Happy with Illinois' New State Budget

Illinois finally has a balanced budget, but it slaps a 32 percent income tax hike on state residents, and it still means cutting programs and services by more than $2 billion.

The income tax increase means individuals will pay 4.95 percent instead of 3.75 percent. The corporate rate jumps from 5.25 percent to 7 percent.

Samantha Nichols, a leader of the coalition Fair Economy Illinois, says because the state has a flat tax rate, people who make the least are going to feel the hardest pinch - and she points out it won't solve the state's money problems.

"The budget that we want generates $23.5 billion in progressive revenue, with one of those revenue sources being a progressive income tax that raises revenue without increasing expenses for houses that have already been burdened by years of austerity," she states.

The budget her group proposed would provide universal health care, convert to all green energy over the next three decades and fully fund pre-K through 12 education, along with free college tuition.

The money would come from closing tax loopholes, enacting a graduated income tax and a tax on the major financial trading based in Chicago.

Elgin resident Andy Grant's message to lawmakers is that their new budget is going to drive people out of the state.

"Of course everyone's going to get frustrated by it and more people are going to leave, and more businesses are going to leave," he says. "And it shouldn't be a question of why they're leaving, it's just - you guys are making them leave."

Nichols says people who disagree with the new budget can't give up the fight. She says Illinois needs real structural change, especially to ease the burden on lower-income residents.

"This is not the budget we want," she stresses. "It is not the budget that fixes these structural inequalities and actually invests in our communities."

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Norine Hammond Releases Statement Regarding Override Vote

Macomb Representative Norine Hammond is speaking out about her choice to break ranks wth Republican House members and vote in favor of overriding Governor Rauner's veto of the budget package. 

 

"Issues like taxes and spending – especially right now in Illinois – are of much concern and many people in the 93rd District are widely divided on the issues, which put me in a difficult position when I cast my vote.  Ultimately, I voted YES on overriding the veto because I believe it to be the most fiscally responsible path forward.

If we continue this course we have for the last two years – which we undoubtedly would if this budget package is not passed – Illinois’ bond rating would definitively become junk status. This means that if Illinois ever wanted to borrow money, the state would be paying so much in interest that it would take decades, if ever, to pay off without massive tax increases.
Today, the State is paying $20 million a day in interest and penalties on unpaid bills, which now total approximately $14 billion. If we do not pass the budget package, that backlog would total $24 billion and the tax increase included in the budget package would have to be even larger, depending on the timing from 5.5%-8%, if the State ever wanted to see a balanced budget or a day in which bills are paid on time.

If we expect to send our children to school in the fall, we have to pass a budget. If we value our universities and community colleges, we have to pass a budget. If we want to provide meals and services to seniors and the disabled, we have to pass a budget.

The budget package passed by the House and Senate represents a compromise of approximately $2.5 billion in cuts with additional revenue. Unequivocally, there was extensive input from Republicans on what should be included and excluded from this budget proposal.

As to the much-needed reforms to change the long-term fiscal trajectory of our state, I am continuing to work with my colleagues on critical reforms to improve Illinois’ climate for job creators. I will be the first to advocate for lowering taxes and spending when we are able to improve the climate for jobs and grow our revenue base. For now, I stand firm knowing that I made the most fiscally responsible choice for all Illinoisans.”
 

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Macomb Park District Focuses on Getting the Community Unplugged

The Macomb Park District is encouraging members of the community to go outside and get away from their devices. The #UnplugMacomb campaign is in full swing. This entails people taking a picture of themselves outside away from their devices (yes this is ironic given that you need your electronic device to take the picture) and using that hashtag on social media. This enters people into weekly drawing for a variety of prizes. 

 

For more information on this check out the Park District's Facebook page and my interview with Rachel Lenz, the Executive Director of the Macomb Park District. 

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Study: Kids Get Brain Boost from Summer Reading

Experts have long recommended children be introduced to reading as early as possible - and now, new researchcan help parents make story times even more beneficial for their little ones.

An international study headed by researchers at Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center found greater brain activation in four-year-olds when they are "highly engaged" during reading time.

Dr. John Hutton, a pediatrician and clinical researcher for the Reading and Literacy Discovery Center at Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center, explains that means asking them questions and getting them more involved in reading - which he says works like a "turbo charge" for the brain.

"Kids that are read to more from a younger age and whose parents get excited about reading, and really interact with them in a loving and nurturing way, are more likely to teach their kids that reading is a fun thing, and something they really want to pay attention to and that they really want to do," he explains.

The study suggests parents develop a reading routine that allows them to spend quality time with their child and a book on a daily basis. That also means turning off the cell phone, which Hutton says is the most common preventable barrier to a quality story time.

To better engage a child and build their interest in reading, Hutton recommends parents read the words on the page and then, ask simple questions.

"If you are reading about a dog, say, 'Oh, we have a dog, do you think our dog would like to do this?' and, you know, 'What's grandma's dog's name?'" he says. "And the more that happens, the more kids feel involved in the process, the more they're going to practice their language skills and they're going to want to do it more. So, the more interactive, the better."

He notes there is no perfect reading experience. What's important, he says, is creating a routine at home, making it fun, and beginning as early as possible.

"A lot of parents will say, 'Well, what can my baby do, you know?" Hutton notes. "They don't understand yet, they're not talking yet.' And it's really just getting the child on the lap, opening the book, letting them hold the book. And then for the little babies, it's going to be mostly about that feeling of connecting with the parents, with the book."

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Macomb F.O.P Selling Raffle Tickets at Hy Vee Friday Evening

Members of the Macomb Fraternal of Police or F.O.P will be at Hy Vee on Friday evening. In a release on the Macomb F.O.P Lodge Facebook page, members announced that they will be at Hy Vee on Friday evening from 3 Pm to 7 Pm selling raffle tickets for the gun raffle at the upcoming Blue Line Ball. Members will also be signing people to attend the Blue Line Ball which will be taking place on the WIU campus on August 5th from 5 Pm to Midnight. Get your gun raffle ticket and sign up to attend the Blue Line Ball Friday afternoon at Hy Vee. 

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Governor Rauner Releases Statement Regarding Override Vote and New Illinois Budget

Governor Bruce Rauner has released a statement regarding this afternoon's vote to override his veto of the Illinois Budget bills sent to his desk earlier this week. In a statement released via the Governor's website this afternoon, Governor Rauner expressed his disappointment with the vote and the 32% across the board tax increase that is part of the new Illinois budget. 

 

“Today was another step in Illinois’ never-ending tragic trail of tax hikes. Speaker Madigan’s 32 percent permanent income tax increase will force another tax hike in the near future. His tax-and-spend plan is not balanced, does not cut enough spending or pay down enough debt, and does not help grow jobs or restore confidence in government. It proves how desperately we need real property tax relief and term limits. Now more than ever, the people of Illinois must fight for change that will help us create a brighter future.”

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United Way of McDonough County Announces $17,000 DHS Award

McDonough County has been awarded federal funds made available through the Department of Homeland Security (DHS)/Federal Emergency Management Agency under the Emergency Food and Shelter National Board Program.

 

McDonough County has been chosen to receive $17,331 to supplement emergency food and shelter programs in the county.

 

The selection was made by a National Board that is chaired by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency and consists of representatives from American Red Cross; Catholic Charities, USA; National Council of the Churches of Christ in the USA; The Jewish Federations of North America; The Salvation Army; and, United Way Worldwide.  The Local Board was charged to distribute funds appropriated by Congress to help expand the capacity of food and shelter in high-need areas around the country.

 

A Local Board made up of the City of Macomb, McDonough County United Way, the Center for Youth and Family Solutions, and others will determine how the funds awarded to McDonough County are to be distributed among the emergency food and shelter programs run by local service agencies in the area.  The Local Board is responsible for recommending agencies to receive these funds and any additional funds made available under this phase of the program. 

 

Under the terms of the grant from the National Board, local agencies chosen to receive funds must:  1) be private voluntary non-profits or units of government, 2) be eligible to receive Federal funds, 3) have an accounting system, 4) practice nondiscrimination, 5) have demonstrated the capability to deliver emergency food and/or shelter programs, and 6) if they are a private voluntary organization, have a voluntary board.  Qualifying agencies are urged to apply. 

 

McDonough County has distributed Emergency Food and Shelter funds previously with WIRC, Colchester Area Relief Effort, and Salvation Army participating. 

 

Public or private voluntary agencies interested in applying for Emergency Food and Shelter Program funds must contact the McDonough County United Way at mcdcunitedway@gmail.com for an application. The deadline for applications to be received is July 10, 2017 by 8:30 A.M.

 

For more information on the grant and how United Way plans to utilize it locally, listen to Sam Kuperman's interview with United Way's Vice President of the Board of Directors, Jill Beck. 

 

 

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Illinois Farm Bureau Among Groups Reacting to Veto Override

10 Republicans broke ranks with their party leadership and voted with members of the Democrat majority in the Illinois House to override the veto by Governor Rauner of the Illinois budget bills sent to to Governor earlier this week. Now organizations across the state are reacting to the state's first budget in three years. The Illinois Farm Bureau President Rich Guebert is among those offering a response to the new budget.... 

 

“For the first time in more than two years, the state of Illinois has a budget. Following this extended period of political discord and disagreement, we are hopeful that Illinois can now begin to heal its fiscal wounds.

 

“From the beginning, Illinois Farm Bureau has called for a compromise to end the budget impasse. Given the political gridlock, it was clear any solution would include items that are not desirable. Despite that, Illinois can now hopefully move forward and begin to address its unpaid bills while valuable programs for agriculture also receive funding.

 

“While no one likes a tax increase, important agricultural programs like the National Corn-to-Ethanol Research Center, county fairs, University of Illinois Extension, and Soil and Water Conservation Districts received additional funding in the budget package. Sales tax incentives for E-85 and biodiesel were also extended for five years.

 

“However, the work of the General Assembly is not complete. We urge legislators to take up reforms that will improve the business climate in our state.”

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Illinois GOP Chair Releases Statement Regarding Vote to Override Governor's Veto

Once this afternoon's lockdown ended at the capitol building in Springfield lawmakers held a vote to override Governor Bruce Rauner's veto of budget bills sent to his desk on Tuesday. The vote to override, on party lines, passed with several Republicans breaking ranks to get the budget passed. 10 Republicans broke ranks to vote in favor of the override and Illinois GOP Chairman Tim Schneider was quick to express his disappointment over the result and the breaking of ranks. 

“I am deeply disappointed in the Illinois General Assembly’s vote to override the Governor’s veto of Speaker Mike Madigan’s permanent 32% tax hike. Passing a 32% tax increase on the hard-working families of Illinois without any semblance of reform is absolute insanity. It hasn’t worked before, and it won’t work now.

“I am extremely troubled by the decision of 10 Republicans to again stand with Mike Madigan. Republicans in Illinois fought Madigan’s machine in 2014 to elect Gov. Rauner and won. In 2016 we beat Madigan again and made historic gains in the House and the Senate. After all we have accomplished together, it is astonishing that these legislators would now turn their backs on taxpayers across the state. I am confident voters will hold those politicians accountable for choosing Mike Madigan over the people of Illinois.”

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Lawmaker Blames Political Climate for Capitol Lockdown This Afternoon

The Capitol was on lockdown after a white powder was found in front of Governor Rauner's Capitol office. The powder has been cleared by a hazmat team and the lockdown ended as of 3:30 Pm, and one person has been arrested. A vote to override Governor Rauner's vetoes of the state budget and tax hike were delayed as a result. State Representative Dan Beiser (D-Alton) says it’s his opinion this incident is a result of the current political climate.

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He says the incident began unfolding at around 1:30pm, when the announcement came to stay put.
 

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Lockdown is Over - All Clear at Statehouse

The all clear was given to reopen the Illinois State House just before 3:30. The Springfield Department and their Haz-mat Team report that no dangerous substances were found in the white powder that was spread in front of the Governor’s office and by the House Chambers. The Secretary of State reports that one person is in custody in connection to the incident. 

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Lawmakers Hearing Threats as Budget Override Vote Looms

Both Republicans and Democrats in the House are preparing to take a vote on a possible override of Governor Bruce Rauner’s veto of a budget and tax increase. But recently comments to lawmakers who voted in favor of the bills are taking on a threatening tone. A report from Politico says a Republican lawmaker was told they would be swinging from a tree and Steve Anderson, House GOP Floor Leader, says he been getting calls and text messages, one saying “I’m coming for you.” Today Democrat candidate for Governor Chris Kennedy says it’s time for political rhetoric to end that encourages violence. That’s after Rauner used these words to describe the outcome of voting to pass a budget and tax increase.

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Legacy Ride honors 12 western Illinois soldiers who have died since the start of War on Terror

A three-county ride in Western Illinois will honor twelve area military personnel who have died since the beginning of the War on Terror in 2001. The event is called the Legacy Ride and takes place this Saturday at 9 a.m. says organizer Ron Watson of Aledo.
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This marks the fifth year for the ride.

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National Weather Service Warns About Heat Index Thursday Afternoon

The National Weather Service is warning that humidity will raise the heat index to the mid to upper 90's Thursday afternoon. If you plan to be outside for prolonged periods of time Thursday afternoon take pre-cautions, take frequent breaks and drink plenty of water. Those without air conditioning are urged to seek out cooling centers. Grand Prairie of Macomb and Western Illinois University have in recent weeks offered areas to cool off during hot weather. You can reach out to Grand Prairie at 309-833-5000 for cooling center hours. Contact WIU at 309-298-1414. 

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Spoon River College Seeking Volunteers in Macomb, Canton and Rushville

Spoon River College is in need of volunteers for several programs across Canton, Rushville, Havana and Macomb. According to a release from SRC, volunteer tutors are needed for the  GED, English as a Second Language, and Adult Literacy classes at Spoon River outreach campuses in Canton, Rushville, Havana and the outreach center in Macomb. No special education or degree is required to volunteer and volunteer times are flexible. If you would like to volunteer you can contact volunteer coordinator Cyndi Johnston at 309-833-6038. 

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Maple Avenue Christian Church Holds Annual Vacation Bible School July 10-14

The Maple Avenue Christian Church in Macomb is holding its annual Vacation Bible School July 10-14. The event is for children PreK-6th grade. For details on the event check out the church online and listen to my interview with Jason Seggelke from the Maple Avenue Christian Church. 

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McDonough County 4-H Fair Takes Place July 10-14

The Mcdonough County 4-H Fair will take place July 10-14. There, 4-H students county-wide will show off a variety of projects they've been working on. The event will take place at the 4-H Fairgrounds on West Jackson Street in Macomb. 

 

Highlights of the weeklong fair include an ag olympics (Tuesday July 11 from 3-5 PM), a livestock auction (Wednesday July 12 at 7 PM), and a horse show (Friday July 14 at 10 AM). For more details on the 4-H Fair check out the McDonough County 4-H website and listen to my interview with Beth Chatterton. 

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Republican Leader Brady on Richter Breaking Ranks

The lone Illinois Senate Republican who voted with Democrats for a budget plan won't be ostracized by his new leader. Senator Minority Leader Bill Brady says Mattoon Republican Dale Righter was up front about his voting plans with fellow Republicans....
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Righter said he would have liked a spending plan with deeper cuts but the deal was as good as Republicans could get in a Democratic controlled legislature.

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Governor Rauner Says His Veto Should Stand

Governor Bruce Rauner today says he’s doing what’s right for the people of Illinois by vetoing the budgets and tax increases passed by both Democrats and Republicans this week at the statehouse. Rauner says right now he is doing everything he can to make sure that his actions will stand over lawmaker’s wishes.

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Rauner shrugged off the idea that credit rating companies would grade the state’s credit as junk. Rauner says lawmakers need to stop listening to Wall Street and instead citizens who don’t want higher taxes.

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State Senator Jil Tracy Reacts to Potential State Budget Deal

Reporter Ray Watt caught up with State Senator Jil Tracy following the State Senate vote to override Governor Bruce Rauner's veto of the Democratic budget bills that includes a 32% across the board income tax increase. Click Here for the Interview

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Three Injured in Crash in Rural McDonough County

A failure to yield the right of way is the likely cause of an accident that badly injured a Moline woman and two children in rural McDonough County. According to the Illinois State Police Joseph L. Descamps of Moline was entering the intersection of Illinois Rural Route 336 and US Route 136, the Tennessee Junction, when his vehicle was struck by an International Truck Tractor driven by David W. Reikeberg, 54 of Colchester. The collision caused Descamps' vehicle to turn over before comin to rest in a nearby ditch. 33 Year old Lana Descamps of Moline had to be taken from the scene by airlift to Blesssing Hospital in Quincy where the extent of her injuries is unknown at this time. 12 and 10 year old passengers in Descamps' vehicle were also taken from the scene, the 12 year old by airlift to OSF Hospital in Peoria and the 10 year old by ambulance to McDonough District Hospital. The driver of the vehicle Joseph L. Descamps refused medical care at the scene and was cited for failure to yield. Mr. Reikeberg was unharmed in the accident. The accident remains under investigation. 

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Illinois' Epic Budget Battle Continues

Finally, a budget bill has passed both houses of the Illinois Legislature, but the battle is far from over.

The $36 billion spending plan raises the income tax rate to 4.95 percent, a 32 percent increase. Gov. Bruce Rauner took less than two hours on Tuesday to veto it, only to have the state Senate override that veto. The House is expected to do the same this week.

Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle said they're unhappy with the budget, but Sen. Toi Hutchinson, D-Olympia Fields, said she still believes it's best for the state.

"Right now in this moment, in this time, on this day, the choice is simple," she said. "Either we live to fight another day or we watch the state crash."

Democrats said the plan will reinstate funding for Monetary Award Program (MAP) grants, education, youth-employment and after-school programs, technical education and others that help treat addiction and reduce recidivism rates.

Rep. Peter Breen, R-Lombard, doesn't like the income-tax hike, but said he can't fault his downstate GOP colleagues for voting for it.

"The public universities are crumbling. The service providers in their districts are going bankrupt. Workers in the districts are worried about their jobs, and those members feel they have no choice, and that is certainly understandable," he said. "This is essentially a blackmail budget."

Rep. Carol Ammons, D-Urbana, took direct aim at Rauner during the House debate.

"His pompous, rich and wealthy pretension," she said, "believing that what he has is the only way, that if he doesn't get 100 percent of what he wants, then we get nothing."

The Republican governor said the budget will require even more tax hikes and predicted it will lead Illinois to becoming the highest-taxed state in America in the coming years.

Budget information is online at illinois.gov.

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House Passes Budget and Tax Package - Rauner Promises Veto

One vote down another to go but the Governor’s veto pen is already waiting. The Illinois House passed a budget and a tax increase on Sunday. The bills passed with support from both Democrats and Republicans. The tax increase will bring the income tax to four point nine five percent and the corporate tax to seven percent. Republican Mike Unes says it was a tough vote but one that had to be taken.

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Republican David Harris was blunt in his assessment of why he voted yes on both a budget and means to pay for it.

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Republican Governor Bruce Rauner said in a statement on Sunday that he will veto the House’s tax increase if the Senate passes it. Rauner wants more of his reforms to pass.

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Stewardship urged with new crop protection technology

While the state of Arkansas has more than 500 complaints on record alleging misuse of a new farm crop protection product that contains dicamba, Missouri reported it has more than 100. As of last Friday, Illinois had a total of - four. Still, some Illinois farmers are urging caution with the new technology;
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Steve Turner farms near Chandlerville and says Illinois farmers that plan to use the new crop protection product this year need to exercise care. The products in question allow dicamba to be used on soybeans to kill weeds that have become resistant to the popular chemical glyphosate (GLY-fo-sait);
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Both farmers and consumers can find more information from the Illinois Farm Bureau online at I-l-f-b-dot-org-slash steward.

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