Local News

Salvation Army In the Midst of a Big Season

The Angel Tree is empty! All of the tags, each of them representing a child in need this Christmas, were picked from the tree and a wish fulfilled. Now, attention turns toward collection and getting those presents to the Salvation Army... 

You have until 5 Pm today but if you contact Eddie at the Salvation Army Store or contact Amber on Facebook, you can make arrangements to get your donation turned in. 

 

That's not all that the Salvation Army has going this weekend however, Sunday brings the Salvation Army annual Christmas Concert at First United Methodist Chuch... 

The Kewanee Klassics and special guest Jan Sams play on Sunday afternoon at 2 Pm, at First United Methodist Church in Kewanee. The donation kettles will be placed at all of the exits for your goodwill donation to the Salvation Army. Last year's concert brought in more than $3000.00 for the Kewanee Salvation Army. 

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AARP Offering Tips to Help Avoid Scammers

Scammers are trying to hack your information all year long, but especially during the holidays, according to an AARP survey. AARP Director of Fraud Prevention Programs Kathy Stokes says a recent survey showed 20 percent of people failed a five-point fraud test. She says scammers ramp up the efforts during this time of year.

Stokes says when it comes to charity donations, most people don't check to make sure the charity is legitimate.

For gift cards, Stokes suggests not buying the cards on the big racks in stores, instead purchase cards from the company's website.

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Major Back Road Music Festival Artist Announcement Coming this Morning on Hog Country

Today is the day, at 8 Am on Hog Country 102.5 WJRE, morning show host J.R Kitchen will announce the first of four performers to be announced for the next Back Road Music Festival in Galva. Tune in at 8 Am on Hog Country 102.5 WJRE for this artist announcement. In the past, artists such as Craig Campbell, Chris Lane and Clare Dunn kicked off announcements for incredible lineups at the Back Road Music Festival in Galva. To find out the first artist announced for the next Back Road Music Festival in Galva tune to Hog Country 102.5 WJRE at 8 Am. The next Back Road Music Festival in Galva is set for August 15th 2020. Visit TheBackRoadMusicFestival.com for more. For all of the Back Road Music Festival announcements follow Hog Country 102.5 WJRE on Facebook so you never miss the latest news on the biggest event of the summer, The Back Road Music Festival in Galva. 

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Henry County Farm Bureau Announces Schedule for Winter Crop Meetings

After celebrating their winning of the President's Award, among other awards, at the Illinois Farm Bureau Annual Meeting, the Illinois Farm Bureau is now getting back the business that earned them that recognition. The Henry County Farm Bureau on Thursday announced their first big events of 2020, the annual Winter Crop Meetings. Katie Laleman briefly mentioned the annual Winter Crop Meetings when she joined WKEI on Tuned In earlier this week... 

 

The official schedule of events, which also includes the Bureau County Farm Bureau, is below...

 

9:00 a.m. Bureau County Metro Center, 837 Park Avenue West, Princeton

2:00 p.m. Henry County Farm Bureau, 128 N Prospect Street, Cambridge

 

Doug Yoder, COUNTRY Financial Crop Agency Manager will cover Crop Insurance at the meeting. And, there will be updates you need to know for the 2020 growing season. Additional speakers will cover Farm Bill updates and answer questions from Farm Bureau members.  Reservations are appreciated by January 2nd in order to accommodate seating.  Call the Bureau County Farm Bureau at (815) 875-6468 or the Henry County Farm Bureau at (309) 937-2411 reserve your seat today. 

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National Weather Service Discusses Much Anticipated Snowstorm Early Next Week

The National Weather Service ndicates we could indeed receive snow early next week, but how much, is still not determined. Chris Miller with the National Weather Service told RegionalDailyNews.com, while social media in a lot of places is buzzing about this potential system, right now they do not have enough information to make an informed prediction on what we'll see.

Each day we get closer to the anticipated arrival of this storm will provide more information but Miller says it hasn't even developed yet.

As we get to the middle of next week and then towards the Christmas and New Year holidays, Miller says the up-and-down temperature pattern should continue.

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Black Hawk College Last Minute Registration for Spring Classes Still Available

If you or someone you know was looking to take a college credit course at Black Hawk College in the spring, there is still time. According to a release from Black Hawk College, last minute registration for Spring classes at Black Hawk is available There is no specific last day to sign up but Spring courses begin on January 13th so you can imagine less than a month from today, Friday, December 13th. To register for Spring Classes at Black Hawk College go to BHC.edu/schedule and or BHC.edu/register. Payment for Spring Classes is due at registration. For more information call Black Hawk College at 309-796-5100. 

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Kewanee Knights of Columbus Make Donation to Abilities Plus

Members of the Kewanee Knights of Columbus recently dropped by Abilities Plus with a special donation. Knights of Columbus Santa Maria Council #734 in Kewanee visited with Abilities Plus staff and clients and dropped off a check for an undisclosed amount to support the work of Abilities Plus. The money raised came from the 2019 Tootsie Roll Drive. In the photo attached below you can see members of the Knights of Columbus and Abilities Plus... 

 

Seated front (l to r) are KC Member Larry Mowbray, Alexis Bral with Abilities Plus, Marv Brown with the KC's, and Jonathon Bral & Chuck Nelson with Abilities Plus. Knights of Columbus Members in the back (l to r) are Jerry Salisbury, John Miskinis, Lou Vandevoorde, Merrill Pinter, Dave Pacquer, Jim Verstraete, Dan Zalewski, Jim Galloway and Mark Ebert. 

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Illinois Attorney General Sues JUUL

Standing with physicians and other state officials the Illinois Attorney General filed a lawsuit Thursday against vape company JUUL. Kwame Raoul using the state’s consumer fraud act as a basis to the lawsuit says JUUL targeted and marketed to kids. Reading from JULL’s own instructions he said it’s clear that they wanted non smokers to start using their products.

The lawsuit seeks to stop JUUL from engaging in deceptive practices and hold them accountable for youth e-cigarette use.

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State Representative Dan Swanson Talking About Ethics Reform

State Representative Dan Swanson was disappointed that the Illinois legislature did not take more action on ethics reform during the recent veto session. State Representative Swanson spoke to WKEI about ethics reform and what he had hoped to see pass and what was passed... 

One of the things that may surprise some who don't follow the legislature closely is that lawmakers can work as lobbyists while elected... 

If that weren't surprising enough, there is also the fact that lawmakers can leave office at any time to accept a position as a lobbyist...

Other states require lawmakers to have a cooling off period of up to three years before they can become lobbyists after having been elected to office. State Representative Swanson hopes to see further ethics reform when the legislature reconvenes in January. 

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Henry County Farmers May Qualify for Property Tax Relief from 2019 Flooding

State Representative Dan Swanson wants local farmers in Henry and surrounding counties to know that there may be property tax relief still available related to the flooding experienced in 2019. State Representative Swanson was our guest on People to People on Wednesday and talked about his own 2019 farming experience before talking property tax relief... 

Farmers wanting to know if and for how much property tax relief they may qualify for can contact the local tax assessors office in Henry County... 

You can find a link to the form that needs filling out linked here. Contact the Henry County Assessor's Office for further information at 309-937-3570. 

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Illinois State Police Take to Facebook to Remind People What Will Still Be Illegal About Marijuana in 2020

While the state of Illinois is bracing for legalized recreational marijuana beginning on January 1st, the Illinois State Police are working to educate the public about what aspects of marijuana will remain illegal even with the legalization of weed. In a post on the Illinois State Police Facebook page, linked here, the Illinois State Police provided a handy list of all the things that will still be illegal about the consumption of marijuana... 

 

****IT WILL REMAIN ILLEGAL TO DRIVE HIGH****

Under the new law, Illinois residents over the age of 21 can legally possess:
- 30 grams of cannabis flower
- 5 grams of cannabis concentrate (oil)
- 500 milligrams of THC in cannabis-infused products (edibles)

1. A person may not attempt any task under the influence of cannabis that would constitute malpractice, negligence or professional misconduct.

2. A person may not use in any public place – any place where a person could reasonably be expected to be seen by others. (RESTAURANTS, BARS, MOVIE THEATERS, PARKING LOTS, SIDEWALKS, STREETS, STORES, BASICALLY ANYWHERE WHERE THERE ARE PEOPLE IN A PUBLIC PLACE)

3. A person may not use or possess on a school bus, except in the case of an approved medical marijuana case.

4. A person may not use or possess in a correctional center, school, home daycare.

5. A person may not use or possess in a vehicle, unless it is secured in a sealed, odor-proof, children resistant container that is kept reasonably inaccessible to the driver. (SEALED, ODOR-PROOF, CHILDREN RESISTANT CONTAINER, OUT OF DRIVER’S REACH)

6. A person may not use near anyone who is less than 21 years old.

7. A person may not use anywhere prohibited by Smoke-Free Illinois.

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Does Kewanee Need Its Own Tourism Bureau Separate from Henry County?

Does Kewanee need its own, Kewanee Tourism Bureau apart from the Henry County Tourism Bureau? That's a suggestion from Kewanee City Council member Steve Faber who floated the idea of the City of Kewanee developing its own tourism bureau... 

 

This topic came up following Monday night's Kewanee City Council Meeting at which Cheryl Osbourne, director of the Henry County Tourism Board, headquartered at the Kewanee Amtrak Station, presented to the City Council about her efforts in her job to promote Henry County... 

Kewanee is the biggest financial contributor to the Henry County Tourism Bureau via the Hotel Tax. That is according to numbers provided by Cheryl Osbourne at Monday night's Kewanee City Council Meeting...

Councilman Faber has not yet formally proposed formning a Kewanee only tourism bureau. 

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Henry County Farm Bureau Honored at Illinois Farm Bureau Annual Meeting

The Henry County Farm Bureau has long been an organization we could all be proud to have in our community but last weekend, at the Illinois Farm Bureau Annual Meeting. there was a reminder as to why we can be so proud of this organization. The Henry County Farm Bureau was honored by the state farm bureau with the President's Award as Katie Laleman explains... 

How did the Henry County Farm Bureau get chosen for this prestigious award? It comes down to hard work and giving back to their community... 

The Henry County Farm Bureau received multiple awards at the annual meeting including honors for their Henry County Farm Bureau Young Leaders...

You can hear a very happy Katie Laleman talking about the honors received by our Henry County Farm Bureau in our Tuned In Podcast interview linked here

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Time Short to Select a Get Covered Illinois Health Plan

There's not much time left for Illinoisans to sign up for medical coverage from the Affordable Care Act Health Insurance Marketplace for 2020. After Sunday, marketplace plans will not be available unless a person has a qualifying life event, such as getting married or losing employer-based health care.Laura Pellikan, executive director of Get Covered Illinois, says Illinoisans can shop for a plan online at getcovered.illinois.gov where they also can access free assistance from an application counselor.

"When they go to make an appointment, they can type in their ZIP Code and it'll bring up a list of agencies in their local areas along with the phone numbers," Pellikan explains. "So, they can call those places or they can call the main number for assistance, which is 800-318-2596."

 

Pellikan recommends that both first-time shoppers and those returning compare plan costs, and check health plans to ensure current medical providers are included in coverage for 2020.

As of last Saturday, about 112,000 Illinoisans had already selected a marketplace plan for 2020.

Randy Pate, director of the Center for Consumer Information and Insurance Oversight at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, explains that in Illinois, a total of 142 plans are available for 2020 through five health insurance carriers.

 

"The good news is that premiums are dropping again by about 2% since last year," he states. "And around 85% of people who enroll qualify for some form of premium assistance, which is going to further lower their premiums."

 

Financial assistance is available based on income and family size. Pellikan says eligibility information is available at getcovered.illinois.gov.

 

"There is an exercise on the website that allows people to punch in those numbers, that can help them determine if they're able to get aid," she points out. "And they can also talk to somebody from the navigator assistance that can help them through that as well, or if they might qualify for Medicaid."

 

In 2019, roughly 312,000 Illinoisans were enrolled in health care coverage through the federal marketplace.

 

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U-of-I Extension Nutrition Expert Talks Healthy Eating Over Holidays

As we get out to those holiday parties full of sweet treats, salty snacks and carb-filled dinners, a nutrition expert at the University of Illinois Extension has some tips on how to keep from overindulging this holiday season. Caitlin Mellendorf says it can be rare you get to choose the menu, but if you can find some fruits or vegetables to compliment your food, that is always recommended.

Eating smaller portions at parties or gatherings can help control food intake as well. Mellendorf explains there are some psychological things you can do like using a smaller plate, fill it up and then take a break before thinking about grabbing a second serving.

While nutrition experts like Mellendorf are always willing to take on your questions, there are several digital resources as well. Mellendorf points individuals to the USDA website for recommendations on cooking temperatures for various foods or the Extension website for recipes.

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Bustos Supportive of House Democrats and White House Deal on USMCA

Congresswoman Cheri Bustos on board with the deal reached between U.S. House Democrats and the White House on the United States Mexico Canada Agreement.

Bustos serves on the U.S. House Ag Committee.

 

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Human Rights Act In Illinois Turns 40

Illinois has had a Human Rights act for 40 years. The original law was signed by Republican Governor Jim Thompson. The act is being praised by supporters as one the most progressive an inclusive acts in the nation. The Human Rights Commission, Chaired by Jim Ferg-Cadima, is responsible for following up on complaints of abuse. He says human rights and a code to protect them isn’t all that hard to comprehend.

The commission that adjudicates the complaints of rights abuses is getting a boost from the state, including better IT support to be able to respond to cases quicker.

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Gov Gives $5 Million To Support New Income Tax Structure

2020 is coming soon and it’s a big election year. Democrat Governor JB Pritzker isn’t on the ballot but one of his key campaign issues will be. Voters will have their say on a constitutional amendment on a graduated income tax. This week Pritzker gave $5 million to support the coming campaign. Pritzker says he’s putting his money where his mouth is.

Pritzker didn’t say if he’d be willing to give more to the effort called “Yes for Fairness” than $5 million.

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Kewanee Man Charged with Financial Exploitation of the Elderly and Theft Over $10,000

According to the Kewanee Police Blotter for Tuesday, December 10th, 36 year old Adam C Dennison of Kewanee has been arrested and charged with multiple counts related to the exploitation of an elderly person. According to the information provided by the Police report, Adam C Dennison was arrested on Tuesday, December 10th, and charged with Financial Exploitation of the Elderly, Identity Theft, and Theft Over $10,000. The arrest came as a follow up to an investigation. No other information is being released at this time. 

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Illinois Lawmakers Supportive of Movement on USMCA Trade Agreement

With news that the long gestating US-Mexico-Canada-Agreement or USMCA was now moving forward in the House of Representatives, reactions from Illinois lawmakers are coming in. The Illinois congressional delegation has expressed strong support for the agreement and news of the agreement moving forward has elicited tentative excitement and sighs of relief now that it appears headed for passage. Reporter Cole Lauterbach has more on the reaction to USMCA... 

 

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Kewanee Council Member Faber Alleviates Concerns Over Boiler Shop Well

Concerns over the former Boiler Shop property in Kewanee have been on high for much of 2019 after the owner seemingly abandoned the property and ignored the rules of the salvage agreement for the location by allegedly taking the cap from a well linked to the Kewanee Water Supply. On Tuesday's edition of People to People we asked Councilman Steve Faber about the concerns regarding the Boiler Property... 

As for concerns about the Boiler Shop Well being left uncapped, Councilman Faber assured that the well currently has a temporary cap... 

WKEI is reaching out to the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency for further information regarding Boiler Shop location. 

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Bishop Hill to Celebrate Swedish Tradition of Lucia Nights This Weekend

Bishop Hill will be celebrating Lucia Nights on December 13th and 14th and on the same day as Sweden typically celebrates this Christmas tradition. Martha Downey with the Bishop Hill Heritage Association was our guest on Tuned In on Tuesday and explained the Swedish tradition and history of Lucia Nights... 

Lucia Nights events in Bishop Hill run both Friday and Saturday evenings from 6 Pm to 9 Pm...

Follow Bishop Hill Heritage Association on Facebook for more on Lucia Nights and listen to our complete Tuned In conversation with Martha Downey from the Bishop Hill Heritage Association in our Tuned In Podcast linked here

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OSF Locations Helping in Christmas Light Recycling Push

Before you throw away your old or non-working Christmas lights this Holiday season consider recycling them first. OSF Saint Luke Medical Center is once again making Christmas Light recycling easy through their partnership with Eagle Recycling. Between now and the end of the year you can drop your old or non-working Christmas lights at OSF Saint Luke Medical Center as Amber Wood explains...

Last year, OSF locations across Illinois competed for the heaviest amount of Christmas Lights recycled and while OSF Saint Luke finished in third place, everyone won in the long run as a remarkable weight of Christmas Lights was kept out of landfills... 

Old Christmas Lights get picked up by Eagle Recycling in Galva and stripped down for usable parts to be repurposed. As Amber said, you can drop off your old or non-working lights in the bin right inside the doors at OSF Saint Luke Medical Center in Kewanee.

 

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Governor Pritzker Focusing on Legislative Priorities, Not Talking About Speaker Madigan

Governor J.B Pritzker is talking to reporters about his legislative goals for 2020 including ethics reform. One thing the Governor is not interested in talking about however is the cloud of scandal hanging over Illinois Democratic Party Chairman and Speaker of the Illinois House Michael Madigan. Reporter Greg Bishop talks about what the Governor is talking about for this report... 

 

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Reactions to House Impeachment Articles Unsurprisingly Divided by Party Lines

Reactions among the Illinois Congressional delegation to the impeachment articles against President Donald Trump are divided along party lines. This is not surprising but nevertheless, partisanship appears at the heart of reactions on both sides of the aisle to the impeachment articles brought forth by the Democrat majority in the House of Representatives. Reporter Greg Bishop has more on the reaction to impeachment... 

 

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