Henry County Emergency Management is keeping an eye on water over the road on three county roads. Route 34 between Kewanee and Neponset is said to have significant ponding with water over the road making driving difficult. However, reports that the road is closed have not been confirmed. Other areas that the Henry County Emergency Management are keeping an eye on are the Page Street Extension for water over the road. Please be careful when traveling through high water.
The Henry County Humane Society of Kewanee is celebrating this weekend. The Humane Society has re-homed more than 150 pets in the last 6 months and to celebrate that success they are throwing a party, not a fundraiser, just a party, this Saturday at 3 Pm at The End Zone in Kewanee. Joker's Wild will headline the party and The Backyard Party Guys will bring woodfire pizza to the party. There is no cost to you to attend, though you should bring money to buy some delicious pizza. Michelle Welgat, Tim Doubek and Louise Harrison joined us on Tuned In to talk about the party and the last 6 months of changes and hard work at the Henry County Humane Society of Kewane. Stream or download our Tuned In podcast below...
The state is giving away more money than ever. State Treasurer Mike Frerichs says that the I-Cash program has returned more than $200 million to rightful owners over the last 10 months.
Frerichs says it’s a record.
If you want to see if you have anything of monetary value coming to you the process begins at Illinois Treasurer Dot Gov slash I Cash.
Central Illinois Republican Senator Chapin Rose estimates Governor JB Pritzker is about six weeks behind in the budgeting process. Lawmakers return to Springfield this week to begin the heavy lifting on the upcoming budget. Sen. Rose says first-term Governor Pritzker has been slow to name leads for his various departments and believes that is putting him behind in getting a budget proposal together.
According to Sen. Rose, Democrats are throwing out proposals that cost much more money than the state has and he believes the realization "money doesn't grow on trees" is starting to catch up to them.
While Rose predicts the Governor is behind in his budgeting process, he anticipates Illinois Democrats passing a budget by May 31.
The Mississippi River remains high and flood warnings continue up and down the waterway. Jessica Brooks is with the National Weather Service office in the Quad Cities.
Brooks doesn’t anticipate the Mississippi to reach 1993 flood levels, but the river “will get up there.” She says levels could change depending on the amount of rain the region receives during the remainder of the week.
Former Congressman and United States Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood is telling Illinois lawmakers that they should raise the state's gas tax. Testifying before a traveling group of State Senators on Monday, LaHood said that the state is 'One Big Pothole.' Our reporter Cole Lauterbach has more...
It's Nurse Week at OSF Saint Luke Medical Center in Kewanee. All this week, OSF Saint Luke Medical Center will be highlighting the nurses and their unending contributions to patient care. Carrie Boelens and Lisa Garcia were our guests on Tuned In on Monday morning to talk about Nurses Week and the chance for folks to honor our nurses with an award...
Follow this link to the OSF Saint Luke Medical Center website at OSFHealthCare.org to nominate a nurse you know for the Daisy Award which will be officially handed out on May 17th,
State Representative Kam Buckner will be in a Sangamon County Court on Tuesday morning, expected to plead not guilty to a charge of driving under the influence. Now, the Illinois State Police have released body camera footage of the original traffic stop which found the state representative from the 26th District in Chicago, slumped over the wheel of his vehicle at a stop light. Buckner did take a field sobriety test but refused a breathalyzer. Our Greg Bishop has more...
A Central Illinois State Representative is blaming over-regulation for the loss of a new ethanol plant in Scott County. Marquis Energy has announced that they have scrapped plans to build a brand new, multi-million dollar ethanol plant in Scott County because of the overall business climate in Illinois. State Representative C.D Davidsmeyer says, the state is standing in the way of growth because of over-regulation. Our Greg Bishop has more...
Bishop Hill will celebrate the history of baseball in America with a presentation at the Dairy Building on Saturday, May 11th. According to a release from the Bishop Hill Heritage Association, historian and scholar, Black Hawk College Director of Educational Services Dr Bruce Storey will take visitors on a tour through baseball history from the founding of the game in 1850 all the way to today. How has baseball impacted American history? How has the game evolved, and who were the greats of the many eras of the game from its beginning and through to today? These are just some of the topics of this wide ranging historical discussion. The event is free to anyone who would like to attend at the Dairy Building located at 410 North Erickson Street in Bishop Hill. The program gets underway at 2 Pm on Saturday, May 11th. If you would like more information, contact the Bishop Hill Heritage Association at 309-927-3899.
Carter Lee Smothers entered the world in dramatic fashion on Sunday night. According to a release from the Illinois State Police, the 7 pound, 5 ounce, Carter came into the world into the arms of Illinois State Troopers Michael Vodicka and Trooper Edgar Valdez De Leon. The story goes that the two troopers were performing a traffic stop on Sunday on the side of I-57 Northbound when another vehicle pulled in front of the squad car. The driver of the vehicle, Roland Watkins, exited the vehicle and informed the Troopers that his sister Stacy Watkins, was in active labor. Approximately 10 Minutes later, at 12:08 Am on Monday, April 29th, Carter Lee Smothers was born. Ambulance arrived shortly after to take mom and baby to a local medical facilty. On Monday afternoon, Trooper Valdez De Leon visited the family and spoke about the remarkable moment saying “I never thought I would get the opportunity to deliver a baby on the side of the road so early in my career with the Illinois State Police,” stated Trooper Valdez De Leon. “It was a high stress situation, but because of the First Responder training I received at the Illinois State Police Academy, I was confident enough to use the training I received and put it to good use, which led to a successful outcome,” he concluded. Trooper Valdez De Leon is in his first full year as an Illinois State Trooper after 16 years in the United States Marine Corp. Trooper Michael Vodicka is an 8 and a half year veteran of the Illinois State Police.
The Kewanee Chamber of Commerce Golf Outing is set to tee off on Thursday, June 13th at Baker Park. The shotgun start event will get underway at 1 Pm. The Kewane Chamber of Commerce is seeking hole sponsorships from local businesses and donations to be used as door prizes at the event. The cost to take part in the Kewanee Chamber of Commerce Golf Outing is $65.00 per person or $50.00 for Baker Park Golf Club members. Entry fee includes Green Fees, Cart Rental, Steak Dinner, and Door Prizes. Hole Sponsorships are $50.00. Contact Mark Mikenas at the Kewanee Chamber of Commerce for more information or to reserve your tee time for the Kewanee Chamber of Commerce Golf Outing, June 13th at Baker Park.
Abilities Plus held their Volunteers Luncheon on April 9th and took time to single out the ladies who've dedicated their time to the Abilities Plus Resale Shop. According to a release from Abilities Plus, the luncheon, which honored all Abilities Plus volunteers, took time out to highlight the long term contributions of Joan Clary and Becky Heaton who have been volunteers in the shop for over 15 years and Karen Newman and Sherry Yarger who have been volunteers for more than a decade. Thank you ladies for all that you've done for Abilities Plus and your community and thank you to all the incredible volunteers at Abilities Plus.
(Front row, left to right) Julie Shafer, Judy Anderson, Becky Heaton, Bonnie Verschage, Karen Bennett, Carol Blake, Matt Marchand. (Back row, left to right) Jill DeKeyser, Joan Clary, Julie Atwell, Donna Rapp, Peggy Hand, Sherry Yarger, Roberta Cinnamon, Donna Ericson, Karen Neumann, Jody Wolfe, Sue Herridge, Linda Trostle, Steve Johnson, Randy Carton, Terry Hand.
The Black Hawk College Board of Trustees has a new student representative. Joshua Worden, originally from Lake Butler, Florida, has been elected to the position of Trustee to represent the Black Hawk student body on the College Board of Trustees. Worden will serv on the Board of Trustees through April of 2020. Worden is said to be active in student government while he pursues an associates degree in Science with an emphasis in pre-veterinary science. He is also an active member of the Black Hawk College Horse Judging Team, the Equestrian Horse Show Team, and LIFT, Living in Faith Together.
The Henry and Stark County Retired Teachers will meet on May 15th at OSF Saint Luke Medical Center in Kewanee. According to a release from the Henry and Stark County Retired Teachers, the monthly meeting will get underway at 12 Noon with a luncheon followed by a program that will highlight the Silver Sneakers exercise program at the Kewanee YMCA. Any retired Henry or Stark County teacher is invited to attend the luncheon but you must make a reservation by contacting Alice Webster at 309-995-3542 by before May 8th. The cost to attend the program is $10.00.
The Illinois Deparmtment of Public Health intends to ask the state of Illinois for further funding for lowering blood lead levels in children. The IDPH has had remarkable success in battling lead poisoning over the years and now, because of that success, the department intends to lower the standard for how much lead is acceptable in the human body.
Localized unemployment numbers have a mix good news and bad news for metro areas across the state of Illinois. The pair of Metro areas that cross our listening area, Peoria and the Quad Cities, each saw decreases in unemployment while places such as Champagne and Bloomington saw increases in unemployment. Our Benjamin Yount has more...
This week at OSF Saint Luke Medical Center it is Nurses Week and prizes will be handed out along with heartfelt thank yous from the thousands of patients who've been cared for by OSF nurses over the years. We also discussed this Saturday's public celebration of 100 years of Health Care in Kewanee in this visit with Carrie Boelens from OSF Saint Luke Medical Center and Nurse Lisa Garcia the Director of Inpatient Services at OSF Saint Luke Medical Center. Click below to stream or download today's Tuned in Podcast.
The Henry and Stark County Health Department is soon to begin the process of moving to a new building. The Health Department's clinic will be the first to make the jump to the new location at the former Save A Lot location, some time in October with the full move completed by the end of this year or early next year says RaeAnn Tucker Marshall...
RaeAnn Tucker Marshall was our guest on Tuned In on Friday. Again, no official date for the move but sometime in October for the start of getting into the new building for the Henry and Stark County Health Department.
The Henry and Stark County Health Department is soon to begin the process of moving to a new building. The Health Department's clinic will be the first to make the jump to the new location at the former Save A Lot location, some time in October with the full move completed by the end of this year or early next year says RaeAnn Tucker Marshall...
RaeAnn Tucker Marshall was our guest on Tuned In on Friday. Again, no official date for the move but sometime in October for the start of getting into the new building for the Henry and Stark County Health Department.
The Pew Charitable Trust is offering a mixed bag of good and bad news on the economic front for the U.S. According to the new Pew study, state revenues are up across the board aside from maybe 9 states that have yet to fully recover. Surprisingly, Illinois is one state where revenues have gone up in recent years. However, the Pew study also pointed to signposts ahead that could mark another economic downturn. Our Greg Bishop has more...
The Illinois State Police have spent the last week and a half touting the new LIM System, an innovative approach to gathering forensic and other information. Robin Woolery, Assistant Director of Forensics from the Illinois State Police joined WKEI on Friday in our People to People program and explained what LIMS does and how it is making law enforcement better at communicating and working as a unit across local, county and state jurisdictions. Robin Woolery explains in this clip, what LIMS is...
You can hear our complete interview with Robin Woolery regarding the remarkable strides in evidence collection and data sharing with multiple agencies, sometimes in real time, online now in our People to People Podcast.
The Illinois Department of Children and Family Services acting Director Marc Smith was in front of a group of lawmakers who returned to Springfield early in order to talk to Smith and find out what went wrong and how 5 year old AJ Freund ended up dying at the hands of his parents.
When lawmakers return to Springfield officially on Tuesday following a spring break, there is expected to be the beginning of a mad dash to get to May 31st and the end of the latest session of the General Assembly. In that time, we can expect to see a number of big and small bills come down the pipe. Our Greg Bishop has more on the major issues hitting the agenda in Springfield this week...
Jobs numbers were up for most in Illinois last month. 8 of the 14 metro areas in the state saw employment increases. Jobs are being added even as the state’s unemployment rate ticked up slightly says Sam Salustro with the Illinois’ Department of Employment Security.
The largest job losses were seen across central Illinois in Bloomington-Normal, Champaign-Urbana and Springfield.
House lawmakers heard testimony about sports betting in Illinois. In Chicago, mayors and others testified to say they want a cut of the tax money that could come from legal betting and those opposed say the state will need more support for those addicted to gambling. The state’s universities are also weighing in. Illinois State’s Athletic Director Larry Lyons says he’s worried about college athletes being in close proximity to widespread betting.
Sports betting is sure to be a hot topic of conversation this week at the statehouse as lawmakers return to session.
Get them while they are hot. Tickets are selling quickly for some concerts at this year’s Illinois State Fair. And one act is smashing records – Reba McEntire has more than 11,000 tickets so far. Fair Manager Kevin Gordon says it’s gonna be a big show.
Over all more than 28,000 tickets have been sold and the fair won’t open till August 8th.
OSF Saint Luke Medical Center is continuing the celebration of 100 years of Health Care in Kewanee with a celebration for the public on Saturday, May 4th at Visitation Catholic School. This is a community event and anyone is invited to attend. As Carrie Boelens told us last Monday, there will be a bounce house at this event...
The day will also mark the debut of the OSF Saint Luke Medical Center King Care-A-Van Mobile Health Center. Carrie Boelens from OSF Saint Luke Medical Center will be our guest on today's edition of Tuned In on WKEI.
Saturday, April 27th was National Drug Take Back Day across the country and right here in Kewanee. On Saturday beginning at 10 Am, Kewanee Police began taking in expired or unused medications to be disposed of . According to numbers released by Kewanee Police on Sunday, more than 123 pounds of unused or expired medications. If you still have unused or expired medications that you need to get rid of you can still take them to the Kewanee Police for proper disposal or to OSF Saint Luke Medical Center where they have a box for drug take back year round.
Robin Woolery is the Assistant Director of the Illinois State Police Forensic Services. Robin joined WKEI on People to People to talk about the new developments in the way that forensic evidence is processed in Illinois State Police labs. The new LIM system is an innovation that is helping the Illinois State Police efficiently work its way through a significant backlog of cases in which forensic evidence is involved. We discussed what the LIM System and how new technology has the Illinois State Police going completely paperless and communicating more efficiently and quickly with local law enforcement officials. Stream or download our interview with Robin Woolery below...
Galesburg Police have announced the arrest of three people following an April 24th Methamphetamine bust. According to a release from Galesburg Police, at approximately 7:00 Pm on April 24th, Galesburg Police with the aid of Knox County Sheriff's Office, Warren County Sheriff's Office, Monmouth Police and the West Central Illinois Task Force, executed a search warrant at a residence at 907 Pennsylvania Avenue in Galesburg. The search warrant led to the arrest of 37 year old Amy L Gerstenberger, 23 year old Trevor Jacob Pierce, and Janeen Marie Berry. Gerstenberger and Pierce are each charged with Possession of Methamphetamine 5 to 15 grams, and Berry was arrested for Manufacture and Delivery of Methamphetamine Over 500 Grams. In total, law enforcement officials recovered 1.4 Pounds of Crystal Methamphetamine, 50 Grams of Powder Cocaine, and $2000.00 cash and assorted smaller amounts of drugs.
Justin Wright, Sales Manager at Yemm Auto Group in Galesburg joined WKEI on Friday morning with more great deals on cars at Yemm. Not only that, we talked about reputations and reviews, and Justin touted the great reviews that Yemm gets across the social media landscape. Making customers happy is what it comes down to at Yemm Auto Group in Galesburg. Stream or download our weekly Yemm Auto Group Podcast below...
The Illinois Department of Children and Family Services has released a time table of events that culminated in the death of 5 year old Andrew A.J Freund. The timeline raises a number of questions regarding the handling of the case by the Department of Children and Family Services and highlights points in time when many will ask why DCFS did not step in to separate A.J from a parent with issues that were, at the very least, notable and indicative of danger.
06/07/12 DCFS received a hotline call alleging inadequate supervision. The allegations were that JoAnn is abusing prescription drugs and neglecting her foster child. The report was unfounded and expunged.
12/24/12 DCFS hotline received a call alleging environmental neglect and injurious environment as to her oldest son. The report alleged JoAnn is abusing prescription drugs and has mental health issues. The report was unfounded and expunged.
10/16/13 DCFS received a hotline report alleging substance misuse by neglect, after JoAnn gave birth to Andrew on 10/14/13. Andrew and JoAnn tested positive for opiates and benzodiazepines. The report was indicated for Substance Misuse. Andrew was removed from his mother’s care during the investigation.
11/12/13 DCFS takes protective custody of Andrew.
11/14/13 DCFS is granted temporary custody of Andrew in Juvenile Court. Youth Service Bureau of Illinois is assigned to provide services to the parents and Andrew. JoAnn and Andrew’s father participated in parenting classes, drug treatment and continued to participate in methadone maintenance and individual counseling through a drug treatment program. June, 2015 Judge orders Andrew returned to the custody of his mother. Youth Service Bureau worker makes 17 unannounced visits to the parents’ home on 6/24/15, 7/1/15, 7/8/15, 7/22/15, 8/5/15, 8/9/15, 8/27/15, 9/1/15, 9/29/15, 10/4/15, 10/26/15, 12/17/15, 1/13/16, 1/21/16, 2/2/16, 2/25/16, and 3/11/16. The worker does not observe any signs of abuse or neglect. Youth Service Bureau worker makes nine scheduled visits to the parents’ home on 6/13/15, 6/17/15, 7/7/15, 7/20/15, 9/9/15, 11/12/15, 12/3/15, 3/24/16 and 4/13/16. The worker does not observe any signs of abuse or neglect.
8/28/15 Worker is informed the father’s drug test was invalid. April, 2016 Andrew’s juvenile court case is closed.
03/21/18 DCFS received a hotline report that alleged substantial risk of physical injury/injurious environment and environment neglect against the mother and father. The report alleged that the mother was brought to the emergency room after being found unresponsive in a car. Andrew was observed at the hospital to have odd bruising on his face. DCFS investigator contacted the parents in unsuccessful attempt to see the children on 03/21/18, 3/29/18 and 4/9/18, 04/25/18 DCFS investigator met with JoAnn, Andrew and his younger brother. JoAnn was interviewed while the boys played outside in the driveway of the home. DCFS investigator observed the boys to be clean and did not find signs of maltreatment.
05/17/18 DCFS investigator completed a final safety assessment of the home. Both boys were observed clean and dressed appropriately. Mother reported a history of drug use and current drug treatment. The home was observed to be clean, neat and adequately furnished.
05/18/18 DCFS investigator verified mother’s participation in a drug treatment program. The report from March, 2018 was unfounded and the investigation closed.
12/18/18 DCFS received a hotline report alleging environmental neglect as to both boys and cuts, welts and bruises as to Andrew. After being called to the home by the mother, police observed a large bruise on Andrew’s hip. Police observed the ceiling falling down, the floor torn up, and the kids’ bedroom smelled of dog urine. JoAnn was arrested for driving on a suspended license and Protective Custody was taken of both children.
12/18/18 DCFS investigator interviewed the boys at Crystal Lake Police Department. DCFS investigator attempted to engage the younger brother who would not talk to the investigator. The child appeared to be healthy and well cared for. Andrew was interviewed and reported that he received the bruise when the family dog pawed him. DCFS investigator interviewed JoAnn at the police station. She stated they were remodeling the home and did admit to dog feces and urine being present in the home. DCFS investigator asked her to take Andrew to Immediate Care after she was bailed out. The father presented to bond mother out. JoAnn requested to be tested for drugs. DCFS investigator ended Protective Custody and children were returned home.
12/18/18 ER Physician examined Andrew and could not state how his injury was caused. The doctor reported injury could have been caused by a dog, belt or a football. The doctor was concerned because Andrew stated that “maybe someone hit me with a belt. Maybe mommy didn’t mean to hurt me.” DCFS investigator contacted the father to pick the children up from hospital until the home environment can be assessed. The father was asked to remain in the home as a safety precaution.
12/19/18 DCFS investigator conducted an unannounced home visit. The home was observed. The living room and dining room were cluttered with clothes and toys. The kitchen was clean and the floor was missing tile. The ceiling was not falling and investigator sensed a slight odor of dog urine. No feces or urine was observed on the floor. The father reported to the investigator that he did pick the children up from the hospital last night. The father denied any corporal punishment and he denied mother using drugs.
12/20/18 DCFS investigator spoke with the past DCFS investigator regarding her case and findings.
01/04/19 DCFS unfounded the report due to lack of evidence for cuts, welt and bruises allegation.
04/18/19 The police were called to the home in response to Andrew being reported missing and DCFS received a hotline report alleging environmental neglect and inadequate supervision. Police observed the home to have ripped up floors, food lying around and clothes/garbage everywhere.
04/18/19 DCFS investigator arrived at the Crystal Lake Police Department and spoke with the police. Protective custody of younger brother was taken. The younger brother was placed with a licensed foster parent. The younger brother was examined by a medical professional, appeared healthy and showed no obvious visible signs of abuse or neglect.
04/24/19 Police found Andrew’s body and arrested JoAnn and Andrew’s father on charges of murder and other charges related to his death.
On Thursday afternoon, Kewanee business owners, residents, and city officials gathered at the Moss Gymnasium at Wethersfield School to hear a presentation from Sunpin Solar regarding the solar project the company is launching in conjunction with the leasing of land owned by the Kewanee Economic Development Corporation. The minute presentation by Sunpin's project manager highlighted potential opportunities for local businesses, opportunities for hiring in the construction business and how the the project will not create new long term jobs as part of the project for maintenance of the solar panels or any other related position. That said, the project is set to have an impact as a project within a so called Business TIF. The impact of the Solar Project won't be seen right away but rather as long term revenue generator for the City of Kewanee. After the meeting WKEI spoke with Mayor Gary Moore about the presentation...
Council Member Steve Faber said that the project appears to be in good shape.
New Kewanee City Council Member Mike Komnick felt that the questions asked by attendees were the best aspect of the presentation.
There is no timetable yet as to when the project will get underway.
An Illinois State Representative is worried that other states may beat Illinois to the punch on sports betting legalization. Democrat Michael Zalewski is concerned that if bills in Iowa and Indiana that would legalize sports gambling in those states might cost the state of Illinois revenue from its own legalization of sports betting. Representative Zalewski wants the state to move faster on Sports Betting...
A bill that would increase penalties for damage to critical infrastructure is making its way through the Illinois Legislature, and its opponents are not backing down. Activists from social justice, environmental and faith-based groups gathered in Chicago yesterday to denounce House Bill 1633.
Supporters claim the measure is needed to protect oil and gas pipelines and other infrastructure from vandalism. Kylah Johnston - an organizer with the People's Lobby - disagrees, and thinks the bill's true intent is to use the threat of hefty fines, lengthy jail sentences and felony charges to silence protestors.
"We already have these laws in place," says Johnston. "This is really just targeting specific, 'dirty energy' sites and being used as a scare tactic, to make it so environmental organizers and activists won't be peacefully gathering at these places and calling out 'dirty energy' for what it is."
The bill, which was passed by the House, creates a broader category of critical infrastructure to include pipelines, oil and natural gas facilities, railroads, dams, and National Guard bases. Johnston says under this bill, an act of civil disobedience that would be a minor offense if committed elsewhere could result in a prison sentence of up to 15 years.
Supporters of HB 1633 say peaceful protests, employee picketing and vandalism are excluded.
Johnston notes the measure is part of a larger, national wave of similar "critical infrastructure" bills, aimed at establishing special protections for certain industries that attract opposition.
"They definitely want to use Illinois as an example of how they can pass these anti-protest bills across the country," says Johnston. "We're a blue state, we have a Democratic governor, we have a super-majority, and they were somehow able to sneak this by the House."
Similar legislation has been introduced in about a dozen other states this year, including one that recently passed in the Indiana Legislature.
Eight-year-old Jonny Wade of Jerseyville continues to inspire those who heard of his fight against cancer, years after his death. Central Illinois Congressman Rodney Davis is announcing the Jonny Wade Pediatric Cancer Research Act, which would create a funding source via unused money intended for campaign funding. Davis says there is $372.8-million sitting in the Presidential Election Campaign Fund.
The bill will go through the House Administration Committee, and Davis says all members have already signed up as an original co-sponsor. He hopes there will be bipartisan support for the bill once it gets to the full House. Jonny Wade died Christmas Eve 2015 after fighting a rare form of brain and spinal cancer for about a year.
'Fight for 51' is legislation in Springfield proposed by the Illinois GOP to begin the process of separating Chicago from Illinois. Central Illinois Republican State Representative Dan Caulkins explains he proposal is nothing new, in fact, Caulkins' predecessor, former state Rep Bill Mitchell brought this idea forward less than a decade ago. Rep. Caulkins outlines what the process looks like...
Rep. Caulkins says Chicago is in real trouble financially and predicts their leadership will make a plea to Springfield to help bail them out.
Rep. Caulkins calls the financial picture in Chicago a comet that is coming and predicts it will hit Chicago first and believes it will be devastating.
Hundreds of Scouts from around the state will descend upon Springfield starting Friday for the 74th annual Lincoln Pilgrimage Weekend. The annual event honoring President Abraham Lincoln will feature old school scouting activities:camping and lots of hiking. Charles Apgar with the Boy Scouts Abraham Lincoln Council says the 20 mile hike Saturday from Lincoln's New Salem in Menard County to Springfield will not only be a good opportunity for fitness for the scouts, but a chance to literally retrace Lincoln's steps....
On Sunday, the Scouts will lay a wreath on Lincoln’s Tomb, then take part in the Pilgrimage Parade from Oak Ridge Cemetery to the Old State Capitol in downtown Springfield. For the first time, female members of the Boy Scouts will be a part of the event.
It's Mushroom Hunting season in Illinois and Duke Frisby joined our People to People program on Thursday to talk about hunting mushrooms and the upcoming Stark County Morel Mushroom Festival on Saturday, May 4th. Duke wants to make sure that Morel Mushroom fans know that the annual Morel Mushroom Auction has been moved up to 1 Pm from the usual tme of 2 Pm at the Stark County Morel Mushroom Festival. Stream or download our People to People Podcast interview with Duke Frisby below...
Kewanee Police have confirmed to WKEI that a vehicle was struck at the Main Street train crossing in Kewanee on Thursday night. While details of the accident have not been fully released, the accident occurred on the Main Street Crossing with a vehicle that had apparently stalled on the tracks. No one was inside the vehicle at the time of the accident and no one was harmed in the accident. Kewanee Police will release further details on Friday.
Update via the Kewanee Police Blotter
At approximately 8:16 Pm Kewanee Police were called regarding an accident on Main Street at the Train crossing. At the scene, Kewanee Police found an accident involving a vehicle driven by 21 year old Natalie I Balunis which was struck by a train. The vehicle was not occupied at the time. No one was injured in the accident. A citation is pending.
At approximately 2:30 Pm on Thursday, Aledo Police, Moline Police, Mercer County Sheriff's Deputies and Illinois State Police went to a local area medical facility and arrested 60 year old Mark R Artcher of Aledo. Archer stands charged currently with two counts of Predatory Sexual Assault of a Child, a Class X Felony. The investigation of Artcher is ongoing with Illinois State Police, Aledo Police, Mercer County Sheriff's Office and Moline Police and could lead to further charges against Artcher. Artcher is currently being housed at the Mercer County Jail. WQAD reports that Artcher has been a teacher at Mercer County High School. The charge of Predatory Sexual Assault indicates that the victim is under 13 years of age.
Today on the Open Line, a big event is returning in Wyoming. We also discuss a Houston School District that has imposed a dress code, not for students, but for parents. Conversation then turned to the automated trash service coming to Kewanee with a rumor that not all homes in Kewanee will be getting trash carts. That rumor is not true. These and other topics today on The Open Line. Stream or download The Open Line Podcast below...
Sara Billiet from the Kewanee Public Library was our guest on Thursday's edition of Tuned In on WKEI. Sara joined us to talk about the next upcoming Coding class for next week at the Kewanee Public Library. The Kewanee Public Library Horror Book Club meets on the 4th Tuesday of every month and if you're a fan of scary books you are invited to join the club. Finally, we talked about Summer Reading Program at the Library which will get undeway next month. Stream or download our Tuned In Podcast interview with Sara Billiet from the Kewanee Public Library below...
The Illinois Department of Transportation has announced the lifting of weight restrictions on three local roads in Henry County. According to a release from the Illinois Department of Transportation, weight restrictions on Fish Hatchery/Grange Road, Osco Road and Midland Road, will be lifted officially as of Friday, April 26th.
Chase is now available for adoption at only half the cost of a regular adoption. Chase has been at the Kewanee Pound for a few weeks now and is in need of a adoption. To adopt Chase you would have to pay the remaining $50.00 after a good samaritan paid off half of the adoption fee in order to help Chase find a forever home. According to posts on the Kewanee Animal Control Facebook page, Chase is not great with other dogs or cats but is a sweetheart in one on one situations. He's been chipped and fixed and he can now be adopted for half the usual adoption fee. For more information on adopting Chase contact the City of Kewanee Animal Control at 309-525-9377.
The month of April is Distracted Driving Awareness Month and Trooper Jason Wilson is calling on all drivers to be aware and put down your phone while driving. That goes for whatever kind of vehicle you are driving be it a car, a truck or even farm equipment...
While it is legal to use a hands free device while driving in Illinois, Trooper Wilson wants drivers to know that even a hands free device can be dangerous while you are driving...
Trooper Jason Wilson was our guest on People to People on Wednesday.
A beautiful handmade Quilt honoring Galva Youth Sports will be among the items featured at the upcoming Galva Youth Sports Association Raffle Bash on May 11th. In a post on the Galva Ready to Grow Facebook page, it was announced that the quilt would go up for auction alongside dozens of other items in order to raise money to support youth sports in Galva. The Galva Youth Sports Raffle Bash will feature raffle items up to $14,000 along with live and silent auctions, 50/50 drawings and door prizes. The event is being held at Mary's Family Dining and tickets to attend are available by contacting members of the Galva Youth Sports Association Board including Mike Keup, Brandy Funke, Sarah and Kraig Townsend, Michele and B.J Hulstrom, Jared and Stephanie Wexell or Sarah Interial.
Handmade quilt made by 19 year old Bailey Roselieb of Annawan.
Governor J.B Pritzker is putting the final touches on his plan to address pension reform in Illinois. According to the Governor, his plan to address the $134 Billion dollars in unfunded pension liability includes shifting the value of the James R Thompson Center in Chicago into the pension fund among other potential revenue increases for the fund. The Governor however, has stated his opposition to plans proposed by Republicans that would lower future pension guarantees. Our Greg Bishop has more...
Illinois’ overall state government retiree costs exceed $200 billion when other post-employment benefits are included.
Governor J.B Pritzker says that he is confident that no charges will come from the Federal probe of his taxes related to an investigation that was begun during the run for the Goveror's mansion. Meeting with reporters yesterday, the Governor brushed off the charges even as prominent opponents such as Illinois Republican Party Chairman Tim Schneider cheered the news that the federal government was finally looking into something his party had been talking about throughout the 2018 election season. Our Greg Bishop has more...
The American Red Cross has announced a series of Blood Drives in late April and early May across Henry County. According to a release from the American Red Cross in the Quad Cities, the Red Cross will hold blood drives beginning this weekend in Galva at Black Hawk College and will have more drives to come in Kewanee, Geneseo and Cambridge. The full list of upcoming Red Cross Blood Drives is below. Blood donations to the American Red Cross have struggled in recent years and the need for blood donations remains at an all time high.
April 26th at Black Hawk College from 10 Am until 2 Pm
May 1st at Kewanee High School from 10 Am until 2 Pm
May 2nd at First United Methodist Church South Campus in Geneseo from 12 Noon to 6 Pm
May 8th at First Christian Church in Kewanee from 2 Pm to 6 Pm
May 14th at First United Methodist Church in Galva from 1 Pm to 6 Pm
May 23rd at St John Vianney Church in Cambridge from 2 Pm to 6 Pm
Do you make a product that you feel could be sold by America's largest retailer? Wal-Mart is now seeking submissions for the annual Wal-Mart open call. The Wal-Mart Open call event will be held over two days, June 18th and 19th, and will have budding entrepreneurs and inventors meeting with Wal-Mart marketers to pitch their product as one that could be sold on the shelves of Wal-Mart stores across the country.
Friends are friends until they find mushrooms so goes the old adage. It's morel season in Illinois says Tim Schweizer with the State Department of Natural Resources.
And if you really love morel mushrooms, a trip to Toulon, Illinois may be worthwhile this spring. They host the Stark County Morel Mushroom Festival on May 4th. Mushroom hunting expert Duke Frisby will join WKEI at 9:35 Am this morning to talk about the Mushroom Festival.
Today it was learned that Democrat Governor JB Pritzker, his wife - MK and his brother-in-law are under a federal investigation surrounding a property tax appeal at a mansion he owns in Chicago. The first report came from WBEZ in Chicago. It’s reported the probe started in October by federal authorities and continues today. The tax appeal in question is connected to toilets being taken out at a home that Pritzker owns – it was an issue during the campaign and might be one again. The Governor met with the media Wednesday.
In light of the investigation being made public the Republican Party of Illinois says Pritzker should drop his push for a graduated income tax.
After a two-year hiatus, officials at Eastern Illinois University brought back its annual arts festival last year and the 20-19 version is scheduled to take place this weekend. Dan Crews serves director of the school's Celebration: A Festival of the Arts;
One of the earliest outdoor festivals of the year in Illinois, the E-I-U arts celebration features music, food and a two-day art show. Visitors at previous ones have been sunburned and snowed upon. Crews says the show will go on whatever the weather;
The three day event at Eastern starts Friday in Charleston with the art show taking place Saturday through Sunday.
The acting Director of the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services has released a statement regarding the tragic end of the search for 5 year old Andrew A.J Freund, whose body was found by Police Investigators on Wednesday in Woodstock, Illinois. In the statement, Marc Smith stated that protecting Andrew's younger sibling is now the top priority for DCFS...
“After a nearly week-long search for missing Andrew "A.J.” Freund, law enforcement officials today confirmed his death. This news is heartbreaking. Protecting vulnerable children who come to our attention is at the core of our mission at DCFS. All of us feel this loss. Our priority is the care and safety of Andrew’s younger sibling. We will continue to cooperate with law enforcement in their ongoing investigation. The Department is committed to conducting a comprehensive review of the entirety of our work with Andrew’s family to understand our shortcomings and to be fully transparent with the public on any steps we are taking to address the issues.”
The boy's parents have been charged with 5 counts of First Degree Murder in the boy's Death.
One Wednesday, the Wethersfield School Board held a special meeting at which it was announced that a new Wethersfield Elementary School Principal was hired to take the place of the departing Janeane Friedman. Gustaf "Gus" Elliott will become the new Wethersfield Elementary School Principal as of July 1st. Mr Elliott has worked primarily in the Quad Cities in his educational career, getting his start in East Moline teaching 4th grade. Eventually, Mr Elliott moved to the Davenport School District where he taught math as a mentor and teacher and special education teacher. Mr Elliott's most recent position was as Assistant Principal and Dean of Students in the Davenport School District. The Wethersfield Board of Education President Dan Bryan also made a point during the meeting to thank Principal Janeane Friedman for her 13 years of service and wished her luck in her new position. Principal Friedman is on her way to Northern Illinois where she will take on the position of Superintendent in a small district outside of Chicago.
A 24 year old Port Byron man is facing 6 counts of Class 2 Felony Possession of Child Pornography charges. According to a release from the Illinois State Police 24 year old Cody L Redman of Port Byron, Illinois was arrested on Wednesday, April 24th following a lengthy investigation. The investigation began with a tip from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children which was given to the Illinois State Police who worked in partnership with the Office of Attorney General Kwame Raoul and the AG's Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force. At approximately 6:30 Am, Illinois State Police Officers executed a search warrant at Redman's Port Byron home. Inside, police seized evidence that then led to the 6 Class 2 Felony counts with the possibility of further charges depending on the decisions of the Rock Island County State's Attorney. Redman is currently being held at the Rock Island County Jail on a $100,000 bond. The Illinois State Police are highlighting the fact that tips like those given to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children are incredibly valuable and could be an avenue for others who may want to help a child in danger but are afraid to come forward. Contact the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children at MissingKids.org.
Trooper Jason Wilson was our guest on People to People on Wednesday morning. Trooper Wilson and our host talked about the recent Media Day ride along with the Illinois State Police during which our host witnessed two Scott's Law violations in less than one hour on the highway. It was an eye opening experience and one that did not surprise Trooper Wilson who has had more than his share of Move Over violations even as the deaths of three Illinois State Troopers have caused more people to become aware of the Move Over Law. We also discussed outreach to teenagers and the efforts of the Illinois State Police to teach youth responsibility, especially during Prom and Graduation season. Finally, we discussed Distracted Driving and a new law coming into place in July that will make all electronic device while driving citations into moving violations, violations that could lead to a suspension of your driver's license. Stream or download our interview with Trooper Jason Wilson below...
Peoria Police are seeking help from the public in locating a missing Peoria woman. 72 year old Sharon Braun was last seen at her residence in the 7300 Block of Radnor Road in Peoria at approximately 3 Am on Wednesday morning. Witnesses indicated that Braun appeared to be distressed as she left her apartment. Braun was last seen wearing a white sweater and pants. She is described as 5 feet 8 inches tall and 165 pounds with white/blond hair and green eyes. Braun has not been seen or heard from since she left this morning and there is concern for her wellbeing. If you have any information on the whereabouts of 72 year old Sharon Braun of Peoria, please contact Peoria Police at 309-673-4521.
Governor J.B Pritzker and First Lady M.K Pritzker are targets of a Federal Investigation. WBEZ in Chicago was first to report that the allegations that led to the Federal probe were related to the scandal that arose during the race for the Governor's mansion in 2018. Governor Pritzker was heavily criticized over tax breaks related to the number of toilets in his expansive home. The controversy led to federal investigators looking into the $331,000 plus dollars the Governor paid back to the government last year. Our Greg Bishop has more..
He hasn't been Mayor a week and yet Gary Moore is already look at ways of giving back to the community that elected him. This morning, Mayor Moore's wife Jeanna annouced the very first Mayor's Charity Gala to take place April 18th of 2020 at The Stables in Kewanee. Proceeds from the Mayor's Charity Gala will go to support Patchy's Red White and Blue Toy Drive and Youth Services Bureau. More details on the event will come in the next few months. For now, mark your calendars for April 18th of 2020 for the first Mayor's Charity Gala at The Stables.
Last night at The Stables in Kewanee the Henry County Republican Party held their annual Lincoln Day Dinner. Jan Weber, Chairman of the Henry County Republican Party joined WKEI on Tuned In on Wednesday morning to look back on the dinner and discuss the future of the Henry County Republcan Party. We discussed getting voters involved and active again after record low turnout of Republican voters in Illinois in the Gubernatorial election cycle. We also discussed the upcoming meeting of Henry County Republicans intended to choose someone to replace Loren Rathjen on the Henry County Board. That meeting is taking place on May 5th at Phenix Township Hall in Geneseo. Stream or download our interview with Jan Weber below...
Kewanee Economic Development Corporation Executive Director Kathy Albert is urging commercial and industrial business owners to turn out on Thursday for the Kewanee Solar Project Lunch & Learn at the Moss Gymnasium at Wethersfield. The event gets underway at 12 Noon and will go on until 1:30 Pm. The information at the meeting could potentially be very valuable to local business owners, municipalities or non-profit groups. Representatives from Sunpin Solar and Kathy Albert from KEDC will be on hand to present information about the project. If you need more information or you would like to RSVP, please contact Kathy Albert at KEDC at email@example.com.
Galva Mayor Rich Volkert did not get into local politics for the money. Rich was our guest on People to People on Tuesday and talked about why he sought the position of Mayor of Galva and the challenges of the job, specifically drawing people to and get them to stay in Galva...
One of the things working in the City of Galva's favor is the remarkably active arts community. From the Galva Arts Council to Levitt Amp and The Back Road Music Festival...
At his first Galva City Council meeting as Mayor of Galva on Monday night, Mayor volkert voted along with a unanimous council to begin rebuilding the former Galva Operahouse with hope of finding new ownership for the legendary building or, at least, fixing it up for use as a venue for Galva's thriving arts community. You can hear our complete interview with Galva Mayor, Rich Volkert in our People to People Podcast.
As of Monday night's Kewanee City Council Meeting, at which the new Kewanee City Council, headed up by new Mayor Gary Moore, approved changes to the Kewanee Trash Pick ordinance, automated trash pick up will begin next month in Kewanee. The blue, 95 gallon trash carts will be delivered to homes in Kewanee during the week of May 14th and Mayor Gary Moore and City Manager Gary Bradley talked about the impact of this change to to trash pick up and changes to City ordinances.
Automated trash pick up will begin in the week of May 21st and there will be no changes to the trash pick up schedule so be sure to have your new trash cart on the curb on the same day you have always put your trash out in the past. Be sure that all of your trash bags are in your new trash cart.
The organizers of the Geneseo Music Festival has announced the lineup for the festival which is taking place in June. According to a release posted to the Genseo Music Festival Facebook page, 5 acts will take the stage at the Geneseo Park District for the 51st Annual Geneseo Music Festival on Saturday, June 15th. The lineup kicks off at 10 Am with Chris Stevens and will run through 8:30 when the band Inside Out will close the show. The full lineup is listed below...
10 Am Chris Stevens
1:30 Pm James Herr
3:30 Pm Harper & Midwest Kind
5:30 Pm Keota
and 8:30 Pm Inside Out
There will also be vendors in the park district with food and collectibles for sale. If you would like to book vendor space at the 51st Annual Geneseo Music Festival you can contact the Geneseo Park District at 309-944-2686. You have until May 15th to apply to be a vendor at the Festival. There will also be a parade beginning at 12:15 on June 16th. The theme for this year's Parade is Summertime Carnival and prizes will be given away for participants in the 2019 Geneseo Music Festival Parade.. The Geneseo Music Festival is a three day event that kicks off on Friday, June 14th and will continue through Sunday, June 16th.
Those in opposition to the legalization of recreational marijuana are relatively resigned to the idea that their efforts to stop legalization are futile. Now the fight turns to slowing down the process. Advocates opposing the legalization of recreational marijuana are imploring lawmakers to take a step back and slow down the process of legalization. The groups want more debate regarding legalization. Our Greg Bishop has more from Springfield...
Governor J.B Pritzker is celebrating his first 100 days in office. In speaking to reporters on Tuesday, the Governor talked about accomplishments that he is proud of in his first 100 days in office. Things such as new gun and gun store regulations to signing executive orders regarding equal pay and immigration. But, not everyone is excited about the Governor's accomplishments in the first 100 days. Our reporter Greg Bishop has more...
Advocacy groups want Governor J.B Pritzker to sign legislation that would require diversity on corporate boards of companies headquartered in the state of Illinois. Under the legislation, corporate boards would be required to have one African American member of the board and one female member of the board. Our Cole Lauterbach has more on this story...
Members of the Kewanee Chamber of Commerce will take part in Business After Hours tonight at 5 Pm at OSF Saint Luke Medical Center. OSF recently celebrated 100 years of Healthcare in Kewanee and that celebration will continue tonight during Business After Hours. Food and drinks will be served and door prizes will be given away to members who attend. To attend, you must be a member of the Kewanee Chamber of Commerce or a guest of a member. Contact Mark Mikenas at the Kewanee Chamber of Commerce to let him know that you will be attending Business After Hours tonight at 5 Pm at OSF Saint Luke Medical Center. Call 309-852-2175 to RSVP.
Advanced Practice Registered Nurse Rachel Gustafson has joined the staff of OSF Healthcare Medical Group-Sheffield. Rachel has been a registered nurse for nearly a decade and in December of 2018 she graduated from Saint Francis Medical Center College of Nursing with a degree to become an Advanced Practice Registered Nurse and recently completed training with Dr Timothy Pratt at OSF Healthcare Medical Group-Sheffield. Gustafson's specialty is Family Practice with special interests in Pediactrics, Women's Health and Mental Health. Gustafson is now accepting patients at OSF in Sheffield and you can call 815-454-2811.
The Kewanee Police Department will be taking part in the National Drug Takeback Day on Saturday, April 27th. If you have expired or unused medications to dispose of, this Saturday you can drop off those unused or expired medications to be safely disposed of at the Kewanee Police Station inside Kewanee City Hall. No liquids and no syringes or sharps can be accepted but all other medications are welcome. The event will be taking place between 10 Am and 2 Pm on Saturday. Unused, forgotten or expired medications are often the subject of theft or misuse and disposing of these medications safely is the best solution to keeping them out of the hands of those who were not prescribed these medications. Again, National Drug Takeback Day is this Saturday, at Kewanee City Hall from 10 Am until 2 Pm.
The Henry County Republican Party will hold a special meeting on Sunday, May 5th, at the Phenix Township Hall in Geneseo, 14850 N 2550 Avenue. At this meeting. the Republican Precinct Committeeman in County Board District 1 will choose a replacement for Henry County Board member Loren Rathjen. Mr Rathjen announced that he was leaving the Henry County Board in March. Any Republican voter who resides in Western, Colona, Hanna, Phenix, Loraine, Yorktown, Alba, Atkinson, Munson, Geneseo, Edford or Osco townships is eligible for the board recommendation. The appointment will serve on the Henry County Board until December 1, 2020. If you would like to be considered for this position on the Henry County Board, contact Jan Weber at 309-714-1617.
At last night's Kewanee City Council, City Clerk Melinda Edwards was conspicuously absent. Later in the meeting when her reappointment as the Kewanee City Clerk came up, Mayor Gary Moore tabled the motion and removed it from consideration. No reason was given at the time and the council did not hold any discussion of the matter. Today, Tuesday, Mayor Gary Moore was our guest on People to People and our host asked the Mayor about the status of the City Clerk...
WKEI has reached out to Melinda Edwards for comment but as of this writing we have not received a response.
The City of Galva swore in a new Mayor on Monday night. Independent Party candidate, Rich Volkert won the April election and assumed the position of Mayor of Galva last night. Among the first items on the agenda of the new Mayor, acquiring the Galva Opera House, work getting underway on the Levitt Amp Stage with the City Engineer offering his time to help make this happen. The Galva City Council made a move toward street and sewer repair last night as well. We talked about Rich's background, he is the former coach of the Galva High School basketball team and has since retiring been a member of the Galva School Board and the Galva City Council. Stream or download our People to People Podcast interview with the Mayor of Galva, Rich Volkert below...
Last night at the Kewanee City Council Meeting, Gary Moore was sworn in as Mayor of Kewanee. Today, he made his first appearance on WKEI as the Mayor of Kewanee. Mayor Moore appeared along with Gary Bradley to discuss the likely agreement with the Village of Neponset and the City of Kewanee for Kewanee Fire & Rescue to become the primary ambulance service for the Village with the Village reimbursing the City of Kewanee for the service. We also discussed the change to automated garbarge service. May 14th is the date that new trash carts will be delivered to homes and May 21st will be the first date for the use of the new carts. We also discussed the budget and where we stand on getting the budget completed. Mayor Moore told WKEI this morning that there will likely be at least one more Special Meeting on the Budget before the final budget reaches the Kewanee City Council to be approved. Stream or download our interview with Mayor Gary Moore and City Manager Gary Bradley below...
The City of Geneseo is playing host to a job fair today, Tuesday, April 23rd, at the Geneseo Public Library. Local businesses in Geneseo are seeking job applicants today from 10 Am until 1 Pm at the Geneseo Public Library, located at 805 North Chicago Street in Geneseo. If you are someone you know is looking for work in the Geneseo area, you have until 1 Pm today to attend the City of Geneseo Job Fair at the Geneseo Public Library.
Kewanee Police Chief Troy Ainley is reminding residents not to blow leafs or grass clippings into the street. In a release from the City of Kewanee, Chief Ainley reminded residents of Kewanee Ordinance 97.001 which prohibits residents from blowing leafs or clippings into the street. Grass clippings can get into storm drains and lead to clogging and minor flooding. The release goes on to state that clippings in the street can also cause problems for motorcycles and cars on the roadway. A violation of City Ordinance 97.001 can lead to a fine.
Monday night's Kewanee City Council Meeting was filled with ceremony as the new Mayor Kewanee, Gary Moore and members of the City Council, Chris Colomer and Mike Komnick were sworn in and former Mayor Steve Looney and Councilman Andy Koehler said goodbye. Then things got down to business with the first agenda item in front of the new council, a potential agreement between Kewanee and the Village of Neponset regarding Kewanee becoming the primary ambulance service for the Village of Neponset. Kewanee is currently the primary service in Neponset which has been without a designated primary service since 2016. Kewanee Fire Chief Kevin Shook created a document laying out the costs for the service and potential reimbursement numbers from the Village of Neponset. Currently, the City of Kewanee gets no reimbursement from the Village of Neponset for ambulance calls that take Kewanee Ambulances to the Village. Under the agreement, the Village would agree to a form of reimbursement. After a discussion of Chief Shook's document, which you can read here, it was decided that the Council would table the discussion for two weeks to get more information regarding ambulance service agreements from around the area.
The City Council then approved an agreement with the Illinois Department of Transportation regarding funds for work on East Street. In discussion of the resolution, Councilman Yaklich called the agreement a 'Sweet Deal' for the City of Kewanee.
This was followed by resolutions naming Justin Raver as continuing as Kewanee City Attorney and Ray Jacobs as City Treasurer. Notably absent was City Clerk Melinda Edwards who did not attend Monday night's meeting. The measure appointing a new City Clerk was withdrawn from the agenda by Mayor Gary Moore.
The City Council then gave final approval to the move to automated trash pick up in Kewanee with delivery of the new 95 gallon trash cans to residents in the week of May 15th and the start of automated trash pick up in the week of May 21st.
The City Council then tabled a motion naming Matthew Douglas to the Airport Authority Board until Mayor Moore has a chance to meet and speak with him. And the council completed new business by awarding a mowing contract for Nuisance Properties.
At Monday night's Kewanee City Council meeting Councilman Andy Koehler and Mayor Steve Looney said goodbye in their positions as Councilman and Mayor. In remarks made before their nameplates were officially retired, both men thanked the City of Kewanee and their fellow council members. Mr Koehler offered only a brief statement...
And then Mayor Looney spoke about his time as Mayor and the accomplishments he remains proud of in his time as Mayor of Kewanee...
Both Mayor Looney and Councilman Koehler have promised to offer advice and support to the new Mayor and Council.
You never know when or how inspiration will strike. For 12 year old Lucy Kuelper, it was love and concern for her dad, an Illinois State Trooper, that led her to create the Move Over Project that has since gone viral.
Lucy's "Move Over for My Dad" has led to a Facebook page that now has nearly 20,000 likes and has inspired other states to take up the Move Over cause. Lucy was our guest on People to People on Monday.
The next Kewanee mural project is getting a shot in the arm from Mike Dewalt. According to our friend Joy Hernandez, via the Downtown Kewanee Facebook page, Mike Dewalt, a longtime supporter of Kewanee and Kewanee history, will be matching donations to the Kewanee Black Knights Mural project up to $2000. If you make a donation beginning today, Mike Dewalt will make matching donations of half your donation. Thus, if you donate $2.00, Mike will donate $1.00. If you donate $50.00, Mike will donate $25.00 and so on. You can make your donation by stopping by Reiman's Harley Davidson and dropping off a check or by making your donation via GoFundMe.com. The overall goal to bring the Kewanee Black Knights Mural to life is $6448.00. Be sure you make your checks out to the Kewanee Area Arts Council and write Black Knights Mural in the memo.
The advocacy group Truth in Accounting wants to know why the state of Illinois has not been auditing underfunded pensions of fire and police departments. According to Truth in Accounting, the Illinois Department of Insurance has not performed audits of 656 local fire and police pension funds as is the law states the that department is supposed to do. Under the rules of the state, audits of pension funds for fire and police are supposed to be audited every three years but many of the 656 localized funds have not been audited more than once since 2004.
Is your smart device listening to you or your children? The Illinois Senate wants to know and make sure that you know. The Keep Internet Devices Safe Act would require companies that make and make smart devices like IPhone's or Alexa's will have to reveal if the devices are capable of listening in on consumers or could listen in on consumers. Our Greg Bishop has more...
The Illinois House and Senate have each passed legislation that will raise the minimum wage for teachers to $40,000 over the next 4 years. Governor J.B Pritzker is expected to sign the measure but members of the Illinois School Management Alliance are crying foul regarding the added cost burden on school districts and what some see as the over-reach of state government into what should be the business of local school boards. Our Greg Bishop has more...
They call her Trooper Tracy and she oversees all of the Illinois State Police’s social media presence. And she’s having an impact, especially with groups like truckers.
Trooper Tracy Lillard has spent 19 years with the agency and began her career patrolling in District 10 in central Illinois. She now handles all state police social media platforms, which includes Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat and Facebook.
Governor J.B. Pritzker believes teaching superior technology skills and pursuing innovation is the key to drawing more jobs to Illinois. The Governor celebrated Innovation and Technology Day in Chicago. The Governor believes educating students for tomorrow's jobs is crucial as well as building innovation hubs at Illinois colleges and universities...
The Governor continues to call for expanded access to high speed internet.
He wants to see expanded partnerships between businesses and universities as well. .
Criminal justice advocates are calling on state lawmakers to do something regarding the history of the Illinois judicial system and wrongful convictions. There is no denying that the state of Illinois has struggled in the past with wrongful convictions and now activists want to see legislative action that would create something that could prevent such miscarriages of justice. A Conviction Integrity Unit would provide a body to observe cases where wrongful conviction are a possibility and remove any prosecutorial bias from the equation.
12 year old Lucy Kuelper of Rio, Illinois, found herself deeply affected by the deaths of three Illinois State Troopers in the span of three months in preventable accidents. Had the drivers of those vehicles adhered to Scott's Law, or the Move Over Law, those Troopers might have gone home to their families. This struck a chord with Lucy because her dad is a State Trooper. This led to a viral photo in which Lucy held up a sign asking people to Move Over for Her Dad. The picture became a sensation and eventually led to a Facebook page that also went viral and inspired other families to ask for people to move over for their family. Lucy is an inspring young lady with a bright future ahead and we could not have been more excited to welcome this young leader to WKEI this morning on People to People. Stream or download the podcast below...
Today on the Open Line we talked about the legalization of recreational marijuana and how ill-prepared lawmakers appear to be when it comes to regulating legal pot. The state of Illinois appears to be in a rush to get the profits of legal recreational marijuana but is taking little care to actually legislate the legaization of marijuana. We also talked about Scott's Law also known as the Move Over Law and our host talked about the unique experience of riding along with the State Police last week and the two citations handed out for Move Over violations in just the hour our host was in the car. Stream or download the Open Line Podcast below...
On this week's edition of Tuned In featuring OSF Saint Luke Medical Center, Carrie Boelens took a look back to last Wednesday and the 100th Anniversary Luncheon, celebrating 100 years of Health Care in Kewanee. She also looked forward to a celebration of the centennial happening in Early-May at Visitation School. And finally, Carrie brought with her, Deacon Marty who discussed planning for the end of life. You can stream or download the Tuned In podcast below...
A new poll conducted among anonymous residents of states where recreational marijuana is legal admit to driving while high. Insurance website The Zebra polled 800 users of legal cannabis in state's where the drug is legal for recreational use and found 60% of users admitted to driving after having smoked pot. Our Cole Lauterbach has more...
Both the Federal and the Illinois State Government are looking at measures that could raise the gas tax. The group Americans for Prosperity is reporting that the Federal Government plan could increase travel costs for the average American by $240.00 per year while the state of Illinois is looking at creating a 19 Cent per gallon gas tax to pay for infrastructure upgrades. Our Cole Lauterbach has more..
The Kewnee City Council is expected to put the final touches on a budget at tonight's Kewanee City Council Meeting. That according to Kewanee City Council member Steve Faber who was our guest on Tuned In on Friday morning. Councilman Faber joined us after Thursday night's Kewanee City Council Budget meeting and after the council settled, for the most part, on a budget with a deficit of more than $215,000.
How did we get here? What is it that keeps the budget in deficit? Some wonder if the pension system in Illinois is to blame but Steve Faber says that is not the case for Kewanee...
Early on in tonight's Kewanee City Council Meeting the City Council may announce one or more budget reductions before the final budget is revealed. Meanwhile, tonight's council meeting will be the first under new Kewanee Mayor Gary Moore who will be sworn in tonight once the meeting gets underway under current Mayor Steve Looney. You can be part of tonight's Kewanee City Council meeting whether you attend in person tonight at 7 Pm at Kewanee City Hall or by tuning in to our WKEI Facebook Page where we will broadcast the event live beginning at 7 Pm.
Kewanee City Manager Gary Bradley will be helping to lead the team that will hopefully hire the next Henry County Director of Economic Development. The position has set empty for some time now leading to many difficulties in the county but Henry County Board Chairman Marshall Jones is hopeful that the current handful of applicants, with the help of Gary Bradley, will successfully fill the position.
Marshall Jones was our guest on Friday's edition of People to People on WKEI.
Have you considered becoming a substitute teacher? Black Hawk College is now offering a course on how to become a substitute teacher or Paraprofessional in Illinois. Monday, May 13th and Tuesday May 14th, staff from the Regional Office of Education will be at the Black Hawk College Outreach Center in East Moline with information on exactly what you would need to do in order to become a substitute teacher or paraprofessional. Sessions run from 5:30 until 6:30 Pm both days and there is no cost to attend. Registration however, is required and you can register to attend by contacting Black Hawk College at 309-796-8223.
At approximately 9 Pm on Sunday night, Kewanee Police were called to the area of the 100 Block of Fairview Homes regarding a hit and run pedestrian injury accident. According to Kewanee Police, an unknown vehicle struck a 16 year old Female pedestrian and fled the scene. The pedestrian was taken from the scene to OSF Saint Luke hospital with minor injuries. If you have any information regarding the driver of this hit and run vehicle which struck a teenage girl in the 100 Block of Fairview on Sunday night, Please contact Kewanee Police immediately at 309-853-1911
The Kewanee Park District is seeking volunteers for coaching positions. According to a post on the Kewanee Park District Facebook page, the Park District is in need of people to volunteer to coach the 4 T-ball teams and the 1 Farm League Coach. 5 volunteers needed at least. Volunteers are needed in hope of not having to make fewer, larger teams and give more kids the chance to play and participate fully. Contact the Kewanee Park District at 309-852-2872.
Deadly car crashes are often the result of drivers being distracted. The Illinois State Police say that it’s a growing problem. Acting State Police Director Brendan Kelly says he’s seen drivers who are just not paying attention to what’s around them.
Kelly says it can be people texting while driving or even watching movies on their cell phones. Whatever it might be he wants drivers to ditch the phones and pay attention to the road.
Orange cone season is here on Illinois roads and highways. And the Illinois Department of Transportation is on the offensive. Their message is pretty simple, pay attention to changing conditions says IDOT’s Juan Pava.
Last year there were 18 deaths in Illinois work zones, including one worker. On average, IDOT sees nearly 5,300 crashes per year in work zones with 1,500 of those resulting in injuries.
Last weekend a Kewanee Police Officer was involved in an incident in which a suspect brandished a weapon. Now, body cam footage released by Kewanee Police indicates the remarkable job police did handling this dangerous situation. At approximately, 11:45 Pm on Saturday, April 13th, Kewanee Police arrested 29 year old Tyler Demuynck of Bradford but not before Demuynck had pulled out a weapon and fumbled it to the ground. The minute long video posted to the Kewanee Police Facebook page shows Sergeant Stephen Kijanowski having cornered a vehicle in a suspicious vehicle call in a driveway in the 800 Block of Willow. The encounter with the suspect appears at ease until the officer asks for identification and Demuynck reaches into his sweatshirt pocket and pulls out a weeapon, causing Sgt Kijanowksi to pull out his service revolver. Demuynck then refuses an order to go to the ground create a few very tense moments before the video ends with Sgt Kijanowski calling for backup. It was later found that the .380 revolver was loaded and Demuynck was arrested on multiple weapons charges including Aggravated Unlawful Use of A Weapon, Possession of a Weapon by a Felon, Aggravated Assault on a Peace Officer, and Possession of a Weapon without an FOID Card. Demuynck also faces multiple misdemeanor charges including Unlawful Use of Weapons and Aggravated Unlawful Use of a Weapon in a Class 2 Felony. The multiple charges could land Demuynck of Bradford, Illinois in jail for anywhere from 3 to 7 years. Demuynck is currently being held at the Henry County Jail on a $250,000 bond. Demuynck will have a preliminary hearing on these charges on Monday, April 22nd at the Henry County Courthouse. A passenger in Demuynck's vehicle was released and not charged in the incident and has not been identified.
Today on People to People, Henry County Board Chairman Marshall Jones was our guest. Last night at the Henry County Board meeting the Board unanimously approved the sale of the Atkinson landfill to a big company out of Chicago with a strong, nationwide presence and a spotless record. The hope is they will be able to clean up and maintain the landfill which has been on the decline in recent years. Mr Jones also talked about filling two Henry County Board seats, by naming John Sovanski of Kewanee to the Henry County Board, his approval will come at next month's meeting and still waiting on a nominee to replace Loren Rathjen who announced his departure back in March. We also discussed the latest on the Hennepin Canal and clean up efforts there and the Graduated Income Tax Townhall held in Kewanee on Wednesday. Stream or download our People to People Podcast interview with Henry County Board Chairman, Marshall Jones below...
Today on the Open Line our Film Critic, and Host, Sean Kernan, offered a review of the new ghost story from The Conjuring movie universe, The Curse of La Llorona. It wasn't good. We also talked about Sean's hopes for Avengers Endgame which he plans to review on the show, spoiler free, next Wednesday. Finally, there was talk of school administration costs in Illinois and a question about population loss in Kewanee. Stream or download the Open Line Podcast below...
Are you thinking of doing some Easter Weekend car shopping? Justin Wright from Yemm Auto Group in Galesburg talked to WKEI on Friday morning and said that this holiday weekend may just be the perfect time to get the best deal available on the car of your dreams at Yemm Auto Group in Galesburg. Stream or Download our Yemm Auto Group Friday Morning Podcast below and hear about the incredible deals you can get this weekend at Yemm..
Last night at Kewanee City Hall, the Kewanee City Council held yet another meeting regarding the City of Kewanee Budget. Council Member Steve Faber joined us on Friday morning to talk about the difficult decisions that the council has made to maintain staff and services in Kewanee while trying not to create a deficit the City can't get out from under. Stream or download our interview with Councilman Steve Faber below in our Tuned In Podcast...
Jolene Barnes with the Kewanee Kiwanis Satellite Committee joined WKEI in studio on Friday morning to talk about the final week before one of the year's most unique, Kiwanis fundraisers, A Night at the Races. On Saturday night, April 27th at the Elks Lodge in Kewanee, you are invited to dress the part as if you were attending the Kentucky Derby and take part in A Night at the Races. Prizes will be given away for those in fancy dress for the occasion and the chance to enjoy horse racing in a very unique setting for a very good cost, only $20.00 per ticket. Proceeds benefit the efforts of the Kiwanis Satellite Committtee and all that money is put toward efforts within our community. Jolene talked all about the people you can contact to get tickets and if you can't find a Kiwanis member before next Saturday, you can always stop by Community State Bank where they have tickets available as well. Listen in on our conversation with Jolene Barnes in our First Up Podcast, available to stream or download below...
The basement at the Kewanee Salvation Army is up and running again with a new round of furniture donations up for sale at the Salvation Army Store. Eddie Tolliver, director of the Kewanee Salvation Army was our guest on People to People and we talked about donations and having the basement up and running again with a new stock of donated items.
The Salvation Army Store is closed today for Good Friday but Eddie Tolliver told us yesterday that if folks drop by the store on Saturday and look for him, he may just have a managers special going on this Saturday only.
Residents in Northeast Kewanee, near the Kewanee Life Skills Re-Entry Center in the area of Kentville Road, may experience low or no water pressure next Tuesday, April 23rd. According to a release from the City of Kewanee, hydrant flushing at the Kewanee Life Skills Re-Entry Center on Kentville Road will cause some residents to lose water pressure for an as yet undetermined amount of time while hydrants around Kewanee Life Skills are flushed. Once water pressure is restored in this area, residents will want to flush pipes using cold water. Any questions you can contact the City of Kewanee on Monday as offices for the City of Kewanee are closed today, for Good Friday.
Friday and Saturday, today and tomorrow, here in Kewanee, are Tag Days for Step Ladder Tutoring. The kids and volunteers with the Sunshine Community Services Center will be out and about today and tomorrow with tags for sale in order to raise money for the Step Ladder Tutoring Program. Wal Mart and Save A Lot will be the places to go in order to purchase tags that will help support tutoring programs for kids at Central and Wethersfrield 7th and 8th Grade, and a four week High School tutoring program at Kewanee Public Library.
The agenda for next Monday night's Kewanee City Council Meeting has been published. The meeting will begin with Mayor Steve Looney before being handed over to new, Mayor-Elect Gary Moore who will be sworn in along with returning councilman, Chris Colomer, and newly elected council member, Mike Komnick. There will be a resolution thanking Mayor Looney and Council Member Andy Koehler for their service to the City of Kewanee and a series of other new business including an agreement with the City of Neponset on a fire and ambulance service, appointing a City Attorney, City Clerk, and City Treasurer, final vote on the change over to the new automated garbage service in Kewanee, the awarding of a contract for mowing nuisance properties and an appointment to the Airport Authority Board. The meeting will get underway at 7 Pm on Monday night at Kewanee City Hall.
1. Call to Order
2. Pledge of Allegiance
3. Consent Agenda
a. Approval of Minutes
c. Staff Reports
4. Presentation of Bills and Claims
5. Oath of Office
a) Mayor Gary Moore
b) Councilman Chris Colomer
c) Councilman Mike Komnick
6. Citizen Participation
a) Consideration of a Resolution declaring as excess the name plaques of former Mayor Steve
Looney and former Councilman Andy Koehler and thanking them for their years of service in
elected office for the City of Kewanee.
b) Consideration of a Resolution authorizing the City Manager, or his designee, to execute an
agreement with Neponset Fire Protection District for the provision of ambulance service.
c) Consideration of a Resolution appropriating matching funds for the FAU East Street Project.
d) Consideration of a Resolution appointing a City Attorney.
e) Consideration of a Resolution appointing a City Treasurer.
f) Consideration of a Resolution appointing a City Clerk.
g) Consideration of an Ordinance to amend Sections 50.04-(A-M) Residential Refuse and
Garbage Pickup and 50.07-(D-E) Residential Bulk Brush Pickup and 50.09-(D) Rates and
Rules For Solid Waste Pickup Of Chapter 50 Solid Waste Management, of Title V Public Works
of the Kewanee City Code
h) Consideration of a Resolution awarding the mowing of nuisance properties for FY 20.
i) Consideration of a Resolution re-appointing Matthew Douglas to the Airport Authority Board.
8. Council Communications:
Illinois leads the nation... in school administraton costs. According to numbers released by the Chicago based research firm, Metropolitan Planning Council, the state of Illinois has the highest administration cost per student of any state in the union. Our reporter Cole Lauterbach has more on the high cost of school administration in Illinois.
Illinois law prohibits the use of public funds to promote ballot initiatives. Does this mean that when Governor J.B Pritzker is promoting his effort to bring a Progressive or Fair Tax to the state of Illinois that he is breaking the law? Some scholars say yes, indicating state law that prohibits a constitutionally elected official from "campaigning for any elective office or for or against any referendum question.” This however, is not a situation where the law is fully settled. Other scholars argue that the Governor is still also a citizen with First Amendment rights, indicating he can still advocate despite state law. Our Cole Lauterbach has more...
A new bill at the statehouse may open a path for smaller distributors to get into the distillery market. State Representative Tom Demmer's bill would create new licensing standards which would allow for smaller distilleries the chance to self distribute their product. Our reporter Scot Bertram has more on what could be very good news for Craft Distilleries.
You have a choice between Civil Rights Historic drama or teen romance this weekend at the Wanee Cinemas in Kewanee this weekend. New in Kewanee beginning today is the Civil Rights drama Best of Enemies and the teen romance Five Feet Apart. Best of Enemies is the based on a true story drama about the real life, unlikely friendship that developed between Civil Rights activist Ann Atwater and then KKK leader, C.P Ellis when they were thrust together to work out a path toward school integration in Durham, North Carolina in the early 1970's. Academy Award nominee Taraji P Henson and Academy Award winner Sam Rockwell co-star in Best of Enemies which has received mixed to negative reviews from critics with a 56% positive critics score at RottenTomatoes.com and a 76% positive score from audiences. Five Feet Apart meanwhile, is a teen romance starring the luminous Haley Lu Richardson and teen heartthrob Cole Sprouse. Together, they play teenagers living with Cystic Fibrosis and being treated at the same hospital. CF is such a dangerous and deadly disease that patients are required to remain 6 feet apart at all times as catching someone elses type of CF can cut years off of your life. This doesn't stop teenagers from being teenagers and romance blooms even without touching. The two eventually settle on expressing their romance by breaking one rule, instead of remaining 6 feet apart, they will remain Five Feet Apart. Five Feet Apart has received critical and audience scores very similar to Best of Enemies, 55% positive from critics and 75% positive from audiences. That said, based off of a minor $7 million dollar budget, Five Feet Apart is a smash hit with more than $70 million dollars at the domestic box office making it a major money maker.
Trains will be coming to the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum in May. A temporary exhibit will be added to celebrate the 150th Anniversary of the golden spike being driven at Promontory Point to complete the Transcontinental Railroad says the museum’s Chris Wills.
Fittingly the exhibit will be head at Springfield’s historic Union Station. It sits across the street from the Presidential Museum. All Aboard begins May 10 and will run to the end of the year.
Online delivery of groceries has taken off but sometimes it can be hard to get wine, spirits or beer delivered along with your milk and eggs. But the Illinois Senate is taking steps to set a statewide standard for delivery of alcohol. Democrat Don Harmon…
The bill passed the Senate. But Harmon notes there will be more work to do on the bill as it passes through the House. He expects further compromise on the issue.
Ameren Illinois residential customers could pay less for electric delivery service under a plan filed today (Thursday) with the Illinois Commerce Commission. Approval of the $7.22-million decrease would mean about $1.13 per month less on the typical residential customer's monthly electric delivery bill. Ameren Illinois spokesman Marcelyn Love says if approved, this would be the sixth decrease in Ameren Illinois electric delivery rates since the state's Energy Infrastructure Modernization Act (EIMA) passed in 2011.
Under the state's Energy Infrastructure Modernization Act passed in 2011, Ameren Illinois says it's customers have saved an estimated $45 million each year through avoided outages and increased service reliability. Coupled with expected lower supply costs, overall customer monthly electric bills are expected to be lower in 2020 than in 2012 and remain below the 2018 national average.
Eddie Tolliver from the Kewanee Salvation Army was our guest on Tuned In on Thursday. Eddie dropped in to talk about the basement of the Salvation Army which is now fully stocked with furniture. Eddie than transitioned into discussing the upcoming Salvation Army Kids Camps coming this summer. Details on the kids camps will be available at the store along with an application to fill out for your child to attend. Speaking of applications, the newest way to manage volunteers at the Kewanee Salvation Army requires people to get signed up at the Kewanee Salvation Army. Stream or download our People to People conversation with Eddie Tolliver below...
Today on the Open Line we talked about scams. Specifically, a caller discussed a recent scam attempt in which the caller posed as someone from Publisher's Clearinghouse and solicited money in order to facilitate the delivery of prizes including cash and a new car. For the record, when you win something, you will not be asked to pay to have it given to you. Never send anyone money in exchange for a prizes that you have been told that you have won. We also received some terrific feedback on our Kewanee Back When program, among other topics on today's edition of the Open Line. Stream or dowload today's show below...
April Schiltz with St Peters UCC was was our guest on Tuned In and became my current favorite guest when she brought mini-apple pie as a gift. Mini-pies are a center piece of the upcoming St Peters Spring Fling on April 27th at St Peters. Pies, and assorted baked goods along with meatballs and related food stuffs, will be up for sale at the Spring Fling which will also feature craft vendors, and a luncheon. There is no cost to attend the event to shop vendors or buy the food but there is a suggested donation of $7.00 to attend the luncheon. We talked to April about what you can expect to find at the Spring Fling and you can stream or download that interview below in our Tuned In Podcast...
Cities in Illinois are losing population, all of them. For the first time, new data indicates that all metropolitan areas of Illinois are losing population. Notably, Champaign, Illinois has seen it's first population decline in many years while the Danville metropolitan area took the most significant population hit over the most recent period of all Illinois metro areas. Our Cole Lauterbach has more on the state's declining population...
Wednesday night at The Stables in Kewanee, State Representatives Dan Swanson and Tony McCombie held a townhall to discuss their opposition to Governor J.B Pritzker's plan to repeal the current constitutionally required Flat Income Tax and replace it with a graduated or 'Fair' Tax.
As part of his presentation, Representative Swanson talked about the disturbing trend of population loss in Illinois and how a change in the income tax could further that trend in the wrong direction.
Representatives Swanson and McCombie were joined at last night's event by Andrew Nelms with the group American's for Prosperity who claimed that moving to a Graduated Income Tax structure would be akin to giving lawmakers a blank check...
A House bill that would have prevented College Admissions offices from asking about an applicants criminal record has fallen short in the Illinois State House. Opponents claimed that the bill would make college campuses more dangerous by preventing college admissions personnel from asking about the criminal histories of incoming students. Our Cole Lauterbach has more...
Kewanee High School Principal Jamie Bryan and Superintendent Dr Chris Sullens were our guests on People to People on Wednesday. At the end of the show, Principal Bryan talked about graduation and how plans are set to send off the class of 2019.
Kewanee High School Graduation Day is also Mother's Day, May 12th, 2019.
State Representative Dan Swanson is touring his district talking about his opposition to Governor J.B Pritzker's proposed graduated income tax. State Representative Swanson says that while the Governor is promising a tax break for 97% of Illinois residents, there are parts of the new tax legislation that would replace the current Flat Tax system in Illinois, that the Governor isn't telling voters about.
Representative Swanson is conducting townhall meetings with fellow State Representative Tony McCombie to further discussion and opposition to the Graduated Income Tax.
In an application for a grant from the State of Illinois that would supplement the current program for tearing down dilapadated homes in Kewanee, the City of Kewanee created a list of homes that could potentially be torn down. In a list provided by Kewanee Director of Community Development Keith Edwards, there are 21 homes that could be torn down using funds from the Abandoned Residential Property Municipality Relief Program (APP) Grant. It should be noted that being included on this list does not guarantee that a property will be torn down. Rather, inclusion on this list means that the house in question is considered a potential nuisance property, an abandoned property or is potentially in danger of crumbling. Owners of said properties do have the opportunity to rescue or rehab these properties but if they do not, and the City deems the structure a nuisance or as a legitimate danger, it can be torn down. The full list is below.
823 Columbus Avenue
212 North Grove Street
408 North Park Street
407 North Park Street
521 East 8th Street
624 North Elm Street
111 South Park Street
440 Pine Street
111 South Grace Avenue
810 May Street
702 Rose Street
402 North East Street
1517 Bunn Avenue
905 West Church Street
805 North Vine Street
905 Elmwood Avenue
702 Florence Street
125 South Jackson Street
1106 Madison Avenue
345 1/2 Rice Street
In a statement to WKEI regarding the properties in question Community Development Director Keith Edwards stated "As with all demolitions, we will follow all legal procedures and make attempts through my office as well as the City Attorney’s office to contact all parties of interest. If any party of interest comes forward and wishes to save the structure we will always try to see if that is an option before continuing with any demolition activities." Contact City of Kewanee Community Development for any further information about potentially demolition ready properties.
After a contentious but productive meeting on Tuesday led to some difficult cuts, the Kewanee City Council will meeing in special session for the second time this week to get closer to a final budget. On Monday night, Council members ran through a bullet pointed list of cuts created by the City Manager, Gary Bradley, and made adjustments to the existing $330,000+ city budget deficit. Then, Council Member Mike Yaklich gave a list of his own potential cuts which led to further cuts that are now reflected in the newly attached budget packet. Click here to look at the new planned budget. More than $150,000 in cuts were proposed at Monday night's meeting but a fully balanced budget for the City of Kewanee, with a zero deficit, appears unlikely unless even more drastic reductions are suggested tonight. No votes will be cancelled, a fully completed fiscal year budget likely will not be ready for a vote until May. Tonight's Kewanee City Council Budget meeting will be held at 6 Pm and anyone is welcome to attend. Council Member Steve Faber will join WKEI on Friday morning to discuss any of the changes proposed at tonight's meeting.
There will be a special meeting of the Kewanee School Board on Monday, April 22nd at 6 Pm. Dr. Chris Sullens and President Dan Nolan have announced that the Monday meeting, which will be open for anyone to attend will feature recognition of retiring board members and the welcoming of new School Board members. Then the meeting will shift to discussion of issuing bonds. The Kewanee School Board is set to vote on $654,000 worth of General Obligation Taxable School Bonds on Monday night. That will be followed by a closed meeting at which it is expected that the Board will privately approve Brad Swanson as the new Physical Education Teacher and Head Football Coach at Kewanee High School.
The City of Kewanee Planning Commission will meet next on Thursday, April 25th at 7 Pm at Kewanee City Hall. On the agenda, a pair of local businesses are seeking permits for outdoor dining and beer sales for an outdoor beer garden. Andrew Speck will be meeting with the Planning Commission to request a permit for a beer garden for The Station restaurant at 300 West 3rd Street. And Jeff Todd will make a similar request for beer sales and outdoor food and drink sales at The Boiler Room, 206 North Chestnut Street. As always, the meetings of the Kewanee Planning Commission are open to anyone to attend. The meeting will get underway at 7 Pm on April 25th.
Ameren Illinois wants residents to be prepared if severe weather cuts power. George Justice is the Senior Director of Operations for the utility. He says it is important for residents to prepare a storm kit.
To report a power outage, you can call 1-800-755-5000 or visit Ameren.com.
Be prepared is the mantra from the Illinois Emergency Management Agency. Deadly storms have already hit parts of the US this spring and they could happen here. Rebecca Clark with I-E-M-A says make sure you have a way to be warned and you’re able to find family members after a storm hits.
If you have a weather app – make sure that the severe weather alert notifications are turned on. That’s a way to stay up to date if you’re mobile and when you’re at home a NOAA weather radio is a good way to stay up to date.
A census is coming in 2020 and Illinois lawmakers want everyone to be counted. Senate Democrats say that sixteen percent of Illinois’ residents live in hard to count areas. Democrat Senator Iris Martinez says plenty is at stake if those folks aren’t counted.
The Senate wants $25 million to be provided in grants for census education efforts so people will be ready and willing to be counted.
Kewanee Schools Superintendent, Dr Chris Sullens and Principal Jamie Bryan were our guests on People to People on Wednesday. Dr Sullens recapped the happenings the most recent Kewanee School Board Meeting this past Monday. Jamie Bryan then took the reigns and discussed the incredible Kewanee students who make up the drama and group interpretation teams that went to state. We then shifted gears to talk about the Kewanee Band which earned the highest ranking in school history in IHSA competition, finishing in 5th place over all. We then switched gears again for a brief conversation of the hiring of new Kewanee High School Football Coach, Brad Swanson. Finally, we discussed the end of the school year and what kids and parents can expect from the end of this school year.
State Representative Dan Swanson was our guest today on Tuned In. Tonight, Representative Swanson and Representative Tony McCombie, will be holding a townhall meeting tonight at The Stables, located at 2350 U.S Highway 34 in Kewanee, beginning at 7 Pm. The subject of the townhall is the Graduated Income Tax being put forward by Governor J.B Pritzker. That won't be the only topic on the agenda but it will be the main topic with both State Reps answering questions and explaining their stance on the plan. State Representative Dan Swanson was our guest on Tuned In on Wednesday...
Today is the day as the City of Kewanee celebrates 100 years of Health Care. Carrie Boelens from OSF Saint Luke Medical Center set the scene for this celebration when she appeared on Monday's edition of Tuned In on WKEI...
Jackie Kernan, the President of OSF Saint Luke Medical Center was also on hand and talked about the two events on the calendar today to celebrate 100 years of Health Care in Kewanee...
Thank you to OSF Saint Luke Medical Center and all employees past and present at our local hospitals for your service over the past 100 and into the future.
The wildly popular Henry and Stark County Farm Bureau Golf Outing is nearing a complete sell out. After opening earlier tee times and later tee times, the spaces available have grown incredibly limited. The golf outing, one of the biggest fundraisers of the year for both the Henry and Stark County Farm Bureau, only has a few spaces left. Annaleah Emm from the Stark County Farm Bureau tells WKEI that the support from the community means a great deal to the Farm Bureau Foundation and what they are able to do for others because of the money raised...
Friday, June 14th is the big day for the outing says Katie Laleman from the Henry County Farm Bureau...
Contact either the Henry or Stark County Farm Bureau to find out if there are still tee times available for the Henry and Stark County Farm Bureau Golf Outing on Friday, June 14th at Baker Park in Kewanee.
The Stables will be the venue for a major political townhall meeting tonight at 7 Pm. State Representatives Tony McCombie and Dan Swanson will be leading the townhall this evening to discuss the Governor's plan for a Progressive Tax and an amendment to the State of Illinois Constitution that would be necessary to make such a change. Representatives McCombie and Swanson will deliver speeches and take questions from the audience regarding their position on the Progressive Tax versus the current flat tax system. WKEI will be on hand tonight and broadcasting the townhall on our WKEI Facebook page at RegionalDailyNews on Facebook. State Representative Dan Swanson will be our guest on Tuned In this morning at 8:45 Am to talk more about tonight's townhall. The townhall is free to attend and will get underway at 7:00 Pm with doors open at 6:30 Pm.
Under a bill written by State Senator Laura Fine, state of Illinois employees would, for the first time, be requiired to actually live in Illinois. Currently, there are no rules to dictate whether or not state of Illinois employees live in the state. The bill is opposed by the major state employee unions who find the requirement needlessly restrictive. Current State of Illinois employees would be grandatehered into the law and not be made to move to keep their jobs. Our reporter Cole Lauterbach has more...
Changes to the Aviation Fuel Tax could cost cities revenues that have been in place for years. According to the new rules, taxes on jet fuel collected by cities with airports can no longer be used for anything other than repairs and updates to airports or as subsidies for aviation related industries. These rules were set forth by the FAA in 2015 but are just now beginning to be enforced. In the past, cities with airports, including Chicago, would collect Jet Fuel Taxes and put the money into general funds for use across the economy. Our Cole Lauterbach has more...
Courtyard Estates has announced that they are hiring full time caretakers. In a post on Facebook, Courtyard Estates stated that they have full time second shift openings for LPN's and RN's for the facility. Those applying need to have a passion for helping the elderly community. Applicants must also have up to date licensing. You can apply for the position via the Courtyard Estates Facebook page or by going to CourtyardEstates.net/Kewanee.
The older population of Chicago is not happy with the City. According to a new poll conducted by the AARP indicates that 44% of Chicago residents over the age of 55 have considered moving out of the City of Chicago. The issues include the high cost of living, increasing taxes, and escalating violence. Our Cole Lauterbach has more on the discontent of older Chicago residents...
You need to move over when you see a stopped car or flashing lights and the Illinois Senate is trying to do what they can to get that message out. They passed a bill about creating more awareness about Scott’s Law. The legislation will require the Secretary of State to add a reminder in registration renewals about the law and add a question to the driver’s test. Republican Senator Chapin Rose says enough was enough.
There are more than a few potholes on state roads but you might not have anyone to tell. That could be changing. The Senate passed a bill that would create a website for state wide reporting of potholes or other dangers on the roads. Republican Dan McConchie says there is evidence web reporting works.
Reports from the website would be funneled to local IDOT districts.
A new monthly feature on WKEI began today. It's called "Kewanee Back When" and it features our good friend Dave Clarke. Each month Dave is going to join us with a particular topic related to Kewanee history. This month, Dave recruited the exceptional historian, Dean Karau. Recently, via the Facebook group, Kewanee Nostalgia, Dean has been researching and posting facts about Kewanee firsts from the first Lake to the first Park. We discussed those firsts and so much more on the very first edition of Kewanee Back When... Stream or download the show below...
Annaleah Emm from the Stark County Farm Bureau was our guest on Tuned In on Tuesday. Annaleah joined us to tout the upcoming sign painting fundraiser coming up at the Stark County Farm Bureau office in Toulon. The Stark County Farm Bureau is teaming up with the Henry County Farm Bureau for one the biggest fundraisers of the year for both Farm Bureaus, their annual golf outing at Baker Park. We talked with Annaleah Emm about all the goings on for the Stark County Farm Bureau today on Tuned in...
Today our studios at Regional Media, located at the corner of Central and Main, we are hosting Jail & Bail on behalf of the Kewanee Area United Way. Lee Cook is a board member for the Kewanee Area United Way and he joined us on the air to remind everyone to donate by stopping at our studio at the corner of Central and Main in Kewanee. Or you can donate electronically at KAUW.org. Your donations will help spring our charity inmates and all the proceeds will support the remarkable work of the Kewanee Area United Way. Stream or download our interview with Lee Cook with the Kewanee Area United Way by clicking below. Go to KAUW.org to make a donation or stop by our studio at Central and Main to drop off your donation.
One year removed from tariffs imposed by President Trump, the Illinois Manufacturers Association has called the tariffs a mixed bag. Benefits and drawbacks of the tariffs have gone both aways with tariffs on steel and aluminum having the biggest impact. Our Scot Bertram has more from Springfield...
Victims in last year's devastating tornadoes in Taylorville, Illinois could be receiving tax credits for disaster relief. The bill put forward by State Senator Andy Manar would guarantee that Taylorville residents get a break on their taxes to help with disaster relief. Our Cole Lauterbach has more on what is being done to help Taylorville recover.
Does Illinois have a spending problem or a revenue problem? That singular question may be at the heart of the debate over the Progressive Tax, Governor J.B Pritzker's plan to scrap the current flat tax system, in favor of a system that taxes higher income earners at a higher rate than low income earners. Our Cole Lauterbach has more on this continuing debate...
The five ensembles of the Kewanee Music Department, the Concert Band, Jazz Band, Jazz Combo, Concert Choir, and Jazz Choir, led the school to its highest finish yet in state competition. According to Kewanee Music Education Teacher Alex Binek, the combination of ensemble and solo competition performances led the way to unprecented success, a fifth place finish in the IHSA state rankings. Congratulations to the remarkably talented members of each of our Kewanee High School Bands.
The next Kewanee Chamber of Commerce Business After Hours will be held on April 24th at 5 Pm. OSF Saint Luke Medical Center will play host to the networking event at which Chamber members gather to network and discuss local business. If you would like to attend you must be a member of the chamber or a guest of a member of the chamber. Reservations are requested for those attending and can be made by contacting the Kewanee Chamber of Commerce at 309-852-2175. The theme for this Business After Hours will be celebrating 100 years of health care in Kewanee.
Wethersfield Superintendent Shane Kazubowski has announced that a special meeting of the Wethersfield School Board will be held on April 24th at 4:15 Pm. At that time, the new members of the Wethersfield School Board, including newcomer Trafton Hodge along with Dan Bryan and Tyrone Baker will be seated and the Board will elect officers including President, Vice President and Secretary. This will be followed by an executive hiring session in private in which it is expected that a new Wethersfield Elementary School Principal will be hired. Janeane Friedman announced several weeks ago that she was leaving at the end of the school year, May 31st, to take a new position. We talked with Janeane Friedman recently on People to People about the bittersweet decision to leave after 13 successful years at Wethersfield...
The first portion of the April 24th meeting is open to the public to attend. The executive session is a closed meeting. The meeting gets underway at 4:15 at the Blish Building.
Kewanee Police Chief Troy Ainley has announced that the Kewanee Police Department will be participating in events highlighting Distracted Driving Awareness Week, April 21st through the 27th. The week will be about educating and raising awareness of distracted driving enforcement and the dangers of distracted driving, especially related to young drivers. 6 of every 10 crashes involving teenage drivers involve distracted driving, teens using their phones while driving. Kewanee Police, the Henry County Sheriff's Office and the Illinois State Police will be cracking down extra hard on catching those drivers using a phone without a hands free device, while driving. Drivers are subject to $75.00 fine for 1st offense distracted driving. Subsequent penalties go up to $125.00 and $150.00 respectively and could to lead to further penalties if the violations continue.
In a meeting that lasted more than 2 and a half hours, the Kewanee City Council and City of Kewanee Department heads discussed potential cuts to the budget intended to make a bigger dent in the more than $330,000 City budget deficit. City Manager Gary Bradley came up with a list of potential cuts that could get the budget to a balance but this included a number of items that the City Council did not want to cut. The City Council ran through the bullet points of the City Manager's memo and debated what to keep and what to cut making the decision to cut small pieces of different programs where they could. Council member Mike Yaklich brought his own memo and offered several more places in the budget that could be cut. In this part of the meeting it was notably decided that the See Click Fix Program, for pothole reporting, would be scrapped entirely from the budget due to a combination of lack of interest from the public and a cost that was not justified by the amount of use that either the public or City staff used it. Other notable changes included cuts to the Small Business loan fund that was little used, a slight cut in the Facades program, and a halving of the demolition budget. The cut to the demolition budget is hoped to be temporary and filled in with a State Grant that will allow the City of Kewanee to continue tearing down old houses. We spoke with Mayor Steve Looney after the meeting, which will not be his last as Mayor...
It was announced at the end of last night's meeting that there will be another special work session for the budget will take place on Thursday night at 6 Pm. Mayor Elect Gary Moore also took part in Tuesday night's budget work session and we spoke to the new Mayor after the meeting..,
Millions are coming to the state to help fight the opioid addiction crisis. According to Patrick Laughlin the $15 million grant is on its way from the Federal Government and will be used to increase substance abuse treatment inside of jails and hospitals.
There might be almost $30 million coming next year from the same fund.
As tax season comes to a close, IRS Agent Michael Devine wants taxpayers to remain vigilant of the Dirty Dozen tax scams...
Michael reminds taxpayers that the IRS will not call you out of the blue and that you have the right to request information from anyone who calls to try and tell you that you owe money to the IRS. Be suspicious, ask questions and don't be afraid to hang up the phone and call the IRS hotline at 1-800-829-1040. It's the fastest way to know if you someone is trying to steal your money or your tax information.
If you are looking for a job, especially if you are looking online, you run the risk of being scammed. That, according to the latest report from the Better Business Bureau, which reports employment scams were the most reported and riskiest scams of 2018 as logged by the BBB Scam Tracker and is based on the BBB Risk Index. The index is a unique algorithm that calculates exposure, susceptibility, and monetary loss to offer a more accurate assessment of scam risk. And there seems to be a common theme: Agency investigator Don O'Brien saus Amazon was in the news a lot in 2018 with its high-profile search for a second headquarters.
The agency reminds that scammers are opportunists, and whatever is in the news or being talked about on social media, they see as an opening to imposter a recognizable and respected organization or brand.
Live link to Fox News Radio coverage of the fire at Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris. The more than 900 year old Cathedral had held Palm Sunday services just yesterday and was being prepared for festivities this weekend.
Michael Devine from the IRS was our guest on People to People on Monday, April 15th, the tax filing deadline. Michael joined WKEI with advice on how to get through with your taxes even if you've waited until the last minute. With spoke with Michael Devine about tax scams and how to avoid people who may be attempting to steal your identity. Stream or download our interview with Michael Devine from the IRS on today's People to People.
Henry County Coroner Melissa Watkins has released a report for her office's activity for 2019. According to the Henry County Coroner, the Coroner's Office dealt with a total of 270 deaths in 2018. Of those 270 deaths, 243 were determined to have been from natural causes. The coroner determined that 17 of the deaths investigated by the coroner's office were due to accidents including a vehicle versus skateboard accident and a pair of separate industrial accidents involving heavy machinery. Nine suicides were investigated by the Henry County Coroner's office in 2019. And, the coroner determined that there was only 1 death by Homicide in Henry County in 2018, that being the death of 19 year old Xavier Hartman of Galva. Despite James Love having been found not guilty in Hartman's death, the death was still determined to have been the result of homicide. The 270 deaths represent only deaths that the Coroner was called to preside over and not all deaths in Henry County in 2018. The coroner held no coroner inquests in 2018.
Today on the Open Line our main topic was Right to Work Zones. Governor J.B Pritzker on Friday signed legislation that banned right to work zones in the state. A right to work zone is a local ordinance that had been passed by municipalities to prevent unions from taking union dues from the paychecks on non-union employees. Thanks for this new legislation, Unions can continue to collect union dues from the paychecks of non-union employees. Workers have the right not to join unions but they are still subject to union dues as the union remains in charge of agreements between management and employees. Is this truly the best policy or is this about political deal-making between Unions and Democrats who've been the biggest beneficiary of union back political donations. There were alos brief discussions of Tiger Woods and politically correct editing of classic movies on today's Open Line Podcast.
Carrie Boelens and the President of OSF Saint Luke Medical Center, Jackie Kernan, no relation to our host, were our guests on Tuned In on Monday morning. Wednesday, April 17th is the 100th Anniversary of Health Care in Kewanee and OSF Saint Luke Medical Center is throwing a celebration on Wednesday. All current and former OSF and Kewanee Hospital employees have been invited to attend the 100th Anniversary Luncheon at OSF Saint Luke Medical Center on Wednesday from 11 Am until 1 Pm. Stream or download our interview with Carrie Boelens and Jackie Kernan below and congratulations to all of our current and former Health Care Professionals in Kewanee.
When lawmakers return from the current Spring Break in early May, one of the items on the agenda will be a bill to allow immigrants in Illinois either via the DACA program or on a Work Visa, to enroll in Medicaid. Our Cole Lauterbach has more from Springfield...
Governor J.B Pritzker on Friday signed legislation that bans so-called 'Right to Work' zones. According to the Governor, the new measure won't criminally penalize places in Illinois that pass right to work legislation but the new law does make clear that such legislation violates state law. Those in favor of Right to Work zones say that they will take the matter to the Supreme Court. In a right to work zone, employees are not required to be part of a local union or pay dues to the union for collective bargaining. Without the right to work zone, even employees who are not union members can still be charged union dues.
Senate Bill 2090 was proposed by State Senator Omar Aquino last week in the capital. The bill is aimed at protecting a very specific set of voters, those who have been arrested but not yet convicted. Under the law, county clerks in Illinois would be required to make sure that inmates at local jails who are being held prior to any actual plea or conviction, be given the chance to cast a vote. Our Cole Lauterbach has more.
It's Abilities Week at Wethersfield Elementary. According to Principal Janeane Friedman, Abilities Week is a week in which students will learn about those with special needs and work toward understanding the differing abilities of students at Wethersfield, specifically those students in need of a little extra help. Students are set to learn about autism and learning disabilities and physical disabilities as part of this week with the goal of fostering compassion and understanding...
Coinciding with Abilities Week, a group of 6th Graders at Wethersfield Elementary have volunteered to do a presentation on Bullying.
For more information on Abilities Week, contact Wethersfield Elementary.
State Senator Chuck Weaver will host a town hall at Princeton High School in Princeton, Illinois on Thursday, April 18th. Town Hall will get underway at 6 Pm and is open to anyone who would like to attend and discuss with State Senator Chuck Weaver, any concerns they may have. There is no set agenda to the town hall, thus anyone with questions regarding the possible changes to the tax system in Illinois or questions about Move Over penalities or the legalization of cannabis or Sports gambling, are welcome to ask questions at the meeting. Again, the town hall with State Senator Chuck Weaver will be held on Thursday evening, at 6 Pm at Princeton High School, 103 South Euclid Avenue in Princeton.
Mayor Steve Looney will oversee his final Budget Work Session as Mayor of Kewanee tonight at 6 Pm at Kewanee City Hall. The meeting is open to anyone who would like to attend and know more about the budget of the City of Kewanee. A copy of the budget documents that the City Council will be looking over and working from are attached here. Whether or not City Manager Gary Bradley will present a version of the budget that presents all of the cuts that would be necessary for a balanced budget alongside plans for the current budget is unknown at this time. At last Monday night's Kewanee City Council meeting, Councilman Mike Yaklich claimed that city ordinance required the City Manager to present a version of the budget that is fully balanced. The City of Kewanee does not have to adopt a balanced budget and it is unclear whether the ordinance cited by Mr Yaklich is contradicted by other ordinances. We asked Mayor Looney on People to People last week about the challenge a completely balanced budget would entail...
Mayor Looney followed up that discussion with a reminder that he won't be simply stepping away. If the new Mayor and Council need his help, he will be readily available...
Again, tonight's Kewanee Budget work session is open to anyone who would like to attend and find out more about the City of Kewanee budget. The meeting begins at 6 Pm at Kewanee City Hall.
On Friday afternoon, Kewanee welcomed home 10 year old Caleb Cleaver. In a procession that lasted about a half an hour, traveling from Farm King to downtown Kewanee by 3rd Street and the train station before doubling back toward Caleb's home, the procession that included fire trucks, police officers and Caleb's family was greated by hundreds of people, including Caleb's Central classmates. We spoke with Josh Cleaver, Caleb's dad, just before Caleb boarded the Kewanee Fire Truck that took him home...
Mayor Steve Looney watched the procession from in front of our Regional Media location on Central and Main while Mayor-Elect Gary Moore was part of the group that met Caleb and his family at Farm King, as Kewanee came together to give Caleb a huge welcome home from St. Jude's Children's Hospital. Thank you to Caleb's family for letting all of us take part in this event and thank you to the hundreds of you folks who lined the streets for Caleb.
Some state senators want kids in school at an even younger age than they are required to right now. Democrat Kimberly Lightford says early childhood education is critical and she wants all kids in school by the age of five.
Others wonder if all five year olds are ready for school. The law would be signed the new requirement would go into effect for the 2020 school year.
The Illinois House of Representatives have passed new, stiffer penalties, for people who illegally pass a stopped school bus. The bill however, did not meet with the full support of House members, something some spectators found surprising. Our Greg Bishop was on hand with the story and while the measure did not receive unanimous support.
Clayton Coyne from right here in Kewanee is selling cars at Yemm Auto Group. Clayton joined WKEI from our Yemm Auto Group Studios in Kewanee to talk about some of the deals Yemm Auto Group in Galesburg has for new and used vehicles. Visit YemmAuto.com to have a look for yourself online but it's better to visit in person and see these cars for yourself at Yemm Auto Group in Galesburg at 2195 North Henderson Street in Galesburg. Stream or download our conversation with Clayton Coyne below...
Wethersfield Elementary School Principal Janean Friedman was our guest today on People to People. Recently, Wethersfield Elementary hosted kids from around all of Henry County for a Daddy Daughter Dance and it was a huge success. Principal Friedman also came by to tell us that May 31st will be the last day of the school year for kids at Wethersfield, this came about because of the many snow days over the early portion of 2019. We also talked about the House Program at Wethersfield Elementary as inspired by the Harry Potter books. And finally, Janean is unfortunately leaving us at the end of the school year, she has accepted the position as Superintendent of Schools in Antioch, Illinois.
Thank you Janean Friedman, from all of us at Regional Media for your 12 years of service at Wethersfield.
The legendary television daytime series Dark Shadows is being celebrated in a brand new documentary. The Master of Dark Shadows is dedicated to the creator of Dark Shadows Dan Curtis and his unique visionary approach to daytime television. Curtis's ability to adapt and change and take Dark Shadows to places daytime television had never gone before helped to create a series that is iconic and has never been forgotten by fans who've shared the series for decades. Lara Parker starred on Dark Shadows as the witch, Angelique and she is part of the documentary along with all of the remaining cast of Dark Shadows. We were lucky to have the chance to talk with Lara Parker today on Tuned In. Stream or download our interview with Lara Parker below...
This Saturday you can get your kids signed up for baseball or softball at the Kewanee Park District. Walk-in sign up is available this Saturday at the Park District office at 1095 Cambridge Road in Kewanee. Park District Director Brian Johnson was Bob McKee's guest on the LocalSportsNow.com Noon Hour Sports Show on Thursday...
Call the Kewanee Park District at 309-852-2872 for more information about Summer Sports at the Kewanee Park District. The Kewanee Park District is celebrating a milestone year, one hundred years of the park district and Brian Johnson says, they have celebrations planned throughout the summer...
WKEI will be contributing to the celebration of the 100 year anniversary of the Park District this coming Tuesday with a special edition of our People to People program with special guests Dave Clak and Dean Karau. Don't miss what we are calling Kewanee Back When, Tuesday morning at 9:35 Am.
A big congratulations to Julie Cinnamon of Toulon on being named the Abilities Plus Achiever of the Month. Julie was chosen as Achiever of the Month, for her positive attitude and her big sense of humor. Julie is known for her good attendence and her hard work at achieving her goals. Julie enjoys gathering the documents and getting them ready for the shredder at Abilities Plus, an important and sensitive job. In her free time, Julie likes going out to dinner and accompanying music on the maracas. Congratulations Julie and keep up the good work, from your friends at Regional media.
The Illinois State Police have announced the arrest of 55 year old Craig W Dittmar of Stockton, Illinois, in the death of Illinois State Trooper Brooke Jones Story. According to the Illinois State Police, Dittmar was the driver of a semi truck on March 28th, 2019, at approximately 12:20 Pm in the area of US Route 20 Westbound near Illinois Route 75 in Stephensen County that struck and killed Trooper Brooke Jones Story. Trooper Jones-Story was out of her squad car inspecting a semi truck on the side of the road when it is believed that the truck that Dittmar was driving struck her squad car and then hit Trooper Jones Story. The trooper's emergency lights were on when the vehicle was struck. On April 11th, 2019, the Stephenson County State's Attorney's Office approved charging Dittmar with two counts of Reckless Homicide (both Class 2 Felonies), and one count of Operating A Commercial Motor Vehicle While Fatigued - Causing Death (Class 3 Felony). An arrest warrant was issued for Dittmar and the bond for the warrant was set by the judge at $250,000. Dittmar was later taken into custody and lodged in the Stephenson County Jail where he is being held in lieu of that bond.
The Illinois Pork Producers Association has named a champion in pulled pork. The competition coincided with the NCAA basketball tournament.
The Pork Producers Association’s Kelsey Burgener says the winner was Pauly’s BBQ in Arthur. The organization will have another bracket competition next March, highlighting a different product, likely a pork tenderloin.
You’re running out of time to file your taxes… April 15 is looming and the state wants to make sure you file on time. Terry Hortsman with the Illinois Department of Revenue says help is out there if you need it.
The state says more than 4 million tax returns have been filed so far and nearly 9 in 10 filers choose to do so electronically. We will have some very, very last minute tax advice for you on Monday as we are joined on People to People by IRS Agent Michael Devine. He will talk about what you last minute filers and extension needing folks can do on the filing deadline day.
The Illinois Senate passes a measure to try and get presidential candidates to release their tax returns. Tony Munoz sponsored the bill. It would require any Presidential or Vice Presidential candidate who wanted to be on the Illinois ballot to make their tax returns public.
There is question on if the move is constitutional.
Springfield Democrat Betsy Dirksen Londrigan lost by a razor thin margin to Congressman Rodney Davis in the 13th Congressional District last November. Now she's back to try again. Dirksen Londrigan will continue with the key play in her 2018 playbook, with a focus on health care....
For Dirksen Londrigan, that fight includes fighting for to keep the status quo...
In the 2018 race, Dirksen Londrigan was declared the winner by CNN before late night tallies moved the verdict in Davis' favor.
The family of 10 year old Caleb Cleaver is inviting anyone who can to come welcome Caleb home. Caleb has spent the last several months in the hospital recovering from a bone marrow transplant in his fight against Leukemia. His family is bringing Caleb home on Friday afternoon and they would like as many people as possible to welcome him home. Some people will be meeting at Farm King to begin a procession that will feature the Kewanee Fire Department which will give Caleb a heroes welcome. The procession is expected to pass the studios of Regional Media which will place a special, one time, welcome home message on our message board. The family is urging people to make signs and wave to Caleb to welcome him back to Kewanee. If you can make, 4 Pm at Farm King is where things will kick off, hopefully, doctors will determine exactly when Caleb will be headed home but the plan is 4 Pm. The procession will go past the YMCA of Kewanee and past the radio station at 101 West Central Boulevard. You can follow along for any updates on the special Facebook page for Caleb's welcome home, linked here, so you know exactly when and where you can gather to welcome Caleb home.
Young Lucy Kuelper has gone viral with her campaign #MoveOver Project. She began the project on Facebook in the wake of the death of a third Illinois State Trooper, Trooper Brooke Jones Story, who was killed when a semi-truck struck her and a vehicle she was inspecting on the side of the road, with her emergency lights on. Lucy's father is an Illinois State Trooper and Lucy wanted a way to get people to Move Over for her dad. Today, Lucy was honored in Springfield at the capital by State Representative Dan Swanson.
The state of Illinois ranks 9th of 50 states in total tax burden. A new study from financial analyst website Wallethub did the math and ranked Illinois 9th of all 50 states in the percentage of tax paid per taxpayer by state. New York has the largest tax burden at 12.97% followed by Hawaii 11.7%, Maine, Vermont, Minnesota, Rhode Island, New Jersey and Connecticut. Neighboring Iowa ranked immediately behind Illinois at number 10. Our Cole Lauterbach breaks down the numbers...
Sara Billiet from Kewanee Public Library was our guest on Tuned In on WKEI Thursday. Stop by the Library today af 1 Pm and bring an item to be appraised. Appraisal expert Terri Applegate will appraise up to three items per person beginning at 1 Pm this afternoon.
Sara had plent of other news from National Library Week as well including Food for Fines, a chance for those with library fines to get those fines forgivien in exchange for donations of non-perishable food items. And the Kewanee Library Recipe Round Up will be back in swing later this month. Stream or download our Tuned In Podcast chat with Sara Billiet from the Kewanee Public Library below...
The Henry County Farm Bureau Young Leaders Program has proven to be a remarkable success. According to Katie Laleman from the Henry County Farm Bureau, students at our local schools will get to see that success in action as Young Leaders head to the classrooms of Henry County to talk with students about what they do, either on the farm or behind the scenes in Agri-Business...
So how does someone become a member of the Henry County Farm Bureau Young Leaders?
Katie Laleman from the Henry County Farm Bureau was our guest on Tuned In on Wednesday.
Lawmakers who have supported School Choice in the past are beginning to battle back against Governor J.B Pritzker's attempt to end the state's popular private school scholarship program. Not long after taking office, the Governor targeted the popular Private School Scholarship program with some accusing him of doing so as a favor to public schools and teachers unions rather than for the best policy. Now, that argument among others are helping supporters of the program win lawmakers back over to the program. Our Cole Lauterbach has more...
The new Mayor of Chicago was in Springfield on Wednesday. Lori Lightfoot, who defeated Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle earlier this month to become the new Mayor of Chicago went to the capital to talk about getting Chicago's finances in order and while she was there, she addressed the long standing notion of Chicago becoming the 51st, a bill that has floated around the capital for years. Greg Bishop has more...
After a contentious committee meeting, the proposed constitutional amendment to end the Flat Tax and bring about what the Governor of Illinois calls a Progressive or Fair Tax, is now headed to the Senate floor for further debate and likely passage. Our Greg Bishop has more from Springfield.
The amendment has strong support from the Democrat super-majority in the Senate but there may still be a chance for opponents of the amendment to stop it in the House where it could come down to as few as three Democrats siding with Republicans to stop the amendment from going to 2020 ballot for voters to decide.
OSF Saint Luke Medical Center will hold their very first blood drive with new blood supply partner Mississippi Valley Regional Blood Center, today from 7 Am to 5 Pm at the East and West Conference Center at OSF Saint Luke Medical Center.
Carrie Boelens and OSF Saint Luke Medical Center Lab Director Chris Downs were our guest on Tuned In on Monday and wanted to reassure regular donors that they are still going to have the same great experience donating blood with OSF's new partners and that their donation count, the number of units donated is still being tracked as before.
Breakfast is being served starting at 7 Am as part of the very first OSF Saint Luke Medical Center and Mississippi Valley Regional Blood Center Blood Drive going until 5 Pm this evening.
Saturday hours at the Kewanee Transfer Station begin this weekend. As a way of helping out citizens who can't get to the transfer station during regular weekday hours, the Kewanee City Council has authorized the Transfer Station to be open the second and fourth Saturday of each month from April through September. This time frame coincides with the upcoming Citywide Clean-up on May 18th. The full schedule of Saturday's at the Transfer Station are listed beiow. The Kewanee Transfer Station Saturday hours are 8 Am until 12 Noon.
Fungal infections are becoming big news across the nation and the state. The Illinois Department of Public Health wants the public to know more about Candida Auris, a drug resistant fungus. The fungus impacts patients in hospitals and health care facilities and generally those with compromised immune systems. There are a 158 cases in Illinois since 2016 and State Chief Medical Officer Dr. Jennifer Layden says the biggest worry is for the health of those needing acute care.
The fungus is resistant to some drugs but cases have been found to be treatable with other medications. Layden says for the general public visiting hospitals and other health care facilities practice good hygiene.
The Illinois Department of Agriculture reminding farmers to heed cautiously when applying anhydrous ammonia this spring. The agency’s Jeff Squibb says don’t be in a hurry.
Squibb says anytime there is a release of more than 100 pounds or 18-gallons of ammonia it must be reported to emergency responders within 15-minutes of spill. If the release is not reported, both federal and state penalties apply.
Non-partisan policy group, Ideas Illinois, is sounding the alarm regarding Governor Pritzker's Progressive Tax Plan. Ideas Illinois Budget and Tax Research Director Adam Schuster says the plan is typical of Illinois politics but far more potentially destructive to the state's long term growth.
Ideas Illinois is calling on citizens to sound the alarm with lawmakers by calling their representative and telling them to oppose the Governor's "Jobs Tax." Schuster is hopeful that the proposed amendment to the Illinois Constitution to end the Flat Tax and move to the "Fair Tax" can be stopped by the Illinois House with a vote next week. If House lawmakers pass the proposed legislation, the amendment would go to a statewide vote in the November of 2020 Presidential Election cycle.
The state already is set to raise the minimum hourly wage and now a plan to raise the starting wage for teachers. The house approves a measure to bring starting teacher pay to $40,000 over the next five years. The state last set a minimum starting wage in the 1980’s and it hovers around $11,000. Republican Rep. Avery Bourne says the state is offering up unfunded mandate.
Supporters in the house say it will help with a shortage of teachers. The bill heads to the senate. Last year a similar law was vetoed by then Governor Bruce Rauner.
Today on People to People we spoke with Adam Schuster, Budget and Tax Research Director for Ideas Illinois. The non-partisan think tank has taken a strong stand against the so-called Progressive or Fair Tax. Mr Schuster spoke to WKEI about why Ideas Illinois opposes the Governor's tax plan and the impact that such a change could have on Illinois were the state to abandon the current flat tax system. Ideas Illinois put out a call to folks to contact their legislators in an attempt to derail getting the Progressive or Fair Tax to the 2020 Ballot. Stream or download our interview with Adam Schuster below...
Katie Laleman from the Henry County Farm Bureau was our guest on Tuned In on Wednesday. Katie joined us to say that time is running out if you want to get a spot on the Henry and Stark County Farm Bureau Golf Outing at Baker Park this Summer. Space is limited as folks have proven eager to take part. We also talked about the Henry County Farm Bureau Young Leaders and all that they do in the community and how people can become Young Leaders. Stream or download today's Tuned In Podcast Below...
At Monday night's Kewanee City Council meeting, Councilman Mike Yaklich talked about a City of Kewanee Ordinance that requires the City Manager, Gary Bradley, to at least show the City Council what a balanced budget might look like. The ordinance does not require the City to adopt that budget, just that a balanced budget outline be delivered to the Council. This may or may not be contradicted by other City ordinances on the books but it doesn't change the current budget reality for the City of Kewanee in which the city finds itself in a budget deficit. We talked with Mayor Steve Looney about the ordinance and the challenge of what is the final budget of his term as Mayor of Kewanee...
The Mayor's final budget meeting before the end of his term as Mayor is this coming Monday night, in open session at Kewanee City Hall. The public is invited to attend. The meeting begins at 6 Pm. No voting will take place, the state of the budget and potential cuts and areas of saving money will be discussed among department heads and the Kewanee City Council ahead of a final budget proposal which likely will come next month under the new Mayor, Gary Moore.
At Monday night's Kewanee City Council meeting the City Council voted 5 to 0 in favor of purchasing brand new, 95 gallon trash containers. These, along with the new automated trucks that the City had already purchased, are the final steps toward automated trash collection in the City of Kewanee. Now, getting people ready to receive the new cans and how to use them is the focus for Mayor Steve Looney and city leaders as an education campaign begins...
The City Council addressed a few questions prior to the unanimous vote in favor of the new cans. The main question came from elderly Kewanee residents who are concerned about being able to move the new, larger cans. City Manager Gary Bradley stated that the City of Kewanee's valet service is available to those in need and advised anyone who is sure they cannot move the can without help to call City Hall and arrange a valet. Other questions will be addressed when the final changes to the trash ordinance in Kewanee are approved at the next Kewanee City Council meeting. Those questions include how severe weather may affect the new automated collection process and Mayor Looney told WKEI that Kewanee is in a good position to learn from what other communities have experienced...
Unlike the photo of the can attached to this article, the cans chosen for the City of Kewanee will be colored blue when they are delivered to residents in mid-May. Each can is outfitted with an RFID chip to assure that the can is always at the residence it is supposed to be located at.
A bill meant to raise awareness of HIV prevention efforts is raising eyebrows by further subverting parental notification laws. Under the proposed bill, kids as young as 12 would be able to see doctors, obtain contraceptives and HIV Prevention medications, without having to inform their parents. Proponents say the law is aimed at protecting at-risk youth with abusive parents or no parents at all. Our Cole Lauterbach has more...
The Illinois Department of Human Services already has a pretty large line item in the proposed state budget but they would like to make it larger. DHS Secretary Designate Grace Hou spoke to a State Senate committee on Tuesday and asked for an increased budget of at least $107 million dollars which she said is need to cover the increased cost of the coming rise in the minimum wage. Our Greg Bishop has more...
State Democrats led by Governor J.B Pritzker are beginning the push for a change to the Illinois constitution to impose what they call a 'Fair Tax.' Currently, the state constitution states that income taxes are to be assessed at a flat rate of 15%. Under the so-called 'Fair Tax,' those with higher incomes would pay a higher percentage of income tax than those at the bottom of the income ladder. State Senator Don Harmon was chosen by Democrats to present the proposed new constitutional amendment at the Statehouse and our reporter Greg Bishop has more from Springfield...
Only a constitutional amendment can change the tax system in Illinois and the earliest a constitutional amendment could be placed in front of voters is in November of 2020, during the next Presidential election cycle.
Although Illinois will stay out of the path of a midweek blizzard bearing down on portions of the Upper Midwest and Central Plains, the added snowfall in Wisconsin and Minnesota will mean more trouble for the upper Mississippi River. That according to Freese-Notis Meteorologist Dan Hicks.
Parts of northern Wisconsin, Minnesota, South Dakota, Nebraska and eastern Wyoming are going to be the areas that have the heaviest snowfall from this system. Illinois will see just rain.
From start seeing orange to drive like you work here. A new road construction season brings along a new slogan to try and get folks to slow down and take it easy around construction zones. IDOT’s Guy Tridgell says it’s just another way to get people to drive safely through work zones, and if you don’t, it will cost you.
Illinois averages about 5400 work zone crashes a year. In 2018, 18 people were killed.
Senator Dick Durbin paid tribute to the three State Troopers lost in the line of duty during a speech on the Senate Floor. He also called for Washington to help with the issue addressed by the Illinois Move Over Law, which requires drivers who move over if possible when approaching stopped emergency or police vehicle...
Durbin saluted Lucy Kuelper, the daughter of an Illinois State Trooper who created a Facebook page to raise awareness about the Illinois Move Over Law.
The college basketball season may be over but Governor J.B. Pritzker continues to employ a full court press in his bid to bring a graduated income tax to Illinois. In a Capitol presser, he asked lawmakers to let Illinoisans make the final call at the ballot box...
A new proposed amendment to Pritzker's income tax proposal would alter the Illinois constitution to base a person’s taxes on their income.
State Representatives Tony McCombie and Dan Swanson will co-headline a Kewanee Town Hall discussion of the Graduated Income Tax on April 17th, beginning at 7 Pm at The Stables, located at 2134 US-34. Our local legislators will take questions and discuss how the proposed state constitiutional amendment to bring about, what the Pritzker administration calls the 'Fair Tax,' will affect the citizens of Kewanee and the other villages and townships that McCombie and Swanson represent. As the plan was being rolled out yesterday at the statehouse, State Rep McCombie spoke to reporters at the Capital...
The townhall at The Stables, is open to anyone who would like to attend on April 17th. Doors open at 6:30 Pm.
Kewanee Mayor Steve Looney was our guest on Tuned In on Tuesday, one of the final times we will be able to say that. Mayor Looney's term is ending soon. Before he left, we had a conversation about Monday's Kewanee City Council meeting at which the council approved two new liquor licenses for two new gaming parlors opening soon in Kewanee. We also discussed ambulance services, The Henry County Housing Authority and addressed the new trash containers that the City Council approved the purchase of at last night's meeting to go with the trucks the Council purchased already. Stream or download our People to People Podcast interview with Mayor Steve Looney below...
Mike Nelson and Bill Corbett along with Kevin Murphy make up the crew of Rifftrax! Rifftrax is an off-shoot of the original Mystery Science Theater 3000 but, instead of sitting in makeshift theater watching bad movies, the guys are actually touring in live theaters presenting and poking fun at bad movies. Rifftrax Live! is back for another set of truly terrible movies that get a good riffing from our comic heroes. On this round, Octaman, Giant Spider Invasion and Star Raiders, get the riff treatment. In our interview I asked Mike and Bill about the process of picking bad movies, how the intent of the filmmakers and the prevelance of intentionally bad movies has changed the way they choose the movies they make fun of and how its still all so much fun going on three decades of making fun of bad movies. Stream or download our interview with Mike Nelson and Bill Corbett of Rifftrax! Below...
Go to FathomEvents.com to find a theater near you presenting Rifftrax Live! The next riff will be Octaman on April 18th at 7 Pm with with a special replay on April 24th at 7 Pm. Tickets can be purchased online or at your choice of theaters. Rifftrax Live! returns on June 6th and 11th for Star Raiders and on August 15th and 20th for Giant Spider Invasion.
Jan Powelson with the Stark County Soil and Water Conservation District was our guest on Tuned In on Tuesday. Jan was on hand to talk about their Tree, Fish and Native Plant Sale, going on now at the offices of the Stark County Soil and Water Conservation District 7419 State Route 17 in Toulon. Time is of the essence if you want in the sale. Time is up meanwhile on their fourth grade conservation poster contest with winners soon to be announced. Download or stream today's Tuned In Podcast below...
Ramy Romany is a famous and respected Egyptologist turned television host. After a few special appearances on the Discovery Channel in the past, Ramy now has his own television series called Mummies Unwrapped on which he displays his remarkable curiousity, scientific and otherwise, to determining what science can truly tell is about the long ago dead. Mummies Unwrapped is part supernatural mystery and part detective series. Ramy will be using modern tech to glean new knowledge from mummies thought to have long been forgotte. The show debuts on Thursday, April 10th on the Discovery Channel. Stream or download our interview with Ramy Romany below...
On a personal note, I am really excited about the April 17th episode of Mummies Unwrapped. That night, Ramy Romany will use new technology to solve the mystery of the supposed mummy of John Wilkes Booth, a truly bonkers tale about one of the strangest nationwide tours of all time. April 17th at9 Pm Central time on The Discover Channel. First epsisode debuts on Thursday, April 10th on Discovery.
At Monday night’s Kewanee City Council Meeting, the Kewanee City Council approved a pair of new licenses for new gaming parlors opening in town. The City Council voted 5 to 0 in favor of awarding a liquor license to James Reed III who will be opening Le Mirage in the former Cricket Wireless location at 544 Tenney Street. Council member Andy Koehler spoke highly of the Reed family during council discussion of the license…
Council Member Steve Faber asked James Reed if he had spoken to surrounding businesses and to the folks at Wethersfield Schools to which Mr Reed stated that he had worked through the local Tax Assessor’s office to be sure that the location was more than 100 feet away from a school per local ordinance. Le Mirage is located 105 feet away from Wethersfield.
Also awarded a liquor license on Monday night was Luis Anaya, owner operator of Slotland which is set to be housed in the former Barbershop location at 113 West 3rd Street. Both projects were approved by a vote of the zoning board which then advised the Kewanee City Council to approve the licenses. This brings the total number of active liquor licenses in Kewanee to 47 of 50 available licenses according to City Clerk Melinda Edwards.
47 is with the two new licenses added in. It will be 48 licenses in use if Suzi’s Slots finds a new location. The popular spot has closed at 214 South Main Street while the owners seek a new location. Suzy’s will have to go through the full renewal of license process once they do set up a new location.
Also on the agenda on Monday night, the City Council voted 5 to 0 in favor of altering an agreement with the Henry County Housing Authority. Under the newly revised agreement, The City of Kewanee will no longer provide a full time officer to monitor Henry County Housing Authority Properties. Instead, part time officers will get this assignment and the Henry County Housing Authority will reimburse the City of Kewanee for the officers.
The City of Kewanee reached a new agreement with Stark County Ambulance on a Mutual Aid Agreement, an agreement that guarantees that Kewanee and Stark County Ambulances will aid each other in times of crisis. The altered contract was related to Stark County changing its ambulance service from Stark County Ambulance Service to Stark County Ambulance and that led directly to one of the discussion items on the night’s agenda.
Kewanee Fire Chief Kevin Shook addressed the council on Monday night regarding a request from the Village of Neponset to provide ambulance service to the Village. The change in Stark County’s ambulance contract meant that they would no longer service Neponset as the primary ambulance for the area. That was nearly a year ago and in that time, Kewanee Ambulance has been taking the calls from Neponset. Providing service to Neponset is not in question as Kewanee is the closest responder in the area. The Mayor of the Village of Neponset, Dave Mueller addressed the council on Monday night.
The question that will be in front of the council at the next meeting is whether or not a contract can be reached between The City of Kewanee and the Village of Neponset regarding financial reimbursement to Kewanee and the billing of those who would use the service. That will be addressed in the agreement once it is written and proposed officially at the next Kewanee City Council meeting.
Talk then turned to Automated Trash Pick up and approving the purchase of new trash cans to go with the new trucks, something Council Member Chris Colomer was eager to praise…
The blue trash containers are 95 gallons and will carry an RFID in order to be tracked in case one is somehow removed from its assigned home. The cans will be delivered in May when they will go into widespread use. Before the council voted 5 to 0 in favor of the purchase, Council Member Mike Yaklich raised a question regarding the elderly and those who might struggle to move a can this large. Gary Bradley assured Councilman Yaklich that the City of Kewanee will continue to offer valet services for those who truly need it. Call Kewanee Public Works if you are someone in need of help with your trash can.
The new trash cans will be delivered by City Staff to residences in Kewanee on or around May 14th.
As far as announcement at the meeting, Mayor Looney proclaimed April 17th 2019 as a day to celebrate 100 years of Hospital care in Kewanee. The City Clerk announced that City offices will be closed in observance of Good Friday. April 19th and that Saturday hours are now in effect on the second and fourth day of each month. Saturday hours at the Transfer Station are 8 Am to 12 Noon.
April is Foot Health Awareness Month and while many don't like talking about feet, it's a health issue that definitely deserves attention. Some may not realize that foot pain is not normal. Wear and tear and tiredness are part of life but if your feet regularly hurt it may be time for an appointment with Dr Jeff Ruskusky at OSF Saint Luke Medical Center. Carrie Boelens from OSF Saint Luke Medical Center joined WKEI on Monday for our Tuned In program and talked about Foot Health Awareness Month...
As Carrie says at the end of the clip, to make an appointment with Dr Ruskusky call 309-852-7700.
Red Onions once acted as currency at the founding of Wethersfield, Illinois in 1834. The famed Wethersfield Red Onions came with the settlers from Wethersfield, Connecticut when they founded their sister city in Illinois and began trading it as a commodity. Now, the Kewanee Chamber of Commerce and Kewanee Preservation Society have brought the Red Onion back to town. According to a release from the Kewanee Chamber of Commerce, Red Onions are now available for sale at B & B Printing and the Kewanee Chamber of Commerce office. For a suggested donation of $5.00 you can get a set of the Red Onions which are sold in bags of 80, just in time for planting season. The sets are said to be easy to plant and can be planted in gardens or in containers. The Onions were obtained via Charles C Hart Seed Company in Wethersfield, Connecticut a six generation family business, according to Kewanee Preservation Society Treasurer LeeAnn Bailleu. Proceeds from the sale of Wethersfield Red Onions will go to support upkeep at the Little Family Cabin.
The Kewanee Police Department proudly announced on Monday that Sgt Nicholas Welgat has graduated from Northwestern University Center for Public Safety and the School of Police Staff and Command. Sgt Welgat was one of 23 students who graduated from 22 week course which focuses on a wide variety of law enforcement topics as well as teaching leadership skills and management. Many graduates of this program go on to leadership positions in law enforcement. Well done Sgt Welgat, keep up the good work from your friends at Regional Media. This prestigious degree option began being available at Northwestern University in 1983 and in that time has graduated more than 20,000 students into the field of law enforcement and public safety.
Update: WKEI spoke with Galesburg Police Chief David Christenson who confirmed to WKEI that the two teens reported as runaways in Kewanee were located in Galesburg at approximately 8:46 Pm on Monday and held while parents were contacted to come pick them up individually. The Galesburg Police Chief also confirming that no charges will be coming forward from Galesburg Polce regarding the matter.
After a frightening weekend, the family of 14 year old Savannah Ensley are breathing at least a little easier after locating the runaway teenager in Galesburg. While law enforcement have not officially discussed the outcome of the case and confirmed that Ensley has been found, the family via Facebook has stated that Savannah was found by Galesburg Police. A post on Savannah's parents Facebook page confirmed that she was with Galesburg Police as of 11:30 Pm on Monday night. No other information is being released at this time. Savannah's parents have made allegations against 17 year old Jacob Fuller but law enforcement has not confirmed those allegations as of this writing. WKEI has reached out to the Galesburg Police Department for comment and we will update this story once we have heard from either Galesburg or Kewanee Police.
Governor JB Pritzker says he’s going to have a great relationship with the new Mayor of Chicago. The two Democrats, Pritzker and Lori Lightfoot had dinner last week and she will be in Springfield this week.
Pritzker says that they have many common priorities to work towards.
The warm weather is bringing everyone out and that includes avid motorcycle riders. Riders will take any opportunity through the winter months to get the bikes out but now that the weather appears to be making a permanent turn for the better, bikers are hitting the roadways more frequently. State Police Trooper Matt Frizzle says motorists need to double check then triple check for bikers.
For bikers, Trooper Frizzle reminds them to ride cautiously with a sense of anticipation.
While wearing a helmet is not in Illinois law, Trooper Frizzle says that is the safest practice for bikers. He also encourages wearing bright colors when possible.
Drivers should have the phones putting away so they are not a distraction.
The Kewanee Police are seeking your help in locating a pair of teenagers believed to have runaway. 14 year old Savannah Ensley and 17 year old Jacob Fuller are believed to have runaway together. Little information is being released beyond their status as runaways and what to look for if you see them. Ensley is described as 14 years old, approximately 5 feet 6 inches tall and 126 pounds lwith Brown Hair and Brown Eyes. Ensley was last seen wearing a black hoodie with white writing on the back and jeans with rips up the front. The hoodie may be a white hoodie with black writing on the back according to Kewanee Police. Fuller is described as 17 years old, approximately 5 feet 7 inches tall, 135 pounds, blonde hair and blue eyes, last seen wearing white jogging pants. The two are believed to be together based on reported sightings of the two. One report had the two sighted in route to Galesburg. If you know the whereabouts of either Savannah Ensley or Jacob Fuller, please contact Kewanee Police at 309-853-1911.
Today on the Open Line, our fantastic firefighters going the extra mile in the community to buy lemonade at local lemonade stands earned some positive buzz on the show today. Why do benches in Kewanee face away from the street? One theory, unconfirmed, is that it is intended for compliance with the American's with Disabilities Act but some dispute that theory. Tobacco 21 legislation finds a rare moment on the show for praise for Governor Pritzker for making Illinois the first state to move up the age at which cigarettes can be purchased. All on today's edition of The Open Line... Stream or Download below...
For the second time in less than 6 months, someone has abandoned a dog outside of the Henry County Humane Society in Geneseo, leaving the dog in the middle of the night, tied up outside the building. Workers at the Humane Society arrived on Sunday morning to find a dog tied to the side of the building.
Geneseo Humane Society called Geneseo Police who have taken possession of the dog. Per ordinance, shelter employees are required to call police to investigate a dog left abandoned at the Shelter. This is intended to determine if the abandoned pet has been abused. Geneseo Police will investigate whomever abandoned the dog and will determine whether charges will be filed. A follow up post on the Henry County Humane Society Geneseo Facebook page stated that the dog will be returned to the shelter once police have made their determination and the dog will be cared for. According to the post, volunteers believe the dog's condition will require extensive veterinary help. If you can help offset the cost to help this dog get the care it needs, contact the Henry County Humane Society of Geneseo to make a donation. In November of 2018, another dog was found abandoned outside the Henry County Humane Society in Geneseo. That dog, named Candy, was determined to have been abused and her treatment led to charges of Animal Cruelty against the owner.
Carrie Boelens from OSF Saint Luke Medical Center and Lab Director Chris Downs were our guests on Tuned In on WKEI today. OSF Saint Luke Medical Center has a blood drive this week, April 11th, with new partner and provider Mississippi Valley Regional Blood Center and Chris and Carrie took time to reassure regular donors that all of the blood they have donate before will still be tracked with MRVB as the partner. Carrie also talked about the upcoming 100 Year Celebration on April 17th on Tuned In today. Stream or download today's Tuned In Podcast below...
The Kewanee Kiwanis Satellite Committee is set to hold their next big fundraiser, A Night at the Races, on Saturday, April 27. Jolene Barnes with the Kiwanis Satellite Club tells WKEI it's a touch of the Kentucky Derby in Kewanee at the Elks Club.
Tickets for A Night at the Races are $20.00 and should be purchased in advance by contact members of the Kewanis Satellite Committee by stopping by Community State Bank in Kewanee.
The Kewanee City Council will meet tonight at 7 Pm at Kewanee City Hall with a packed agenda. Two new gaming parlors are set to open in Kewanee and the Kewanee City Council will decide tonight whether to grant Le Mirage, owned by James Reed III and Slotsland owned by Luis Anaya, a liquor license for their respective locations at 544 Tenney Street and 113 West 3rd Street. And the final votes on the switch to automated trash pick up will take place tonight. As always, citizens are encouraged to turn out and take part. Public comments take place prior to the beginning of voting on new business and anyone is invited to speak during this time. As always, WKEI will be broadcasting the event live on Facebook at Facebook.com/regionaldailynews.
a) Acceptance of the minutes of the Plan Commission from its meeting held on Thursday,
March 28, 2019.
b) Consideration of an Ordinance to grant a Special Use Permit to sell alcohol by the individual
serving in the proposed gaming parlor to James Reed III, owner of and doing business as
LeMirage, to be located at 544 Tenney St.
c) Consideration of an Ordinance to grant a Special Use Permit to sell alcohol by the individual
serving in the proposed gaming parlor to Luis Anaya, owner of and doing business as Slotsland
LLC, to be located at 113 W 3rd St
d) Consideration of a Resolution authorizing the City Manager, or his designee, to execute an
amendment to the existing Intergovernmental Agreement with Henry County Housing Authority
for policing services.
e) Consideration of a Resolution authorizing the City Manager to execute a side letter of
agreement with the IAFF 513 to the collective bargaining agreement.
f) Consideration of a Resolution authorizing the City Manager, or his designee, to execute a
Mutual Aid agreement with Stark County Ambulance.
g) Discussion regarding the provision of ambulance service to Neponset.
h) Consideration of a Resolution authorizing the purchase of 95 gallon trash containers for use
with the automated trash collection vehicles.
i) Discussion regarding an Ordinance to amend Sections 50.04-(A-M) Residential Refuse And
Garbage Pickup and 50.07-(D-E) Residential Bulk Brush Pickup And Christmas Trees and
50.09-(D) Rates and Rules For Solid Waste Pickup Of Chapter 50 Solid Waste Management, Of
Title V Public Works of the Kewanee City Code
j) Proclamation declaring April 17 as a day of celebrating 100 years of health care provided to
A group of Henry and Stark County business owners and Church Charities have come together under the banner of Midwest Express Flood Relief to raise money to send bottled water to South Dakota. South Dakota is experiencing record levels of flooding leaving residents stranded in shelters and without clean drinking water due to contamination from the local floodwaters. Midwest Express Flood Relief is aiming to send a truck to bring bottled water to the hardest hit areas where it is needed the most. Business owners and churches from Wyoming, Toulon, Kewanee, Elmira, Altona, Bradford, West Jersey, Laura and Mendota have rallied around this effort and set up collection sites at the State Bank of Toulon Locations in Kewanee and Toulon. Stop by either bank to make a donation for Flood Relief. The truck with the water is set to leave on Tuesday so get your donation in today if you can.
On Friday, the State of Illinois became the first state in the nation to pass a law increasing the legal age to purchase tobacco from 18 to 21. In a speech in Chicago, the Governor hailed the legislation as a way to cut back the number of smokers in Illinois by 25% over time. The Governor pointed to a study that showed a large number of smokers started smoking before the age of 21 and keeping those people from being able to legally purchase tobacco should have a significant impact on tobacco sales across the state.
The Governor then spoke of the critics and opposition to Tobacco 21 legislation and called on neighboring states and the rest of the country to adopt Tobacco 21 legislation of their own.
The new law affects tobacco as well as E-Cigarettes which will be under the same legal restriction as regular cigarettes. On top of raising the age of purchase, Senate President John Cullerton announced that the Illinois Senate is preparing to pass legislation to add another $1.00 tax on Cigarettes and E-Cigarettes. The Tobacco 21 law goes into effect on July 1st.
The second State Trooper this week was laid to rest after being killed in the line of duty. Trooper Jerry Ellis’s funeral was in Lake County last Friday. Ellis was hit and killed by a wrong way driver. Illinois State Police Acting Director Brendan Kelly remembered the type of person Jerry was and what he was ready to do...
Last week was the first time in 22 years that two troopers were killed on back to back days – Ellis and Trooper Brook Jones Story join a third trooper killed on duty this year. Making 2019 the first time in 66 years that three members of the Illinois State Police have been killed.
Many Illinoisans found a new pest invading homes last fall and winter. Those brown, disc-like stinkbugs came from Asia a couple decades ago and have made their way west, using cracks and crevices into many homes. Fredric Miller has been monitoring the pest in his role as horticulture professor at Joliet Junior College;
Miller says the brown, spotted bugs with a snout can cause major damage to fruits and vegetables, but are really harmless to humans;
While green stinkbugs have caused crop damage in Illinois, Miller says the brown ones haven't yet reached a threshold where extensive control might be needed.
Kewanee Firefighters Local 513 aren't just our heroes in a time of need, they are community supporters in the best of ways. Local 513 has now launched an effort to help out our communities youngest entrepreneurs. In a weekend post on Facebook, Local 513 asked parents and kids to post the places and times when kids will be setting up and serving lemonade from lemonade stands around Kewanee. Parents can contact the Kewanee Firefighters Local 513 on Facebook with the address where their child will be selling lemonade and the Firefighters will show up to buy some lemonade and give that child the leg up they need in the lemonade stand world. Find Kewanee Firefighters Local 513 on Facebook here so you can let the Firefighters know about your favorite lemonade stand in town.
The Henry County Senior Center has a new fundraiser up and running and it's a great way for you to support all that they do at the Henry Cournty Senior Center. Cassandra Schmoll joined WKEI last week on Tuned In talk Cutlery. Specifically, Rada brand cutlery. The Senior Center has partnered with Rada Cutlery to sell the cutlery and keep a portion of the sales to support the services of the Senior Center.
Portions of the money raised will go to support the home delivered meals from the Henry County Senior Center and exceptionally valuable service that is often among the hardest hit when the Senior Center gets shorted on funds from the State of Illinois. Taking part in this fundraiser by buying cutlery from the Senior Center can help make sure a Senior in need gets that one warm meal a day that means so much to them. You can stop by the Senior Center to place your order of follow this link to the Henry County Senior Center on Facebook.
Planting season will soon be ramping up in Illinois and that means pest season is not far behind. State Agricultural Pest Survey Coordinator Kelly Estes says there is some great variability in tracking the pest game in Illinois and some of that has to do with weather conditions.
Estes says pest monitoring traps are currently being sent out to cooperators throughout the state.
Gardeners of all types are getting the itch to get into the garden this year and a University of Illinois master gardener has some advice on what you can be doing this time of the year. Candice Hart, Master Gardener at the U of I Extension says right now is a great time to get the leftover leaves or remains of last year's plants out of the garden. As you make plans to prepare the ground, Hart points out many gardeners are choosing not to till these days as it brings up new weeds and could have an impact on your soil structure.
If you are looking to get something started, Hart says getting some seeds started in pots or totes are becoming increasingly popular. There's a variety of things you could get started at this time of the year.
If you are going to start your plants out in pots or seed pods, you'll need to keep them at a southern or western facing window so they get plenty of sunlight. While you might be tempted to water them every day, Hart indicates that isn't entirely necessary.
Seniors, age 65 and up may be missing out on the chance to save significantly on their Illinois License Plate sticker. If you qualify for the discount you would only pay $25.00 for your license plate sticker instead of the usual $110.00. Cassandra Schmoll from the Henry County Senior Citizen Center says that the experts at the Senior Cente can help you determine if you are eligible for the discount..
Illinois Democrats want to extend a ban on private detention facilities to include private civil detention facilities in the state. The move comes as the Village of Dwight, Illinois had contracted to build an Immigration and Customs Enforcement or ICE, civil detention facility just last month. That contract could be voided if the ban on such facilities is passed in Springfield. Our reporter Greg Bishop has more...
Does Governor J.B Pritzker have the votes to get the Progressive Tax on the November 2020 Ballot? That question has come up this week in Springfield as the debate rages on over how to approach income tax in Illinois. Governor Pritzker however, doesn't believe that the question has merit, the Governor is more than confident he has the support in the State House to get the bill ready to be on the ballot. Our Greg Bishop has more from Springfield...
Black Hawk College held elections on Tuesday for a pair of seats on the Black Hawk College Board. Tim A Black made the decision recently not to seek another term on the Board leaving the race uncontested as current Black Hawk College Board Vice Chairman Douglas L Strand was returned to the Black Hawk College Board for another term. Joining the Strand on the Board is newcomer Kim D Goodley of Annawan who will fill the seat vacated by Mr Black. Black Hawk College Board of Trustees come from across nine different counties across Western Illinois.
While all racial and ethnic groups are making gains in employment, new data reveals African Americans in Illinois are still falling behind. A report from the Economic Policy Institute analyzes new unemployment figures from the fourth quarter of 2018. It found that Illinois' overall unemployment rate of 4.3% isn't far from the national rate of 3.9%. However, the institute's Director of Race, Ethnicity and the Economy Valerie Wilson explains there are some large racial disparities.
"The group with the lowest unemployment rate in Illinois - whites at 3.4%. And the black unemployment rate is 8.8% - which is, in fact, significantly higher than the national unemployment rate of 6.5% at the end of last year," says Wilson.
Only Pennsylvania and Washington D.C. had higher unemployment rates for African Americans than Illinois. Wilson notes that the state's black population also has seen the largest gains in employment since the recession. The unemployment rate for both Hispanics and Asians in Illinois was 3.8%.
The report only includes states where a sample size of racial and ethnic groups is large enough to create an accurate estimate. And Illinois is one of the 14 where African-American unemployment rates surpass white unemployment rates by a ratio of two-to-one. Wilson says it raises questions about the probable barriers to employment.
"And that may have anything to do with residential segregation and people not living in communities that are experiencing growth, or access to jobs or reliable transportation," says Wilson. "Any number of factors that influence people's ability to get access to jobs."
Illinois ranks 11th in the nation for lowest unemployment, and added about 59,000 jobs between February 2018 and February 2019.
It's a day the Northwest Illinois town of Warren won't soon forget. Governor J.B. Pritzker, friends, family and fellow members of the law enforcement community gathered to say goodbye to Illinois State Police Trooper Brooke Jones-Story. The 34-year-old was remembered with a funeral service at her old high school gym nearly a week after she was struck and killed by a semi on US 20 in Freeport. Pritzker has had a full speed ahead, polished, confident tone at press conferences since he took office, but when asked to discuss Jones-Story, he spoke from somewhere deeper in the heart... ..
Pritzker is determined to see improvement in compliance with the Move Over Law...
Pritzker believes the manual for new drivers should have a greater focus on the Move Over Law.
Spring represents a busy time of year for Illinois beekeepers as they check their hives to see which colonies survived the tough winter. Larry Krengel keeps up to 30 bee colonies in McHenry County and estimates he lost 60-percent of his bees over winter;
Krengel, who represents the northern part of the state on the board of the Illinois State Beekeepers Association, says beekeeping has been growing in Illinois. The state requires they be registered with the Illinois Department of Agriculture. Statistics show Illinois has over 43-hundred beekeepers. That's close to 600 more than the previous year;
Krengel says if you want to help get honey bees off to a strong start, leave the dandelions alone since they can provide a bountiful, early source of nectar and pollen for bees. In all, Illinois beekeepers manage more than 30-thousand colonies of bees across the state.
State Representative Dan Swanson's bill to create a database for substitute teachers has passed through the Illinois House of Representatives. HB2982 will make it easier for substitute teachers with approved teaching certificates in the state of Illinois to move from one school district to the next. Under the current system, substitute teachers have to be certified and undergo a background check in each individual school district they work at within the state of Illinois. Representative Swanson spoke about the bill on the House Floor.
The bill now moves on to the Illinois State Senate.
The Illinois State Police have released enforcement numbers for the month of March. According to the release from the Illinois State Police, Troopers from District 7 answered 2012 calls in March. Of these calls, 214 of the calls were for help from stranded drivers. 289 drivers were cited for Speeding in March while 112 drivers were cited for Seatbelt Violations. Illinois State Police Troopers made 21 arrests for Driving Under the Influence in March and handled 38 traffic crashes including one fatal crash in which two people were killed. In all, District 7 troopers totalled 762 traffic citations and 1028 written warnings.
OSF Saint Luke Medical Center Dietician Sara Umphleet has been honored as the young dietician of the year by the Illinois Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Umphleet was honored with a certificate of recognition and a congratulatory letter at an event in Chicago recently. Sara will also be featured in the fall issue of the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Asked about her award, Sara Umphleet stated "I am honored to have been recognized by the Illinois Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics for my efforts toward increasing awareness of the importance of proper nutrition and good eating habits,” said Umphfleet. “I look forward to growing as a young professional and furthering my knowledge to support the needs of those I serve in outpatient, clinical and community settings."
A big congratulations to Sara Umphleet from OSF Saint Luke Medical Center from your friends at Regional Media.
Jack Riley is the highest ranking special agent at the DEA but he is best known as the lead investigator for the team that brought down drug kingpin El Chapo. El Chapo's monstrous organization covered the globe and it took a team of remarkable men and women at the DEA, under the leadership of Jack Riley to untangle the web of drugs, money and corruption that allowed El Chapo to become a billionaire and a very dangerous man. But El Chapo isn't the only drug kingpin that Jack Riley has been watching for years. Special Agent Riley wants you to know that the Pharmaceutical Industry has its own remarkable level of corruption. corruption that is attempting to quiet the debate over opioids and opioid legisltion. Jack Riley was our guest on People to People on Wednesday and you can stream or download that interview below...
Jack Riley's book is called Drug Warrior: Inside the Hunt for El Chapo and the Rise of America's Opioid Crisis.
Cassandra Schmoll from the Henry County Senior Citizen Center was our guest on Tuned In on Thursday morning. Cassandra wanted to remind seniors, over the age of 65 that they may qualify for a break on their car registration. You can find out if you qualify to pay only $25.00 per year for your registration by going to the Henry County Senior Citizens Center. They also have a fundraiser happening now. You can by some high quality cutlery at a terrific discount by buying it from the folks at the Senior Center today. Proceeds from the sale of this cutlery will go to support the Senior Center Home Delivered Meals program...
The Henry and Stark County Health Department is continuing to shine a light on Public Health during this week long discussion of National Public Health Week. Today, the spotlight is on Chronic Disease. Chronic Diseases such as Heart Disease, Hypertension, Stroke and Cancer are in many ways preventable with education and regular attention to your health. The Henry and Stark County Health Department are doing what the agency is capable of doing in making people aware of the ways that changes in lifestyle, diet, behavior and so on can help battle some chronic diseases. Read their full statement on Chronic Disease in this National Public Health Week posting below.
Marilou Johnson, FNP Family Nurse Practitioner with the Henry and Stark County Health Departments Kewanee Office consults with Clinic Nurse, Jessica Hand, LPN about a patient who suffers from high blood pressure. Chronic diseases and conditions—such as heart disease, hypertension, stroke, cancer, type 2 diabetes, obesity, and arthritis—are among the most common, costly, and preventable of all health problems. Chronic Disease prevention and management is just one of the public health services available through the Department. The Health Department is celebrating National Public Health Week, April 1-7, 2019.
As National Public Health Week, April 1-7, is celebrated throughout the country, officials at the Henry and Stark County Health Departments note that chronic diseases and conditions—such as heart disease, hypertension, stroke, cancer, type 2 diabetes, obesity, and arthritis—are among the most common, costly, and preventable of all health problems. Chronic disease prevention and management is just one of the public health services available through the Department’s two clinics located in Kewanee and Colona.
Sandy Sommer, Director of Clinical Services notes, “Six out of 10 Adults in the US have a chronic disease. Four of ten adults have two or more chronic health conditions. In addition, nothing kills more Americans than heart disease and stroke. More than 859,000 Americans die of heart disease or stroke every year—that’s one-third of all deaths. These diseases take an economic toll, as well, costing our health care system $199 billion per year and causing $131 billion in lost productivity on the job.”
Sommer adds, “Health risk behaviors are unhealthy behaviors you can change. Four of these health risk behaviors—lack of exercise or physical activity, poor nutrition, tobacco use, and drinking too much alcohol—cause much of the illness, suffering, and early death related to chronic diseases and conditions.”
Health Department chronic disease prevention and management services include clinic lab work and blood services; high blood pressure management; non-insulin dependent diabetes management; high cholesterol disease management; mild-moderate asthma management; and DOT and work physicals.
For more information, or to schedule an appointment at either of their office locations call the Health Department at (309) 852-5272 Kewanee or (309) 792-4011 or visit our website at www.henrystarkhealth.com or find us on Facebook Henry and Stark County Health Departments or Follow Us on Twitter.
Those who support Governor J.B Pritzker's Progressive Tax plan are battling back against critics who have called the plan a tax on jobs. Advocates have come to call the proposal the Fair Tax, a name they claim is accurate because it taxes the wealthy at a higher rate than lower income workers. Our Cole Lauterbach has more on the attempt to sell Illinois residents on the Progressive Tax...
Mayor-Elect Gary Moore was our guest on people to People on Wednesday, the morning after he won election as the next Mayor of Kewanee. In our interview we asked Gary Moore to reflect on the race for Mayor and share a standout memory from the campaign...
So what was it that finally connected Gary Moore with voters in Kewanee?
We asked the Mayor-Elect about the learning curve ahead for him and the many challenges ahead as the new Mayor of Kewanee...
Gary Moore will officially take the office of Mayor of Kewanee at the first City Council meeting in May.
Plans for legalizing recreational cannabis are slowly coming together in Springfield and we are finally hearing some about how lawmakers see legalization taking place. At least three new licenses for dispensaries are likely to be created under the current bill but the same bill still must address whether adults will be allowed to cultivate marijuana at home.
A portion of County Highway 14 in Cornwall Township is set to be closed for nearly 5 months. The area will be closed to all traffic beginning on April 9th and continuing through most of the month of August while contractors work to remove and replace the bridge over Mud Creek. The Henry County Highway Department announced the closure on Wednesday and are now asking drivers to be aware of the closure and to avoid the area and seek alternate routes as the road will be fully closed starting April 9th.
It appears that so called Right to Work Zones in Illinois will be coming to an end. On Wednesday, the Illinois Senate moved forward on a bill that will codify language they claim is in line with federal standards from the National Labor Relations Board that make Right to Work Zones illegal. Right to Work Zones in Illinois allow employees to work at union contracted businesses without having to be members of a union or pay any union fees. Our Greg Bishop has more...
Representative Tony McCombie set out to create a bill that would increase criminal penalties against anyone who attacks a DCFS worker in the immediate aftermath of the death of Pam Knight, a DCFS worker who was beaten and eventually died from injures suffered in a late 2017 attack while she was performing a child welfare check at a residence in Dixon. This week, that bill, HB1482, passed the House and is headed to the Senate before going to Governor J.B Pritzker. After the bill passed, McCombie talked to reporters about the bill...
On the house floor prior to the passage, Representative McCombie read a statement from the family of Pam Knight.
The Senate may take up Representative McCombie's bill Friday or early next week.
It’s a question that many parents wrestle with as a personal decision but they may not have known that the state has an opinion too. What is the legal age you can leave a child home alone at. State law says 14 – but that might be changing thanks to State Rep. Joe Sosnowski, he wants to see it moved to 12.
If the bill moves on from the House the Senate will take up the measure next.
College savings accounts for all. A House bill that was approved this week would give each baby born or adopted in the state a college savings account. The state would start the process with a $50 investment. Rep. Robyn Gabel of Evanston says it might be a good way to get more parents saving and more kids going to college.
34 other states do something similar. But the plan is not without opposition. Rep. Grant Wehril wonders how the $9 million dollar a year tab would handled by the state.
The Village of Annawan is among four places in the State of Illinois to receive a grant from the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency. According to a release from the Illinois EPA, the Village of Annawan was chosen to receive more than $130,000 in grant funding for Energy Efficient Upgrades for Wastewater treatment. The grant runs through May of 2020 and will provide a significant savings to the Village according to the Illinois EPA. The grant was part of a block of funding given to the Illinois EPA by the US Department of Energy State Energy Program. St Clair County, Wayne County and wastewater treatment in Chicago were the other state recepients of the grant. In total, more than $3 million dollars in wastewater treatment grants were handed out by the Illinois EPA.
Gary Moore won election as the next Mayor of Kewanee on Tuesday night and he was still feeling the excitement when he joined us on Wednesday morning on People to People. Gary is ready to get to work on behalf of the people of Kewanee but before he can do that, he took the opportunity this morning to thank the people who helped him reach this point.
Mike Komnick was running for Kewanee City Council for the very first time and has won his way on to the Council following Tuesday night's election. Mr Komnick unseated the longest current City Council member, Andy Koehler who finished third in the race on Tuesday. Mike Komnick joined us on WKEI on Wednesday morning to thank the voters of Kewanee for giving him this opportunity...
Mike Yaklich came up short in his bid to become the next Mayor of Kewanee on Tuesday. The long standing Council member entered the General Election following a surprise upset in the primary in which he finished in second place as a write-in candidate. Mr Yaklich talked to WKEI on Wednesday morning about the race and about his opponent in the General Election, Mayor-Elect Gary Moore.
Chris Colomer was the top vote getter among candidates for Kewanee City Council in Tuesday's General Election. Despite his having served on the Kewanee City Council for the past year and a half, it's the first electoral victory for Councilman Colomer and he joined WKEI on Wednesday morning to thank voters for giving him another 4 years to work on behalf of Kewanee...
Lori Lightfoot made history on Tuesday night with a sizable victory over her opponent Toni Preckwinkle in the race to be the next Mayor of Chicago. Lightfoot, a former prosecutor, becomes the first black woman to be elected as Mayor of Chicago, only the second woman in history to earn the position. And Lightfoot becomes the first openly gay candidate to win the office. Our Cole Lauterbach has more...
A bill that would allow local governments to assess a fee specifically for Stormwater maintenance plans is getting at least a modest rewrite. Democrat State Representative Anthony DeLuca is responding to an opponent who referred to his bill as a 'Rain Tax,' and will amend his bill to not include tax-exempt properties and more specifcally target the money raised by such a fee to storm sewer maintenance. Opponents however, are still referring to the bill as the rain tax. Our Greg Bishop has more..
OSF Saint Luke Medical Center is celebrating 100 years this month and part of the celebration will include playing host to the Kewanee business community. The Kewanee Chamber of Commerce has announced that OSF Saint Luke Medical Center will host the next Chamber Business After Hours event on Wednesday, April 24th, from 5 Pm to 7 Pm. There will be food and prize giveaways and the chance to mingle with fellow members of the Kewanee Chamber of Commerce while celebrating 100 years of OSF Saint Luke Medical Center, formerly Kewanee Hospital. There is no charge for Chamber of Commerce members to attend Business After Hours but members do need to RSVP with the Kewanee Chamber of Commerce if they plan to attend.
Colleges’ in Illinois may no longer be able to ask about criminal history in the application process. A bill at the Statehouse in Springfield would bar university admissions from inquiring about a person’s criminal history. Police Chiefs on several college campuses say that will hurt safety efforts. Supporters of House Bill 217 say there is no evidence that asking those questions keeps schools any safer and may keep students with a record from applying. Currently schools in Illinois have a policy that states when a prospective student indicates they have a felony conviction it starts a case by case process to determine if that student should be accepted.
The fight over a progressive income tax is underway and Senate Republicans are trying to make it harder for income taxes to be raised in Illinois. They want a two thirds majority to be required to pass any law that bumps up tax rates or increases fees. Republican Dan McConchie says they want to find a way to hold the line on proposed hikes to taxes and fees.
The bill looks likely to go nowhere – three fifths of lawmakers will have to approve the proposed amendment.
Flooding worries will stick around at least through the end of May in Illinois. And rain chances will also be optimal for much of the spring says Dave Kristovich with the Illinois State Climatologist’s office.
Flood warnings continue for the Mississippi River throughout Illinois.
The Henry and Stark Health Department is touting National Public Health Week all of this week and today, Wednesday, April 3rd, the focus is on WIC Services. WIC is the Women. Infant, Children, Food Supplemental Program which is administered in Henry and Stark County by the Health Department. Check out the full release on WIC Services with the Henry and Stark County Health Department below to find out more about WIC Services...
National Public Health Week, April 1-7 is an opportune time for Henry and Stark County Health Department staff to show how we are “Creating the Healthiest Nation: For Science. For Action. For Health." Today we focus on promoting the health of our local children and mothers.
The Henry and Stark County Health Department staff reminds area residents that they offer the WIC (Women, Infants and Children) Food Supplemental program. The WIC program promotes the health of our local children and mothers, by providing free groceries to participants; and creating healthier families by encouraging healthy eating and lifestyles.
Heather Aldred, RN WIC/Casemanagement Nurse with the Health Department, states, “We are thrilled to announce that WIC Services are now available to local families ‘without borders.’ Which means, if you reside in a neighboring county; but actually live closer to one of our WIC locations in Kewanee or Colona, we can serve your WIC needs!”
Aldred adds, “We also want to stress that WIC benefits area available to eligible children up to the age of 5, pregnant women, infants, postpartum and breastfeeding women.”
The Health Department WIC and Casemanagement staff encourages healthy pregnancies, babies, children and families through their services. The WIC Supplemental Food Program offers supplemental foods and nutrition education to residents who meet certain nutrition and economic guidelines. In addition, clients may receive healthy food items such as milk, formula, eggs, and cereal; fruits, vegetables, juices, whole grain breads and tortillas.
For more information on the Department's WIC and Casemanagement services call the Department at (309) 852-5272 (Kewanee) or 792-4011(Colona) or visit our website at www.henrystarkhealth.com or find us on Facebook at Henry and Stark County Health Departments or Follow Us on Twitter. For more information you can also visit www.fns.usda.gov/wic. This institution is an equal opportunity provider.
The Illinois Chamber of Commerce is standing behind an Illinois House proposal to boost funding for overdue road and bridge repairs. In a rare move, Chamber President/CEO Todd Maisch (Mysh) says the business organization wants to see registration fees for electric vehicles tripled and boost the motor fuel tax from 19 cents a gallon to 44 cents.....
Chamber officials say Representative Andre Thapedi's proposed fuel tax increase will provide an additional 2 billion dollars a year for transportation needs. Meanwhile, Maisch says the legislation would eliminate what he calls a tax on a tax....
The current sales tax on fuel sits at 5 percent. The legislation calls for a hike on the fuel tax of 15 cents a gallon starting July 1st with the other 10 cents, replacing the sales tax,being phased in over five years.
The Illinois Department of Transportation has announced a new roadwork project on US-6 over I-80 in Colona. According to the Illinois Department of Transportation, work will begin on April 8th on more than $774,000 worth of construction on US-6. Flagger will be guiding drivers through the area as crews work to widen US-6. Work is expected to be completed in early August. Traffic on Interstate 80 near Colona is not expected to be affected by the roadwork. Those making use of US-6 near Colona over I-80 can however, expect delays due to the roadwork. Drivers are reminded to take extra caution in work zones and remember the extra large fines involved when navigating a work zone in Illinois.
The Kewanee Chamber of Commerce have announced the lineup for the 2019 Concert in the Park Series at Veteran's Park in Kewanee. According a release from the Kewanee Chamber of Commerce, the annual concerts in the park will kick-off on June 20th with the Jim Markum Swing Band. Concerts will then, weather permitting, run through August 22nd with Flagship Romance closing out the season at Veteran's Park. The full lineup for this Summer is below. The Summer Concert Series from the Kewanee Chamber of Commerce at Veteran's Park is free to attend and you are invited to bring your lawn chairs. Food vendors get started at 5 Pm, with Free Dessert, and the concerts begin at 6:30 Pm.
June 20th The Jim Markum Swing Band
June 27th Fran and the Country Gentlemen
July 4th Northeast Park Concert
July 11th The Aristocrats
July 18th Prebyl, Palmer and Dove
July 25th Lyle Beaver and the Brass Notes
August 1st Coupe DeVille
August 8th Kewanee Community Band / Jazz on the Side
OSF Saint Luke Medical Center will host a shoe fair with Breedloves Sporting Goods this Friday at OSF. Carrie Boelens from OSF Saint Luke Medical Center tells WKEI that having Breedloves back at OSF Saint Luke Medical Center for a shoe fair is another reminder that Spring has fully arrived...
Funds raised in the Breedloves-OSF Shoe Fair this Friday will go towards capital improvements at OSF Saint Luke Medical Center.
After having been appointed to the City Council a year and a half ago, Chris Colomer has earned election to the Kewanee City Council. Councilman Colomer earned the most votes of the five candidates for Kewanee City Council, topping second place candidate and brand new Council Member Mike Komnick. Komnick finished ahead of long time City Council member Andy Koehler, as well as newcomers Tim Hamilton and Chris Wheaton. The two join new Kewanee Mayor Gary Moore on May 5th for their first City Council meeting as members of the Kewanee City Council. Chris Colomer will join WKEI at 7:20 Am on Wedneday and Mike Komnick is expected to join us as well to talk about joining the Kewanee City Council. The election results still must be certified but barring any catastrophic shifts, below are the final voting results...
Gary Moore has been elected as the next Mayor of Kewanee. Celebrating tonight at the Flemish American Club surrounded by supporters, Gary Moore talked with Karissa Nash for his first interview as the Mayor elect.
Mr Moore's opponent Mike Yaklich will talk to WKEI tomorrow morning at 8:20 Am and we are hoping to have the Mayor Elect, Gary Moore live on WKEI on Wednesday as well.
Today, voters in Kewanee are going to the polls to elect a new Mayor of Kewanee. This leads to the natural question of when the newly elected Mayor of Kewanee will take office. Recently, Mayor Steve Looney and City Manager Gary Bradley appeared on WKEI and stated that the earliest that Mayor Looney's term may end is at the April 22nd City Council Meeting. That however, depends on a number of factors...
As far as making sure the next Mayor has everything he needs, Mayor Looney told WKEI he will be available to help...
Barring unforeseen circumstances, the new Mayor will take the seat at their first City Council Meeting on Monday, May 5th.
Ron Darling spent 11 years on the mound in major league baseball, most memorably as the man chosen to take the mound in Game 7 of the 1986 World Series for the New York Mets against the Boston Red Sox. Since retiring from the game in 1995 he's worn a few hats, including broadcaster and author, having worked for the MLB Network and the New York Mets as a broadcaster and having authored three books including a brand new book called 108 Stitches: Loose Threads Ripping Yarns and the Darnedest Characters from My Time in the Game. Ron Darling was our guest on the Tuesday edition of People to People on WKEI...
Moving to a Progressive Tax that relies on higher earning individuals to pay a higher rate of tax could introduce new volatility into the state budget. That according to experts at Northwestern's Kellogg School of Business. Our Cole Lauterbach explains...
New numbers are in regarding people using the Health Care Marketplace and in Illinois that number is in decline. According to new numbers first reported by the Chicago Tribune, the number of people partcipating in what came to be called Obamacare has declined in Illinois by 7% year over year. Our reporter Greg Bishop has more...
While the debate in Springfield continues over changing to a Progressive Tax continues, other lawmakers are looking at where the budget can be cut and how it can be done in a way that allows residents of Illinois to be part of the decision making process. Our Greg Bishop has more from Springfield...
The City of Kewanee will choose a new Mayor of Kewanee today. It will either be former Kewanee Police Officer Gary Moore or current City Council member Mike Yaklich. Throughout the campaign we've had many opportunities to talk with Gary Moore and Mike Yaklich to help them communicate with you, the voter, about why they should be the next Mayor of Kewanee.
WKEI will broadcast live tonight from the Henry County Courthouse with up to the moment updates from the Henry County Clerk Barb Link. Below are a list of all of the competitive races that WKEI will be updating you on tonight from across Henry County...
City of Galva Mayor
M. Douglas Anderson
City of Geneseo Ward 2 Alderman
Robert P James
City of Geneseo Ward 4
Douglas 'Doug' Crow
City of Kewanee Mayor
City of Kewanee City Council Vote for 2
Tim 'Hammy' Hamilton
Village of Alpha Trustee vote for No More than 3
Ronald H Medley
Rebecca L Brown
Jason T Lambin
Annawan Community School District For for No More than 4
Elizabeth K Wied
Catherine L Foes
Kimberly A Park
Galva School District Board of Education Vote for No More than 4
Whitney Sue Olson
Orion School Board Vote for No More than 4
Peter R Nedved
R.O.W.V.A School Board Vote for No More than 4
Matthew Mark Johnson
Wethersfield School Board Vote for No More than 3
The City of Coal Valley has two Questions on the Ballot
Shall the Maximum Allowable Tax Rate for the Coal Valley Fire Protection District be increased from .30% to .40% of the value of all taxable property within the district as equalized or assessed by the Department of Revenue?
Yes or No
Shall the Maximum Allowable Tax Rate for the Coal Valley Fire Protection District increase its Special Ambulance Tax from .30% to .40% of the value of all taxable property within the district as equalized or assessed by the Department of Revenue for the purpose of providing Ambulance Service?
It might be time for tougher laws to get drivers to pull over when passing an emergency vehicle on the side of the road. Republican Rep. Tim Butler says there needs to be stronger punishment for violators of Scott’s Law.
Just this year two state troopers have been killed while working on the side of the road. And 15 state police cars or troopers have been hit.
As tax time comes some residents might be leaving money on the table. Low income taxpayers should see if they qualify for the earned income tax credit. If you earn less than $54,000 a year then the Illinois Department of Revenue says you need to know all you can about the E-I-T-C.
That’s Terry Horstman he says to learn more start at tax dot Illinois dot gov
The City of Kewanee held another in a series of meetings regarding the City budget. Last night's meeting focused on the General Fund, Economic Development and Enterprise Funds Expenditures for 2019. Among the takeaways were a few more minor cuts that could help to bring the budget deficit down slightly from previously reported numbers. There was a discussion, once again regarding, ambulance services in Kewanee which determined that the City is recouping what is most likely to be recouped from ambulance services between collections from those on Medicaid and those on private insurance. Essentially, the collection rate is in line with the collection rate that is typical for a city or a hospital when it comes to collecting on services provided. Rod Johnson told the City Council that new garbage cans for the City of Kewanee will be ready for delivery at the end of the month of April. The color of the garbage cans will likely be what the company providing the cans calls 'Pepsi Blue'. After the meeting, WKEI spoke with Mayor Steve Looney...
The next budget work session for the City of Kewanee will be held on Monday, April 15th. You can look at all of the numbers in the Kewanee City Budget for the General Fund, Economic Development and the Enterprise Funds Expenditures by clicking here or by going to CityofKewanee.com.
National Child Abuse Prevention Month is underway with child welfare advocates calling for Illinoisans to get involved in ensuring the welfare of kids in peril. The issue of child abuse is getting significant attention these days as Marc Smith has become the latest leader trying to right the ship at the Department of Children and Family Services. Smith was recently picked by Governor J.B. Pritzker to become the 15th leader at the agency since 2003. A recent Office of Inspector General report has revealed that in the past two years, 98 children involved with DCFS have died. Safe Families For Children Downstate Director Ryan Mobley says there are some positive developments in the fight against child abuse...
He notes DCFS can't do it alone....
The recent interim director at DCFS said the agency needs to reduce caseloads and and lawmakers like Senator Andy Manar have called for the agency to refocus more of its effort on helping children in peril.
The City of Kewanee has announced that a portion of Elliott Street will be closed for repairs. According to the City of Kewanee, the 200 Block of Elliott Street will be closed to traffic on Tuesday, April 2nd beginning at 7 Am for repairs to the sewer line. Ratliff's will be performing the sewer repair on Elliott Street between Central Boulevard to West Oak Street. This portion of Elliott Street will be closed all day Tuesday with work expected to be completed by the end of the day.
The resignation of Wethersfield Elementary School Principal Janean Friedman will be addressed with a pair of special meetings next week. According to a release from Wethersfield Superintendent Shane Kazubowski, meetings on Tuesday April 9th at 5 Pm and Wednesday, April 10th at 5 Pm will be for interviews with candidates to replace Principal Friedman. The meetings are Executive Sessions and will not be open to the public.
Illinois residents can now apply for so called REAL ID, a newly enhanced ID card that meets new Federal Safety Standards for travel to and from other countries. Our Scot Bertram has more from Springfield...
Carrie Boelens joined WKEI for our weekly conversation about all the events happening at OSF Saint Luke Medical Center including the Breedloves Shoe Sale this week, the upcoming 100th Anniversary Luncheon and a Blood Drive coming up on April 11th. Carrie also brought along a pair of guests to talk about Occupational Therapy and how it differs from the more generalized Physical Therapy...
Bigger, more frequent storms. More floods. Many millions in financial losses. Massive environmental shifts. Climate change already is causing these issues in the Great Lakes region - and it's expected to get worse, according to a new report.
Eighteen experts from research institutions in the U.S. and Canada contributed to the report from the Environmental Law and Policy Center in Chicago, and they concluded that if the federal government isn't willing to take action, states need to take the lead to prevent or mitigate the worst effects. University of Illinois Professor and lead author of the report Don Wuebbles said climate change is taking weather occurrences to the extremes.
"Extremely warm days - greater than 90 degrees or 100 degrees - are likely to increase significantly over this century," Wuebbles said. "Precipitation has increased by almost 10 percent, and this is leading to an increasing concern about flooding like those we've had in the Midwest in recent weeks."
The report said the lakes' ice cover already is thinner and melting earlier in winter. It predicted crop yields for corn and soybeans will decrease by 10-30 percent by mid-century in the southern part of the Great Lakes region because of increased spring flooding and summer heat.
Last week, President Donald Trump's Environmental Protection Administration administrator Andrew Wheeler downplayed climate change, saying the worst effects are 50-75 years away.
Professor Brad Cardinale from the University of Michigan said increased algae blooms will close more beaches and threaten drinking-water supplies. And he said the region will need to upgrade sewer systems to prevent overflows that could release pathogens into the environment.
"Climate change is going to put a financial stress on important industries like agriculture, and increase the cost of commerce and shipping," Cardinale said. "Two: climate change is going to force Great Lakes states to make costly upgrades to their infrastructure systems. And three: climate change is increasing public health risks throughout the Great Lakes."
The report urged farmers to cut the amount of fertilizer in their runoff, which fuels toxic algae. And the authors say states can slow climate change by switching to renewable energy, pushing energy-efficiency programs, and upgrading city fleets to electric vehicles.
The Illinois House of Representatives passed a bill on Friday that will require Corporations headquartered in Illinois to have at least one woman and one African American as members of their board of directors. Representative Chris Welsh is behind the bill which passed on a party line vote and now moves to the Senate and likely onto the desk of Governor J.B Pritzker...
The state of Illinois ranks 40th in the number of doctors in the state per patient. According to a new study from the consumer finance website WalletHub, Illinois is struggling to attract and maintain the needed number of doctors to treat the number of patients on average in the state of Illinois. Among the reasons for this struggling number, the high cost of Malpractice Insurance. Our Greg Bishop has more...
Last week, several Democrats in Springfield, from both the state house and state Senate, held a press conference to promote Governor J.B Pritzker's Progressive Tax and to talk about why other forms of tax simply don't work as well. But not everyone is buying into the idea of the Progressive Tax and the promise that those with higher income will shoulder more of the tax burden in Illinois. Our Greg Bishop has more...
In kicking off National Public Health Week the Henry and Stark County Health Department made official their plans to move to a new location. Work will soon begin on the brand new Henry and Stark Couny Health Department Offices, located at 110 North Burr Boulevard in Kewanee. Both the medical clinic and the administrative offices of the Henry and Stark County Health Department will be housed at the new location. There is no word yet on how long the renovation of the new building may take. Meanwhile, this is National Public Health Week and the Henry and Stark County Health Department will spend the week highlighting a different aspect of Public Health each day. Today the focus is Environmental Health and the Health Departement released this statement to go with it...
As National Public Health Week, April 1-7, 2019, is celebrated throughout the country, officials at the Henry and Stark County Health Departments renew their commitment to provide services that make the US the “Creating the Healthiest Nation: For Science. For Action. For Health." Today the Health Department salutes the Department's Environmental Health Division.
It’s the mission of the Environmental Services Division through the Henry and Stark County Health Department to protect the public against environmental hazards. Dorothy David, Health Department Environmental Service Director states, “Our sanitarians strive to control, preserve, and improve the environment in order that there can be optimum health, safety, comfort and well-being now and in future generations in both Henry and Stark counties.”
David adds, “Through programs areas such as our food protection, potable water supplies, private sewage disposal, tanning facilities, body art, west nile virus, and solid waste; we identify, reduce and whenever possible, eliminate factors that can adversely affect human health.”
With this in mind, the health Department notes it works closely with local food establishments to attain control over food borne illness risk factors. The common goal of regulators and operators of food service establishments is to produce safe, quality food for consumers. Inspections and enforcement of existing food codes has done a great deal to improve basic food sanitation and upgrade facilities. As of January 1, 2019 Illinois has implemented a new Illinois Food Code which incorporates FDA food codes towards a system of “risk based inspections.” The Health Department will continue to work with local food establishments to educate and assist them in working within the requirements of these new food codes.
David concludes, “National Public Health Week is a great chance to remind area residents that we promote healthy and safe environments in Henry and Stark counties. Environmental health programs are basic preventative measures essential to public health with the goal of reducing, eliminating the incidence of illness, injury and death related to environmental factors.”
For more information on Environmental Health Services,call the Health Department at (309) 852-0197 or visit our website at www.henrystarkhealth.com.
The City of Kewanee will hold yet another budget work session tonight in the Kewanee City Council chamber. The public is invited to attend as the Kewanee City Council and heads of City Departments sit down to discuss issues related to the General Fund, Economic Development, and Enterprise Funds Expenditures. The meeting will get underway at 6 Pm tonight at Kewanee City Hall and again, anyone who would like to attend and hear about how the City of Kewanee budgets money, is welcome to attend. This is a discussion only meeting and nothing will be voted on this evening.
For the third time this year, and the second time in just a few days, the Illinois State Police are grieving the death of one of their own. Trooper Gerald Ellis of District 15 was killed on March 30th when a driver, driving the wrong way on I-94 Westbound in Green Oaks, struck Trooper Ellis's squad car head on. Trooper Ellis was an 11 year veteran of the Illinois State Police at just 36 years old. Acting Director of the Illinois State Police, Brenden Kelly, released this statement...
“While the men and women of the Illinois State Police are still grieving our recent loss, it is with profound heartache and unfathomable sadness that we inform you of the death of another fallen trooper, Trooper Gerald Ellis. Trooper Ellis laid down his life while protecting the citizens of this state. We are asking the public to respectfully give consideration to the family of Trooper Ellis and the ISP while we continue to process and work through this tragedy,” stated Acting Director Brendan Kelly.
When will the message get through to drivers that when you see flashing lights you have to move over and slow down. Thursday another State Trooper was hit and killed on the shoulder of a state highway. Just this week Illinois State Police Acting Director Brendan Kelly implored drivers to approach cautiously when seeing cars and emergency vehicles pulled to the shoulder.
Thursday Trooper Brooke Jones-Story was killed as she inspected a commercial truck on Route 20 in northern Illinois after being struck by a passing semi. She is the second trooper killed in a roadway accident this year and it marks the 15th time that a trooper’s vehicle has been hit.
Trooper Jason Wilson recently underlined the danger of cars not moving over when he appeared here on WKEI.
Meanwhile, the family of Trooper Brooke Jones Story released a statement of their own...
“The family of Trooper Brooke Jones-Story celebrates a strong woman who dedicated her life to the service and protection of others. Brooke is a daughter, sister, wife, step-parent and cherished friend.
Growing up in rural Illinois, Brooke loved her family, and her high-school and college volleyball teams. Brooke always had a passion for service and committed herself to becoming a Trooper. It was through that role that she gained her family in blue, met her husband and connected her personal and professional loves.
When Brooke wasn’t working, she could be found working with rescue animals on her farm, cheering for the Cubs, working out with her CrossFit family and watching all the Disney movies she could find. This is a woman who embraced life and loved spending time with her beloved family and friends.
A dedicated, courageous, loving and passionate officer and the absolute best person you could meet. Brooke will be sorely missed and is loved and celebrated for a life committed to her family and the service of others.”
How high will they go? That’s the question consumers are asking as gas prices at the pump are now averaging $2.83 a gallon in Illinois, up 10-cents from a week ago and 37-cents higher than a month ago. Harry Cooney is with GROWMARK’s manager of energy customer risk management.
Diesel fuel is averaging $2.91 a gallon in Illinois, the same as a week ago and only four cents higher compared to a month ago.