Macomb Local News Archives for 2019-12

Bushnell Prairie City Athletic Booster Club Donates to Linda's Fund

MACOMB, Ill. — The Bushnell-Prairie City Athletic Booster Club hosted Paint the Gym Pink on October 17 and raised $1,250 for Linda’s Fund at McDonough District Hospital (MDH).


The event featured a pink night volleyball game, apparel sales, and a silent auction


Since 2014, the B-PC Athletic Booster Club has donated over $10,000 to Linda’s Fund. Linda’s Fund provides financial support to breast cancer patients who are using the services of MDH and live in the MDH service area.



OSF St. Mary Requestiong Public to Limit Visits

GALESBURG— To protect patients, family members, and staff during this time of increased seasonal flu activity and other upper respiratory illnesses, As of January in the New Year,  OSF HealthCare St. Mary Medical Center will be asking the public to limit visits as a precautionary measure.


These guidelines are based on recommendations from the Illinois Department of Public Health:


• Visitors should be at least 18 years of age and older. This will minimize exposure of patients to children, who are known to be high risk for transmission of viral infections.


•Do not visit hospitalized patients if you are not feeling well, or particularly experiencing flu-like symptoms during the past week. 


• Remember to cough and/or sneeze into your arm or shoulder or use a tissue. Always avoid the spread of germs around patients. Avoid covering your mouth with your hands, as the germs can easily be passed through direct contact with surfaces or people.


• Also, make sure hands are washed before touching any patients in the hospital.

For more information visit



Winter Storm, Difficult Driving Conditions Today

SPRINGFIELD – The Illinois Department of Transportation is warning the public that a winter storm with the potential for several inches of snow and freezing rain will have a major impact on travel later today and Monday throughout much of the state. All motorists should plan accordingly for conditions to deteriorate this afternoon, into the overnight hours and tomorrow, with hazardous driving conditions and much longer travel times.


“The IDOT snow-and-ice teams will be prepared, but the public should expect worsening driving conditions Sunday, with travel becoming potentially dangerous late in the day,” said Acting Illinois Transportation Secretary Omer Osman. “Before heading out, ask yourself if your trip can wait. Travel at times will be treacherous. If you are driving, please slow down, expect very slow travel and don’t crowd the plows – give them plenty of room to operate.”


The National Weather Service has issued a winter storm warning until Monday evening, with snow beginning to accumulate this afternoon, primarily in the central part of the state. Areas along and south of Interstate 70 could see periods of freezing rain late tonight through Monday morning.

Total accumulations are expected to reach between 4 to 8 inches in the Quincy, Springfield, and Champaign areas, extending south to St. Louis. North of Peoria and far southern Illinois are anticipated to receive between 1 to 2 inches, with a trace in the Chicago area.


For regular updates on statewide road conditions, visit Throughout the state, whenever possible, IDOT crews will be pretreating bridges, overpasses, and ramps, the areas most susceptible to icing. The department will have available more than 1,800 trucks and equipment statewide, applying salt and treating roads.


If you encounter a plow during your travels, please slow down, increase your driving distance and remain patient.

Other tips if you must travel:

• Take it slow, especially when approaching intersections, ramps, bridges, and shady areas.

• Make sure your gas tank is full.

• Keep a cell phone, warm clothes, blankets, food, water, a first-aid kit, washer fluid and an ice scraper in your vehicle.

• Check the forecast and make sure someone is aware of your route and schedule.

• Carry a cell phone and dial *999 in the Chicago area for roadway assistance in case of emergency. Reminder: Using handheld phones while driving is illegal in Illinois unless it is an emergency situation.



St. Paul Students Donate Coats to Project Santa

Macomb, Illinois, December 16, 2019 – Keeping children warm during the holidays has been the goal behind the annual tradition of the St. Paul coat drive.  Rather than receiving holiday gifts from their students, the teachers at St. Paul School in Macomb ask their students to make donations for the purchase of coats for the WIRC-Community Action Agency’s Project Santa program.  This year, the students donated 17 coats to help children in need.


The St. Paul coat drive has been an annual tradition for 27 years.  During that time, over 400 coats have been donated to children in need whose families have been helped by the Project Santa program.  Project Santa provides children in Hancock, Henderson, McDonough, and Warren counties with a happy holiday full of gifts, food, and clothing. 


For more information about WIRC-Community Action Agency or Project Santa, please call 309-837-2997, find “Western Illinois Regional Council” on Facebook, or visit


Caption: Students from St. Paul’s sixth-grade class donate coats to WIRC-CAA’s Project Santa program on December 13, 2019.  Back row, from left to right: Collin Adams, Jack Dunseth, Tobias Cale, Grant Jennette, Kenady Johnson, and Isaak Ratermann.  Front row, from left to right: Lauren Schmalshof, Roma Bride, Jordan Hines, Mariella Rodriguez, Mazie John, and Addison Lawson. 



Bushnell's Pink Warriors Donate $4,500 to MDH Linda's Fund

MACOMB, Ill. - Bushnell’s Pink Warriors recently presented a $4,500 donation for Linda’s Fund at McDonough District Hospital. Funds were raised from various events including Randy’s Ride, Jeep “Hers” Country Crawl and Cancer are a Drag event, along with other community donations from Farmers and Merchants State Bank of Bushnell, Your CBD Store, Bae’s Creations, and East Main Treasures & More. Since 2013, the Warriors have raised $24,000 in support of Linda’s Fund.


Linda’s Fund provides financial support to breast cancer patients who are using the services of McDonough District Hospital and live in the MDH service area. If you are diagnosed with breast cancer, Linda’s Fund is available to help financially with expenses not covered by insurance, such as expenses associated with medical care or family needs including rent, transportation, and utility bills. Linda’s Fund was established in honor of Linda (Ren) Bainter by her family in 2008 and has attracted the support of schools, community groups, and individuals who have held philanthropic events.


The application process for Linda’s Fund is not based on income and is separate from MDH financial assistance. For more information, contact the Foundation office at (309) 836-1757.



Train Crash in Macomb

On December 15, 2019, at 6:02 pm, The Macomb Police Department was dispatched to the intersection of Jackson St at Clay St for a crash involving a train and a car.  Upon arrival, officers determined that a Kia Sportage driven by Lisa Beck (61), of Colchester Illinois, had been struck by a Southbound Burlington Northern Santa Fe train.  


The Kia slid onto the crossing due to the inclement weather conditions and was struck by the slow-moving train.  The train was moving slowly through Macomb prior to the crash. Beck was transported to McDonough District Hospital by ambulance and the vehicle was driven from the scene.  The vehicle sustained minor damage to the passenger side.  



Leaving Running Vehicle Unattended

Leaving Your Car Running, Unattended is Against the Law in Illinois



As cold weather grips most of the state, it is not uncommon to see a car left unattended and running. Many motorists don’t realize this is against Illinois state law.
Illinois State Police Public Information Officer Sergeant Delila Garcia says leaving a car unattended during the wintertime often leads to theft.
Drivers could face up to a $250 fine. Garcia said the fine is intended to help deter people from being the victims of car theft.
Garcia says that leaving small kids in an unattended car is an even worse idea for the same reason.
The law does not apply to cars with a remote starter system. Garcia said in those instances, the doors are automatically locked, which prevents someone from being able to get in the car.


WIU Aggies Win National Agriculture Competition for Fifth Year in a Row




MACOMB. ILFor a fifth year in a row, the Western Illinois University School of Agriculture "Aggies" have won the national College Aggies Online (CAO) competition and $2,500 in scholarship money for the WIU Agriculture Club.

About 60 WIU agriculture students participated in the yearlong competition. Students took part in a variety of educational components on campus and around the region. The WIU club is comprised of students in the Communicating Agricultural Issues class at Western, taught by School of Agriculture Instructor Jana Knupp.

Projects completed as part of this year's competition included:

• Handing out chocolate milk at WIU's Homecoming 5K to promote chocolate milk as a refueling source.

• Teaching more than 10 ag lessons at Lincoln Elementary School

• Hosting several WIU groups for tours at the WIU farm

• Collecting more than 1,500 pounds of canned food goods for the WIU Food Pantry

• Handing out over 2,000 pieces of candy with food myths and the truths attached to them


In addition to the club win, two WIU students were singled out for recognition by the Animal Agriculture Alliance, which hosted the competition. WIU senior agriculture major Cassie Perrin, of Coopersville, MI, won a $2,500 scholarship for capturing first place in the competition's individual category. WIU junior agriculture major Paige Skinner, of Berwick, IL, was named one of 11 winners of the CAO Excellence Award.


Warming Centers in The City of Macomb


Illinois Manufacturers Applaud Tentative Agreement on USMCA


SPRINGFIELD -- The Illinois Manufacturers' Association (IMA) released the following statement regarding House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's announcement that House Democrats and the White House have reached a tentative agreement on the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA):


"Trade is critically important for Illinois and a modernized USMCA is a win for Illinois manufacturing companies. Forty percent of manufactured exports go to Mexico and Canada; trade supports tens of thousands of manufacturing jobs across our state," said Mark Denzler, president & CEO of the Illinois Manufacturers' Association. "Once ratified, this agreement will provide certainty, strengthen key partnerships, and create protections for American manufacturers. We applaud President Trump and Speaker Pelosi for finalizing an agreement that will help increase trade and growth for our state's manufacturing base."

About the Illinois Manufacturers' Association (IMA)

The Illinois Manufacturers' Association is the only statewide association dedicated exclusively to advocating, promoting and strengthening the manufacturing sector in Illinois. The IMA is the oldest and largest state manufacturing trade association in the United States, representing nearly 4,000 companies and facilities. For more information, visit     


Illinois Attorney General Raoul Urges FTC To Strengthen Online Protection For Children



Chicago – Attorney General Raoul, as part of a coalition of 25 attorneys general, today submitted a comment letter to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) asking the agency to strengthen its rules prohibiting websites, mobile applications and other digital marketing companies from collecting personal information from children under the age of 13 and using that information to track children across the internet.


“In a world of constantly evolving technology, parents and families should not have to worry about what information companies have on their children,” Raoul said. “I am committed to ensuring that companies respect families’ right to privacy and that our laws and regulations keep up with changes in how we use software and our devices.”


Many websites and mobile applications collect personal information from users, including geolocation information, browser histories, search histories, voice recordings and more. In 1996, Congress passed the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (“COPPA”) prohibiting this type of data collection from children under the age of 13. Both the FTC and state attorneys general are empowered to enforce COPPA, though only the FTC is empowered to issue regulations based on it.


Among other things, Raoul and the coalition are urging the FTC to expand its definitions of personal information to include things like faceprints used to unlock consumers’ cellphones, health data from internet-connected smart watches and children’s genetic information. The letter also urges the FTC to clamp down on companies that embed code in children’s mobile applications and collect data to serve children behavioral advertising, and to examine how the rules apply to school-issued laptops that are “free” so long as companies get to collect information from the student users. Furthermore, Raoul and the coalition urge the FTC against creating exemptions that would allow massive websites like YouTube to skirt COPPA’s requirements.


Joining Raoul in submitting the letter are the attorneys general of Connecticut, Delaware, the District of Columbia, Idaho, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Vermont, Virginia and Washington.



Matress Liquidators Expands Into Former Bergner's Space

PEKIN, IL – Cullinan Properties, Ltd. is pleased to announce the expansion of Mattress Liquidators in East Court Village Shopping Center. Mattress Liquidators, currently located at 3518 Court Street, will move a few doors down to the former Bergner’s space at 3536 Court Street.  This provisional relocation will expand Mattress Liquidators’ display area to fill the entire 82,100 square foot former department store. The new store opens on December 12.


Mattress Liquidators offers name-brand mattresses at significant discounts by purchasing overstocks and year-end models, among other items. In addition to selling name brand mattresses such as Sealy, Serta, Stearns & Foster, and Beautyrest, the East Court Village store will also be expanding their lineup to include furniture and major appliances. Their opening will be the one and only “one-stop shopping” experience in Pekin for the entire home.


“Mattress Liquidators has been successful at East Court Village, and we are pleased to have found a unique opportunity for them to increase their offerings to the public,” stated Kathleen Brill, VP and Director of Leasing for Cullinan Properties, Ltd. “We are working with several other retailers right now to bring their stores to East Court Village and we look forward to making those announcements early next year.”


Mattress Liquidators’ store hours will remain the same and be open to the public four days a week - Thursday through Saturday from 10 am – 7 pm and Sunday from 12 – 5 pm.


About Mattress Liquidators

Mattress Liquidators offers brand new mattresses at liquidator prices. With locations in Peoria, Pekin, Springfield, and Bloomington, IL, they are the area’s largest liquidator for top brand mattresses like Sealy Posturepedic, Serta Perfect Sleeper, Simmons Beautyrest, Stearns & Foster and more.  Mattress Liquidators sells new, factory closeouts, overstocks, discontinued models and more at deeply discounted prices, saving customers up to 80% off MSRP. For more information, visit


About East Court Village

East Court Village, located in Pekin, Illinois, is anchored by regional and national chains including Hobby Lobby, Tractor Supply Co., ALDI, Dunham’s Sports, Gold’s Gym Express, Petco and Deals.  Shadow anchored by Walmart Supercenter, Big R, Staples and Menard’s, this regional power center is located along busy Illinois Route 9, which connects Pekin to Peoria and Bloomington. Other retailers include Starbucks, Bob Evans, Culver’s Restaurant, Applebee’s, Sprint, Verizon Wireless, Hometown Bank, Firestone, and Fresenius Dialysis. East Court Village is owned and managed by Cullinan Properties, Ltd. Visit for more details.


About Cullinan Properties

Cullinan Properties, LTD. is a leading provider of real estate services specializing in commercial and mixed-use developments and acquisitions.  With offices in Peoria, IL, Chicago, IL and St. Louis, MO, Cullinan Properties is a multi-disciplined real estate firm that develops, manages and owns mixed-use, retail, multi-family, office, governmental and medical properties throughout the United States, including Illinois, Missouri, Michigan, Georgia, and Texas. For additional information about Cullinan Properties, Ltd., visit



Duckworth Helps Introduce Bill to Ensure Proper-Fitting Body Armor & Protective Equipment is Available for Female Service Members

WASHINGTON, DC – Combat Veteran and U.S. Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) joined U.S. Senators Joni Ernst (D-IA), Martha McSally (R-AZ) and Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) in introducing bipartisan legislation to improve troop readiness and effectiveness by addressing issues of inadequate and ill-fitting body armor and personal protective equipment (PPE) across the military.


“When I was serving overseas, I experienced firsthand how our military’s body armor and protective equipment hasn’t always been constructed with the health and comfort of female service members in mind,” Duckworth said. “That’s why I’m proud to be working on this important bipartisan bill that would enhance troop readiness by helping make sure our female service members are properly equipped for combat.”


Recent reports by the Defense Advisory Committee on Women in the Services (DACOWITS) have shown that access to female-specific PPE and smaller sized PPE was severely limited and only issued to some women who were deploying and not to any females during initial entry training (IET) or in regular unit environments. In addition, their research has shown that poorly-fitting PPE is a leading cause of injury for all service members, those who are deployed and in training. While the service branches have been working to make improvements to achieve the proper protection and fit for PPE for all service members, including females and small-statured males, there is still work to be done to ensure all military members are adequately equipped both during training and in combat. Specifically, the legislation would:


·         Encourage the Services to expedite the contracting, procuring, and fielding of new generation PPE that better fits and protects all servicemembers, to include females, and reduces preventable injuries.

·         Encourage collaboration with academia and industry, utilizing emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence, human factors modeling, and digital predictive human modeling to develop the next generation of combat equipment and PPE.

·         Require the Services to submit a report to Congress in the 2021 Fiscal Year concerning any barriers that they have encountered when fielding their newest versions of PPE to servicemembers. The report would include any cost overruns or contractor delays in fielding this new equipment to servicemembers.

·         Require the Defense Health Agency (DHA) to begin administering a trackable system for data input related to injuries to accompany the issuance of new PPE. This could be done through an already-existing system such as the Defense Occupational and Environmental Health Readiness System (DOEHRS).

·         Require DHA to provide a report to Congress in the 2025 Fiscal Year identifying the prevalence of preventable injuries attributed to ill-fitting or malfunctioning PPE.

·         Require the DoD to include questions in the annual Periodic Health Assessment (PHA) on the nature and prevalence of injuries attributed to ill-fitting or malfunctioning PPE.




Illinois FOID Card Law Spared Emergency Void in Court Challenge

An Illinois court denied an emergency shutdown of the state’s FOID card program because it would cause too much trouble. 

In the ruling released Tuesday, the Fourth District Appellate Court denied a request for injunctive relief sought by gun-rights group Guns Save Life that would have invalidated the Firearm Owners Identification cards while the case was heard. The main reason the three-judge panel gave was that the FOID Act has been around since 1968 and suddenly ending it would cause problems for the state. 
GSL Director John Boch says that he’s disappointed, but understands the decision. 

Boch anticipates the group will give up on the emergency shut down of the FOID law and go back to try the case in circuit court.


Moody's Analytics More States Ready for Recession

Moody’s Analytics: More states ready for recession, Illinois one of 10 not ready


A growing number of states have taken steps to become “recession ready” by socking away funds. A new report says several states, Illinois included, aren’t ready.  


A June report from the Pew Charitable Trusts said Illinois has around one-tenth of a day’s worth of operating expenses stored in an emergency fund. A new report from Moody’s Analytics says the state is one of only ten to be in such shape. 


Twenty-eight have used the booming economic conditions to take surplus revenue and put it away so that they don’t have to either cut services or raise taxes in the middle of a recession, which is when the report says is the worst time for either to happen. 


With more than $137 billion in public pension liabilities and a backlog of bills dating back to the budget impasse, professor Michael Belsky at the University of Chicago says Illinois and other states simply don’t have the ability to bolster rainy-day funds. 


IDNR Announces 2019 Coastal Management Grants

CHICAGO – Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) Coastal Management Program today announced more than $1 million in grants for local coastal education, recreation, water quality protection, and habitat restoration projects along the Lake Michigan shoreline. These projects are federally funded through Illinois’ partnership with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Coastal Zone Management Program.


The IDNR Coastal Management Program is dedicated to protecting and enhancing the environmental, economic, and social value of Illinois’ Great Lakes coast. The program fosters healthy ecosystems and resilient communities by providing expertise, funding, and other resources that:

• Engage and connect communities with the Lake Michigan coastal region;

• Enhance coastal stewardship;

• Promote balanced use; and,

• Improve coordination between agencies, communities and other partners.


“These projects will empower communities, educational institutions, non-profits, and park and forest preserve districts to improve our coastal resources and engage local youth and adults in protecting and enjoying Lake Michigan,” said IDNR Director Colleen Callahan. “The Coastal Management Grant Program is an investment in the future through which we will all benefit.”

Projects include:

• Active Transportation Alliance – Lake Calumet Trail Connection Feasibility Study; $55,000

Lake Calumet is a physical barrier between the Pullman National Monument, Big Marsh Park, and other destinations to the east. Improved pedestrian and bicycle access across the lake would connect these two destinations, while also opening up new access and recreational opportunities along Lake Calumet itself. As an initial step in developing a Lake Calumet to Pullman Trail connection, a feasibility study will be conducted to assess existing conditions, project objectives, design criteria, public input, potential alignments, and cost.


• Boys & Girls Clubs of Chicago – Fishing and Wildlife Education Program; $10,000

The Fishing and Wildlife Education Program provides an urban summer fishing recreation experience to approximately 800 underserved youth between the ages of 5 and 18 at Palmisano Park in the Bridgeport community. The project involves busing youth from Boys and Girls Clubs across the city to the Valentine Boys and Girls Club in the Bridgeport community to participate in recreational fishing, conservation, and wildlife activities.


• Chicago Academy of Sciences – Expanding Citizen Science in the Calumet Region; $10,000

As a program of the Chicago Academy of Sciences/Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum (CAS/PNNM), this project will enhance citizen science activities in the Calumet region by coordinating the activities of CAS/PNNM’s existing citizen science programs. Through a combination of survey route mapping and recruiting activities, investigators will map a minimum of 10 new surveys. This will allow citizen scientists to submit data and will allow landowners to download submitted data. The team will hold two recruitment events per program and five outreach events to disseminate results on implications for the region’s biodiversity.


• Chicago Adventure Therapy, NFP – Youth-Led Community Outreach; $ 18,633

Chicago Adventure Therapy (CAT) works with underserved youth in Chicago. Many of these young people have never seen Lake Michigan. This project will provide coach training for youth already involved in paddlesports like kayaking, canoeing, and stand-up paddleboarding, many of whom have expressed a desire to take the sport back to their communities.


• Chicago Park District – Enhancing Native Habitat Along the Calumet River at SEPA Station #1; $ 93,982.


Chicago Park District's natural areas restoration crew, with assistance from a contractor, will establish 10.3 acres of native woodland and wetland habitat at SEPA Station #1 in Southeast Chicago. SEPA Station #1 is a Side-stream Elevated Pool Aeration system, which utilizes vertical propeller pumps and waterfalls to increase and maintain the dissolved oxygen concentration of the water the Calumet River-Main Channel waterway.


• Chicago Public Schools – Calumet Is My Back Yard; $97,035


Calumet Is My Back Yard (CIMBY), established in 1998, is an environmental education and service-learning program operated through Chicago Public Schools in partnership with The Field Museum and The Dunes Learning Center. This project will build on CIMBY’s success to implement the Jackson Park Expansion (JPE). This will strengthen the capacity of CPS high school biology teachers in the district to implement classroom-integrated environmental service-learning projects specifically connected to coastal habitat restoration.


• City of Evanston – Evanston Ecology Center's Canoe Launch Feasibility Study for the North Shore Channel; $15,000


The City of Evanston and Evanston Environmental Association (EEA) will conduct a feasibility study to determine if constructing a public access canoe launch in the North Shore Channel is a viable project. The existing wooden canoe launch is unusable due to erosion and decay; the embankment leading to the canoe launch is difficult to traverse. If the city determines the project is feasible, it will proceed with it. A new canoe launch will serve more than 500 summer camp participants, provide public canoe programming to more than 800 people yearly, and deliver opportunities for 12 Evanston Township High School classes to canoe twice yearly.


Mighty Acorns is a school-year outreach education program that connects urban youth in the Illinois and Indiana coastal region with their local ecosystems. To extend and reinforce school-year lessons, Dunes Learning Center hosts two week-long sessions of Mighty Acorns Nature Camp in the summer. All current Mighty Acorns are invited to trade screen time for green time and experience a week of overnight camp for a significantly reduced rate.


• Faith in Place – Migration & Me Program - Lake County; $27,000

Faith in Place will continue to implement its Migration & Me Program - Lake County, a program that connects people of faith in economically challenged Lake County communities with nature through stories of personal journeys. The program focuses on engaging young and adult people of faith in caring for the Lake County coastal region through stewardship and offering educational sessions to the community on environmental degradation and its impact on human life and the community.


• Field Museum of Natural History – Activating Beubian Woods; $90,000

The Activating Beaubien Woods project will strengthen connections between local community members and Beaubien Woods Forest Preserve on Chicago’s far South Side. Community surveys and planning identified a need and desire for park activation, environmental education, and recreational opportunities, and the creation of welcoming gathering space in nature. The project brings together community members and technical experts in a participatory process to develop a culturally relevant design for a gathering space and programming at Beaubien Woods. The program will lead environmental education opportunities for youth and community members, and it will develop interpretive tools to help highlight local heritage stories.


• Forest Preserve District of Cook County – Beaubien Woods: Conservation and Youth Outdoor Ambassador Crew; $100,000


The Forest Preserves of Cook County (FPCC) will engage young people in restoration and activation of Beaubien Woods by creating the Beaubien Woods Conservation and Youth Outdoor Ambassador Crew. This crew merges two successful FPCC youth programs: The Conservation Corps’ Forest Preserve Experience and Youth Outdoor Ambassadors. FPCC will work with Friends of the Forest Preserves to hire 10 high school youth from the communities near Beaubien Woods to conduct restoration, public engagement, and recreation activities.


• Forest Preserve District of Cook County – Wetland Restoration in the Calumet Region; $50,000

The Forest Preserves of Cook County (FPCC) will improve coastal wetlands at Burnham Prairie Nature Preserve and Eggers Grove through invasive species control and a large-scale wetland plug planting. The project will also foster connections between neighboring communities and the preserves through a series of bird walks led by the Wild Indigo Nature Exploration Program.


• Friends of the Forest Preserves – Building Friends of the Little Calumet River; $25,000

Building Friends of the Little Calumet will introduce people from under-resourced communities neighboring the Little Calumet River to ways they can benefit from coastal resources near their homes. In partnership with the Forest Preserves of Cook County and local leaders, this project will expand the number of people who use and care for the preserves. Friends of the Forest Preserves will conduct audience research and consult with local volunteers in order to inform the development of culturally relevant recreation events at Whistler Woods.


• Friends of the Parks – Nature Along the Lake; $43,250

The overall goal of Friends of the Parks' (FOTP) Nature Along the Lake (NAL) is to teach children science and provide natural learning experiences in park settings. This inspires youth to be active stewards of our coastal natural resources and to make a positive contribution to the planet. The program is an environmental education program that engages K-8 children in Chicago with the Illinois coast in their own communities. The youth develop skills, knowledge, and the ability to make well-informed choices concerning our coast.


• IPM Institute of North America, Inc. – Midwest Grows Green Lawn & Land Forum Toolkit; $61,318

The IPM Institute started the Midwest Grows Green Lawn & Land Forum in 2016 to share practical, vetted Integrated Pest Management (IPM) and natural lawn care (NLC) information and foster peer-to-peer learning of best practices that reduce synthetic lawn pesticide and fertilizer use in communities. The IPM Institute will integrate information from previous forum sessions into a formulated and streamlined draft toolkit. The project will scale previous forum successes to reach more policymakers and practitioners, initiate actionable discussions of IPM and NLC, and implement those policies or action plans.


• Lake County Forest Preserve District – Conserving Coastal Habitat and Native Species in the Illinois Lake Plain; $82,000


The Illinois Lake Plain is a unique coastal dune and swale system comprised of diverse community types, including regionally significant wet prairies, dunes, sand savannas, beach, and dry sand prairies, providing habitat for more than 400 plant and 250 animal species (55 of which are state-listed threatened or endangered species and five of which are federally-listed). This project expands upon 10 years of successful partnership by public and private landowners to improve high-quality natural areas through removal and chemical treatment of pervasive and disruptive invasive species.


• National Audubon Society – Wild Indigo Building Community Leadership around Wetlands and Lakeshore Conservation; $89,120


Audubon Great Lakes’ (AGL) Wild Indigo Nature Explorations program will build community awareness and support for wetlands and lakeshore habitats in two coastal communities: Chicago’s Southeast side and Waukegan/North Chicago. This project will develop events for a multi-generational audience that, via community science, recreation, and stewardship, will foster a deeper connection to coastal natural habitats. AGL will establish a monitoring program of Calumet wetlands and develop ambassadors who will advocate for healthy watersheds.



Public Invited to Take IDOT Traveler Survey

SPRINGFIELD – The Illinois Department of Transportation is seeking feedback on the state's transportation system through its annual Illinois Traveler Opinion Survey, available today through Dec. 31. 


“The public’s input is vital for the health of our transportation system. We look forward to learning about your travel preferences, what you think we are doing well and how you’d like us to improve,” said Acting Illinois Transportation Secretary Omer Osman. “Illinois is the heart of this country’s transportation network, its importance to national commerce as well as safe travel for the motoring public can’t be understated. We want to hear from you.”


The annual survey, conducted in partnership with the University of Illinois Springfield, seeks feedback on topics ranging from road conditions and ice-and-snow removal to commuting habits and driving behaviors. Questions also ask travelers for feedback about the IDOT website, the state's rest areas, and passenger rail use.


For IDOT updates, follow us on Twitter at  @IDOT_Illinois or view area construction details on IDOT’s traveler information map on




Liability for State of Illinois Pensions Increases

Illinois taxpayer liability for state pensions increases $3.5 billion despite paying more into funds.
Despite taxpayers putting more into the state’s public employee pensions funds, the unfunded liabilities of those systems continue to increase while lawmakers differ on the solution.

The Commission on Government Forecasting and Accountability reported the unfunded liability for the five public sector pensions the state funds is $137.3 billion. Republican state Rep. Joe Sosnowski is on the commission. He said that’s up more than $3.5 billion from last year despite taxpayers putting more into the funds.


Bushnell Police Officer Recognized

 At the Bushnell City council meeting Monday December 2, 2019 5:30p.m. Mayor Wilt recognized Officer Justin Hood with an outstanding citizenship award, for his actions involving a 911 call to Bill & Erica Bartons home.


Bill & Erica's daughter Eden was having an extremely hard time and Officer Hood came in and called for Life Flight. Eden's parents said this action saved her life. Mayor Wilt presented Officer Hood with Certificate of Appreciation for his community service.


Illinois Resident Survey

Illinois residents asked for feedback regarding state’s transportation system


SPRINGFIELD – The Illinois Department of Transportation is seeking feedback on the state's transportation system through its annual Illinois Traveler Opinion Survey, available today through Dec. 31. The survey is available online by clicking here or visiting


“The public’s input is vital for the health of our transportation system. We look forward to learning about your travel preferences, what you think we are doing well and how you’d like us to improve,” said Acting Illinois Transportation Secretary Omer Osman. “Illinois is the heart of this country’s transportation network, its importance to national commerce as well as safe travel for the motoring public can’t be understated. We want to hear from you.”


The annual survey, conducted in partnership with the University of Illinois Springfield, seeks feedback on topics ranging from road conditions and ice-and-snow removal to commuting habits and driving behaviors. Questions also ask travelers for feedback about the IDOT website, the state's rest areas and passenger rail use.


The Illinois Traveler Opinion Survey has been conducted annually since 2001. A copy of the 2018 survey and results, as well as data collected from past years, can be viewed here.

For IDOT updates, follow us on Twitter at @IDOT_Illinois or view area construction details on IDOT’s traveler information map on


City Council and Macomb Mayor Host Meet and Mingle

Macomb, IL- Community members are encouraged to attend an open, informal Meet and Mingle with members of the Macomb City Council, Mayor Mike Inman and City Administrative Staff. The open house style event wild be held on Monday, December 9, commencing at approximately 6:00p.m., immediately following the 5:15 p.m. City Council Committee of the Whole meeting.The gathering will be held in the Community Room, on the ground floor of Macomb City Hall, 232 East JAckson St.


Refreshments will be available, with the event scheduled to conclude at 7p.m.



SPRINGFIELD – Illinois Department of Agriculture (IDOA) announced a fall cover crop discount program for acreage in Illinois planted to cover crops in the fall of 2019 that will be planted to an insurable crop in 2020. The program will allow eligible applicants to receive a $5 per acre premium discount on the following year’s crop insurance invoice for every acre of cover crop enrolled and verified in the program. The program was developed by IDOA and backed by legislative leadership from Senators Andy Manar and Scott Bennet.


“Cover crops are an important part of preserving agriculture,” State Senator Scott Bennet said. “As Senate Agriculture chair, I am encouraged by this program and that it represents another resource to farmers to help ensure the success of Illinois’ agriculture economy.”


“Farmers who utilize cover crops are making an investment in the overall quality of our soil, food, and water, as well as their own future yields,” said Senator Andy Manar. “This program will help expand the ecological benefits of cover crops while supporting our local farmers’ bottom line. Prioritizing these best practices is why Illinois remains at the forefront of agricultural production and quality.”


The discount program was designed to promote additional acres of cover crops that are not covered by other state or federal incentives. IDOA will use a combination of tools to verify acres applied for through this pilot program that are planted in cover crops. The program is only applicable for those with coverage through the United States Department of Agriculture Risk Management Agency (USDA-RMA) crop insurance program. Confirmed applications will be forwarded to the USDA-RMA for processing and applying premium discounts to 2020 crop insurance invoices.


“Implementation of best management practices such as cover crop application continues to be a priority of the Department,” said John Sullivan, IDOA Director. “Adopters of cover cropping methods may have incurred additional risk and expenses and this program serves as an incentive for their work.”


Funding of eligible acreage will be on a first-come, first-serve basis capped at 50,000 acres. It is recommended that those applying for the program reference their Federal FSA-578 form. The closing date to apply for the premium discount is January 15, 2020. Further information can be obtained by contacting the IDOA at (217) 782-6297.



ISBE Amends Emergency Rules with Advocate Feedback

SPRINGFIELD – After receiving significant feedback from schools and advocates across the state, the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) filed an amendment yesterday to its emergency rules that banned seclusion in Illinois schools and placed restrictions on the use of physical restraint.


The amendment temporarily allows prone and supine physical restraints in narrow circumstances and only for severe crisis situations to protect the safety of students and staff. The amendment will give schools time to transition to the use of alternate interventions without causing students to be disenrolled. The amendment mandates that other less restrictive and intrusive interventions have been tried first and have not succeeded in stopping the danger. 


ISBE developed the amendment in collaboration with numerous stakeholders, in response to feedback from the field. ISBE received feedback that, in certain emergency situations, the use of prone or supine restraint is currently the only way to prevent a student from physically harming themselves or others. Several stakeholders indicated that students in private placements would be disenrolled from those schools without the amendment. Temporarily allowing prone and supine physical restraints in crisis situations supports schools in continuing to serve students safely while the State develops further training and guidance on alternate interventions and proceeds with permanent rulemaking.


The amendment continues to prohibit using prone or supine restraints in a manner that impairs a student’s ability to breathe or communicate, as well as for students with medical or psychological limitations that contraindicate their use.


The amendment requires that one staff person trained in identifying the signs of distress observe the student during the entire incident of prone or supine physical restraint. The amendment also requires an additional layer of review if a student is restrained in a prone or supine position in at least two separate instances within a 30-school day period.


The emergency rulemaking extends for 150 days from its initial filing on Nov. 19. The amendment to the emergency rules allows ISBE to collect additional feedback and review data as it develops permanent rules. Stakeholders will have multiple opportunities to submit formal comments on the proposed permanent rules.



Festival of Trees 14th Annual Event

The McDonough District Hospital will be hosting its 14th annual Festival of Trees event this week. Monday, Dec 2, they hosted their Teddy Bear T event which was sponsored by Laverdiere Construction, Inc.  Thursday, Dec 5, they will have their Jingle & Mingle hosted at the Macomb Arts Center 25 E. Side Square, Macomb from 6:30-8:30 p.m. The Festival of Trees will commence all weekend starting  Friday, Dec 6 and ending Monday, Dec 9. There will be a $3 admission fee for adults, children 10 and under will have free entry as Brittney Moore explains the Business Spotlight of the week



Rep. Hammond Receives Award for Support of Agricultural Education in Illinois Schools

 Earlier this month, State Representative Norine Hammond (R-Macomb) received the “Jim Guilinger Legislative Award” from the Illinois Leadership Council for Agricultural Education (ILCAE) for her efforts to expand and promote agricultural education in Illinois schools.


“Agricultural education is more than just teaching the next generation of farmers,” said Rep. Hammond. “It’s about instilling in students the values that make our farming communities and state as a whole thrive – values like hard work, innovation, and entrepreneurship. I’m proud to support agricultural education funding for our schools because it’s vital to our district’s economy and well-being. This cause is dear to my heart and essential for our communities. Thank you to ILCAE for encouraging the education of tomorrow’s agricultural leaders.”

Since 1987, the “Jim Guilinger Legislative Award” has been presented to legislators who advocate for and have been publicly supportive of Illinois agricultural education. According to ILCAE, these legislators understand the importance of the agricultural industry that makes up about a quarter of Illinois’ jobs. They also know the extreme importance of today’s youth understanding the ever-evolving and expanding agricultural industry with the knowledge gained through a current and progressive agricultural education.


The award is named in honor of Jim Guilinger, who was a nationally-recognized agricultural education leader. Jim spent 56 years of his life dedicated to agricultural education. He constantly sought out innovative and cutting-edge technology and curriculum for the betterment of his students. Jim was born in Monmouth in 1930 and served as the Secretary of the McDonough County Farm Bureau.


Bustos to Tour BDI Screens and Participate in Cheri on Shift

GALESBURG -- Congresswoman Cheri Bustos (IL-17) will tour B.D.i Screens Monday morning, Dec 2, at 10:15. 


B.D.i is a local manufacturer of wedge wire screens that are used in the agricultural industry and is located at 1255 Monmouth Boulevard, Galesburg. All of B.D.i’s screens are custom made and manufactured using stainless steel. Congresswoman Bustos will have the opportunity to hear directly about what’s on the minds of the hardworking employees in the 17th Congressional District. 


Later at 1:45 p.m, Congresswoman Bustos will venture to Rock Island to participate in the “Cheri on Shift” at Wear-Cote International, a local provider of plating and machining shop services. Congresswoman Bustos will have the opportunity to tour the facility and assist with parts that need plating. This will be the 98th  annual “Cheri on Shift” job-shadowing an event she has held since becoming a Member of Congress. This event will be located at 101 10th street, Rock Island.