Local News Archives for 2017-11

There were 10 fatalities on Illinois highways over the Thanksgiving holiday weekend

Illinois State Police Troopers investigated 505 crashes; including 10 fatal accidents. That’s one less highway death than last year over Thanksgiving. Master Sergeant Mike Link says in total, they handled more than 9,600 incidents from November 22nd through the 26th.




The State Police also wrote 440 tickets for not wearing a seatbelt, 81 tickets for distracted driving and made 89 DUI arrests.

Disney On Ice Opens Today At The TaxSlayer Center

Take adventure to new heights as Mickey, Minnie and your friends from around the Disney Kingdom come together when Disney On Ice presents Reach For The Stars comes to Moline from Nov. 30 to Dec. 3 for seven performances at the TaxSlayer Center. Tickets are on sale NOW.


Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse, Donald Duck and Goofy set the stage for a star-studded talent extravaganza as Disney On Ice presents Reach For The Stars. Unleash the magic with royal sisters Anna and Elsa and the hilarious snowman, Olaf, as they sing captivating songs like "Let it Go" and "In Summer." Life is the bubbles when Sebastian strikes up his hot crustacean band and the Daughters of Triton make a splash as they introduce Ariel in an '80s pop montage. Get tangled up with a chorus of harmless hooligans when they get a visit from the spirited Rapunzel and her charming ally, Flynn Rider, on their journey to see the floating lights. Relive a "Tale as Old as Time" when Belle opens her heart to new adventures and the Beast's enchanted objects take center stage for a dazzling skating spectacle inviting audiences to "Be Our Guest.".  


Experience unforgettable feats of strength and heart with the whole family whenDisney On Ice presents Reach For The Stars debuts your hometown!


Tickets for Disney On Ice presents Reach For The Stars start at just $17! All seats are reserved, and tickets are available at the TaxSlayer Center box office, by calling Ticketmaster at 800-745-3000 and online at Ticketmaster.com. For group rates and information, call Lindsey at 309-277-1356.

Henry County Issues Multiplier

Henry County has been issued a tentative property assessment equalization factor of 1.0000, according to Constance Beard, Director of the Illinois Department of Revenue.

The property assessment equalization factor, often called the “multiplier”, is the method used to achieve uniform property assessments among counties, as required by law.  This equalization is particularly important because some of the state’s 6,600 local taxing districts overlap into two or more counties (e.g. school districts, junior college districts, fire protection districts).  If there were no equalization among counties, substantial inequities among taxpayers with comparable properties would result.

State law requires property in Illinois to be assessed at one-third (1/3) of its market value.  Farm property is assessed differently, with farm homesites and dwellings subject to regular assessing and equalization procedures, but with farmland and farm buildings assessed according to standards based on productivity.

The equalization factor is determined annually for each county by comparing the sales price of individual properties sold over the past three years to the assessed value placed on those properties by the county supervisor of assessments/county assessor.

If this three-year average level of assessment is one-third of market value, the equalization factor will be one (1).  If the average level of assessment is greater than one-third of market value, the equalization factor will be less than one (1).  And if the average level of assessment is less than one-third of market value, the equalization factor will be greater than one (1).

Assessments in Henry County are at 33.33 percent of market value, based on sales of properties in 2014, 2015, and 2016.

The equalization factor currently being assigned is for 2017 taxes, payable in 2018.

Last year’s equalization factor for the county was 1.0000.

The tentative factor is subject to change (1) if the County Board of Review takes actions which significantly affect the county assessments or (2) if local officials or others can present data showing that the Department of Revenue’s estimates of the average level of assessments in the county should be adjusted.  A public hearing on the tentative multiplier will be held between 20 and 30 days after the tentative factor is published in a newspaper of general circulation within the county.

A change in the equalization factor does not mean total property tax bills will increase or decrease.  Tax bills are determined by local taxing bodies when they request money each year to provide services to local citizens.  If the amount requested by local taxing districts is not greater than the amount received in the previous year, then total property taxes will not increase even if assessments may have increased.

The assessed value of an individual property determines what portion of the tax burden a specific taxpayer will assume.  That individual’s portion of tax responsibility is not changed by the multiplier.

Peoria Farm Show Celebrating 10 Years

The annual Peoria Farm Show is celebrating 10 years. The event, at the Peoria Civic Center, has an antique tractor show that is organized by Jerry Tibbs, who says the annual show brings out the best of the collectors of antique machines.

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There will be a special marketing meeting Thursday morning at the show. The Stewart-Peterson Group will host the meeting and the group's Cathy Ekstrand says they'll discuss markets.

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There is no registration required to be a part of the market meeting. The Farm Show runs until Thursday afternoon and organizers encourage attendees to vote for their favorite antique tractors while they are there.

Holiday Package Delivery Warnings

Christmas shopping is in high gear for many, and some thieves are taking advantage of those having packages delivered to their homes. Local police are warning of incidents in which online purchases have been delivered to some area homes, only to be stolen shortly after by thieves waiting for the packages while the residents are away. One of the biggest things you can do as a shopper, according to Madison County Sheriff John Lakin, is to not broadcast your schedule for any and all to see.

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Lakin also says try to make sure any packages that are delivered are left outside for as little time as possible.

Illinois teachers push for PE

Illinois teachers are responding to the reduction in mandatory physical education in Illinois Schools. Bridget Shanahan with the Illinois Education Association (IEA) says the union has launched the “Keep Learning, Keep Moving” campaign to preserve daily physical education (P.E.) classes. She says it isn't just about fitness alone.....
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Shanahan says some districts were already out of bounds with state law before Governor Rauner signed legislation in August that allowed school boards to have kids in p.e. as little as three days a week...
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With 135,000 members, the IEA is the state's largest union for educators. 

Abilities Plus Achiever of the Month for October



Diane Lahr of LaFayette received recognition as Achiever of the Month for October at Abilities Plus.  Diane received this honor because of positive work on goals, her helpfulness toward others, and willingness to complete extra tasks.

IL Home Sales Up in October

 Statewide home sales shifted back into positive territory in October following several months of declines and median prices continued to make year-over-year gains, according to Illinois REALTORS®.

Statewide home sales (including single-family homes and condominiums) in October 2017 totaled 12,796 homes sold, up 0.3 percent from 12,764 in October 2016.

The statewide median price in October was $185,000, up 3.9 percent from October 2016, when the median price was $178,000. The median is a typical market price where half the homes sold for more and half sold for less.

"The housing market cooled in some areas with the weather in October, but the underlying desire by buyers to get into a new home remains a constant," said Matt Difanis, ABR, CIPS, GRI, president of Illinois REALTORS® and broker-owner of RE/MAX Realty Associates in Champaign. "The continued drop in the average time it takes to sell a home in the state coupled with an increase in median prices over last October shows that even in what's traditionally a slower time many people are willing to wade into the market and make aggressive offers.”

The time it took to sell a home in October averaged 54 days, down from 60 days a year ago. Available housing inventory totaled 57,911 homes for sale, a 10.4 percent decline from October 2016 when there were 64,601 homes on the market.

The monthly average commitment rate for a 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage was 3.90 percent in October 2017, an increase from 3.81 percent the previous month, according to the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corp. In October 2016, it averaged 3.47 percent.

In the nine-county Chicago Primary Metropolitan Statistical Area (PMSA), home sales (single-family and condominiums) in October 2017 totaled 8,994 homes sold, up 0.3 percent from October 2016 sales of 8,969 homes. The median price in October 2017 was $222,500 in the Chicago PMSA, an increase of 3.5 percent from $215,000 in October 2016.

“While consumer sentiment about the economy appears positive, there is still hesitation about the housing market,” said Geoffrey J.D. Hewings, director of the Regional Economics Applications Laboratory at the University of Illinois. “However, mortgage applications have increased and prices and sales in both Illinois and Chicago increased on an annual basis, a trend that is forecast to continue into 2018.”

According to the data, forty-three (43) Illinois counties reported sales gains for October 2017 over previous-year numbers, including Rock Island County, up 19.5 percent with 135 units sold; DuPage County, up 5.3 percent with 1,066 units sold; and Madison County, up 1.0 percent with 304 units sold. Fifty-five (55) counties showed year-over-year median price increases including Peoria County, up 13.8 percent to $119,500; Lake County, up 11.1 percent to $227,750; and Sangamon County, up 5.0 percent to $132,450.

The city of Chicago saw year-over-year home sales hold steady in October 2017 with 2,047 sales, compared to 2,046 in October 2016. The median price of a home in the city of Chicago in October 2017 was $262,000, up 0.7 percent compared to October 2016 when it was $260,100. 

“Steady seems to be the name of the game, and this fall is proving no different,” said Rebecca Thomson, president of the Chicago Association of REALTORS® and Vice President of Agent Development at @properties. “Although inventory continues to tighten, we now see an increase in new construction that is fueling price gains, particularly in the condo market. As we enter the holiday season, between the healthy economy and strong demand, these trends show little signs of slowing down.”

Sales and price information are generated by Multiple Listing Service closed sales reported by 28 participating Illinois REALTOR® local boards and associations including Midwest Real Estate Data LLC data as of Nov. 7, 2017 for the period Oct. 1 through Oct. 31, 2017. 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.

Illinois REALTORS® is a voluntary trade association whose more than 47,000 members are engaged in all facets of the real estate industry. In addition to serving the professional needs of its members, Illinois 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.illinoisrealtors.org/marketstats.     

Central Illinois Arborist: Start Planning Now To Take Down Ash Trees

The emerald ash borer, or EAB, has infected ash trees across the country and it has essentially wiped out the ash tree population in Illinois. Steve Lobb is the arborist in Clinton, Illinois and he says if you have an ash tree, it's almost certainly infected with EAB and could soon become a problem.

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While treatment options are available, Lobb points out they are costly and the effectiveness is unproven.

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Lobb says when an ash tree dies, it becomes brittle quickly and can be a dangerous tree. He implores anyone with an ash tree to start the planning process for likely bringing it down before it becomes a danger to your home and property. 

Last Call For Christmas Parade Entries



Plans are well underway for Kewanee’s 12th Annual Lighted Christmas Parade,  Sunday,   December 3rd at 5:00 p.m..  We would like to invite you to be a part of this great evening of fun.  The Lighted Parade will be paired up with the Lighting of Windmont Park.  

 Please consider featuring your place of business, church, organization or school in our Christmas parade.  We encourage you to go “all out” decorating a float and making this a great success.  (If you need advice on how to light your float or vehicle call us for some suggestions.)  Santa will also be making an official visit to Kewanee in the parade.  The  parade will begin in the parking lot of the former Tenney Bowl and proceed on to McClure St. and  disband at Windmont Park to kick off the lighting ceremony.

 Please let us know if you would help make this a success by filling out the entry form and mail or fax back to the Kewanee Chamber of Commerce 309-852-2176 by Friday, December 1st.  If you have any questions please call the Kewanee Chamber of Commerce 309-852-2175.


BCBSIL And OSF Reach Agreement

OSF HealthCare has reached an agreement with Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois (BCBSIL) to ensure patients have uninterrupted access to extensive high quality, in-network, medical care and services, including pediatric, neurologic, and cardiovascular care. All OSF HealthCare hospitals and services will continue to be in network now and in the New Year. 


“We are pleased to have finalized a continuation of OSF HealthCare’s relationship with BCBSIL that ensures patients and families have in-network access to the treatments and services they need,” said Randy Billings, senior vice president of population health.We realize this situation caused concern for our patients and families, and appreciate the support and patience of local businesses and community leaders.”


OSF HealthCare hospitals and providers are in-network caregivers for BCBSIL today, and will remain in network moving forward into 2018. This includes BCBSIL Commercial, PPO, EPO, and Blue Choice products that BCBSIL terminated previously.  For a complete listing, visit www.osfhealthcare.org/blue.  


OSF HealthCare has been recognized by Blue Cross and Blue Shield for quality and safety, earning several distinctions including Blue Distinction Total Care and BlueStar Status.


OSF HealthCare is ranked in the top 20 percent of large health care systems in the country by Truven, an independent health care analytics research company and OSF HealthCare Children’s Hospital of Illinois has been recognized by U.S. News & World Report among the top 50 pediatric facilities in the U.S. in two pediatric specialties.


Additionally, OSF HealthCare has been recognized as one of the Most Wired systems in the country for six years in a row, and has been named a Top ACO by Becker’s. 

World Aids Day December 1st

    The Henry and Stark County Health Departments announce that the 29th annual observance World AIDS Day will be commemorated on December 1, 2017.  World AIDS Day aims to increase awareness of the magnitude of the HIV/AIDS epidemic globally and in the US.


    World AIDS day is about increasing awareness, fighting prejudice and improving education.  The World AIDS Day Theme for 2017 is “Increasing Impact through Transparency, Accountability, and Partnerships."  World AIDS Day 2017 is an opportunity to harness the power of social change to put people first and close the gap.  Ending the AIDS epidemic by 2030 is possible, but only by focusing attention, partnering and achieving the goal of giving all people access to HIV prevention, treatment, care and support services.  Making sure no one is being left behind.


    World AIDS Day 2017 Goals include:


    * Closing the HIV testing gap by helping the 19 million people who are unaware of their HIV-positive status to get support.


    * Closing the treatment gap, so all 35 million people living with HIV will have access to life-saving medicine.


    * Closing the gap in access to medicines for children, so all children living with HIV will be able to access treatment, not just the 24% who have access today.


    RaeAnn Tucker, Health Department Director of Health Promotion adds, "To give people a more national perspective, according to the most recent CDC data, approximately 1.2 million people in the United States are living with HIV and nearly 1 in five of those are not aware that they are infected. Also nearly 50,000 Americans become newly infected with HIV each year and more than 14,000 people with AIDS die each year in the US.  Yet, studies show that some of the populations with the highest rates of infection either do not recognize their risk or believe that HIV is no longer a serious health threat.  And research indicates that individuals who are complacent about the threat of HIV are more likely to practice risky behaviors."


     For more information on the Department's confidential AIDS/HIV testing and counseling, educational materials, and AIDS prevention services call the Health Department at (309) 852-0197 or 792-4011 (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.


Controversial documentary to be shown across Illinois

The historic Egyptian Theater in downtown DeKalb will be the place to be tonight as the venue hosts one of the first of several local screenings throughout Illinois of the controversial documentary entitled, “Food Evolution.” The film, which highlights the debate over G-M-Os in food, has received rave reviews from media outlets such as the New York Times and viewer-rated venues such as Rotten Tomatoes. In the DeKalb audience, and part of a panel that will follow the screening, will be Kevin Folta, an Illinois-native who now heads the horticulture department at the University of Florida;

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In a commentary for the online Huffington Post, Folta said the “Food Evolution” documentary provides viewers with both sides of the debate over genetic engineering;

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The screening in northern Illinois kicks off a series of more than a dozen screenings of “Food Evolution” that will take place across Illinois in the months ahead.

Adding grain drying capacity in Illinois means expanding natural gas infrastructure

Expansion of natural gas infrastructure remains an important issue for the Grain and Feed Association of Illinois. If natural gas infrastructure expands so too does grain drying capacity, which is a big issue for much of Illinois this fall says the organization’s executive vice president Jeff Adkisson.
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Adkisson says there are some grain elevators that want to add grain drying capacity, but are limited because they would have to pay the utility company to expand the natural gas infrastructure.

Aunt Marthas and the Food Pantry on People to People

Lisa Janey and Clete Winkelman are the guests

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Abilities Plus Plans Annual Open House

Abilities Plus is preparing for the Christmas season with their annual holiday open house.


The event will take place on Sunday, Dec. 3 from 1 to 3 p.m. at 1100 N. East St. in Kewanee.  The public is invited and welcome to attend.  The open house features a bake sale, raffle items, complimentary refreshments, and the chance to purchase collectibles, holiday décor, and hand decorated evergreen wreaths.


Raffle items this year include a 60” x 75” Jewel Box Quilt, a Rick Riordan autographed book & t-shirt, a Lisa’s Place gift certificate & gift basket, an “I Love You” barn board painting, a Santa barn board painting, a set of embroidered daily dish towels, a set of embroidered Harley Davidson pillow cases, a Batman play set & accessories, and a 162 piece Stanley Mechanics Tool Set. Winners need not be present to win.  Tickets are $1 each or 6 for $5.  Winners will be drawn at 3:00 p.m. on December 3rd.


Abilities Plus Resale Shop Volunteers have gathered items throughout the year and will sell this unique collection of gifts, holiday décor, antiques, and specialty items at the event.


Agency tours will be available.  Evergreen wreaths decorated by clients in the Abilities Plus work services program will be ready for purchase for $15, and wreath stands are available for an additional $3.  Those wanting to order a wreath or schedule an alternative pick up time can contact Abilities Plus at (309) 852-4626.


All proceeds from the open house help fund programs that benefit children and adults with delays and disabilities in Henry, Stark, and western Bureau Counties.

Health Dept Celebrates Home Health Month


    The Henry and Stark Health Department announces that November is National Home Health Care Month. Tabatha Eiselstein, MSN RN Director of Home Care with the Health Department, believes this is a great way to focus attention on the thousands of dedicated professionals who have made it their work to enable people to stay in the comfort of their own home and get needed medical and personal cares.


    "Every year National Home Health Month offers us an opportunity to remind each of us of the importance of these services to our aging and recuperating population.  Our dedicated nurses, therapists, and aides make the difference between life and death on a daily basis and are the very personification of 'caring,' the one word summary of the Golden Rule." Home health makes the best financial sense as well.  Based on demography and dollars, experts agree that the destiny of health care lies in the home.  There is a growing demand for home care as the 78 million baby boomers continue to age.


    Founded in 1966, the Health Department has been providing home health services to this area's homebound patients and their families for over 51 years.  In honor of National Home Health Care Month the Health Department notes the following facts:


* It costs Medicare nearly $2000 per day for a typical hospital stay and $559 per day for a typical nursing home stay.  Meanwhile, Home Health Care costs just $44 a day on average.


* Nearly 12 million Americans now rely on Home Health Care.  Medicare covers only 3.5 million of them.


* Home Care keeps families together.


* Home Care promotes healing and prevents infection.


* Statistics show home health patients get better faster in their own homes


* Home Care improves quality of life and has been proven to extend life.


* Home Care is the cost-effective health care solution.

In 2016, home care providers traveled 7.6 billion miles to deliver services.


     Health Department home health services include: skilled nursing and home health aide visits; homecare assistant services; and speech, physical, and occupational therapies.


     The Health Department still believes is where you want to be when you're recuperating from an illness or injury.  Even with all the challenges of Medicare and insurance companies, the Health Department home health staff remains committed to providing quality home health care, as we've done for so many years.  To arrange homecare services, call the Health Department at (309) 852-0492.  Or, for more information visit our website at www.henrystarkhealth.com or find us on Facebook at Henry and Stark County Health Departments or Follow Us on Twitter.


Kewanee City Council to Choose New Council Member

Kewanee City Council members will begin the process tonight of naming a replacement for former Council Member DeAnn Schweitzer who resigned her position effective October 31st.

City Manager Gary Bradley says that several citizens have stepped forward to declare their intent to serve in that position…

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Mr. Bradley says that the Mayor and Council members will make the decision and he also outlines the process in general …

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State Climatologist Jim Angel gives an update on the weather for November and more

Let’s check in with State Climatologist Jim Angel on the month of November and the outlook for December.



Illinois Treasurer Mike Fredrichs is announcing the latest online auction

Illinois Treasurer Mike Fredrichs is announcing the latest online auction…just in time for the holidays. 


Unclaimed property up for grabs starting Monday include a Ryne Sandburg baseball card, a 1957 one-dollar silver certificate error note and a 14 karat multi colored diamond necklace and bracelet set. treasurer Fredrichs says the auctions are always a hit.




The auction runs from November 27th through December 1st. preview the items online at Illinois treasurer dot gov.

Officials Urge Safe Thanksgiving

As thousands of additional motorists prepare to visit loved ones and celebrate Thanksgiving, the Illinois Department of Transportation and Illinois State Police are reminding drivers and passengers to Click It or Ticket to reduce the risk of traffic-related injuries.

“Thanksgiving is one of the busiest travel seasons of the year, and with that comes an increase for crashes and related injuries, especially for those who are unbuckled,” said Priscilla Tobias, Director of IDOT’s Office of Program Development. “IDOT is committed to supporting the annual Click It or Ticket mobilization to help ensure friends and family members arrive at their Thanksgiving celebrations safely. Help us make zero fatalities a reality by buckling up and obeying traffic laws.”

IDOT is partnering with the Illinois State Police and more than 150 law enforcement agencies to increase patrols and checkpoints throughout the state. The enforcement effort began Nov. 17 and runs through the early morning hours of Nov. 27. A high concentration of patrols will occur between 9 p.m. and 6 a.m., when seat-belt use declines and a higher percentage of alcohol-related crashes and fatalities occur.

Though the seat-belt usage rate in Illinois in 2016 was 93 percent, those who travel unbuckled represent a large percentage of traffic-related fatalities. Of the 1,078 people who died in 2016 crashes, only 57 percent were wearing their seat belt. Illinois law requires that all vehicle occupants wear seat belts. Not wearing a seat belt drastically increases the occupant’s risk of being injured or killed in the event of a crash.

“Thousands of motorists will be traveling across Illinois roadways this Thanksgiving weekend. For the safety of all motorists, the Illinois State Police will focus patrol efforts on the Fatal Four violations, the most common causes of fatal traffic crashes: DUI, speeding, occupant restraint and distracted driving,” said Illinois State Police Director Leo P. Schmitz. “Watch your speed, buckle up, keep your eyes on the road, and please move over or slow down for any vehicle on the side of the road with emergency or hazard lights activated.”

Visit BuckleUpIllinois.org for more information about Click It or Ticket.

Thanksgiving Meal Costs A Bit Less This Year

If you’re feeding a crew of 10 for Thanksgiving, you’ll likely pay the lowest price since 2013 and second-lowest since 2011.

The American Farm Bureau Federation’s 32nd annual Thanksgiving price survey showed the average cost of this year’s feast at $49.12, compared to 2016’s average of $49.87.

The big-ticket item – a 16-pound turkey – came in at $22.38, or about $1.40 per pound. That represents a decrease of 2 cents per pound compared to last year.

The shopping list for Farm Bureau’s informal survey included turkey, bread stuffing, sweet potatoes, rolls with butter, peas, cranberries, a veggie tray, pumpkin pie with whipped cream, coffee and milk, all in quantities sufficient to serve a family of 10.

Foods showing the largest decreases included milk, rolls, pie shells, sweet potatoes and peas. Items that increased modestly included whipping cream, cubed bread stuffing, pumpkin pie mix, fresh cranberries and a 1-pound veggie tray.

About 140 volunteer shoppers checked prices at grocery stores in 39 states for this year’s survey. Farm Bureau volunteer shoppers are asked to look for the best possible prices, without taking advantage of special promotional coupons or purchase deals, such as spending $50 and receiving a free turkey. The AFBF Thanksgiving dinner survey was first conducted in 1986.

District 229 Financial Update

Residents of Kewanee Community School District 229 will likely see a slight decrease in the assessed valuation for the current year.

The amount is minute and should not have an appreciable effect on taxpayers in the district.

District 229 Supt of Schools Dr. Chris Sullens says the state of Illinois remains in a bit of flux when it comes to financial issues to schools…

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Dr. Sullens adds that right now, it’s a mixed bag from the state when it comes to promised funds…

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Bid for Your Holiday Gifts

Haven’t found the perfect item just yet for your holiday shopping? Maybe you can get that one of a kind gift by bidding online during the state’s unclaimed item auction. There are 450 things to bid on and Treasurer Mike Frerichs says you can find some pretty special stuff.

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The items are on the Treasurer’s website and the auction runs all next week.

IEMA: Don't wait for winter to be ready for winter

The Illinois Emergency Management Agency says don’t wait for winter to be prepared for winter—especially when you’re on the road. Certain parts of Illinois saw some snow showers and wind last week and conditions on the road can deteriorate in a hurry, even in November says IEMA’s Patti Thompson.
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Thompson advise to have an emergency kit for your home as well. Tips are available at “ready.illinois.gov.”The first official day of winter is December 21st. 

USDA Talks Deep Frying Turkey, Using Stuffing

Deep frying a turkey and properly utilizing stuffing this Thanksgiving season is one of the most common questions coming to USDA health officials this year. Sarah Litchman with the USDA food safety division says deep frying a turkey can be dangerous if done improperly. She has these tips if you are a trying it out for the first time this year.

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Litchman says this year they are getting a lot of questions regarding stuffing and indicates the recommendation is to not stuff the turkey while your cooking and don't stuff it the night before either.

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Visit foodsafety.gov for all food safety this Thanksgiving season. There you'll find all the certified USDA recommendations for your holiday cooking plans. 

Avoid Holiday Food Illness

Don’t give the gift of food poisoning this holiday season. The Illinois Department of Public Health says that 48 million people will get sick this year from a food borne illness. IDPH’s Melaney Arnold says that there are a few things to think about at home to keep everyone healthy.

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Leftovers should only be kept for a few days after your big dinner and they should always be stored in the refrigerator.

Click It or Ticket Campaign in Full Gear


The Thanksgiving holiday weekend is generally one of the busiest travel holiday periods of the year.  As millions of travelers take to Illinois roadways to celebrate Thanksgiving, Illinois State Police (ISP) District 7 Commander, Lieutenant Jason LoCoco, reminds motorists to drive safely. 

Drivers can do their part to ensure they, and their passengers, experience safe travels.  Simply keeping your eyes on the road, watching your speed, buckling your seatbelt, and refraining from driving after consuming alcoholic beverages can reduce your chances of being involved in a traffic crash. 

The ISP will be doing our part to help keep the roadways safe from dangerous drivers.  Troopers will be on the watch for drivers exceeding speed limits and those who choose to drive distracted.  Along with regular patrols, we will also have additional patrols out to help remove intoxicated drivers from Illinois roadways. Remember, buzzed driving is drunk driving.

The ISP is joining the Illinois Department of Transportation and other law enforcement agencies to remind motorists to Click It or Ticket.  The Click It or Ticket campaign officially started on November 17.  The goal of this high-visibility effort is to reduce motor vehicle crashes and resulting injuries and fatalities.  Stepped-up patrols and seat belt enforcement zones will be seen throughout the state through November 27.

“Troopers have seen first-hand the effects of motorists who choose poor or dangerous driving habits, and the aftermath,” states Lieutenant Jason LoCoco, “This truly motivates troopers to enforce traffic laws that will keep all motorists, including their own families, safe throughout this highly traveled holiday.”

Our goal is to ensure safe travels for you and your loved ones over the Thanksgiving holiday weekend. If you find yourself behind the wheel, please watch the road and your speed, buckle up, and do not drive intoxicated.  

AAA Predicts Heavy Holiday Traffic

 AAA projects 50.9 million Americans will journey 50 miles or more away from home this Thanksgiving, a 3.3 percent increase over last year. The 2017 holiday weekend will see the highest Thanksgiving travel volume since 2005 with 1.6 million more people taking to the nation’s roads, skies, rails and waterways compared with last year AAA and INRIX, a global transportation analytics company, predict travel times in the most congested cities in the U.S. during the holiday week could be as much as three times longer than the optimal trip. The Thanksgiving holiday travel period is defined as Wednesday, Nov. 22 to Sunday, Nov. 26.

In Illinois, nearly 2.7 million people will be traveling for the holiday weekend, which is a 3.1 percent increase from 2016. Of those travelers, nearly 2.4 million will be driving (up 2.9 percent from 2016) and 207,000 will be flying to their destination (a 5.4 percent increase from 2016). Gas prices across Illinois are on average $2.74, up from $2.48 last month and up from $2.09 a year ago.
In Indiana, 1.1 million people are expected to travel, which is up 3.4 percent from 2016. Of those travelers, over one million are expected to travel by auto (3.2 percent increase) and about 89,000 by air (5.9 percent increase). In Indiana, gas prices are on average $2.70 per gallon, up from $2.43 a month ago and up considerably from $1.95 this time last year. The average price nationally for gas is $2.56.

“Thanksgiving kicks off the start of what will likely become the busiest holiday season in more than a decade,” said Vicky Evans, Assistant Vice President, Travel Sales Development, AAA – The Auto Club Group. “A strong economy and labor market are generating rising incomes and higher consumer confidence. These factors should help fuel consumer spending and generate a strong finish for the travel industry this year.”

By the Numbers: 2017 Thanksgiving Travel Forecast

· Road trip ready: 89 percent of all travelers –45.5 million– are planning a Thanksgiving road trip, an increase of 3.2 percent over last year.

· Cheaper airfare: Consumers will pay the cheapest average airfare since 2013.

· Fuller skies: The largest growth in holiday travel is by air travel, at 5 percent, with 3.95 million travelers.

· Alternate travel: Travel by trains and other modes (including buses and cruises) is expected to increase 1.1 percent to 1.48 million travelers.

· Fueling up: Drivers will pay the highest Thanksgiving gas prices since 2015.

· Holiday high: Car rental daily rates will hit a five-year holiday high at $70/day due to an increase in domestic demand and cost of newer vehicles

 Lockouts, flat tires to strand 330,000 motorists this Thanksgiving
AAA expects to rescue more than 330,000 motorists this Thanksgiving weekend, with the primary reasons being lockouts, flat tires and battery-related issues. AAA recommends motorists have their vehicles inspected by a trusted repair shop, such as one of the more than 7,000 AAA Approved Auto Repair facilities across North America. Members can download the AAA Mobile app, visit AAA.com or call 1-800-AAA-HELP to request roadside assistance.

Travelers Beware and Advised: Traffic Hotspots and Best and Worst Times to Hit the Road
Based on historical and recent travel trends for the holiday week, INRIX, in collaboration with AAA, predicts drivers will experience the greatest amount of congestion during the early evening – as early as Tuesday of Thanksgiving week - as commuters mix with holiday travelers. At its peak, drivers on Chicago’s interstates, for example, could see a delay of nearly 300 percent over the optimal trip.

Winter Weather Travel: Preparedness is the Key

 As bitter cold creeps into Illinois, the state’s frontline weather responders remind motorists that preparation can help take the bite out of winter this season. The Illinois Department of Transportation, Illinois State Police and the Illinois Tollway encourage motorists to prepare for wintry driving conditions and remember: “Winter Weather – Get it Together.” 
“Winter weather can be unpredictable in Illinois, but preparation today will make a safer tomorrow,” said Illinois Transportation Secretary Randy Blankenhorn. “Drivers should start easing into those winter driving behaviors now. Our snow-and-ice teams are ready, as always, to make this a safe, successful winter driving season.” 

Throughout the winter, especially during adverse conditions, motorists should practice basic winter driving skills and build extra time into their schedules. As part of the “Winter Weather – Get it Together” campaign, all travelers are encouraged to follow these simple rules and tips during the coming months: 

• Always wear a seat belt. It’s the law in Illinois.  
• Slow down. Slower speeds, slower acceleration, slower steering and slower braking all are required in winter driving conditions. 
• Drop it and drive. Put down the handheld devices – it, too, is the law in Illinois.  
• Don’t crowd the plow. A snowplow operator’s field of vision is restricted. You may see
            them, but they may not see you.
• Avoid using cruise control in snow and ice. 
• Watch out for black ice on roads that appear clear but can be treacherous. 
• Be especially careful approaching intersections, ramps, bridges and shady areas. All are prone to icing.
• Do not travel during bad weather unless absolutely necessary. If you do have to make a
trip, check the forecast and make sure someone is aware of your travel route. Consider taking public transportation if it is an option. 
• Prepare an emergency kit that contains jumper cables, flares or reflectors, windshield washer fluid, a small ice scraper, traction material, blankets, non-perishable
            food and a first-aid kit.
• Carry a cell phone and a car charger in case of emergency.
• Follow Scott’s Law. Slow down and move over for stopped emergency, construction and maintenance vehicles.
• For a list of suggested maintenance for your car, visit the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration’s winter driving website.
• For more winter driving tips, check out this short IDOT video.

"Winter weather causes extremely dangerous driving with black ice and white out conditions," said ISP Director Leo P. Schmitz. "Plan ahead by checking your windshield wipers, vehicle fluid levels, proper tire inflation and tread depth. Remember to avoid unnecessary lane changes and as always, reduce your speed and increase following distances. Don't crowd the plow. Give them room to work. A snowplow operator's field of vision is restricted. You may see them, but they may not see you."

Before leaving the house, drivers are encouraged to check GettingAroundIllinois.com for continually updated information on winter road conditions, weather radars, road and bridge closures and other traffic-related information. The site was recently redesigned in a mobile-friendly format providing a more convenient way to access important information quickly. The winter road conditions map gives travelers the ability to zoom in to their location, travel route or destination and get real-time road conditions. At any time, motorists can check travel conditions by calling 1-800-452-IDOT (4368) or 1-800-TOLL-FYI.

“Winter weather can make driving challenging for our customers, so our priorities are to keep the roads clear and provide roadway information to help drivers safely reach their destinations,” said Illinois Tollway Executive Director Greg Bedalov. “In return, we ask our customers to protect themselves and our workers by slowing down and increasing their distance from other vehicles, particularly during storms and severe weather.” 
For the upcoming winter, IDOT will have more than 1,700 trucks available for deployment to plow almost 16,000 miles of roads statewide, the equivalent of driving from Springfield to the tip of South America and back. Last year, IDOT spread almost 305,000 tons of salt statewide. This winter, salt domes throughout the state are at capacity, with more than 550,000 tons on hand. Four hundred brand-new snow plows are ready to be deployed throughout the state. The new trucks are more energy efficient and will reduce air pollution.

The Illinois Tollway is prepared to deploy its fleet of 196 snowplows for winter storms and has stockpiled more than 87,000 tons of salt to keep its 294-mile system of five tollways clear and safe for its 1.6 million daily drivers.
Please follow IDOT on Facebook and Twitter for updates on travel throughout the winter.

Deep Southern Illinois Takes Another Jobs Hit

A major employer in deep southern Illinois is going to lay off 170 employees. Honeywell is idling a plant that converts uranium ore into uranium hexafluoride or UF6, a key ingredient in the enrichment of uranium that is used in nuclear power plants. The facility in Massac County is the only place in the United States where that work is done. Honeywell says a declining worldwide need for UF6 is causing the layoffs. According to a press release the plant will move to an idling phase and will be ready to restart if the UF6 market improves.

Durbin and Duckworth want Rauner to weigh in on GOP tax plans

U.S. Senators Dick Durbin and Tammy Duckworth are calling on Govenor Rauner to publically weigh-in on the Republican tax plans in the House and Senate and how these plans would impact Illinois families. The House passed its version last week while the Senate is working out its own version. Speaking Thursday, prior to the House vote in favor of the GOP tax plan, Rauner was staying mostly mum on the subject...
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Durbin and Duckworth say the House and Senate bills would finance massive tax cuts for the largest corporations and wealthiest Americans by raising taxes on millions of middle-income families and eliminating vital tax breaks for people in Illinois.

Enrollment Still Open for Medicare

There is still time left to sign up or enroll for Medicare. The process can be a bit daunting at times for seniors so the Department on Aging has more than 300 sites around Illinois offering free trained counselors to help in the process. Aging’s Sandy Leith says to start online at Medicare dot Gov and then sit down with a counselor if you still have questions on what plan is best for you.

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Seniors looking for a list of the sites where they can meet with someone should start at Illinois dot Gov slash Aging. The sign up period closes on December seventh.

llinois corn touting more uses than just ethanol

Corn can produce anything crude oil can. That's what the Illinois corn industry is touting. And Rodney Weinzierl with the Illinois Corn Growers Association says it's more than just ethanol. He says starch from corn is the key driver and can be used in the production of tennis shoes.
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Weinzierl says a similar method is used for the production of degradable sutures used in the medical industry. 

Farm Succession Planning Seminar Scheduled


Families need to be creative when developing a plan for passing down the family farm.  The Farm Bureau and COUNTRY Financial want to help.  On Thursday, December 7th, Dr. Hanson, retired Agribusiness Professor from the University of Nebraska, has been invited to present two separate but identical programs in our area.  During his presentations he will identify and discuss family relations and business ownership succession issues that often confront farm families. 


Sessions will include: Sharing Ownership/Management Control with the next Generation, Overcoming the family challenges to farm succession planning for success and Mapping out a business succession plan for your farm, Keeping your farm in the family for the next generation putting together a succession plan. 


Both sessions will be filled with valuable tools.  Don’t miss this important informational workshop for your family farm!  Plan to join us for one of these seminars:

            Breakfast Session- 7:30am – 11:30am at Lavender Crest Winery, Colona

            Dinner Session- 5:30pm – 9:30pm at Wise Guys, Princeton


The cost to attend is $20 a person.  Space is limited.  Please reserve your spot before November 30th.  Reservations are required and may be made by contacting the Henry County Farm Bureau at (309) 937-2411.


This event is sponsored by COUNTRY Financial, Bureau County Farm Bureau, Henry County Farm Bureau, LaSalle County Farm Bureau and Stark County Farm Bureau.        

Good Fellows Update

The Good Fellows Christmas Baskets will be delivered this year in Kewanee on Wednesday, December 20th.

The project is funneled through the Kewanee High School Key Club with the Kewanee Kiwanis Club overseeing the project.

The group held a recent tag day event to raise funds for the distribution and Amron Buchanan with the Kiwanis Club says that event was very successful…

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If someone might have missed the tag days event but would still like to make a contribution, that’s very easy to accomplish…

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Sign-ups for the program are currently being taken and Kiwanis member Ken Knowles joins Mr. Buchanan to give out those details…

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A note of clarification that if a citizen or family lives on one of the public housing units in Kewanee, then your name is already on the list and no need to sign up…  

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City of Kewanee Thanksgiving Schedule

The City of Kewanee offices and the Transfer Station will be closed Thursday 11/23/17 and Friday 11/24/17 for the Thanksgiving holiday.


There will be no changes to Monday’s landscape pickup or Tuesday and Wednesday trash pickup.  Thursday’s trash route will be picked up Saturday 11/25/17.


If you have any questions, please contact City Hall at 852-2611.

IDOT Seeks Feedback on 2017 Freight Plan


The Illinois Department of Transportation has released its 2017 Freight Plan, which outlines the state’s strategy for facilitating the successful and efficient movement of goods. Public comments will be accepted through Nov. 30.

“Illinois serves as the transportation hub of North America. It’s important we have a reliable infrastructure system to support the freight industry, which moves nearly $3 trillion of goods into, out of and through Illinois each year,” said Illinois Transportation Secretary Randy Blankenhorn. “The efficient movement of goods is a key driver for our state’s economic prosperity.”

Freight in Illinois is moved by truck, rail, water and air. The 2017 plan examines road congestion, the importing and exporting of goods, workforce trends and other factors that impact effective movement of freight. The plan highlights the existing system of freight traffic and envisions potential improvements in the future.

Illinois’ freight system transports more than 1 billion tons of freight per year, valued at $2.97 trillion. More than 450 million tons of freight are moved by rail alone, representing more than $1.6 trillion. The Freight Plan also accounts for cargo origins and destinations both domestic and abroad. Goods from Illinois travel across the globe, from Asia to Europe and Africa to South America.

The public can view the plan in its draft form and provide comments by visiting www.idot.illinois.gov/home/freight_plan_feedback

Hike the Hennepin On Sunday

The Friends of the Canal are holding their monthly Hike the Canal outing on Sunday, November 19.

This month's hike will be from Bridge 62 to Lock 22 on the canal.

This portion of the "Hike the Hennepin" is 4.7 miles in length and it has been named the "Red Winged Blackbird".

We will meet at Lock 22 at 1:30 pm, where we will be shuttled to Bridge 62 to begin our hike. Directions to Lock 22 are to take Route 6 west of Sheffield approximately 3.5 miles or Route 6 east of Mineral approximately 1.5 miles, then turn north (watch for the Lock 22 signs on route 6) on county highway 300E.

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)

or log on to our website at: www.friends-hennepin-canal.org .

Holiday Street Lights In Kewanee Go Up On Sunday

Another sure sign that the holiday season is here is that the holiday street lights in Kewanee will go up on Sunday morning.

Mark Mikenas is the Executive Director of the Kewanee Chamber of Commerce and he says the annual ritual will begin early on Sunday morning…

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Once the lights go up on Sunday, they will remain lit all the way through the holiday season…

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Mark also reminds that deadlines for the Little Mr. Jack Frost and the Lil Miss Snowflake are set for later today…

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Rauner signs sexual harassment legislation

Gov. Rauner tackles sexual harassment legislation, signing a pair of bills, although his enthusiasm was much higher for one bill than the other. He signed Senate Bill 402, which calls for sexual harassment training and adds a prohibition of sexual harassment to the state’s ethics laws. He also signed House Bill 137 and he did so with reservations...
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Rauner says there are too many obstacles to getting an investigation off the ground...
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The legislature should conduct a thorough analysis of the existing statutes of limitations to ensure remedies are available. 

Turkey thawing tips

With Thanksgiving on the schedule for next Thursday, many families will enjoy the traditional turkey dinner. RaeAnn Tucker with the Henry and Stark County Health Departments says that proper thawing of the bird is essential to a good dining experience…

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Tucker also says that overnight slow cooking is not recommended as bacteria will have a chance to develop.

People to People for November 16

 Safety Expert Doug Sommer is the guest

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WKEI Open Line

U of I Extension on Tuned IN

Horticulture Educator Martha Smith is the guest

listen herehttps://regionaldailynews.com/assets/files/11-16%20t-in%20u%20ext.mp3

Why We Need the Great American Smokeout



About 36.5 million Americans still smoke cigarettes, and tobacco use remains the single largest preventable cause of disease and premature death in the world. While cigarette smoking rates have dropped (from 42% in 1965 to 15.1% in 2015), cigar, pipe, and hookah – other dangerous and addictive ways to smoke tobacco – are very much on the rise. Smoking kills people – there’s no “safe” way to smoke tobacco.

Quitting smoking has immediate and long-term benefits at any age. Quitting is hard, but you can increase your chances of success with help. Getting help through counseling or medications can double or triple the chances of quitting successfully.

Turkey Thawing Tips

    It's that time of year again - Thanksgiving.  And the staff of the Henry and Stark County Health Departments note as cooks across the country ready themselves for this annual feast day, it's important to remember that if you don't eat the skin, and if you skim the fat from the gravy, turkey makes a healthy feast.  However, preparing this bird does bring with it some special concerns. 


    So to better guarantee that your Thanksgiving holiday is a healthy one, the Health Department offers up some helpful "Turkey Tactics."  Most poultry now comes with a safe handling label - read it.  If the bird is frozen, defrost it in the refrigerator, if possible.  Here are refrigerator thawing times for various size turkeys:


* 8 to 12 pound turkey takes 1 to 2 days to thaw in the refrigerator

* 12 to 16 pound turkey takes 2 to 3 days to thaw in the refrigerator

* 16 to 20 pound turkey takes 3 to 4 days to thaw in the refrigerator

* Pieces of a turkey, such as a half or quarter will take 1 to 2 days thawing time in the refrigerator


     Dorothy David, Director of Environmental Health Services notes, "If the beast is huge and you're short of time, submerge it (in its plastic wrapping) in potable running water at a temperature of 70 degrees fahrenheit, with sufficient water velocity to agitate and float off loose food particles with the overflow."


     If you have a small bird and a large microwave, you can safely defrost it that way.  Roast the turkey as soon as it is thawed.  Any poultry can have salmonella and other bacteria.  After handling poultry, wash your hands and utensils that have come in contact with the raw meat.


     Do not thaw the turkey on the kitchen counter.  A frozen turkey thaws from the outside in.  As the surface warms, bacteria multiply.  While thawing, the surface bacteria could multiply to dangerously high levels. One cannot rely on cooking to destroy all bacteria.  In addition, some food poisoning bacteria produce toxins that can't be destroyed though cooking.


     Use a meat thermometer.  Cook to 170 to 175 degrees in the thickest part of the breast, 180-185 degrees in the thickest part of the thigh, and 160-165 degrees in the stuffing.  "Slow cooking" overnight is not safe because bacteria have time to multiply.


     Don't stuff a bird early.  Stuff it only when ready to put it in the oven.  If you refrigerate a large stuffed uncooked turkey, the stuffing may not chill fast enough, allowing bacteria growth.  Cooking the stuffing separately is safer.


     For more information on food safety, call the Health Department Environmental Health Division at (309) 852-0197 or 792-4011 (Henry) or852-3115 (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.


Bishop Hill is Looking For Tomten!


Every year, Bishop Hill continually looks for 3rd thru 5th graders who would like to be tomten for our Christmas Market weekends in November and December. Tomten are Swedish elves.  Bishop Hill tomten walk through town, looking through windows, peeking around corners, and looking a little mischievous.  Tourists love taking photographs of the tomten. Each shift is 2 hours.  We have outfits for them with red caps, grey sweatshirts, tunics, and pants, which they wear over their clothes.


If you are interested in having your child be a Tomte, please call Todd DeDecker at the Steeple Building Museum at (309) 927-3899 or email bhha@mymctc.net asap.  The child will receive a $5 gift certificate from the Colony Store for helping us out. Light refreshments are also provided to the children.  We look forward to hearing from you!

AFBF chief economist: Illinois farmer needs NAFTA

The chief economist for the American Farm Bureau Federation says the Illinois farmer needs the North American Free Trade Agreement. Dr. Bob Young believes the U.S. should maintain its role with NAFTA.
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NAFTA talks are taking place this week with trade representatives from the U.S., Canada and Mexico all meeting in Mexico City. 

Durbin GOP Tax plan

Senator Dick Durbin blasted Senate Republicans for supporting what he calls a partisan tax plan. Durbin says the tax plan would noticeably hurt middle income families....
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Durbin says there will be greater problems down the road....
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Durbin says under the House Republican plan, which will be voted on this week, the medical expense deduction will be eliminated. He says that means seniors will no longer be able to deduct out-of-pocket medical expenses. 

Duckworth opposed confirmed USDOT nominee

U.S. Senator Tammy Duckworth spoke out against a nominee for General Counsel of the US Department of Transportation. The former military aviator told fellow Senators they should reject the nomination of Steven Bradbury, but he was was confirmed before the day was out. Duckworth says he authored legal memos that paved the way for American forces to use torture in the war on terror...
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Duckworth says torture authorization has only made war zones more volatile...
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Duckworth says she's fearful Bradbury might endorse actions that could hurt traffic safety if the President so chooses. 

Kennedy ad tackles gun violence, cites family legacy

Chris Kennedy’s campaign for governor has rolled out its first television ad of the campaign. He's connecting the impact of gun violence on his legendary family with the blood on the streets of Chicago and elsewhere. Kennedy's ad immediately notes the impact of the events of June, 1968 at the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles...
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Kennedy doesn't just draw on tragic memories in the ad....
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The campaign has also rolled out a new digital ad as well as the Kennedy camp tries to gain traction in the social media realm.

Two Meetings to Explore the Need for Mental Health Support Group



The Henry County Mental Health Alliance is working to make this a better community.  This week they are sponsoring two exploration meetings to investigate community interest in starting a peer support group for individuals’ recovering from a mental health condition.  This will be a community supported effort.   


For convenience, there are meetings from 6:00 PM – 7:00 PM Thursday, November 16, 2017and from 1:00 PM – 2 PM on Friday, November 17, 2017.  Both meetings will be at the Black Hawk College Community Education Center located at 404 E. Third St., Kewanee, IL.


The meetings are open to the public and anyone with an interest in improving mental health in our community.  No advance registration is required.  For more information contact Lisa Leemans at the Housing Authority of Henry County, phone (309) 525-1877.


WHS Cheerleaders To Sell Krispy Kremes

The WHS cheerleaders will sell Krispy Kreme donuts in the Blish Building parking lot on Wednesday, November 22nd beginning at 7 AM. There is no school at Wethersfield that day so you can pull into the Blish parking lot. You won't even need to get out of your car! Donuts are $10 a dozen and once they're gone, they are gone! Stock up for Thanksgiving visitors, or to take with you to snack on as you drive to grandma's house!

Thanksgiving Fires Can Be Deadly

While Thanksgiving tops the charts for family and friends coming together to enjoy food and one another’s company, it’s also the leading day for U.S. home cooking fires. According to the National Fire Protection Association’s (NFPA) latest “Home Fire Involving Cooking Equipment” report, nearly four times as many home cooking fires occurred on Thanksgiving Day in 2015 as on any other typical day of the year; the day before Thanksgiving represents the second-leading day for home cooking fires.

Between 2011 and 2015, U.S. fire departments responded to an annual average of 170,200 home structure fires involving cooking equipment, which resulted in 510 civilian fire deaths, 5,470 civilian fire injuries, and $1.2 billion in direct property damage. Unattended cooking was, by far, the leading contributing factor in these fires and fire fatalities.

In that same five-year period, cooking equipment was involved in almost half (47%) of all reported home fire incidents. Cooking fires caused 20% of home fire deaths, and was the source of nearly half (45%) of the reported home fire injuries. In terms of direct property damage, 17% of damage resulting from cooking fires.  

“At Thanksgiving, when people are cooking multiple dishes and entertaining guests, it’s easy to get distracted,” said Lorraine Carli, NFPA’s vice president of Outreach and Advocacy. “These distractions may prompt them to walk away from the kitchen or forget something is cooking on the stovetop or in the oven. These factors can all increase the likelihood of a cooking fire.”

Fortunately, Carli notes, there are many simple steps you can take to greatly reduce the risk of cooking fires on Thanksgiving and beyond. Following are NFPA tips and recommendations for cooking safely:

· Stay in the kitchen when cooking to keep a close eye on the food, especially when frying and sautéing with oil.

· Use a timer to keep track of cooking times, most notably when cooking a meal that takes a long time like roasting a turkey, baking a roast or simmering. Check the stove or oven frequently. Consider putting timers in different rooms so that you can hear them over music, football games, and party chatter.

· Stay alert and focused when cooking. To help minimize the risk of injury, avoid cooking when drinking alcohol or if you’re sleepy.

· Keep things that can catch fire like oven mitts, wooden utensils, food wrappers and towels away from the cooking area.

· Kids should stay 3 feet away from stovetops, as well as from hot food and liquids. The steam or splash from vegetables, or gravy could cause serious burns.

Frying turkeys at Thanksgiving has become more popular in recent years. However, NFPA discourages the use of turkey fryers, as they can lead to devastating burns, other injuries, and the destruction of property due to the extensive amount of hot oil used with fryers. NFPA urges those who prefer fried turkey to look instead for grocery stores, specialty food retailers and restaurants that sell deep fried turkeys.

Additional tips and resources can be found on NFPA’s Thanksgiving webpage. General cooking safety information including safety tip sheets, infographics, videos and more can be found on NFPA’s Cooking Fire Safety Central webpage.

The “Home Fires Involving Cooking Equipment” report also provides home fire cooking statistics for other holidays such as Christmas, Christmas Eve, and the New Year.

Oral history project highlights school consolidation in Illinois

An oral history project details the story of school district consolidation in Illinois. The work is through the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library & Museum says oral historian Mark DePue.
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54 interviews were conducted for the project. You can find them at “oralhistory.illinois.gov.” 

National Weather Service Says La Nina Winter Developing, Bringing Varying Temperatures

The things happening at the equator this time of year can give weather officials a good idea of what will happen during the winter months. Chris Miller with the National Weather Service indicates the water temperature of the ocean near the equator can dictate the weather patterns La Nina and El Nino. He says right now La Nina is developing.

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According to Miller, a La Nina weather pattern will bring variable temperatures which could leave us with some nasty conditions when the precipitation comes around.

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Miller also notes La Nina patterns have already been showing up this fall with varied temperatures and precipitation. 

Kennedy ad tackles gun violence, cites family legacy

Chris Kennedy’s campaign for governor has rolled out its first television ad of the campaign. He's connecting the impact of gun violence on his legendary family with the blood on the streets of Chicago and elsewhere. Kennedy's ad immediately notes the impact of the events of June, 1968 at the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles...
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Kennedy doesn't just draw on tragic memories in the ad....
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The campaign has also rolled out a new digital ad as well as the Kennedy camp tries to gain traction in the social media realm.

Better Business Bureau With Tips On Looking For Seasonal Work

If you are looking for some extra money during the holidays, there are jobs available on a seasonal basis in many industries. Retailers and shippers planning to hire more than 650,000 seasonal employees this holiday season, so the Better Business Bureau advises job seekers to polish up their resumes.

Agency investigator Shellie Kreter says you should research potential employers and apply right away, but be wary of any that ask you for money in order to apply.

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She suggests you try to work where you shop, dress neatly and be prepared for an interview when applying, and be flexible. As a seasonal employee, you can expect to work long, sometimes inconvenient hours, possibly including Thanksgiving and Christmas Eve.

Avery Bourne on Sexual Harassment in Statehouse

State lawmakers are reacting to sexual harassment accusations out of the state capital after allegations were made against Chicago State Senator Ira Silverstein by a legislative activist. State Representative Avery Bourne of Raymond is the youngest female serving in the state legislature. She says she has heard many stories from others she works with.
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Bourne, who is 25, was elected to the Illinois House three years ago at the age of 22.

Gov Compares Mendoza To "Bank Robber Calling the Cops"

Billions of unappropriated spending was going on last fiscal year and lawmakers and the public just found out about it. Last week more than $2.8 billion in new unpaid bills showed up on the state’s ledger. That revelation had Comptroller Susanna Mendoza upset at the ability of Governor Bruce Rauner and the current administration to hide extra spending during the budget crisis. After a stinging rebuke on the spending and a veto override on a debt transparency bill Rauner fired back at the Comptroller

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Mendoza said in a statement that Rauner still needs to provide full details about when he knew about the unappropriated spending of $2.8 billion, what his plan is for taking care of it.

Abilities Plus Gary German Memorial Athletic Award Recipient



Erick Sierra of Kewanee was recently recognized as the 2017 Gary German Memorial Athletic Award Recipient at Abilities Plus.  Recognition began in 1997 in memory of long time Abilities Plus & Special Olympic participant and friend, Gary German.  Erick received this honor by demonstrating good sportsmanship & outstanding team spirit.

Hog Festival Committee Meets Tonight

Here we go...the final meeting for the 2017 fiscal year of Kewanee Hog Days is this Tuesday, November 14th at 7 pm in our building at 306 North Main Street. This will be the last chance to deal with anything 2017. We do not meet in December and when we get to January we will be in the 2018 fiscal year and dealing with the 2018 festival! Below is the preliminary agenda for this Tuesday evening. Re: election of officers...the names listed our the ones given by the nominating committee. Nominations will also be accepted from the floor at our meeting. In the case of vice chairpersons, since we already have 3 names in nomination for 2 positions, we'll use a paper ballot. Paper ballots for the other positions will depend on whether additional nominations are made from the floor.

Acceptance of and place on file Secretary’s report

Acceptance of and place on file pending audit, Treasurer’s report for October. (Auditing committee will close and audit Treasurer's books during December at a mutually agreed on time and place).

Visitors –

Unfinished Business

1.    Name badges (carried over to next year)

2.    Phones (carried over for consideration at January 2018 meeting)

3.    Chamber of Commerce souvenir report

4.    Notice of assessment change from Henry County 

New Business

1.    2018 entertainment report

2.    Review of October 24, 2017 Special meeting

3.    Memberships and memorials

4.    Election of 2018-19 officers

        Vice chairs (vote for 2): Ruth Neuleib,  Niles Reamer,  Kaye Finney

                                 Treasurer (vote for 1):  Larry Flannery

                         Co-chairperson (vote for 1): Janie Metscaviz 

(immediately following the regular meeting a short 3 minute session is scheduled to determine which events each elected officer is assigned to oversee)

League of Women Voters to Meet

The League of Women Voters of the Kewanee Area will have a general meeting at 6:30pm on Thursday, November 16, 2017, at the Community Education Center in Kewanee.  The speaker will be Etta LaFlora, the director of The Step Ladder Tutoring Program.  Ms. LaFlora will give the history of the program and explain the services offered.  The meeting is open to the public, and refreshments will be served.

The League of Women Voters, a non-partisan political organization, encourages the informed and active participation of citizens in government, works to increase the understanding of major public policy issues and to influence public policy through education and advocacy.

Pritzker still pushing for progressive tax but plan still in works

Democratic Gubernatorial candidate J.B. Pritzker continues to call for a progressive tax structure in Illinois, but as of last week he had no hard numbers just yet for his push to have wealthier Illinoisans pay more....,.....
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A progressive tax would require a constitutional amendment because the Illinois Constitution calls for the current flat tax system in the state.

The future role of U.S. in NAFTA remains unclear

What’s the future role of the U.S. with the North American Free Trade Agreement? That’s a tough read says reporter Jenny Hopkinson. She covers the issue for POLITICO.
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NAFTA talks take place Wednesday in Mexico City with representatives from Mexico, Canada and the U.S. all scheduled to be in attendance. 

Social Security Helping Veterans Through Various Programs

Veterans Day is over but the Social Security Administration still has a few reminders for those who have served.

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That’s Jack Myers. He indicates if you were injured on or after October 1, 2001, you're claims are eligible to be expedited. Additionally, if you are on active duty but incapacitated, that doesn't mean you can't receive social security benefits.

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When filling out a disability application, Myers says to make a note on your application that you are veteran rated 100% permanent and total. 

Sen McCann wants to make it easier to stripe roads

State Senator McCann is tired of blurred lines and we're not talking about political viewpoints. He has filed legislation giving local road authorities the potential for financial assistance to stripe dangerous roadways. McCann says road authorities often aren't able to use state and federal funds to stripe roads because of complicated financial rules. Currently only motor fuel taxes can be used for striping but increased fuel efficiency and heavy state use of motor fuel taxes has limited those dollars.

Bustos not a fan of GOP tax reform plans

Western Illinois Congresswoman Cheri Bustos expressing deep reservations with the GOP House and Senate tax reform plans.
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Bustos says she doesn’t have a major issue with lowering the corporate tax rate, but she quote “doesn’t believe corporations should be treated like royalty and the rest of us like peasants.” 

Manar says Pritzker good for Dems

State Senator Andy Manar is endorsing J.B. Pritzker for Governor. Manar doesn't just say Pritzker would be the right fit for Governor, but he believes his intense statewide campaign could lift up the state Democratic party in key spots...
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Manar once was liniked to the Governor's race but opted not to join to focus on his work in the State Senate.

IL National Guard Deployed to Afghanistan

The Illinois National Guard is sending a team of Soldiers to Afghanistan as part of a mission supporting Operation Freedom's Sentinel. The soldiers will train and work side-by-side with their Polish counterparts.

"We live in freedom today and every day because of the courage and sacrifice of our soldiers," Governor Bruce Rauner said. "These heroes stand in the face of danger to keep us safe. We honor that and look forward to their safe return home."

The Illinois contingency, which is known as The Bilateral Embedded Staff Team (BEST) A20, will advise and assist the institutions within the Afghan Ministry of Defense and Ministry of the Interior.

The Soldiers are from various parts of Illinois and were selected for the mission based on their training and skills. Their hometowns include: Normal, Illinois; Carterville, Illinois; McLean, Illinois; Springfield, Illinois; Homewood, Illinois and Lorton, Virginia.

A deployment ceremony was held at Camp Lincoln, in Springfield, on Thursday, November 9th. The soldiers will train for a brief time at Fort Bliss, Texas, before heading to the Middle East. They are expected to return to Illinois in the summer of 2018.

View Online: http://readme.readmedia.com/Illinois-National-Guard-deploys-Soldiers-to-Afghanistan/15158055

High Corn Yield Creates Market Uncertainty

With corn production yield estimates coming in nationally at a record-high number, and the Illinois yield to be the second largest on record, market access will be a key factor in limiting losses due to depressed corn prices.

“This is the type of scenario that we pencil out to demonstrate why market access is so important to corn farmer profitability,” said Illinois Corn Growers Association President Justin Durdan. “Now it looks like our “what if” scenarios might become “what now” situations as we face continued below cost of production prices, threats to our export relationships, and deteriorating transportation infrastructure.”

“Given that some of our top yielding areas in the state still haven’t finished with the corn harvest at this point, Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner’s harvest emergency declaration couldn’t have been better timed as we see this crop report from the National Agricultural Statistics Service coming out and predicting our average yield at the second highest number on record,” Durdan continued.

The November 9, 2017, National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) Crop Production report pegs the national average per acre corn yield at 175.4 that if realized, would be a record. NASS also predicts a near-record per acre corn yield for Illinois at 198 bushels, second only to the 2014 production of 200 bushels per acre.

“We cannot say strongly enough how important export markets are to the profitability picture for corn farmers,” said Durdan. “Specifically, NAFTA needs to remain in effect, and maybe even improved by the Trump Administration, but we cannot withdraw because losing our top corn customer right now is unimaginable.”

“Secretary Perdue said this week that the U.S. Department of Agriculture is preparing for the loss of NAFTA, just in case, but at the farm level, no amount of preparation will make a difference to losing that market, especially to Illinois farmers since we believe that more than half the corn that ends up in Mexico from the U.S. was grown on an Illinois farm,” Durdan said.

“We have a bright spot to improve markets through ethanol exports to Mexico since they recently approved improving their gasoline to a ten percent blend of ethanol,” Durdan said. “We’re also working to change policy in Washington to pave the way for higher octane fuels here in the U.S., with that octane coming from corn ethanol like what’s made right here in Illinois.”

Veterans Day Ceremony at the American Legion Post 31

On Saturday, the American Legion Post 31 had their Veteran’s Day service at the legion on Railroad Avenue. The master of ceremonies was Jerry Thompson. The Wethersfield High School band, under the direction of Jay Hagarman, provided the music. Mr. Thompson did a great job of hosting the ceremony and introducing the speakers. After the Wethersfield band played the opening number, Ted Canellos explained the items placed on the table for the POW and MIA’s. Below is the picture of the table and the audio file of Mr. Canellos explaining the items.



Listen HERE (POW and MIA)


After honoring the POW and MIA’s, the Wethersfield Band played each branches fight song and each Veteran stood at attention for the duration of their branches song.


Listen HERE (Themes)


Mike Yaklich then said some very kind words and thank all the veterans.


Listen HERE (Yaklich)


Mr. Thompson then announced the commanders of Veterans Organizations which are: Ted Canellos, Josh Newman, Lou VanDeVoorde, Glenn Morey, and Jim Thurman. The Wethersfield High School band played America the Beautiful. Excellent job from the band members. Mr. Thompson then introduced the speakers Kalaigh Nimrick from Wethersfield High and Mitrese Smith from Kewanee High.


Listen HERE (Nimrick)


Listen HERE (Smith)


The Speakers had great speeches and you should listen to both.  The band played one more time and then Eighty-eight-year-old Bette Van De Genachte provided veterans lap robes. The older Veterans received their lap robes first to the youngest. Mrs. Van De Genachte ran out around the age of 70. Lou VanDeVoorde closed the ceremony with a benediction and the Firing Squad shot their rifles and then Taps was played.


Listen HERE (Closing)


Overall, the ceremony was great and I encourage EVERYONE to go next year! 


Girl Scout Service Unit Collection Drive

Girl scout service unit 889 will be hosting a collection drive for the local nursing homes. Items can be dropped off at Zion Lutheran church Mon and Tues from 9am to 12pm and on Tuesday night from 6pm until 730pm. The scouts are looking for items such as puzzles, pens and notepads, greeting cards, word search or puzzle books, candy, holiday CDs, and other items that seniors would enjoy.

New Harassment Training Program for Lawmakers and more

The house and the senate approved a new sexual harassment training program.


Lawmakers, their staff and lobbyists will have to go through the training under the measure, which will address what constitutes harassment, how to report problems ans what are the consequences for offenders. Representative Kelly Cassidy of Chicago supports the bill and says she hopes the discussion doesn't end here.


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The Bill also creates a hotline for victims to report harassment.

Military Holiday Card Drive

Governor Bruce Rauner is urging Illinoisans to participate in this year's military holiday card drive.


Holiday greetings help remind soldiers that the people back home are thinking about them and appreciate their service says Governor Rauner. He says the "Cards for Heroes" program is now underway.


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Cards must be turned in by November 20th.

Schools will have to teach students cursive writing

The house and now the senate have overidden the Governor's veto of a bill requiring public elementary schools to teach at least one unit of cursive. Senator Kimberly Lightford of Maywood says it's a practical skill that students need to learn.


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The new law will take effect in the 2018-2019 school year.

Will You Fight or Flight?

In light of the recent events like the Las Vegas Route 91 Harvest Festival and just this week Sutherland Springs church shooting in Texas. Henry County Sherriff Kerry Loncka stopped by with Detective Joe Bedford.  Detective Bedford Specializes in preparing School, churches, and Business in preparing for these types of events.

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With people being so involved in technology this day and age many people are not paying attention to their surrounds Detective Bedford points out how we need to be aware of our surroundings.

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Detective Bedford Said one thing that they teach to businesses and schools is the A.L.I.C.E program. Alert, Lockdown, Inform, Counter, Evacuate.

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Sherriff Loncka and Detective Bedford both said they did not want to put the information out to scare anyone but to make the public aware that this has unfortunately become something we must be aware of.

Governor cuts ribbon on new General Mills distribution center

 Gov. Bruce Rauner joined area officials at a ribbon cutting today to open a new 1.5 million-square-foot distribution centre for General Mills. The facility, located at the rapidly developing RidgePort Logistics Center in Wilmington, could employ up to 150 people when it is fully operational.

Headquartered in Minneapolis, General Mills is a worldwide company that is home to such well-known brands as Cheerios, Betty Crocker, Pillsbury, Haagen-Dazs, Annie’s, and Cascadian Farm. Its new distribution centre in Illinois will ship General Mills products to destinations across the U.S.

“Illinois is the nation’s logistics and distribution hub,” Rauner said. “As a business person, I can see why General Mills has chosen our central location, our unmatched transportation systems and, most important, our pool of highly skilled Illinois workers. Seeing this facility open is a testimony to our state’s central role in the distribution of goods to every part of the nation.”

“The Wilmington customer service facility will be a key addition and a critical location for the General Mills distribution network,” said Mike Nordstrom, General Mills vice president for Global Workplace Solutions. “From this location, we will deliver top-selling cereals, snacks and other products to customers across America.

“We’re also proud that this facility will continue our company’s strong commitment to treating the world with care, as we anticipate that the building will achieve LEED Silver certification,” Nordstrom said.

“What a tremendous boost this will be for the Will and Grundy county areas both for jobs and the local economies,” said state Sen. Sue Rezin, R-Morris, who invited Gov. Rauner to Wilmington. “Our area has some of the most talented and knowledgeable people in the world when it comes to logistics. I hope we can build off this momentum and other companies see the great things that are happening in the area and choose to locate here as well.”

The new General Mills centre is part of the sprawling 2,500-acre RidgePort Logistics Center that is being developed by Elion Partners about 40 miles southwest of Chicago. The Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) is providing $113 million in multimodal improvements involving highway (I-55) and rail infrastructure.

“An additional feature of RidgePort Logistics Center, apart from its infrastructure and logistical location, is servicing the trucking profession,” said Michael Stellino, managing director of development for Elion Partners. “By having a mixed-use logistics park, we are responding to the needs of the truck drivers, employees and tenants of the park such as General Mills.”

Located in Will County, RidgePort Logistics Center is the largest planned, rail-served industrial park in the Chicago market with 30.6 million square feet of potential development. About 5.4 million square feet have been developed to date, and 810,000 additional square feet are under construction.

November is Diabetes Awareness Month

On our November 6th edition of Tuned In we were Joined by Tami Harker from OSF Saint Luke Medical Center in Kewanee to discuss Diabetes awareness month. Tami focuses a lot on Diabetes all year round. 

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Tami understands the difficulties with Diabetes in the coming holiday season and offers some tips to help keep it manageable without having to miss out on the sweet treats!

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If you're unsure about Diabetes or whether you could be at risk of having it or getting it Tami Has a few Tips that could help you or a family member.

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That's Tami Harker of OSF Saint Luke Medical Center.


Estate tax not only issue farmers are following in tax reform discussions

As tax reform debate heats up in the nation’s capital, agriculture groups are keeping a keen eye on the estate tax issue. A house GOP plan unveiled last week calls for complete repeal by 2024, but that’s not the only area farmers are interested in says Mark Gebhards with the Illinois Farm Bureau.
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The Senate is expected to release its tax reform plan later this week.

Water Shut Off In Kewanee On Monday

Effective Monday 11/6/17, the City of Kewanee Water Department has scheduled a water shut off with a boil order to follow.  Residents in the 100 block of Edwards Street will have water shut off while a broken fire hydrant is replaced.  Work is expected to begin at 8:00 a.m.


Any residents, whose water has been shut off during this repair, will be under a boil order for 48 – 72 hours following the restoration of water service.

Residents in these areas may experience low pressure, rusty water, or no water.  If the water has been turned off, take precautions when using water until the water runs clean.  Only flush the system by running cold water, running hot water may draw rust into the water heater. 

If you have any questions, please call City Hall at 852-2611.

Kewanee Entity Is a Finalist For Governor Hometown Awards

The Serve Illinois Commission on Volunteerism and Community Service (Commission) will present 14 localities with honors for the 2017 Governor’s Hometown Awards program during a special reception at the Old State Capitol on November 8, 2017 at 2 p.m. The Governor’s Hometown Awards program gives formal recognition to communities that contributed to their community’s quality of life via projects that had strong volunteer support, met a need, and made a definitive impact. 
“We are pleased that through the preliminary round of judging, 14 localities have been recognized as either cup finalists or project winners of the program,” said Commission Executive Director Scott McFarland. “It was clear that many communities throughout Illinois have wonderful service projects that use volunteers. Through these awards, we are honored to be able to highlight these projects and the people who gave back.”

The Commission deemed four of the 14 projects as cup finalists, which are the best projects in each of the four population divisions of the program. These four localities include:

• East St. Louis - “Join Hands Advocacy Project”
• Kewanee - “Step Ladder Tutoring Program”
• Macon County - “WSOY Community Food Drive”
• Waterloo - “Monroe County House of Neighborly Service”

The Commission will present these projects to a new panel of judges. The judges will choose one project as the overall Governor’s Cup Winner and announced at the event on November 8, 2017.

Project winners determined in the preliminary round based on the project category and population division include:

• Charleston - “Lake Charleston Trail System”
• Collinsville - “Hometown Heroes”
• Fairfield - “FNB Field”
• Fulton County - “Canton Gas Explosion”
• Galesburg - “Galesburg Heart & Soul”
• Godfrey - “Beverly Farm Foundation”
• Lanark - “Workation 2016”
• LaSalle County - “LaSalle County Naloxone Program”
• Rock Island - “Kids engaged in Natural Growth (KING)”
• Round Lake Beach (Project Runner Up); “Mobile Eye-VIPS”

All projects honored will receive a plaque and a road sign honoring these achievements.

Nomination forms for both the Governor’s Volunteer Service Awards, which honors individual volunteers, and the Governor’s Hometown Awards for calendar year 2017 efforts are available now at www.serve.illinois.gov.

The Serve Illinois Commission is a 40-member (25 voting and 15 non-voting), bipartisan board appointed by the Governor and administered by the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH). Its mission is to improve Illinois communities by enhancing volunteerism and instilling an ethic of service throughout the State.

Advance Care Planning

Advance Care Planning like Wills or topics that are often times should under the carpet as many of us don’t like to think about such things.

Carrie Boelens is the Community Relations Specialist at OSF Health Care St Luke Medical Center in Kewanee and she says Advance Care Planning is a way of letting your wishes be known in the event you are no longer able to convey those thoughts to others…

listen here

Final days of fall veto session next week, concern builds over revenue shortfall

Illinois state lawmakers return to the state capital next week for the final round of the fall veto session. Three days are scheduled for Tuesday through Thursday. Debate continues over whether last summer’s approved tax increases solved the state’s budget problems says Jack Tichenor with SIU’s Paul Simon Public Policy Institute.
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The personal income tax rate increased from 3.75 percent to 4.95 percent and the corporate income tax rate jumped from 5.25 percent to 7 percent on July 1, which was the first day of the new fiscal year.
In addition to concern over revenue shortfalls, the state continues to deal with a growing backlog of unpaid bills to state vendors. That number now stands at over $16.5 billion. Illinois Comptroller Susana Mendoza keeps a daily tote board at “illinoiscomptroller.gov.”

Rural economic development opportunities

A group of Illinois farmers and their counterparts from Germany shared ideas recently on how both might be able to grow income by generating energy on farms. Illinois Farm Bureau and the Chicago-based German American Chambers of Commerce held a rural energy and economic development roundtable in Bloomington. Jochen (Yolk-HEN) Oestmann (OOST-men) farms in northern Germany and generates renewable natural gas on his farm;

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Laws in Germany requires utility companies to buy most energy generated on farms and OOST-man says it adds to his revenue stream. Champaign County farmer Eric Rund shared his experience growing miscanthus (MIS-can-thus gigantus (JYE-gan-tus) and you guessed it -- it's a tall grass that can be cleanly burned to create energy;

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Rund has a new customer for his MIS-can-thus. The University of Illinois imported a boiler from Germany that can burn the tall grass and heat a greenhouse on the Urbana-Champaign Energy Farm.

National Weather Service Anticipates Warmer Weekend For Much of Illinois

Halloween was cool and windy for trick-r-treaters but high school football fans will enjoy the upcoming forecast from the National Weather Service.

Chris Miller at the National Weather Service office in Lincoln indicates the weekend could be a little wet Saturday but otherwise it will be cloudy and perfect weather for the second round of the IHSA football playoffs.

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Wild weather in Illinois is not out of the question in November as many Illinois residents know. Miller says they are watching Sunday closely as the weather pattern could bring some strong storms.

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Miller says Friday night is expected to be crisp and cool while Saturday is expected to be cloudy, which will limit the highs for the day. He says there's chances of rain across the state as well for Saturday. 

Rep. Knows Of Culture of Harassment

The #metoo movement has made its way into Illinois politics. A week ago hundreds of women signed an open letter about a culture of harassment at the state house and this week a female lobbyist came forward and accused a Democratic Senator of harassing behavior. Representative Linda Chapa LaVia says she knows first-hand much of this behavior is tolerated.

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LaVia’s house committee advanced a bill that requires sexual harassment training for state politicians, staff and lobbyists. The bill should be voted on next week.

Veteran's Day Schedule

Veterans Day is officially on the calendar for Saturday, November 11 but there will be many that will observe Friday, November 10th as the holiday.   

There will also be some schedule changes along the way as well.

In Kewanee, City Hall and the Transfer Station will be closed next Friday, November 10, however there will be no change in the garbage pick- up schedule in Kewanee for next week.  

Veterans Day is a federal holiday and the United States Post Office will be closed with no mail delivery or window service next Friday.

Veterans Day is a federal reserve banking holiday and most banks will be open next Friday with some closing on Saturday. Best to check with your financial institution to get their particular schedule.

The Henry County Court System and other county offices will also be closed for the day on Friday, November 10. 

Secretary of State Division of Motor Vehicles in Kewanee will be open on Friday, November 10th but closed on Saturday the 11th and will re-open on Tuesday, November 14th.  

Area schools will have different schedules for the Veteran’s Day Holiday.

At Kewanee District 229, there will be a two hour early dismissal next Friday. 

Wethersfield will run a normal schedule with a reminder of the Veterans Day Assembly next Friday afternoon beginning at 1:45.       

Black Hawk College facilities will be closed next Friday for Veterans Day.      

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

To note, the Henry County Senior Citizen Center in Kewanee will be open next Friday, November 10th per their normal schedule.    

Time Change This Weekend

Nov 5, 2017 - Daylight Saving Time Ends

When local daylight time is about to reach
Sunday, November 5, 2017, 2:00:00 am clocks are turned backward 1 hour to 
Sunday, November 5, 2017, 1:00:00 am local standard time instead.

Sunrise and sunset will be about 1 hour earlier on Nov 5, 2017 than the day before. There will be more light in the morning but darkness will come earlier in the afternoon as sunset will be one hour earlier than last week.  

November is Winter Weather Preparedness Month in Illinois


Chilly temperatures experienced across the state recently are a reminder that the cold, snow and ice of Illinois winters aren’t far behind. To help people prepare for potentially dangerous winter weather, the Illinois Emergency Management Agency (IEMA), the National Weather Service (NWS) and local emergency management agencies will highlight winter weather preparedness throughout November.

“According to the National Weather Service, there hasn’t been a winter in Illinois without at least one winter storm in the past century,” said IEMA Director James K. Joseph. “During the winter of 2014-15, we had nine winter storms. To ensure you and your family stay safe no matter how bad the weather is this winter, please take a few minutes now to prepare.”

Joseph said IEMA and the NWS developed a winter weather preparedness guide to help people understand winter weather risks, along with tips for staying safe at home, in the car and at school. It also includes lists of suggested items for home and vehicle emergency supply kits. The guide is available on the Ready Illinois website at www.Ready.Illinois.gov.

“The past two winters across the state of Illinois have been rather mild with little snow and ice. That may not be the case this coming winter season.” said Chris Miller, warning coordination meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Lincoln. “People traveling need to be aware that most winter time traffic accidents occur with minor amounts of snow or ice, particularly when it has been a long time since we've faced those types of road conditions. The key is to just slow down to give yourself enough time and distance to stop your vehicle.”

Follow the Ready Illinois Facebook (www.facebook.com/ReadyIllinois) and Twitter (twitter.com/ReadyIllinois) pages for winter preparedness tips through the season.

Keeping Illinois competitive

Illinois farmers that want to stay competitive with their South American counterparts have an opportunity to get an up close look this winter. Illinois Farm Bureau plans to organize an issues study tour to Argentina and Brazil starting in late January through early February. I-F-B Senior Director of Commodities, Tamara Nelsen, explains what the organization and Illinois farmers want to explore;

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Illinois farmers that want to venture to the two South American countries must commit to doing some homework before and share what they've found when they return;

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If you farm and want to participate in the Farm Bureau Issues Tour to Argentina and Brazil, contact your county Farm Bureau for details on how to apply. You have about two weeks. The deadline is November 14th.

Illinois Grain Insurance Fund at healthy $7.7 million

The Illinois Grain Insurance Fund remains in a good position with $7.7 million available. Established in 1983, the fund provides protection for any farmer doing business with a licensed grain dealer in Illinois says IDOA’s David Gleason.
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The Illinois Grain Insurance Fund also provides grain payable coverage when an elevator fails, which amounts to 100 percent for the first 21-days after the grain is priced. That lowers to 85-percent between 21 and 160 days after the grain is priced. And after 160 days, there’s no coverage from the fund.

Duckworth calls for Trump veto of legislation impacting veterans

Senator Tammy Duckworth is calling on President Trump to veto the recently passed bill overturning Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB)’s rule limiting forced arbitration. She says the deck will be stacked in favor of big banks and financial institutions in cases of fraud and other misdeeds....
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The mandatory arbitration rule, which was set to take full effect next March, would stop financial services companies from using forced arbitration clauses to block consumer class action suits. .

Duckworth explains the unique concerns of veterans....
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Sundance for Our Soldiers

It was Winston Churchill who once said that there is something about the outside of a horse that is good for the inside of a man.

That in large part might sum up the philosophy of the Sundance for Our Soldiers Horse Therapy program for Soldiers.

Megan Sundeen is the Equine Specialist in charge of the program and she points out that in this mode of therapy, there is no horseback riding involved…

listen here

Ms. Sundeen adds that no horse experience is needed and the therapy unfolds in a non aggressive manner…

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Sundance for Our Soldiers is funded in part by the Kewanee Area United Way and is a 501 c 3 not for profit organization.

Ms. Sundeen adds that there final session for this year will be held on Sunday afternoon from 1:30 til 4:30…

listen here

Set Your Clocks, Check Your Stocks


    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 Sunday morning.


    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 that 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, November 5th, but the campaign will also be used in the Spring, 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.


    For a list of what should be in an emergency stockpile, information on rotating stored food and water, stockpiling recipes and other materials, visit www.getreadyforflu.org/clocksstocks.


    For more information on the Health Department's Emergency Preparedness program visit our website at www.henrystarkhealth.com or find us on Facebook at Henry and Stark County Health Departments. Funding for this program was provided by the Illinois Department of Public Health.



Upcoming Grant Workshop In Bishop Hill


Grant Workshop for Artists

November 11, 2017, 2:00-4:00 p.m.

Dairy Building - 410 N. Erickson - Bishop Hill, IL


Are you an artist seeking funding to support your work? 


Are you an artist practicing a traditional art form in your community?


Would you like to pass on you mastery of a traditional art to others?


Would you like to expand the audience for your art?


Join Clark “Bucky” Halker, Ph.D., Director of Company of Folk, for a free workshop about how to search for and write a successful grant.  The workshop will take place from 2:00-4:00 p.m. on

November 11th in the Dairy Building in Bishop Hill, IL.


The workshop will devote particular attention to the Master Apprentice Program of the Illinois Arts Council Agency.  This program provides fellowships to individuals who practice an art form that comes from a specific tradition or ethnic heritage and who are interested in training an apprentice in this traditional folk or ethnic art form.  Examples include:  duck decoy carving, weaving, bluegrass fiddle, folk music, blacksmithing, lacemaking, rosemaling, or ethnic dancing—arts that have been passed from one generation to the next. 


The workshop will focus on the tools needed to create a strong and competitive grant application, including a concise vision statement, narrative, budget and work samples.  Get hands-on help with your grant application. 


For additional information contact:





This program partially supported by a grant from the Illinois Arts Council Agency and hosted by the Bishop Hill Heritage Association

Southeast Asia trade will get attention from Illinois ag leadership program in March

International trade continues to a big deal for Illinois agriculture and one of the key markets is Southeast Asia. The Illinois Agricultural Leadership Foundation plans to send 29-ag professionals overseas in March and one of the stops will be Vietnam says IALF’s Todd Lowery.
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Other stops in Southeast Asia for the IALF program in 2018 will include Taiwan and Hong Kong.

Lower water levels on Mississippi River also stressing farmers this fall

Lower water levels on the Mississippi River causing concern for farmers shipping grain off to the export market. Jeff Adkisson is with the Grain and Feed Association of Illinois.
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With yields better than expected in many areas of Illinois this fall, farmers are also stressed about storage space with carryover crop from last year.

Enrollment Help For Medicare

Seniors can find free help during Medicare open enrollment. The Illinois Department on Aging says everyone should review their current plan and then Sandy Leith says if you need more assistance there are locations that are offering free visits with counselors to guide seniors through all of the paperwork.

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For a list of the more than 300 sites go to Illinois dot Gov slash Aging. 

Speaker Says Sexual Harassment Needs to Be Addressed

In a House committee meeting yesterday a victims’ rights advocate who lobbies the Illinois legislature says she was sexually harassed while trying to do her job. Denise Rotheimer says that she was harassed in person, over Facebook and via phone by Democratic Senator Ira Silverstein. The allegations were made during testimony as a committee considered enacting annual sexual harassment training for lawmakers, staff and lobbyist. Speaker of the House Mike Madigan says there also needs to be a task force to address the environment at the Capitol.

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Silverstein has said what Rotheimer is alleging is false. But he says if he offended her he will apologize.

University of Illinois Extension Announces the 2017 Master Naturalist Graduates


University of Illinois Extension would like to congratulate the 2017 Master Naturalist volunteer graduates from unit 7 serving Henry, Mercer, Rock Island and Stark Counties. They spent this past fall studying botany, environmental ethics, archeology, climate, forestry, geology, prairies, mammals, birds, reptiles, insects, and aquatics in both classroom and field work lessons.

They had their final lesson on Saturday, October 14 assisting in a bird watch with Dr. Steve Hager from Augustana College at Andress’ Prairie Rose Acres. Now that they’ve completed their training they will work on completing 60 hours of volunteer internship in a variety of approved projects which include natural resource stewardship, citizen scientist activities and public education geared to the needs of the local community. For more information on the University of Illinois Extension Master Naturalist program, contact Tracy Mulliken Rock Island County Extension, (309) 756-9978 or visit web.extension.illinois.edu/hmrs/mn


 2017 Master Naturalist Graduating Class  Brad Ellis, Tom Phillips, Deb O'Brien, Art Jackson, Vickie Hansen, Becky Dexter, Gail Rinkenberger, Brandyn Rith, Kate Mapes and John Viren

SA Customer Appreciation Day On Saturday

The Kewanee Salvation Army Store will celebrate their third annual customer appreciation day this coming Saturday, November 4th from 10 til 3.

Linda Bolls is the Director of the Kewanee Salvation Army and she says it’s a great opportunity for them to give back to the community…

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Ms. Bolls says it will be a basement sale at the store on Saturday and the doors will open at 10 am…

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There will be a wide variety of items available and cash or checks will be accepted for payment…

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Abilities Plus Announces Annual Award Winners

Abilities Plus announces annual award winners


Approximately 200 supporters of Abilities Plus gathered October 26, 2017 at the Annawan Banquet Center for the agency’s annual awards dinner.  The evening provided an opportunity to recognize those individuals and organizations that have gone above and beyond to serve the needs of individuals with disabilities and delays in Henry and Stark Counties.  The 2017 award winners are:


Special Recognition Award – Attorney Tom Montgomery of Cambridge, who retired this year from the Abilities Plus Human Rights Protection Committee after serving as a member for 35 years.


Civic/Community Award – Deitrick’s Alpaca Ranch of rural Prophetstown.  Owners Dwight & Wanda Deitrick and their staff have made a positive impact on individuals served at Abilities Plus by inviting participants to their ranch annually since 2011 for a day of tours, activities, and a delicious lunch.


Business Award – The First Congregational Church of Toulon, who has been a loyal financial contributor to Abilities Plus since at least 1995, and currently provides weekly janitorial work at their church for an Abilities Plus cleaning crew.


Employment Award – Broken Chimney Restaurant of Kewanee.  In November of 2016 an individual served at Abilities Plus was hired as a part time dishwasher at the restaurant.  Owners Andrew and Rita Speck have been very supportive, complimentary and willing to provide additional training if needed.


(Continued on page 2)



Page 2



Achiever of the Year Award – This year’s recipient is Alex Boelens of Geneseo, who has done a very good job working in the client breakroom canteen where he provides

assistance in a friendly, helpful manner when others are making purchases, including collecting money, providing change and totaling funds at the end of the day.


Volunteer Award – Matt Marchand of Galva, who provided volunteer assistance every morning through the summer months, even organizing a Music Class and writing a song with Abilities Plus participants and then making a recording of the personalized music.


Posthumous Award – Louise DeToye, formerly of Kewanee.  Louise retired as a volunteer from the Abilities Plus Resale Shop at the age of 92 in 2012, after serving as a dedicated volunteer for 29 years.  Louise passed away on January 15, 2017.


Directors Award – Mike Zerull of Geneseo.  Mike was employed with Abilities Plus for 22 years, serving as Executive Director for 8 of those years.  During the past 12 months, he provided invaluable input, advice and assistance, along with volunteering his time to put up Christmas lights as well as work on landscaping at the day program and group home sites on North East Street.