Local News Archives for 2019-02

State of Babies Report: Illinois Has Room to Grow

Illinois has room to grow when it comes to ensuring its youngest residents have a strong start in life, according to a new report. The State of Babies Yearbook: 2019 looks at the well-being of children from birth to age 3, and measures how they're faring in the areas that can impact their development.

Sarah Daily, senior research scientist for Child Trends, said Illinois received particularly poor marks for Positive Early Learning Experiences, with just 7 percent of eligible children receiving early Head Start or child-care subsidies.

"Children are not accessing those supports and services as much as they might be able to," Daily said. "So, as a policymaker, I might be looking at those existing programs and services to see if there's a way to expand access to those programs in Illinois."

Illinois scored best in the area of "Strong Families," and is doing quite well in reducing the prevalence of Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) and improving permanency rates for infants and toddlers exiting foster care. The state scores better than the national average for housing instability and family resilience. Daily noted Illinois is in the "improving outcomes" category for infants and toddlers receiving early childhood mental-health services.

As she put it, "This is a really strong and powerful indicator because, from a developmental perspective, having strong, early childhood mental health really sets the foundation for children's learning and development later in life."

When it comes to Good Health, Illinois is ranked as "working effectively" for percentage of low-income infants and toddlers who are uninsured. However, Daily notes that Illinois' infant mortality rate, at 6.3 deaths per 1,000 live births, is still higher than the national average of 5.9 deaths per 1,000 live births.

"This speaks to me about health-care access for not only infants and toddlers, but also for their parents," she said. "To what extent are the mothers receiving timely prenatal care is a key indicator that might be a cause of this high rate of infant mortality."

The yearbook estimates there are more than 460,000 infants and toddlers in Illinois, representing 3.6 percent of the state's population.

 

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Replacing Missed School Days With E-Learning?

Could e-learning be used to combat missed school days due to harsh winter weather? Local State Rep. Dan Swanson says it’s a concept worth considering, but rural areas need more reliable internet service before that idea can ever get off the ground.


Several schools in Swanson's district has missed 13 days this winter. 

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Open Line Podcast 02-28-19

Today on the Open Line, reactions to Governor Pritzker's plan regarding teacher pensions and how teachers outside Chicago will have their pension funding kicked down the road while Chicago teacher pensions get extra funding. We also talked about regulations in Illinois and how desperately some industries in the state over-burdened with regulations. Kewanee's own Ted Canellos called in to talk about regulations and why there are so many few dry cleaning businesses in Illinois. We also took calls to follow up on our interview with State Representative Will Guzzardi about prescription drug prices. Stream or download the Open Line Podcast below... 

 

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People to People State Representative Will Guzzardi

State Representative Will Guzzardi was our guest on People to People today on WKEI. Representative Guzzardi is among a group of State Representatives who are working on reforming prescription drug prices in the state of Illinous. Representative Guzzardi recently conducted a poll that showed that as many as 27% of Illinois residents go without needed medications due to the high price of the prescriptions. Across the state respondents told Representative Guzzardi that the price of prescription drugs ranks next to improving schools and reducing crime among the issues people in Illinois care about. Representative Will Guzzardi was our guest on People to People and you can stream or download that interview below... 

 

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Tuned In Sara Billiet from the Kewanee Public Library

Sara Billiet from the Kewanee Public Library was our guest on People to People on Thursday. Sara joined us to talk about Coding, specifically, Coding classes being held at the Kewanee Public Library next week. Classes are open next week for kids in 5th to 8th grade to learn about Coding, a computer skill that will undoubtedly be an asset in future learning. Space is limited so contact the Kewanee Public Library ASAP to secure a space for your child. Sara also invited listeners to join the Kewanee Public Library Horror Book Club which meets on the 4th Thursday of every month at the library. The club is for folks 17 years and older. Stream or download our Tuned In Podcast below... 

 

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Emotional Story Underlines Importance of Illinois Move Over Law

In January of this year Illinois State Trooper Christopher Lambert was killed when a vehicle in the midst of a snowstorm drove onto the shoulder to get around slower traffic and struck Trooper Lambert as he was tending to a crash site. Trooper Lambert's tragic death has underlined the importance of the Move Over law in the state of Illinois which puts a criminal penalty on those who fail to move over when they see flashing lights on the side of the road. Illinois State Trooper Jason Wilson recalls what happened that day back in January and remembers an emotional story that further demonstrates the importance of Move Over. 

Trooper Jason Wilson was our guest on People to People on Wednesday. That interview is avalable to stream or download in People to People Podcast at RegionalDailyNews.com. 

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Kewanee Community Development Meeting Regarding Mowing Nuisance Properties March 13th

The City of Kewanee will hold a meeting to discuss potentially contracting out the mowing of nuisance properties, those that are not being properly maintained by the owner. Kewanee Director of Community Development Keith Edwards says the current way of doing things is very time consuming and can leave a nuisance property as a nuisance for far longer than the city would prefer... 

The meeting set for March 13th at 9 Am at Kewanee City Hall is intended to gauge interest in the mowing contract from the City of Kewanee among business owners in the maintenance field and to feel out the cost and whether it would be cost efficient for the City of Kewanee to contract the work. The meeting is open to anyone on March 13th at 9 Am at Kewanee City Hall. Keith Edwards was our guest on our Tuned In podcast online and streaming now at RegionalDailyNews.com. 

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Rep McCombie Among House Republicans Signing on to Resolution Opposing Changes to Income Tax

State Representative Tony McCombie joined the rest of the House Republican Minority in signing on to a resolution opposing any change to the state income tax. McCombie told reporters in Springfield on Wednesday that if the Governor and House Democrats wanted real reform, they would work on ways to lower property taxes rather than working to change the state constitution to impose the Progressive or Graduated Tax. 

 

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OSF Kewanee YMCA Commit 2 Fit Victory Lap Tonight

Tonight at OSF Saint Luke Medical Center at 6 Pm in the East and West Conference Room is the Victory Lap for the Commit 2 Fit Kewanee program. The six week weight loss challenge co-promoted with the YMCA of Kewanee will culminate tonight with the awarding of prizes says Carrie Boelens from OSF Saint Luke Medical Center... 

 

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Lawmakers Likely to Continue Collection of Data on Police Stops in Illinois

It has made it out of committee and looks likely headed to the desk of J.B Pritzker. It is a bill that would continue the practice of having members of law enforcement document the race of people who get pulled over. The data collected has in the past been turned over to the ACLU and examined for patterns of bias, places where black people or other people of color are being pulled over more often than white drivers. But some in law enforcement feel that such data lacks context. Our Greg Bishop has more... 

 

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Debate Over Progressive Tax to Begin Next Week

Debate over the so-called Progressive Tax will begin in Springfield sometime next week. Governor Pritzker campaigned on the Progressive or Fair Tax which he claims will make the state tax system fair by asking that people like himself, a billionaire, pay a larger amount in taxes than someone making the minimum wage. Currently, the state operates on a flat tax system. Republican lawmakers meanwhile, are arguing that a Progressive Tax will raise everyone's taxes. Lawmaker like State Representative Grant Wehrli want to see the new tax structure released to the public before it is passed into law to show Illinois residents what they stand to pay in taxes if a Progressive tax were to become law. Our Greg Bishop has more... 

 

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Pritzker Plan to Short Pensions for Teachers Outside Chicago Criticized

Governor J.B Pritzker is earning the ire of retired teachers outside of Chicago. As part of a proposal to overhaul the underfunded pension system, Governor Pritzker has proposed shorting the retirement fund now while planning to more into the system down the road. The proposal would specifically affect teachers, unless those teachers in Chicago. According to the Governor's plan in fact, the state would pay more money into the pensions of Chicago teachers while paying less into the pension fund of teachers outside of Chicago. Our Cole Lauterbach has more... 

 

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QC Botanical Garden Trucks in Sand to Beat Winter Blues

If you can't go south to beat the winter blues, consider visiting one of Illinois' many botanical gardens. The Quad City Botanical Center actually trucks in sand to create a mini-beach inside its sun garden. Ami Porter serves as the center's executive director;

Located in Rock Island, the botanical garden has even partnered with its local library to feature what it calls, "Books on the Beach" for children that visit. Young or old, Porter believes indoor botanical gardens can provide a quick and cheap break from winter;

Dayliight Savings Time begins March 10th and the first day of spring is March 20th. In the interim, you can find a list of indoor botanical gardens at enjoy-illinois-dot-com.

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Ameren Illinois Honored

Ameren Illinois was recently recognized by the Midwest Energy Efficiency Alliance for a couple of its programs. One is called "Energy Efficiency for All," which it describes as a ground-breaking initiative to open-up access to energy efficiency programs for moderate-to-low income customers.
The other, according to Energy Efficiency Director Kristol Simms, is the Ameren Illinois Scholarship Program.


The program focuses on communities and customers that need support the most, making sure they have accessible and affordable programs. They partner with community-based programs to add energy-efficiency education and outreach to the things that they do.

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Today on the WKEI Morning Show Thursday, February 28th

7:20 First Up: A new interview segment we are working up focuses on some of the top newsmakers for the early riser crowd. Today, Kewanee Mayoral candidate Mike Yaklich will join us to talk about overcoming the odds against him as a write-in candidate in the Kewanee Mayoral Primary. And, we will look ahead to April 2nd when he will face off with former Kewanee Police Officer Gary Moore to become the next Mayor of Kewanee. 

 

8:10 Preview the New Movies in theaters this weekend. 

 

8:45 Tuned In: Sara Billiet from the Kewanee Public Library will join us to talk Coding. Coding classes for 5th through 8th grade students begin next week at the Kewanee Public Library. 

 

9:10 The Open Line: It's your chance to talk about the news of the day at 309-853-4471. You choose the topic and you share your opinion on The Open Line. 

 

9:35 People to People: Today's guest is State Representative Will Guzzardi will join us to talk Prescription Drug Reform in Illinois. 

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Illinois Higher Education Board Salutes Pritzker Budget Plan

The interim leader of the Illinois Board of Higher Education is saluting Governor J.B. Pritzker when it comes to proposed spending for Illinois public colleges and universities. Board officials say If passed, Gov. JB Pritzker’s budget proposal would mark the largest percentage increase since fiscal year 2002 for public universities, and the highest increase in overall higher education operations in three decades. Interim Director Nyle Robinson believes the spending plan could slow Illinois' "other" exodus problem and sway Illinois college students to stay home...


Robinson believes a new grant program could also be a booster....


Pritzker's higher ed budget would bring in an additional $55.2 million for public universities and 13.9 million for community colleges and adult education. Pritzker is also proposing $75 million in a re-appropriation for higher education emergency capital projects, and a $150 million lump sum for deferred maintenance. 

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Three IDOC Officers Arrested for Misconduct and Battery

Three officers of the Illinois Department of Corrections at the Pontiac Correctional Facility were arrested earlier this week after an incident with an inmate. According to the Illinois State Police Investigation Division, Correctional Officer Giovanni Rodriguez, Sgt Jason Cremer and Lt James Fike were arrested earlier this week and charged with Official Misconduct and Battery. The incident occurred on February 3rd of this year, an encounter that left an inmate injured that was eventually brought to the attention of the Illinois State Police. The Illinois State Police Investigation unit along with IDOC investigators then began an investigation that culminated with the arrests this week. The Battery charge is a misdemeanor while the Official Misconduct charge is a Class 3 Felony. 

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Business Group Disappointed in Process To Bring Perspectives To Table For Minimum Wage Hike

An advocacy group for business owners in Illinois disappointed with the process to bring a gradual increase to the minimum wage in Illinois. The National Federation of Independent Business believes they do not need government to tell them what their minimum wage should be. Mark Grant is the Director for the Illinois NFIB.

Grant says there was very little consideration from small business owners.

Grant indicates the restaurant industry was the only group for the proposal but he points out, they kept their provision to pay their servers a wage below minimum wage plus the tips they make.

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People to People Illinois State Police Trooper Jason Wilson

Illinois State Trooper Jason Wilson was our guest today on People to People on WKEi. Trooper Wilson joined us to talk about the Move Over Law. Move Over is the rule of the road in Illinois whenever anyone has lights flashing on the road or the side of the road. Earlier this year an Illinois State Trooper was killed when a driver in terrible weather conditions did not get over and drove out of control around traffic. Another Trooper was injured in another failure to Move Over incident just last month. Trooper Wilson also discussed a traffic stop in Rock Island County earlier this week that brought an end to a multi-state theft spree. And finally we talked about impaired driving and specifically cannabis use while driving and how Driving Under the Influence is not just about alcohol. You can stream or download today's People to People Podcast below... 

 

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Tuned In Kewanee Director of Community Development Keith Edwards

Nuisance mowing was the topic of a meeting held prior to the Kewanee City Council Meeting on Monday night as Director of Community Development Keith Edwards discussed ideas for helping to expedite code enforcement when it comes to properties in violation of mowing standards in Kewanee. One idea is to contract out mowing of properties that are in non-compliance and are subject to code violation. A meeting will be held at Kewanee City Hall on March 13th at 9 Am and is open to any individual or business that might be willing to submit a contract bid for mowing work with the City of Kewanee. The meeting is intended to gauge interest in the contract and also gather information to determine if such contracting could be cost effective for the City of Kewanee. You can hear our interview with Kewanee Director of Community Development Keith Edwards below, stream or download the interview here... 

 

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Chicago Mayoral Primiary Makes History in More Ways Than One

Kewanee wasn't the only place in Illinois where folks went to the polls on Tuesday. Chicago held its Mayoral Primary on Tuesday and despite low turnout history was made and will be made in the General Election. Former Chicago Police Board Chairwoman Lori Lightfoot and Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle are the two candidates who move forward to the run-off election in April and regardless of the winner, Chicago will have its first African American Female Mayor. If Lightfoot, who came away with the most votes on Tuesday, were to win, she would not only become the first Black Female Mayor in the cities history, she would also be the first openly gay Mayor in Chicago history. Cole Lauterbach has the wrap up on Chicago's Mayoral Primary. 

 

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Illinois Retail Merchants Speaking Out Against Plastic Bag Tax

The Illinois Retail Merchants Association has come out in opposition to Governor J.B Pritzker's call for a 5 cent per bag plastic bag tax. The Governor proposed the tax during his budget address one week ago and stated that the state could receive revenue from the bag tax of close to $20 million dollars per year. Retail Merchants however, are arguing that the Governor is not taking into account the cost to businesses to process the new tax. Our Greg Bishop has more... 

 

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Illinois Has Second Highest Property Taxes in the Nation

A new report pegs Illinois as having the second highest property taxes in the nation. Survey company Wallethub reports that only New Jersey has higher property taxes in the US than Illinois. This is the second year in a row that Illinois has ranked second highest in property taxes in the country and unfortunately, there does not appear to be a plan to reduce those taxes anywhere in the near future even as the high property taxes may be contributing to people leaving the state. Our Greg Bishop has more from Springfield... 

 

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Cold Weather To Usher in March

We'll be ushering in the month of March with more cold air for much of Illinois. Chris Miller with the National Weather Service in Lincoln says plan for continued cold into the weekend. He says it is going to be well below normal mostly after Wednesday with another windy weekend expected. 


Looking ahead to next week, Miller says it will continue to be cold and in fact, indicates things are looking to remain cold into the first few weeks of the month.


The wind this coming weekend should not be as strong as it was this past Sunday throughout the state. 

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Durbin Expresses Outrage Over Mississippi's Failure to Notify Federal Officials About Aurora Shooter

After an emotional visit to two memorials for victims of the recent workplace shooting in Auroura, Senator Dick Durbin had plenty to say on the Senate Floor about the saga of gunman Gary Martin obtaining the gun used to kill five co-workers and injure five police officers. Durbin had less than kind words for the Magnolia State of Mississippi.......


Red flags were raised when Martin tried to get an expedited conceal carry permit and submitted his fingerprints. The Illinois State Police moved to revoke Martin's firearm owner's permit but the gun was never surrendered and was used in this month's deadly shooting.

 

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Today on the WKEI Morning Show

Kewanee Mayoral candidate Gary Moore will join WKEI at 7:20 Am to talk about winning the opportunity to compete in the General Election in April for the chance to be the next Mayor of Kewanee. Gary earned 42% of the votes cast on Tuesday night, a significant amount of votes over the next highest candidate and his general election opponent, Councilman Mike Yaklich. 

 

Kewanee Director of Community Development Keith Edwards will be our guest on People to People on Wednesday at 8:45 Am. Keith will join us to talk about nuisance mowing in Kewanee, specifically city policy related to having to clean up after those who refuse to tend their own yard. The City is attempting to address staffing and cost issues related to nuisance mowing before the mowing season gets underway and Keith will be asking the public for suggestions. 

 

Illinois State Trooper Jason Wilson will be our guest on People to People at 9:35 Am. Trooper Wilson will join us to talk about public safety issues and the latest public safety campaigns of the Illinois State Police. 

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People to People Kewanee City Manager Gary Bradley

Kewanee City Manager Gary Bradley joined WKEI for our People to People Podcast on Tuesday. Gary was our guest to look back on Monday night's Kewanee City Council Meeting. One of the big topics to emerge from Monday's Council Meeting was a new call for something to be done about the East Street Viaduct, a longtime sore spot of contention between the City of Kewanee and the owners of the railroad. As Gary explains, a concerned citizen raised the viaduct issue during the Public Comments portion of Monday night's Meeting... 

We asked Gary if the City of Kewanee could unilaterally step in and make repairs to the Viaduct and he explained that, no, the City would have to have the permission and cooperation of the railroad... 

Some have asked that if the viaduct cannot be repaired then why keep it open? The railroad has expressed a desire to see the City of Kewanee close the viaduct and due to the recent weather and drainage issues the Viaduct has been closed. However, the City argues that public safety is an important reason for keeping the Viaduct open... 

You can hear our complete interview with Kewanee City Manager Gary Bradley discussing last night's Kewanee City Council meeting by clicking below. Stream or download the interview here at RegionalDailyNews.com... 

 

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Illinois State Police Make Arrest in Alleged Multi-State Theft Spree

Two suspects are under arrest following a traffic stop in Rock Island County that led to the discovery of stolen items in thefts across multiple states. According to the Illinois State Police, officers pulled over a vehicle with Arizona license plates on Monday afternoon for multiple traffic violations. A subsequent search of the vehicle turned up evidence of the duos alleged thefts. 44 year old Steven J Shreves of South Bend, Indiana and 50 year old David A Kovacs of Phoenix, Arizona, told authorities they were traveling from Arizona to Indiana when they were pulled over in the area of Barstow Road and Route 5 in Rock Island on Monday afternoon. Evidence indicates that the duo are the suspects in a series of reported thefts in which the two men entered retail establishments with a backpack that they then loaded with stolen goods and then left the store having paid for smaller items. Both suspects were taken to the Rock Island County Jail. Shreves is charged with Obstruction of Justice, Possession of Stolen Property, an outstanding warrant from another state, and Driving While License Suspended. Kovacs meanwhile, was charged with Possession of Stolen Property and Illegal Transportation of Alcohol. Additional charges are expected from other states. The two suspects remain under investigation. 

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Moore and Yaklich to Move Forward to Kewanee Mayor General Election

Gary Moore was the big winner on Tuesday night in the Kewanee Mayoral Primary. The former Kewanee Police Officer garnered 42% of the vote among the five candidates in the race. Coming in in second place and joining Moore in the General Election is Kewanee City Council member and write-in candidate Mike Yaklich. According to Henry County Clerk Barb Link the final number for Mr Yaklich was 290 votes, only 5 votes more than the next highest candiate, fellow Kewanee City Councilman, Steve Faber who finished with 285 votes. Robert Kuntz and Steve Lemanski finished with 87 and 76 votes respectively. The total number of voters in Tuesday's primary were 1293 however, the math indicates 1285 votes counted with 4 over votes and 2 under votes. Two write-in votes for Mike Yaklich were thrown out. These numbers however, are unofficial and will be subjected to canvassing by the County Clerk Barb Link early next week. For now, final numbers read like this: 

Gary Moore with 547 

Mike Yaklich (Write-In) 290 

Steve Faber 285 

Robert Kuntz 87 

Steve Lemanski 76 

 

Precinct by Precinct numbers 

 

Kewanee Precinct 1 

 

419 registered voters 

48 votes cast 

17 for Steve Faber 

12 for Gary Moore 

9 for Steve Lemanski 

5 for Robert Kuntz 

4 for Mike Yaklich 

1 Over Vote 

 

Kewanee Precinct 2 

 

424 Registered Voters 

53 Votes cast 

16 for Gary Moore 

14 for Mike Yaklich 

11 for Steve Faber 

8 for Robert Kuntz 

4 for Steve Lemanski 

 

Kewanee Precinct 3 

 

458 registered voters 

78 votes cast 

33 for Gary Moore 

22 for Mike Yaklich 

13 for Steve Faber 

5 for Robert Kuntz 

5 for Steve Lemanski 

 

Kewanee Precinct 4 

 

417 registered voters 

47 votes cast 

17 for Gary Moore 

15 for Steve Faber 

7 for Steve Lemanski 

6 for Mike Yaklich 

1 for Robert Kuntz 

1 under vote 

 

Kewanee Precinct 5 

 

348 registered voters 

41 votes cast 

15 for Gary Moore 

15 for Steve Faber 

6 for Mike Yaklich 

3 for Steve Lemanski 

1 for Robert Kuntz 

1 over vote 

 

Kewanee Precinct 6 

 

585 registered voters 

44 votes cast 

20 for Gary Moore 

9 for Steve Faber 

7 for Mike Yaklich 

6 for Robert Kuntz 

2 for Steve Lemanski 

 

Kewanee Precinct 7 

 

556 registered voters 

78 votes cast 

40 for Gary Moore 

21 for Steve Faber 

12 for Mike Yaklich 

3 for Robert Kuntz 

2 for Steve Lemanski 

 

Kewanee Precinct 8 

639 registered voters 

94 votes cast 

45 for Gary Moore 

21 for Mike Yaklich 

20 for Steve Faber 

5 for Steve Lemanski 

3 for Robert Kuntz 

 

Kewanee Precinct 9 

 

545 registered voters 

68 votes cast 

24 for Gary Moore 

21 for Mike Yaklich 

14 for Steve Faber 

7 for Steve Lemanski 

2 for Robert Kuntz 

 

Kewanee Precinct 10 

 

541 registered voters 

91 votes cast 

45 for Gary Moore 

22 for Mike Yaklich 

17 for Steve Faber 

5 for Robert Kuntz 

2 for Steve Lemanski 

 

Kewanee Precinct 11 

 

481 registed voters 

123 vote cast 

41 for Mike Yaklich 

40 for Gary Moore 

30 for Steve Faber 

7 for Robert Kuntz 

3 for Steve Lemanski 

2 over votes 

 

Wethersfield Precinct 1 

 

511 registered votes 

107 votes cast 

41 for Gary Moore 

28 for Steve Faber 

25 for Mike Yaklich 

9 for Robert Kuntz 

4 for Steve Lemanski 

 

Wethersfield Precinct 2 

 

633 registered voters 

150 votes cast 

68 for Gary Moore 

31 for Steve Faber 

28 for Mike Yaklich 

13 for Robert Kuntz 

10 for Steve Lemanski 

 

Wethersfield Precinct 3 

 

548 registered voters 

118 votes cast 

59 for Gary Moore

34 for Mike Yaklich 

21 for Steve Faber 

3 for Steve Lemanski 

1 for Robert Kuntz 

 

Wethersfield Precinct 4 

 

743 registered votes 

153 votes cast 

72 for Gary Moore 

29 for Mike Yaklich 

23 for Steve Faber 

18 for Robert Kuntz 

10 for Steve Lemanski 

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Illinois State Police Release DUI Arrest Report for January 2019

The Illinois State Police District 7 has released the list of Driving Under the Influence Arrests in the month of January, 2019. In all, across District 7, including Henry, Rock Island and Knox County, six arrests were made for Driving Under the Influence charges last month. 

 

Reports indicate that District 7 Troopers arrested and charged the following individuals with
Driving Under the Influence (DUI).
Henry County
? Mohamed A. Bunow, 30, Grand Rapids, ND
? Joshua Graves, 43, Hooppole, IL
? Austin M. Lucas, 22, Annawan, IL
Knox County
? Noah D. Jackson, 37, Silvis, IL
Rock Island County
? Nathan A. Degarma, 28, Rock Island, IL
? Edjuan L. Poole, 37 Davenport, IA
(The above mentioned individuals have been charged with a crime; however, those charged with
a crime are presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.) 

 

The Illinois State Police are reminding drivers of the mottor 'Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over.' 

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OSF Doctor Hayley Ralph Suggests Heart Health Tips

It's American Heart Month and as it winds down in the month of February we talked with Dr Hayley Ralph about the best ways to approach heart health. 

Dr Ralph was our guest alongside Carrie Boelens from OSF Saint Luke Medical Center on Monday's edition of Tuned In on WKEI. 

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Changes Proposed for How Illinois Handles Electoral College Votes

State Representative Tim Butler is proposing a change to how the state of Illinois casts electoral college ballots. In a new bill being proposed, Illinois would abandon the current winner takes all approach to the electoral college and instead, award electoral college votes by Congressional District outcomes. Currently, whoever wins the state wins all of the 20 electoral college votes from the state of Illinois. Our Greg Bishop has more on the proposed changes to the Electoral College in Illinois... 

 

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Governor Pritzker Travels to Washington D.C to Push for SALT Tax Deduction

Governor J.B Pritzker was in Washington D.C on Monday with Governors from New Jersey and New York to push for change to the SALT deduction. SALT or State and Local Tax Deduction, helps states with high income taxes by allowing residents to deduct their state and local taxes on their Federal return. President Trump's tax reforms that took hold at the start of this year capped the SALT deduction at just $10,000. The Governors want the cap lifted, a move that may help the high tax states retain those who feel their state taxes are too high. Our Greg Bishop and Cole Lauterbach have more... 

 

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Governor Pritzker Budget Proposals Are Now Becoming Legislation

Illinois House Majority Leader Greg Harris has begun introducing bills reflecting the budget that Governor J.B Pritzker discussed in his budget address less than a week ago. Among the bills under consideration are new spending for infrastructure and nearly $17 billion dollars in funds earmarked for the Illinois State Board of Education with at least a quarter of that money going toward teacher pensions. What's not in the proposals, according to Republican House Members, is new revenue to pay for the proposals that Democrats are putting into action. Our Cole Lauterbach has more... 

 

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Black Hawk College CNA Scholarships Available

Black Hawk College has two $500.00 scholarships available for students looking to become Certified Nursing Assistants. According to a release from Black Hawk College, the scholarships available are the Black Hawk East Foundation Scholarship and the Barbara J Curran Golby Scholarship. Golby was a nurse in Kewanee for nearly 50 years and spent 10 years of her career teaching at Black Hawk College. The CNA courses at Black Hawk College include 80 hours of Classroom work and 40 hours of Clinical Training. CNA Scholarship applications must be turned in to Black Hawk College by March 11th for the March 18 Basic Nurse Assistant Training Program at the BHC Community Education Center in downtown Kewanee.go to bhc.edu/CNA to register

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Last Day to Register to Vote in April Election March 5th

Today is Primary Day in Kewanee and whether or not you registered to vote today, you can still register to vote on April 2nd in the General Election. That day, multiple races will be decided including Kewanee City Council seats, School Board elections and, of course, the decision between two candidates for Mayor of Kewanee. If you would like to register to vote in the April 2nd General Election you must do so by March 5th either at the courthouse in Cambridge or at the City Clerk's office in Kewanee. That's especially important if you have moved since the last time you voted. 

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Primary Election Day in Kewanee

It is Primary Election Day in Kewanee. Two of the five candidates for Mayor of Kewanee will move on from today to the General Election on April 2nd to decide who will succeed Mayor Steve Looney as the next Mayor of Kewanee. The candidates are businsess owner Steve Lemanski, former Kewanee City Council Member Bob Kuntz, current Kewanee City Council Member Steve Faber, former Kewanee Police Officer Gary Moore and write-in candidate and current City Council Member Mike Yaklich. Polling Places in Kewanee are located at: 

 

Kewanee 1
BHC Outreach Center
404 E. 3rd St.  Kewanee
Kewanee 2
Holy Trinity Polish Cath Church
712 N. Tremont St.  Kewanee
Kewanee 3
Holy Trinity Polish Cath Church
712 N. Tremont St.  Kewanee
Kewanee 4
Elks Lodge
113 1/2 N. Tremont St.  Kewanee
Kewanee 5
Washington Apartments
700 E. 2nd St.  Kewanee
Kewanee 6
Fairview Community Building
238 Community Square  Kewanee
Kewanee 7
Elks Lodge
113 1/2 N. Tremont St.  Kewanee
Kewanee 8
1st United Methodist Church
108 E. Central Blvd  Kewanee
Kewanee 9
Fairview Community Building
238 Community Square  Kewanee
Kewanee 10
1st United Methodist Church
108 E. Central Blvd  Kewanee
Kewanee 11
BHC Outreach Center
404 E. 3rd St.  Kewanee

 

If you have questions regarding your polling places don't hesitate to call the County Clerk at 309-937-3575. If you need a ride to your polling place call us here at RegionalDailyNews.com and we will take your information and see if we can arrange transportation for you. 

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Central Illinois Senator Says He Could Get Behind Sports Betting If Done Right

Minimum wage increases and legalization of recreational marijuana are not things a central Illinois lawmaker is behind but sports betting, done correctly, is something State Senator Chapin Rose says he might support. Sen. Rose says with the US Supreme Court ruling last year to legalize sports betting in the country, there's no reason at this point for Illinois not to do it, but it needs to be done right.

The Mahomet Republican points out sports betting, and further, legalized recreational marijuana, will not solve the financial woes of the state.

Of the specific criticisms Sen. Rose had to say about the Governor's budget address, he felt the Governor was inconsistent in claiming the budget was reliant on existing revenues but then also said he needed $1.1-billion to make it balanced. 

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SNAP Coming Early For Some

The payment of SNAP benefits was pushed up for everyone in Feburary because of the government shutdown. Coming in March the payments might be on time for some and a little early for others says DHS’s Meghan Powers. 

SNAP payments are generally made throughout the month so some folks will see them a sooner than normal. DHS hopes that getting the benefits out a little ahead of schedule can ease any strain on budgets and purchases for those that had to stretch the dollars during the shutdown. 

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Bustos: Border Wall Not National Emergency

Congresswoman Cheri Bustos says President Trump was wasting time when he declared an emergency intended to get funding for his planned border wall. 


The Congresswoman was back in the 17th District over the weekend meeting with constituents and holding her 'Cheri on Shift' events where she job shadows various workers in various different fields including working at a McDonald's in Rock Island. 

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New GOP Rep Murphy Saved in Choking Incident by Dem Senator

It was a bipartisan move far important than anything involving legislation. Newly installed Republican State Representative Mike Murphy has survived a very sudden health scare. The longtime restauranteur was attending a gathering of pipe trades union officials last week when he suddenly began choking on a roast beef slider at a Downtown Springfield Hotel. Democratic State Senator Michael Hastings of Tinley Park walked into the room and immediately spotted Murphy in distress. He was able to save Murphy by performing the Heimlich Maneuver. Hastings is no stranger to pressure situations. The Army Veteran received advance combat lifesaving training before deploying to Iraq, Iran and Syria. Murphy was happy to see Hastings in the right place at the right time...


Hastings attended West Point and played football for the Army Cadets before making his way to war zones and the Capitol. 

 

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Kewanee Mayoral Primary Final Candidate Statements Podcast

This morning on WKEI 4 of the 5 candidates for Mayor of Kewanee joined the WKEI morning show to make final appeals to get people to the polls to cast their vote on Tuesday. Former Kewanee Police Officer Gary Moore could not make it in today but he will join WKEI for a special Facebook Live final statement tonight from Kewanee City Hall as we do our best to give the candidates a chance to talk with you and pitch their vision to be the next Mayor. All candidates were offered 5 minutes. Some took that time and some did not. 

 

Bob Kuntz

Steve Faber

Steve Lemanski 

Mike Yaklich 

 

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Tuned In OSF Saint Luke Medical Center Monday

Carrie Boelens and Dr Hayley Ralph were our guests on Tuned In this morning. Carrie was on hand to talk about the last days of the Commit 2 Fit Kewanee program with final weigh-outs tonight from 4 Pm to 7 Pm and tomorrow night from 4 Pm to 7 Pm. Carrie also put out the call for Hospital memorabilia, uniforms, patches etc, to be loaned to OSF as part of the 100th Anniversary celebration happening in April. Dr Hayley Ralph then joined in to discuss heart health and tips for keeping your heart healthy. Stream or download our Tuned In Podcast below...

 

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Representative Cheri Bustos Touts New Committee Assignment

Representative Cheri Bustos dropped by our Regional Media studios on Friday for a tour of our new facility. She was also on hand for an interview to talk about the many things going on in Washington D.C at the moment including the ongoing battle over immigration and more work on bills affecting farm families. Another top we discussed was Representative Bustos's new committee assignment. This week, Representative Bustos begins a term on the powerful House Appropriations Committee... 

You will hear our complete interview with Representative Cheri Bustos at 9:35 Am on our People to People program on WKEI. 

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IDOT Touts the Need for New Infrastructure Bill

The Illinois Department of Transportation is calling for more funding for infrastructure projects. State roads and bridges are in disrepair but the question isn't whether the state needs to address infrastructure, it's where does the state find the money to address the need for infrastructure improvements across the entire state. Our Kim Howard has more... 

 

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Mayoral Candidates to Appear on WKEI Day Before Votes Are Cast

The Kewanee Mayoral Primary will be held tomorrow, Tuesday, February 26th. On this day before primary day, all 5 candidates for Mayor of Kewanee will appear on WKEI. Former Kewanee Police Officer Gary Moore will drop in for a visit at 7:20, former Council Member Bob Kuntz will join us at 7:50. Council member Steve Faber will be in at 8:20, followed by Steve Lemanski at 8:30. Finally, write-in candidate Mike Yaklich will drop in at 9:10 Am. All candidates will be given five minutes to make a final plea to voters ahead of tomorrow's primary. Remember that early voting is available at the Henry County  Courthouse in the office of County Clerk Barb Link until 4 Pm today. WKEI will bring you up to the moment returns in the Kewanee Mayoral Primary on Tuesday night, live from the Henry County Courthouse in Cambridge where the voters are counted. Coverage begins at 7:30 Pm on Facebook.com/regionaldailynews. 

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State Rep Signs On to Chicago Statehood Bill in Protest of Pritzker Policies

A southern Illinois state representative is accusing the Pritzker administration of trying to spread Chicago policies to the entire state of Illinois. Representative Darren Bailey of Louisville, Illinois says that he signed on to a protest bill to have Chicago become the 51st state in America because he doesn't want the rest of the state to be subject to the laws of Chicago, a fear he feels is founded in Governor Pritzker's recent budget address. Our Greg Bishop has more... 

 

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House Bill to Ban Gun Sanctuaries in Illinois

Gun sanctuaries have become a symbolic, local protest for conservative municipalities eager to send a message to lawmakers in Springfield. Now, one Illinois lawmaker wants to bring a legal end to gun sanctuaries across the state with a new law that would require all counties in the state of Illinois to adhere to statewide gun laws. House Bill 3553, proposed by State Representative Terra Costa Howard would force the 102 counties across Illinois to adhere to the same set of gun laws, voiding any gun laws that counties have made for themselves to exempt residents from enforcement. Our Greg Bishop has more... 

 

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Governor Pritzker Considering Controversial Transferring of State Assets into Pension System

Red flags are being raised over Governor J.B Pritzker's plan to transfer state assets into the underfunded pension system. Under the plan, the Governor would take state assets and transfer the value of those assets into the pension system. The issue? Transferring assets from the state into the pension system could trigger a lawsuit from Illinois bondholders and may not actually lower pension debt if property such as the Thompson Center were transferred to the pension system but remained unsold and thus not generating revenue. Our Cole Lauterbach has more. 

 

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IL Public Lands Stand to Benefit from Historic Bill

Congress is considering a historic bill that could ensure the future protection of natural areas throughout Illinois. Historic sites, wildlife reserves, beaches and community parks are among the more than 700 outdoor areas in the state that have benefited from the Land and Water Conservation Fund. The program expired in September, but could be reauthorized permanently as part of the Natural Resources Management Act. Maite Arce, president and CEO of the Hispanic Access Foundation, says public lands are a key component of the American identity.

 

"They are places that not only preserve our shared cultural heritage and provide access to recreate but it also provides millions of jobs," she states. "And it often provides the only means to experience the outdoors because this program supports local and municipal parks and projects."

 

Over the past 50 years, Illinois has received about $213 million from the program, which is funded from offshore oil and gas revenues. The Senate passed the Natural Resources Management Act with overwhelming bipartisan support and the act could be voted on by the House as early as next week. With outdoor recreation generating nearly $26 billion in consumer spending each year in Illinois, Land Tawney, president and CEO of Backcountry Hunters and Anglers, contends that public lands are a major economic driver that's available to everyone.

 

"In this conversation about jobs, jobs, jobs and the economy, this is one of the most solid things that we can put our investments behind, which is our public lands and our public waters," he stresses.

Tracy Stone-Manning, vice president for public lands with the National Wildlife Federation, says the group's polling shows three-in-four Americans want permanent reauthorization and full support for the program. She says she's pleased to see lawmakers are listening.

 

"In a time when our country is so divided, this one issue - the ability to bring people together around public lands, around protection of our wildlife - has punched through as something that is so uniquely and beautifully American that it has brought the Senate together and we're hoping it does the House as well," she states.

 

The bill includes support for many other natural areas, including expansion of the Abraham Lincoln National Heritage Area and the designation of Route 66 as a National Historic Trail.

 

 

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People to People Marshall Jones Henry County Board Chairman

Henry County Board Chairman Marshall Jones joined WKEI on Friday to talk about Thursday night's Henry County Board Meeting. There wasn't much on the agenda but there was plenty to talk about elsewhere including talk about wind turbine projects in Henry County and specifically the project currently a point of controversy, the Burns Township wind turbine project. 

The interview also included discussions regarding solar projects in Henry County and reactions to Governor JB Pritzker's budget address from last Wednesday. You can hear our complete conversation with Board Chairman Marshall Jones below... 

 

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Kewanee City Council Agenda for 02-25-19

The Kewanee City Council will meet tonight at 7 Pm at Kewanee City Hall. Among the items on the agenda, a final vote will take place on the long in the works internal control policy. The insurance fund will be discussed with Sarah Dickinson from the firm of Cottingham and Butler to provide guidance on how the insurance fund should be administered. Consideration for a variance for Lisa Rashid of Regina Court and consideration of an ordinance to lift parking restrictions in the 200 Block of South Franklin Street. WKEI will carry live coverage of tonight's Kewanee City Council meeting on our Facebook page at Facebook.com/regionaldailynews. 

 

1. Call to Order
2. Work Session regarding municipal mowing of unmaintained private properties.
3. Pledge of Allegiance
4. Consent Agenda
a. Approval of Minutes
b. Payroll
c. Staff Reports
5. Presentation of Bills and Claims
6. Citizen Participation
7. Business:
a. Acceptance of the Zoning Board of Appeals minutes from its meeting held on Wednesday,
February 20, 2019.
b. Consideration of an Ordinance granting a variance to Lisa Rashid at 214 Regina Court.
c. Discussion regarding the Health Insurance Fund
d. Consideration of a Resolution to adopt an internal control policy for the City of Kewanee
e. Consideration of a Resolution appointing James Dison to the Police Pension Board.
f. Consideration of an Ordinance removing the parking restrictions in the 200 block of South
Franklin Street.
8. Council Communications:
9. Announcements:
10. Adjournment

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Update on Shots Fired Suspect Injured Following Police Chase on I-80 Sunday Night

Update: Suspect Scott Frank was taken into custody following a crash near Hampton, Illinois. After attempting to flee on foot, Frank was captured and taken into custody. However, he was first taken to a local medical facility for treatment of injuries suffered in the crash. No word on the severity of the injuries. Official charges from the Illinois State Police against Scott Frank have yet to be announced. We only know that he faces multiple traffic and criminal charges at this time. 

 

A Cedar Rapids. Iowa man is under arrest following shots fired incident led to a police chase from Annawan to Hampton, Illinois. According to a release from the Illinois State Police, 25 year old Scott Frank of Cedar Rapids was suspected in a reported shots fired incident somewhere between Annawan and Atkinson, Illinois, on westbound I-80. Police reported to the scene and located the suspect who fled in his vehicle. A police chase ensued and culminuated just before the Interstate 80 bridge between Illinois and Iowa. According to Illinois State Police, Frank's vehicle went off the road just before the final exit before the bridge crossing into Iowa. Frank then attempted to escape on foot. There is no word on how long it took to capture Frank, only that he was captured. Frank has been charged with multiple criminal and traffic offenses. Illinois State Police will release more information today. 

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Representative Cheri Bustos Live in Studio on WKEI

Representative Cheri Bustos came by our brand new studio in Kewanee today to talk about her latest Cheri on Shift adventure at the bottom of a Mississippi River lock. Representative Bustos also discussed her appointment to the House Appropriations Committee, the Farm Bill and Border Security. On Saturday, Representative Bustos will be in Rock Island for another Cheri on Shift in which she will be behind the counter at McDonalds located at  2950 11th Street in Rock Island. 

 

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State Senators Planning Bridges Infrastructure Tour

Two State Senators will play key roles in state efforts to shore up the state's sagging infrastructure. State Senator Andy Manar, Chairman or the Senate Appropriations Committee, will join forces with Chicago Democrat, State Senator Martin Sandoval, head of the Senate Transportation Committee, for a statewide listening tour to collect local input regarding construction projects and infrastructure investment. Manar says he's already received some startling input from Illinois Acting Transportation Secretary Matt Magalis when it comes to the health of the state's bridges...


Manar says the solving the bottom line challenge for fixing state infrastructure is daunting...


It's been ten years since Illinois last had a capital program.

 

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Kewanee Superintendent Dr Chris Sullens Reacts to Governor Pritzer's Budget Address

Kewanee Schools Superintendent Dr Chris Sullens was our guest on People to People on Thursday. 

In the interview we discussed his reaction to Governor JB Pritzker's budget address and the talk about education. 

 

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Musician Jonny Lipford to Perform and Instruct in Bishop Hill this Weekend

Musician Jonny Lipford will perform and instruct this weekend in Bishop Hill. A master of the Native American Flute, Jonny will instruct those who attend in how to play this unique instrument before performing his original compositions in concert. We caught up with Jonny Lipford via email this week ahead of his appearance at the Bishop Hill Creative Commons this Saturday, February 23rd. 

 

RDN How did you discover the Native American Flute? 


JL: I first heard the Native American flute while flipping through cartoon channels when I was 13-years-old. The sound captivated me as it was unlike anything I had heard before. I quickly found myself on the internet researching "wooden" flutes of all kinds to eventually find a video of a gentleman playing a wooden, end-blown flute like the one I had seen in the cartoon. I remember showing my mom the most expensive ones I could find, of course! Bad move. I was diligent in my search and soon pointed out a 5-hole, bamboo flute for beginners for around $50. She said, "we'll see." That later translated into one of the most pivotal gifts I had ever receive,  on Christmas day in 2002 nonetheless. 


RDN: What do you love about performing live? 


JL: Audiences hear me say this a lot... I love performing live because I am convinced that I have the best seat in the house because I get to witness the moment that music truly impacts and affects someone. Their shoulders drop, their head bops or foot taps with the rhythm of the song; or perhaps they start to tear up. No matter their response, I'm always blown away and deeply gratified by these moments. 

 

RDN: What can people expect from your performance? 


JL: When people hear a "Native American flute concert" being advertised, I think they expect something very traditional. I will, of course, share a couple of songs with just the Native American flute, but I will also share pieces of music that are far more contemporary. Some might say that it's a blend of New Age and Pop music. I also do a bit of storytelling in between songs as it helps support the music and I feel it helps to connect with audiences. I want to be as encouraging and welcoming as possible in all facets of my artistry. 

 

RDN: This is billed as a workshop and concert, what can people expect from the workshop part of the event?

 

JL: The workshop is geared towards beginners and folks that have never played the Native American flute before. I've worked with hundreds of students over the past decade–in person and via Skype/Facetime–to help them better understand their instruments, perform various techniques and even write their own songs! This workshop will cover the basics of starting out on the Native American flute and I'll throw in some secrets, too! 

 

RDN: What do you love about music?


JL: I love that music is everywhere. Music, whether lyrical or instrumental, helps paint the picture of emotion in all areas of our lives. For example, have you considered how that romantic or scary part of a movie would "feel" without the support of music?  I love all types of music, but a characteristic that I appreciate most about instrumental music is that it's like abstract art for the ears; enabling the listener to put their own perspectives, lives and memories into a piece. Instrumental music has the capacity and ability to transcend language barriers and affect people all over the world.

 

You can see Jonny Lipford perform and learn a little something about the Native American Flute this Saturday, February 23rd beginning at 6 Pm. It's a potluck as well. Jonny's performance gets underway at 7 Pm. Tickets are $75.00 which includes your own flute and bag or $25.00 if you already have your own flute. 

 

 

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Council Member Faber Falls Ill Unable to Participate in Mayoral Forum

Kewanee Mayoral candidate Steve Faber was to participate in last night's Kewanee League of Women Voters Mayoral forum but left just before the event got underway. A statement on Councilman Faber's Facebook page stated: 

 

Councilman Faber has had a medical emergency and was unable to attend the League or Women Voters forum. He apologizes for not being able to attend and for this inconvenience to the people of Kewanee.

We will update more as information becomes available.

—Councilman Faber’s family. 

 

Later, the Facebook page was updated with what Councilman Faber planned for his opening remarks published here... 


I’m Steve Faber. I’m currently a city councilman here in Kewanee, and now I’d like the honor of leading Kewanee as your mayor. I’m a lifelong Kewaneean, and I worked for 37 years at the Henry County Highway Department, until my retirement. Now, I enjoy spending time with my grandchildren, caring for my 90-year-old mother, and doing what I can to serve my community and help to make it a better place. 
The job of mayor of Kewanee is a part time job on paper. But realistically, it’s a full time job in practice, if you want to do the job right. And Kewanee deserves to have the job done right. It NEEDS to have the job done right. 
Doing it right means that everything you do, is for the people. It’s doing what’s BEST for the citizens of Kewanee. It means that sometimes you have to make the tough decisions, because it’s the right call to make. And we’re not talking the right call in that you get short term gain or popularity out of it, but the right call in that it lays the groundwork for long term success in Kewanee. You may not have the immediate pay-off, but the city will succeed in the long run. 
I’m here because I want to make sure that Kewanee is a better place for our young people, for our future. I want to leave Kewanee—when that day comes as it does for all of us—a much better place than when I “found” it. Our next generation deserves something good to work with. 
We have to make the right decisions and we have to take care of what we have here. Occasionally, we do get good news, such as the Life Skills budget announcement. But we have obligations we’ve made to all of our citizens, and we need to stick with them. My job as an elected official—on council so far, but also as mayor—is to serve my community, my fellow citizens. It doesn’t matter if they make the most money in the city or the least amount of money, we are still responsible to them and their well-being, equally. 
It doesn’t matter what I want. This isn’t about me. This isn’t about what benefits me personally, and it never should be. Ever. This is about all of us, as a city. We, as elected officials, can’t just do whatever we want anymore. We can’t entertain pet projects, we have to do what the citizens want, and I know they’re wanting a change of pace. They’re tired of the same old ways, the same old solutions. The same old answers. They’re hungry to get things DONE. And that’s what I’m here to do. I’m here to do their work. I’m here to work for the citizens of Kewanee, and I’m here to do it for them, for all of us, FULL TIME.

 

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Kewanee League of Women Voters Kewanee Mayoral Forum Well Attended and Informative

A number of people of all ages turned out for Thursday night's Kewanee League of Women Voters Kewanee Mayoral Forum. The event featured four of the five candidates running for Mayor of Kewanee in the Tuesday, February 26th primary. Councilman Steve Faber was in attendance but left just before the start of the forum having fallen ill. The remaining candidates spoke to attendees and those listening in on WKEI and RegionalDailyNews.com on Facebook about how the $15.00 per hour minimum wage will affect Kewanee's economy, automated trash pickup, and what they feel is the role of the Mayor of Kewanee. The night began with opening statements from each candidate which you can hear below...

 

Robert Kuntz

Mike Yaklich 

Steve Lemanski 

Gary Moore 

You can hear the entirety of last night's Kewanee League of Women Voters Kewanee Mayoral forum by going to Facebook.com/regionaldailynews where video from the forum is archived. 

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Democrats Looking at Ways to Fund Infrastructure Improvements in Illinois

Democrats in Springfield are seeking ways to raise revenue to fund more than $15 billion dollars needed for Highway infrastructure alone over the next decade. In his budget address on Wednesday, Governor J.B Pritzker said that the state needs to address the crumbling infrastructure around the state and now the question turns to how to pay for those needed improvements. Our Greg Bishop has more from Springfield... 

 

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Credit Rating Agency Says Current Pension Proposals in Springfield Will Not Help

Credit rating agency Fitch says that despite Governor Pritzker's Five Point Plan for tackling the unfunded pension liability in Illinois, nothing currently proposed will help reduce the $134 Billion dollars in unfunded pension liability in the state. That unfunded pension liability is the largest of its kind in any any state in the country. Our Greg Bishop has more on the struggle over pensions in Illinois. 

 

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Rapper Snoop Dogg Will Headline the Illinois State Fair

Rap legend and pop culture icon, Snoop Dogg will headline the Illinois State Fair on Friday, August 16th. Snoop, recently referring to himself as Uncle Snoop, will bring his Snoop and Friends tour to the Illinois State Fair with tickets on sale now. No word on which of Snoop's friends will join him on this leg of his tour. In recent performances, Snoop has been touring with Bone Thugs N Harmony, Warren G and Too Short. Snoop's most recent record was a gospel record called Snoop Presents the Bible of Love. In his more than 25 year career Snoop has sold more than 23 million records in the United States, and 35 million records worldwide. He's also found success in television in recent years with an unlikely partnership with Martha Stewart. Tickets to see Snoop Dog and Friends at the Illinois State Fair are on sale now with tiered prices including Tier 3 - $25 / Tier 2 - $30 / Tier 1 - $35 / Gen Track - $35 / VIP Track - $55. Other acts announced for the Illinois State Fair include Pentatonix and country stars Dan & Shay. 

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How to Train Your Dragon 3 Opens in Kewanee This Weekend

How to Train Your Dragon 3: The Hidden World opens this weekend at the Wanee Cinemas in downtown Kewanee this weekend. The third film in this popular Dreamworks Animation trilogy finds the hero, Hiccup, voiced by Jay Baruchel, taking his dragon, Toothless, on an adventure to The Hidden World, a place thought to exist only in myth, where dragons live in harmony and peace. Threatening that peace is Grimmel, voiced by Oscar winner F. Murray Abraham, who has set out to destroy all dragons. How to Train Your Dragon 3 The Hidden World also features the voices of America Ferrara, Cate Blanchett, Jonah Hill, and Gerard Butler. The film is getting exceptional reviews with a 92% positive rating on RottenTomatoes. We will have a review of How to Train Your Dragon 3 The Hidden World this weekend at RegionalDailyNews.com on our Movies page. 

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Twenty Dollar Minimum Wage Proposed for In Home Care Workers

Could there be a state minimum wage specifically for in home caregivers? That's part of what is being proposed in a new bill by State Representative Robyn Gabel. The proposed caregivers minimum wage would be $20.00 per hour and while that amount is eyebrow raising, Gabel's bill is aimed at trying to retain workers in a field that has been in decline that can be specifically linked to the difficulty of the job and low wages. Our Cole Lauterbach has more... 

 

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Understanding Consent Could Be Taught in Sex Ed

What’s “consent”? Members of the Illinois House want students to understand what it is and for it to be taught in sex education classes to students starting in the sixth grade. Democratic Representative Ann Williams is the bill’s sponsor.

Williams says it’s an important aspect of education that needs to be taught and consent is not given by the way someone dresses.

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People to People Kewanee Schools Superintendent Dr Chris Sullens and KHS Principal Jamie Bryan

Kewanee Schools Superintendent Dr Chris Sullens and KHS Principal Jamie Bryan were our guests today on People to People. Principal Bryan summed up the tremendous accomplishments of our Kewanee Athletes and compeitors in Winter Sports, including the competitive Speech performers. Dr Chris Sullens then discussed the upcoming Kewanee Schools Foundation Auction happening March 9th. Dr Sullens also gave us his reaction to Governor J.B Pritzker's Budget Address on Wednesday and the impact that the policies put forward could have on the Kewanee School District. 

 

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Tuned In Kewanee League of Women Voters Forum Tonight

The Kewanee League of Women Voters will host a forum tonight featuring all 5 of the candidates for Mayor of Kewanee. Carla Hillman and Sharon Deahl, who will act as moderator for tonight's forum, joined WKEI this morning to invite listeners to come to City Hall and participate in the forum in the forum. They also discussed the format for tonight's forum and plans for the next forum that will take place in March with the final two candidates for Mayor of Kewanee. 

 

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Bustos Hopes to Make Most of House Appropriations Committee Assignment

Illinois Congresswoman Cheri Bustos has a new role in Washington. She is now serving on the House Appropriations Committee. 


Bustos will also continue to serve on the House Ag Committee in the new session of Congress. 

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Governor Pritzker to Shutdown Empower Illinois Private School Scholarship

In his budget address on Wednesday, Governor J.B Pritzker stated that he would be cutting funding of $50 million dollars to the Empower Illinois private school scholarship program with an aim toward shuttering the popular program over the next three years. Empower Illinois is the largest scholarship program in the state of Illinois with funding in the range of $100 million dollars in state funds and donated funds. Pritzker wants to move the funds for Empower Illinois over to the public school systems across Illinois. Our Cole Lauterbach has more.. 

 

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Kewanee Schools Foundation 14th Annual Auction Next Month

The 14th Annual Kewanee Schools Foundation Auction will be held next month. The annual fundraiser which brings great support to the Kewanee Schools Foundation will be held Saturday, March 9th at 1:30 Pm in the Brockman Gymnasium at Kewanee High School. There will be a silent auction at 2 Pm and a live auction at 3 Pm. The cost to attend is free and the auctioneering will be provided by Guthrie Auction Service and Bill LeSage. Fundraising concessions will also be available to attendees including homemade cheesecake to support the FCCLA. Superintendent Dr Chris Sullens will be our guest on People to People on Thursday and will discuss what you can expect from the Kewanee Schools Foundation Auction on March 9th and much more this morning at 9:35 Am. 

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Kewanee League of Women Voters Mayoral Forum Tonight at City Hall

Tonight at 7 Pm at Kewanee City Hall, the Kewanee League of Women Voters will host a candidate forum for the Mayoral race in Kewanee. All five candidates for Mayor of Kewanee including former Kewanee Police Officer Gary Moore, Council Member Steve Faber, former Council Member Bob Kuntz, Businessman Steve Lemanski and write-in candidate, councilman Mike Yaklich will be on hand to discuss the issues facing the City of Kewanee and why they want to be the next Mayor, taking over for current Mayor Steve Looney. WKEI will carry live coverage of the Mayoral forum on Facebook.com/RegionalDailyNews and on the air at 1450 AM and 100.1 FM WKEI. The Kewanee Mayoral Primary will take place on February 26th. Two candidates will emerge from the primary to move on to the General Mayoral Election in April. Early voting in the primary is available by going to the Henry County Clerks Office in Cambridge. You can vote early at the Clerks Office through Monday, February 25th at 5 Pm. There are also special office hours this Saturday from 8 Am to 12 Noon at the Clerks Office for anyone who would like to vote at the Clerks Office in Cambridge on Saturday. 

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Thunderstorms to Close Out February Weather?

The final stretch of February will include an active weather pattern. And meteorologist Eric Schmidt at EJS Weather expects storm systems to move across the Midwest every few days.


At the other end of the state, they continue to count snow totals, now at 50-inches in Rockford since November.

 

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State Representative Tony McCombie Criticizes Governor Pritzker's Budget Address

State Representative Tony McCombie spoke to reporters after Governor Pritzker's budget address and offered some tough criticism of the Governor's speech which she says will add even more debt to the state budget and fails to fails to fix the ongoing pension problems in the state of Illinois. McCombie says she hopes that the general assembly only uses the Governor's budget as a framework and not the actual budget... 

 

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Senator Neil Anderson Talks About Positives and Negatives in Pritzker Budget Address

State Senator Neil Anderson says he hopes that Governor J.B Pritzker is sincere in his call for bi-partisan participation. In an interview following the Governor's Budget Address on Wednesday, Anderson said that there were things in the Governor's address that he agreed with... 

Anderson expressed concern about keeping people and businesses in his district in the Quad Cities from going to Iowa. 

Anderson ended the interview on a hopeful note talking about the Governor's call for bipartisanship. 

 

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IL GOP Budget Response

Although we've seen a more bipartisan tone these days at the Capitol, the Illinois GOP isn't exactly dishing out a "thumbs up" review of Governor Pritzker's first Budget Address. Illinois Republican Party Chairman Tim Schneider says the Pritzker spending blueprint is unbalanced and features familiar ingredients like skipping pension payments, borrowing, raising taxes and increasing spending. Schneider (sarcastically) suggests Pritzker take an opposite approach of President Trump...


Schneider calls proposed new revenue streams a true gamble...


Schneider calls Pritzker "The New Rod Blagojevich". 

 

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Budget Address Calls for Fairer Taxes

In his first budget address as Governor, Democrat JB Pritzker is calling for wide spread reforms and changes to taxation in Illinois. The platform is just an extension of his campaign; legalized recreational marijuana and sports betting and the subsequent taxes to go along with them. Pritzker is still pushing for a graduated income tax. One that he calls fairer then the flat tax system Illinois currently has.

Pritzker says the budget and his address today contained humble honesty and some bold optimism. 

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Pritzker Administration Looking Into FOID Revocation Process in Wake of Aurora Shooting

In the wake of last week's deadly Auroura shooting, llinois State Police now acknowledge the agency wrongly issued a gun license to the shooter in the warehouse murders. State Police also say Aurora Police Department may share in the blame because they failed to do their part to ensure the man no longer owned a weapon. Gary Montez Martin applied for a firearm owner’s identification card five years ago and lied when asked about a past felony, an aggravated assault in Mississippi in the mid 90's that led to a five year stay in prison. A background check only showed minor legal infractions and Martin received his gun license in January 2014 and he soon acquired the firearm used in last week's attack. State Police say they revoked Martin's license 3 months later and sent him a letter that he could no longer own a gun. Aurora Police were supposed to send a firearm disposition record to certify Martin complied with the process of relinquishing his gun but State Police never received that paperwork. I-S-P also concedes in most cases, the disposition paperwork doesn't get returned. Governor J.B. Pritzker says his office is tackling the issue head on...


State Police revoked nearly 11-thousand FOID cards last year. State Police said the agency is reviewing Illinois, Mississippi and federal records to determine how the felony conviction evaded two criminal background checks. 

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People to People Dick Wells on the Burns Township Wind Turbine Project

Dick Wells is a landowner along the Sauk Trail which runs through Burns Township. Dick claims that he had no idea that when he purchased land along the Sauk Trail that wind turbines would be going in around his new property. According to Mr Wells, he only found out about it last year when he received word of a public forum with information about the Wind Turbine Project being spearheaded by a company called Avangrid. Dick Wells was our guest on People to People on Wednesday. Stream or download the interview below... 

 

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Tuned In RegionalDailyNews.com Celebrity Interview Travel Channel Host Andrew Zimmern

Author,-adventurer-writer and Travel Channel host Andrew Zimmern was our guest on Wednesday's edition of Tuned In. Andrew has a new kids book out called AZ and the Lost City of Ophir. Andrew had read the story too his own kids based off his own globe trotting adventures and decided that it was a story that could do a lot of good not just as an author but as an opportunity to raise funds and awareness for kids who may not be getting the food they need. As Andrew discusses in this interview, proceeds from the book will be dedicated to charities to end food insecurity in America. 

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Kewanee Police Are Hiring New Entry Level Officers

The Kewanee Police Department is hiring. In a post on Facebook, the Kewanee Police laid out some basic qualifications for those who would like to apply to be a Kewanee Police Officer. Basic qualification to become an entry level police officer include being aged between 21 and 35 years old, you must be a lawful U.S citizen, a High School graduate and you must live within 15 miles of the City of Kewanee within 6 months of being hired. Applicants will undergo various tests including a background check, a power test, a written and an oral examination, a polygraph test, a psychological examination and pre-employment physical testing. Applications to be a Kewanee Police Officer must be received by 4 Pm on March 15th, 2019. Contact Lt. William Rivord at the Kewanee Police Department by calling 309-853-1911. 

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Ideas Illinois Concerned About Speed of Changes in Illinois Business Culture

Ideas Illinois is a group that focuses on creating jobs in Illinois. The group works in Springfield on legislation and with legislators on ways to further job creation in the state. Now, the group is expressing concerns regarding the pace at which changes are being made by the Pritzker administration to the business climate in Illinois. Our Benjamin Yount has more on how some experts are concerned that things are changing a little too quickly... 

 

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More Speculation Regarding Governor Pritzker's First Budget Address

Speculation regarding Governor JB Pritzker's first budget address now claims that the Governor will not propose an income tax hike as part of the plan to fix the ailing budget, Instead, Governor Pritzker is expected to talk about the legalization of recreational marijuana and the sale of licenses to grow marijuana as one new revenue stream that the state will be able to tap once legislation is passed in the state house. The Governor is also expected to announce new spending on education and the sale of state assets as part of his first budget address today at 12 Noon. Our Cole Lauterbach has more on the speculation about the Governor's address... 

WKEI will carry Governor Pritzker's budget address live beginning at 12 Noon on WKEI RegionalDailyNews.com 100.1 FM and 1450 AM and streaming here at RegionalDailyNews.com. 

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Holy Trinity Parish Polish National Church to Host St Joseph Supper

Holy Trinity Parish Polish National Church in Kewanee will host their St Joseph Supper on March 9th. Two sittings from 4 Pm to 5:45 Pm and 5:45 Pm to 7 Pm will take place as part of the St Joseph Supper featuring Polish Sausage, Pierogies, Mashed Potatoes, Gravy, Rye Bread, Kraut, Green Beans, Corn, and a Variety of Desserts. The cost to attend is $10.00 for adults and $4.00 for children aged 4 to 10 years old. Carryouts will also be available beginning at 4 Pm on March 9th. To get your tickets contact the Holy Trinity Parish Polish National Church at 309-853-4352. If you attend you will also have the opportunity to purchase the "A Taste of Heaven" cookbook produced by members of the Holy Trinity Parish Polish National Church. 

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Bill Proposes Requiring Fingerprints to Get a FOID Card

In the wake of the tragic shooting in Aurora last week, lawmakers in Illinois are looking closer at FOID cards and how they are obtained. One proposal wants to require fingerprints as part of the application process for a FOID Card. Aurora Shooter Gary Montez Martin had obtained a FOID Card in 2014 before having that card revoked after he applied for a Federal Concealed Carry License and fingerprint testing in that process led to the discovery of an arrest and jail time in Mississippi years earlier that should have prevented him from getting a FOID card. Our Greg Bishop has more... 

 

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Changes Coming to PARCC Testing

There are improvements on the way to the state’s student assessment tests. The State Board of Education says that the troubled “PARCC” tests that are normally given in March are being reworked. Ralph Grimm is the Acting Chief of Education.

More changes coming could include conducting the test online, getting student achievement results back to the districts quicker and trying to find a way to adapt the test to individual students.

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$15 Minimum Wage is Now Law in Illinois

The push to $15 an hour is now the law in Illinois. Democrat Governor JB Pritzker signed the new minimum wage bill today. Pritzker says he’s proud to be able to follow up on a major campaign promise and give one point four million workers in Illinois a wage they can live on.

Illinois’s minimum wage will increase by a dollar next year and settle to $15 an hour in six years. 

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Pritzker To Address Pensions In Budget Address

It’s time to hear Governor JB Pritzker’s plans for the state budget. He’s got a tall order to find a way to balance the state’s fiscal house and deal with trying to find a way to manage the state’s pension liability that rests at more than $130 billion. Pritzker says he has a five pronged approach to address what the state owes current and future retirees. And one of those measures is to extend the so-called pension ramp; that informs the state how much money should be paid into the system each year.

Pritzker will give his first budget address today at noon.

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Tuned In Annaleah Emm from the Stark County Farm Bureau

Annaleah Emm from the Stark County Farm Bureau was our guest on Tuned In on Tuesday, February 19th. Annaleah was on hand to tout the Stark County Farm Bureau scholarships which are available now to students across Stark County. 

You can pick up your scholarship application at the offices of the Stark County Farm Bureau or go to StarkCFB.com. Stream or download our complete interview with Annaleah Emm from the Stark County Farm Bureau below...

 

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Deadline Approaching for Kewanee Outstanding Citizen Award Nominations

Time is running out to nominate an Outstanding Citizen for the Kewanee Chamber of Commerce Outstanding Citizen Award. Nominations for Kewanee's Outstanding Citizen need to be submitted by Friday, February 22nd. The Kewanee Outstanding Citizen Award winner will be announced at the March 7th meeting of the Kewanee Chamber of Commerce Ambassadors. To qualiy, a nominee must live in or have lived in Kewanee. You must be able to determine the ways in which the nominee has contributed to the community through service and how that service was demonstrated whether it be via association with local charities or organizations or other exceptional community service efforts. Again, entries must be dropped off or mailed to the Kewanee Chamber of Commerce by this Friday to nominate an Outstanding Citizen in Kewanee. 

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IFB promoting Adopt-A-Legislator Program

It’s all about building relationships with a new Governor and General Assembly seated in Springfield. Illinois Farm Bureau is putting the wheels in motion this week with the Governmental Affairs Leadership Conference and one of the items being promoted is the organization’s ‘Adopt-A-Legislator’ program says IFB president Rich Guebert.

The Governmental Affairs Leadership Conference took place Tuesday in Springfield with more than 400 farmers participating and some of the issue sessions included such topics as trade, industrial hemp, and mental health. 

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Social Security Reminding Beneficiaries To Look Out For 10-99s

Social Security Reminding Beneficiaries To Look Out For 10-99s. 
If you are a recipient of Social Security benefits, you need to be on the lookout for your 10-99s for tax season. Jack Myers with Social Security in Springfield says those are mailed out each year and they are vitally important when filing your taxes.

Get more information about SSA-1099s or a MySocialSecurity account by visiting socialsecurity.gov. 

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Stratton, First Lady Pritzker Pay Visit to State's Biggest Women's Prison

First Lady M.K. Pritzker and Lt. Governor Julianna Stratton paid a visit to Lincoln's Logan Correctional Center earlier this month, to learn more about the needs of women detained by the Corrections Dept. For Stratton, it was her second visit to the state's largest lockup for women. Stratton says many of the inmates have common threads to their path to becoming an inmate....


Last year, then Governor Rauner signed legislation to create a women’s division within the Illinois Department of Corrections. That effort was designed to look at the unique needs of female inmates but also help them when they're released and return full time to role of mother. 

 

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WKEI to Carry Live Coverage of Governor Pritzker Budget Address Wednesday

Governor J.B Pritzker will deliver his very first budget address at 12 Noon on February 20th and you wil hear the entirety of the Governor's address live on WKEI and streaming here at RegionalDailyNews.com. Speculation abounds as to what the Governor may propose regarding the $3.6 Billion dollar hole that the state of Illinois faces due to issues related to pension and mismanagement dating back several administrations. Meanwhile, Governor Pritzker today, Tuesday, February 19th made official the bill raising the state minimum wage. In a ceremony this morning in Springfield the Goverrnor signed the bill which will gradually, over a period of six years, raise the state Minimum Wage. The bill passed over the objections of Republican on a party line vote with all Democrats in favor and the Minority Republicans opposed to the bill. The Governor's budget address to both houses of the legislature begins at 12 Noon on Wednesday and will be broadcast live on RegionalDailyNews.com 100.1 FM and 1450 AM WKEI. 

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Shared Parenting Bill Proposed in Illinois Statehouse

The Illinois Fathers for Equality is a group that is pushing for a new bill in the state house called the Shared Parenting Bill. The Shared Parenting Bill, if passed, would require judges ruling in custody cases to issue a written statement explaining why they chose not to give the parents a 50-50 spilt in custody of children following a divorce. Our Kim Howard has more... 

 

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OSF Saint Luke to Celebrate 100th Anniversary with Retiree Luncheon

OSF Saint Luke Medical Center is putting out the call for former employees of OSF Saint Luke Medical Center as well as those who worked at Kewanee Hospital to come out for the 100th Anniversary luncheon in April at OSF. The luncheon is intended to honor those who have served our community in the health care field over the past 100 years with historical displays, speakers and great food. Carrie Boelens from OSF Saint Luke Medical Center put out the call for hospital retirees on Monday's edition of Tuned In... 

The OSF Saint Luke Medical Center 100 year annniversary luncheon is scheduled for April 17th from 11 Am to 1 Pm. Call Nancy at 309-852-7822 if you are a former employee who would like to RSVP. 

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People to People Podcast State Representative Dan Swanson

State Representative Dan Swanson has been outspoken in his opposition to the raising of the minimum wage in Illinois. Representative Swanson joins us on People to People today to discuss why he opposed the bill which Governor Pritzker is expected to sign this week and what the impact of the minimum wage increase may be in our area.

Representative Swanson also spoke about what he hopes to hear in Governor Pritzker's budget address on Wednesday and about the proposed voluntary milage tax. You can hear our complete People to People podcast interview with Representative Dan Swanson below for streaming or downliad to listen later. 

 

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Henry County Health Department to Host Food Manager Certification Course in March

The Henry and Stark County Health Department will host a Food Manager Certification Course on March 18th and 19th. The Food Manager Certification Course is aimed at helping those in the food management industry to know and understand requirements of the Illinois Department of Public Health Food Code. This includes rules and regulations related to preventing food borne disease, food protection, cleaning and sanitization of equipment, personal hygiene, building construction, public health codes, insect and rodent control and personnel training. The cost to attend the Food Manager Certification Course is $140.00 for the two day class with an additional textbook available for $30.00. Classes will be held at the offices of the Henry and Stark County Health Department located at 4424 US Highway 34 in Kewanee. Limited number of registrations available. Contact the Health Department at 309-852-0197 for more information or to reserve your registration. 

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Black Hawk College Vet Tech and Surgical Tech Applications Being Accepted Now

Black Hawk College is accepting applications for a pair of popular degree programs. According to a release from Black Hawk College, applications are now being accepted for Associates Degree programs in Veterinary Technology and Surgical Technology. Both programs get underway in the fall with the Veterinary Technology program being hosted on the Black Hawk  College East Campus this fall. Vet Techs work with animals under the direction of Veterinarians in clinics and in animal hospitals. Surgical Technology Associates assist with surgeries by preparing surgical instruments, setting up the operating room prior to a surgery and assisting in the care of patients undergoing surgery. Surgery Tech classes are held at the Quad Cities campus of Black Hawk College. If you are interested in becoming a Vet Tech or a Surgical Tech you must apply with Black Hawk College by March 1st for classes beginning in the fall. Go to BHC.edu to put in your application. 

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Pension Consolidation or Eliminating Pension Altogether Two Proposals for Illinois Pension Debt

Cities across Illinois may move away from a localized pension system to a consolidated pension system across several cities if new proposals in Springfield are any indication. As Illinois lawmakers search for ways to fix the broken pension system in Illinois, one idea that seems to have some support is allowing several cities in geographically connected areas to consolidate pensions into one fund as a way to help each city not to default or continue to fall behind on pension payments. That said, one Illinois lawmaker believes abandoning pensions altogether is the only solution. More from our Greg Bishop. 

 

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Questions Abound Ahead of Governor Pritzker Budget Address Wednesday

Governor J.B Pritzker has a $3.2 Billion dollar hole in his budget in Illinois and most experts agree that sports gambling and legalized marijuana will not provide enough revenue to the state of Illinois to fill that hole. So what will the Governor propose on Wednesday to deal with the massive budget deficit? An increase in service taxes? Taxing retirement income? Taxing the richest Illinois residents? These are some of the ideas being mentioned ahead of the Governor's speech before both chambers of the Illinois legislature on Wednesday. Our Greg Bishop has more on what ideas appear viable and which ones are being dismissed. 

 

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Licensed Cannabis Dispensaries Want Moratorium on New Licenses in Illinois

Licensed cannabis dispensaries in Illinois want the state of Illinois want a moratorium on licenses for new dispensaries. The call for what some have called a protectionist policy for those companies that have spent millions to get off the ground in the medical marijuana industry in Illinois, comes as calls to legalize recreational marijuana gain more acceptance in Springfield. A moratorium on licenses for companies currently cultivating marijuana would likely be a financial boon to the 21 companies currently licensed to grow marijuana. Our Cole Lauterbach has more... 

 

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Rep Bost Wants People to Remember Differences Between Hemp and Marijuana

With hemp legalized as part of a new Farm Bill, Southern Illinois Congressman Mike Bost says it will be important to make sure law enforcement across the nation realizes the difference between hemp and cannabis.

Bost notes he is still not in favor of legalization of cannabis for recreational purposes, but recognizes there may be medical benefits, especially for veterans suffering from PTSD. 

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Kewanee Area Arts Council Interview Tim Black Talks Dinner Theater This Weekend

The Kewanee Area Arts Council Dinner Theater is set for this Friday, Saturday and Sunday afternoon. Three one act plays and Dinner will be part of the event at the Henry County Senior Citizens Center in Kewanee. Tickets are $15.00 each and include dinner from La Gondola, treats from the Senior Center and, of course, the plays. Events get underway at 6 Pm with dinner and showtime at 7 Pm on Friday and Saturday. The Sunday matinee begins at 2 Pm but does not include dinner. Tim Black from te Kewanee Area Arts Council joined us on Monday morning to put out the call for more folks to come out and support the arts in Kewanee. 

 

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Tuned In Carrie Boelens and Amy Hecker from OSF Saint Luke Medical Center

Carrie Boelens and Amy Hecker from OSF Saint Luke Medical Center joined us on Tuned In on Monday to talk about the latest events with OSF Saint Luke Medical Center. Amy Hecker was on hand to talk about Diabetes and the latest treatments and modern technology in the ongoing evolution of treatments of Diabetes. Carrie meanwhile talked about podiatry services at OSF and the upcoming 100 years celebration in which everyone who has ever worked for OSF and Kewanee Hospital is invited to attend. 

 

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Representative Dan Swanson Talks About First Congregational Church Speech for Black History Month

Representative Dan Swanson was in Kewanee on Sunday at First Congregational Church for the Community Celebration of Black History Month. Mr Swanson gave a speech and stayed afterward to talk with constituents who turned out for the remarkable event celebrating February as Black History Month. We caught up with Representative Swanson on Monday asked him about his speech and the gathering at the church. 

Our full interview with Representative Dan Swanson talking about the minimum wage hike, Governor Pritzker's upcoming budget address and the Milage Tax will air tomorrow on our People to People Program at 9:35 Am. 

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People to People President's Day with the Secret Lives of US Presidents Author Cormac O'Brien

Author Cormac O'Brien has made a career of digging up the secrets of U.S Presidents and sharing them with readers since 2002 and he has never stopped. With each new President, a new edition of Cormac's book gets ready to roll with the deepest, darkest and most humorous secrets of U.S Presidents. Cormac O'Brien joined WKEI for our People to People President's Day broadcast. 

 

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Illinois State Rep Proposing Voluntary Milage Tax

A Chicago area State Representative wants to introduce a voluntary milage tax. A new bill proposed by Democratic lawmaker Marcus Evans would create a pilot program wherein residents could voluntary pay a per mile tax of 2.1 cents per mile and have the 19 cent per gallon fuel tax waived. Our Cole Lauterbach has more from Springfield. 

 

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New Bill Aimed at House Speaker Roles

State Representative Margo McDermed is introducing a bill aimed directly at House Speaker Michael Madigan. HB-878 would make it against House Rules for a serving House Speaker to also be the chairman of his affilated party. Michael Madigan currently holds both the role of House Speaker and the chairmanship of the Illinois Democratic Party. Our Greg Bishop has more... 

 

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Local Health Departments Adjusting to New Food Service Inspection Guidelines

Health Department's across the state of Illinois are beginning to get used to new Food Service Inspection Guidelines that became law at the beginning of 2019. The Illinois Department of Health were in charge of writing the new guidelines which are intended to bring Illinois food inspection standards in line with the rest of the country. Our Scot Bertram explains... 

 

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Lincoln and Kennedy Facts Versus Fiction at Lincoln Museum

Do you remember hearing about all the strange coincidences between President’s Lincoln and Kennedy? From them both being a captain of a boat to the length of their names, they both had 4 children, the list goes on and on - but is it all true or mostly urban legend? The Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library will host an event on Tuesday to separate the truth from myth says Library Director Allen Lowe.

Tickets start at just $5. Meanwhile, in honor of President's Day today, our guest will be Presidential Historian and author of The Secret Lives of Presidents, Cormac O'Brien. Mr. O'Brien will join us on People to People at 9:35 on WKEI. 

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Illinois National Guard Has New Leadership

The Illinois Nation Guard has a new leader. Richard Neely has been promoted from Brigadier General to Adjutant General. Neely has almost 30 years of military experience. He wants the National Guard to be ready to deploy war both on physical battlefield and in cyber space.

Neely plans a sharp focus on keeping recruitment numbers up.

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Black History Month Celebrated at First Congregational Church in Kewanee

Citizens and community leaders came together on Sunday for a celebration of Black History Month in Kewanee. Many gathered at First Congregational Church to listen to speakers, watch presentations and listen to our local High School choirs sing in honor of Black History Month. Among the speakers were Henry County Board Chairman Marshall Jones who discussed the history of Black History Month. 

Representative Dan Swanson also spoke yet Sunday's Celebration and told the story of the first Black State Representative in Illinois. 

 

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Former Princeville Man Among Those Killed in Aurora Shooting

Clayton Parks was just 32 years old when he was among those murdered at the Mueller Water Products Plant in Aurora, Illinois. Parks was living in Elgin, Illinois at the time of his death but grew up in Princeville and attended Princeville High School, he graduated from there in 2004 and went onto a degree from Northern, Illinois. Parks was married with a baby boy at home. Aurora, Illinois Police Chief Kristen Ziman informed the media of the names of those killed on Friday. 

 

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Tuned In Community Black History Month Celebration Sunday February 17th

Etta La Flora is a member of the Kewanee Community Black History Month Committee. Etta, along with committee members Marshall Jones, Anita Blanks, Thelma McCloud-Shaw and technical assistant Bill Jordan were part of the planning for the Sunday, February 17th celebration of Black History Month in Kewanee. The Community Black History Month Celebration will be held at First Congregational Church in Kewanee, beginning at 2 Pm, on Sunday, February 17th. Etta La Flora was our guest on Friday on Tuned In on WKEI. Stream or download the interview below... 

 

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Kewanee School District 229 Board of Education Meeting February 20th

Kewanee Board of Education President Dan Nolan has announced that the next Kewanee Board of Education Meeting has been moved back one day. The meeting had been schedule for February 19th at 6:15 Pm with Open Session at 7:30 Pm. Now, the meeting will take place on February 20th at 6:15 Pm with the Open Session to follow at 7:30 Pm. The meeting will take place at the Kewanee School District Office located at 1001 Main Street. 

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Kewanee Transfer Station and City Offices Closed on Monday President's Day

The Kewanee Transfer Station will be closed on Monday in observance of President's Day. Many other statewide offices will also be closed including the Kewanee Post Office however, the Kewanee Public Library will be open on Monday. As for the City of Kewanee, City Hall offices will be closed and will re-open on Tuesday. There will be no changes to the trash or recycling pick up next week. 

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Alita Battle Angel Opens in Kewanee This Weekend

Alita Battle Angel opens in Kewanee this weekend at the Wanee Cinemas. Alital Battle Angel stars newcomer Rosa Salazar as Alita, a robot warrior brought back to life by a scientist, played by Academy Award winner Christoph Walz, who raises her like a teenage girl until her extraordinary powers come to the attention of the dangerous Vector (Mahershala Ali) and Alita is forced to fight for her life and the lives of those she cares for. Alita Battle Angel is based on a Japanese Manga or comic book created by Yukita Kushiro in 1990. The manga has been a dream project of director James Cameron for years and now comes to the big screen produced by Cameron with director Robert Rodriguez realizing Cameron and Kushiro's vision on the big screen. The film is receiving slightly mixed reviews from critics with a rating of 61% positive at RottenTomatoes though the film has received wide acclaim for its wild, Manga inspired visuals. The film opens this weekend at the Wanee Cinemas in Kewanee. 

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People to People Jeff Reinkemeyer and Paul Copleman from Avangrid Renewables

Jeff Reinkemeyer and Paul Copleman from Avangrid joined WKEI to talk about their Wind Turbine project in Burns Township. Much has been said about the project which is the subject of an appeal by residents of Burns Township who want the Henry County Board to rescind their approval of the project. Avangrid, for their part, states that the project has been in the works since 2007 and that while they respect the concerns of the residents of Burns Township who are opposed to the project, they have done their due diligence and gone through the approval process on the project on more than one occasion. 

You can hear our complete interview with Jeff Reinkemeyer and Paul Copleman with Avangrid below. Stream or download the interview below... 

 

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Abilities Plus Accepting Applications for Scholarships and Grants

Abilities Plus is now accepting applications for a pair of $1000.00 scholarships. The Jean German Academic Scholarships are aimed at encouraging and aiding those who are looking to attend college and major in the field of Human Services with the goal of working with children or adults with disabilities. Applicants must also be a resident of Henry, Stark, or Western Bureau County to qualify. The scholarships are open to those headed to college, those currently enrolled or those who have been accepted to college. Applications must be submitted to Abilities Plus by March 29th. Additionally, Abilities Plus is making available funds from the Abilities Plus Endowment for individuals with disabilities who are seeking to gain independence or gain an experience they may not otherwise have the chance to have. Community organizations or individuals are encouraged to apply for the Abilities Plus Endowment funds. Contact Julie Landwehr at Abilities Plus for more on the Jean German Scholarships or the Abilities Plus Endowment Fund at 309-852-4626. 

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Opioid Alternative Pilot Program now available in Illinois

The state has rolled out the new Opioid Alternative Pilot Program. The initiative involves medical cannabis as an alternative to treating pain says Conny Moody with the Illinois Department of Public Health.


More information on the program is available online at dph.illinois.gov. 

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Governor Pritzker to Sign Minimum Wage Deal After Call for More Debate Denied

The 15 dollar minimum wage push is a mere J.B. Pritzker signature away from becoming law. In a near party line vote, the House voted to boost the state's entry level wage to fifteen bucks by 2025. Republicans like State Rep Steve Rieck of Woodstock unsuccessfully called for more discussion.... ...


Democratic Rep Rob Martwick of Chicago asked sponsor Will Guzzardi to dispell talk that a higher minium wage would spark big job losses.....


Goveror Pritzker calls the vote a “resounding victory for the 1.4 million Illinoisans who will soon get a hard-earned and well-deserved raise.” Illinois Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Todd Maisch said "Illinois appears ready to join a small number of liberal states that have bought into the myth that wages are 'free money' from employers that can be created by a simple vote of the legislature and the signature of a pen.

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New Illinois Inspector General Named

There's a new sheriff in town when it comes to policing the Illinois General Assembly, in fact it's a breakthrough that there is a sheriff period. After a four year wait, the state finally has a legislative inspector general. Former Appellate Judge and Menard County States Attorney Carol Pope was the unanimous choice of the Illinois House. She will investigate complaints against state lawmakers.

 

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House Passes $15 Per Hour Minimum Wage

With the help of Democrat lawmakers Governor JB Pritzker has filled one of his campaign promises. The House voted on Thursday to increase the state’s minimum wage to $15 an hour over the next 6 years. The vote was party line all the way and Republicans in the House continued to share concerns that the move would harm businesses and cost workers their jobs – Republican Rep. Charlie Meier…

Democrats say the wage needs to be boosted to give workers the chance at a living wage. The first wage increase begins next year with a dollar and hour boost.

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Illinois House Progressive Caucus Launched

A new group of lawmakers has formed at the Capitol. Democratic State Representative Carol Ammons of Urbana made the reveal at a morning news conference.....


Ammons talks about the priorities of the caucus....


Among the Reps joining Ammons in the caucus are Rep. Will Guzzardi, Rep. Kelly Cassidy, Rep. Theresa Mah, Rep. Delia Ramirez and Rep. Anne Stava-Murray.

 

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Country Music Duo Dan & Shay Coming to the Illinois State Fair

Another grandstand act has been announced for the 2019 Illinois State Fair… Dan and Shay will be headlining on August 11th. 

That’s Morgan Booth with the Illinois Department of Agriculture. The Fair will continue to announce headline acts over the next few Thursdays.

 

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Representatives Dan Swanson and Tony McCombie Speak Out on Minimum Wage Hike

On Thursday, the Illinois House of Representative voted to raise the state minimum wage in Illinois to $15.00 per hour over a six year period. The bill passed on party line vote with no Republicans voting in favor of the measure. Representative Dan Swanson was among those that opposed the minimum wage hike. 

Representative Tony McCombie spoke against the bill on the House Floor stating that Republicans were shut out of the negotiating process on the bill... 

After the vote. Representative McCombie spoke to reporters and called the vote unfornuate and asked what the state of Illinois is doing to help those on the lowest rungs of our economy. 

House Republicans released a statement after the vote. 

 

“Illinois House Democrats had a chance to govern differently and compromise with Republicans and the small business community, but they failed. Like the Senate Democrats, they chose to ram through this costly and short-sighted piece of legislation just so they could make good on a vacuous campaign slogan. In reality, their “Fight for 15” will bust budgets at every level of government, destroy jobs, and make our state an even less desirable place to start and grow a business. Governor Pritzker has one last chance to show he really meant it when he said he wanted to compromise and take bipartisan action on major issues facing the state. We hope he follows through, but we aren’t holding our breath.” - Illinois Republican Party Spokesman Aaron DeGroot

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Rising Country Music Star Clare Dunn is Coming to the Back Road Music Festival

A country music star on the rise is coming to the Back Road Music Festival in Galva in 2019. Clare Dunn is a superstar in the making who has been tagged by USA Today and Rolling Stone Magazine as One to Watch in the world of country music. Clare has been out on the road for the last year touring with the likes of Bob Seger and Cassadee Pope and has recently shared the stage with some of the biggest stars in country music, including Florida Georgia Line, Luke Bryan and Miranda Lambert. In fact, you can hear Claire's backing vocals on Luke Bryan's smash hit "Country Girl (Shake it for Me)."  Clare has been a recent darling of country music songwriters who've been eager to work with the rising star. Her recent single "More" is climbing the charts and Clare recently talked to the country music magazine, "The Boot," about the song and her songwriting inspiration. You can follow Clare Dunn on Twitter at @ClareDunnMusic and she's active on Facebook and Instagram as well where you can keep up with Clare on her current tour opening for Cassadee Pope. And, of course, you can see Clare live at the Back Road Music Festival in Galva on August 10th! Get your Back Road tickets at TheBackRoadMusicFestival.com or at the Galva Pharmacy. Check out Clare's new single "More" below and listen for it on Hog Country 102.5 WJRE. 

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People to People Podcast Michael Devine with the IRS 02-14-19

It is well into the tax season and if you have not prepared your return yet, if you haven't gotten help to file your return yet, now is the time to get started. Michael has tips for making sure you get the most out of your tax return, avoiding tax scams from people who over-promise on how much you might get in your return and we discuss the many changes to tax filing from last year to this year which includes the elimination of several forms that used to be a standard part of the filing process for many taxpayers. Stream or download our interview with Michael Devine from the Internal Revenue Service below. 

 

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Open Line Podcast 02-14-19

Each weekday morning at 9:10 Am don't miss the Open Line on WKEI. Our host, Sean Kernan, opens the phones up at 309-853-4473 and let you, the WKEI listeners choose the topic. Local news, statewide news, national headlines, pop culture, anything you want to talk about is open for discussion on the Open Line weekdays on WKEI. On today's show we discussed the new Chicago Cubs cable network. The Cubs are entering into a deal with Sinclair Broadcasting to launch a network that will carry every Chicago Cubs broadcast, not on ESPN. We also talked about Valentine's Day and how different people approach the most romantic of all holidays. Finally, Governor J.B Pritzker was up for discussion as he drags his feet on a Freedom of Information Act request regarding the money being paid to members of his staff via his privately financed LLC. Stream or download today's Open Line Podcast below. 

 

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Tuned In Podcast Kewanee Public Library 02-14-19

Sara Billiet from the Kewanee Public Library was our guest today on our Tuned In Podcast. Sara was on hand to discuss events happening at the Kewanee Library and in the virtual world as well. Did you know that you can now take a virtual tour of the Kewanee Public Library? Go the Library website at KewaneeLibrary.org and click the link for the virtual tour. You can search the library from the comfort of your computer screen courtesy of the Kewanee Library and Google Maps. The Kewanee Library will be open on President's Day with regular hours on February 18th. And finally, Sara discussed an event the library will host with the Henry County Genealogical Society, a free event that can help you to research your family tree. Check out our Tuned In Podcast below and stream it or download it to take it with you. 

 

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Levitt Amp Galva Music Series Reveals First Concert of 2019 Series

The Levitt Amp Galva Music Series announced their first concert performers of 2019 on Wednesday. Sweden Folk Pop band Jaerv will kick off this year's series of concerts on June 23rd in Wiley Park. Jaerv is a five member band originally from Sweden and known for their energetic style that mixes all five voices in the band and brings together several musical traditions from across the globe to influence their brand of folk pop. Last year's Levitt Amp Concert Series was a major hit and expectations are even bigger for the 2019 series. Get a sample of Jaerv below and get ready to see them perform live on June 23rd at Wiley Park in Galva. Contact the Levitt Amp Music Series on Facebook or the Galva Arts Council at GalvaArtsCouncil.org

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Minimum Wage Bill to Move to House Vote with No Changes from Senate Bill

While many observers had expected members of the Illinois Statehouse to make changes to the Senate Bill to raise the minimum wage that passed the Senate last week on a party line vote, the bill moved out of House Committee on Wednesday with no changes. This means that there will be no consideration of a regional minimum wage, no inclusion of a seasonal workers minimum wage or a teenage worker minimum wage. Such changes to the Senate Bill had been requested by House Republicans and Conservative Democrats representing business interests across the state who argued that the bill favors Chicago's economy over that of the rest of the state. Our Greg Bishop has more on the latest on the Minimum Wage... 

 

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Governor Pritzker LLC Holding Back on FOIA Request for Staff Pay Information

Governor J.B Pritzker raised many eyebrows when he announced that he would be doubling the pay for his gubernatorial staff in Springfield using his own money through a Limited Liability Corporation called East Jackson Street LLC. Now even more questions are being raised about the staff pay question as the Governor and his LLC have rebuffed Freedom of Information Act requests to reveal exactly how much the Governor has increased the pay of his staff and how much the state of Illinois is paying the staff. Our Greg Bishop has more...

 

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IDOT Announces Gross Weight Restrictions for Roads in Henry County

The Illinois Department of Transportation has announced new gross weight restrictions for three roads in Henry County. Trucks traveling on Fish Hatchery/Garage Road, Osco Road, or Midland Road in Henry County may not exceed 10 tons weight. These weight restrictions become official on Friday, February 15th. The Illinois Department of Transportation did not state why the new restrictions were in place. Generally, such restrictions are put in place either because of structural issues or traffic congestion issues. 

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Back Road Music Festival to Announce Replacement for Walker McGuire Today on Hog Country

Due to a scheduling conflict country music duo Walker McGuire are dropping out of the Back Road Music Festival in Galva. Organizers announced the change as they began the hype for the replacement that has been booked and will be announced Thursday morning at 8 Am on Hog Country 102.5 WJRE. Karissa Nash will make the big announcement at 8 Am during the morning show and get the hype train rolling for the artist who will be performing with headliner Justin Moore at the 2019 Back Road Music Festival in Galva, August 10th in Galva, Illinois. Tickets are on sale now at thebackroadmusicfestival.com or at the Galva Pharmacy. 

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Illinois State Police Announce Arrest in Aurora Hollywood Casino Bombing Threat

The Illinois State Police have announced that they have officially charged the suspect who is alleged to have threatened to blow up the Hollywood Casino in Aurora, Illinois. According to the Illinois State police, 29 year old Mustadin Muadinov of Chicago is the man who was arrested at the casino on Tuesday after he allegedly drove a box truck to the casino and claimed to employees inside that the truck was filled with explosives. The threat led to State Police, the Kane County Sheriff and the Aurora Police Department, among other first responders, evacuating the casino and surrounding businesses and calling in the Kane County Bomb Squad to investigate the truck. The area was completely locked down from 2:30 Pm until 8 Pm when it was finally determined that no explosives were present. Muadinov has been charged by Illinois State Police with one felony count of Disorderly Conduct (Class 3 Felony) for making a false bomb threat. He's being held in jail on a $4 million dollar bond. 

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Australian Guitar Virtuoso to Play Bishop Hill Commons

The Bishop Hill Creative Commons will play host to the Australian guitar virtuoso Daniel Champagne on February 23rd. at 7 Pm. Daniel Champagne has toured the world and become a leading light in acoustic music. He's famed for making his acoustic performances sound as if he had a full band. Daniel Champagne has shared the stage with bands like INXS, The Waifs and singers such as Lucinda Williams, Judy Collins and K.T Tunstall. It's an all ages show for the whole family with a suggested donation $10.00 to $20.00 to attend. The event will also feature a potluck prior to the concert beginning at 6 Pm. Contact the Bishop Hill Creative Commons for more details at (309) 927-3851. See a little of Daniel Champagne below... 

 

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Valentine's Day Blood Drive at OSF Today

OSF Saint Luke Medical Center and the American Red Cross will host a blood drive today at OSF Saint Luke Medical Center today from 7 Am to 5 Pm. All blood types are needed to ensure a reliable blood supply. If you decide to donate be sure to bring your blood donor card or a drivers license or tow other forms of identification. Be sure to eat before you donate, an iron rich meal is recommended, and be sure to drink plenty of fluids. Treats will be available after you donate and you will have the chance to participate in raffles and win prizes. If you want to make an appoinment before you go today, use the Red Cross app Rapid Pass. You can check in and even track how your donation helps people. Rapid Pass is available in your app store for your smartphone. Or, you can just show up today at OSF Saint Luke Medical Center 1051 West South Street in the east and west conference rooms between 7 Am and 5 Pm. 

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State Humanities Group Seeks Urban and Rural Common Ground

The non-profit group serving as the Illinois affiliate to the National Endowment for the Humanities is holding a series of meetings statewide in an attempt to find common ground between urban and rural parts of the state. Illinois Humanities manager of statewide engagement, Matt Meacham (MEECH-um), says its public forum next Tuesday will examine law enforcement and community relations in Rockford;

For every forum in a city, Illinois Humanities plans to hold one in a rural community. The group will hold a session on the social and economic impacts of incarceration next month in Thomson, home of a state-turned federal, maximum security prison in northwest Illinois;

While based in Chicago, Illinois Humanities also has offices in downstate Edwardsville. It plans additional city-country forums through 20-19.

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Online Dating Scams and Money Mules: Adding Insult to Injury

Having the wool pulled over your eyes by someone you love is one thing, but imagine unknowingly becoming an accomplice to crime.  Jessica Tharp, president and CEO of the Better Business Bureau of Central Illinois, explains singles looking for a love connection online may fall prey to scammers who use affection to manipulate victims out of their money. 

She says the scam victim may unknowingly become what's known as a money mule - a middleman receiving cash, or products purchased with stolen credit cards, and sending them on to the fraudster, who is typically out of the country. 

"These victims eventually come into contact with money or products and are shipping them somewhere else," she points out. "And because they've fallen in love, these fraudsters have very little risk that their victim is actually going to keep the money or steal the money, or keep the goods that they've received."

A new BBB report examining the problem reveals there might be 1 million such romance victims in the U.S. alone, and that some 20 to 30 percent of them were used as money mules last year.

According to the report, money mules may inadvertently become part of business e-mail hacks, fake check scams, credit card re-shipping and illegal drug transportation schemes. 

Tharp says there are warning signs to watch for when dating online. 

"If you're asked to open a bank account or more than one bank account, and give access to that account, that's a red flag," she states. "If you're asked to receive packages and re-ship them, that's another red flag. 

"Or if you're asked to pick up funds at a Western Union location and forward them somewhere else, major red flag. "

Tharp also suggests talking to family and friends about online dating choices, and to beware of anyone who wants to keep a relationship secret. 

"They want these victims to eventually become exiled from their own family and friends, because they're telling them, 'That's not real, don't believe them,' and that goes against what the scam artists is trying to accomplish," she explains. "So, they make sure that they stop hanging out with friends and family and keep them alone."

The report has several recommendations to address the problem, including increased prosecutions of romance fraudsters, more support groups to help victims, and additional training for law enforcement officials in the U.S. and other countries to recognize and fight romance fraud.

 

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State Senator Neil Anderson Speaking Out About Fair Legislative Maps

State Senator Neil Anderson backing Senate Joint Resolution Constitutional Amendment 4, which would place the question of fair legislative maps on the ballot for the next statewide election. Anderson says the legislation is not exactly what the Republicans want, but a change is desperately needed.

Senate Joint Resolution constitutional amendment 4 is sponsored by lawmakers from both parties and would give voters the opportunity to amend the constitution to create a new, non-partisan system for drawing legislative maps and would attempt to prevent gerrymandering.

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Ameren Illinois Reports Significant Damage To Wires & Poles From High Winds & Ice

Ameren Illinois reporting 102 wires, 37 distribution poles and 30 sub-transmission poles down from high winds and ice on Monday. The company's Tucker Kennedy discusses some of the issues crews are facing.


Nearly 6,000 customers were still without power as of this morning. 

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IFB to Host Annual Government Affairs Leadership Conference

llinois Farm Bureau set to lay out its legislative priorities. They’ll do so next week at the annual Government Affairs Leadership Conference in Springfield says IFB’s Ryan Whitehouse.


DeAnne Bloomberg is a former county farm bureau manager and now works in Issues Management for IFB. 


The conference is next Tuesday at The President Abraham Lincoln –Double Tree Hotel in Springfield. 

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Ameren Releases Update on Estimated Power Restoration Times

Ameren reached out to RegionalDailyNews.com to let customers know about estimated restoration times for customers currently without power. 

Estimated Restoration Times:

 

Millbrook Township – 11:00 a.m. 

 

Lemoile and Arlington, Bradford, LaPrairie – Noon

 

Rt. 40, Edelstein – 1:00 p.m.

 

Alexis, Altona, Kewanee, Sheffield, Toulon – 3:00 p.m.

 

Kasbeer, Walnut, Ohio and Maldon – 6:00 p.m.

 

The above estimates are for broader regions. Information on the status of remaining outages will be provided directly to customers who have reported their outage to Ameren. Ameren Illinois customers without power should call 800-755-5000 to report an outage, log onto the website at AmerenIllinois.com, or report their outage using the mobile phone app. Customers who report their outage are able to sign up for outage alerts to receive text or email restoration updates. Learn more at Ameren.com/alerts. 

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People to People Craig Klavon Burns Township Wind Turbine Project

Craig Klavon has lived in Burns Township for many year and while he doesn't disapprove of wind energy, he is opposed to the project that was approved by the Henry County Board last November. Craig, along with several other Burns Township residents are now party to a lawsuit that they hope will cause the project to be moved away from Burns Township which the lawsuit claims is a migratory bird route as well as land that was once Native American land and thus in need of protection. 

Representatives from Avangrid, the company behind the Burns Township wind energy project will be our guests on People to People next week. 

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Kewanee Mayor Praises the Hard Work and Dedication of City Workers

Kewanee Mayor Steve Looney was our guest on People to People on Tuesday and praised the work of City employees battling the elements during the remarkably inclement weather we've had recently. 

Mayor Looney was our guest on People to People following up on Monday's City Council meeting. You can hear the full interview in our People to People podcast linked here

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Stark County Soil and Water Conservation District Work Group Meeting February 21st

The Stark County Soil and Water Conservation District will hold their bi-annual Work Group Meeting on February 21st at their office in Toulon located 7419 State Route 17 Toulon, Illinois. Jan Powelson with the Stark County Soil and Water Conservation District joined us on Tuesday's Tuned In Program and invited anyone who would like to attend the meeting. 

 

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What Can We Expect from Governor Pritzker's Budget Address Next Week?

A service tax and a tax on plastic bags are a pair of plans that are likely to be put forth when Governor J.B Pritzker delivers his budget address one week from today in Springfield. Most of the Governor's plans remain under wraps but there are indications out there toward some of his likely proposals including the expanding of gambling in Illinois and the legalization of cannabis, both ideas that the Governor discussed while campaigning for Governor in 2018. Greg Bishop has more ahead of the Governor's address... 

 

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State House Beginning to Make Changes to Minimum Wage Hike Bill

With many in the business community, including the Illinois Chamber of Commerce decrying the Senate Bill raising the minimum wage over 6 years to $15.00 per hour in Illinois, the Illinois House of Representatives has begun the process of amending the bill. While the changes will likely mean that the 6 year provision will remain in place, the main debate will concern regionalism, specifically how the living wage in Chicago is different from the living wage in downstate Illinois. Our Greg Bishop has more on the opening of debate in the House and on Governor Pritzker's thoughts on how the bill wil take shape. 

 

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Kewanee High School Band and Choir to Pay Tribute to the Queen of Soul

In the midst of Black History Month, the Kewanee High School Band and Choir have picked the perfect moment to pay tribute to a music icon. The Kewanee High School Band and Choir will pay tribute to the legendary Queen of Soul, Aretha Franklin, with a concert event on February 23rd beginning at 6:30 Pm. Admission is just $5.00 and will benefit the Kewanee Schools Foundation. The program is called The Legacy of Aretha Franklin and will feature performances of some of the Queen of Soul's greatest hits including "Respect," "Think," and "Say a Little Prayer," among the dozens of legendary hits in Aretha's remarkable history. The concert will be performed in the Petersen Auditorium at Kewanee High School and doors will open at 6 Pm for the 6:30 Pm showtime on February 23rd. 

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Suspect Threatens to Blow Up Hollywood Casino in Aurora

Illinois State Police arrested a suspect who drove a box truck to the Hollywood Casino in Aurora, Illinois and made threats to the casino and staff. At approximately 2:30 Pm on Tuesday, Police in Aurora with the help of the Illinois State Police and other first responders evacuated the Hollywood Casino and surrounding facilities while the Kane County Bomb Squad investigated the box truck on the concern that it may have contained explosives. No explosives or other weapons were found. Businesses and roads surrounding those businesses in Aurora were reopened at approximately 8:00 Pm. The investigation of the threats made by the suspect are ongoing and the suspect remains in custody. 

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Social Security Warns Of Increased Scam Attacks During Tax Season

Tax season now here and everyone remains on high alert to make sure the I's are dotted and T's are crossed correctly. With everyone trying to make sure everything is in order with April 15 looming, Social Security says to be aware of people trying to take advantage of your heightened urgency. The agency's Jack Myers says one thing they are starting to see is impersonators of Social Security personnel.

With the advancements in technology, Myers adds, they are also getting reports from the public that these attempts are starting to manipulate caller ID numbers to reflect the national toll-free Social Security number.

Myers reminds the public, Social Security almost exclusively reaches out to individuals via the mail, although there are those circumstances you might receive a call from your local office.

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Henry County Farm Bureau on Tuned In Wednesday

Katie Laleman from the Henry County Farm Bureau will be our guest on Tuned In on Wednesday, February 13th. Katie will join us to talk about the Know Your Ag Environment Workshop in Milan on February25th with the Rock Island County Farm Bureau. Katie will also discuss the Women in Agriculture Conference on March 14th, the same day as the Henry County Farm Bureau Ag Market Outlook. The interview will take place on Tuned In at 8:45 Am and then will be available as a podcast here at RegionalDailyNews.com. 

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Illinois Chamber Pushes Back Against $15

The push back against the move to a $15 minimum wage continues. The Illinois Chamber of Commerce says they have a number of problems with the increase. Chamber CEO Todd Maisch says markets should determine wages and if lawmakers really do want to bump pay higher they need consider the needs and business realities in all parts of Illinois.

Maisch says that a regionalization of a minimum wage would be a good step along with a training wage for teenagers or a seasonal wage to cover summer workers.

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Road Work on East 10th Street in Kewanee Today Weather Permitting

After the nasty weather that came through on Tuesday, the City of Kewanee had to delay road work on East 10th Street. That work will now take place today, Wednesday, February 13th. Work will commence this morning at 8:45 Am in the 100 Block of East 10th Street. East 10th Street will be closed from Main to Burr Street while new sewer lines are put in. Work should be completed by the end of the day on Tuesday but residents should be aware that the road may still be closed by the time that school lets out. Residents are asked to avoid the area while the work is being done. All of these plans are subject to change depending on the weather, 

 

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Power Outages Across Henry, Stark and Bureau Counties

There are power outages across our area this evening. Please be sure to stay warm as temperatures are going to be dropping into the overnight. Look for warming centers on contact your local first responders and City Hall for information on places you can go to stay warm. In Henry County there are currently 1612 customers without power. In Stark County 879 customers are without power and in Bureau County 4386 customers are without power, that is, according to PowerOutage.US that is 30.29% of customers in Bureau County currently without power. 

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I-74 South of the Big X Impassable Says Illinois State Police

The Illinois State Police are reporting that I-74 South of the Big X is impassable due to blowing and drifting snow. VIsibility is greatly limited and high winds are making roads dangerously impassible when combined with ice and blowing snow. Please avoid this area and if you can please avoid this area of I-74 if possible, find an alternate route. If you can't please drive slowly, have your headlights on and increase following distance. 

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State Lawmaker Files Resolution Preventing Taxation of Retirement Income

A Chicago based think tank recently released a plan positing ways that the State of Illinois could begin to resolve ongoing issues related to the pension deficit in the state of Illinois. One of the ideas mentioned was taxing retirement income and the reaction to even the idea of taxing retirement income has been met with swift condemnation. State Representative David McSweeney filed a resolution this week that both Republican and Democratic lawmakers have signed onto. The resolution specifically would prevent any attempt to tax retirement income. Our Cole Lauterbach has more from Springfield...

 

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Snow and Rain Totals Adding up in Illinois this Winter

The numbers keep adding up this winter. And not just snow totals either says Freese-Notis meteorologist Dan Hicks. 


Snow totals are the big story in other parts of the state. 51 inches in Moline since late November; Rockford 44.8; and Peoria 28.4 inches.

 

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People to People Podcast Kewanee Mayor Steve Looney

Kewanee Mayor Steve Looney was our guest on People to People on Tuesday. At Monday night's Kewanee City Council meeting the City Council heard more regarding the City insurance fund which will be carried forward for further discussion at the next Kewanee City Council meeting. The internal control policy vote was carried forward to the next council meeting while more departments get a chance to look it over. The council and Big River Resources of Galva resolved a contract mistake in the previous Enterprise Zone Agreement and the City Council voted 5 to 0 in favor of a new agreement that will keep Big River Resouces as part of the new Enterprise Zone Agreement that began January 1st, 2019. The council voted 4 to 0 with one member abstaining, to approve a new collective bargaining agreement with Kewanee Firefighters. Our complete interview with Mayor Steve Looney is below in our People to People Podcast, available to stream or download. 

 

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On Abraham Lincoln's Birthday, Pritzker Says he Puts Lincoln's Leadership Example to Work

Governor JB Pritzker joined members of the American Legion in honoring President Abraham Lincoln on the 210th anniversary of Honest Abe's birth. Pritzker took part in the annual wreath laying ceremony at Lincoln's Tomb in Springfield. Pritzker says Lincoln's example is helping him guide the state through tough fiscal times....


Pritzker went on to take part in a popular tradition at Lincoln's Tomb, rubbing the nose of the Lincoln Statue outside his tomb. Legend has it, rubbing the nose brings good luck.

 

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Tuned In Jan Powelson Stark County Soil Water Conservation District

Jan Powelson from the Stark County Soil and Water Conservation District joined us on Tuned In on Tuesday morning to talk about their local workgroup meeting on February 21st, applications now being accepted for funds available for the conservation practices program and the upcoming Spring Tree, Fish, Native Plants Sale that is underway now. 

 

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How Will Universal Acceptance Affect In State Schools in Illinois?

A bill in the Illinois Statehouse has raised many questions as to how in-state Colleges in Illinois will be affected. So called Universal Acceptance is a plan that would have in-state schools automatically accepting students who graduate in the top 10% of their High School class. Students would still have to meet other minimum requirements for each individual school but the law would nevertheless give students in the top 10% a leg up on college admission. This has raised many questions from Universities as to just how such a law would affect them. 

 

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Black History Month Celebration in Kewanee February 17th

There will be a celebration of Black History Month in Kewanee at the First Congregational Church on Sunday, February 17th. The theme of the event will be Hold Fast to Your Dreams and the event will feature performances by the Kewane High School Choir and the Wethersfield High School Choir Perfomances Soloist. Representative Dan Swanson will be in attendance along with Kewanee Mayor Steve Looney, the members of the Kewanee City Council, City Manager Gary Bradley and School Superintendents Shane Kazubowski and Chris Sullens. There will be an educational displays, African-American Doll and Military displays as well. The event gets underway at 2 Pm with refreshments to be served after the event. 

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Henry County Farm Bureau to Host Know Your Ag Environment Workshop

The Henry County Farm Bureau has announced that they will be hosting a workshop called Know Your Ag Environment on February 25th, co-hosted by the Rock Island Farm Bureau. The event will be held at the Camden Centre located at 2701 First Street East in Milan, Illinois. The event will feature breakout sessions, keynote speakers and dinner. The Keynote Speakers at the event will be Lauren Lurkins and Adam Nielsen of the Illinois Farm Bureau. Lauren is the Director of Natural Environmental Resources for the Illinois Farm Bureau and will present an update on the Clean Water Rule. Adam Nielsen is Director of National Legislation and Policy for the Illinois Farm Bureau and will be presenting about the Farm Bill and Conservation Title. There is no cost to attend but pre-registration is needed if you would like to attend the meeting. Contact the Henry County Farm Bureau at 309-937-2411. 

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Black Hawk College to Host Lincoln Trail Conference Scholastic Bowl

Black Hawk College will play host to the Lincoln Trail Conference Scholastic Bowl on February 23rd. The Scholastic Bowl features more than 100 students from 10 schools competing to answer scholarly questions from varying categories over a period of nine 45 minute rounds. The participating schools are AlWood, Annawan, Cambridge, Galva, Mercer County, Princeville, ROWVA, Stark County, West Central and Wethersfield. Black Hawk College East Campus is located at 26230 Black Hawk Road, Galva (five miles south of Kewanee). Visitors should park in the lot next to Building A. The event will be in Building B.

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Illinois Institute for Rural Affairs wins Google Impact Challenge

The Illinois Institute for Rural Affairs based at Western Illinois University bringing attention to the issue of grocery stores in small towns. Their work on the subject landed them recognition from the Google Impact Challenge says IIRA economic development specialist John Gruidl.


As one of the Google winners, the IIRA will receive $75,000 and training from the Google team to jump start it’s ideas. IIRA and WIU now has the opportunity to receive an additional $250,000 from Google for the People’s Choice Award.

 

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National Weather Service Says It Is Not Uncommon To See Severe Weather in February, March

Record cold, more snow and temperature swings that felt like spring have already made for a wild first week-and-a-half of February but don't sleep on those severe storms. That's the message from the National Weather Service. Chris Miller with the Lincoln office indicates it is not uncommon for severe weather to pop up this early in the year.

The National Weather Service has indicated weather trends are pointing to a more seasonable and dry month of February.

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Lt Gov Helping Lead Another Criminal Justice Reform Effort

Work is underway inside the Pritzker administration to continue criminal justice reforms. The Justice, Equity and Opportunity initiative will get stakeholders from all over to take another look at the issues says the Lt. Governor Juliana Stratton.

Some of the pressing priorities include sentencing reforms and prison overcrowding.

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Future of $15 an Hour Minimum Wage in the House

Will the House pass the Senate’s proposal on minimum wage? The Senate approved a 6 year push for the wage to climb to $15 an hour but now it’s up to Democrats in the House to decide if that’s in the best interests of everyone in the state. Democrat Rep. Will Guzzardi who is sponsoring the bill says issues like different zones for wages across Illinois aren’t needed.

 

State House watchers say passage of the bill as written by the Senate is far from certain.

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Patrick Henry Club Gathering at the Kewanee Elks Club

The Patrick Henry Club will hold their quarterly get together at the Kewanee Elks Club on February 23rd. The meeting will feature conversations with Henry County Republicans including State Representative Dan Swanson and Henry County Board Chairman Marshall Jones and candidates for local offices in February and April are invited to take part as well. The meeting will get underway at 9 Am at the Kewanee Elks Club and will feature refreshments. You can contact the Henry County Republican Party for more details on the Patrick Henry Club Meeting on February 23rd by calling 815-627-6134. 

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Tuned In Carrie Boelens and Jamie Suhr from OSF Saint Luke Medical Center

On Monday's edition of Tuned In we were joined, as we are each and every Monday, by our friend Carrie Boelens from OSF Saint Luke Medical Center. OSF has a Valentine's Day Blood Drive taking place this Thursday with the American Red Cross. You can circulate the love by donating blood this Thursday at OSF and as Carrie told us, there will be treats and prize giveaways... 

Carrie was joined on the show on Monday by Physical Therapy Assistant Jamie Suhr who was on hand to talk about heart health and getting back to a place of activity and away from being sedentary. Get off the couch and just move around, get yourself a couple of habits that get you out of that chair as any activity is better than no activity at all. You can hear our complete interview with Carrie and Jamie from OSF Saint Luke Medical Center in our Tuned In Podcast below... 

 

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Amy Mariman Named Abilities Plus Achiever of the Month for January

Congratulations to Amy Mariman of Geneseo for being named Abilities Plus Achiever of the Month for the month of January. Amy earned Achiever of the Month status because of her accomplishments on new goals, her sense of humor and her adaptability to new situations. Amy is also known to be welcoming to newcomers. Amy operates one of the many paper shredders at Abilities Plus through the use of a head switch that allows her to turn the machine on and off. In her free time, Amy enjoys animal videos and is a huge fan of Elvis Presley. Way to go Amy! And congratulations on being named Abilities Plus Achiever of the Month. 

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Road Closure Scheduled for Tuesday in Kewanee

The City of Kewanee has announced that the 100 Block of East 10th Street will be closed on Tuesday, February 12th, beginning at 8:45 Am. East 10th Street will be closed from Main to Burr Street while new sewer lines are put in. Work should be completed by the end of the day on Tuesday but residents should be aware that the road may still be closed by the time that school lets out. Residents are asked to avoid the area while the work is being done. 

 

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Burns Township Wind Turbine Debate Continues

Two sides at odds over a wind turbine project in Burns Township continue to make the case for and against the project. On Wednesday, WKEI will speak with Craig Klavon who will discuss why he has been opposed to the project and why it means so much to him. Meanwhile, last Friday, WKEI spoke with several guests who spoke in favor of the project including Burns Township resident Chuck Entas who told our People to People program that he's been aware of the plans for the project since 2005 and in this clip states the local area taxing bodies that are set to benefit financially from the project which was approved by the Henry County Board last November. 

The Wind Turbine project, the work of a company called Avangrid, is soon to be the subject of a lawsuit by those opposed to the project who object to the turbines claiming they infringe on migratory bird patterns, Native American Trails and possibly burial grounds as well as concerns regarding a possible drop in property values. 

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Kewanee Area Arts Council Dinner Theater to Be Performed February 22nd and 24th

The Kewanee Area Arts Council Dinner Theater is set for February 22nd at the Kewanee Senior Citizens Center. According to Tim Black from the Kewanee Area Arts Council, the show will be made up of three one act plays that will be brought together under the banner of the dinner theater show on February 22nd. 

The dinner portion of the Dinner Theater will include Lasagna, Garlic Bread, Salad and drinks courtesy of La Gondola. The Senior Citzen Center will provide some of their famous sweet treats as well. The cost for a ticket for the Kewanee Arts Council Dinner Theater is $15.00 and can be purchased now at Heartfelt Gifts. Dinner will be served at 6 Pm with the performances beginning at 7 Pm under the direction of members of the Kewanee Arts Council. A Sunday, February 24th, matinee performance at 2 Pm will also take place though without the dinner portion. Tickets for the matinee are $10.00 and are also available at Heartfelt Gifts. 

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Are You Earthquake Ready?

February is Earthquake Awareness Month in Illinois and while many not consider Illinois an immediate danger for earthquakes, the Illinois State Geological Survey states that Earthquakes are not an unheard of phenomenon in the midwest. Illinois Geologists point to a string of earthquakes in 1811 and 1812 that many believe may have changed the course of the Mississippi River as an indication that seismic activity is something folks in Illinois would be smart to be prepared for. Our Cole Lauterbach has more on Earthquake Preparedness Month. 

 

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Gunsmiths Claim New Illinois Gun Legislation Could Violate 1st and 2nd Amendment

Gunsmiths are speaking out regarding a new piece of gun legislation moving through the Illinois statehouse. House Bill 2253, prepared by State Representative Kathleen Willis of Addison would make the possession of certain gun parts a felony unless the possessing person has a FOID Card. The law would also make the dissemination of gun blueprints a crime in Illinois and create a criminal penalty relating to the filing off of portions of serial numbers and ban the 3D Printing of guns without serial numbers. This has gun advocates claiming that the bill goes to far in restricting the speech and thought of gun owners and manufacturers. Greg Bishop has more... 

 

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Government Watchdog Group Hits Back at Pritzker Claims About Previous Administration

The governmental spending watchdog group Wirepoints is not letting former Governor Bruce Rauner off the hook for the state of Illinois' spending issues but, the group wants you to know that some of the claims of the Pritzker administration regarding the former administration are a little overblown. According to Wirepoints, the problems of the Illinois budget are far bigger than the problems of one administration and cover years of legislative neglect dating back several administrations. Our Greg Bishop has more...

 

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Pritzker Administration Claims State in Worse Shape than Previous Administration Stated

The Pritzker Administration has turned to colorful language to discuss the state's budget deficit. Pritzker officials determined the budget gap for the upcoming fiscal year is 3.2 billion dollars, that figure is 400 million dollars larger than estaimtes from the Rauner Administration. Administration officials called the deficit analysis "Digging Out, The Rauner Wreckage Report". A Pritzker Administration Press Release said former Governor Rauner hurt the state with ideological warfare inflicted on the state. The report claims late payment of interest penalties related to Rauner’s impasse have exceeded $1.25 billion, and interest on the refinancing of Rauner’s bill backlog will surpass $2 billion. Last year alone, the State paid out more than $700 million in late payment penalties – about what the state spends on the Department of Children and Family Services, or enough to hire at least 7,000 new teachers across the state. Former Comptroller Dan Hynes authored the report. Hines claims that Illinois will need years to dig out of the fiscal mess that the Pritzker administration has inherited.

 

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Senator Durbin Remains Concerned About AG Nominee Barr

Senator Dick Durbin has expressed his opposition to President Trump’s nominee to be U.S. Attorney General, William Barr. In a gathering of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Senator Durbin expressed his concerns about Barr’s stance on transparency for Special Counsel Mueller’s findings and executive power, laid out in a memo to the Trump Administration.... 
 

Durbin believes Barr is standing behind the "unitary executive theory" which claims constitutional law shows the President possesses the power to control the entire executive branch. Regardless of Durbin's concerns, the Senate Judiciary Committee voted to pass Barr on to a Senate Confirmation vote this week. 

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Universal Enrollment For College Students?

A bill being discussed inside the Illinois House would take a step towards universal college admission. The proposal is for students in the top 10 percent of their class and those who meet test score requirements to be admitted to any state university. Kevin Pitts with the University of Illinois worries that some of those students won’t be prepared.

The students will still have to qualify according to individual university requirements. Supporters think it should help boost minority enrollment and keep more instate kids at local universities.

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Kewanee City Council Agenda 02-11-19

The Kewanee City Council meets tonight at 7 Pm at Kewanee City Hall. The meeting will be broadcast live on WKEI on Facebook beginning at 7 Pm and will be archived there. Among the items on the agenda, the council will wrap up discussions from previous council meetings regarding the Insurance Fund and the Internal Control Policy. The council will also discuss a fix to an error in an agreement with Big River Resouces in Galva. As part of the agreement, Big River Resources will be once again included in the benefits of the Kewanee Enterprise Zone in exchange for remitting payment to the City of Kewanee for the year 2018. Big River Resources had stopped paying at the end of 2017 due to an error in the contract for the Enterprise Zone Agreement that has now been rectified. If the new agreement is approved by the council, Big River Resources will receive benefits of the Kewanee Enterprise Zone through 2034. 

 

1. Call to Order
2. Closed Meeting pursuant to Section 2 (C) (2) of the Open Meetings Act to discuss Collective Bargaining.
3. Pledge of Allegiance
4. Consent Agenda
a. Approval of Minutes
b. Payroll
c. Staff Reports
5. Presentation of Bills and Claims
6. Citizen Participation
7. Business:
a. Discussion regarding the Health Insurance Fund
b. Consideration of a Resolution to adopt an internal control policy for the City of Kewanee
c. Consideration of a Resolution authorizing the City Manager to execute an agreement with Big
River Resources Galva, LLC regarding the enterprise zone.
d. Consideration of a Resolution authorizing the City Manager to execute a three-year collective
bargaining agreement with the International Association of Fire Fighters Local 513.
e. Consideration of a Resolution awarding the demolition of 724 Madison Ave to Dana
Construction.
8. Council Communications:
9. Announcements:
10. Adjournment

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Concerned Residents Speak in Favor of Wind Turbine Project in Burns Township

The battle over a Wind Turbine project in Burns Township, in Henry County, is continuing. Earlier this week, WKEI spoke with Linda Grant, a Burns Township homesteader who opposes the project. On Friday's edition of People to People, WKEI spoke with several guests who stated why they support the project. Rachel Grant, Chuck Entas, Carol Entas and Burns Township Road Commisioner Shawn Strand were our guests to discuss why they support the project. 

 

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Governor Pritzker Praises Senate Vote to Raise Minimum Wage

Governor JB Pritzker is hailing the Senate vote to raise the minimum wage. Senate Bill 1, which passed the Senate in a party line vote on Thursday, would gradually raise the minimum wage to $15.00 per hour over a 6 year period, now heads to the House of Representative where it could be altered before going to the Governor's desk where it is expected to be signed regardless of any changes from House members. Our Kim Howard has more on the Governor applauding the minimum wage increase bill...

 

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State of Illinois Looking to Tax Companies Doing Business in Tax Havens

The State of Illinois has identified 48 countries worldwide that are known as 'Tax Havens,' places where corporations store money in order to avoid paying taxes. Now, members of the State House of Representatives are looking to make those corporations pay what they feel is their fair share of taxes. A new House Bill will specifically target companies with ties to tax havens and tax their profits. Our Cole Lauterbach has more... 

 

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State of Illinois Finally to Appoint New Inspector General

The State of Illinois has been without a full-time Inspector General since 2008. For those that do not know, the Inspector General is the person in charge of investigating complaints against Illinois Lawmakers. Activist and former Republican candidate in House District 62 Denise Rotheimer was among those who called on the State of Illinois to appoint an Inspector General after seeing that complaints against lawmakers such as her complaint against Representative Ira Silverstein in October of 2017 were beginning to stack up and go uninvestigated. Now, the state is finally taking steps to find a new Inspector General in 2019 as Greg Bishop reports. 

 

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Galva Kiwanis Seeking Donations of Snow Boots and Snow Pants for Kids

The Galva Kiwanis Club are seeking donations of snow boots for kids in Galva. According to a post on the Galva Kiwanis Facebook page, gently used snow boots and snow pants are being sought as donations. If you want to donate gently used snow boots and or snow pants drop boxes are located at Community State Bank in Galva, Dollar General, the Galva Post Office, and Galva Pharmacy. You can also make cash donations to the Galva Kiwanis so that supplies can be purchased. 

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Galva Arts Council Seeking Donations in Support of Levitt Amp Concert Series

The Galva Arts Council is seeking donations that will be matched by the Levitt AMP Grant for the Levitt AMP Concert Series. Donations received by March 25th will be matched by funds from the Levitt AMP Foundation. Donations of any size are being accepted but there are tiers of donations that are being accepted as well. Tiers range from $250.00 to $5000.00 on the way to a goal of $25,000.00. Current fundraising is already at $14,250.00. If you would like to make a donation, and be featured on the Levitt AMP t-shirts, you can mail in your donation to P.O Box 29 in Galva, Illinois. 61434 or you can go to GalvaArtsCouncil.org. Meanwhile, there are also fundraising events coming up including: 

 

Feb. 16 – Bishop Hill Bakery & Eatery Pizza Night - The Bishop Hill Bakery & Eatery staff will be hosting a Pizza Night Fundraiser. The bakery will be selling 9” cheese or sausage focaccia pizzas for $15. A limited supply of 60 pizzas will be available. Pizzas will be delivered locally by request. Place your order with the Bishop Hill Bakery and Eatery by calling 309-927-3042. All proceeds go toward the Levitt AMP Galva Music Series this summer! 

 

March 7 - Whiskey Tasting: Irish Whiskey vs Scotch Whisky - Celebrate Saint Patrick’s Day in a Curated Whiskey Tasting with Whiskey Historian Brian “Fox” Ellis. Join the Galva Art Council as we explore the Whiskeys of Ireland and Scotland in this fundraiser for the Levitt AMP Galva Music Series! We will answer flavorful questions like: Why is there an ‘e’ in your whiskey? What is the argument for being well-aged? Single malt vs single grain? Pot still vs. column still? What difference does a barrel make? Tickets are just $35 and we are limited to just 30 seats. Snacks and refreshments for designated drivers are available for $10. Make your reservations by email at foxtales@foxtalesint.com or by calling (309) 696-1017.

 

March 9 – Silent Auction – The Galva Arts Council will be hosting a Silent Auction during their annual St. Patrick’s Day Coffeehouse with Exorna, March 9th at 7pm at the Galva Arts Council, 128 Exchange St, Galva, IL. To donate items for auction please email galvaarts@gmail.com or call (563) 293-6986.

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Free Admission to Lincoln Museum on Lincoln's Birthday

Free is always good and if you want to go learn about the life and Presidency and Abraham Lincoln it won’t cost you on Tuesday. The Presidential Museum in Springfield is offering free admission in honor of Lincoln’s birthday. Chris Wills with the ALPM says next Tuesday is a great day to celebrate Honest Abe.


There will be a series of special events on Tuesday, which means historical interpreters, arts and crafts and a navy band.

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Illinois State Fair 2019 Grandstand Act Announced

Acts for the Illinois State Fair are being announced. And the first headliner for 2019 is Pentatonix. The act was a massive hit two years ago and will be back this summer. The Department of Agriculture says they will be on the Grandstand State August 14th.

Tickets aren’t on sale just yet but will be in the spring. The State Fair will continue to announce shows over the next few weeks.

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Moline Police Renew Call for Tips in the Murder of Corey Harrell Jr

Moline Police and Crimestoppers of the Quad Cities are renewing their call for tips in the murder of Corey Harrell Jr. According to Moline Police, on October 31st, 2018, Moline Police were dispatched to the area of the 2100 Block of River Drive regarding a shooting involving suspects shooting at each other from a pair of vehicles. As Moline Police were at the scene, gunshots were heard nearby in the area of the 1600 Block of 7th Avenue. At that scene, Moline Police found the body of 22 year old Corey Harrell Jr who was found dead at the scene. Upon investigation, Moline Police determined that Corey Harrell Jr had been the target of unknown assailants driving a Black SUV with an unknown registration that fled the scene headed Westbound on 7th Avenue. On Thursday, February 7th, Crimestoppers of the Quad Cities announced that with the help of private donations from concerned citizens a new $10,000 reward for information in the murder of Corey Harell Jr has been established. The reward will go to anyone who gives a tip to Moline Police that leads to an arrest in the murder of Corey Harrell Jr. Tips can be submitted anonymously to Crimestoppers of the Quad Cities at 309-762-9500 or to Moline Police at 309-524-2410. 

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Senator Weaver Raising Concerns After Senate Passes Minimum Wage Bill

Senate Bill 1 which will gradually raise the minimum wage to $15.00 per hour passed the Illinois Senate on Thursday. In a vote along party lines, 39 to 18, the bill which will raise the minimum wage to $15,00 per hour over a period of 6 years passed the Senate and will head to the house before going on to the desk of Governor J.B Pritzker. Senator Chuck Weaver released the following statement reiterating the concerns that he and other Republicans have been raising since the bill came together. 

 

“My concern with this measure is the effect of its one-size-fits-all hourly wage on downstate Illinois. Chicago currently has a minimum wage of $13.00, so an increase to $15.00 is not as big an issue for them over six years. Compared to downstate, where the cost of living is 20-40 percent less than in Chicago and the minimum wage starts at $8.25, getting the minimum wage to $15.00 will cost enough more that the likely result will be the lowest-skilled workers being dropped out of the bottom of the workforce."

 

"In the workforce, we have seen employees ages 16 to 19 go from being 45 percent employed in the 1980s to being 31 percent employed today. If they are not employed by age 19 and have not learned basic work skills, there is a good chance they will not get into the workforce easily. At $15.00 per hour, these young people will not have the skills that justify an employer hiring them."

 

"I have also seen and confirmed that robotics have become so effective and inexpensive that I have had employers tell me that they can switch to robotics when employees’ wages go higher than $12.80 per hour. That is an eye-opening statistic. I truly believe employers want to hire local residents, but they cannot be competitive on a global basis if robotics are being used elsewhere.”

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Minimum Wage Increase Passes Through Illinois Senate Committee

A bill to raise the minimum wage for the first time since 2010 has cleared the first hurdle to passing into law. On Wednesday, a bill to increase the minimum wage gradually to $15.00 per hour was passed through a Senate Committee. The bill includes a payroll tax credit for businesses with less than 50 employees that Democrats believe will help small businesses to absord the increased payroll due to the rise in the minimum wage. Our Kim Howard has more...

 

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Governor Pritzker Hoping to Pass Minimum Wage Increase Before Economic Plan Release on Feb. 20th

Governor JB Pritzker will have a significant economic address to the state on February 20th. The address will be followed by the unveiling of Governor Pritzker first budget release which he hopes will include a Minimum Wage increase. Under the current proposal, the plan would have the minimum wage rise gradually, year by year, until it reaches $15.00 per hour. All of that said, Illinois Republicans want to know whether the Governor has a plan to offset the remakarkable cost to business owners and the state where state employees would see a rise in pay with a rise in the minimum wage. 

 

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Illinois Policy Groups Release Plan to Deal with Illinois Pension Problem

reA pair of Illinois Policy Groups have released plans that they feel would help fix the broken pension system in Illinois. The Civic Committee of the Commercial Club of Chicago and the Illinois Policy Institute came together and have drawn up a policy they feel could fix the pension system. The plan includes restructuring current pensions, consolidate schools across the state and stop automatic pay raises for state workers and replace that system with a merit based raise system. Our Cole Lauterbach has more...

 

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Springfield Man Wins Big on Price is Right

Springfield's Andrew Peterson heard the words synonymous with game shows, "you can win a new car". Win he did during a taping of the legendary CBS game show The Price is Right that aired this week. Peterson won the Showcase Showdown with Host Drew Carey recapping his winnings....


Peterson won a Fiat 500, a washer and dryer, 4K smart tv, trip to New York and hip hop themed DJ gear. The show was taped in December, but Peterson was forced to keep his success a secret until this week's airing. 

 

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WKEI Will Simulcast the Kewanee LWV Mayoral Forum on February 21st

WKEI RegionalDailyNews.com will simulcast the Kewanee League of Women Voters Mayoral Forum on February 21st, beginning at 7 Pm. Initially, WKEI was only going to carry the event, featuring all five Kewanee Mayoral candidtes, on our Facebook Page in a Facebook Live event. Now, WKEI has decided that the broadcast will be a simulcast, both on Facebook and on WKEI Am 1450-100.1 FM. Early voting for the Kewanee Mayor's Race is now open at the office of Henry County Clerk Barb Link. Earily voting will available all the way up to February 25th, the day before the Mayoral Primary. The candidates for Mayor of Kewanee are Councilman Steve Faber, Businessman Steve Lemanski, former Councilman Robert Kuntz, former Kewanee Police Officer Gary Moore and write-in candidate, Councilman Mike Yaklich. The broadcast of the League of Women Voters Kewanee Mayoral forum will be live on both Facebook and on your radio, on February 21st. 

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Senator Chuck Weaver Urges Voters to Speak Up on Fair Maps Amendment

State Senator Chuck Weaver wants residents to speak out regarding the Fair Maps Amendment. The Amendment, which has bi-partisan and would be used to create legislative maps that would remove the opportunity for the majority party to draw legislative maps that favor them and their party. In a statement, Senator Weaver stated: “The Illinois Constitution establishes how our state government is supposed to work for the residents of Illinois, as well as to prevent elected officials from abusing their power. However, our current system of drawing legislative district boundaries clearly favors the politicians instead of the people,” Weaver said. “We have the ability to fix this problem. Working together, we can put a bipartisan redistricting referendum on the ballot for the next election so the people of Illinois can decide this question for themselves.” Senate Joint Resolution-Constitutional Amendment 4 would place the question of fair maps on the ballot for the next statewide election. So far, however, entrenched political leaders haven’t allowed similar bills to advance, despite a nationwide call for fair map plans from members of both parties. Senator Weaver urges you to contact your representatives and contact him if you want to share your opinion of the Fair Maps Amendment. 

More on the Fair Map debate with our Greg Bishop. 

 

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Illinois State Police Arrest Suspect in 30 Plus Year Old Abuse Case

The Illinois State Police have issued a warrant for the arrest of 70 year old Dennis K Donnelly. Donnelly, who now resides in Arizona, was a resident of Galesburg in the 1980's. During that time he acted as a foster parent to a 13 year old child that he alleged to have sexually abused. According to the Illinois State Police, Donnelly was licensed as a foster parent from the mid-1980s until the year 2000. ISP interviewed Donnelly regarding the investigation of sexual abuse charges in October of 2018. Based on information from that interview, a Knox County arrest warrant was issued for Donnelly on charges of Aggravated Criminal Sexual Assault, Criminal Sexual Assault, and Aggravated Criminal Sexual Abuse. The Knox County Sheriff has arranged Donnelly's extradition from Phoenix, Arizona to the Knox County Jail. Donnelly is expected to arrive at the Knox County Jail this week. The Illinois State Police want everyone to know that though a case is more than 30 years old, they don't stop seeking justice. The case against Dennis K Donnelly remains ongoing and Illinois State Police are still seeking evidence against Donnelly. If you have any information regarding Dennis K Donnelly please contact the Illinois State Police at 309-948-1881. 

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Kewanee Boil Order Lifted

The Boil Order put in place by the City of Kewanee in the area of Pleasant Street from Otley Avenue to Goodrich Street, Maple Avenue from Pleasant to East Prospect Streets, and the 1000 block of East Prospect Street from Maple Avenue to the dead end. Water had been shut off in this area on Monday morning for repairs to fire hydrants in the area. You can contact Beth Kelley in the City of Kewanee Public Works Department if you have any questions regarding this boil order. 

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Ice Jam Causing Flooding on Green River and Hennepin Canal

Ice on the Green River has caused water from the river to top the river side and breach a levee and is now flowing into the Hennepin Canal creating flood like conditions with the potential for a Flash Flood. Mat Schnepple with the Henry County office of Emergency Management explains where the flooding began... 

We asked Mat Schnepple if the situation was dangerous and he explained that it is not currently dangerous but there are scenarios that could potentially lead to rapid, flash flooding depending on hwo the ice jam develops today and and with the potential rain and sleet currently in our forecast. 

As things stand right now, a portion of County Highway 15 and rural roads in Colona Township and Hannah Township, not far from Geneseo, are currently affected and are closed to traffic. 

Also, recently closed by this Ice Jam and flooding are portions of the Hennepin State Parkway and Bike Path and people are asked to please avoid the area. 

Currently, the Henry County Office of Emergency Management is working with the Henry County Sheriff's Office and the National Weather Service. The Office of Emergency Management is going to use a drone to assess the flooding in areas that are currently inaccessible and will release further updates on the flooding as more information becomes available. 

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Area Farmer Attends State of the Union as Guest of Rep Bustos

Illinois farmer Tom Mueller—the lone State of the Union guest that farms. He was with Western Illinois Congresswoman Cheri Bustos in Washington. Each House member gets to invite one person to the President’s address. Mueller met with reporters Tuesday night. 


Mueller farms 750 acres near Edgington and raises corn, soybeans, hay and beef cattle.

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Congressman LaHood Praises President Trump's State of the Union

Congressman Darin LaHood says the State of The Union speech that was delivered by President Donald Trump was a great moment for the President. He adds that from the honored guests in the balcony to the message delivered it was a speech that all sides of the country could support. 

LaHood says now the Senate and House need to sit down and find a way to support boarder security and immigration reforms.

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Check Up on Grieving Friends and Family this Valentine's Day

Valentine's Day is a day of romance and excitement for most people but for those who've lost their significant other, Valentine's Day can trigger memories and grief locked away from the rest of the year. Father Jerry Rafalko from OSF Hospice joined WKEI on our Tuned In program and talked about how to work through grief during the holidays... 

Remind yourself this Valentine's Day that as you are celebrating, be sure to check on friend's who've suffered a loss, whether recently or in the past. Memories and grief can be hard for some to process and support and love is the best way for people to get through these difficult, often hidden emotions. You can hear our complete interview with Father Jerry Rafalko in our Tuned In podcast linked here

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Check Up on Grieving Friends and Family this Valentine's Day

Valentine's Day is a day of romance and excitement for most people but for those who've lost their significant other, Valentine's Day can trigger memories and grief locked away from the rest of the year. Father Jerry Rafalko from OSF Hospice joined WKEI on our Tuned In program and talked about how to work through grief during the holidays... 

Remind yourself this Valentine's Day that as you are celebrating, be sure to check on friend's who've suffered a loss, whether recently or in the past. Memories and grief can be hard for some to process and support and love is the best way for people to get through these difficult, often hidden emotions. You can hear our complete interview with Father Jerry Rafalko in our Tuned In podcast linked here

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Concerned Landowners Raising Questions About Wind Turbines in Henry County

Residents of Burns Township, Illinois are continuing to raise concerns regarding wind turbines planned for their area of Henry County. Linda Grant joined WKEI for a People to People discussion of why she and other residents of Burns Township are speaking out against the wind farm project that was approved by the Henry County Board late in 2018.

Concerns ranging from property value, to bird deaths to the potential destruction of land formerly occupied by native Americans are just part of the concerns that Linda and others in Burns Township are raising.

We spoke with Linda Grant for our Wednesday edition of People to People. Full interview is below...

 

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Representative Cheri Bustos Responds to President Trump's State of the Uniion Address

Representative Cheri Bustos released a statement following President Trump's State of the Union speech on Tuesday night. In the statement, Representative Bustos stated that she was pleased to hear the President speak about infrastructure improvements but she questioned the President's approach to trade and expressed concern over whether the President would keep promises to attempt to bridge divides between Republicans and Democrats. Representative Bustos' full statement is below... 

 

“I was pleased that tonight’s address included a much-needed commitment to invest in our infrastructure. For years, I’ve worked to bring both parties together on this issue – and House Democrats are ready to work with the president on a trillion-dollar plan to create good-paying jobs and rebuild our crumbling roads, bridges, hospitals, and locks and dams. I’m also hopeful we can work together to bring down the cost of prescription drugs for seniors and families and, as the president proposed, make meaningful investments to fight conditions such as childhood cancer.

 

“However, the families we serve deserve real solutions – not just soundbites. Farmers cannot ‘choose greatness’ when the president’s trade war is eliminating the very markets where they need to sell their goods. And people with pre-existing conditions cannot ‘choose greatness’ when Washington Republicans continue working to rip away their critical patient protections.

 

“The president spoke at length about bridging divides and healing wounds. I hope these weren’t just lines in a speech – but that he will stick to his word to find common ground and avoid another government shutdown in the coming weeks.

 

“The American people sent us here to govern with a purpose – not to bicker, but to find solutions and to solve problems. That’s what I’ve always aimed to do during my tenure in Congress. I’ll continue working with anyone willing on either side of the aisle to bring down the cost of health care, to invest in our infrastructure and to clean up the rampant corruption in Washington.”

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Teacher Minimum Wage Passes Through Illinois Senate Education Committee

A minimum wage for teachers bill made it out of the Illinois Senate Education Committee on Tuesday. The bill, put forward by State Senator Andy Manar, would gradually raise the minimum pay for teachers to $40,000 per year. The initial salary raise would go up to over $32,000 and rise from there over a period of years. School administrators who spoke in Springfield on Tuesday had asked that the issue of pay for teachers be left to individual school districts but it appears that the minimum wage for teachers will move to the floor of the Senate where the Democratic Super-Majority is expected to pass it. Meanwhile, State Senator Chuck Weaver spoke on Tuesday about concerns about School budgets related to another minimum wage increase, the proposed $15.00 per hour raise across the board for employees, including the non-teaching employees of school districts. Our reporter Greg Bishop has more...

 

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Growers Concerned About Restrictions in Hemp Farming in Illinois

Farmers looking to get into the business of Industrial Hemp are concerned about restrictive rules regarding who can grow hemp, the licensing of growers and the concentration of CBD in the hemp, the make up of the crop that is the main difference between industrial hemp and the kind of hemp that makes up recreational marijuana. Farmers expressed concerns at a meeting in Springfield on Tuesday that asking farmers to pay licensing fees every three years would make hemp farming too expensive for smaller farms. Our Cole Lauterbach has more. 

 

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Still More Severe Winter Days to Come in Illinois

There are still going to be some rough winter days ahead for much of Illinois and the Midwest. That assessment from DTN Chief Agriculture Meteorologist Bryce Anderson.

Anderson says that means much of Illinois can expect winter like weather well into March. 

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Village of Atkinson Receives Grant for Veterans Memorial Park Project

The Village of Atkinson received some terrific news on Monday. According to a release from the desk of Governor J.B Pritzker, The Village of Atkinson is among 89 places across the state to receive grants for park development. Dan Peplin aided the Village of Atkinson in their grant proposal...

In the release it was announced that the Veterans Memorial Park Project received $68,700 for work to be done to the park. Dan Pepin, Community Planner and Grant Writer was an integral part of helping the Village of Atkinson land this park project grant and WKEI caught up with Dan on Tuesday afternoon. 

 

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Tuned In Father Jerry Rafalko OSF Hospice

Father Jerry Rafalko from OSF Hospice joined us for our Tuned In Program on Tuesday. Father Jerry was on hand to talk about grieving and Valentine's Day. Many holidays can trigger unexpected emotions such as grief for the loss of a romantic partner. Unlike other important dates in life however, Valentine's Day and other holidays are days you can be ready for and Father Jerry has some coping tips for those who've lost a partner over the years and tend to find themselves feeling that loss more on days like Valentine's Day. 

 

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Wethersfield Board of Education Meeting Agenda

The Wethersfield School Board will meet on Thursday, February 14th at 4:15 Pm in the Blish Building. Below is the agenda for the meeting. 

 

REGULAR BUSINESS

Consent Agenda

Approve Minutes of January 10, 2019 Regular Meeting and Executive Session

Approve Financial Reports, Investment Reports, Budget Summary, Bills, and Activity Fund Report

Approve Suspensions

Acknowledge Receipt and Response to FOIA Requests

Correspondence

Comments From Visitors

Board Member Reports

 

III. OLD BUSINESS

Electrical Cost Comparison  

Midyear Student Growth Overview

Handbook/Code of Conduct Committees 

Athletic Coop Update

School Calendar Adjustments Due To Inclement Weather

Other Old Business

 

IV. NEW BUSINESS

Tentative Calendar for the 2019-2020 School Year

Approve  Board Policies 2-170/7-171/7-710/9-100/11-100/11-110/11-250 

Employment of Personnel (After Executive Session)

Principal Reports

Other New Business

 

  V. CLOSED SESSION (Student Discipline, Individual Student Matter, Employment and Evaluation of Personnel) 

 

 VI. ANNOUNCEMENTS

PATT Family Fun Night: Saturday, February 10, 2018 4:00pm-7:00pm

Mid-Winter Dance at The Elks: Saturday, February 10, 2018 8:00pm-11:00pm

11:15 Dismissal for Staff Training: Monday, February 12, 2018

NO SCHOOL: President’s Day; Monday, February 19, 2018

LTC Scholastic Bowl hosted by BHC: Saturday, February 24, 2018

Grade 5-12 Band/Chorus Spaghetti Dinner/Concert in HS Gym: Friday, March 2, 2018 5:00pm-7:00pm WAF Music Trivia Night at The Dunes; Saturday, March 3, 2018 6:00pm

3rd 9 Week Grading Period Ends: Friday, March 9, 2018

Next Board Meeting – March 8, 2018

 

VII. ADJOURN

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Bipartisan Bills on Term Limits to Be Presented in Springfield

Term Limits don't appear likely as long as House Speaker Michael Madigan, who has been House Speaker for all but two years since 1983, remains in charge of both the house and the Democratic state leadership. However, that hasn't stopped lawmakers from both sides of the aisle from presenting new bills calling for term limits, including one bill co-sponsored by Republicans and Democrats in the Illinois House. Our Greg Bishop has more...

 

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Changes to Illinois Constitution to Be Debated in Springfield

Two potential alterations to the Illinois constitution are expected to begin debate soon and be ready for voters to pass judgment on by the 2020 General Election. The first and most likely change to be debated is a change in Illinois tax law that would alter the tax code to allow for what some have called a Progressive or Fait Tax in which lawmakers could increase taxes for those with higher incomes. The other amendment would call for codifying changes in Illinois Pension law. Our Greg Bishop has more. 

 

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New Illinois Ag Director Lays Out Priorities

New Illinois Department of Agriculture Director John Sullivan has laid out some of his top priorities. They include expanding high speed internet access in Illinois and continuing to grow ag education opportunities. 


New Governor J.B. Pritzker picked Sullivan as his choice to lead the state ag department back in late December. 

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Hemp On The Mind of Illinois Department of Agriculture

Hemp is on the mind of the new acting Director of Illinois Ag. John Sullivan is set to take over an agency that is looking at or currently regulating some unique crops. The IDOA is a regulator of medical marijuana and soon to be involved in setting the rules for growing industrial hemp. He wants producers to have plenty of choices when it comes to growing the crop.


Sullivan also wants to see what IDOA and the state can to about boosting rural broadband speeds.

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No New Information in Hunt for Wal Mart Theft Suspects

Kewanee Police have no new information on the whereabouts of two suspects wanted for stealing $12,000 worth of products from the Kewanee Wal Mart early in the morning of Friday, February 1st. According to the information made available by Kewanee Police, two suspects walked out of the Kewanee Wal Mart with stolen goods in excess of $12,000 and left in a late model, white, Chevrolet Monte Carlo. Various other media sources have stated that a police chase was then begun from Kewanee to Spring Valley on U.S 6 to Interstate 80. The chase was confirmed by the LaSalle County Sheriff who told the media that indeed, officers there picked up the pursuit on I-80 near route 351 but the chase was terminated sometime just before 6 Am. Speculation indicates that the suspects, armed with a crowbar, stole IPhones and other electronics leading to the incredible total of the stolen goods but there has been no confirmation of that information from law enforcement. 

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Bishop Hill Celebrating Grant to Preserve Swedish-American History

Bishop Hill is celebrating a grant that will go toward preserving and making available a vast array of Swedish-American history dating all the way back to 1896. The Bill and Susan Sherrard Foundation announced last week that they were making a donation to the Vasa Archives to hire a Summer Intern and purchase supplies to complete the Vasa Archives Library Project. The Vasa Archives is a collection of Swedish history in America and Canada that includes a remarkable collection of books, costumes, and artworks collected by the Vasa Order since the late 1800's. The hiring of an intern is aimed at helping curate the collection and make it more accessible for folks in Henry County and lovers of Swedish-American-Canadian History. The next step is hiring the intern who is going to aid this project and if you have interest in applying you can ontact the Vasa National Archives at VasaArchivist@gmail.com, 309-927-3898, or PO Box 101, Bishop Hill, IL 61419.

 

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UMW of Kewanee Ham Loaf Sale Begins February 10th

United Methodist Women of First United Methodist Church of Kewanee are now selling Ham Loaves. Orders for Ham Loaves will be taken beginning on February 10tha and will be accepted until March 8th. $13.00 buys you 6 individual loaves, 3 pounds total, per pan, with topping sauce. To place your order for a Ham Loaf you can call the United Methodist Women at 309-853-4497. A Ham Loaf can be made in a number of different ways with differing ingredients but generally is ground ham mixed with eggs, bread crumbs, some people also combine it with ground pork sausage, evaporated milk and a varying array of spices including the typical salt and pepper, brown sugar, mustard powder and it is topped with various different sauces to create a glaze. The whole of the Ham Loaf is then baked into a loaf that can be cut and served in sections. Proceeds from the sale of Ham Loaves will go to support United Methodist Church. 

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Kewanee Chamber of Commerce Urging Business Owners to Speak Out on Minimum Wage Hikes

Whether you are for it or against it, if you are a business owner in Illinois you need to be aware that a hike in the minimum wage may be coming in the near future. One Illinois lawmaker is expected to be introducing a bill very soon that will raise the minimum wage to $15.00 per hour, a wage hike that will have a profound impact on businesses across the state and, of course, here in Kewanee. Mark Mikenas from the Kewanee Chamber of Commerce is getting the word out that if you're a business owner you need to contact local lawmakers in Springfield to tell them where you stand on the minimum wage hike. 

 

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Tuned In Carrie Boelens from OSF Saint Luke Medical Center 02-04-19

Carrie Boelens from OSF Saint Luke Medical Center was our guest on Tuned In on Monday morning. Carrie was on hand to talk about Podiatry. Dr Jeff Ruskusky, board certified podiatrist, is accepting patients now for appointments in Kewanee.

Carrie was also once again promoting the OSF Saint Luke Medical Center Blood Drive coming up on February 14th, Valentine's Day. Meanwhile, if you are looking for a way to contribute to the betterment of the lives of folks in the hospital or especially if you know someone currently in the hospital, you can send an E-Card by going to the OSF website. You can hear our complete interview with Carrie Boelen from OSF Saint Luke Medical Center in our Tuned In Podcast. 

 

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Teen Dating Abuse: Young Love Shouldn't Turn Violent

Young love often eventually fades, but for some teens, it can turn violent. An estimated 1.5 million high school students in the U.S. suffer physical abuse from a dating partner each year. 

February is Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month, and multiple groups are taking the opportunity to educate teens about healthy relationships. Sean Black, assistant director at the Illinois Coalition Against Sexual Assault, said most abusive relationships involve a partner who wants to control the other. "If a partner gets mad because someone didn't answer their text in five minutes or less and throw a fit; if one partner takes away the other person's phone, not allowing you to talk to someone else in the hallway or not allowing you to sit at a certain table in the lunchroom, those are signs of an unhealthy relationship," Black said. While physical attraction may ignite a relationship, Black explained respect, trust, consent and open communication are all crucial to keeping it healthy. Teen dating violence can take the forms of physical, sexual, verbal and emotional abuse. And it can lead to depression, alcohol or drug abuse, negative body image and poor school performance.

Black said it can be difficult for a victim to open up about abuse, and encouraged parents to be as supportive as possible and listen to their child. He added it's also important for other teens to be active bystanders when they see abusive behavior. "If a partner says something inappropriate to another partner, just say, 'Hey, that's not how you should act.' Make sure that everyone's aware that you saw that that is how that person is treating someone and that you don't approve of it," he said. "That often will go a long way and help give the victim strength to step up and know that you're an ally." There are also many organizations that victims of teen dating violence can contact for support, says Heather Frederick with the National Domestic Violence Hotline. "Because we know how difficult it can be to have those conversations with parents or teachers, or other people - even just to have those conversations face to face," Frederick said. "The option to do it over the phone, or through chat or text, is a lot more comfortable for younger people." Help is available online at loveisrespect.org or by texting 22522. The hotline number is 866-331-9474.

 

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Boil Order Issued In Kewanee

 

Effective Monday 2/4/19, there is a boil order issued for residents in the areas of Pleasant Street from Otley Avenue to Goodrich Street, Maple Avenue from Pleasant to East Prospect Streets, and the 1000 block of East Prospect Street from Maple Avenue to the dead end.  Water was shut off in these areas Monday morning for fire hydrant repairs.

 

Any residents, whose water has been shut off during these repairs, 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.

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Durbin Takes on Pharmaceutical Price Hikes

Senator Dick Durbin says America needs a cure for its cure when it comes to cost. Durbin says he has a plan to curb the cycle of prescription price hikes. He will unveil the FLAT Act (The Forcing Limits on Abusive and Tumultuous (FLAT) Drug Prices Act of 2019) next week along with Iowa Republican Charles Grassley. Durbin says big Pharma companies are benefitting from a government granted monopoly and that's led to price hikes for drugs old and new. Durbin is especially troubled with the needs to diabetics....


Durbin's legislation would end Food and Drug Administration exclusivity for a drug with price increases of ten percent in a year. Current monopoly periods of 5 to 12 years for pharmaceuticals prevent production of generic equivalents and Durbin says that opens the door to radical price hikes. 

 

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Geneseo Chamber Urging Residents to Shop Local in Wake of Polar Vortex

With many local businesses closed for a day or two because of the extreme temperatures, the Geneseo Chamber of Commerce is urging folks to shop local. Local businesses were hurt by not being able to open or customers being unable to get to them because of the extreme weather brought on by the Polar Vortex. But now, with weather greatly improving the first weekend in February, the Geneseo Chamber is urging everyone to get out and support local businesses affected by the winter weather closures. In a post on the Geneseo Chamber of Commerce Facebook page, Chamber Director Jim Kelly stated "When the temperature tops 40 degrees this weekend, visit your local small businesses. Get coffee or breakfast at a local restaurant, shop the sales racks, buy candy for your sweetie, eat lunch at a local, independent restaurant, get your hair done, get a manicure, meet friends for a cocktail or local craft beer at a local small business, make your arrangements for celebrating Valentine's Day with that special person or shop for spring clothing." Indeed, shopping weather is returning across our area this weekend which should encourage folks further to support local small businesses. 

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Tuned In Bob McKee LocalSportsNow.com Updates the Local Sports Schedule

Bob McKee joined us on Tuned In on Friday morning to update the schedule for local sports broadcasts with Regional Media and LocalSportsNow.com. Go to LocalSportsNow.com to stay up to date with local sports broadcasts and results. And, for your Bob McKee fans, Bob will be filling in for Sean Kernan on Monday morning during the WKEI Morning Show from 6:30 am to 10 Am on WKEI and streaming live at RegionalDailyNews.com. Listen to Bob and Sean from this morning's Tuned In program below...

 

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People to People Podcast Jim Bohanon

Jim Bohannon our host weeknight's from 9 Pm to Midnight on WKEI joined us for a special edition of People to People on Friday morning. Jim was on hand to talk about the President's State of the Union speech on Tuesday night, the situation with the US, Iran, and Russia and Jim had a reunion with his good friend Bob McKee who joined the morning show for a special appearance on Friday morning. Jim and Bob go back a ways with interviews on WKEI and the fun the two have talking with each other hasn't changed at all. 

 

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Interview Singer and Songwriter Christopher Gold Live Tonight in Bishop Hill (Podcast)

Singer and Songwriter Christopher Gold is playing tonight in Bishop Hill at the Bishop Hill Creative Commons tonight starting at 6 Pm tonight. The cost to attend is a suggested donation of $10.00 to $20.00. We were lucky to get the chance to chat with Christopher about his music, his family, his instruments and what he loves about music in this special podcast appearance. Support live music in Bishop Hill tonight with your donation and see Christopher Gold live tonight at the Bishop Hill Creative Commons at 6 Pm. 

 

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Kewanee Police Seeking Tips Regarding a Major Theft at Kewanee Wal Mart

Kewanee Police are seeking your help in identifying suspect accused of stealing more than $12,000 in products from the Kewanee Wal Mart over night Friday morning. According to Kewanee Police, two suspects went into Kewanee Wal Mart and walked out with $12,000 worth of items without paying for them. If you recognize these suspects who were seen leaving the Kewanee Wal Mart in a late model White Chevrolet Monte Carlo, please contact the Kewanee Police Department at 309-853-1911. 

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Potential Gun Legislation Taxing Ammunition and Searching Your Social Media in Illinois

Among the new crop of gun control bills being discussed in Springfield by the new Democratic Super-Majority are bills that would tax ammunition, a bill that would have law enforcement scouring your social media profiles before you can purchase a gun and potential bans on weapons deemed 'assault style' firearms. Reporter Greg Bishop has more on potential new laws in Illinois that have gun owners up in arms. 

 

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Debate on Changing Illinois Constitution Beginning This Year

Traditionally changes to the Illinois constitution are only debated in even numbered years to be ready for ballot consideration in November of the even numbered year. But the new Democratic super-majority are planning on bringing debate regarding a significant change to the Illinois constitution this year. Debate over changing Illinois tax law from a flat tax to a so-called Progressive Tax will begin this year. Our Greg Bishop has more...

 

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Kewanee Ballhawks Fundraiser Saturday at the Flemish American Club

There will be a fundraiser for the Kewanee Ballhawks 12U Softball team this Saturday at the Flemish American Club. Rock N'Roll Bingo is the theme for Saturday's event which gets underway at 5 Pm and goes until 9 Pm. Money raised will go to support the Ballhawks and their travels to various area softball tournaments and events. Doors open at 5 Pm at the Flemish American Club, Bingo starts at 6 Pm. Bags of Bingo Chips can be purchased for $10 per bag and food and drinks will be available for purchase. Door prizes will be available along with raffle prizes as part of the Rock N'Roll Bingo fundraiser for the Kewanee Ballhawks, Saturday, February 2nd at the Flemish American Club. 

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Henry County Farm Bureau On the Road Seminar Next Week

The Henry County Farm Bureau On the Road Seminar, co-hosted by the Bureau County Farm Bureau, is set for next week in Annawan. Attendees will find out about regulations regarding farming and trucks on the road transporting farm supplies, crops, and all things hauling in the farm industry. There are new regulations to consider but also new waivers that are available and ways for farmers to make transporting materials easier and safer. Katie Laleman with the Henry County Farm Bureau recently appeared on Tuned In and gave some insight into what participants in the On the Road Seminar can expect. 

The Henry and Bureau County Farm Bureau On the Road Seminar will take place on Wednesday, February 6th at the Annawan Community Center beginning at 9 Am. 

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Records Set Wednesday, Rapid Warm-up Coming This Weekend

Record cold temperatures and wind chills were set Wednesday during an unheard cold spell. Chris Miller says they are still collecting all the data but right now, McLean County was among many areas that had record lows and record wind chills.

If you don't like Illinois weather, just wait a few days and it's sure to change. That old adage will hold true as Miller indicates we're going to get close to 60-degrees by Monday.

The quick change is thanks to an upper-level weather pattern that Miller says is pushing the cold arctic air out and bringing a strong, southwestern flow into the area.

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Deer Season Numbers Are In

Deer hunters were pretty successful this past season. The Illinois Department of Natural Resources says that when you add up the archery, firearm, youth and muzzleloader seasons 151,577 deer were killed by hunters. The numbers are up from last year says IDNR’s Ed Cross.

Breaking down the hunting totals – 55 percent of the deer harvested were bucks or male deer.

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Medical Marijuana/Opioid Alternative Pilot Program Underway

On Thursday, Illinois launched a pilot program allowing patients to temporarily use medical cannabis to reduce their pain instead of dangerous opioids. The Illinois Opioid Alternative Pilot Program is the first of its kind in the country. Chris Stone with HCI Alternatives, which operates in Springfield and Collinsville, believes the program will help the medical cannabis industry serve an important group and make the industry viable after a slow approval process for new patients and conditions...


Waiting times are being cut from several months to several hours with new rules eliminating fingerprinting and background checks, which took months to process. Now acquiring medical cannabis to fight pain will mean a conversation with your doctor. 

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$15 Minimum Wage Discussed

The first steps to see if the lawmakers will support at $15 minimum wage have been taken by the Illinois Senate. A committee hearing on the matter saw broad support from Democrats but many still had questions about how long the state would take to push the wage all the way to $15. The business community is less than thrilled about the idea. Mark Grant is with the National Federation of Independent Businesses.

Lawmakers suggested ideas including having higher wages in areas with higher costs of living and perhaps lower wages for teenage workers.

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