Local News Archives for 2016-02

Responsible Budget Coalition

Illinois is currently in its eighth month without a budget. Spokesman for the Responsible Budget Coalition Neal Waltmire says the idea that state lawmakers won't agree on a budget by the end of the session on May 31st is a very scary one.

Waltmire says the trouble doesn't end there. He adds children involved in after school programs and the disabled as groups that will pay the price if the budget impasse continues. Waltmire says Governor Rauner's recent budget address showed he only cares about getting his agenda items passed.


A state lobbying group says they were unimpressed and disappointed with Governor Rauner's budget address this past week.

Spokesman for the Responsible Budget Coalition Neal Waltmire says Rauner's address didn't ease the minds of Illinois residents who are worried about the state's lack of a budget. He adds that if state lawmakers can't agree on a budget by the end of the session on May 31st, a variety of groups will hurt from the lack of funding, including college students, the elderly and the disabled.

WKEI Open Line

Presidential politics dominate the February 29 edition of the Open LIne on WKEI

OSF St Luke Medical Center on Tuned IN

St Luke Marketing Director Carrie Boelens and Melissa Shipp, Quality Control talk about patient safety during the February 29 edition of Tuned IN on WKEI



LMV Candidates Forum


The League of Women Voters of the Kewanee Area will host a candidates forum on Thursday, March 3 at Kewanee City Hall, 300 E. Third Street, at 7 p.m.   


The League has invited the candidates for the competitive races of Henry County State's Attorney (Republican), Coroner (Republican), Board - District 2 (Republican), and 74th District State Representative (Republican).  


The forum will follow a strict format. The candidates will make opening statements.  Then the candidates will answer questions from the audience and the LWV moderator.  Closing statements are then presented. 


People who cannot attend the forum in person may participate by mailing questions to the League moderator, Sharon Deahl, at 16 NW 3rd ST, Galva, IL 61434.  The name of the candidate or candidates who are to answer the question must be listed.  If the names of candidates are not listed, all the candidates will answer.  This submission must be signed by the questioner.  The League reserves the right to determine if a question is appropriate.  


The candidates are invited to stay afterwards to mingle with the audience and refreshments will be provided.  This event will be televised live on Comcast Cable TV on channel 13. 


Please take time and vote this March 15!   Indeed, every vote does count.  For a list of candidates in all races in Henry County go to www.henrycty.com.


The League of Women Voters is a nonpartisan organization whose main purpose is to help the public become better informed.

IL Political Stalemate

It has been speculated the budget stalemate in Springfield could resolve itself once the March primaries are concluded.
With less than a month to go before those elections, the likelihood of that happening seems to increase with each passing day and political expert, Dr. Kent Redfield at the University of Illinois-Springfield says there are some interesting races going on in Illinois...

Redfield points to a central Illinois race, where Sen. Sam McCann is being challenged. Redfield says his opponent is being funded heavily by a group aligned with Governor Rauner. He believes that race has it's own message...

Redfield points out, that won't change the fact you need 60 votes in the House and 30 votes in the Senate on a bill the Governor will sign in order to get anything done.

Storm Spotter Training

Kewanee Emergency Services Disaster Agency or ESDA will host their Storm Spotter Training on Tuesday evening at Black Hawk College’s East Campus.

Keith Edwards of Kewanee is the Director of ESDA and he says Tuesday nights session is free of charge and open to the public…

The spring and summer storm season will be here before we know it and there are some tips to keep in mind.

One of the issues is the length of time a siren is on once it has been sounded when severe weather hits.

Edwards says there is no correlation whatsoever between the length of the siren and the severity of the incoming storm…

Another point to consider is that once a warning siren has been sounded, there will be no all clear signal…

It should also be noted that unfortunately, not everyone is always going to hear the warning sirens go off…

There are several sirens located throughout Kewanee and Edwards says there is one signal that trips them all at the same time…

KPL Needs Legos

Kewanee Public Library is in need of Legos.

KPL Children’s Librarian Sara Billiet says any and all donations of Legos would be appreciated…

Bureau County Road Postings

In receiving multiple phone calls regarding the status of Spring Road Postings, the County Engineer asked that a gentle reminder be sent out that the Spring Road Postings are currently in effect for Bureau County Roads.  Please contact our office if you should have an emergency situation. All emergencies will be assessed on a case-by-case basis by the County Engineer.


IEMA Weather Radios

SPRINGFIELD – The Illinois Emergency Management Agency (IEMA) is joining with the National Weather Service (NWS) and local emergency management agencies in efforts to help people stay safe when severe weather threatens.


Those efforts include an online contest sponsored by IEMA and the Illinois Emergency Services Management Association (IESMA) that offers Illinois residents a chance to win a weather alert radio. The ‘Weather Alert Radios Save Lives’ contest began on Sunday, the first day of Severe Weather Preparedness Week in Illinois, and will continue through March 31.


IEMA Director James K. Joseph said 14 flood-related fatalities occurred in 2015, the highest annual number since records have been kept, according to the NWS. All of the fatalities were the result of vehicles traveling on flooded roadways. Illinois also experienced 69 tornadoes in 2015, which resulted in two fatalities and 27 injuries.


The weather alert radio contest is available on the Ready Illinois website at www.Ready.Illinois.gov. A total of 100 weather alert radios will be awarded to randomly selected participants who register after reading information about the radios and successfully completing a five-question quiz. Winners will be announced in April. The radios were purchased by IESMA as part of an effort to increase the use of the devices in communities throughout Illinois.


IEMA and the NWS developed a Severe Weather Preparedness Guide, which provides information about tornadoes, severe storms, lightning and flooding along with recommended actions to take before, during and after each of these weather events. It is available on the Ready Illinois website at www.Ready.Illinois.gov.


Preparedness tips and information are also available through the Ready Illinois Facebook Page (www.facebook.com/ReadyIllinois) and Twitter Page (twitter.com/ReadyIllinois).   

Springfield State Rep wants to bring state jobs back to Springfield

State Representative Sara Wojcicki Jimenez thinks state agencies should look into reversing the state job exodus to the Chicago region under the Blagojevich Administration. She has introduced a resolution calling on state agencies to study the feasibility of moving state jobs to Springfield.

Wojicki Jimenez notes the Downtown Springfield area has suffered because of the defection of state jobs.

She also believes having more Springfield based state jobs wouldcutreate efficiency to government.

Political Expert Predicts Elections Playing Large Part in Budget Process

It has been speculated the budget stalemate in Springfield could resolve itself once the March primaries are concluded.
With less than a month to go before those elections, the likelihood of that happening seems to increase with each passing day and political expert, Dr. Kent Redfield at the University of Illinois-Springfield says there are some interesting races going on in Illinois.

Redfield points to a central Illinois race, where Sen. Sam McCann is being challenged. Redfield says his opponent is being funded heavily by a group aligned with Governor Rauner. He believes that race has it's own message.

Redfield points out, that won't change the fact you need 60 votes in the House and 30 votes in the Senate on a bill the Governor will sign in order to get anything done.

IRS on People to People

Michael Devine has the latest tax information during the February 26 edition of People to People on WKEI



WKEI Open Line

American made or not discussed during the February 26 edition of the Open LIne on WKEI


Kewanee ESDA on Tuned IN

Kewanee ESDA Director Keith Edwards talks about the March 1st Storm Spotter Training during the February 26th edition of Tuned IN on WKEI



Health Department Quarterly Meetings




The Stark County Health Department would like to announce the quarterly meeting of

the Stark County Health Board will be held at  6:30 p.m. on Tuesday, March 1,

20162nd floor, Stark County Courthouse, Toulon, Illinois.






     The Henry County Health Department would like to announce the quarterly 

 meeting of the Henry County Health Board will be held at   6:30 p.m. on

Wednesday, March 2, 2016  at the Henry County Health Department office,

Kewanee, Illinois.


ISP Info

Many folks will recall that extremely high winds hammered the listening area one week ago today.

Illinois State Police Trooper Jason Wilson says it was a very trying day with several vehicles including trucks that were blown over and area freeways and roadways.

One might then wonder, do you shut down the road system or is the pace of commerce so strong that you have to keep everything moving…

Trooper Wilson unfortunately had to deal with a fatal crash that was the result of backed up traffic that was stopped for an overturned semi on the freeway when another vehicle failed to stop in time…

Trooper Wilson also says that drivers must be positioned correctly in their vehicle for safety equipment to be effective…

Health Dept Reminds Set Your Clocks Check Your Stocks on March 13

The Henry and Stark County Health Departments' Emergency Services Division and the American Public Health Association (APHA) are encouraging the public to remember to make sure that their emergency preparedness stockpiles are up to date when they change their clocks on March 13th. This is all a part of the APHA's Get Ready: Set Your Clocks, Check Your Stocks campaign.  RaeAnn Tucker, Health Department Director of Health Promotion, states "The effort is designed to remind Americans to make sure their emergency preparedness stockpiles have adequate food, water and supplies and ensure that nothing is missing or has expired.  The biannual campaign is also designed to encourage Americans who don't have an emergency stockpile to create one." The next clock change for daylight savings time is Sunday, March 13th, but the campaign will also be used in the Autumn, when Americans change their clocks once again.  The Health Department and the APHA is also reminding people that they should check their smoke alarm batteries when changing their clocks. Get Ready: Set Your Clocks, Check Your Stocks is part of APHA's overall Get Ready campaign, which is working to help Americans prepare themselves, their families, and communities for pandemic flu, other emerging infectious diseases, and natural disasters like tornadoes and ice storms.



Henry County Candidate for Coroner Melissa Watkins


Melissa Watkins of Colona is a candidate for the Republican nomination for the position of Coroner in Henry County.

Ms. Watkins says she remembers the compassion of a Coroner many years ago during her own family tragedies and how that Coroner made a positive impact on her and she hopes to carry that same sense of compassion if elected to the position…

Ms. Watkins also says she has seen life and death in her experiences as a nurse and she would like to use that experience in a positive manner…

When tragedy does strike, getting the word out to the public through the media can be not only a confirming point, but it can also reduce and even eliminate any confusion that the public might have.

That is not a strong suit with the current Henry County Coroner even though one can understand the needed time to notify family members in the event of a tragedy.

But in today’s world of social media, news travels fast and Ms. Watkins says if elected, she would provide that information to the public in a timely fashion…

IESA Chess Competition


Over 550 students will be competing in the IESA Chess Competition which will be held at the Civic Center in Peoria  





IESA Schools Participating in Chess



2015-2016 School Year

2014-2015   |   2015-2016   -   Determining Class Split






Alton Middle School


Junior Redbirds


Bloomington Jr. High School




Brimfield Grade School




Carl Sandburg Middle School




Central Grade School




Central Junior High School

East Peoria



Challand Middle School




Charles Earle STEM Academy




Chester-East Lincoln School




Chiddix Junior High School




Coal City Middle School

Coal City



Colona Grade School




Columbia Central School




Cornerstone Christian School

South Chicago Heights



Cottage Grove Upper Grade Cntr

Ford Heights



Daniel Wright Jr. High School




Dunlap Middle School




Dunlap Valley Middle School




Evans Jr. High School




Flinn Middle School




Franklin Jr. High School




Freeport Middle School




Germantown Hills Middle School

Germantown Hills



Grant Park Middle School

Grant Park



Humphrey Middle School




Immaculate Conception School




Immaculate Conception School




James Hart Middle School




Kingsley Junior High School




Ladd Grade School




Lovington Grade School




Mardell Parker Jr. High School




Metamora Grade School




Minooka Junior High School




Mokena Junior High School




Morton Junior High School


Junior Potters


Next Generation School




North Ridge Middle School


Ridge Runners


Our Saviour School




Parkside Junior High School




Princeville Grade School




Quincy Junior High School




Richland Grade School

Crest Hill



Riverton Middle School




Riverview Grade School

East Peoria



Roosevelt Middle School




St. Agnes School




St. Mary's School




Summit Hill Jr. High School




Thurgood Marshall Academy




Washington Gifted School




Washington Middle School




Westview Hills Middle School




Zion Lutheran School





Durbin Demands Fair Hearing

U.S. Senator Dick Durbin is demanding a fair hearing in the Senate for President Obama's choice for the Supreme Court. Durbin says the Constitution doesn't leave any gray area on the issue....

Durbin says the Senate can't afford to sit on its hands for a year and leave the Supreme Court hanging in the balance...

Durbin notes major legal and constitutional questions are constantly brought before the court. Durbin is a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee


Rauner says procurement changes could boost college funding

Gov. Bruce Rauner says he can address the state's funding woes for universities and college students. In a visit to Springfield's Southeast High School, Rauner said he could boost funding for Monetary Award Program grants for struggling college students if lawmakers green light his plan to change the way the state engages in purchasing...

The Republican governor said he would also be open to current legislation that would give him the power to reallocate state spending toward education as a means to fund MAP grants.

Melissa Watkins on Tuned IN

Henry County Republican Candidate for Henry County Coroner Melissa Watkins is the guest for the February 24 edition of Tuned IN on WKEI


Retired Teachers Meeting

The Henry/Stark Counties Retired Teachers will meet Wednesday March 9, 2016 at the Lafayette Methodist Church located on Rt. 17 in Lafayette, Il.  The afternoon will begin with a noon luncheon.   Reservations for the luncheon are due on or before March 2, 2016 to Alice Webster at 2241 Township Rd. 200 N.  Toulon, Il  61483 or by calling 309.995.3542.  The cost of the luncheon is $10.

The program for the afternoon will be Darlene's Silver Streak Tours presented by John Butte w/ Bradford Model Girls.

A memorial service will honor members of HSCRTA who have passed in the last year.

Any retired teacher in Henry/Stark counties is welcome to attend.  First time attendees, with a reservation, are luncheon guests of HSCRTA.

Kewanee Chamber of Commerce on People to People

Kewanee Chamber of Commerce Director Mark Mikenas and comedian, Steve "The Round Guy" Pilchen talk about the Comedy Night in Kewanee set for March 19th during the February 25th edition of People to People on WKEI



WKEI Open Line

Corrupt Illinois politicians are the main topic of discussion during the February 25 editon of the Open LIne on WKEI



Kewanee Public Library on Tuned IN

KPL Childrens LIbrarian Sara Billiet talks about Legos and the new 3-d printer at the LIbrary during the February 25th edition of Tuned IN on WKEI



Court View Point from Scholar

Any appointment made by President Obama to replace Antonin Scalia on the Supreme Court isn't likely to get approval from the Senate. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell says they won't hold hearings or take a vote on any appointment Obama makes. Illinois State University Supreme Court Scholar Meghan Leonard says this could mean a lot of split decisions in the meantime.

Leonard says for Senate Republicans to say they won't have hearings or take votes on the matter is unprecedented. She adds it's a unique situation as usually when a justice is being 

Senate Majority Lereplaced, it's due to a retirement.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is saying if the president makes an appointment to replace Antonin Scalia on the Supreme Court, Republican senators will not take any action. That's something Illinois State University Supreme Court Scholar calls unprecedented, mainly because usually when a president is replacing a justice it's due to a retirement.

Leonard says waiting until a new president is sworn in before naming a new Supreme Court justice could mean many split decisions from the court. She adds Republicans are taking a risk and hoping a Republican president is elected, and not a Democrat.

Prescription Drug Take Back

The Kewanee Police Department is continuing their plans for a prescription drug take back in late April.

Police Chief Jim Dison says prescription medications and related items will be accepted at the take back with no questions asked…

Many people understand the need for take back or confiscation of illegal narcotics, but some might wonder why the need for a take back of prescription medications…


Chief Dison emphasizes that the take back effort on April 30th will be without restriction, and those bring those items in will not have to register or fill out paperwork of any kind…

National Nutrition Month


The month of February is noted as National Nutrition Month amongst many other things.

Andrea Tenley is a Clinical Nutritionist with OSF St Luke Medical Center in Kewanee and she says good nutrition can at times be a bit of a challenge…

Ms. Tenley adds that good nutrition is often times a question of mind over matter…

Mold at BHE Apartments

Several students at Black Hawk College’s East campus that reside in the college’s Prairie Pointe apartments have been move to different locations after some of the units tested positive for high levels of mold recently.

Not all units tested positive but approximately 10 units are receiving treatment while several others are undergoing the testing process.

At this point, there does not seem to be any major health problems as the situation is in general under control.

Officials with the college say that all of the apartments should be cleaned and restored in about a week or two at most.  

Boiler Fan Bus for Fridays Regional Championship

Kewanee High School will provide a fan bus this Friday Feb 26 to the Boys Basketball Regional Championship Game at Monmouth-Roseville.

The Fan Bus will leave from the back of the school at 4:15pm. Cost to ride the Fan Bus is $2.00 for Adults, $2.00 for Students, and Senior Citizens ride for free. Admission to the game is a separate fee.

IHSA Regional Game Admission is $4.00 for all fans.

Fans should arrive in time to watch the 3 Point Shoot Out which starts at 5:30 pm. The Regional Championship Game will start at 7:oo pm. 

Fans planning on attending the game need to keep in mind that, there will be an assigned section for Kewanee Fans to sit, the gym is small and has limited seating.

Documentary Telling World War 2 Stories

A documentary maker’s story about two veterans could pick up some details about World War II life from Seneca. Kyle Olson says the story began with a retired landing ship tank, Navy man wanting to meet someone he served with.

He’s putting together his program from the men’s reunion in Missouri. Olson also wants to hear from people in the Seneca area who can talk about LST production. And if he can raise about $9,000 to finish production, that would help too. There’s information about how to help with both at www.lastsignalmovie.com.


Two long retired Navy men had a reunion seven decades after they served on the same landing ship tank in World War II. Documentary maker Kyle Olson was there and is putting the story together for a program he hopes to put on a nationwide TV channel.

Their ship, LST 218, was built in Seneca. As he puts the documentary called The Last Signal together, Olson wants to hear from people who can tell him about Seneca’s shipyard. There is contact and contribution information at www.lastsignalmovie.com.

2016 IESA Chess State Tournament

Over 550 students representing 54 member schools of the Illinois Elementary School Association (IESA) will compete in the sixth annual IESA Chess State Tournament at the Peoria Civic Center on February 26-27. A complete list of participating schools can be found on the IESA website.

New to the IESA chess competition last year was the addition of a 6th grade division.  There are now three divisions---6th grade, 7th grade, and 8th grade. A school can enter from 1-7 individual in each division.The tournament will be conducted in an Individual/Team Swiss System format. Students with varying degrees of experience will be participating.

The first round on Friday is scheduled to begin at 10 a.m. Round two will not begin before 12:30 p.m.; the third round will not begin before 2:30 p.m.; and the fourth round will not begin before 4:30 p.m. on Friday. On Saturday, round five will begin at 9:00 a.m.; round six not before 11:15 a.m.; and round seven not before 2:00 p.m. Students will compete in all seven rounds at the tournament.

There will be an awards ceremony after the conclusion of round seven at approximately 3:45 p.m. Individual and team awards for all three divisions will be distributed.  The complete tournament schedule can be found at  http://www.iesa.org/activities/chs/IESA-CHS_Schedule.pdf  Additional tournament information, plus the FanZone can be found at www.iesa.org. Click on the Chess line at the top of the IESA website home page.  Should weather become a factor, the IESA website will contain up-to-date information regarding the tournament playing schedule. Go to www.iesa.org.  Normal Chiddix captured the 6th grade and 8th grade team titles last year while Bloomington Evans took home first place honors in the 7th grade division.  Admission is free to the event but fans are not allowed in the competition rooms while play s going on.  For more information, please contact IESA Associate Executive Director and Chess Administrator, Leslie Alappattu at leslie@iesa.org.

Explore Dual Credit March 9 at BHC East Campus.

 Know a high school student thinking about taking a Dual Credit or Dual Enrollment class?  Students and parents can find out more at Explore Dual Credit at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, March 9 at Black Hawk College East Campus.  Dual Credit allows students to take courses at their high school to simultaneously earn high school and college credit.  Current and prospective dual-credit students and their parents are encouraged to come and learn more about the program.  The evening will include, Overview of Dual Credit/Dual Enrollment, You can also  Meet with faculty members who teach Dual Credit and tour the campus.  Register online at www.bhc.edu/go by Friday, March 4.  For more information, contact Jeanine Peterson, Dual Credit coordinator, at 309-854-1724 or petersonj@bhc.edu.

ISP on People to People

State Police Trooper Jason Wilson talks about the recent high winds and it impact on traffic during the February 24 edition of People to People on WKEI



WKEI Open Line

The Affordable Care Act is one of the main topics of discussion during the February 24 edition of the Open LIne on WKEI



Legislation Dealing with Unfunded Mandates

New legislation In Illinois would give school districts in the state some relief from unfunded mandates.

Kim Howard has the story… 


Ameren Workshop in Kewanee

Officials with Ameren IL are holding a workshop in Kewanee today to teach Kewanee Public Works Employees about Electric and Natural Gas safety.

Brian Bretsch is a power company spokesperson and he says the training will be important for city employees as they confront various situations…

Bretsch adds that much of the training and information is applicable to the general public in addition to city employees…

EAB Follow Up

The Emerald Ash Borer is an insect that basically destroys ash trees unless effective treatment can be applied before the insect takes over in the tree.

Martha Smith is a Horticulture Educator with the University of Illinois Extension and she says once a tree has been infected, there are decisions to make…

Ms. Smith says there are some treatment methods available that work to different degrees of effectiveness…

Kewanee City Info

The fallout from the decision by the State of Illinois to close the Kewanee Youth Correctional Facility continues to be felt.

Mayor Steve Looney says it is a tough situation for the community to absorb…

City Manager Gary Bradley says there is some reason to be optimistic that the prison will be re-opened at some time in the future…

Kewanee City Council approved the purchase of a new fire truck for the Kewanee Fire Department at Monday night’s Council meeting.

Mr. Bradley says it was a purchase that had been a while in the making but a positive move for the Kewanee Fire Department…

Mayor Looney adds that Fire Chief Paul Schaecher provided great input in the decision for the new fire truck…

Kewanee Park District Info

The Kewanee Park District is now taking sign-ups for the upcoming baseball, softball and soccer seasons.

Brian Johnson is the Director of Parks and Recreation with the Park District and he says the opening of the season will be here before we know it…

The Park District will also be moving forward in the very near future with their plans for the renovations north of Northeast Park…

Many folks many have noticed that several trees have been cut down and Northeast and at other Park District locations.

Johnson says there is a reason for that…    

WKEI Open Line

Homemade cars and Russian spy planes are part fo the conversation during the February 23rd edition of the Open Line on WKEI   

Emerald Ash Borer in Henry County

The Emerald Ash Borer or EAB continues to manifest itself in ash trees all across the state and certainly in Henry County.

University of Illinois Extension Horticulture Educator Martha Smith agrees that EAB is a very destructive little beast…

Ms. Smith says that other signs of the pest will possibly become more evident in the spring time…

That’s Martha Smith with the University of Illinois Extension and tomorrow, we’ll examine some of the treatments that might be considered for the Emerald Ash Borer.      

Paying Less at the Grocery Store

The latest consumer price index indicates that shoppers are in general paying less at the grocery store.

The USDA’s Rod Bain has the details…


OSF Lunch and Learn

OSF St Luke Medical Center in Kewanee will host a Lunch and Learn session on Monday, March 14th at the Hospital.

St Luke Marketing Director Carrie Boelens says the free program is open to the public…

Warm, Dry Spring in Illinois?

The latest long term forecast shows Illinois might be in for a warm, dry spring.

Kim Howard visits with state climatologist Jim Angel in this report…  



State Police Investigate Fatal Accident



The Following Preliminary Information is Being Released by Illinois State Police District 7

What:                           Fatal Crash

Where:                         Interstate 74 East at MM 17 (2 miles south of the X)

When:                       February 19, 2016 @ 1:35 p.m.

Vehicle(s):                   Gray 2005 Buick 4 door

                                   Red 2009 Chevrolet Pickup

Drivers:                    Bernita E. Otto, 91, Washington, IL (Buick)

                                   Bryce Schroeder, 27 Viola, IL (Chevrolet)

Preliminary:                At approximately 12:30 p.m. a semi-truck was blown over on I-74 East at mile marker 19 and blocked all eastbound lanes causing traffic to back up. At approximately 1:35 p.m. a 2005 Buick sedan traveling in the left lane of I-74 at mile marker 17 struck a stopped Chevrolet pickup truck and pushed the truck into the center median. Illinois State Police and Orion Fire and Rescue responded to the scene. The driver (Otto) and passenger of the Buick were extricated from the vehicle and transported to Genisis Hospital in Silvis due to their injuries. Otto was flown to St. Francis Hospital in Peoria and pronounced dead Friday night. No information is available at this time for the Buick’s passenger. The driver and passenger of the pickup truck were treated and released at the scene.



This incident was one of many caused by last Friday’s strong winds. From 12:30 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. the Illinois State Police District 7 Troopers responded to: six property damage crashes, one fatal crash, two damage to vehicle reports and three motorist assists.

Charges:                     No charges have been filed at this time


County Still Suing State

The Mercer County Board’s lawsuit against the state is moving forward. Mercer County State’s Attorney Greg McHugh says due to the current budget impasse in Springfield, Mercer County is owed over $117,000 in state reimbursements for the Public Defender, Assessor and State’s Attorney…..

The county board adopted a resolution in November seeking court action against the state. An injunction hearing is now set for February 24th in Mercer County Circuit Court. 

ISU Concerned About Budget

There wasn't much talk of higher education during the governor's budget address this past week, but there was some afterwards with the State Board of Higher Education. Illinois State University’s Director of State Government Affairs Jonathan Lackland says Education Secretary Beth Purvis held a briefing after Bruce Rauner's budget speech Wednesday.

That's for next year's budget, though. ISU President Larry Dietz (DEE-tz) is wondering where this year's budget is.

Dietz says the university has already planned a budget around a ten percent cut and it's prepared for any number of funding scenarios.

OSF St Luke Medical Center on Tuned IN

St Luke Marketing Director Carrie Boelens and Clinical Dietician Andrea Tenley are the guests for the February 22nd edition of Tuned IN on WKEI   

WKEI Open Line

The Daytona 500 and guns are among the topics of discussion during the February 22nd edition of the Open LIne on WKEI


LaHood on Supreme Court

18th District Congressman Darin LaHood offers his thoughts on the replacement process for recently-deceased Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia. Republican Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, just hours after Scalia’s passing over the weekend, was reported as saying the Senate should not confirm a replacement for Supreme Court until after a new president is elected.

McConnell, along with every other Republican senator in a Democratically-controlled Senate, voted to confirm Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy in Ronald Reagan’s final year of presidency.

LaHood said his thoughts and prayers go to the family of Justice Scalia, and added he leaves a tremendous void with the Court. He added:

Sen Brady on Il Budget


Governor Bruce Rauner told Illinois lawmakers they can have a budget with compromise, spending cuts, and new taxes. -- Or the state will get a budget with billions in budget cuts alone. State Rep Dan Brady says Governor Rauner will offer Democrats in Springfield some new taxes, but only in exchange for pieces of his turn-around agenda.



Wethersfield Spaghetti Supper

The Wethersfield Music Boosters will host a very special event on Friday, March 4th.

Wethersfield Band Director Mr. Jay Hagaman says that spaghetti and music will be featured that evening…

Mr. Hagaman says the event will be a perfect blend of social activity, great food and music…

Kiwanis Pancake Days

The annual Kewanee Kiwanis Club’s Pancake Breakfast is on the schedule for Saturday, March 12th at the United Methodist Church in Kewanee. 

Kiwanis Adviser to the Kewanee High School Key Club Amron Buchanan says the annual event is always well attended…

Many people will recall that pancake days were held for many years on a Monday but for the last several years the event has been held on a Saturday with good attendance…

Chamber: Policy makers could get in way of growth

The Illinois Chamber of Commerce says Illinois has moved up in the rankings in a new Economic Competitiveness Study, but policy makers could end up getting in the way.

Chamber President and CEO Todd Maisch (MY-shh) says their new study piggybacks off work done by the Michigan Chamber of Commerce and takes 200 metrics from a variety of areas to indicate where Illinois stands compared to other states. Maisch says the good news is that Illinois is moving up, but that’s because of general positive economic growth, not because of elected officials.

Meanwhile, Maisch says what stuck out to him in the study is the amount of people fleeing Illinois.

Maisch says the study is meant to be a benchmark for policy makers and the public to better understand how Illinois is competing with other states

Chamber of Commerce says Illinois should strive to be in top 10

While the governor says the state should be average instead of being near the bottom on a variety of things, the Illinois Chamber of Commerce says the state should strive to be in the top ten.

Announcing the Illinois Chamber of Commerce’s Economic Competitiveness Study, which the Chamber says will provide policy makers and the public a benchmark for comparing Illinois to other states on a variety of factors, Chamber President and CEO Todd Maisch says Illinois has moved up in the rankings.

With Illinois still near the bottom for other factors, Governor Bruce Rauner has said the Land of Lincoln should strive to be average. Maisch says the Chamber wants Illinois to be above average.

The study evaluates the general macroeconomic environment, state debt and taxation, workforce composition and cost, labor and capital formation and regulatory environment.

Reason: 18-year-olds are adults

Eighteen-year-olds are adults and should be able to make the choice whether to purchase tobacco, that’s the argument against a proposal to increase the smoking age to 21 in Illinois.

Democratic Senator John Mulroe introduced Senate Bill 3011 Thursday and says his bill to increase the age someone can legally purchase tobacco is an effort to cut down on youth smokers.

Anthony Fisher from the libertarian Reason Foundation says if 18 year olds can vote, be charged for adult crimes and even join the military to serve the country and possibly die for it, they should be able to make the choice whether to purchase tobacco.

The proposed bill would cover the purchase of all tobacco products, including electronic cigarettes, and also bar anyone under 21 from possessing tobacco products.

Push for Local Control Back to Schools

Schools for years have been complaining about the state passing rules and regulations for them without backing it up with funding to implement them. One state senator - Jason Barickman from Bloomington is trying to do something about that. He’s the chief sponsor of a Senate Bill that would remove three mandates from schools: eliminate or ease the restrictions of third party contracting, the requirement to offer drivers ed and physical education. Barickman says this relief will give local control back to schools.

The Governor’s office today in a press release estimates the savings of the proposed bill at $200 million a year.

Barickman says that this won’t automatically lead to schools dropping programs like PE but allows for locals to choose where they want to spend money.

BHE CEC on People to People

CEC Outreach Coordinator talks about a job fair in April during the February 19 edition of People to People on WKEI



WKEI Open Line

WKEI Open Line for February 19

University of Illinois Extension on Tuned IN

Extension Horticulture Adviser Martha Smith talks about the Emerald Ash Borer during the February 19th edition of Tuned IN on WKEI


Abandoned Vehicles

Henry County Sheriff Jim Padilla is seeking the public’s help when it comes to abandoned vehicles.

Sheriff Padilla says in some cases, abandoned vehicles means there’s trouble somewhere else…

Sheriff Padilla says that things are not always as they seem to be on first glance…

Sheriff Padilla again urges the public to remain vigilant and report anything that might seem out of the ordinary…

Hike the Hennepin on Sunday


The Friends of the Canal are holding their monthly Hike the Canal outing on

Sunday, February 21.

This month’s hike will be from Lock 30 to Lock 32. This portion of the "Hike the Hennepin" is 4.6 miles in length and it has been named the “Bald Eagle”. We hope to get a glimpse of our nations’ symbol – the bald eagles – as we start our hike at the Mississippi River.

We will meet at the Steel Dam in Milan by 1:30 pm and will be shuttled to the Mississippi to begin our walk back. Directions are: take I80 to I280 to exit 15 in Milan onto E. 1st Ave (Airport Road) going towards Milan. Take the first road on the right (Frontage Road) and follow it to the right to 14th St NE past the warehouses back to the steel dam.

The monthly hikes were developed by the Friends of the Hennepin Canal as an

opportunity for everyone to get to know the Canal personally by hiking it from the Illinois

River to the Mississippi (including the Feeder Canal) in small legs.

You need not be a member of the Friends to join us in any of the hikes. There is no

fee for the hikes. Come and join in the fun and bring a friend. We ask that you dress

weather appropriately.

For more information, contact Ed Herrmann at:

hikes@friends-hennepin-canal.org (email) or 815-664-2403 (home)

Senator Weaver Reaction to Budget Address

Comments and analysis from Governor Bruce Rauner’s budget address on Wednesday afternoon continues to come in.

In this report, Ray Watt visits with 37th District State Senator Chuck Weaver to get his outlook on the Governor’s speech…

feb 19 weaver…1:48

Food Managers Course



The Environmental Health Division of the Henry and Stark County Health Departments announces that they will be holding a Food Service Sanitation Manager's Certification Course that will meet on Monday, March 14th and Wednesday, March 16thth from 9:00am-3:00pm.


The classes will be held at the Henry and Stark County Health Department, 4424 US Hwy 34, Kewanee.  The cost of the course is $140.  Please note, after you take the exam and pass it, an additional $35 will be required from the State to receive your 5 year certificate. 


Through the course, valuable information is given which will help food managers improve their operations.  The food manager's certification course is designed to help area food service establishments in the county meet the requirements of the IDPH Food Service Sanitation Code.


Those who participate in the course receive intensive training in such areas as foodborne disease, food protection, cleaning and sanitizing of equipment, personal hygiene, building construction, public health codes, insect and rodent control and personnel training.


Registrations are limited. Those interested in registering or for more information, should contact the Department at 852-0197 (Henry) or 852-3115 (Stark) or visit our website at www.henrystarkhealth.com or find us on Facebook at Henry and Stark County Health Departments. 

Milestone Anniversary at Abilities Plus


Kewanee, IL – Diane Carrasca, Living Skills Specialist was recently recognized for 20 years of dedicated service with Abilities Plus.  Working at group home sites in the area since 1996, Diane has made a positive difference in the lives of many local individuals with disabilities.

Grace Period Voting

Henry County Clerk Barb Link is announcing that any resident that has lived in their respective precincts for at least 30 days qualifies for Grace Period Voting for the March 15th General Primary Election.

Ms. Link says that during this period, an unregistered qualified elector may register to vote or submit a change of address and then must vote at that time in the County Clerk’s Office. Proof of identification will be required.

The last day for Grace Period Voting is Tuesday, March 15th.

Ms. Link reminds that there office will be open on Saturday, March 5th and Saturday, March 12th from 8 am til 12 noon.

Further information by contacting Henry County Clerk Barb Link at her office at the Courthouse in Cambridge at 937-3575.       

New Illini AD Josh Whitman's former employer says U of I is getting a winner

Washington University in St. Louis was long known for three things: academics, academics and academics. New Illini Athletic Director Josh Whitman changed that during his time running the school's athletic programs. While the athletic programs fared well with wins and losses, Washington University play by play voice Jay Murry says Whitman helped put them on the map....

Murry says you won't catch Whitman being behind the times.....

Murry says whoever made the decision to hire Whitman made the best decision in their career.

Rauner waiting for next move on budget

One day after his budget address, Governor Rauner says he hears hopeful signs for progress toward a budget from rank and file lawmakers but he says the ball is in the court of his political rival House Speaker Mike Madigan...

The House is scheduled to return to session March 1st.

Henry County Sheriff on People to People

Henry County Sheriff Jim Padilla talks about abandoned vehicles during the February 18 edition of People to People on WKEI 

WKEI Open Line

The cost of cable TV is one of the topics discussed during the February 18 edition of the Open Line on WKEI

KHS Key Club on Tuned IN

The upcoming Key Club Convention and Kiwanis Pancake Days are discussed during the February 18 edition of Tuned IN on WKEI

Bureau Valley Road Postings


Upon reviewing the end-of-week and extended forecast, the County Engineer has just announced that the Spring Road Postings will be implemented and in effect beginning this Friday, February 19, 2016. 


If the lows happen to cool significantly, please contact our office regarding possibility of moving early in the mornings, and each request will be assessed on a case-by-case basis.  Otherwise, Bureau County Roads will be posted until further notice.


We’ll be in touch regarding any changes regarding posting status.

Map Amendment Sign Up on Saturday


Are you an Illinois Voter?  


Come to Country Morning Coffee (across the street from the Kewanee Public Library) this coming Saturday, February 20 from 8 a.m. to noon to sign a petition to change the process of redistricting the Illinois General Assembly.  The League of Women Voters will be there to gather signatures and to answer any questions.  Also a brochure with information will be available to pick up.  


The Independent Map Amendment would establish a non-partisan, independent commission responsible for drawing state legislative districts in a way that is transparent and open to the public.  It would end the current redistricting process controlled by legislators with little public involvement which results in gerrymandering.  


This amendment to the Illinois state constitution would be voted on in the November general election.  To get on the ballot, signatures are needed on petitions which are being gathered statewide by groups such as the League of Women Voters and the Illinois Farm Bureau.  


Individuals can also gather signatures.  You may come to Country Morning Coffee to get petitions and instructions from the League.  Also you may go to www.mapamendment.org to download petitions and instructions, and for general information.  


The Illinois Constitution requires a minimum of 290,216 valid signatures to put an amendment before voters, and the goal is to collect more than twice that number as insurance against petition challenges by those who oppose reform.  


If you would like a short group presentation in February or March on this topic or a copy of the brochure, contact co-president, Carla Hillman, at hillmanc@bhc.edu or 852-5215.  


The purpose of the League of Women Voters is to promote responsibility through informed and active participation of citizens in government, and to act on selected governmental issues.  One way the League has accomplished this purpose is through informational meetings and candidate forums open to the public. 


Anyone interested in joining the LWV of the Kewanee Area may contact co-president Carla Hillman.

Rauner Budget Address

Governor Bruce Rauner delivered his Budget Address on Wednesday afternoon from the Capitol in Springfield.

The governor touched on several topics related to the budget including the fact that the state hasn’t had a balanced budget in decades…

The governor also said that lawmakers have two choice when it comes to the budget…


Mr. Rauner also said on Wednesday that Senate President John Cullerton had a great pension reform bill that needs action…

The governor also said that real reform needs to be passed this year…

Governor Rauner also made it clear that if reforms aren’t passed, big cuts will have to be made…


Early Voting in Henry County


Henry County Clerk and Election Authority Barb Link is announcing that voters can cast a ballot prior to Election Day without offering a reason or an excuse for wishing to vote early.

For the March 15th General Primary Election, early voting is currently being conducted and will end on Monday, March 14th. Early voting will take place in the office of the Election Authority at the Henry County Courthouse in Cambridge from 8 am til 4:30 pm Monday through Friday.

The office will also be open on Saturday, March 5th and Saturday, March 12th from 8 am til 12 noon for early voting.

Further information is available by contacting Henry County Clerk and Election Authority Bark Link at her office at the Courthouse in Cambridge at 937-3575.     

Courtyard Estates Happenings

Courtyard Estates of Kewanee and Bradford and Courtyard Village of Kewanee has several events on the upcoming schedule.

Samantha Harker is the Marketing and Admissions Coordinator for both groups and she says a breakfast seminar is on the schedule for February 24th

Ms. Harker adds that while reservations would be appreciated, walk-ins will also be welcome…

Ms. Harker also says that there will be a chili supper available to the general public on Monday, February 29th in Bradford…

Coroner's Inquest for February 25th






On Thursday, February 25, 2016 Henry County Coroner, David A. Johnson, will hold an inquest on the following person(s):


Alex M. Morgan, age 16, of Geneseo, Illinois died at 418 West Wells Street, Geneseo,  Illinois on Saturday, January 2, 2016.


Anthony M. Fuller, age 31, of Orion, Illinois died at 210 Henry Place, Orion, Illinois on Saturday, January 9, 2016.


The inquest will start at or about 4:30 p.m. at the Henry County Courthouse, located at 307 West Center Street, Cambridge, Illinois.


Please enter through the main entrance off of West Center Street and the guard at the door will assist you.

Wethersfield H.S. Principal Mr Jeremiah Johnston and WHS Band Director Mr. Jay Hagaman on PTP

WHS Principal Mr. Jeremiah Johnston and WHS Band Director Mr. Jay Hagaman talk about upcoming events at Wethersfield during the February 17 edition of People to People on WKEI  

WKEI Open Line

WKEI Open Line for February 17

Courtyard Estates on Tuned IN

Courtyard Estates and Courtyard Village Marketing and Admissions Coordinator Sam Harker talks about upcoming events during the February 17 edition of Tuned IN on WKEI

Stark County Farm Bureau Info

The Map Amendment sign up process is going well all across the state of Illinois and that is certainly the case in the local area.

Stark County Farm Bureau Manager Thomas Marten says signatures will be accepted until the middle of March…

The Stark County Farm Bureau also has a fun day on the schedule for June 22nd with a bus trip to Wrigley Field to see the St Louis Cardinals and the Chicago Cubs.

Marten says there will be tickets available for both members and non members of the Farm Bureau…

Black History Month

The Community Black History Extravaganza will be held on Sunday afternoon, February 21, 2016 at 2:00 p.m. at the Boss Community Center,

 221 W. 1st St. Kewanee, IL.  Federal, state and local dignitaries, school administration and residents from throughout the city and surrounding areas will join together to help us celebrate Black History Month. The Community Black History Committee will host the program. The Kewanee and Wethersfield high school choirs, local church choirs, soloist and musicians will provide entertainment for the program.

IL Lotto Launches New Game


CHICAGO, IL – In front of an enthusiastic crowd at Chicago’s historic Soldier Field, the Illinois Lottery, along with Special Olympics Illinois and Special Children’s Charities, unveiled the newest version of The Special Olympics Ticket - a unique lottery instant game to benefit Special Olympics sports training programs across Illinois.


The first-in-the-nation Special Olympics Ticket costs $3 and is expected to raise about $1 million to benefit programs that serve over 40,000 Special Olympics athletes in Illinois. The game also offers four top instant prizes of $50,000. All net proceeds, after prize payouts and expenses, benefit Special Olympics sports training programs statewide.  


“We are proud to launch The Special Olympics ticket at Soldier Field, where the first games were held in 1968,” said Illinois Lottery Acting Director B.R. Lane.  “With every ticket purchase, 100% of the profits go to benefit Special Olympics athlete training programs and help support a noble cause that started right here, almost fifty years ago.”


The Special Olympics Lottery game was created in 2014 by an act of the Illinois General Assembly. The legislation enjoyed strong bipartisan support and experienced robust sales in its first year.


“We are proud and appreciative that our supporters purchased close to a million tickets last year, while generating nearly $1 million in proceeds,” said Dave Breen, President & CEO, Special Olympics Illinois. “These funds will help us continue to bring the Special Olympics experience to more individuals with intellectual disabilities and build communities of inclusion and acceptance throughout Illinois.”


"We truly value our partnership with the Illinois Lottery and are thrilled to have the chance to once again collaborate on this special ticket, which helps to enhance and expand the year-round programs enjoyed by over 6,000 talented athletes," added Dr. Casey Hogan, President of Special Children’s Charities.


The Special Olympics Ticket is available at close to 8,000 Illinois Lottery retailers throughout the state.  It joins the other four select special cause instant games currently offered by the Illinois Lottery.  These specialty games contribute funding for Illinois veterans, the fight against breast cancer, assistance for people living with HIV/AIDS, and research efforts into the cause and cure of Multiple Sclerosis.  Since 2006, when the first specialty cause instant game was introduced, the Illinois Lottery has raised nearly $40 million for causes players have eagerly supported through their ticket purchases.


For more information on The Special Olympics Ticket game please visit IllinoisLottery.com.




Governor's Budget Address LIve on WKEI


Governor Bruce Rauner will deliver his budget address at 12 noon today from the Capitol in Springfield.

The budget address will be broadcast live on AM 1450 WKEI

Springfield medical marijuana facility opening this week

The ribbon has been cut for Springfield's first medical marijuana dispensary. It's the second facility for Effingham based HCI Alternatives, which recently opened its first location in Collinsville. HCI's Chris Stone is hopeful the long delayed trial program is extended beyond its current expiration date of 2018.....

Stone says one issue no can question is their commitment to security...

The new HCI location will open Thursday.


Mild extended forecast through March

While it’s still over a month until the official arrival of spring, the forecast is starting to show some sign it’s on the way. Eric Schmidt of Newton, IL based EJS weather says it will feel a little spring like by the end of the week.

Next week is expected to be a little above normal as well, and Schmidt says the longer range forecast calls March to have above average temperatures.


Durbin Weighs in on Supreme Court

Durbin weighs in on Supreme Court (audio)


Lead   Print Lead


Senator Dick Durbin is seeing red over protests from some Congressional Republicans for President Obama to let the next President to pick the successor to Supreme Court Antonin Scalia.....

Durbin doesn't subscribe to the thought that Obama is a lame duck when it comes to choosing new members of the Supreme Court...

Durbin describes Justice Scalia as very bright, very funny, very social and credits him with devoting more than three decades of his life to public service.


OSF Blood Drive on Wednesday

OSF St Luke Medical Center in Kewanee will host a blood drive on Wednesday.

St Luke Marketing Director Carrie Boelens says appointments would be appreciated but walk ins are always welcome…

Commodity Prices

A variety of factors have combined in lower prices from last year for crops, meats, eggs and dairy as the USDA’s Rod Bain reports…

Cafe and Latte Club Meeting





    The WIC Staff of the Henry and Stark Counties' announces the January meeting of the Breastfeeding Support Group, the "Cafe' and Latte Club."  The group's meeting will be held Tuesday, February 23rd from 10:00am-11:00am in the Boardroom of the Geneseo Public Library, 805 N. Chicago Street, Geneseo.


     Michele Beckstrom, RN, CLC of the Henry and Stark County Health Department notes, "All new or expectant mothers are invited and encouraged to attend.  Meetings will feature the latest Breastfeeding information and techniques and insight and support from experienced leaders. Whether you are pregnant or already nursing, the Cafe' and Latte Club can help you to a successful breastfeeding relationship with your infant.


     In addition, each meeting will feature a meet and greet session, and door prizes will be given away at each monthly meeting.


     Beckstrom, notes "We welcome new mothers, pregnant women, fathers and other support or family members, babies and children at our meetings."


     Please join the Cafe' and Latte Club on Tuesday, February 23rd from 10:00am-11:00am at the Geneseo Public Library.  Remember all mothers and their babies are welcome and attendance is free.  For more information call the Health Department at (309 852-5272 or 792-4011 or visit our website atwww.henrystarkhealth.org or you can always find us on Facebook at Henry and Stark County Health Departments or Follow Us on Twitter.


     The Cafe' and Latte Club is brought to you by the Henry and Stark County Health Department, Hammond-Henry Hospital, and the La Leche League of Henry County.

Springfield looking to the future to celebrate Obama's past

Springfield Mayor Jim Langfelder is teaming up with state officials and the local chapter of the NAACP to commemmorate key spots in President Obama's journey from the Illinois Senate to the US upper chamber to becoming the first African American in the White House.

Additional information about the committee and its planning will be available in the coming months.


New School Funding Focus One Of Two Things

Republican Ron Sandack says the push for a new school funding task force in Springfield is one of two things. Either, he says, the move by Speaker Madigan is another delaying tactic. Or it’s an opportunity to change how Illinois pays for education by saving Chicago’s public schools. 

Sandack says downstate and suburban schools won’t agree to give-up money to bail-out Chicago without getting something substantial in return. 

State Rep Ron Sandack says downstate and suburban schools are going to demand freedom, choice, or a roll-back of state mandates for classrooms. Like the four year mandate for p.e. in high school. 

Presidents Day Today

A reminder that today is Presidents Day and in Kewanee, City Hall and the Transfer Station are closed however there will be no change in the garbage pick- up schedule in Kewanee for this week.

The United States Post Office is closed today and will re-open on Tuesday. 

The Henry County Court system and other county offices are closed today.

Because of the Presidents Day Holiday and the observance of President Abraham Lincoln’s birthday, the Division of Motor Vehicles in Kewanee will be closed tomorrow on Tuesday and will re-open on their normal schedule on Wednesday.        

Most, but not all area schools are closed today. There is no school today at Kewanee and Wethersfield and all Black Hawk College facilities are closed for the Holiday today.   

Henry and Stark County Health Department offices are closed today with homemaker staff still working where necessary to provide in home care.

To note, Kewanee Public Library is open today on their normal schedule and the University of Illinois Extension Offices in Henry, Stark, Mercer and Rock Island counties are also open today. 

February is Children's Dental Month



    Throughout the month of February, which is designated National Children's Dental Health Month, staff from the Henry and Stark County Health Departments have been visiting area elementary and preschools to offer instruction to students regarding the importance of good dental care.


    RaeAnn Tucker, Health Department Director of Health Promotion notes, “I have presented to students from preschool to 5th grade.  We demonstrate proper tooth brushing and flossing techniques; as well as, explain how nutrition affects teeth, and how to prevent tooth decay.”


   Tucker adds, “We also stress the importance of regular checkups and display a few items used to clean and inspect teeth.”


    Youngsters are allowed to take part in a short question and answer session regarding the importance of proper dental care for their teeth. Also, everyone in the class receives a special toothbrush, and teachers receive dental information packets containing suggestions for further classroom activities.


    This dental education program is just one of a number of health education programs available to area schools through the Health Department.


     For more information on the Department's education programs, contact the Health Department by calling (309) 852-0197 (Henry) or 852-3115 (Stark) or visit our website at www.henrystarkhealth.com or find us on Facebook at Henry and Stark County Health Departments or Follow Us On Twitter.



ISP Report for December

      Illinois State Police District Seven announced that during the month of December 2015, Troopers handled 1,473 calls for service and assistance.  Of these calls, 303 were to help motorists whose vehicles were disabled on area highways.


          Criminal activities during the month included 12 persons apprehended for being wanted on outstanding warrants and 27 arrested for other criminal offenses.


          Traffic enforcement activities resulted in 252 drivers arrested for speeding and 73 cited for seat belt violations.  Driving under the influence arrests totaled 28, while 5 apprehensions for other alcohol related offenses were recorded.  Troopers issued a total of 639 traffic citations and 696 written warnings to motorists during the month.


          Troopers and weight inspectors issued 50 citations for overweight loads and issued 95 written warnings for overweight violations.


          District Seven Troopers handled 66 traffic crashes within the four county area of Rock Island, Henry, Knox, and Mercer. There were no fatal crashes handled by District 7 Troopers.

Comedy Show Tickets Available

Plans are moving forward for the Kewanee Chamber of Commerce’s Comedy Night scheduled for March 19th at the Flemish American Club in Kewanee.

Brock Tumbleson of Kewanee is one of the committee members for the show and he says it will be a great evening of entertainment…

Advance tickets are available for the show and can be purchased at the Kewanee Chamber of Commerce office…

Brock stresses that tickets must be purchased in advance for the meal and the show but some tickets for the show only might well be available that evening at the door…

Lincoln Library/Museum throwing a big birthday party

The Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum is throwing a party Friday (today) and the guest list isn't exactly exclusive. Chris Wills with the library and museum says it's truly a come one, come all event....

On Sunday, they are mixing a little history with hockey, thanks to Springfield's junior hockey team....

The Old State Capitol State Historic Site welcomes the annual meeting of the Abraham Lincoln Association. A symposium on Lincoln and immigration begins at 11 a.m. Friday. The symposium also includes events at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum. Visit www.abrahamlincolnassociation.org for details. Also, at the Old State Capitol, there will be a birthday dance from 1 to 4. Dancers will perform and they will willingly share trade secrets as they teach basic steps to visitors.The American Legion will lay a wreath at the Lincoln Tomb State Historic Site at 11 a.m. Lincoln fans will gather for cookies, coffee and hot cider at the Mount Pulaski Courthouse State Historic Site from noon to 4 p.m. on Friday The building is one of just two remaining courthouses where Lincoln practiced law on the Eighth Judicial Circuit. Despite the fact that Honest Abe was a big part of the effort to move the capital from Vandalia to Springfield, the folks in Fayette County aren't holding a grudge. On Sunday at the Vandalia Statehouse State Historic Site,, there will be tours, a program, discussions and refreshments. The night before, the city of Vandalia holds a birthday dance at the Moose Lodge on 3rd Street at 6:30. The cost is five dollars but anyone dressed 19th Century style can enter free. 

Bill sponsor says measure would stop stoppage

One of the sponsors of a bill to allow either side of contract negotiations to unilaterally declare an impasse triggering binding arbitration says he does not want a work stoppage while the governor says it’s a union's right to strike.

Democratic Representative Mike Smiddy says House Bill 580 would stop a work stoppage from happening, especially as the governor asked the Illinois Labor Relations Board to review contract negotiations. The ILRB could declare impasse and allow the governor to impose his last, best and final offer. 

Governor Rauner said only the union can declare a strike, something he said was the union’s right.

Rauner said the AFSCME union is demanding things that would cost taxpayers billions and he is working to represent the taxpayers. He has also pledged not to lock workers out.


State Closing Illinois Youth Center

The state of Illinois has decided to close the Illinois Youth Center in Kewanee and that is going to lead to several hundred employees’ losing their jobs.

The Illinois Department of Juvenile Justice indicates that the closure is part of a move toward smaller and less restrictive facilities for youth offenders.

The announcement was made at 6 o’clock Friday morning with no advance notice to employees.

Approximately 210 union positions will be cut with additional cuts to quite a number of management and administrative positions.

The state did not indicate an exact timetable for the closing of the prison which at its peak was capable of housing over 350 inmates.    

Truck length limits an economic issue in Illinois

Transportation is key to economic growth, especially here in Illinois where we are a major shipping center for the nation, but truck length regulations, which vary within the state, tend to inhibit the ability to efficiently move goods. For example, on major highways trucks are allowed to observe nation standard for truck length, but get off the state roads and interstate highways to length limit drops to 55 feet.
Don Shaeffer of the Midwest Truckers Assoc explains the problem.

For farmers, most livestock and grain trailer are designed to national standards… meaning the exceed the 55 foot limit. Shaeffer says it will take a legislative change in Springfield to make all areas of the state accessible to legal length trucks.

Trucks often have to stop, and switch loads from longer trucks to shorter legal trucks to gain access to off highway businesses… raising the cost of shipping and delaying delivery. 

Farm Production Expenses in 2016

Farm production expenses in 2016 could do something they haven't done in thirty years.

USDA’s Gary Crawford visits with Rob Johansson in this report…

Naperville moves forward with consolidation effort

A move to save tax dollars by sharing services between Naperville and an associated
township is underway, but not everyone is on board.

West suburban Naperville looks to be the first municipality to take action on
reducing the number of governmental units in Illinois with a plan to takeover
maintenance of their share of roads in Naperville Township. Supporters say it’s
a work-sharing program but Naperville Township Road Commissioner Stan Wojtasiak
says it’s not a work sharing program, it’s a job killing program.

However, Naperville City Manager Doug Krieger sees it differently.

Naperville’s mayor says there could be hundreds of thousands of tax dollars saved every year in the move. 

Coroner's Report for 2015


The Henry County Coroner’s Office investigated 329 cases in 2015.  Of this number 276 cases were deaths that were turned over to the medical profession for physician’s finalizations with 53 cases being signed off by the Coroner’s office.


Of 329 reported deaths in 2015, 311 were attributed to natural causes with seven called accidental, and eleven suicides.


Of the seven accidental deaths; two were single vehicle mishaps, one was a motorcycle mishap; two were an airplane crash, one was overlaying due to co-sleeping, one was an accidental overdose. Alcohol was a contributing factor in two cases; drugs was a contributing factor in one case.


Of the eleven suicides; two was asphyxiation due to hanging, four were due to overdose and five was gunshot wound to the head.  Alcohol was a contributing factor in one case; drugs were a contributing factor in four cases.


The most deaths in 2015 occurred in the month of February with a total each of 34.  The least number of deaths in 2015 occurred in the month of September with a total of 18.


Of the 329 deaths investigated autopsies were performed on 15 cases and there were 12 Coroner Inquests held in 2015.


The 329 deaths recorded by the coroner’s office in 2015 does not represent all of the deaths in Henry County, just the cases that are required by law to investigate.

Kewanee Public LIbrary Events

Kewanee Public Library will be open on Monday, February 15th.

KPL Children’s Librarian Sara Billiet says they will be open per their normal schedule…

Ms. Billiet adds that the library will soon have a 3-d printer for use by the general public…

Ms. Billiet says they hope to have the printer operational by the month of March and she urges interested 6-8 graders to contact her for the latest information…

Salvation Army Appreciation Breakfast

The annual Kewanee Salvation Army Appreciation Breakfast is on the schedule for Saturday, February 20th beginning at 8 a.m. at the 1st Baptist Church in Kewanee.

Linda Bolls is the Director of the Kewanee Salvation Army and she says it should be a fun day to thank Kewanee for all of their support over the last year…

Ms. Bolls adds that reservations for the free breakfast would be appreciated for an accurate head count…

Ms. Bolls says that she and Brock Tumbleson will be the featured chefs for the event and they are getting their preparations down to a science…

President's Day Schedule

Presidents Day will be observed next Monday and that will be a holiday for some but not all. The Holiday will also create some schedule changes along the way.

In Kewanee, City Hall and the Transfer Station will be closed on Monday however there will be no change in the garbage pick- up schedule in Kewanee for next week.

The United States Post Office will be closed on Monday and will re-open on Tuesday.  

Monday is a federal reserve holiday and different banks will have different holiday schedules and the best advice is to check with your financial institution to get their specific holiday schedule.

The Henry County Court system and other county offices will be closed on Monday.

Because of the Presidents Day Holiday and the observance of President Abraham Lincoln’s birthday, the Division of Motor Vehicles in Kewanee will be closed tomorrow on Saturday and also next Tuesday, February 16th.  DMV in Kewanee will re-open on their normal schedule next Wednesday, February 17th.         

Most, if not all area schools will be closed on Monday for the Holiday. All Black Hawk College facilities closed for the Holiday on Monday and will re-open on Tuesday.   

Henry and Stark County Health Department offices will be closed on Monday  with homemaker staff still working where necessary to provide in home care.

University of Illinois Extension Offices in Henry, Stark, Mercer and Rock Island counties will be open on Monday.

PNB Welcomes Two New Board Members

PNB Welcomes Two New Board Members


Kewanee, IL— Peoples National Bank of Kewanee announces the appointment of two new members to its Board of Directors. Joining the Board of Directors are Randy Carton and Robert Eastman.

“Each of these two outstanding individuals possesses unique and valuable skills that will benefit the bank,” PNB President Chip Eastman stated.

Randy Carton joined Peoples National Bank of Kewanee in 2007 as Vice President and Cashier. Carton has been active in the local Kewanee community, previously serving as a council member for Zion Lutheran Church, as well as currently serving on the Boards of Directors for ABCD and Abilities Plus as Treasurer. He is also a member of Kiwanis, teaches Junior Achievement, and spends his summers as a volunteer youth softball coach.

Carton grew up in rural Atkinson and graduated from Geneseo High School. He attended Bradley University and earned a B.S. in Accounting. After college, he became a CPA while working at Clifton Gunderson LLC. Even though he enjoyed working with his banking clients in that role, he eventually left public accounting and was selected to become the Chief Financial Officer at Pekin Savings Bank, working there and with its successor, Morton Community Bank, until joining PNB.

Randy, his wife Karyn, and their two daughters live in rural Kewanee.

Robert Eastman graduated from Wethersfield High School and Dartmouth College with honors, double majoring in computer science and philosophy. He currently works as a consultant to the IT department at Dartmouth College where he also attends graduate school, after previously working in the medical software field.


Robert represents the fourth generation of his family to serve on the PNB Board of Directors.


Peoples National Bank of Kewanee is a long-standing institution in the Tri-County area. Serving Kewanee for over 85 years, Peoples National Bank of Kewanee also serves the communities of Annawan, Bradford, Manlius, Sheffield, and Tampico. For more information about Peoples National Bank of Kewanee visitwww.pnb-kewanee.com. PNB’s current board members are Chip Eastman, Robert VerHeecke, John Spets, James Rinella, Rip Everett, George Guzzardo, Randy Carton, and Robert Eastman.


(Attached: Photo of Robert Eastman, left, and Randy Carton.)

Secretary of State Offices Closed for the President's Day Holiday

Secretary of State Offices Closed for Abraham Lincoln’s Birthday and Presidents’ Day


Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White announced that all offices and facilities open Monday to Friday will be closed from February 12th to 15th, while facilities open Tuesday to Saturday will be closed from February 13th to 16th, in observance of Abraham Lincoln’s birthday and Presidents’ Day.


All Monday through Friday Driver Services facilities will be open for business Tuesday, February 16th, and Tuesday through Saturday facilities will open Wednesday, February 17th.


Individuals can visit the Secretary of State’s website, www.cyberdriveillinois.com, to locate the nearest Driver Services facility and the hours of operation. In addition, drivers can change an address, register to become an organ and tissue donor or renew license plate stickers online.



HCFB Family Night

The Henry County Farm Bureau will partner with several other farm bureau’s to offer a Family Night on Friday February 19th that will be free of charge to the general public.

Henry County Farm Bureau Manager Katie Laleman says it will be a great evening…

Ms. Laleman adds that the film, “Farmland” is a great feature that anyone interested in agriculture will enjoy…

Ms. Laleman stresses that the free event is not limited to just farm bureau members, and she urges the general public to take advantage of the program…

Senior Center Events

The Henry County Senior Citizen Center in Kewanee will host a Valentine’s Day Luncheon on Tuesday, February 16th at the Senior Center.

Cassandra Schmoll is the Director of the Senior Center and she says that reservations would be appreciated but they are not necessary…

Ms. Schmoll says the Senior Center will also be a host for a Trivia Night on the schedule for February 27th

Bustos Calls for Expanded Ag Trade


WASHINGTON – Today, Congresswoman Cheri Bustos (IL-17) spoke to the U.S. Agriculture Coalition for Cuba at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. As a strong advocate for Illinois farmers on the House Agriculture Committee, Congresswoman Bustos stressed the importance of finding new markets for agricultural products.


“To grow our agricultural economy and create new exporting opportunities for Illinois farmers, we need to cut through red tape and open new markets,” said Congresswoman Cheri Bustos. “I was happy to speak to this bipartisan and diverse coalition today because the only way we’re going to make progress on this issue is if we’re working together for American farmers and manufacturers.”


In October, Congresswoman Bustos participated in a Bipartisan Agricultural Trade Mission to Havana, Cuba, with the Illinois Cuba Working Group and Congressman Rodney Davis (IL-13). To establish new economic opportunities for Illinois farmers, they met with Cuban officials to discuss opportunities to increase our exports to the island nation and strengthen bilateral trade relations. After the trip, Congresswoman Bustos announced her strong support for the Cuba Agricultural Exports Act. This legislation would repeal restrictions on export financing for agricultural products, allowing U.S. businesses to provide payment or financing terms for sales of agricultural commodities to Cuba.


According to the Illinois Cuba Working Group, Illinois corn and soy exports to Cuba reached approximately $66 million in 2008. However, in 2014, it was just $24 million, a 63% decrease.


Congresswoman Bustos’ remarks as prepared for delivery are below:


Good morning!


Thank you so much for the invitation to join you in celebrating the one year anniversary of this coalition.


My name is Cheri Bustos, and I have the honor of representing Illinois’ 17th District in the United States Congress.


As I travel across my 7,000 square mile district, which is mostly rural – I see some of the best, most beautiful farmland in America.


We have the largest USDA Agricultural research lab in the country headquartered right in the center of my district in Peoria…


And we’re also home to agricultural manufacturers such as John Deere and Caterpillar.


So when we discuss the future of agriculture, I see so much potential for my district and the rest of rural America to engage with different parts of the world in agricultural trade.


We all know that agriculture plays an integral role in keeping our communities great places to live, work, and raise a family.


I’ve seen it firsthand.


I grew a deep-seated appreciation for farmers and for agriculture visiting my grandparents’ hog farm as a young girl.


I spent hours outside on the farm, playing with the baby pigs…


Taking in the sights, the sounds, and yes, even the smells.


Decades later, when I was elected to Congress, I asked for an appointment to the Agriculture Committee.


And it’s these values and these experiences… that I first learned as a little girl… that I bring to that table when I’m fighting for America’s agricultural economy.


Today, we’re all united here with a common purpose – and that is to grow our agricultural economy with mutually beneficial, bilateral trade with Cuba.


When President Obama made the historic announcement that we would finally turn the page in our relationship with Cuba, I knew that this presented an opportunity for American farmers.


Decades of isolation failed to give Cubans a democracy…


It failed to give Cubans a free market economy…


But it also failed American farmers and our agricultural economy by isolating both farmers and businesses from finding potential trade partners in Cuba.


And after fifty years of the same old policy, it was far past time for the United States to move in a new direction. 


Just a few months ago, I participated in a bipartisan agricultural trade mission to Cuba with my friend, Congressman Rodney Davis.


I learned a lot on our trip.


I saw firsthand how both Cuba and the United States can benefit from bilateral trade.


And it’s important to note that we do not have a monopoly on innovation. For example, it was the Cubans who discovered a way to better control ticks and tick-related infections in cattle.


In addition to learning from each other’s agricultural advances, it’s important to cut the red tape that’s holding us back from making real progress on this issue.


And while overturning the embargo is a long-term goal, and lacks support from the current leadership in Congress…


I do believe we can achieve some of our goals to increase our ability to export to Cuba in the short term.


That’s why I am strongly pushing for bipartisan legislation that would allow Cuba to purchase our agricultural products under the same credit terms as other nations.


Finally, lifting the embargo also represents an incredible opportunity for the American manufacturing industry, which could be exporting and doing business with Cuban farmers.


When I was in Cuba, I saw farmers driving 50 year-old Russian made tractors… and the first thing I thought was, “Wow, they must have some great mechanics!”


But I also saw it as a major opportunity to export agricultural equipment to new markets.


As I said before, my district is home to the world headquarters of Caterpillar and John Deere, and just imagine the business they could be doing with Cuban farmers if we made progress on this issue.


When skeptical Members of Congress see the benefits to their farmers and to their small businesses, I think they will also see the larger benefits of normalizing relations.


So once again, I’d like to thank the U.S. Agriculture Coalition for Cuba not just for hosting this event, but also for all of your important work on behalf of farmers and our agricultural economy.


Together, let’s all do our part to ensure that American farmers, manufacturers and small businesses are at the forefront of developing a lasting and beneficial trade relationship with Cuba.


Henry County Youth Services Bureau on People to People

HCYSB Director Amanda Dybek and YSB Foundation President Samantha Harker discuss an upcoming fundraiser during the February 10 edition of People to People on WKEI


Henry County Farm Bureau on Tuned IN

HCFB Manager Katie Laleman talks about various Ag programs during the February 10 edition of Tuned IN on WKEI 

2016 Farm Income Projected Down


An expert says the financial health of the farm sector is still strong, even with farm incomes projected to fall this year.

The USDA’s Gary Crawford visits with Rob Johansson in this report…

HCFB Announces 2016 Scholarship Opportunities


The Henry County Farm Bureau Foundation is offering four $1,000 scholarships.  In addition, Farm Bureau will be administering Wilbert & Carol Keppy Foundation Scholarships, five each in the amount of $2,500. 


Any student who qualifies under the guidelines may submit an application for either or both scholarships, but may only receive one scholarship for the year.  Applications will be judged separately.   

Applications must be received by or postmarked to the Henry County Farm Bureau® office by March 4, 2016.  The Foundation Board will make the final selections soon after the deadline.

Applications may be obtained on the Henry County Farm Bureau website www.henrycofarmbureau.org or by emailing kbhcfb@theinter.com

If you have any questions concerning the scholarship applications or the Farm Bureau Foundation, please contact the Henry County Farm Bureau at (309) 937-2411.

BHC Hosting 10 High Schools for Scholastic Bowl

BHC hosting 10 high schools Feb. 27 for Scholastic Bowl


Black Hawk College East Campus is proud to host the 2016 Lincoln Trail Conference Scholastic Bowl Meet from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.Saturday, Feb. 27.


This will be the fifth year Black Hawk College has hosted the event, which pits students from different high schools against each other to answer questions from a variety of categories, such as history, literature, mathematics, music and science.


More than 100 high school students from 10 schools in the Lincoln Trail Conference will be competing. The participating schools are Alwood, Annawan, Cambridge, Galva, Mercer County, Princeville, ROWVA, Stark County, West Central and Wethersfield.


The public is invited to attend. Admission is free. There will be nine, 45-minute rounds starting at 8:30 a.m. with awards at 5 p.m.


Black Hawk College East Campus is located at 26230 Black Hawk Road, Galva (five miles south of Kewanee). Visitors should park in the lot next to Building A. The event will be in Building B.


Salvation Army Info

The Kewanee branch of the Salvation Army has just completed an internal audit of their operations.

Linda Bolls is the Director of the Kewanee Salvation Army and she says it’s important for the community to know they can trust the operations at the Salvation Army…

Ms. Bolls adds that accountability is a major issue with the Salvation Army…

Ms. Bolls also notes that not only is this method the preferred method of doing business, it’s also a good feeling to know they have done the right thing…


La Leche Meeting





    The La Leche League of Henry and Stark Counties' reminds area residents that their next meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, February 10th at 7:00pm at OSF St. Luke Medical Center, Kewanee.  "Weaning & Nutrition" will be the evening's program.


    Are you a new or expectant mother planning to breastfeed?  Then you will want the information and encouragement that La Leche League provides. Leaders are experienced breastfeeding mothers, accredited by La Leche League International.  Whether you are pregnant or already nursing, La Leche has something for you - tips and techniques shared by mothers who have enjoyed a successful breastfeeding relationship.


    Malissa Campbell, La Leche Counselor, notes "We welcome new mothers, pregnant women and babies and children at our meetings."


    Services available through La Leche include monthly informational meetings, lending library, and phone help for breastfeeding problems or questions. 


    Please join La Leche on Wednesday, February 10th for "Weaning & Nutrition."  Remember all mothers and their babies are welcome.  For more information call Malissa at (309) 927-3027.



City of Kewanee Info

The City of Kewanee’s City Wide Services survey will soon be analyzed and made public.

The survey went out in late 2015 to a cross section of city residents to gauge their thoughts on various city services.

Mayor Steve Looney says that city leaders are looking forward to seeing those survey results…

Mayor Looney says he hopes that all respondents were brutally honest when answering the various survey questions…

Morthland Appointed Executive Dean for BHC Campus

Black Hawk College announced today (Tuesday, Feb. 9) the appointment of Betsey Morthland to the position of executive dean of East Campus.


Morthland has served as interim executive dean of East Campus since 2015. She joined the college in 2003, serving as a full-time professor in the allied health area for eight years before becoming interim dean of health sciences. She was named dean of health sciences in 2013. Morthland recently completed the Ph.D. program at Trident University, School of Health Sciences.


“Betsey is recognized for her outstanding leadership and dedication to Black Hawk College. She is well-respected and very dedicated to the college,” said Dr. Bettie Truitt, president of Black Hawk College. “We are very pleased to make this a permanent appointment.”


In addition to leading the East Campus, Morthland will serve on the President’s Cabinet (the district-wide leadership team), develop new educational and training programs, and work to grow enrollment.


“I’m excited about this opportunity. While serving as interim executive dean, I’ve gotten to know the East Campus faculty and staff better as well as many members of the area communities.


“We have a lot of opportunities in front of us, and I’m ready to get started,” Morthland said.


Truitt met with members of the search committee Feb. 5 to discuss the hiring process. The result of that meeting was a unanimous recommendation to appoint Morthland to the permanent position effective immediately.


In an e-mail to employees earlier today, Truitt thanked the search committee members for their efforts.


“The committee and I believe Betsey is the best one to continue the high-quality instruction and contributions to the community that the East Campus is known for,” Truitt said.




City Council Meeting

Kewanee City Council held a brief meeting on Monday night.

Mayor Steve Looney said that there wasn’t a lot on the agenda for that  meeting…


Mayor Steve Looney on People to People

Mayor Steve Looney talks about the City Survey during the February 9 edition of People to People on WKEI

WKEI Open Line

President Obama's visit to Illinois and global warming are two of the topics discussed during the February 9 edition of the Open Line on WKEI 

Salvation Army on Tuned IN

Kewanee Salvation Army Director Linda Bolls talks about the annual appreciation breakfast and an internal audit during the February 9 edition of Tuned IN on WKEI 

Il Home Sales in November

Illinois home prices see uptick in November; Sales dial back 

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. — Illinois home prices posted continued gains with November marking 39 consecutive months of year-over-year increases while sales slowed slightly amid tighter inventory, according to the Illinois Association of REALTORS®.

Statewide home sales (including single-family homes and condominiums) in November 2015 totaled 9,640 homes sold, down 3.5 percent from November 2014 when 9,989 homes sold.

The statewide median price in November 2015 rose to $165,000, a 6.5 percent gain over November 2014’s statewide median price of $154,900. The median is a typical market price where half the homes sold for more and half sold for less.

"Buyers are having to move fast to get the home they want in this market," said Mike Drews, GRI, president of the Illinois Association of REALTORS®  and a broker-associate with Charles B. Doss & Co. in Aurora. "Houses are selling at a brisk pace, even in the face of continued median price increases."

The time it took to sell a home in November averaged 67 days statewide, down from 74 days a year ago. Available housing inventory remained tight with 63,023 homes for sale, an 11.7 percent decline from November 2014 when there were 71,385 homes.

The monthly average commitment rate for a 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage for the North Central Region was 3.93 percent in November 2015, up from 3.78 percent the previous month, according to the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corp. In November 2014 it averaged 3.98 percent.

In the nine-county Chicago Primary Metropolitan Statistical Area, home sales (single family and condominiums) in November 2015 totaled 6,836, a decrease of 3.9 percent from the 7,115 sales in November 2014. The median price in November in the Chicago PMSA was $196,000, up 7.9 percent from $181,690 in November 2014.

“Median prices continued to increase even though sales declined on both a monthly and an annual basis,” said Geoffrey J.D. Hewings, director of the Regional Economics Applications Laboratory at the University of Illinois. “Much of this decline can be attributed to the significant drop in the sales of foreclosed properties.  Adjusted for inflation, house prices in Illinois have recovered to 91 percent of their November 2008 level; the comparable figure for Chicago is 84 percent.  At current rates of growth of prices, recovery will take between 12 and 18 months in both cases.”  

According to the data, thirty-four (34) Illinois counties reported sales gains for November 2015 over previous-year numbers, including Rock Island County, up 23.4 percent with 116 units sold; Peoria County, up 13.0 percent with 148 units sold; and Kendall County, up 3.6 percent with 143 units sold.

Sixty (60) counties recorded median price gains in November 2015 over previous-year numbers, including Sangamon County, up 14.4 percent to $134,450; Winnebago County, up 12.3 percent to $87,000; and Cook County, up 8.3 percent to $198,000.

The city of Chicago saw sales of 1,615 homes in November 2015, down 1.4 percent from last year when 1,638 homes were sold. The median price of a home in Chicago was $235,000, up 2.2 percent over November 2014 when the median price was $230,000.

"Median prices in the Chicago market posted a strong showing in November, boosted by a lower number of properties from which to choose," said Dan Wagner, president of the Chicago Association of REALTORS® and senior vice president for government relations for The Inland Real Estate Group. "To see inventories drop more than 16 percent year over year in Chicago clearly signals that buyers want to start the new year in a new home."

Sales and price information is generated by Multiple Listing Service closed sales reported by 28 participating Illinois REALTOR® local boards and associations including Midwest Real Estate Data LLC as of Dec. 7, 2015 for the period of Nov. 1 through Nov. 30. The Chicago PMSA, as defined by the U.S. Census Bureau, includes the counties of Cook, DeKalb, DuPage, Grundy, Kane, Kendall, Lake, McHenry and Will. (Note: Due to a technical difficulty with the multiple listing service upload, data for the Mid Valley Association of REALTORS® is not included in the November report.)

The Illinois Association of REALTORS® is a voluntary trade association whose 43,000 members are engaged in all facets of the real estate industry. In addition to serving the professional needs of its members, the Illinois Association of REALTORS® works to protect the rights of private property owners in the state by recommending and promoting legislation to safeguard and advance the interest of real property ownership.

Find Illinois housing stats, data and the University of Illinois REAL forecast at www.illinoisrealtor.org/marketstats.

Henry County Republicans to Meet

The Henry County Republicans announce plans for"Before the Ballot - Meet Your Republican Candidates" for Sunday, February 28, 2016 at the Kewanee Elks Lodge, 113 North Tremont St, Kewanee.
Area Republican candidates in contested elections for the March 15, 2016 primary will all participate in the event.  Those participating will include Congressional candidates - Patrick Harlan, Galesburg and Jack Boccarossa, Milan; Illinois House 71st district Tony McCombie, Savanna; Illinois House 74th district - Wayne Saline, Rio, Dan Swanson, Alpha and Mike DeSutter, Woodhull; Henry County State's Attorney candidates Matt Schutte, Orion and Brian Kerr, Geneseo; and Henry County Coroner candidates David Johnson, Cambridge and Melissa Watkins, Colona.  
The candidates will present brief opening comments and then answer questions presented by a moderator.  The event is from 2:30 - 4:30 pm.  The event is free and open to public.  Refreshments will be served.
Sample ballots, campaign literature and voting information will be available at the event.  


President Obama in Illinois on Wednesday

When President Barack Obama speaks before the Illinois General Assembly Wednesday, it will be something historic for the State.

That's according to Dr. Kent Redfield of the University of Illinois at Springfield who notes the last time something of this magnitude happened in Illinois was in the late 1970s…

While details of the speech remain uncertain at this time, it is likely the President will address the General Assembly at noon Wednesday.


Three police organizations endorse Sen Sam McCann over one of their own

State Senator Sam McCann's GOP opponent in next month's GOP primary proudly wears the uniform of the Illinois State Police and shows it prominently in campaign commercials. The presence of the ISP patch in Bryce Benton's ads appears to be backfiring with the Illinois Troopers Lodge 41, Illinois Fraternal Order of Police (FOP) State Lodge and Labor Council, and the Illinois Police Benevolent and Protective Association (PB&PA) of Illinois. have all endorsed Senator Sam McCann for re-election in Senate District 50. FOP President Chris Southwood says many in the State Police ranks are none too thrilled with Benton appearing in uniform in his tv ads...

McCann is also concerned about signs of a precedent...

The groups say McCann has a record of supporting law enforcement and his record of travel through the district shows he understands the needs of the communities they patrol. The three groups represent about 56,000 current and retired law enforcement officers. 

Cold and Flu Season

The cold and flu season remain in an active state and recent reports indicate that absences are up at many area school districts.

RaeAnn Tucker, Public Information Director with the Henry and Stark County Health Departments says that flu activity in particular is on the upswing these days…

Ms. Tucker adds that many of the other maladies that affect people at this time of year also seem to be on the increase…

Help With Taxes

With the tax filing season underway comes the reminder that there is some limited free tax return assistance available.

Michael Devine with the Internal Revenue Service in St Louis says that there are a couple of options…

A reminder to senior citizens that the Henry County Senior Citizen Center in Kewanee is offering AARP tax services at the Senior Center in Kewanee on February 24th, March 2nd and March 23rd.

There is a fee of $10 per person for the tax service and the tax service will be available by appointment only.

Further details by contacting the Senior Center in Kewanee.        

Illinois State Museum to Reopen



SPRINGFIELD – Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) Director Wayne A. Rosenthal announced today that an agreement has been reached to reopen the Illinois State Museum to the public. IDNR has worked closely with Governor Bruce Rauner’s office to develop a new, more sustainable model for operating the museum that will save about $1 million per year by closing two museum branches, consolidating human resources and accounting functions within IDNR, and by development of a new management and organizational structure. The museum will also seek to improve revenue by charging an admission fee, and increase fundraising efforts through an improved partnership with the Illinois State Museum Society.


The timeframe for reopening will depend upon the Illinois General Assembly taking up the amendatory veto (AV) of SB 317 and implementing the suggested changes. Governor Bruce Rauner’s AV asks that the authority to charge an admission fee be placed in statute so it can be implemented immediately upon the acceptance of the amendatory veto.


“If the General Assembly acts quickly on the Governor’s amendatory veto, we believe we could reopen the museum in a matter of weeks,” said IDNR Director Wayne Rosenthal. “Without the General Assembly’s support, it could take months to get the museum reopened.”


Michael Wiant will become interim director of the Illinois State Museum immediately. Rosenthal will ask the Illinois State Museum Board to begin the search for a new director.  Rosenthal also will ask the Museum and Society boards to call emergency meetings so work to reopen the museum can begin immediately. 


“With challenge comes great opportunity, and the museum staff is grateful for this

tremendous opportunity to continue to share the art, history and culture of Illinois with its citizens,” said Dr. Michael Wiant, Interim Director of the Illinois State Museum.



“I applaud the Governor's action as it creates a realistic path forward to reopening the Illinois State Museum,” said State Rep. Tim Butler (R-Springfield). “Reopening the museum is vital to our community and the plan announced today will provide for the long-term viability and growth of the museum system. I look forward to working with the community, legislators, and the Governor as we again open the doors on a wonderful asset of our State.”


“I am encouraged that the Governor took careful steps in adjusting this legislation while maintaining the ultimate goal of allowing our State Museum to resume its important work.  We all want to see those doors open to the public once again, and this compromise could make that happen,” said State Rep. Sara Wojcicki Jimenez (R-Springfield).


“The Illinois State Museum Society is looking forward to the challenge of becoming a stronger partner and playing a greater role in the success of the Illinois State Museum,” said Karen Westbrook of the Illinois State Museum Society.




Henry and Stark County Health Department on People to People

Director of Health Promotions RaeAnn Tucker talks about the flu season during the February 8th edition of People to People on WKEI  

WKEI Open Line

The Super Bowl and gasoline taxes are among the many items discussed during the February 8th edition of the Open LIne on WKEI  

OSF St Luke Medical Center on Tuned IN

 St Luke Marketing Director Carrie Boelens and Occupational Therapist Kelli Rashid talk about the Pelvic Floor Therapy Program during the February 8th edition of Tuned IN on WKEI  

January Weather in Illinois


January’s weather included wild temperature swings in Illinois.

Kim Howard visits with State Climatologist Jim Angel in this report

IDOT, Amtrak Reach Agreement




SPRINGFIELD – The Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) and Amtrak announced today that they have reached an agreement to keep in place existing service levels on state-supported routes at a savings to taxpayers and without having to raise fares on the downstate Illinois routes.




“Passenger rail plays a vital role in connecting our state’s great communities and institutions,” said Illinois Transportation Secretary Randy Blankenhorn. “This agreement preserves the service that riders have come to expect while saving taxpayer money and avoiding a fare increase for our downstate routes. We will continue to look out for the public’s best interests in future service agreements with Amtrak.”




The agreement will maintain the Amtrak schedule for the current fiscal year, which ends June 30, at a cost of $38.3 million to the state. In the previous fiscal year, IDOT paid $42 million for state-supported Amtrak service in Illinois.




To keep the schedule in place, IDOT negotiated the use of credits to lower its annual payment to Amtrak. The credits cover previous equipment upgrades IDOT paid for on Amtrak’s behalf, as well as earlier state investments to establish onboard Wi-Fi service. The state also negotiated a $2.7 million reduction from Amtrak’s original request for equipment maintenance for the year.




The state currently supports four daily round trips between Chicago and St. Louis on the Lincoln Service, two daily round trips between Chicago and Quincy on the Illinois Zephyr and Carl Sandburg lines, and two daily round trips between Chicago and Carbondale on the Illini and Saluki lines. Illinois and Wisconsin split the cost of operating seven daily round trips on the Hiawatha Line between Chicago and Milwaukee, with the Wisconsin Department of Transportation providing for 75 percent of the route’s cost.




“Our partnership with Illinois is one of the longest and the second-largest, growing to more than 2 million passengers a year,” said Jay Commer, Amtrak SVP/General Manager of the State-Supported Service Business Line. “Amtrak looks forward to working with the State of Illinois to continue to provide this important service to its residents.”




Click here for more information on IDOT and Amtrak or visit www.Amtrak.com.


ACLU: Illinois Wants Bipartisan Criminal Justice Reforms Now

As Illinois considers long-term changes to the state's criminal justice system, a civil rights watchdog says the majority of voters want reforms now. The American Civil Liberties Union of Illinois has released the results of a statewide poll taken before the holidays. 

It shows the overwhelming majority of voters believe the system is "broken." Ben Ruddell, criminal justice policy attorney with the ACLU, says that sentiment extends across party lines, with 76 percent of Illinois Democrats and 70 percent of Republicans agreeing that changes need to be made.

"People recognize that we're not spending our public safety dollars in a smart way," says Ruddell. "People understand that the current system is unsustainable, that our prisons are bursting at the seams."

The poll findings come as Gov. Bruce Rauner's State Commission on Criminal Justice and Sentencing Reform prepares to release a second round of reform suggestions next week.

The Commission has already recommended that probation be used instead of prison time for nonviolent drug offenders. According to the ACLU poll, there's substantial bipartisan agreement on such changes as reclassifying some drug-possession offenses to lower-level charges.

To Ruddell, this shows that voters are ahead of lawmakers on many of these issues.

"We've incarcerated people for a longer and longer period of time, and that hasn't lowered their recidivism rates," he says. "That hasn't stopped crime from happening. But it's come at great cost to the State of Illinois."

The commission meets again next Thursday, Feb. 18, and is expected to release more details on plans to reduce the state's prison population by 25 percent over the next decade.

Consolidations in Illinois

Supporters of four measures to help spur on local government consolidations say it will save taxpayers money.

Democratic Representative Jack Franks says there’s a reason property taxes are so high in Illinois and adds that there won’t be agreement on all the measures, but he’s confident lawmakers will find common ground on some and move those forward to save taxpayers money. Republican Representative Mark Batinick agrees this is the year to bring about consolidation reforms because it will free up needed resources to spend on things everyone agrees must be funded, like education and various social services.
Governor Bruce Rauner says the four introduced measures will address 8 of 27 recommendations generated by his Local Government Consolidation and Unfunded Mandates Taskforce.



El Nino and Drought


USDA meteorologist, Brad Rippey, notes how El Nino has contributed to reduced drought coverage across the nation since mid-October.

Illinois Film Industry in 2015



Kim Howard has the story…

City Council Agenda

1.               Call to Order

2.               Closed Session pursuant to Section 2(c)(2) of the Open Meetings Act to discuss collective bargaining and Section 2(c)(1) to discuss personnel

3.               Call to Order

4.               Pledge of Allegiance

5.               Approval of Minutes

6.               Presentation of Payroll, Bills and Claims

7.               Staff Reports

8.               Citizen Participation

9.               Business:

  1. Consideration of a Resolution to authorize the City Manager to execute a lease agreement with Henry County Humane Society – Kewanee Chapter for property located on Fisher Ave
  2. Consideration of a Resolution creating an Economic Development Planning Committee and a Community Development/Neighborhood Revitalization Planning Committee to assist the City


8.            Council Communications

9.               Announcements:        

10.            Adjournment

Storm Spotter Training

Kewanee Emergency Services Disaster Agency or ESDA will host a Storm Spotter Training session on Tuesday, March 1st at the Black Hawk College East Auditorium from 6:30-8:30 that evening.

Keith Edwards is the Director of Kewanee ESDA and he says the session is free of charge and open to anyone who has an interest in severe weather and it’s effects…

The training is especially valuable for coaches, lifeguards, managers, outside workers or anyone in charge of large groups.

Edwards adds that once the storm season arrives in the spring and summer, there will be no all clear signal once a severe storm has been spotted and the sirens have been activated…

Another area that needs to be addressed is the length of time the siren is on once it has been sounded.

The answer in short is…

Another question of concern is just how many warning sirens are there in Kewanee and do they sound off simultaneously…

For further information on the Storm Spotter Training on March 1st, contact Keith Edwards at the Kewanee Police Department.  

Kewanee ESDA on People to People

Kewanee ESDA Director Keith Edwards talks about severe storms and the March 1st Storm Spotter Training during the feb 5th edition of People to People on WKEI 


WKEI Open Line

Taxes and Gambling are discussed during the Feb 5th Open Line on WKEI

Representative Bustos Backing Valentine's for Veterans Initiative

Representative Cheri Bustos is in Rock Island today (Friday) meeting with students at Rock Island Academy and encouraging constituents to write Valentine's Day cards. These aren't just any Valentines however, they are specialized Valentine's intended to honor our best and bravest, our military veterans. If you would like to participate simply pick up an appropriate Valentine's Day Card, sign it with love for our local military veterans and send it to Representative Bustos' offices in either Rock Island, Peoria or Rockford by February 10th. Representative Bustos will then distribute the Valentine's Cards to area veterans on Valentine's Day, Sunday, February 14th. 

Early Care is Focus of Children's Dental Health Month in Iowa

While going to a dentist may not be at the top of a child's list of fun things to do, good oral health is vital to his or her overall health. 

Oral-health consultant Stephanie Chickering, an adviser to the Iowa Department of Public Health's I-Smile Dental Home Initiative, said it's a support system for families who can't otherwise afford care - and there are a lot of them in Iowa.

"We have just as many people in need as we did 20 or 30 years ago," she said. "I-Smile is a very important program because not every child has access to a dentist."

Seventy-one percent more Medicaid-enrolled children received care from a dentist last year than in 2005, yet the cost per child has only risen by $6.35 over the last decade. I-Smile creates a "dental home" for families to connect with a variety of health professionals and ensure children get the care they need.

Chickering said it's never too early to begin practicing preventive dental care.

"It is very important for children to see a dentist by age 1. If the child has serious tooth decay or other mouth problems, they have trouble eating, sleeping; they have trouble learning new skills at school, they have trouble at home," she said. "A child with a healthy mouth has a lot more confidence."

Since cavities can be present when a child's first teeth come in, she said, it's important to begin regular brushing as soon as teeth are visible and to begin flossing when the first teeth touch.

Chickering added that it's a common stereotype that people of all ages avoid the dentist because of fear - but that also can be cured by starting children young.

"It's important for children to see their dentist at an early age to help avoid any fear or misconception that one might have about visiting a dentist," she said. "The more a child is familiar with a dentist and a dentist's office, the less fear that will be present later in life."

More information about the I-Smile program is online at ismiledentalhome.iowa.gov.

Conservationists Celebrate Success of Eagles in Illinois

The population of eagles in Illinois has hit record numbers in recent years, and conservationists are celebrating the bird's success this weekend.

The Nature Conservancy will host Eagle Day on Saturday at the Emiquon Preserve and other sites in central Illinois. Jason Beverlin, deputy director of the Conservancy, said part of the idea is to help Illinois families understand how programs such as the federal Land and Water Conservation Fund help protect the birds' homes.

"We have experts on hand to talk a little bit about the importance of protecting these areas," he said. "There's things like the LWCF and other programs that are out there that help preserve these lands."

Beverlin said more than 200 eagles recently were spotted on the Emiquon Preserve, and he's hoping they will show up for Saturday's event. In nearby Havana, the World Bird Sanctuary will host a free show featuring large birds of prey.

Beverlin credited a decades-old ban on the use of the pesticide DDT and cleaning up Illinois waterways as some of the reasons for the bald eagle's resurgence. He said the birds have become a popular attraction in the state.

"It's a big, majestic-looking bird," he said. "If we're lucky on Eagle Day and we can see a bunch of them, when you see these numbers of them, I don't care who you are, you cannot help but be impressed by it."

All four Eagle Day events will be free. More information is online at ExperienceEmiquon.com.

Super Bowl Turf

Super Bowl 50 will be played on Sunday afternoon at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara CA and an NFL insider previews the Big Game from the field - as in the type and condition of the playing surface.

USDA’s Rod Bain visits with Andrew McNitt of Penn State University in this report…

Hog Capital BBQ Challenge

The Kewanee Chamber of Commerce has several activities on the schedule for 2016 and that includes a new feature that will be held during the weekend of June 17 and 18 which is also the Father’s Day weekend and also More on 34.

Dan Kuffel of Kewanee is the chairman for the Hog Capital BBQ Challenge which will be held on that June weekend and he says there will be some major competitors in town for that weekend…

The BBQ committee is also comprised of Charlie and Diane DeMay, Mark Mikenas, Michael Minx and Steven Welgat.       

Kuffel adds that the Kansas City BBQ Society is a group that is dedicated to serious competition and there will also be some other activities for that weekend as well…

Further information is available by contacting the Kewanee Chamber of Commerce.

37th District Senator Chuck Weaver in Kewanee

37th District State Senator Chuck Weaver was in Kewanee on Thursday and addressed several topics during WKEI’s People to People program.

Mr. Weaver took over the reins from former State Senator Darin LaHood who resigned the position in order to make a successful run for the position of United States Congressman for Illinois’ 18th congressional district.

Senator Weaver outlines his career as it pertains to his present position…

Senator Weaver says that practical business experience is huge in understanding the importance of a good business climate for Illinois…

Senator Weaver says that when it comes to the budget in Illinois, a budget with reform is a step in the right direction, but a budget without reform is simply more trouble…

Henry County Senior Citizen Center on Tuned IN

Senior Center Director Cassandra Schmoll addresses several issues facing the Center during the February 4th edition of Tuned IN on WKEI 

37th District Senator Chuck Weaver on People to People

State Senator Chuck Weaver addresses a variety of state issues during the February 4th edition of People to People on WKEI

WKEI Open Line February 4th 2016

A long lost tape of the very first super bowl is among the topics discussed during the February 4th edition of the Open LIne on WKEI

Senior Center Update

Despite the ongoing budget issues, the Henry County Senior Citizen Center in Kewanee continues to operate just about at full power.

Senior Center Director Cassandra Schmoll says there are some ways the public can help out…

Ms. Schmoll says that to go orders are also available and again, that will help the bottom line…

Moline Police Benevolent Raising Money with 'Moline Irish' T-Shirts

Moline Police Benevolent launched a new fundraising effort on Thursday, offering an Irish themed t-shirt well ahead of the St. Patrick's Day holiday. A release from the Moline Police Benevolent states that those interested can now purchase "Moline Irish" t-shirt by grabbing an order form off of the Moline Police Benevolent Facebook page, filling it out and sending it to the Moline Police Department along with a check for $15.00. Your T-Shirt will be available for pick up at the Moline Police Department on March 10th but you must place your order by February 26th. 

Kewanee LWV Map Amendment Sign-Up

The League of Women Voters of Kewanee will host a sign up for a petition to change the process of redistricting the Illinois General Assembly.

Carla Hillman of Kewanee is a Co-President of the League of Women Voters of the Kewanee area and she says there will be two sign up opportunities in February…


Ms. Hillman adds that if the amendment makes it to the ballot, voters will make a decision with their vote in the November elections…

Trump Needs to Improve Ground Game to Win Nomination

Professor Rick Hardy of Western Illinois University says that Donald Trump is far from out of it following his second place finish in the Iowa Caucus. Professor Hardy spoke with our Sean Patrick for Mid Morning in the Cities on Tuesday and says that it was the lack of a strong ground game and over-reliance on media buys that likely cost Trump a win in Iowa. 


Punxsutawny Phil Did Not See His Shadow, Early End to Winter

Pennsylvania's most famous groundhog did not see his shadow this morning, therefore predicting an early end to winter. Punxsutawney Phil and the top hat-wearing members of his inner circle revealed the forecast just before 7:30 a.m. Eastern Time. According to German legend, if a furry rodent sees his shadow on Feb. 2, winter will last an additional six weeks. If not, spring comes early.