Local News

Chicago Mayor Says Casino Would Help All

At a press conference in Chicago over the weekend, Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot was making the case that a Chicago casino benefits the whole state... 

Lawmakers failed to move forward on the planning for a casino in Chicago despite Mayor Lori Lightfoot and Governor J.B Pritzker backing the idea. That said, the idea of a Chicago casino is not dead and will likely be revisted early next year when the state legislature reconvenes. Mayor Lightfoot is looking for either a co-ownership of a casino between the state and the City of Chicago or for a lower tax rate that might make the Chicago location more attractive for a private ownership group. 

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Church Street Kewanee Sewer Lining Work Rescheduled to Today, Monday November 18th

The City of Kewanee Public Works Department has announced that sewer lining work that was to take place last week has been rescheduled and will happen today. Full release from the City of Kewanee below... 

 

The City of Kewanee Public Works Department sewer lining project in the 100 block of West Church Street has been rescheduled due to changes in the contractor’s schedule and previous weather problems. Work has been rescheduled for Monday 11/18/19.

 

Residents in these areas will not be able to use any sewer or household drains while work is taking place. Work is expected to begin at 8:30 a.m. Residents will not be able to wash clothes or dishes, take showers or baths, flush toilets, and should turn off sump pumps connected to sewer service.

 

While work is being done, residents may detect an odor from drains inside their homes. This odor is not harmful, but it is helpful to pour a gallon of hot water down any drains, sinks, tubs, and toilets in order to create a water barrier that will prevent odors from coming up the drains.

 

Due to the equipment in this procedure requiring use of water from neighborhood hydrants in the areas of West Church and Hollis Streets, residents in or near these areas may experience low water pressure or rusty water. Residents are advised to use only cold water to flush out water inside their homes.

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Congressman Bost Discusses Possible Federal Benefits of Gas Tax

The state of Illinois doubled their gas tax in July from 19 cents a gallon to 38 cents. The increase went hand-in-hand with several bills Gov. J.B. Pritzker signed into law including a $45 billion capital plan, an expansion of gaming across the state and a revenue package that includes additional tax increases to fund the major infrastructure improvements in the capital plan. Congressman Mike Bost represents the 12th District of Illinois. He says the new tax is finally creating local dollars for a variety of projects.

Congressman Bost is fresh off an announcement of a nearly $14 million grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Better Utilizing Investment to Leverage Development (BUILD) program for the Southern Illinois Multimodal Station (SIMMS) project, a new transportation center in downtown Carbondale.

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Most Ethics Reforms Left To A Commission To Study

Lawmakers left the fall veto session with little action on ethics reform. That leaves Republican lawmakers frustrated as they wanted quick action on a number of bills they proposed. But they are left wanting for the next few months as big reforms have been left for later. In the place of new laws is a commission to study the problem and recommend changes. Democrat Governor JB Pritzker says this isn’t a problem that is going to be wallpapered over by yet another commission.

Pritzker says the work was too important that it couldn’t be accomplished in three days.

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Feds Tapped Phone of ComEd Lobbyist and Friend of Speaker Madigan

A lobbyist and former Illinois lawmaker with close ties to House Speaker Michael Madigan had his phone tapped by federal investigators. For House member Michael McClain now works as a lobbyist for ComEd and he was targeted in the probe of that companies lobbying practices. Reporter Cole Lauterbach has more... 

 

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Questions Arise Over Final Pension Consolidation Bill Passed During Veto Session

While state first responders unions have signed off on the recently passed pension consolidation bill and Governor J.B Pritzker is set to sign it, there are new questions arising regarding tier 2 enhancement costs. What does that mean?: Our Reporter Greg Bishop explains.. 

 

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Galva in First Place But Votes Still Needed for Levitt Amp Concert Grant

Galva currently has more votes than any other town in the country in competition for the Levitt Amp grant but that can change before the deadline arrives on November 20th. Jason Bates, one of the organizers of the Levitt Amp Music Series in Galva joined WKEI on Thursday to remind everyone to keep voting so that Galva can show the Levitt organization how much this community supports this concert series... 

If Galva is chosen for a third year in a row to receive a Levitt Amp matching grant, that will put the Galva concert series in a position to receive automatic Levitt Amp grants for the following three years. 

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The Station Offering Full Take Home Thanksgiving Meals

The Station restaurant has the solution for those who don't know what to do with their Thanksgiving dinner. Rita Haddad from The Station joined WKEI on Thursday's People to People program to promote a unique offer. Rita and her staff will cook you an entire Thanksgiving meal that you pick up on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving, take home and heat up in time to welcome the family... 

This offer is limited to a particular number of customers so get your order in soon. As Rita mentioned, there are two meal plans, a $199.00 (plus tax) option that can feed 16 to 20 people or a $130.00 (plus tax) that can feed 8 to 10 people. Orders must be placed before November 24th. Call The Station restaurant at 309-761-8212. 

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What You Are Supporting When You Support the Kewanee Area United Way: Center for Youth and Family Solutions

All this week and into next week we are briefly profiling some of the agencies who are supported by your donations to the Kewanee Area United Way campaign. The Center for Youth and Familiy Solutions is profiled today. Dana Mirocha is a counselor and spokesperson for the Center for Youth and Family Solutions... 

The Center for Youth and Family Solutions aids children and families across Iowa and Illinois and you can find out more about the Center for Youth and Family Solutions at CYFSolutions.org. 

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Betty's Garden to Celebrate 1 year Anniversary This Weekend

Betty's Garden Memory Care in Kewanee is going to celebrate its one year anniversary this weekend with an anniversary party on Saturday from Noon until 2. Maisey Postin of Betty's Garden talked to WKEI about Saturday's celebration...

Doug Currier, Petersen Health Care VP of Operations talks about what has been learned and what has grown over the first year of Betty's Garden in Kewanee... 

The Betty's Garden 1 year anniversary celebration is this Saturday. You can hear our full lenght interview with our friends from Betty's Garden in our People to People podcast linked here

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National Weather Service Says Second Half of November Should Be Warmer Than Normal

Record snow and cold temperatures highlighted the firs part of November and Chris Geelhart at the National Weather Service in Lincoln indicates temperatures should moderate going into the latter part of the month.

As for the rest of the winter, Geelhart indicates there isn't anything to suggest one trend over another. He indicates it could be a bit wetter than normal.

Geelhart says it is still too soon to predict a white Christmas and it's also too early to tell what snowfall amounts might look like for the rest of the winter.

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Social Media Coupon Scam Returns

If you have seen the recent social media coupon offers for Costco, Bud Light, or Marlboro, don’t click on the link. That’s the word from the Better Business Bureau. Social media scams are easy to create and can target thousands of people at once due to how users interact with pages, post, and contacts.

Not just limited to just limited to the aforementioned products, online coupon scams usually ask you to share the deal with all your friends. BBB investigator Don O'Brien says when you shared that link, you may have exposed your friends and family too.

He says you can protect yourself from these scams by: checking the business’s official Facebook page and see if the same coupon appears; checking the business’s website to see if they are offering the same deal; never pay money for a coupon; check for spelling errors; and beware of sales on hot items with an expiration date. Scammers capitalize on that sense of urgency, trying to rush people so they don’t think about whether it’s a legitimate deal.

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State Rep McCombie Says Democrat Ethics Legislation Not Enough

State Representative Tony McCombie told reporters after the completion of the veto session in Springfield that ethics legislation put forward by Democrats was not enough to address corruption in state government... 


The Democratic legislation, House Joint Resolution 93, passed on Thursday, the final day of the veto session, created a Blue Ribbon Commission on ethics reform. However, the Blue Ribbon Commission is made up of a majority of Democrats and is not expected to have any kind of report on ethics reform until after the primary elections in March of 2020, among other issues... 


McCombie's own legislation on ethics reform was never allowed on to the House floor for debate. 

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Kewanee Chamber of Commerce Launches Queen of Hearts Fundraising Game

The Kewanee Chamber of Commerce is starting a new long term fundraising campaign that will no doubt be a whole lot of fun. The brand new Queen of Hearts game will allow you to purchase a ticket and claim your card in hope of picking the Queen of Hearts. Every Tuesday, beginning December 10th, the Chamber of Commerce will draw a ticket with a name and a card. If your ticket number reveals the Queen of Hearts, you win. What do you win? An escalating pot of money that increases every week until someone gets the Queen of Hearts and the game starts again. Every Tuesday, a winner will be chosen and that winner will get $25.00 and the chance that their card is the Queen of Hearts and an even bigger cash prize. Stop by the Kewanee Chamber of Commerce for further details and to buy your tickets for the new Queen of Hearts fundraising game. Tickets are $1.00 or 6 tickets for $5.00 and there is no limit to the number of tickets that you can purchase. The Tuesday night drawings will be conducted at the Flemish American Club. You do not need to be present at the drawing to win. The pot is determined by the number of tickets sold with 35% of the ticket sales going to support the Kewanee Chamber and 65% of ticket sales going to the winner who finds the Queen of Hearts. Full details available by contacting the Kewanee Chamber of Commerce at 309-852-2175.

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Another Kewanee Door Fence Controversy?

Brenda Weston, whose fence made of old doors has made headlines recently in Kewanee, contacted WKEI to report that there was another fence made of doors in Kewanee and that she was not taking her fence down until this other fence was also taken down. WKEI spoke to Mayor Gary Moore regarding this new door fence controversy...  

The door fence in question is on Prospect Street in Kewanee. If the fence was erected prior to the ordinance outlining what could be used as a fencing material it would be allowed under the law. 

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One Item on Agenda for Next Kewanee Zoning Board Meeting

There will be one petition heard at the Kewanee Zoning Board Meeting on November 20th at 7 Pm. 

The Zoning Board of Appeals will meet in Kewanee City Hall, Council Chambers at 401 E. Third Street at 7:00 PM, Wednesday, November 20, 2019. There is one variance petition upon which a hearing will be conducted: 1008 Rockwell St., Kelly Stillwell, variance request to the front and side yard setbacks to allow for the construction of a carport and room addition.

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Governor Pritzker Praises Legislature for Passing a Cap on Insulin Prices

Governor J.B Pritzker is cheering the vote by both chambers of the Illinois legislature to pass a bill that places a cap on insulin prices for those who live in Illinois. Read the Governor's statement below... 

 

"Skyrocketing prescription drug prices are an enormous burden for too many Illinois families, and this legislation will significantly lower out-of-pocket costs for the 1.3 million Illinoisans that rely on insulin,” said Governor JB Pritzker. “It’s fitting that on World Diabetes Day, Illinois has taken bold action to protect our residents’ health, rather than force them to use lower quality medication or even ration their supply. We are proud that Illinois continues to be a national leader in ensuring health care is a right and not a privilege. This important step forward for lowering health care costs is the result of the tireless advocacy of Sen. Andy Manar, Rep. Will Guzzardi and so many other champions. I look forward to signing this legislation and continuing my commitment to ensuring Illinois residents have access to comprehensive, high-quality and affordable health care coverage.”

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Shelly Martin Named Abilities Plus Achiever of the Month for October

Sherry Martin of Kewanee has earned the title of Abilities Plus Achiever of the Month for the month of October. According to a release from Abilities Plus, Sherry was chosen as Achiever of the Month because of how she cheers on her peers at Abilities Plus, helping with their exercise goals and for her willngness to learn new jobs. Sherry was also chosen for being cheerful and fun loving. Sherry says she likes to make other people laugh. Congratulations Sherry on being named Abilities Plus Achiever of the Month from your friends at Regional Media. 

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Illinois Third Most Corrupt State, Chicago Most Corrupt City

Chicago is the most corrupt city in America and Illinois ranks as the 3rd most corrupt state in the nation, according to a University of Illinois study conducted early this year. Now, the cost of that corruption is coming to light. Amy Corte is with the Illinois Policy Institute has been crunching the numbers…

Only New York and California ranked higher than Illinois in the most corrupt state list. Amy Corte from the Illinois Policy Institute goes on to say that part of the problem leading to such corruption is a lack of laws in place to curb such corruption as evidenced by recent high profile indictments and arrests... 

Amy Corte points out that one area where reform is sorely needed is in the area of lobbying. The state of Illinois has no law preventing a lawmaker from working as a lobbyist or for a lobbying firm as long as they are not lobbying fellow lawmakers. This particular lack of oversight is what allowed State Representative Luis Arroyo to continue working as a lobbyist in Chicago while also being a State Representative in Springfield... 

You can hear our entire interview with Amy Corte in our People to People Podcast linked here

 

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What You Are Supporting When You Support the Kewanee Area United Way: Rebuilding Together

Among the agencies that benefit from your donations to the Kewanee Area United Way is Rebuilding Together Henry County. Now in its third year operating in Kewanee, Rebuilding Together is one of the newest agencies to join the Kewanee Area United. Sarah Snyder, Executive Director of Rebuilding Together Henry County talked to WKEI about how the United Way helps Rebuilding Together... 

Find out more about Rebuilding Together Henry County and their inspiring service to those in need by going to RebuildingTogether-HC.org and support them by making a donation to the Kewanee Area United Way. Drop by the United Way office inside the Henry County Senior Center and make your donation today. 

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Kewanee Mayor Comments on Out of Date Billiards and Bowling Alleys Ordinance

Kewanee Mayor Gary Moore tells WKEI that he was as surprised as anyone when an ordinance related specifically to regulating Pool or Billiards Halls, Bowling Alleys and coin operated games was uncovered in the process of granting a business license to a man bring a Billiards establishment to Kewanee. In an interview with WKEI on Wednesday, Mayor Moore stated that the ordinance was antiquated to say the least... 

The ordinance required that anyone under the age of 18 must have permission of both parents on file with the Kewanee Police Chief before they could enter a billiards or Pool Hall or a Bowling Alley, even if these facilities did not serve alcoholic beverages. Even more unusual was a part of the ordinance that required the Billiards/Pool Hall or Bowling Alley to close in the evening so the owner could go home to eat with their family, specifically within the timeframe of 5 Pm to 7:30 Pm,,, 

The City Council voted on Tuesday night to amend the current ordinance and remove the requirement for parental permission and filing with the Police Chief and the provision about closing for dinner. A new ordinance to replace the out of date ordinance will be discussed at the next Kewanee City Council Meeting with a new ordinance to be drafted following that discussion and voted on at the first meeting of the City Council in December. 

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Congressman Davis Weighs In On Impeachment Proceedings

Impeachment proceedings will get underway later this week in Washington, D.C. in the continued saga to oust President Donald Trump. Central Illinois Congressman Rodney Davis maintains this is a bad idea that is going to tear the country apart. He calls it a disastrous process and believes Democrats are setting a terrible precedent.

Political pundits have suggested Republicans should push the issue and support impeachment to make Democrats cast their votes and use that in the election process next year. Davis believes though, that is a bad idea.

Congressman Davis calls the process a sham and points Democrats have rejected all the witnesses republicans wanted to bring forward. Hearings begin Thursday.

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Dairy Industry Promoting Diabetes Prevention Month

This is Diabetes Prevention Month. Jill Williams is a Registered Dietitian and Nutrition Educator with the St. Louis Dairy Council. She says there are three main types of diabetes that are prevalent in over 30 million Americans.

You should work with a health care team, maintain healthy blood sugar levels, be properly medicated, partake in physical activity, and practice healthy eating habits as those are all a part of managing or preventing diabetes. Williams says dairy can also play a major role in the prevention or management of the disease.

You can learn more about local dairy promotion efforts in Illinois, find dairy-rich recipes, or get more information by visiting STLDairyCouncil.org.

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Republicans Push For Ethics Reforms in Veto Session

Republicans are keeping the pressure up for lawmakers to tackle ethics reforms in the final days of the fall veto session. But for now Democrats seem fine to wait out the veto session and tackle the issue in the spring. Republican Senator Dan McConchie says there is plenty of low hanging fruit to fix when it comes to reforms. For instance, McConchie wants a loophole closed that allows for someone to work for the State Board of Elections while running or being an officer for political action committee

Republican efforts also include banning lawmakers from lobbying and filing of economic interest forms.

Republican State Representative Tony McCombie has also been at the front of the push for ethics reforms. Representative McCombie held a press conference earlier this week to promote a bill she helped to author on the subject... 

Despite Representative McCombie's advocacy, no action is expected to be taken during the veto session on this bill. 

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Senate Says OK to Proposal To Stop Rolling Clocks Back and Forth

Will rolling the clocks back be a thing of the past? The Illinois Senate voted to quit moving clocks back and forth for daylight savings time. The vote, 44-2-2, would keep the state on permanent Daylight Savings Time. Republican Senator Dave Syverson says he’s all for a change but being from Rockford times across the border could be hard to keep track of.

The bill is almost symbolic in nature. The House still needs to approve it and the Governor would have to sign it. But it would take a change in federal law for the state to skip out on changing the clocks, Congress has the final say. The only two states that don’t change time are Arizona and Hawaii.

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