Local News Archives for 2019-05

Interview Sarah MacDougall and Ben Kunder Performing this Weekend in Cambridge

Sarah MacDougall and Ben Kunder will be performing on Saturday night at Ca d'Zan in Cambridge beginning at 6 Pm. The event is a potluck with a suggested donation of $10.00 to $20.00. Sarah MacDougall and Ben Kunder joined WKEI on Friday morning to talk about music, live performance and how they came to work together and make their way to Cambridge... 

RSVP: john.r.taylor@gmail.com. Rain/heat location Bishop Hill Creative Commons. Get a sample of the music of Sarah MacDougall's music below... 


Sunday's Levitt Amp Galva Concert Moved to Front Street

The first concert in the 10 week Levitt Amp Galva Concert Series has been moved to Front Street in Galva due to rainy conditions at Wiley Park. A spokesperson for Levitt Amp Galva explains... 

The concert remains free to all who wish to attend and will feature The Ragbirds and Minnesota based rockers, 4 on the Floor. Showtime also remains the same with the concert getting underway on Front Street beginning at 6 Pm. 

Kewanee Black Knights Mural Crushes Fundraising Goal, Raises More than $15,000

It wasn't ever really in doubt but we can now officially announce, courtesy of the one and only Joy Hernandez, that the Kewanee Black Knights Mural is now officially, fully funded. In fact, the $10,000 goal to paint the Kewanee Black Knights on the side of the Spets Brothers building during the Kewanee Prairie Chicken Festival was topped by more than $5000.00 for a final fundraising total of $15,377.00. The full press release from Joy Hernandez and The Walldogs is below... 


"You, every single one of you that contributed to this campaign, CRUSHED this goal.
We’re so happy to announce that we’ve reached the $10,000 needed to fund the Black Knight’s mural!

Not only that, we exceeded that goal, to the tune of $15,377. 

As promised, anything beyond the $10,000 will go to the mural maintenance fund, to protect and maintain all of Kewanee’s murals, keep them top notch. Crushing the fundraising goal also allowed us to create a plaque that will hang near the mural, listing all of the names of the Black Knights, both junior and senior. This plaque has been commissioned of Kurt Lonka, and will be unveiled during the dedication ceremony.

And, since practically half of a whole other mural has been fundraised, we’ve decided to jump start 2020’s mural with $1,000, so that mural will only need $9,000 to become a reality.  We will still have the round of ballot voting during the painting of this mural, with the votes announced at the end of July’s Prairie Chicken Festival (so start thinking of your suggestions  now. Remember, the rules are no living people, no existing businesses or organizations). After the balloting narrows it down to the top three suggestions, we will have another round of ‘vote by dollars.’ Much like last year, one dollar equals one vote. The top vote getter will have the combined vote total added to the $1,000, and we will set off down the road to Kewanee’s 19th mural. 

But back to Mural 18: The Black Knights.

It’s become extremely clear how beloved this organization was to Kewaneeans. Its legacy has been expressed by those touched by the Black Knights: Their children, their former members—both junior and senior, and those that simply have a love for music or Kewanee’s history, or both.

We started off in a good place, with over a quarter of the mural funded from the voting round, before we even began regular fundraising efforts. Kewanee’s baseball history was the second-most vote getter then (*ahem* 2020, baseball fans?) and the combined love for those two organizations set the tone for this campaign.

What really kicked off the avalanche of donations was Mike DeWalt’s donation-match offer. He vowed to match one dollar for every two dollars donated, up to a total donation of $2,000 on the part of DeWalt. Of course, to reach that $2,000, this meant that $4,000 would need to be raised by other donors. Cue the snowstorm; cue the rumble; cue the avalanche. DeWalt’s offer insured that we would reach our goal, but the flurry of donations, both large and small, in response, meant that we would exceed our goal.
Crushing it.

Kewanee loves its Black Knights. 
Kewanee loves its history. 
Kewanee loves its art.

Thank you, to Kewaneeans near and far, who have made this mural a reality.

This is not the end of the story. More announcements are to come, especially regarding the logistics of the mural painting and dedication. Stay tuned, and prepare yourselves for July."

Movie Critic Mark Ramsey Talks New Podcast Inside Star Wars

Film Critic and member of the Broadcast Film Critics Association, Mark Ramsey is back with the latest in the 'Inside' podcasts. Last time Mark was on WKEI he talked with our host about "Inside Philadelphia," a look back at the Tom Hanks-Denzel Washington movie and at the AIDS Crisis. This time, Mark is taking fans Inside one of the biggest movie phenomenons of all time with "Inside Star Wars." Go to InsideStarWars.com for more on the show and stream or download our interview with Film Critic and Podcaster Mark Ramsey below... 


OSF HealthCare Saint Luke Medical Center to Host Blood Drive

KEWANEE - Mississippi Valley Regional Blood Center (MVRBC) will be holding a blood drive from 7 a.m. until 5 p.m., Thursday, June 13, in the East and West Conference Rooms at OSF HealthCare Saint Luke Medical Center in Kewanee. All presenting donors will receive a voucher to redeem for a $10 gift card to Amazon.com, Casey’s General Store, Dairy Queen or Domino’s.


Volunteer blood donors are invited to support the local blood supply by scheduling an appointment to give blood by calling (309) 852-7810 (appointments preferred, walk-ins also welcome). Donors can also register online at https://www.bloodcenterimpact.org/donor/schedules/drive_schedule/83225. Please bring a photo ID for use in donor registration.


Blood donations are often used to help treat patients with cancer, victims of trauma and patients undergoing major surgeries. All persons age 17 and up (or 16, with a signed parental permission form) who weigh at least 110 lbs. and are in general good health meet the basic eligibility requirements for blood donation. For more information on donor eligibility, call the Blood Center at (800) 747-5401 or visit www.bloodcenter.org/eligibility.


MVRBC is based in Davenport, Iowa, with regional operations in Urbana (Community Blood Services of Illinois) and Springfield (Central Illinois Community Blood Center). The Blood Center is the exclusive provider of blood and blood components to 95 hospitals in Illinois, Iowa, Missouri, and Wisconsin, including 11 of 13 OSF HealthCare facilities. (For information on MVRBC’s service to OSF HealthCare, see: https://newsroom.osfhealthcare.org/blood-provider-expands-service-to-6-additional-osf-hospitals/.)

Last Day of Spring Session in Springfield Likely to bring Gas Tax and Sports Betting

Sports gambling and a doubling of the state gas tax are two items we are likely to see passed in Springfield on the final day of the Spring legislative session. Our reporter Greg Bishop takes a closer look at what is expected to be a frantic final day. 


Kewanee City Council to Hear Request for Gaming at Convenience Stores and Gas Stations

Kewanee Mayor Gary Moore was our guest on People to People on Thursday. At Tuesday's Kewanee City Council Meeting, the owners of the Kewanee Shell Station took to the microphone during public comments to ask about getting a dual use license to add gaming at the station... 

We asked Mayor Gary Moore about the request and why the City of Kewanee had previously not allowed convenience stores and gas stations in the City to hav gaming... 

Also during our People to People conversation on Thursday we asked the Mayor about the situation at the Kewanee Waste Water Treatment plant which, due to new EPA restrictions and the remarkable amount of rain and other factors, is now at a near capacity of sludge... 

Both the issue of gaming expansion and the situation at the Waster Water Treatment Plant are likely to come up at the next Kewanee City Council Meeting on Monday, June 10th. 

Levitt Amp Galva Concert Series Begins this Weekend with 4 on the Floor

The Levitt Amp Galva Concert Series gets underway this weekend with a concert featuring the bands, The Ragbirds and the rock n'roll group, 4 on the Floor. John Taylor and Jason Bates, two of the organizers of the Levitt Amp Concert Series recently spoke to WKEI about this incredibly unique lineup of free concerts this summer in Wiley Park. 

The free Levitt Amp Galva Concert Series concerts get underway this Sunday at 6 Pm with The Ragbirds and 4 on the Floor and just yesterday, WKEI had a conversation with 4 on the Floor member Gabriel Douglas about the band and their throwback style of rock and blues... 


Henry and Stark County Health Dept Touting World No Smoking Day Today

The theme for this year's World No Smoking Day, Friday, May 31st, is Tobacco and Lung Health according to the Henry and Stark County Health Department. The Health Department is celebrating World No Smoking Day in order to get the word out the negative impact that tobacco has on people’s lung health, from cancer to chronic respiratory disease; and the fundamental role lungs play for the health and well-being of all people. RaeAnn Tucker, Director of Health Promotion with the Henry and Stark County Health Departments notes that this important health designation is an important time to remind area residents about the Health Departments’ Illinois Tobacco-Free Communities Grant activities.  In both Henry and Stark County our staff works continually to enforce, educate and encourage compliance with the Illinois Smoke-Free Act. The Smoke-free Illinois Act prohibits smoking in virtually all public places and workplaces, including offices, theaters, museums, libraries, educational institutions, schools, commercial establishments, enclosed shopping centers and retail stores, restaurants, bars, private clubs and gaming facilities.The Smoke Free Illinois Act requires that all business owners:

     *Do not permit smoking within 15 feet of entrances, exits, windows, that open and ventilation intakes.
     *Post “No Smoking” signs at each entrance.
     *Remove ashtrays from areas where smoking is prohibited.


The Health Department notes that failure to comply with the Smoke Free Illinois Act can result in fines. Also, this past year, the Health Department has worked towards additional Tobacco-Free initiatives.  This year in both Henry and Stark County, the Health Department has a grant that is focused on the connection between smoking as a risk factor for chronic diseases such as high blood pressure, diabetes and heart disease. Cigarette smoking is responsible for more than 480,000 deaths per year in the United States, including more than 41,000 deaths resulting from secondhand smoke exposure. This is about one in five deaths annually, or 1,300 deaths every day.

State Representative Dan Swanson Speaks Up for Farmers in House Floor Speech

With trade lagging and weather making this planting season nearly impossible, things have been extremely hard on Illinois farmers. As a farmer himself, State Representative Dan Swanson says he understands the hardships. On Thursday, State Representative Swanson took to the House Floor to speak on behalf of farmers and call for lawmakers to remember Illinois farmers. 


WKEI Show Markley and Van Camp Adds New Co-Host

WKEI's wildly popular afternoon talk show, Markley and Van Camp has announced that the show is adding a third host and a new name on June 17th. According to a release from Regional Media partners, Compass Media, Markley and Van Camp is set to become Markley, Van Camp and Robbins as of June 17th. The change announced on Thursday via a press release brings frequent Markley and Van Camp contributor, Scott Robbins to the show as a permanent third host. Commenting on the change Jamie Markley stated "I’m so excited that Robbins is a now a full time member of the show. His lack of filter and wit definitely takes us to another level.” David van Camp added "It's awesome to have Scott. He's a hilarious guy, a great broadcaster, and a ton of fun to work with." Scott Robbins says of his addition to the show: “I feel incredibly blessed to be part of this show.” The addition of Robbins gives the show the unique perspective of having a Baby Boomer, a Gen X-er and a Millennial as the hosts of a radio talk show. Markley and Van Camp officially becomes Markley, Van Camp and Robbins on June 17th. 

National Guard Heading To Swollen Rivers

As more rain falls all over Illinois - flooding continues to be a big problem. Democratic Governor JB Prtizker says the state has already passed out more than 2 million sandbags and he’s issued a disaster declaration in 34 Illinois counties. Now he’s taking another step to try and protect and support communities along the Mississippi and Illinois Rivers.

Experts have called this the longest continued flooding event along the Mississippi and Illinois rivers in the last 90 years. 

House Approves Possible New Income Tax Rates

Voters were already getting their say on changing the states income tax structure and now the House passed a bill to set income tax rates if a progressive tax is given the go ahead. The House passed along what the Senate had approved, raising taxes on those making more than $250,000 a year. But Republicans say the more than $3 billion in new revenue isn’t worth it and a progressive tax will only allow politicians to raise taxes on everyone else down the line. Republican Rep. Mark Batinick.

The bill contains a small shift in property tax relief and increases to the child care tax credit. 

IEMA Considers Evacuation Plans For Some River Communities

The Illinois Emergency Management Agency says 80 days of rain has pushed flood control measures to the brink. Today 200 National Guardsman were activated to help assist in flood control and protection efforts along the Mississippi and Illinois rivers. The Acting Director of IEMA Alicia Tate Nadeau says residents along those rivers need to prepare to leave at a moment’s notice; adding authorities are considering evacuation plans right now for some communities.

IEMA and others want everyone in those areas to have firm plans on how get out if flooding starts to impact roads and other transportation options in their areas.

Kewanee Police Announce Three Methamphetamine Arrests

Kewanee Police have announced the arrest of three people on charges of possession of Methamphetamine. According to the Kewanee Police Report, 37 year old Nicole M Nichols, 30 year old Kevin E Galbraith, and 39 year old Jason L Clong, each of Kewanee were arrested in the area of the 400 Block of East 9th Street on Thursday. Nichols and Galbraith were charged with Possession of Methamphetamine while Clong faces charges of Possession of Methamphetamine between 5 and 15 Grams and Possession of Methamphetamine Between 5 and 15 Grams with Intent to Deliver. Clong was taken to the Henry County Jail. 

WKEI Celebrity Interview Lennie James Fear The Walking Dead

Season 5 of the hit AMC series Fear the Walking Dead debuts on Sunday, June 2nd, at 8 Pm on AMC and the show is headed up by actor Lennie James whose character, Morgan, was brought over from the flagship, The Walking Dead, to this spinoff, and given the series new life. The character of Morgan is among the most challenging and fascinating on a series known for highly complex characters. We spoke to Lennie James about the challenges of playing a character as unique and fascinating as Morgan, how he got into acting and his most... unique encounter with the rabid Walking Dead fanbase. Stream or download our interview with Lennie James, Morgan from Fear the Walking Dead, below... 


Illinois Officials Ask Citizens to be Prepared for Evacuation in Flood-Risk Areas; IL National Guard Called to Aid Affected Areas

SPRINGFIELD – State officials are issuing an urgent plea to residents in river communities to prepare for potential evacuations due to the threat of rising floodwaters. Reports indicate this is the longest-lasting flood event since the Great Flood of 1927.  Due to prolonged flooding and recent precipitation, levee saturation levels in critical condition along the Illinois River. Emergency Management officials and first responders are advising residents in river communities to have a family evacuation-plan in place, in the event you need to evacuate due to rising floodwaters.


“This a life-safety issue,” said Acting IEMA Director Alicia Tate-Nadeau. “If the river overtops our levees, or breaches our levees, it is not just your homes that will be impacted.  Critical transportation corridors will be impacted. The roads residents need to take to get to work, the grocery store or the doctor will be impacted. The time to act is now. Flooding has been a factor in 49 deaths across Illinois since 1995. That is more than the number of people killed by tornadoes during the same period.  By waiting to evacuate you put not only yourself at risk, but also the lives of the first responders who are called to assist in an emergency. Three out of four flood fatalities involve people in vehicles trying to cross flooded roads.”


“The Illinois Department of Transportation is closely monitoring the potential for even more flooding throughout the state, but the public needs to be aware that conditions can change unexpectedly for the worse,” said Acting Illinois Transportation Secretary Omer Osman. “Anticipate much longer travel times, follow posted detours and never attempt to drive through flooded roads.”


With the urgent flooding situations along the Illinois and Mississippi rivers, Governor JB Pritzker has activated approximately 200 Illinois National Guard soldiers for State Active Duty to assist with the state’s flood fight operations and urged all residents in affected communities to listen to the directions of first responders.


“As we face historic weather in this state, the safety of our communities will always be my top priority, and every relevant state agency is working in concert to protect communities,” said Governor JB Pritzker. “This morning, I activated the two hundred members of the Illinois National Guard to regions along the Illinois and Mississippi Rivers to assist in sandbagging operations and levee monitoring and reinforcement, with another 200 on standby. We have deployed more than two million sandbags, hosted multi-agency resources centers in impacted communities, and I issued a disaster declaration impacting 34 counties. My administration will continue using every tool at our disposal to protect impacted Illinoisans.”


Soldiers of the 2nd Battalion, 123 Field Artillery Regiment were notified of the activation last night (Wednesday) and began reporting to their units in Milan, Galesburg and Springfield today (Thursday). The soldiers will help strengthen levees and construct protective barriers in flooded areas. The soldiers will be ready to deploy to affected areas by tomorrow (Friday). In addition, Governor Pritzker is activating a small team of Illinois National Guard planners to augment the Illinois Emergency Management Agency staff.


Emergency management officials are urging citizens to know the steps to take to keep their family safe in the event of an emergency (Follow the links to find out more):


       Be ready to evacuate. Have an emergency go bag packed for a quick evacuation.  When you want to pack for all members of your family, including your pets.  Don’t forget your medications, glasses, cell phones and chargers. Because families may not be together when an evacuation order comes in, have a family communications plan to ensure everyone has the essential information and knows where to meet up post-evacuation.


       Follow instructions of local authorities. If told to evacuate, do so immediately. If you do not have friends or family to assist you with an evacuation, listen to your radio or TV for information on provisions being made to assist those who need housing assistance.


       Have more than one way to receive important weather information. Because disasters can occur while you are at home, at school, at work or on vacation, make sure your mobile phone can receive emergency alerts.  Monitor television, radio and internet for updates, and where possible, sign up for your community’s emergency alert system.


       Check on your neighbors. During a disaster, 46% of individuals expect to rely on the people in their neighborhood for help within the first 72 hours after a disaster or emergency.


In an effort to encourage everyone in Illinois is prepared for emergencies, the Illinois Emergency Management Agency’s public preparedness website, Ready Illinois, is available in multiple languages, including Spanish, French, German, Filipino and more.  To learn more about emergency preparedness for all hazards, man-made or natural, visit www.ready.illinois.gov.

People to People Kewanee Mayor Gary Moore 05-30-19

Kewanee Mayor Gary Moore was our guest on People to People on Thursday. In our conversation we talked about the request by the owners of the Kewanee Shell Station to add gambling machines at their store. We also discussed Advel Court and what role the City of Kewanee should play in helping to repair private streets. We also talked about the Kewanee Wastewater Treatment Plant and the sludge situation. EPA regulations and a nearly full lagoon have the City of Kewanee in an expensive situation that must be dealt with sooner rather than later. The Mayor of Kewanee also briefly touched on the search for a new Kewanee City Clerk in this interview on Thursday's People to People which you can stream or download below... 


The Open Line Podcast 05-30-19

Today on the Open Line, we talked about guns and specifically the move in Springfield to require fingerprinting for FOID cards. Callers were eager to talk about the state of Illinois raising money off of legal gun owners. We also opened the topic of gambling and convenience stores in Kewanee with the Kewanee Shell Station seeking a dual use license to place gaming machines at the station. And we discussed Advel Court and the situation with the potholes there and whether the City of Kewanee should take responsibility for private streets. 


Illinois in National Spotlight for Defending Reproductive Health

Illinois state leaders are making moves this week to ensure women's rights to reproductive health care are protected.Senate Bill 25, known as the Reproductive Health Act, is in the hands of the Senate Public Health Committee, after the House version was passed this week. The measure would establish a fundamental right to reproductive health, including access to contraception and abortion care.  Julie Lynn, manager of external affairs for Planned Parenthood of Illinois, says the bill also calls for insurance companies to cover services related to abortion, and rescinds what she describes as outdated and unconstitutional prohibitions on reproductive health care.

"By repealing the current Illinois abortion law, it will remove old restrictions that are on the books that are dangerous, that if Roe were overturned those could go back into effect one day," explains Lynn. "We don't want to take any chances, and passing the RHA is a critical step."

Opponents call the legislation "radical," and contend it removes even minor protections for unborn babies and medical professionals who object to performing an abortion.  Also this week, Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul joined 21 other states in an amicus brief urging a Texas federal district court to defend the contraceptive mandate in the Affordable Care Act. In the pending case in Texas, the plaintiffs contend the ACA's requirement that employer-provided insurance include birth-control coverage is a violation of religious freedom.Lynn contends it's just another attack on women's health care and reproductive health care at large.

"Birth control has been legal since the mid '60s; abortion has been legal since the early '70s," Lynn states. "It's 2019, and we need to stop attacking reproductive health care. It's time. It's past time."

More than 290 anti-abortion bills have been filed in 45 states this year, and laws have been passed in several states restricting or banning the procedure. Lynn says patients need to know that abortions still are legal.

"It's scary that these laws are being signed, but what's even scarier is that patients don't know where they can go," she says. "Abortion is still legal in all 50 states, but the ability to access abortion care is getting harder and harder."

In Congress, the Women's Health Protection Act was introduced last week, that would block medically unnecessary abortion restrictions being passed by states.


Illinois State Police Bringing Back Former Troopers Specifically for Move Over Enforcement

Trooper Jason Wilson with the Illinois State Police  was our guest on People to People on Wednesday and revealed that the Illinois State Police have called back former troopers with the specific purpose of increasing enforcement of Scott's Law...

Trooper Wilson also reminded drivers that trying to dispute a Move Over violation in court won't be easy... 

You can hear our complete interview with Illinois State Trooper Jason Wilson in our People to People Podcast at RegionalDailyNews.com. 

Mississippi River Rising Once Again Bringing More Flooding

The Mississippi River on the rise again. The Quad Cities, which had briefly been in recovery mode after the most recent flooding is now back to trying to hold back rising waters again with little relief in sight in the immediate future... 

That’s Brian Pierce with the National Weather Service in the Quad Cities. He doesn’t anticipate the river falling below flood stage until some time in June. 


Two Days Left in Legislative Session and There is Still No Budget Bill

With only today and Friday left in this legislative session in Springfield, there is still not finalized budget bill. The deadline to complete a fiscal year 2019-2020 budget bill is Friday and while some lawmakers are sure that a balanced budget will be ready to be passed, other lawmakers are lamenting the last minute nature of the bill and the lack of true bipartisanship. Reporter Greg Bishop has more from Springfield... 


Two Days left to RSVP for Kewanee Chamber Ambassador Club Dinner

There are only two days left, Today and Friday, to make your reservation for the Kewanee Chamber of Commerce Ambassador Club Dinner in honor of Kewanee Outstanding Citizen of the Year, Everett Whitcher and Meritorious Service Award winner, Amber Patch Troxell. The event is open to anyone who would like to attend and tickets are only $20.00 each. The Ambassador Club dinner is being held at the Flemish American Club on Tuesday, June 4th beginning with social hour at 6 pm and dinner at 6:30 Pm. To make your reservation or buy your ticket, contact the Kewanee Chamber by stopping by the Chamber Office today or tomorrow during business hours or by calling Mark Mikenas at the Kewanee Chamber of Commerce at 309-852-2175. 

State Senator Chuck Weaver Announces Next Coffee and Conversation Meeting

State Senator has announced the next in his ongoing series of Coffee and Conversation meetings with constituents. According to a release from Senator Weaver's office, the next Coffee and Conversation meeting will be held in Geneseo on Friday, June 7th. Constituents are invited to the Phenix Township Building located at 14850 North 2550 Avenue in Geneseo from 8 Am to 9 Am to hear from Senator Weaver and discuss the latest news out of Springfield. The event is free and open to anyone interested in attending. For more information you can contact State Senator Weaver's office at 309-693-4921.

State Rep Swanson Spoke Out Against Changes to FOID Card on Wednesday

The Illinois House of Representatives on Wednesday moved forward a bill that will require fingerprinting for anyone seeking to get a FOID Card. Also under the new legislation, FOID Card costs will be increased from $10.00 to $20.00 and the length of time a FOID card would be valid was dropped from 10 years to every 5 years for renewal. The bill also creates a new database track FOID Cards and identify those who should not be able to receive a FOID Card. And finally, the new legislation creates a new law enforcement task force where the job will be to remove weapons from people who have their FOID card suspended or revoked. State Representatve Dan Swanson voted against the legislation and spoke of the burdens the new legislation will place on law enforcement as well as on lawmakers... 


Representative Cheri Bustos Releases Statement Regarding the Special Council Press Conference

Representative Cheri Bustos has released a statement in reaction to the press conference held by Special Counsel Robert Mueller on Wednesday. In the statement, Representative Bustos stated that it was clear that Russia had interfered in our election but Representative Bustos stopped short of the position of many on the left of the Democratic Party and did not mention anything about impeachment in her statement. 


“Special Counsel Robert Mueller made abundantly clear that Russia – a foreign adversary – interfered in our election, and that should concern every American regardless of political party. The House passed legislation to secure our democracy, and I hope the Senate and President Trump will work with us to protect our elections from foreign meddling.


“It’s also clear that in America, nobody is above the law – not even the President of the United States. Congress has important constitutional oversight responsibilities, and we must follow the truth. But at the same time, we will continue our critical work to bring down the cost of health care, invest in our infrastructure and clean up the rampant corruption in Washington.”


How Does HB1438 Change Illinois Law Regarding Cannabis?

So what is in House Bill 1438? The Marijuana Policy Project released a statement following the Senate vote on Wednesday and talked about what is now set to be legal and what changes we can expect to see if the House adopts the bill as they are expected to do. 


“MPP is proud to have worked hand-in-hand with state lawmakers and Gov. Pritzker to develop this historic legislation,” said Steve Hawkins, executive director of the Marijuana Policy Project, which is leading advocacy efforts in support of the legislation. “This bill helps people remove the stigma and harm caused by prior cannabis possession convictions and creates opportunities for those who want to enter the new, regulated program.”

HB 1438, sponsored by Sen. Heather Steans and Rep. Kelly Cassidy, would legalize the possession and purchase of up to 30 grams of cannabis for adults and establish an inclusive, regulated market for cultivators, processors, transporters, retail stores, and testing labs. If enacted, adults could begin purchasing cannabis as early as January 1, 2020. In addition to legalizing possession and sales for adults, the bill adds the option for medical patients to grow cannabis at home and creates cannabis-related training opportunities at local community colleges.

Laws regulating and taxing cannabis for adult use have been enacted in nine states — including Michigan — and the U.S. territory of the Northern Mariana Islands. Vermont and D.C. are the only two U.S. jurisdictions where cannabis possession and cultivation is legal, but where the laws do not include regulated retail sales. If HB 1438 is enacted, Illinois will become the first state to approve legal cannabis sales through the state legislature rather than via a ballot measure." 


Our reporter Cole Lauterbach has more on the legalization bill from Springfield. 


Governor Pritzker Releases Statement Thanking Senate for Cannabis Legalization Passage

One of the signature portions of Governor J.B Pritzker's budget passed the Senate on Wednesday. The Illinois Senate voted 38 to 17 in favor of a bill that legalizes cannabis for recreational use by adults in Illinois. Below is a statement from Governor Pritzker celebrating the passage which sends the bill back to the Illinois House of Representatives for final legislative action... 


“Illinois is poised to become the first state in the nation that put equity and criminal justice reform at the heart of its approach to legalizing cannabis, and I’m grateful that the Senate has taken this important step with a bipartisan vote. Senators Steans and Hutchinson have done tremendous work to reach this point, and I encourage the House to take decisive action to make Illinois a national leader in equity and criminal justice reform.”

State Senator Neil Anderson Speaks Out in Favor of Cannabis Legalization Bill

Citing his libertarian beliefs, State Senator Neil Anderson spoke up in favor of the Cannabis Legalization legislation that passed the Senate on Wednesday. In a vote of 38 in favor and 17 opposed, House Bill 1438 was passed by the Senate and now moves back to the Illinois House of Representatives for final legislative action. State Senator Anderson expressed his support for the bill on the Senate floor on Wednesday... 


People to People Trooper Jason Wilson Illinois State Police 05-29-19

The message from the Illinois State Police remains, move over for vehicles on the side of the road or get a ticket. More Move Over enforcement efforts are underway on Illinois Highways and Trooper Jason Wilson joined WKEI's People to People program to talk Move Over, aka Scott's Law. Trooper Wilson also discussed Memorial Day Holiday enforcement efforts and inferred that this year may see even more citations and arrests than in 2018 when drivers were cited more than 5000 times for varying violations across the state. 


Local Connection to the Great Sauk Trail STOP II Presentation Tonight at Black Hawk East

The Local Connection to the Great Sauk Trail is the title for an event taking place tonight at Black Hawk College East Campus, Main Auditorium beginning at 7 Pm. This presentation by Native American Tribes is intended to shine a light on the importance of the Great Sauk Trail in Native American history. 

The event is being sponsored by Sauk Trail Organization for Preservation and STOP II the the group of Burns Township neighbors opposed to the Wind Turbine Project scheduled for areas of Burn Township and the Great Sauk Trail. Robert Turner, representing the Fox Nation, and Craig Klavon with Stop II were our guest on WKEI on Wednesday morning. 


Generous Farm Family Directs America's Farmers Grow Communities Donation to Abilities Plus

Gary and Evelyn Endress have directed $2500.00 to be donated to Abilities Plus as part of the America's Farmers Grow Communities Campaign. The campaign, run by the Bayer Fund, offers farmers the opportunity to direct donations from America's Farmers to a non-profit organization of their choice. The Endress's chose Abilities Plus where the money will be used to  “enhance programs and services for area children and adults with delays and disabilities.” said, Kim Walker, Abilities Plus Executive Director. The America's Farmers Grow Communities Effort is a decade in the works from The Bayer Group and has helped farmers donate more than $33 million dollars to non-profits in their community. 


Wethersfield Board of Education Budget and Regular Meeting Set for June 11th

The Wethersfield School District has released the agenda for their upcoming Budget and Regular School Board meetings set for June 11th with the Fiscal Year Budget Meeting set to begin at 4:30 Pm immediately following the regular board meeting meeting. The full agenda for the Budget and Regular School Board Meetings are below... 




TUESDAY, June 11, 2019 

4:30 PM




Presentation of Amended FY 19 Budget

Public Testimony

Board Member Comments





Wethersfield Community Unit School District No. 230

Superintendent’s Office – Blish Building

439 Willard Street – Kewanee, Illinois 61443


June 11, 2019





Consent Agenda

Approve May 9, 2019 Regular and Executive Session Minutes

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

Approve Student Suspensions

Letting and Approving of Milk Bids and Bread Bids for 2019-2020


Comments from Visitors

Board Member Reports



Approve FY 19 Amended Budget

Approve Updated 2019-2020 School Calendar

School Resource Officer

Soarin Summer Programs Update

Approve District Property, Casualty, Student Accident, and Workman’s Comp Renewal

Approve District Health Insurance Renewal

School Board Convention

Board of Education/High School Student Council Social

Other Old Business



Approve Prevailing Wage Resolution

Approve District Risk Management Plan Updates

Henry County Mental Health Alliance Award

Approve Board Meeting Dates/Time for 2019-2020

Establish FY 20 Budget Hearing

Approve District Bullying Policy Update

ISBE Cafeteria/School Nutrition Program State Review

Principal Reports

Employment of Personnel (After Executive Session)

Review of Executive Session Minutes (After Executive Session)

Other New Business

Comments from Visitors


CLOSED SESSION (Employment and Evaluation of Personnel, Student Discipline, Review of Executive Session Minutes, and Individual Student Matter)



District Audit: July 8, 2019 

Walk-in Student Registration for 2019-2020: Tuesday, July 30, 2019 from 3pm-7pm

Next Board Meeting — August 8, 2019 6:00pm

Teacher’s In-service: Monday, August 12 and Tuesday, August 13 (in Galva), 2019 8am-3:30pm

Staff/Board/Retiree Luncheon- Monday, August 12 at Noon in Cafeteria

First Day of Student Attendance- Wednesday, August 14

We will run a 1:45 dismissal schedule from Wednesday, August 14 through Friday, August 23 



Last Call for IL Department of Aging Senior Hall of Fame Award Nominations

Springfield, IL – The Illinois Department on Aging (IDoA) is announcing its last call in accepting nominations for the 2019 Senior Illinoisans Hall of Fame Awards. These awards recognize adults, 65 years of age and older, and highlight the meaningful contributions they have made in Illinois.


“As we close out the month of May - Older Americans Month - the time is now to nominate an older Illinoisan that has made a significant impact on their community,” said Paula Basta, Director of IDoA. “Don’t wait - I encourage everyone to nominate those special individuals who should be recognized for their notable service. Please help us honor those who help the principles of respecting yesterday, supporting today, and planning for tomorrow.”


The Senior Illinoisans Hall of Fame was created by the Illinois General Assembly in 1994 to honor Illinois residents ages 65 and older for their personal achievements in four separate categories. Since then, 117 people have been inducted into the Hall of Fame.


Award nominations are being accepted for the following categories:

     • Community Service: awarded to Illinois senior citizens that have shown support for the general public and community-based programs in their area or at large.

     • Education: awarded to Illinois senior citizens that have shown a dedication to instruction and the world of academia.

     • Labor Force: awarded to Illinois senior citizens that have a record of accomplishment in their employment or professional career.

     • Performance / Graphic Arts: awarded to Illinois senior citizens that have a commitment to health and the promotion of well-being or a record of accomplishment in artistic expression.


The deadline for nominations is this Friday, May 31st, 2019. Eligibility is based on the nominee's past and present accomplishments. The candidate must be a current Illinois citizen, or a former Illinois citizen for the majority of their life. Posthumous nominees will also be considered. Nomination forms are available by calling the Senior HelpLine at (800) 252-8966 or by visiting our website www.illinois.gov/aging.


For more information on how to nominate someone, please contact Purnell Borders at Purnell.Bordersiii@illinois.gov.

PMEG 11 Felony Arrests During Recent Chillicothe Music Festival

The Peoria Multi-County Enforcement Group has announced 11 felony arrests during the recent Summer Camp Concert in Chillicothe. The Summer Camp Festival is a mult-day traveling music festival that stopped in Chillicothe from May 23rd through May 26th. Of the 11 felony arrests made during the days of the festival, PMEG states that 3 were Class X Felonies, felonies that could lead to anywhere from 6 to 30 years in prison and is among the most serious crimes in the state. PMEG officers along with SWAT members, and troopers from the Illinois State Police patrolled the festival with the specific intent of arresting the sale of narcotics during the festival. Over 3 and a half days, officers seized amounts of Cannabis, Cocaine, Ecstasy, Ketamine, LSD, and Psilocybin mushrooms, along with approximately $5,500.00 in United States Currency. 


AFP-IL Backs Cannabis Expungement Bill

GENEVA, IL - Americans for Prosperity-Illinois (AFP-IL) and the Reason Foundation issued a letter to lawmakers in support of the expungement reforms included in Senate Bill 7, which would allow for the legal cultivation, sale, and possession of cannabis in regulated amounts statewide. The groups also recommended needed reforms to the legislation in order for it the best achieve its goals. AFP-IL believes any effort to legalize recreational marijuana should enhance public safety, remove barriers to help individuals get a second chance, and be free of cronyism and overregulation.


Members of both organizations issued statements. The first, from Brian Costin, the AFP-IL Deputy State Director. He states, “Senate Bill 7 represents an important chance to end the harms of criminal marijuana enforcement and address the historical damage of the War on Drugs in Illinois while realizing the opportunities of a legal marketplace. Any effort to legalize marijuana should automatically expunge low-level cannabis-related offenses. Doing so would reduce the damage that overly punitive drug enforcement does to our communities. Too many people in Illinois who are charged with low-level, nonviolent crimes face needless barriers to employment, housing, and higher education, making it harder for them to become lawful, productive members of our communities.”


The second, from Geoffrey Lawrence, the Reason Foundation Senior Policy Fellow. He states, “Carrying a criminal conviction on one’s public record can impede an individual’s ability to gain employment, seek higher education, or perform other productive activities that lead to successful rehabilitation. It's wrong to force people to carry these black marks for an action that is no longer even considered criminal. We believe it's imperative for any marijuana legalization effort to expunge prior convictions for low-level possession of marijuana, just as Senate Bill 7 would do."

AFP-IL and the Reason Foundation agree Senate Bill 7 carries important opportunities that can benefit Illinois but also believe that the legislation should be improved with needed reforms in order to best achieve its goals of replacing the black market and its associated harms. To that end, the groups advocate a regulatory framework that will leave the legal market as viable as possible. To accomplish this, AFP-IL believes Senate Bill 7 should be improved through key reforms, outlined in their letter to lawmakers as well as the Reason Foundation’s full analysis of the bill.

Francis Park Fourth of July Celebration Cancelled for 2019

The Francis Park Foundation has announced that plans for the 2019 Francis Park 4th of July Celebration have been cancelled. According to organizer Dave Matuszyk, a lack of volunteers, dwindling membership in the foundation and some personal hardship led to the decision not to mount a celebration in Francis Park this year. Four the past several years the Francis Park Foundation had brought together crafters, vendors, food vendors, and musicians along with a car show and tractor rides to celebrate the 4th of July. The Francis Park Board wishes to thank all the people who have volunteered and attended the event in the past Will there be an attempt to revive the Francis Park 4th of July Celebration in the future? Nothing is certain, but membership and participation in the Francis Park Foundation would need to increase before any plans for future events can be discussed. 

Miss World Festival Alexa Eastburg Raising Funds for Children's Miracle Network

Alexa Eastburg is off competing to become Miss Illinois but she has not forgotten her charitable spirit. Having participated in various fundraising events in her time as Miss World Festival Queen, Alexa's charitable spirit has gone with her to Miss Illinois where she has launched a fundraising campaign for the Children's Miracle Network via the Miss America 2.0 website. You can find a link here at MissAmericaForKids.org. The Miss Illinois competition is taking place in Marion, Illinois from June June 12th to the 15th and the winner will move on the Miss America 2.0 competition. 

Walk-In Wednesday at OSF Saint Luke Medical Center

It's Wednesday and that means Walk-In Wednesday at OSF Saint Luke Medical Center. Walk-In Wednesday is aimed at women in need of a mammogram who may not have time to make an appointment. Carrie Boelens from OSF Saint Luke Medical Center says that with the new Walk-In program at OSF, women can just show up on Wednesdays with no appoitnmtent necessary... 


State Rep Swanson Explains Language of Graduated Income Tax and Lack of Promised Property Tax Relief

State Representative Dan Swanson spent Memorial Day at the capital in Springfield in the debate over the Graduated Income Tax. Despite the unanimous opposition of Representative Swanson's party the Bill passed and will place language to change the Illinois Constitution to remove a Flat Tax rate and replace it with a Graduated Income Tax on to the ballot as a ballot question in the November 2020 election. Representative Swanson explained the language in the bill... 

Meanwhile, Governor Pritzker is touting the bill and discussing Property Tax Relief. Representative Swanson explained that the bill passed on Monday, has no actual Property Tax Relief in it and discussed the Governor's theory as to how a Graduated Income Tax could affect property taxes... 

You can hear our complete interview with Representative Dan Swanson in our Tuned In Podcast at RegionalDailyNews.com. 

Kewanee City Council Meeting Wrap-Up 05-28-19

At last night's Kewanee City Council Meeting the Kewanee City Council spent most of the night hearing from Don Bixby of Chamlin and Associates. Bixby, an engineer, told the City Council that the situation at the City's Waste Water treatment plant is critical... 

That's the short term solution and the City of Kewanee will likely vote on a solution at the next Kewanee City Council Meeting. Long term, the problem with waste water remains and Don Bixby recommends that the city invest in what is called a Screw Press that would dry the waste and make it possible to haul and dispose of as dry waste in a landfill. That will involve an immediate capital investment but Bixby assured the council that in the long term, a Screw Press will save the City money over continuously hiring a company to drain the lagoon and dispose of the waste water that way. 

Other items on the agenda included the approval of an agreement with Carl Sandburge College to allow EMS students to ride along with Kewanee EMS workers, passed unanimouisly. A variance for Dean Olson at 629 West Prospect Street for a screened in porch, passed unanimously. An agreement with Peart Properties of Kewanee to provide janitorial services at Kewanee City Hall and at the Amtrak Depot, unanimously passed. A resolution allowing Cerno's Bar and Grill to make use of the parking area in the 200 Block of West Second Street and the public alley in conjunction with Kewanee Hog Days Passed Unanimously. Finally, there was a unanimous vote in favor of creating an ordinance that raises the minimum age to purchase cigarettes, tobacco products or E-Cigarettes from 18 to 21. Council Member Steve Faber voted in favor of the ordinance but voiced his displeasure over the state of Illinois requiring such an ordinance. 

Kewanee Mayor Gary Moore will join WKEI on Thursday to look back on Tuesday night's meeting in more detail. Today, the Mayor will continue interviews with candidates for the position of Kewanee City Clerk. 

East Moline Police Release Name of Suspect Involved in Officer Involved Shooting

The East Moline Police Department has released the name and photo of a suspect who is accused of Aggravated Discharge of a Firearm in a stand off with East Moline Police on May 25th. Darold S Strunk was released from a local medical facility on Tuesday and taken to the Rock Island County Jail. The investigation of the incident, in which Strunk is said to have fired his weapon at East Moline Police Officers following a traffic stop, leading to East Moline Police returning fire and striking Strunk, is now under the auspices of the Rock Island County Integrity Task Force who will turn over their findings to the Rock Island County State's Attorney. Further charges could be possible dependent on the findings of the Integrity Task Force. 

Kewanee Schools Music Boosters Golf Playday This Weekend

The 4th Annual Kewanee Schools Music Boosters Golf Playday is set for this Saturday, June 1st at Baker Park. This preferred ball tournament is intended to raise funds to support that remarkable Kewanee High School band that did such a tremendous job at the Memorial Day celebration at the American Legion this week and all other school music programs. There will be pin prizes on the course and a steak dinner at the 19th Hole Restaurant as part of the Golf Playday and the cost is only $45.00 per player. That cost includes a cart and your steak. To sign up contact Baker Park at 309-852-4653 or contact the Kewanee High School Music Boosters at 309-883-2377. Play gets underway with a shotgun start at 9 Am and the proceeds benefit the Kewanee Schools Music Boosters. 

Illinois Chamber Hoping for Capital Bill in Session's Closing Moments

The Illinois Chamber of Commerce has been at the forefront of efforts to promote a Capital Bill in hopes of repairing Illinois' ailing infrastructure. Chamber President/CEO Todd Maisch is concerned about what appears to be a lack of talks between Democrats and Republicans....

The Chamber has taken issue with some of Governor Pritzker's proposed funding sources for a Capital Bill, in particular a new media streaming tax for non-transportation construction. The Chamber calls that revenue stream an unreliable foundation for funding because "it will be complex, unpopular and possibly unconstitutional."


Lock and Dam Work to Soon Start on Illinois River

Some of the locks and dams on the Illinois River will get some work this summer. The projects start next month. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Park Ranger Julie McDonald says the locks at Starved Rock and Marseilles will be shut down. Recesses will be put in to prepare them to be drained for more work next summer.

The Starved Rock and Marseilles locks and dams will be closed during the daytime for all of June, most of July, and half of August. In the second half of August, they’ll be closed completely.

Social Security Promoting Veterans Preference Programs

As we remembered those who served on Memorial Day, Social Security reminds the public of the programs they have to honor those that have served in the armed forces. Jack Myers with Social Security says they focus on the families of those heroes and their though benefits for widows, widowers, and dependent children. Myers also adds they recognize veterans that may be eligible for survivors benefits.

According to Myers, if a military member has been injured, claims through Social Security will be expedited and outlines what you need to do to get that process going...

Myers notes an example of an expedited claim would be a veteran that has a 100-percent permanent and total compensation rating from the US Department of Veterans Affairs. They also expedite disability claims for military service members who became disabled while on active duty after October 1, 2001. You can learn more by visiting socialsecurity.gov/survivors or socialsecurity.gov/woundedwarriors. 

Group of Republicans Say Hold off On State Capitol Plan

A group of Republicans lawmakers in Illinois are asking for the push for a capital bill to slow down. Members of the House Republicans want plans in the state to wait on a possible federal infrastructure plan. The group says the state shouldn’t be in the business of raising taxes and fees before seeing if the feds put together a nationwide $2 trillion dollar plan. Rep. Allen Skillicorn says even with a divided and deadlocked federal government we shouldn’t be worried about those dollars never coming or taking years to wind up being spent.


Rewrite of Abortion Laws Passes House

The Illinois House approves changes to the state’s abortion laws. The bill will require insurance companies to cover the cost of an abortion and also birth control. The changes also come with the types of procedures that will be allowed in Illinois. Democrat Rep. Maurice West, a minister, stood fast with his support of the bill.

Republican Rep. Avery Bourne says the fight wasn’t over access to abortions for women in the state.

The bill passes 64 to 50. It moves to the Senate for consideration. 

Honor Flight Benefit Returns to Bishop Hill

Bishop Hill - The Honor Flight Benefit will be returning to Bishop Hill Sunday, June 9th, 3-6 p.m. All proceeds from the day’s events will be donated to Honor Flight of the Quad Cities. The Filling Station Restaurant is organizing this benefit. If anyone wishes to volunteer or need more information about this benefit, please call the Filling Station at 309 927-3355.


In the last nine years, the community has raised more than $100,000 for the Quad Cities Chapter of the Honor Flight Network. Area veterans will be provided with a free trip to Washington, D.C. to visit their memorial with priority given to survivors of World War II, Korean War, and any veteran with a terminal illness. Honor Flight Quad Cities operates on donations from organizations and individuals. Representatives from the Honor Flight organization will be in Bishop Hill to answer questions and to accept applications.


After the Presentation of Colors, there will be a short program honoring our veterans. The program MC’s are State Representative Dan Swanson from the 74 th District and Jana Stenzel of Stenzel Auction Services. Shelley Kinzer of Bishop Hill will be providing patriotic music. There will be several speakers, including Representative Swanson. Seating is available but Honor Flight asks to bring lawn chairs just in case.


Following the program, there will be a live auction provided by Stenzel Auction Service. Auction items include Cubs-Cardinal tickets from Rick Brown Insurance, Mall of America entertainment packages from Regional Media, gift baskets, locally made quilts, pottery, pies, and other items. But auction items are still needed! Please call Glenda Wallace at (309) 540-8432 if you wish to donate items for the auction.


Finally, there will be a military retreat at 1800 hours exactly (6 pm) with a 21-gun salute and taps. Golf cart shuttle services, provided by Cambridge Cart, are provided from the edge of the park. For more information about the Bishop Hill Honor Flight Benefit, please call 309 927-3355.

Both Republicans and Democrats Frustrated at Last Second Pace of Debates and Bills

Illinois Republicans and Democrats do not agree on much but a few of them do agree that the pace of current legislation and debate ahead of the May 31st end  of the session deadline is frustrating. Lawmakers from both sides of the aisle have expressed concern that bills are moving to fast for necessary discussion and debate. Our Cole Lauterbach looks a little closer at the rush and the frustration of lawmakers in Springfield... 


People to People Adam Shuester Budget and Tax Research Director for Ideas Illinois on Passage of Progressive Tax

Adam Schuester from the Illinois Policy Institute was our guest on People for an in-depth conversation about the Progressive Income Tax bill that passed the House on Monday. What does it mean? Where s the Property Tax Relief? Where are the rates that come with the constitutional change? Why did the legislature only pass language for an amendment and not a full plan for executing the tax? Adam Schuester from the Illinois Policy Institute breaks down the Governor's approach and what the passage of yesterday's language truly means... 


Tuned In Special Carrie Boelens from OSF Saint Luke Medical Center

Carrie Boelens on a Tuesday? At 9:10 Am? It may not be our usual time due to the Holiday on Monday but we did manage to make our weekly visit with Carrie Boelens from OSF Saint Luke Medical Center this week and we discussed a number of topics, most pressingly, sign ups for the upcoming OSF Saint Luke Medical Center Golf Outing on Monday, June 3rd at Kewanee Dunes. Dr  Hayley Ralph and Dr Andy Peterson are each taking new patients at OSF and are accepting new appointments. And, Walk-In Wednesdays are an opportunity for those in need of a mammogram to get in and get one without the need of an appointment, just show up on Walk-Wednesday and you will be taken care of. 


Tuned In State Representative Dan Swanson on the Graduated Income Tax Passage

State Representative Dan Swanson joined WKEI for a special edition of Tuned In on Monday. Representative Swanson spoke on the House floor on Monday in opposition to Governor J.B Pritzker's constitutional amendment intended to do away with the state's current Flat Tax system in favor of a Progressive or Graduated system. All that was voted on in the end was the language of the amendment and not the actual tax rates which are part of another bill that is yet to get out of committee. State Representative Swanson addressed the many confusing aspects of this amendment as passed among other topics this morning on WKEI. 


Listen to Each Kewanee High School Band Performance at American Legion Memorial Day Tribute

Every part of Monday's Memorial Day tribute at the Kewanee American Legion was emotional and powerful and among those incredible moments were the performances of Kewanee High School Band. WKEI has compiled those performances for you here for you to reflect on Memorial Day and how remarkably talented these young performers are... yes, you can download these files... 


Musical Selection 1

Musical Selection 2 

Musical Selection 3 

Musical Selection 4


Kewanee City Council Agenda for May 28th 2019

With the Memorial Day Holiday having taken place on Monday, the Kewanee City Council will meet tonight at 7 Pm for the second meeting of the month of May. On the agenda are a slew of new items including requests related to Kewanee Hog Days, an agreement with Carl Sandburg College to allow their EMS students to work with Kewanee Emergency responders and several other items on the agenda which is listed below... 


1. Call to Order
2. Pledge of Allegiance
3. Consent Agenda
a. Approval of Minutes
b. Payroll
c. Staff Reports
d. Request from Kewanee Area Church Fellowship to host a bake sale on August 3, 2019, a Tag Day on
September 21, 2019, and the 41st annual CROP Walk on Sunday, October 6, 2019, all in support of local
food pantries.
e. Request from Cerno’s for the use of the parking lot at 213 W. Second St. on June 16, 2019 from 9:00 am
to 9:00 pm for the Hog City BBQ Challenge.
4. Presentation of Bills and Claims
5. Citizen Participation
6. Public Hearing: Conduct a public Hearing on the Appropriations Ordinance for the municipal fiscal year from
May 1, 2019 through April 30, 2020.
7. Business:
a) Presentation from Don Bixby, PE, of Chamlin & Associates on capital improvements needed for future
EPA compliance at the Waste Water Treatment Plant.
b) Consideration of a Resolution authorizing the City Manager, or his designee, to execute an agreement
with Carl Sandberg College.
c) Consideration of an Ordinance fixing appropriations for the fiscal year beginning May 1, 2019 and
ending April 30, 2020.
d) Acceptance of the minutes of the Zoning Board of Appeals from its meeting held on Wednesday,
May 15, 2019.
e) Consideration of an Ordinance granting a request for a variance to Dean Olson at 629 West Prospect
f) Consideration of a Resolution establishing premiums for eligible participants in the City of Kewanee
self-insured health care program.
g) Consideration of a Resolution authorizing an agreement to provide janitorial services for Kewanee City
Hall and the AMTRAK Depot with Peart Properties of Kewanee, Illinois.
h) Consideration of an Ordinance amending Chapters 95 and 113 of the Kewanee City Code increasing
the minimum age for the sale, purchase, and use of tobacco products, electronic cigarettes and
alternative nicotine products from 18 to 21 years old.
i) Consideration of a Resolution to authorize the use of the public alley and parking area in the 200 block
of West Second Street by Hype, Inc. d/b/a Cerno’s bar & grill in conjunction with Hog Days

State Senator Weaver Among Those Speaking Against Forced Unionization Bill

One company has already cancelled plans to build in Illinois and others may follow suit according to State Senator Chuck Weaver after a bill that would essentially force the unionization of some chemical plants in Illinois advanced in the Illinois Senate. Marquis Energy has shelved plans to build in Illinois over the plan that would require union workers. State Senator blasted the bill on the Senate floor... 

Our reporter Cole Lauterbach reports that the expanded bill would require not only that chemical plants require unionization but the construction of union plants could only be done by union workers as well, essentially forcing unionization... 


State Representative Dan Swanson Celebrated Memorial Day with House Floor Speech Tribute

State Representative Dan Swanson, himself a veteran of our military, took to the floor of the Illinois House of Representatives on Monday to give a stirring and emotional tribute to the men and women who gave their all for our country... 


While Governor Celebrates Tax Plan Passage Business Groups Unite in Opposition

The debate over the Progressive Income Tax bill lasted three hours on the House Floor on Monday but the outcome was never in doubt. The Democratic super-majority held together with 77 votes in favor to 44 Republicans standing opposed, Greg Bishop was on hand for the debate and the final vote... 

Governor J.B Pritzker spoke to reporters on Monday following the House passage of his Progressive Income Tax plan, a vote that places that plan on the ballot in the November 2020 election. Reporter Kim Howard was on hand at the Governor's Press Conference... 


Meanwhile, opposition fo the Governor's Progressive tax held press conferences of their own on Monday including a group of Illinois business owners. Reporter Greg Bishop has that story... 


Kewanee Mayor Gary Moore Speaks at American Legion Memorial Day Event

Kewanee Mayor Gary Moore was among those who spoke in honor of our departed veterans at the Kewanee American Legion Memorial Day event on Monday. Mayor Moore took the stage during the event to talk about the connection that he and our community have to so many stories of heroism at war... 

After the speech, Mayor Moore spoke to WKEI about the emotional impact of an event like this one... 


University of Illinois Study Examines Food Insecurity in Illinois

A recent study conducted by the University of Illinois shows nearly 11-percent of households throughout the state can be classified as "food insecure." Craig Gundersen in the U of I College of Agriculture, Environment and Consumer Sciences oversees the annual study;

Gundersen works with Feeding America, the network of food banks across the country to conduct the Map the Meal Gap report. Results come from a monthly U-S government questionnaire that queries households about food availability and affordability;

The study found the most food insecure Illinois households can be found in Alexander, Jackson, St. Clair, Champaign and Vermilion counties. Those with the most food-secure households include Kendall, Kane, Lake, McHenry and Monroe counties.

Illinois Lottery Raising Money for Police with New Blue Lottery Ticket

Lottery players can scratch to support police memorials and other law enforcement efforts. The “Blue” ticket is now being sold around Illinois and proceeds will go towards supporting the memory of fallen officers. Brendan Kelly Illinois State Police Director says a portion of the funds will 
also be used to keep current officers safe.

The Illinois Lottery Blue memorial ticket is now available wherever you purchase lottery tickets in Illinois. 

Trial Delayed for Stark County Couple Facing Neglect Charges

The trial of a former Lafayette Couple, has now been set for August of this year. The Peoria Journal Star first reported that Barbra Simoneaux, 47, and Dean Simoneaux. 62, had formally been charged with three felony counts of Criminal Neglect of a Disabled Person, along with three felony counts of Endangering the Life or Health of a Disabled Person. The charges stem from the death of 22 year old Marion Reynolds who died in August of 2017. According to prosecutors, during the two years prior to her death, Reynolds had not been provided adequate food or nutrition which led to her death and that the Simoneaux's knowingly did not provide care for the disabled woman who was on a feeding tube at the time of her death. Charges also extend to the treatment of Reynolds' intellectually disable brother and a pair of step-siblings. Barbra Simoneaux is the mother of all four children, including Marion, while Dean Simoneaux is said to be the father of the youngest child. Investigators have described their Lafayette home as a horror show of infestations, including fleas, garbage and human and animal waste. If convicted, both Barbra and Dean Simoneaux face up to 14 years in prison. Both are currently free on a cash bond. A trial date of June 18th has now been delayed until August 12th while Stark County prosecutors look over new evidence related to the condition of Marion Reynolds at the time of her death among other recently discovered evidence.  

State Rep Swanson Speaks Against Graduated Income Tax on House Floor

State Representative Dan Swanson was one of the 44 Republicans who stood in opposition to Governor Pritzker's bill calling for a change to the Illinois Constitution, eliminating the flat tax and adopting a Graduated Tax. State Representative Swanson took to the House Floor on Memorial Day as the Democratic Majority in the House looked to pass the Governor's plan on to the November 2020 ballot and spoke against the bill saying that for Illinois taxpayers 'enough is enough'... 

Also taking to the House Floor in opposition to the Governor's plan was State Representative Tony McCombie who was recently in Kewanee alongside Representative Swanson talking about why she has always opposed the Graduated Tax... 

Voters will now decide if the Governor's tax plan will become law when they vote on the Graduated Income Tax law on the November 2020 election ballot. State Representative Dan Swanson will be our guest at 8:10 Am on WKEI for a special early edition of Tuned In. 

Governor Pritzker Celebrating Passage of Fair Tax Promises Property Tax Relief to Come

Governor J.B Pritzker is celebrating the passage of the Fair or Graduated Income Tax bill in the House of Representatives on this Memorial Day. The Governor's signature tax proposal will now be on the ballot for voters to decide on in November of 2020. With the passage of the Bill came a promise from Governor Pritzker that Property Tax Relief would come with the change to a Fair Tax. The Governor made that promise in a statement which you can read here... 


“For years, Illinoisans have been fighting to make our income tax system more fair to middle class families and those striving to get there, and this monumental vote in the General Assembly means that voters will have the right to decide our system for themselves in November 2020,” said Gov. JB Pritzker. “Together, we will continue our fight to make sure that 97 percent of Illinoisans will pay the same or less in income taxes and only those making more than $250,000 pay more. I want to especially thank Senate President Cullerton, House Speaker Madigan and the working group of lawmakers who put this constitutional amendment on the ballot.”


Building on the Senate’s Fair Tax package, Gov. Pritzker and the group of lawmakers also announced the creation of the Property Tax Relief Task Force, designed to make recommendations that would give homeowners across the state property tax relief.  


The Property Tax Relief Task Force would be created through an amendment to the fair tax rate legislation that passed the Senate earlier this month, and the group would be required to report back to the Governor and the General Assembly by Dec. 31, 2019. An initial report will be due 90 days after the law takes effect.


“For far too long, families across Illinois have struggled under too-high property tax burdens and an unfair income tax system that protects the wealthiest,” Gov. JB Pritzker said. “This task force is a commonsense addition to the fair tax, which aims to protect the middle class and those striving to get there while those making $250,000 and above pay more.”


The Property Task Relief Task Force will be charged with using a racial and economic equity lens to identify the causes of increasingly burdensome property taxes across Illinois, review best practices in public policy strategies that create short- and long-term property tax relief for homeowners, and make recommendations to assist in the development of short- and long-term administrative, electoral, and legislative changes to create short- and long-term property tax relief for homeowners.


The group will include two appointees from the Office of the Governor, as well as members of the House and Senate appointed by their chambers’ leaders. An overview of the measure is attached.

Breaking News Illinois House Passes Governor Pritzker' Graduated Income Tax Bill

The Illinois House of Representatives today, on a party line vote, passed Governor Pritzker's signature tax proposal, the Graduated Income Tax, or as the Governor refers to it, the Fair or Progressive Tax. The passage means that voters in Illinois will decide whether or not the state will abandon the current, constitutionally mandated Flat Tax in favor of a Graduated Tax which would tax the highest earners in the state at a higher rate than those in the middle or low income tax brackets. The rates, i.e what the rate of tax will be for each income tier, have not been determined and will be negotiated as part of a separate bill currently in committee. Adam Schuester from the Illinois Policy Institute will be a guest on WKEI on Tuesday at 9:35 with more on the Graduated Income Tax.  

Kewanee Police Announce Arrest of Armed Robbery Suspect

Kewanee Police have announced the arrest of a man suspected of armed robbery over the weekend in Kewanee. According to the release from Kewanee Police Chief Troy Ainley, Kewanee Police were dispatched to an apartment in the area of Fairview Homes at approximately 3:37 Am on Saturday morning. As Kewanee Police were reporting to the scene, they were informed about a subject with a weapon having stolen $80.00 from the apartment and fleeing the scene. Not long after, Kewanee Police located the suspect's vehicle and made a traffic stop. Arrested in that stop was 29 year old Francisco Torres-Paredes of Kewanee, charged with Armed Robbery and Unlawful Possession of a Firearm. Also charged in this incident was 18 year old Steven Earthely who was cited for Disorderly Conduct. 

WKEI Celebrity Interview: The Diesel Brothers Monster Jump on the Discovery Channel

You will not believe the crazy, record breaking stunts that Heavy D and Diesel Dave, Discovery Channel's The Diesel Brothers, have in store for their live stunt show on Monday night at 7 Pm on The Discovery Channel. The show is called "Monster Jump" and they are not kidding around with that title as the jump they have planned is quite a monster. I won't keep you in suspense, The Diesel Brothers are going to jump a monster truck over an airplane. And they are going to do this stunt on live TV on Memorial Day from the decommissioned military base Wendover Airfield. It's as crazy as it sounds and even Diesel Dave and Heavy D can't believe their being allowed to bring #MonsterJump to life as a tribute to the troops on Memorial Day at 7 Pm. 


People to People Henry County Board Chairman Marshall Jones 05-24-19

Henry County has a pair of new Board members and a brand new Director of Economic Development following Thursday night's Henry County Board Meeting. John Sovanski officially took his place on the Henry County Board on Thursday night as did James Thompson of Colona. The big announcement on Thursday night however was Jim Kelly from the Geneseo Chamber of Commerce accepting the position of Henry County Director of Economic Development. Mr Kelly will assume his new role on July 1st after finishing his time with the Geneseo Chamber of Commerce Director. Henry County Board Chariman Marshall Jones was our guest this morning on WKEI... 


Tuned In Nick Welgat and Jon Hornback Nolan Keane Baseball Classic

Nick Welgat and Jon Hornback are still getting used to how big the Nolan Keane Baseball Classic has become in just 6 years. The sixth edition of the Nolan Keane tournament gets underway on Friday, June 14th with the opening games and then it is off to the races with three venues, Kewanee, Annawan and Neponset, running multiple games at once. In our Tuned In podcast interview, Nick and Jon talk about the numbers and the building excitement for the Nolan Keane Baseball Classic... 


Cerno's Bar and Grill in the Running for Illinois Beef Association Best Burger in Illinois

Cerno's Bar and Grill is in the running for the Best Burger in Illinois. The Illinois Beef Association is on the way to crowning the best burger in Illinois and Cerno's is currently up against 5 other Illinois restaurants in the race for the win. We sat down with Brian Crabtree at Cerno's over one of the best burgers in the state of Illinois, it more than lives up to the hype, by the way, and talked about how Cerno's had no idea they were even in the running for this honor and how much they appreciate it... 

As we enjoyed one of these incredible burgers we asked Brian the best advice for how to make a great burger... 

The voting for the Illinois Beef Association Best Burger in Illinois Contest is open now so if you want to vote for Cerno's Bar and Grill you can do so at this link-to the Illinois Beef Association Best Burger in Illinois Survey. 

Volunteers Needed this Morning to Place Flags at Cemetaries for Memorial Day

Volunteers are needed this morning in Kewanee to place flags at Kewanee Cemetaries in honor of our veterans who gave their all. If you can volunteer this morning, meet up with Jerry Thompson at the Kewanee American Legion at 9 Am this morning. You wlll receive instructions when you get there on placing the flags. 

Levitt Amp Galva Concert Series Preview Show on Tuesday on Facebook Live

John Taylor and Jason Bates with the Levitt Amp Galva Concert Series joined WKEI on our People to People Program on Thursday to get you ready for the free concert series which gets underway on Sunday, June 2nd in Wiley Park. As part of the promotion for the kick off of the second year of Levitt Amp, the organizers will hold a special Facebook Live event on Tuesday night from Wiley Park. The event will be in conjunction with Done Right TV and we give you the chance to see the park and the concert set up ahead of the first show of the summer... 

Check out the Levitt Amp Galva Concert Series on Facebook for further details on times and how to view Tuesday night's live preview show. 

Kewanee Library Using Jeopardy Game Show to Promote Summer Reading

While the Summer Reading program for Kids rightly gets most of the attention at the Kewanee Public Library, summer reading isn't entirely about the kids. The Kewanee Public Library also has programs for adults and this year, the library is using the resurgent popularity of the game show Jeopardy to try to get adult visitors to the library into their summer reading program as Sara Billiet explains... 

Contact the Kewanee Public Library for more on how you can win prizes and take part in their adult summer reading program. 

State Rep Swanson Cold War License Plate Bill Unanimoisly Passes the Senate

State Representative Dan Swanson's Cold War License Plate bill is headed to the desk of Governor J.B Pritzker after passing the Senate on Thursday in a unanimous, 54 to 0 vote. This followed unanimous passage in the House last month. Representative Swanson spoke about why he felt creating cold war license plates was a proper tribute to those who served to members of the Senate on Thursday... 


State Rep McCombie Calls on Illinois Senate to Stand with DCFS Workers

At a press conference at the capital on Thursday, State Representative Tony McCombie stood with both Republican and Democrat lawmakers to call on the Illinois Senate to move forward on House Bill 1482. 

House Bill 1482 was came about after DCFS worker Pam Knight was murdered while on the job advocating for a child. Knight was pulled from her car, beaten and murdered by a relative of the child she was there to investigate on behalf of. HB1482 would give the same protections currently given to first responders to DCFS workers and create larger criminal penalties to those who would attack DCFS workers. 

The bill is currently stalled without a committee assignment and at this point appears unlikely to move forward before the end of the legislative session on May 31st. 

Illinois State Police Will be Border to Border this Weekend with Click it or Ticket

The Illinois State Police will be border to border with seatbelt enforcement over the holiday weekend. But seatbelt enforcement, as part of the Click it or Ticket campaign, isn't the ISP's only concern this weekend. The Memorial Day Holiday weekend often leads to an increase in DUI arrests. According to numbers released by the Illinois State Police, just last year alone, the Illinois State Police made 109 DUI arrests over the Memorial Day Weekend 2018. Also during that same period in 2018, the Illinois State Police issued 5294 traffic citations and 5206 written warnings to drivers. Those numbers include 815 seatbelt citations, a number the Illinois State Police are hoping will be lower this weekend by reminding drivers that the Click it or Ticket campaign of 2019 will be Border to Border, State Police will be all over the state enforcing traffic laws. So, put on your seatbelt, put down your phone, mind the speed limit and whatever you do, do not drink and drive. 

Diesel and Gas Prices Now Running Even

he gas and diesel market now running even. Reaction from Harry Cooney, Manager of Customer Risk Management for GROWMARK.

According to Triple A, the current Illinois average for a gallon of gasoline sits at $2.98 a gallon, which is 11-cents lower than a year ago. Diesel prices in Illinois are averaging $2.96 a gallon, 13 cents lower than a year ago. 

April Jobs Numbers in Illinois are Good

April continued to be a good jobs month. Ten metro area’s around the state posted growth in year over year numbers says the Illinois Department of Employment Security. 

That’s Sam Salustro. He says jobs are being filled even as there is an uptick in the unemployment rate because more folks are out looking for work and that increases the rate.

Push Back Against Pritzker Tax Plans

As the final days click off the spring session at the state house Republicans continue to push back against tax plans by the Governor and other Democrats. Pritzker’s plan for a graduated income tax comes at time when he and others are proposing to raise motor fuel taxes and other fees to pay for billions in highway construction, other transportation projects and vertical infrastructure at college campus and other state faculties. But Republicans say enough is enough. Republican Rep. Tom Weber says the state can find other ways to pay for services. 

Pritzker claims Republicans and others aren’t being upfront about his plans.

The spring legislative session wraps up at the end of May.

IL Farm Bureau Reaction to Latest Trade Mitigation Package

USDA announcing another trade mitigation package for farmers. It includes $14.5 billion in direct payments. Reaction from Illinois Farm Bureau’s Adam Nielsen.

Jonathan Coppess is with the University of Illinois College of Agricultural and Consumer Economics. He worries the payments may create more problems. 

Payments will be based on one county rate – regardless of commodity planted. County rates will be announced later. USDA estimates the first payment to be made in July/August.


Regional Daily News Celebrity Interview Former Biggest Loser Trainer and Heart Attack Survivor Bob Harper

Many were shocked when well known fitness trainer Bob Harper, a beloved figure on NBC's The Biggest Loser, suffered a heart attack at age 51. It turned out that Bob's family had a history of trouble that he wasn't aware of and this eye opening discovery led him to join the effort to raise heart attack awarness and get people to not only keep an eye on lifestyle issues that can lead to heart problems but familial health histories and genetic pre-dispositions. Bob has teamed with Astra-Zeneca and SurvivorsHaveHeart.com in the awareness effort. 


People to People John Taylor and Jason Bates Levitt Amp Galva Concert Series

Jason Bate and John Taylor were our guests on People to People on Thursday to talk about the Levitt Amp Galva Concert Series which gets underway the first weekend in June and continues for 10 weeks of unique and eclectic Sunday concerts in Wiley Park in Galva. Jason and John will be part of special Facebook live stream on Tuesday night intended to build the anticipation for the first of the 10 concerts to come in the Levitt Amp Galva Concert Series. 


Tuned In Sara Billiet from the Kewanee Public Library 05-23-19

Sara Billiet from the Kewanee Public Library was our guest on Tuned In on Thusday. Sara joined us to talk about the Summer Reading Programs at the Kewanee Public Library including programs for young kids, you adults and even moms and dads. We also talked about book clubs and how you can still get in for the monthly book clubs at the Kewanee Public Library... 


Illinois State Senate Taking Steps Toward Adopting Green New Deal

The Illinois State Senate made a move toward adopting the Green New Deal. On Thursday, the state Senate voted to remove restrictions put in place by the 1998 Kyoto agreement, a necesssary first step toward adopting new legislation that mirrors the so-called Green New Deal. Reporter Cole Lauterbach has more from Springfield.... 


-UPDATE- Kewanee Sewers to be Televised and Cleaned Tomorrow

The City of Kewanee will be having the sewers of the Payson Street 100 block and the 600 to 800 block of North Chestnut Street be both televised and cleaned tomorrow, Friday, May 24th. These streets will be open, but the city advises residents to avoid these areas if possible and to take caution if driving near the work zone areas.

The sewers will be lined, as of right now, on Thursday, May 30th, 2019. There is a possibility of date change.

If citizens have any questions, they may call City Hall at 309-852-2611.

Gary Metivier The Heart of the Story Debuts Tonight on YouTube

Gary Metivier's new YouTube channel, The Heart of the Story debuts its first story tonight and it is going to be an emotional one. Gary is profiling healing horses equine therapy and PTSD. Gary talks with vets and the people who organize equine therapy to help veterans dealing with PTSD. It is known that animals, in this case horses, can have a remarkable healing power and nowhere is that better proven than in this story coming tonight from Gary Metivier. The Heart of the Story goes live at 7 Pm this evening on YouTube. You can see the first episode when it goes live tonight below... 


Illinois Collaboration on Youth (ICOY) Offers Solutions to Fix Child Welfare System

SPRINGFIELD – Illinois’ largest group of child-serving Community-Based Organizations, the Illinois Collaboration on Youth (ICOY), today outlined five critical changes it believes will help reverse the course of the state’s overwhelmed child welfare system and put it on a new path to long-term stability. The recommendations come a week after the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) released a report looking at the Intact Family Services program -- one part of the child welfare system.


“Our hearts are wrenched by the regular news of preventable child deaths and statistics fill in the story behind these headlines.  Illinois ranks worst in the nation for important measures of child safety and permanency; children and youth remain in care far longer than they should; and more than half of existing caseworker staff are leaving in various labor markets across the state.  We must make changes now to reverse these trends,” said Andrea Durbin, Chief Executive Officer, Illinois Collaboration on Youth.


Illinois Collaboration on Youth (ICOY) is one of Illinois’ provider voice for children, youth, and families. It promotes the safety, health, and success of Illinois’ children, youth, and families by acting as a collective voice for policy and practice, and by connecting and strengthening the organizations that serve them.? ICOY shapes practices and policies and builds the capacity of agencies so that children, youth, and families in Illinois can be safe and healthy.


Community-based providers serve more than 80% of the children, youth, and families in the child welfare system. To turn this situation around, ICOY is proposing solutions that target universal issues that lead to system-wide failures. To implement these, the state will need to invest appropriate and even extraordinary resources over the next 3-5 years to right-size the system and serve children, youth, and families effectively with smaller overall system spending.


1. Rebuild Trust by Strengthening Illinois’ Public/Private Partnership


The relationship between the State of Illinois and its community-based partners, that care for  more than 80% of the children and youth in the state’s child welfare system, has deteriorated over time.


  • Integrated care, managed care, and value-based payment models offer real promise to deliver quality care and better outcomes for our clients, but these system reforms cannot be created without having key community stakeholders involved in the planning and implementation process from start to finish.

Solution: Create a transparent, inclusive, and mutually accountable planning process that includes real-time data sharing and targeted problem solving with the private sector about child and system needs.


2. Reformulate the Rate Structure for Community-Based Organizations to Drive Outcomes


For 16 of the past 18 years – an entire childhood’s length of time – Illinois has neglected to invest in the child welfare system, putting off system improvements and innovations, and failing to keep up with the steady increases in the cost of doing this work.  


  • In 2019, community-based organizations are  projected to receive less than 10% of new funding proposed in Governor Pritzker’s introduced budget  while caring for more than 80% of the children in the system.
  • Stagnant rates squeeze community-based organizations  and divert attention to cost-containment strategies as  organizations struggle to keep up with rising costs.
  • Community-based organizations can only provide starting salaries well below the new $15/hour minimum wage, and two to three times below the wages earned by equivalent DCFS caseworkers.

Solution: Immediately provide $30.7 million in emergency funding in the FY2020 budget for community providers. Then institute rate methodologies for all DCFS contracts to ensure that programs have adequate resources to operate programs safely and effectively, and to deliver the kind of outcomes that children and families deserve. Update these methodologies annually to account for actual costs to deliver services.


3. Improve Coordination of Inter-Agency Resources to Prevent Child Removal and Increase Child Reunifications and Adoptions


Supporting fragile families and protecting children from abuse and neglect is not just the responsibility of the Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) and requires a multi-system community-based approach. Any state agency that serves children and families should be involved in building well-being and helping families achieve stability.


  • Better coordination between state departments is critical to creating a more cohesive system that coordinates  services including mental health treatment, substance abuse treatment, parenting programs, child care, and early childhood education programs, and community programs that support youth and deflect them from the child welfare system.

Solution: DCFS must partner with its community-based providers to better identify service planning gaps and develop contracts and services to meet those needs. Providers need flexible funding and contractual flexibility within the continuum of services offered at their organizations to meet children’s needs as soon as they are identified, rather than waiting for a child to “fail up” to a more expensive intensive treatment level.


4. Address the Workforce Crisis


Both the DCFS and the community-based child welfare workforce are experiencing a turnover crisis. Caseworker turnover is approaching 50% in various labor markets across Illinois,  while community-based organizations struggle to maintain a sufficient workforce of trained and experienced professionals. Research shows that for children in foster care, every worker turnover increases a child’s length of stay in the DCFS system by approximately six (6) months.


  • Excessive turnover disrupts relationships, challenges communication, and creates opportunities for mistakes and gaps in service.

Solution: Implement the Child Welfare Workforce Task Force that was approved by the General Assembly in 2018 but never put into action.  The Task Force will bring bipartisan and expert focus to a fundamental problem at the core of child welfare practice. The Task Force should consider:


  • Raising caseworker, supervisor, and therapist salaries to competitive levels
  • Implementing better staff training, including expansion of problem-based learning through the experiential simulation labs
  • Establishing waivers for college or graduate school loans
  • Lowering casework to supervisor ratios
  • Eliminating duplication and “box checking” to allow for more meaningful family engagement with people rather than paper


5. Strengthen the Relationship Between Child Welfare and the Juvenile Court


Juvenile courts across the state interact daily with the child welfare system, and yet no systematic effort has been made to engage and strategize with them.


  • Child Dependency Court stakeholders include judges and court personnel, states’ attorneys, public defenders, public guardians, guardians ad litem, court appointed special advocates (CASA), the ACLU, and community providers, as well as leadership and staff at the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services.

Solution: Illinois should implement a forum for regular engagement with Child Dependency Court stakeholders for the purpose of information and data sharing, problem identification, and the development of systemic solutions. By modeling this forum after the successful Juvenile Justice Collaborative in Illinois that focuses on the juvenile delinquency process. Illinois could provide an ongoing forum for dialogue and problem solving that can be sustained beyond the tenure of one Administration.

Galva Mayor Rich Volkert Talks Streets and Infrastructure

The Galva City Council recently approved of a series of street and sewer projects that, while they required some borrowing of funds, were necessary due to aging infrastructure. Mayor Rich Volkert talked about the projects on People to People on Wednesday... 

Infrastructure projects may not get the most headlines but they are among the most essential projects that cities deal with year after year as infrastructure ages...

You can hear our entire interview with Galva Mayor Rich Volkert in our People to People Podcast. 

Kewanee Schools Superintendent Keeping an Eye on Springfield as Budget Season Looms

Kewanee Schools Superintendent Dr Chris Sullens may have the end of the school year to tend to but he is also keeping an eye on Springfield where the fiscal year budget for the state of Illinois is slowly coming together. As the Superintendent, what happens in Springfield can have a significant effect on what Kewanee Schools are able to do in terms of grants, awards and other matters of budget... 

Dr Chris Sullens was our guest this week on People to People. 

Governor Pritzker Defending Proposed Tax Increases on All Aspects of Driving

Speaking to reporters on Wednesday, Governor J.B Pritzker defended tax increaes that he has proposed regarding driving, specifically an increase in the motor fuel tax, an increase in car registration fees and a surcharge on ride-sharing services, among others. The Governor believes that such taxes are necessary to fund infrastructure improvements in Illinois.


Governor Pritzer Claims Property Tax Relief is Part of Fair Tax Plan

A sticking point for lawmakers on both sides of the political divide when it comes to Governor J.B Pritzker's Progressive Tax plan is property tax relief. Both Republicans and Democrats want specific property tax relief as part of any bill that might change the tax system in the state of Illinois. Governor J.B Pritzker claims that property tax relief is built into the bill. Our Greg Bishop has more.... 


Fresh Bacon Index Established by CME Group

CME Group has unveiled the Fresh Bacon Index. 

The CME Groups’s Fred Seamon says the Fresh Bacon Index establishes a weekly bacon price each Monday based on a combination of negotiated and formula transactions, readily available from the USDA. The index price reflects the value of one load--40,000 pounds of fresh, skinless pork bellies in cents per pound.


State Rep Swanson Insurance Coverage for Lyme Disease Bill Heads to Governor Pritzker

State Representative Dan Swanson's House Bill 889 mandating insurance coverage for Lyme Disease treatment is headed to Governor J.B Pritzker's desk. The bill passed in the Senate unanimously and now awaits the Governor's signature. House Bill 889 would require insurance companies to cover treatment for those who suffer from Lyme Disease. Representative Swanson spoke about the bill prior to the vote... 

After the vote, Representative Swanson spoke to reporters about what inspired the bill..  


Air National Guard Members Deploy to Africa

Aviators and support staff from the Illinois Air National Guard are going on a mission to the horn of Africa. The soldiers are part of a larger military support effort and will air lift personnel around the region says Illinois Adjutant General Richard Neely.

The troops in Detachment Five, Company A, hail from around central Illinois. 

Quad Cities to Become Test Case for Why Jobs Are Leaving Illinois

The goal is to keep jobs in Illinois but first, lawmakers need to determine why jobs are leaving the state in the first place. State Senator Neil Anderson is behind a move to create the Quad Cities Outsourcing Prevention Task Force. The goal of the task force is to find out what causes businesses to leave Illinois, taking with them the jobs that would go with that business. According to State Senator Anderson, the Quad Cities are ideally suited to be the test case for this task force being a highly competitive border area. If the bill creating the task force is signed by Governor J.B Pritzker it would create an 11 member task force that would consist of 8 lawmakers, four from each party, a member appointed by the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity, a Union Worker and a representative of the Quad Cities business community. The task force woulld then meet to study the issue and return a full report to the General Assemby by January 1st, 2020. 

State Senator Neil Anderson Backs Bill Inspired By Life Saving School Nurse

Jennifer Jacobs has worked as a school nurse for 17 years and that experience and knowledge paid off when she was able to save the life of a student at Glenview Middle School East Moline last year. With a student suffering from low blood sugar suffering tremors and not responding to typical treatments, Jacobs made a heart-rending decision and admininistered medicine to the child that did not belong to that child. The medicine, called Glucagon, was the only medicine that could have saved this child's life and in this case, it kept the child alive long enough for paramedics to arrive and administer a second dose. This harrowing experience led to the creation of House Bill 822 which is now being championed by State Senator Neil Anderson and will allow schools to purchase and have on hand Glucagon for just such emergencies as the one Jennifer Jacobs was in when she broke the rules and saved a young girl's life. Ray Watt has more on the progress of the bill in the Illinois Senate... 


People to People Galva Mayor Rich Volkert 05-22-19

Galva Mayor Rich Volkert was our guest today on People to People. The Mayor of Galva discussed the most recent Galva City Council meeting, recent work on City streets in Galva and improvements in the City sewer system that are ongoing. We also discusssed the effort to rehab the Galva Opera House and the stage work for the Levitt Amp Galva Concert Series. You can stream or download our interview with Galva Mayor Rich Volkert below... 


Illinois State Police Announce Aggravated Fleeing Arrest

The Illinois State Police have announced charges against a Chicago man who fled from police following a Monday morning traffic stop. According to a release from the Illinois State Police, the incident occured on Monday morning at approximately 1:40 Am, an Illinois State Police trooper began a traffic stop in the area of Mile Marker 24 near Atkinson. The driver of the vehicle, 28 year old Andre Stackhouse of Chicago was asked and did step out of his vehicle which was subsequently searched. In the search, the trooper located a gun in the vehicle's center console. When the trooper attempted to take Stackhouse into custody, Stackhouse attempted to flee and after unsuccessfully deploying a taser on the suspect, the suspect returned to his vehicle and attempted to flee. A Henry County Sheriff's Deputy and local police in Geneseo attempted to aid the State Trooper in the pursuit with Geneseo deploying spike strips that disabled one of the tires on the suspect vehicle. The suspect continued to flee from authorities, eventually crossing the I-80 Bridge into Iowa where Scott County Sheriff's Deputies picked up the chase and eventually disabled the vehicle and took the suspect into custody.  Stackhouse is charged in Henry County with Aggravated Fleeing to Elude, Resisting Arrest, Unlawful Use of a Weapon and multiple traffic offenses. On the Iowa side, Stackhouse faces misdemeanor charges for Eluding, No Driver's License and Open Container violations. 

Illinois State Fair Lowers Admission Prices

SPRINGFIELD, IL – Kevin Gordon, Manager of the Illinois State Fair (ISF) in Springfield has announced that Sunday through Thursday daily admission prices have been lowered to $5 for adults during the 2019 State Fair—senior prices will remain at $3 and children 12 years of age and younger are free. This is being done to make the fair a more affordable family-friendly experience. Parking on the fairgrounds is still only $5 a day.


The Discount Admission Booklets which provide an adult 11 any day admissions for the fair are still only $45—a savings of $30. Tickets can be purchased on-line anytime at IllinoisStateFair.info, or by calling (217-782-6661), and in person at the Emmerson Building on the fairgrounds from 8 a.m. – 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday.


"With the lowering of our adult admission price, the Illinois State Fair continues to be the most affordable state fair in the midwest," says Kevin Gordon, ISF Manager. "We offer a variety of fun, family events such as livestock shows, agricultural exhibits, top music entertainment in our grandstand, 13 stages with free entertainment and carnival rides for the young or old at heart—just to mention a few."


In addition to the already low daily admission prices, the fair also offers free admission to special attendees with proper ID on the theme days listed below:

  • Sunday, August 11 – Veterans (includes immediate family members) & Gold Star Families Day

  • Monday, August 12 – Senior Day for Seniors 60 years and over

  • Friday, August 16 – First Responders Day

The 2019 Illinois State Fair, August 8 through 18, in Springfield. For more information on all the latest news and announcements from the Illinois State Fair visit their Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram accounts.

Report: Medicaid the Ticket to Healthier Moms, Babies in IL

A new report shows that since expanding Medicaid five years ago, Illinois has nearly cut in half its rate of women of childbearing age who lack health-care coverage. According to data released by the Georgetown University Center for Children and Families, the uninsured rate for Illinois women between ages 18 and 44 fell from roughly 17% to 9% between 2013 and 2017. Kathy Waligora, interim executive director of EverThrive Illinois, says Medicaid coverage helps ensure women and children have what they need to be healthy.

"Health insurance is the ticket to the health-care system," Waligora says, "and the choice to expand Medicaid by the State of Illinois was an important step in driving improvements in health."

She adds Medicaid coverage is linked to better outcomes before, during and after pregnancy, as well as lower rates of both maternal and infant mortality. The report found a 50% greater reduction in infant mortality in states that expanded Medicaid than in non-expansion states. Joan Alker, executive director of the Georgetown University Center for Children and Families, says Medicaid also provides access to behavioral health services for mothers that can create better long-term outcomes for both moms and children.

"Things like maternal-depression screening and treatment, treatment for substance-use disorders, smoking cessation - all of those are benefits that Medicaid can and does cover. So, those are likely to have really positive, two-generational impacts."

Waligora says the report also is well-timed, as Illinois lawmakers are considering legislation that would further expand Medicaid for new moms.

"This bill expands Medicaid coverage to 12 months postpartum for all women in the State of Illinois," she explains. "It shows that Medicaid is important for driving health outcomes, and this report can help us to further expand Medicaid and provide access to life-saving care as well as important preventive care."

Senate Bill 1909/a> is awaiting approval in the House.

More than 600,000 Illinoisans have gained health-care coverage as a result of Medicaid expansion.


Property Tax Relief and Tax Rates Sticking Points on Progressive Tax Debate

Governor Pritzker's Progressive Tax plan may have made it out of committee but even members of the Governor's own party have their reservations as debate is set to begin. Many on both sides of the political divide would like to see Property Tax relief be part of the negotiation of the bill while others would prefer that a bill setting the tax rates under a Progressive plan be debated at the same time as the amendment itself is discussed. The bill discussing the actual tax rates is still in committee. Greg Bishop has more... 


Credit Rating Agency Says Illinois is Not Recession Ready

Credit rating agency Moody's claims that the state of Illinois is one of two states that are not recession ready. Illinois and New Jersey are both in such financial distress and have so little in economic reserve that the states will struggle more than any others during the next economic downturn. Our Cole Lauterbach has more... 


FOID Fingerprint Law to Be Debated In Illinois House

The debate over whether those seeking an FOID Card should be subjected to fingerprinting moves to the House floor this week. The bill passed out of committee on Tuesday on a party line vote and now awaits the full vote of the Illinois House. Our reporter Greg Bishop has more on the debate over fingerprinting FOID Card seekers... 


Kewanee Class of 2019 Earned More than $104,000 in Combined Scholarships

Kewanee Schools Superintendent Dr Chris Sullens was our guest on People to People on Tuesday. Dr Sullens reflected on the graduating class of 2019 and the tremendous ceremony in their honor. And Dr Sullens touted the class leaders, the valedictorians and salutatorians while thanking the Kewanee Schools Foundation for helping students achieve more than $104,000 in scholarships moving forward... 

You can hear our complete conversation with Dr Chris Sullens discussing graduation at Kewanee High School in our People to People Podcast at RegionalDailyNews.com. 

Illinois Chamber official: Graduated Tax Plan Needs Numbers

The full Illinois House is now set to consider legislation that would give the voters the chance to create a graduated tax system in Illinois where wealthy residents pay a larger percentage of their income. Tyler Diers with the Illinois Chamber of Commerce believes voters will want specifics, namely hard numbers.....

The legislation moved out of the House Revenue Committee on Monday


Farmers Considering Options as Struggle to Get Crops in the Ground Continues

Farmers are struggling to get crops in the ground due to the record wet weather across Illinois. Annaleah Emm from the Stark County Farm Bureau tells WKEI that farmers have to consider their options between alternative crops or preventive planting... 

Annaleah Emm was our guest on Tuned In on Tuesday on WKEI and she was telling us about the options among preventive planting and tiling... 

Meanwhile the rain doesn't appear to be letting up much with a minimum of dry days expected over the final two weeks of May. 

Illinois Farmers Hoping for a Couple of Dry Days

Illinois farmers looking for a long stretch of dry weather. Freese-Notis ag meteorologist Dan Hicks is hoping that can happen.

There will be a few dry days for the remainder of the week, but rain is also in the forecast, again. And that continues to compound spring planting with the latest Illinois crop report showing only 24-percent of the corn crop has been planted and just 9-percent of the soybean crop, both well below the five-year average.


Neponset American Post 875 Will Host Memorial Day Services

Neponset American Legion Post #875 will hold its annual Memorial Day Program at 11 Am on Monday, May 27th at the Neponset Community Building. The guest speaker for this year's event is Neponset Grade School Principal Dana Bates. Bates' family has a long history of serving in the armed services and her perspective an educator and administrator with that service background gives her a unique perspective. After the speaker, the American Legion will present colors and students from Neponset Grade School will aid in the ceremony. Members of the American Legion will then honor veterans buried at Floral Hill and West Cemetaries. The American Legion is asking Neponset residents to pleace fly the American Flag over the Memorial Day weekend as part of the celebration. The Neponset Historical Society will have special hours on Monday to showcase family histories of local veterans. For more information contact USMC retired Colonel Gary Miller at 562-308-0576. 

Kewanee American Legion Post to Hold Memorial Day Service

The Kewanee American Legion Post #31 will hold their annual Memorial Day Service at 10 Am on Monday, May 27th at 10 Am. The annual service features musical selections from the Kewanee High School Band, the presentation of colors, and POW-MIA services headed up by Ted Canellos. Mayor Gary Moore will speak at the event which is also expected to be attended by members of the Kewanee City Council along with City Manager Gary Bradley. The Poppy Boy and Poppy Girl for the Legion and the VFW Post will be on hand as well, Post 31 Poppy Boy Maxson Welgat and Poppy Girl Summer VanWinkle and Post Poppy Boy Ethan Huffman and Poppy Girl Emma Huffman. Kewanee Veterans Council President Glenn Morey will speak just before the laying of wreaths in honor of all American wars as well as the ceremonial Unknown Soldier. The event will be followed by an open house at the American Legion sponsored by the family of Jerry Weir. The event will also be followed by the American Legion Post #31 Free Community Cookout from 12 Noon until 4 Pm. 

Drummer for Mannheim Steamroller to Hold Drum Clinic in Galva

The drummer for the legendary live performers Mannheim Steamroller is coming to Galva. Tom Sharpe has been the primary drummer for Mannheim Steamroller and has filled in as drummer for the band Styx and in solo performances of Styx lead singer Dennis Deyoung. Sharpe will be holding a drum workshop for aspiring musicians on Saturday, June 22nd from 2 Pm until 3:30 Pm at First Baptist Church in Galva. The workshop is a joint effort of the Galva Arts Council and the Levitt Amp Galva Music Series and is free to anyone who would like to attend. For more information contact Levitt Amp Galva on Facebook

Kewanee Fire Department to Resume Fire Hydrant Flow Testing

The Kewanee Fire Department will resume flow testing of fire hydrants on Tuesday, May 28th. According to a release from the City of Kewanee, work will begin at 8 Am and will continue on Tuesdays and Thursdays through the fall. The tests are intended to check hydrant capacity and track flow pressure data. They goal is also to remove any sediment build up. The first areas where hydrant testing will be conducted will be Rice Street to North Tremont Street, and West 4th Street to West 8th Streets, including the 500 to 700 Blocks of Cambridge Road. 

Kewanee Police Want Homeowners, Landlords to Repair or Replace Missing Address Numbers

Kewanee Police Chief Troy Ainley is calling on homeowners and landlords to make sure address numbers are clearly displayed to help first responders. City of Kewanee ordinance requires that address numbers be clearly displayed in a position that is legible and easily seen from the street. Address numbers should be in Arabic Numerals or Alphabet letters and must be at least 4 inches in height. If you have any questions regarding the display of address numbers you can contact Kewanee Police at 309-853-1911. 

Kewanee Back When Celebrates National Radio Month

Today on WKEI Dave Clarke joined us for another edition of Kewanee Back When. Today we discussed the radio history of Kewanee including the origin of both WKEI and WJRE. We discussed Eldon Q and many of the legendary personalities of Kewanee radio history and Dave related a story that truly was Kewanee radio's very own WKRP story. Sadly our guest, Eldon Q's daughter, Sissy, sh of his famed tagline, was not able to join us but nevertheless, radio history turned out to be a great topic that Dave himself is a big part of. Stream or download Kewanee Back When below...


Kewanee Man Surprised with Grocery Payment at Wal Mart

A local good samaritan made the day of a complete stranger at the Wal Mart on Monday. According to a caller who wished to remain anonymous, the story goes that he was at Wal Mart on Monday afternoon about to check out with a bill $65.00 when a woman approached and asked him to remove his card. Our anonymous caller stated that he was under the impression that something may be wrong with the card reader. Instead, the stranger, a woman, told our anonymous caller that she would be paying his bill and proceeded to hand over $70.00 before walking away leaving the change behind. WKEI spoke to an employee at the Kewanee Wal Mart, who also asked to remain anonymous, and confirmed that this is a rather regular occurance at the location, this type of act of kindness happens every couple of months. Normally, we would not publish a story like this with so many anonymous sources but it's such a good story, we could not resist passing it along. Perhaps it will inspire others toward acts of such generosity and kindness. Pay it forward. 

Henry County Sheriff Announces IL Sheriff's Association Scholarship Winner

Congratulations to Jordan Francis of Alwood on winning the Illinois Sheriff's Association Scholarship for Henry County. The Henry County Sheriff's office made the announcement on Tuesday that Jordan Francis was to be the recipient of the annual scholarship which is handed down, county by county, by the Illinois Sheriff's Association and then awarded by local sheriff's. The Henry County Sheriff Kerry Loncka released this statement as part of the announcement "The Henry County Sheriff’s Office would like to congratulate Jordan Francis of Woodhull! Jordan is the 2019 Illinois Sheriff’s Association Scholarship recipient for Henry County. Jordan graduated from AlWood High School and plans to attend Augustana College studying mathematics education.  We wish you well in your studies and your future career path!" 

People to People Kewanee High School Superintendent Dr Chris Sullens

Dr Chris Sullens, the Superintendent of Kewanee Schools joined WKEI this morning on our People to People program. Dr Sullens reflect on the school year as it comes to a close with a specific focus on the graduating seniors, among them, Dr Sullens' own daughter. Dr Sullens talked about the ceremony and the remarkable accomplishments and scholarships of this graduating class. We also touched on issues of funding and policy as the state of Illinois is in the final days of another session with a big decision on a fiscal year budget looming. Stream or download our People to People Podcast below... 


Tuned In Annaleah Emm Stark County Farm Bureau 05-21-19

Annaleah Emm from the Stark County Farm Bureau was our guest on Tuned In on Tuesday morning. Farmers across our area and in Stark County are struggling to get crops in the ground and its getting down to the minute as to whether farmers need to make a decision on planting what they can plant, finding alternatives to plant or looking at their crop insurance, all decisions will eventually affect consumers and our local economy, beyond just the farm community. Stream or download our interview with Annaleah Emm from the Stark County Farm Bureau below... 


State of Illinois to Make Hoaxers Pay for Emergency Responses to False Reports

Under a new bill headed to the desk of Governor J.B Pritzker, a youth who makes a violent threat against a school would be forced to pay for any type of emergency response based off of such a threat. The Illinois Senate passed HB1579 on Friday, a bill that would require anyone who calls in a bomb threat or a shooting threat against a school would have to pay for the emergency response, up to $10,000. Our Cole Lauterbach has more... 


Turkey Hunting Numbers Way Up in Illinois, Henry County

Illinois wild turkey hunting season numbers are in and the season was a strong one for hunters across the state and in Henry County. Accordiing to the numbers provided by the Illinois Department of Natural Resources, statewide turkey hunting numbers are up significantly from 2019, from a harvest of 13,494 to a 2019 harvest of 15,569. Jefferson County had the overall largest harvest at 480. In Henry County, the increase modest but notable. In 2018, Henry County turkey hunters harvested 82 wild turkeys. In 2019, that number increased to 107. Bureau County also saw numbers increase year to year with a 2018 harvest of 182 to 2019 harvest of 212. No numbers were submitted for Stark County. Nearby Knox County was one of the few counties that saw only a very minor increase from 262 in 2018 to 263 in 2019. Turkey hunting season in Illinois was open from April 8th to May 9th

Opposition to Recreational Marijuana Wants the State to Slow Down

Smart Approaches to Marijuana-Illinois or SAM-IL, wants state lawmakers to slow down and consider the best options before rushing headlong into the legalization of recreational marijuana. 

Colton Grace is a spokesman for SAM-IL. Representatives of SAM-IL are continuing to lobby against the current legalization legislation which the organization claimss does not account for DUI enforcement or the regulation of home grown marijuana.

Lawmakers Now One Step Away from Putting Progressive Tax on 2020 Ballot

There is just one more step before Governor J.B Pritzker's plan for a Progressive Tax would go to voters in the 2020 November ballot. The House Revenue and Finance Committee on Monday voted along party lines, 9 to 6, in favor of moving the measure to a full house vote where the constitutional amendment to replace the current flat tax, would need a 2/3's majority of the House vote to move to the ballot. Reporter Cole Lauterbach has more... 


Illinois Republicans Are Backing Insurance Tax

Illinois Republicans are on board with a tax on insurance claims that could raise $3.6 billion dollars annually for the state of Illinois if passed. Under the new tax on insurance claims, consumers would likely see an increase in what they pay in insurance however, that would be offset slightly by Federal funds. Reporter Greg Bishop explains... 


New Study Indicates Illinois Has More Workers Comp Cases than Most Other States

According to a new study, Illinois has more workers comp cases than most other states. The Workers Compensation Research Institute compiled the data and found that Illinois has among the highest legal-medical expenses per claim and among the highest percentages of such costs per claim. This is in spite of workers compensation reforms that were passed in the state as recently as 2011. Our reporter Greg Bishop has more... 


Rainfall in Illinois Approaching Record Levels

Not all of Illinois is drying out but parts have been able to skip some rain and storm events. That’s good news after what has been a record run of wet weather. Brian Kerschner with the state climatologist office says it the past 12 months have been a year to remember weather wise.

There is still plenty of rain in the forecast over the next week for the state, especially in the northern part of the state.

April Woods RN BSN at OSF Saint Luke Medical Center Honored with Daisy Award

April Woods has been honored with the Daisy Award for her dedicated and caring work as an RN BSN at OSF Saint Luke Medical Center. Carrie Boelens from OSF Saint Luke Medical Center was our guest on Monday and talked about what set April apart and how she came to be honored with the Daisy Award... 

DAISY, which stands for Diseases Attacking the Immune System, is an award that is given out at hospitals across the nation to outstanding caregivers nominated by patients and voted on by a select panel at each individual hospital, more than 2000 across the country. Carrie Boelens also discussed the other awards that were handed out alongside the Daisy Awards at a recent event at OSF Saint Luke Medical Center... 

Congratulations to each of the award winners at OSF Saint Luke Medical Center. 

Potential Severe Weather Across Illinois Tuesday Night

The National Weather Service wants you to be aware of the potential for severe weather by Tuesday evening. Potentially severe storms with a chance of tornadoes are being forecast as a front approaches parts of Illinois late in the day, so you need to be aware of changing weather conditions. WeatherSpotter Training Coordinator John Nell says the more advance warning you have when the weather turns severe, the more prepared you can be, so now is the time to either create or assess your plan when severe weather strikes.

Nell reminds there are a number of different ways to receive weather warnings, including through a weather radio, notifications on your smart phone, and local radio station. In some participating counties, you can download the the Code Red app for your phone. 

Some Crop Progress But Not Much

Busier is fair way to describe farmers in Illinois last week but not as busy as most would like to be. Spring continues to be unusually wet and that has delayed planting and other field work that should have been done a month ago. But there were pockets of activity in Illinois when it comes to corn and soybean planting. USDA Crop Statistician Mark Schleusener says there were a few days that some farmers were able to work ground and plant crops. But at this time last year corn farmers were all but done planting.

Dryer weather in the central and southern part of the state early this week should allow for more work to be done.

Rep Durkin Says Property Taxes Are Being Ignored in Rush to Change Income Tax

Republican House Minority Leader Jim Durkin believes that the biggest tax issue in Illnois has nothing to do with income tax, but rather property taxes. Speaking yesterday in committee prior to the vote to send the Governor's Progressive Tax plan on to a vote of the full house, Representative Durkin stated that property taxes and property tax relief are being ignored in the rush to change the income tax structure in Illinois... 

The Governor's Progressive Tax Plan will now get a full vote on the House floor where it will need a 3/5 majority vote to go on to the ballot in the 2020 election. 

Update: Alleged Thief in Moline Arrested After Shooting Self in the Hand with Stolen Gun

18 year old Derek J Baustian of Moline has been charged with: 


Residential Burglary

Possession of Firearm without Requisite FOID

Reckless Discharge of Fiream


Baustian is being held at the Rock Island County Jail on a $100,000. 




A Moline teenage is under arrest after having allegedly shot himself in the hand with a stolen gun. According to a release from the Moline Police Department, officers were called to the scene of a shots fired incident in the 400 Block of 20th Avenue. At the scene, Moline Police located a vacant garage and found blood stains on the floor and the ground outside. Witnesses indicated a male suspect running from the scene shortly after the shot was fired. A short time after, the 18 year old suspect arrived at UnityPoint Hospital with a gunshot wound to the hand. An investigation by Moline Police indicates that the suspect was mishandling the weapon when it went off and shot the suspect in the hand. Further investigation led to the discovery of a backpack not far from the scene of the crime. Inside the backpack, determined to have belonged to the suspect, were three stolen firearms which had been taken during a residential robbery earlier on Monday in the 1600 Block of 11th Street in Rock Island. The Rock Island County State's Attorney is currently determining the charges to be filed against the suspect and Moline Police are continuing to investigate the case. No other suspects are being sought at this time. 

American Legion in Kewanee to Host Cookout

The Kewanee American Legion Post #31, located at 1509 Railroad Avenue in Kewanee, will be hosting a free Community Cookout to celebrate the Memorial Day Weekend. The Memorial Day Free Community Cookout will be held on Monday, May 27th and will run from 12 Noon until 4 Pm. Hot Dogs, Burgers, Pork Patties, Baked Beans, Potato Salad, Chips, Desserts and Drinks are all on the menu and there is no cost to attend. It's a chance to spend some time among our local veterans and enjoy some food off the grill on Memorial Day Monday. EJ Music Les & Ethel Murphy will be providing the music. Come and honor our local veterans at the Free Community Cookout from 12 Noon to 4 Pm on Memorial Day Monday at the Kewanee American Legion Post. 

House Committee Passed Progressive Tax Proposal

The move to change Illinois flat income tax structure is another step closer for voters to consider in two years. It’s a long process but another rung has been climbed on the ladder as a house committee advanced a bill on Monday to the full house for consideration. However the bill out of committee looks quite a bit different than the Senate version did – as the house is choosing not to set tax rates at this time. The President of the Illinois Manufacturing Association Mark Denzler says this proposal sets Illinoisans up to be taxed out of the state. 

A few more steps still remain; the full house needs to approve it along with getting a signature from the Governor. Then it goes to the public for approval on the November 2020 ballot. 

Kewanee Public Works Department Now on Summer Hours

The Kewanee Public Works Department is now officially on Summer hours, 6 Am to 2 Pm weekdays. According to a release from the City of Kewanee, the new hours began as of Monday, May 20th and will last into the fall. What this means for residents is that landscape waste, recycling and trash will need to be out to the curb by 6 Am on your regular pick up days. If you have any questions regarding summer hours for the Kewanee Public Works Department you may contact the City of Kewanee at 309-852-2611. 

IDPH Honors Illinois EMS During National EMS Week

SPRINGFIELD – The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) is celebrating National EMS (Emergency Medical Services) Week, May 19-25, 2019, and EMS for Children Day, May 22, 2019, by recognizing the important contributions and dedication of paramedics, police, firefighters, and other first responders who provide day-to-day lifesaving services.


“Emergency workers are willing to put their lives on the line every day to help protect the health and safety of their communities,” said IDPH Acting Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike.  “I want to thank these brave men and women and recognize their courage, time, and dedication.  Please join me in recognizing our emergency workers during National EMS Week.”


The recipients of this year’s Exemplary EMS Instructor Award are Chicago Police Officers Brian Berkowitz and Ralph Cruz. The officers developed, spearheaded, and conducted Law Enforcement Medical And Rescue Training (LEMART). The training focuses on educating and training officers on where, when, and how to perform critical life-saving care for trauma wounds. Because of the popularity of the training, Officers Berkowitz and Cruz collaborated with other instructors to train more than 9,000 police officers and more than 2,000 Chicago Fire Department employees, as well as officers at O’Hare International and Midway airports. The LEMART program has become a model for other training programs throughout the U.S. Officers Berkowitz and Cruz also came up with the idea of LEMART kits, which contain first aid equipment such as tourniquets, CPR masks, chest seal dressings, trauma scissors, and bandages.


The recipients of this year’s Exemplary EMS Response Awards are the Waukegan Fire Department and 10 of its staff:  Battalion Chiefs Eric Lyons and Brett Stickels; Lieutenants Brad Buntrock and John Switalski; Firefighter Wayne Deloncher; and Firefighter/paramedics Tom Classen, Michael Gallager, Chris Kohnke, Nathan Skewes, and Adam Slade. These individuals responded to a car crash in 2018 in which a vehicle hit a guardrail and pinned the driver inside. Waukegan Fire Department personnel stabilized the vehicle, which was leaking fluids, and used rescue tools for extrication. While detouring traffic around the scene, they set up a Helicopter Landing Zone in order to quickly transport the victim to a trauma center. The decisions and actions of these individuals allowed for a quick critical transport to the closest Level I Trauma center for this patient.  This response shows exemplary team work during a response and quick action in order to save a victim from a potentially life-threatening situation.


This year’s National EMS Week theme, “BEYOND THE CALL,” underscores the emergency situations and pressures EMS personnel work under and their strength to do so.


In Illinois, there are 62 EMS resource hospitals, 67 trauma centers, 15,456 emergency medical responders, 19,862 Emergency Medical Technicians (EMTs), 534 advance/intermediate EMTs, 15,761 paramedics, 4,948 emergency communications registered nurses, 2,735 trauma nurse specialists, 505 pre-hospital registered nurses, and 3,116 emergency medical dispatchers providing 24-hour service to the people of Illinois.  Approximately two-thirds of all EMS providers are volunteers.

Ethics Reforms Coming Together in Springfield

Advocates for Ethics Reform in the statehouse are confident that changes to how complaints against lawmakers are processed will make a big difference. A new bill aimed at ethics reforms, specifically related to abuse of power by legislators, is making its way through committee and advocates like Denise Rotheimer who saw her own ethics complaint against an Illinois State Senator go unaddressed, are pleased with the progress. Reporter Greg Bishop has more... 


Tuned In OSF Saint Luke Medical Center Monday 05-20-19

Carrie Boelens and Sarah Ince RN were our guests on Tuned In on Monday. Carrie was on hand to talk about the Daisy and Sunflower Award winners at OSF as nominated throughout the year by patients. Carrie also talked about the upcoming OSF Healthcare Golf Outing at Kewanee Dunes. Finally, Sarah Ince joined the show to talk about Stroke Awareness and encouraging people to act quickly in the event of a Stroke. Stream or download the Tuned in Podcast below... 


Progressive Tax Debate to Continue This Week

The arrival of new House member, Democrat Nathan Reitz coincides with the renewed debate over Governor Pritzker's Progressive tax which will get further debate this week. Reitz is now a key swing vote on the change having been appointed by the Governor to replace State Representative Jerry Costello, one of the few Democrats who had spoken publicly about his opposition to the Progressive Tax before he was appointed to a position with the Illinois DNR. Reporter Greg Bishop has more... 


Governor Proposes Beer Tax to Pay for Road Improvements in Illinois

Under a new proposal introduced on Friday, consumers will pay some of the highest prices in the nation for beer, wine and liquor thanks to a new tax proposed by Governor J.B Pritzker. On Friday, the Governor proposed increases in the motor fuel tax, vehicle registration fees and a new tax on beer, liquor and wine sales that would all go towards raising needed money for infrastructure projects in the state. Our reporter Greg Bishop has more.. 


Parents of Kids with Private School Scholarships Are Lobbying in Springfield

In his very first address to the Illinois legislature, Governor J.B Pritzker announced his intention to phase out the private school scholarship program, Invest in Kids with the goal of fully defunding the program in 3 years. Now, parents whose children have received these private school scholarships are in Springfield urging lawmakers to oppose the Governor's plan. Our Cole Lauterbach has more.. 


Start Using Your New Blue Trash Carts Today in Kewanee

The new blue trash carts in Kewanee have been delivered and today is the day they begin to go into use. Beginning this week, Kewanee residents can fill up their blue trash carts and on the designated pick up day, place the cart no less than 3 feet from the curb with the top securely closed, and the handling pointing away from the street so that the new automated truck can safely and efficiently pick up and empty your cart. For those who need help with their cart or those who didn't receive a trash cart, contact the City of Kewanee Public Works Department at 309-852-2583. 

Abilities Plus Announces Retirement of Longtime Janitor Gary Piester

After 30 years of hard work on behalf of Abilities Plus, long time janitor Gary Piester has announced his retirement. According to a release from our friends at Abilities Plus, Gary has been with the organization since the late 1980's and has had a track record of dedicatoion and hard work. A party was held in Gary's honor on May 10th as a way of saying goodbye and wishing Gary good luck in retirement. Congratulations on 30 years of commitment to Abilities Plus Gary, enjoy your retirement. 

Public Encouraged to Attend Oustanding Citizen Event Honoring Everett Whitcher

The Kewanee Chamber of Commerce is honoring Everett Whitcher, owner of Save A Lot in Kewanee, with the Outstanding Citizen Award on June 4th at the Flemish American Club. Anyone is welcome to attend in honor of Everett though the cost of a ticket for the Kewanee Chamber of Commerce Ambassador Club Banquet is $20.00 and an RSVP is required by May 31st. Also being honored at the Ambassador Club Banquet this year is Amber Patch Troxell who will be honored with the Meritorious Service Award. Social hour for the banquet begins at 6 Pm with dinner at 6:30 Pm. If you would like to attend, the banquet is open to anyone, including those who are not members of the Chamber of Commerce. Contact Mark Mikenas at the Kewanee Chamber of Commerce at 309-852-2175 to make your reservation and to purchase your tickets for the Kewanee Chamber of Commerce Ambassador Club Banquet on June 4th at the Flemish American Club. 

Push for Lock and Dam Improvements Continues

Ag and transportation groups continue to bring attention to the nation’s aging lock and dam infrastructure. Plenty needs to be done says Paul Rohde with the Waterways Council.

Rohde says the infrastructure was built during the Works Progress Administration in 1939 with 19th century traffic in mind.

Driving Distracted Will Cost You

A recent effort to stop distracted driving lead the Illinois State Police to issue more than 550 tickets around Illinois. The special detail was worked to stop drivers who were doing something other than paying attention to driving. The ISP saw folks talking on the cell phones without a hands free device or texting says Lieutenant Joe Hutchins. 



Nationwide Click it or Ticket Campaign Gets Underway Today

The nationwide Click it or Ticket campaign kicks off today with events across the country and close to home here in our area getting the word out about wearing your seatbelt. Members of the Illinois State Police will be in Rock Island this afternoon for a press event that will coincide with a seatbelt enforcement detail. While members of the Illinois State Police will be speaking with the media this afternoon, at 3 Pm at the Rock Island County Courthouse, there will be an active occupant restraint detail happening in that area, handing out tickets to anyone who is not wearing their seatbelt. The renewed click it or ticket campaign is aimed at raising awareness through the Memorial Day holiday weekend but, of course, it's always against the law to drive without a seatbelt. 

Law Enforcement Remains Skeptical Of Legal Weed

The bill for legalized marijuana in Illinois remains under conversation. It remains up for debate and possible changes as supporters seek passage and opponents remain skeptical that legal weed is good for the state. Speaking on behalf of the Illinois Sherriff’s Association Sangamon County Sherriff Jack Campbell says his group and most in law enforcement have some big concerns. They begin with being on the front lines of public safety and trying to determine who’s really driving high and what they can do to stop them.

Police groups also are concerned about the Home Grow component of the law. Worrying about how they really limit those over 21 to just five plants being grown for personal use. 

IDPH Takes Action to Combat Measles

SPRINGFIELD – As cases of measles continue to rise across the U.S., the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) is taking action to prevent cases of measles and increase vaccination rates. Recent actions range from direct outreach to communities with low vaccination rates, new grants for local health departments, and public education campaigns.


“Vaccines are our most effective and safest tool for combatting disease and our department is deeply committed to helping those who are able get vaccinated,” said Acting IDPH Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike. “We are actively working to increase vaccination rates in communities with the lowest rates and will continue to engage local health departments, schools, and community organizations in the critical work of keeping Illinoisans healthy and safe.”


Recent IDPH actions include:


    • COMMUNITY GRANTS: IDPH is providing an additional $3.5 million in grants to local health departments across the state to increase awareness campaigns and help build infrastructure so that it is easier to get vaccinated.  With this additional funding:


        o Medical grade refrigerators will be purchased to safely store vaccines.
        o Vaccine and supplies such as syringes, gloves, and gauze will be purchased.
        o Vaccination videos will air in movie theaters showing children’s films in certain areas.


    • MOBILE UNITS: IDPH is preparing to deploy its Wellness on Wheels (WOW) mobile units not only to local health departments, but to other organizations across the state. The WOW mobile units can be driven to neighborhoods with lower vaccination rates in an effort to make vaccination more accessible.  They can also be requested for special community events that parents and children often attend like fairs and neighborhood celebrations.


        o Interested organizations can e-mail dph.cmhs.info@illinois.gov or call 217-785-4311 for more information. Organizations can fill out the Wellness on Wheels Mobile Request Form to request a WOW mobile unit.


    • DIRECT OUTREACH: Dr. Ezike and IDPH are engaging in direct outreach to communities with low vaccination rates. Recent outreach includes meeting with the Sangamon County Health Department, Springfield school district, and rabbinical and Islamic leaders in the Chicagoland area. This week, IDPH also met with the Illinois Immunization Advisory Council members and stakeholders to discuss the measles outbreaks across the country as well as the Immunization Action Plan.


    • PUBLIC EDUCATION CAMPAIGNS: IDPH launched a social media vaccination education campaign for National Infant Immunization Week that, on Facebook alone, reached more than 50,000 people.  IDPH is preparing additional educational materials for a back-to-school vaccination campaign.


    • HEALTH CARE GUIDANCE: IDPH has issued guidance to health care providers for measles testing, reporting, and prevention.  New information was sent to providers on Wednesday, May 15, 2019, that summarizes current vaccine recommendations, reinforces testing and isolation guidance, and encourages facilities to enhance vaccine efforts by focusing on age-appropriate, on-time vaccination of children and high-risk adults.  Information issued also included:


        o Measles Infection Timeline – to better identify cases of measles
        o Measles Testing Flowchart – to outline when testing for measles should be done


    • VFC COVERAGE:  IDPH is continuing to recruit and retain Vaccine For Children (VFC) health care providers.  The VFC program is a federally funded program that provides vaccines at no cost for children who might not otherwise be vaccinated because of inability to pay. While the previous administration’s efforts to oversee this program resulted in a multi-million dollar debt, the current administration is committed to making this program work throughout Illinois. The VFC program helps children get their vaccines according to the recommended immunization schedule. 


As of May 10, 2019, 839 cases of measles have been identified in 23 states.  According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, this is the greatest number of cases reported in the U.S. since 1994 and since measles was eliminated in 2000. Illinois has had seven reported cases in 2019. 


More information about the VFC program and immunizations can be found on the IDPH website.

Jessie White to be Honored by the 187th Infantry Division and the 101st Airborne Division of the United States Army

SPRINGFIELD - Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White will be honored with the Distinguished Member of the Regiment by the 187th Infantry Division and the 101st Airborne Division of the United States Army this evening, May 17. The ceremony will take place at The Bruce Conference Center in Hopkinsville, KY near Fort Campbell.

White is being recognized for his contribution to society as an elected official, an educator, the founder and coach of the Jesse White Tumbling Team and for his charitable efforts. White served as a paratrooper in the highly regarded 101st Airborne Division based at Fort Campbell, and again as a member of the Illinois National Guard and Reserve.

“I have the greatest respect for those who serve our country in uniform and the commitment they have made,” said White. “I am humbled to be selected for this meaningful honor.”

White noted his experiences at Fort Campbell remain integral to him to this day. Serving in the U.S. Army taught him the importance of teamwork, respect, commitment to duty and helping others in need.

“I believe when you are successful in life, you should do everything you can to give back and make a positive difference to society. This remains my goal in life.”

IDOC Host Lieutenant Governor, Chance the Rapper for Graduation Ceremony

CREST HILL – Seven incarcerated men at the Illinois Department of Corrections (IDOC) are college graduates after completing Northeastern University’s University Without Walls program at Stateville Correctional Center. Special guests Lieutenant Governor Juliana Stratton, Dr. Angela Davis, and Chance the Rapper attended Wednesday’s graduation ceremony at the Crest Hill facility. Chance the Rapper performed for the offenders and their families at the ceremony.


“As Lieutenant Governor, I am proud to celebrate the graduates and students being honored today,” said Lieutenant Governor Juliana Stratton. “These students are teaching us that for people to be accountable, it means that we must provide people the opportunity for them to learn and grow. Prison reform, like criminal justice reform, is about expanding justice, equity and opportunity. As Lt. Governor, I am committed to doing just that, both in prisons and in communities throughout the state of Illinois.”


University Without Walls is a two-year competency-based degree program that leads to a Bachelor of Arts Degree. The program includes an individualized curriculum to help incarcerated men and women at Stateville Correctional Center reach their academic goals. 


“The Illinois Department of Corrections believes education is critical for incarcerated men and women who want to change their lives,” said Dr. Anita Bazile-Sawyer, Chief of Programs at IDOC. “The support of our state’s leaders, colleges and universities, volunteers, and other notables shows our offender population that there are people who believe in them and want them to succeed.”

Combined $609 Million in Jackpots Up for Grabs This Weekend

CHICAGO, IL — Players have the chance to win a combined $609 million in estimated jackpots this weekend! The jackpot in tonight’s Mega Millions drawing has rolled to an estimated $339 million, and the jackpot for Saturday’s Powerball drawing has reached an estimated $270 million.


The winning numbers from Tuesday’s Mega Millions drawing were 11, 59, 66, 67 and 68, and the Mega Ball number was 18. While there was no jackpot winner in Tuesday night’s drawing, Illinois players won more than 28,000 prizes, ranging from $2 to $10,000. In total, players won more than $156,000 this draw.


The winning numbers from Wednesday’s Powerball drawing were 7, 17, 33, 61 and 68, and the Powerball number was 4. While there was no jackpot winner in Wednesday night’s drawing, Illinois players won more than 23,000 prizes, ranging from $4 to $50,000. In all, players won more than $171,000 in this draw.


Illinois residents, 18 and older, can purchase Mega Millions and all of the Illinois Lottery’s draw-based game tickets by using the Illinois Lottery’s mobile app. The free app (the first of its kind in the United States) is available for download on iOS and Android devices and offers any Illinois adult the chance to purchase lottery tickets on their smartphone. Players can also purchase their tickets online at illinoislottery.com and at nearly 7,200 retailers statewide.

Kewanee City Wide Clean Up Saturday May 18th

The Kewanee City Wide Clean Up will take place on Saturday, May 18th from 7 Am to 12 Noon at the old hospital site on Elliott Street. City of Kewanee Director of Community Development Keith Edwards recently appeared on WKEI and talked about why the City of Kewanee holds the City Wide Clean Up Day... 

Look at the flyer below to see what can and cannot be taken to the Kewanee City Wide Clean Up on Saturday... 

Kewanee to Carnegie Hall Concert Saturday Night at First Baptist Church Kewanee

Saturday night is the big send off for members of the First Congregational Church and First Baptist Church Choirs before they head off to New York City for to sing at Carnegie Hall. Brock Tumbleson and Pastor Dan Craig with the First Baptist Church Choir tell WKEI that the concert on Saturday night is the choir's way of thanking Kewanee for the support the choir has received in raising funds for their Carnegie Hall adventure. The concert on Saturday is entirely free and will feature much of the music that the choir will perform at Carnegie Hall... 


Small Business Group Wants Changes to Mandatory Paid Sick Leave Bill

Representatives for Small Business Groups in Springfield want changes made to a bill that would require all business owners in Illinois to give paid sick leave to all employees. Under the bill as it stands, business owners would be required to pay employees who call in sick to work. Small Business Groups would like to see the bill amended so that businesses with a smaller number of employees may be exempt from the new law. Our reporter Greg Bishop has more... 


Wethersfield Superintendent Reflects on Sunday's Graduating Class

Wethersfield Schools Superintendent Shane Kazubowski has a special connection with the students of this Sunday's graduating class. Shane was our guest on People to People on WKEI ahead of Sunday's graduation day for the class of 2019... 

Graduation for Wethersfield High School Seniors is set for Sunday at the gymnasium at Wethersfield, beginning at 2 Pm. 

Governor Pritzker Likely to Sign Law that Could Open Businesses to Decades Old Civil Lawsuits

A bill on the desk of Governor J.B Pritzker could open up decades old lawsuits for Illinois businesses. The bill would give former employees or their families the opportunity to take businesses to civil court over injuries or illness that comes about well after the the 25 year limit on claiming worker's compensation injuries. Results of such lawsuits would also not be covered under liability insurance for the business owner. Reporter Cole Lauterbach has more... 


Garden Club of Kewanee is Way More than Just a Hobby

The Garden Club of Kewanee might seem like a lovely gathering of hobbyists sharing tricks of the trade but when you look a little closer, you find an organization that loves its community and is dedicated to serving. Claudia Buchanan and Jolene Oswalt with the Garden Club of Kewanee were our guests on Tuned In on Thursday and they talked about the numerous projects that the group is currently involved in around Kewanee, including the new hanging baskets that just began going up all around Kewanee...

The Garden Club of Kewanee meets on third Wednesday of every month at the Black Hawk College Community Education Center. The annual Garden Club of Kewanee plant sale is being held on Saturday, May 18th at the Zion Lutheran Church in Kewanee from 7 Am to 10 Am. For more information follow this link to the Garden Club of Kewanee Facebook page

House Republicans Touting State Revenue as Reason Not to Change Illinois Tax System

Armed with numbers from the Governor's own office on state revenue in the month of April, House Republican leader Jim Durkin held a press conference on Thursday and called on the Democratic Super-Majority and Governor J.B Pritzker to forgo plans to attempt to change the tax system in the state of Illinois... 

State Representative Tony McCombie echoed Leader Durkin's sentiments speaking to reporters following the press conference.... 

Despite the numbers and the vocal Republican opposition, Governor J.B Pritzker has continued to express confidence that his plan for a Progressive Tax will get on the ballot for the 2020 election. At Thursday's press conference meanwhile, Leader Durkin not only talked about how changing the tax system was unnecessary but many of the Governor's planned taxes were no longer necessary... 


Can Illinois Fix Infrastructure Issues Without Raising Taxes?

The Illinois Policy Institute has released a plan that they claim can raise needed infrastructure funds for the State of Illinois without raising taxes. Adam Schuester is the Director of Budget and Tax Research for the non-partisan policy group... 

The multi-pronged plan from the Illinois Policy Institute can be viewed in full at IllinoisPolicy.org

Uglydolls Movie Arrives in Kewanee This Weekend

The animated feature film, Uglydolls arrives in Kewanee this weekend at the Wanee Cinemas. Uglydolls tells the story of Moxi (Kelly Clarkson), a misshapen kids toy who longs to cross into the human world and become a comforting plaything for a young child. Moxi gets the chance when she discovers a secret cave just outside of Uglyville, way up on a mountain, a cave she believes is the path to the world. Joining Moxi on her quest are her friends Luckybat (Ken Jeong), Wage (Wanda Sykes), Uglydog and Ox (Blake Shelton). What they find on the other side of that cave is not the real world but the place right before, a place where a sniveling villain, voiced by Joe Jonas), controls the access to the real world and decides who goes and who doesn't. Uglydolls has thus far failed badly at the box office having brought in just $15 million dollars off of a $45 million dollar budget, though there may still be hope that overseas markets will help the film reach a breakeven point. Critics, including our own, Sean Kernan, have not been kind to the Uglydolls, rating the film a mere 30% positive on RottenTomatoes, but even the negative reviews recognize that this is not in any way a movie for adults. Uglydolls is strictly a movie for very young children and while it is hard to say how that audience as a whole is reacting to the movie, it's likely far better than a group of grumpy, middle aged, film critics. Uglydolls opens alongside the monster hit, Detective Pikachu at the Wanee Cinemas in Kewanee this weekend. 

Payrolls On the Rise In Illinois

Payrolls on the rise in Illinois. The state’s unemployment rate is steady right now at four percent. But employers had more people working in April of this year than they did last year – 21,000 more. Sam Salustro says what happened in was terrific and they hope the trend can continue.

Nationwide the unemployment rate is three point six percent.

Illinois Lawmakers Close to Legislation Aimed at Reducing Number of School Districts

Lawmakers in Springfield are taking steps toward consolidating school districts across Illinois. New legislation is aimed at reducing the number of school districts in Illinois by 25%. The reduction in districts would be overseen by a 20 person commission which will assess plans for consolidation and make decisions on where consolidation is possible. Our Cole Lauterbach has more... 


ROWVA Board of Education Meeting Details

ROWVA Community Unit School District #208 will be having their next Board of Education meeting Monday, May 20th, 2019. The meeting will take place in the LMC at ROWVA High in Oneida. A Finance Meeting will will take place at 6pm with the regular meeting to follow at 7pm.

The agenda for the regular meeting is as follows:
1. Call to Order
2. Roll Call
3. Consent Agenda
    a. Special Board Meeting from April 29 and May 14, 2019
    b. Bills and payroll
    c. Treasurer’s Report
4. Recognition of Visitors:
5. Future Ready Report
6. Principals’ Report
7. Superintendent’s Report: Solar Project
8. Action Items
    A. Establish a Budget Amendment Hearing for June 17, 2019 at 6:50 p.m.
    B. First Reading of Elementary Handbook Policy Changes for 2019-2020
    C. First Reading of Jr/Sr High Handbook Policy Changes for 2019-2020
    D. Authorize the Letting of Bids for Milk, Bread and Fuel for 2019-2020
    E. Adjourn to Executive Session for Action on Executive Session
        1. Matters relating to individual student
        2. Personnel
        3. Collective Bargaining
9. Committee Reports
10. Communications
11. Announcement
12. Adjourn

The next regular meeting will take place on June 17th, 2019 at 7pm.

Governor Pritzker Touts Hiring from LGBTQ Community

This week Democrat Governor JB Pritzker was part of a Pride panel discussion and says over the first few months in office he has been responding to issues that are important to the LGBTQ community including restoring funding for HIV prevention and transmission. Pritzker says his administration has appointed and hired many LGBTQ people.

National Pride day is June 30.

Student Debt Continues to Be a Problem Across Illinois

May is graduation month at colleges and universities across Illinois and May 29th serves as National 529 College Savings Day. Joe Buhrmann, manager in Financial Planning Support at COUNTRY Financial says student loan debt remains a growing problem and college savings plans can help alleviate the burden.

In addition to college savings plans, Buhrmann also encourages families to consider the military as an avenue for higher education and also to aggressively pursue grants and scholarships to lower the financial burden of college. 

People to People Adam Shuester Budget and Tax Research Director for Illinois Policy Institute

The State of Illinois could raise $10 billion dollars for infrastructure projects right now without having to double the Motor Fuel Tax to the highest tax in the country. The non-partisan public think tank, Illinois Policy Institute has a plan that they claim can raise the needed infrastructure funds without a single increase in taxes. The changes include an approach to infrastructure that focuses on existing projects that need work over new infrastructure projects, creating a more open and accessible bidding process for projects based on research data and not on political favors, and changing the bidding process to favor those businesses that can do the work at the most affordable cost, also by eliminating regulations that keep businesses from being able to offer lower bids. Adam Schuester from the Illinois Policy Institute details the plan in this conversation in our People to People Podcast. Stream or download out interview below... 


Tuned In Garden Club of Kewanee

The Garden Club of Kewanee is remarkably busy. Not only are they holding their annual Plant Sale this Saturday from 7 Am to 10 Am, at Zion Lutheran Church in Kewanee, they have numerous beautification projects for which they are partnered with the City of Kewanee. That includes the local hanging baskets, planting flowers around Kewanee signs and community spaces and so much more. Upcoming projects include their yard of the month campaign for which they will soon begin accepting nominations. Jolene Oswalt and Claudia Buchanan with the Garden Club of Kewanee were our guests on Tuned In on Thursday... Stream or download our Tuned In Podcast below.


Kewanee CUSD Weekly Calendar

Below is the calendar for the Kewanee CUSD #229 for the week of May 19th, 2019-May 25th, 2019:


Sunday, May 19, 2019

No events

Monday, May 20, 2019:
ABCD at Irving 2:45 – 5:00 pm
Belle Brainiacs 7:00 – 7:45 am
Belle Brainiacs 2:45 – 5:00 pm
Central Steamer Success 7:00 – 8:00 am
Central Steamer Success 2:50 – 5:00 pm
Irving SPARK 7:15 – 7:45 am
Irving SPARK 2:40 – 5:00 pm
Neponset Bobcat Academy 7:15 – 8:00 am
Neponset Bobcat Academy 3:10 – 5:00 pm

Tuesday, May 21, 2019:
ABCD at Irving 2:45 – 5:00 pm
Belle Brainiacs 7:00 – 7:45 am
Belle Brainiacs 2:45 – 5:00 pm
Central Steamer Success 7:00 – 8:00 am
Central Steamer Success 2:50 – 5:00 pm
Irving SPARK 7:15 – 7:45 am
Irving SPARK 2:40 – 5:00 pm
Neponset Bobcat Academy 7:15 – 8:00 am
Neponset Bobcat Academy 3:10 – 5:00 pm
Central 8th Grade Visit at KHS – 9:00 am

Wednesday, May 22, 2019:
ABCD at Irving 2:45 – 5:00 pm
Belle Brainiacs 7:00 – 7:45 am
Belle Brainiacs 2:45 – 5:00 pm
Central Steamer Success 7:00 – 8:00 am
Central Steamer Success 2:50 – 5:00 pm
Irving SPARK 7:15 – 7:45 am
Irving SPARK 2:40 – 5:00 pm
Neponset Bobcat Academy 7:15 – 8:00 am
Neponset Bobcat Academy 3:10 – 5:00 pm
Central 8th Grade Trip to Chicago – 6:45 am

Thursday, May 23, 2019:
ABCD at Irving 2:45 – 5:00 pm
Belle Brainiacs 7:00 – 7:45 am
Belle Brainiacs 2:45 – 5:00 pm
Central Steamer Success 7:00 – 8:00 am
Central Steamer Success 2:50 – 5:00 pm
Irving SPARK 7:15 – 7:45 am
Irving SPARK 2:40 – 5:00 pm
Neponset Bobcat Academy 7:15 – 8:00 am
Neponset Bobcat Academy 3:10 – 5:00 pm

Central & Neponset 8 th Grade Promotion in Brockman Gym – 7:00 pm
KHS Boys Track IHSA State Finals at Charleston – TBD
KHS Exams – Periods 1, 3, 5, & 7

Friday, May 24, 2019:
ABCD at Irving 2:45 – 5:00 pm
Central Steamer Success 2:50 – 5:00 pm
Irving SPARK 7:15 – 7:45 am
Irving SPARK 2:40 – 5:00 pm
Neponset Bobcat Academy 7:15 – 8:00 am
Neponset Bobcat Academy 3:10 – 5:00 pm
KHS Boys Track IHSA State Finals at Charleston - TBD
KHS Exams – Periods, 2, 4, 6, & 8

Saturday, May 25, 2019:
KHS Boys Track IHSA State Finals at Charleston - TBD

People to People Freedom House Empowerment Courses for Kids

Freedom House is launching their youth empowerment series for young kids and teenagers. The series of programs aimed at helping kids understand self worth and self esteem while understanding and setting boundaries, gets underway with the first program set for June 4th in Princeton. Stacy Hoffman Rosales from Freedom House talks about the history of the Empowerment Program with Freedom House...

Stacy Hoffman-Rosales and Ashley Fisher from Freedom House were our guests on People to People on Wednesday and you can stream or download our entire interview with Stacy and Ashley in our People to People podcast below... 


City of Kewanee Gives Online Tips for How to Use New Trash Carts

A post on the City of Kewanee Facebook page is giving residents instructions on how to properly use the new automated trash carts which are being delivered to residences this week and will go into use next week. In the post, a photo of one of the blue carts is posed with the top open, garbage packed to high inside, and the cart facing the wrong direction from the street and placed to far from the curb. The post goes on to correct the photo, instructing residents to place the cart so that the handle is facing away from the street, the top of the cart should be closed with no trash sticking up causing the lid to remain open, and finally, the cart should be placed no more than 3 feet from the curb so that the automated arm of the new trash trucks can safely and securely reach the cart. If you have any questions regarding the new automated trash pick up in Kewanee contact the Kewanee Public Works Department at 309-852-2611. 

Kewanee Farmer's Market Opens for Season on Saturday May 18th

Berrian Park will once again play host to the Kewanee Kewanee Farmer's Market beginning this Saturday at 7 Am and going through 11 Am. Local food vendors and crafters will be selling everything from vegetables to baked goods to homemade crafts says Diane DeMay... 

Diane DeMay and Mary Anne Dybdal, two of the organizers of the Kewanee Farmer's Market, joined WKEI on our Tuned In Program on Wednesday. You can stream or download our full length Tuned In Podcast talking about the Kewanee Farmer's Market below... 


Above Average Temperatures Expected for Last Half of May

Temperatures on the rise for the last half of May for most of Illinois.

That’s meteorologist Eric Schmidt with EJS Weather in Newton. He says dew points will also be increasing this month.

Schmidt says there should be some intermittent rain shower activity for the remainder of May as well. 

Getting To Zero HIV Infections

The state has a plan to get HIV infections to zero by 2030. The Getting to Zero initiative will try to combat HIV a number of ways. Ngozi Ezike, the Director of the Illinois Department of Public Health, says there has never been a better time to take a big step forward and end HIV transmission and infection.

There is also a large treatment component for those in Illinois living with HIV. 

Deadline Friday for Galva Little Mr and Miss Firecracker Contest

Kids enrolled in Pre-K through 2nd Grade at Galva Schools are eligible to take part in the Little Mr & Miss Firecracker Contest courtesy of Galva Ready to Grow. The deadline to enter your child is Friday, May 17th. To enter, parents must drop off two 4x6 photos of your child to either Community State Bank or the State Bank of Toulon, Galva locations. Voting for the winners will begin on May 20th and run through June 14th and voting will take place at Community State Bank or the State Bank of Toulon. Winners will be announced on June 19th during the Galva Ready to Grow Dinner in the Park. All children who are submitted to part of the contest will have a place in the Galva 4th of July Parade. 

University of Chicago Report Ponts to Serious Issues with Illinois DCFS

The Illinois Department of Children and Family Services is reeling from recent deaths of children in Illinois and a report that lays bare the trouble the agency is in. Governor JB Pritzker says a recent report on DCFS from the University of Chicago is telling of what a hollowed out state agency looks like and moving forward it’s his full commitment to make DCFS better. 

The report says that DCFS’s commitment may to be strong to keep families in tact that it leads to dangerous situations for kids. DCFS will now also bring an immediate review to high risk cases. 

Recreational Marijuana Bill Now Facing Constitutional Questions

A group of Illinois prosecutors say a bill that would legalize possession and sale of marijuana for recreational use in Illinois has serious constitutional issues. Prosecutors with the Illinois State Attorneys Association say having lawmakers toss out pot-related convictions would be out of step with the law because lawmakers would issue pardons. Under the Illinois Constitution, only the Governor can issue pardons, Governor J.B. Pritzker believes the legislation is still in the legal clear....

Pritzker also says there is room for tweaks....

GOP State Senator Jason Barickman of Bloomington believes a mass pardon of all low-level marijuana convictions could eliminate the Constitutional issue. 

Time's Running Out for Spring Session in Springfield

So much to do with so little time to do it. That is how some feel about the legislative work ahead for lawmakers as the May spring session is ending in about two weeks. Lawmakers have to debate and vote on sports gambling legalization, marijuana legalization, changes to the income tax structure and maybe even a capitol bill. Democrat Governor JB Pritzker says it seems packed but there is time to get it all done. 

And lawmakers have to approve a budget for the next fiscal year too.

Matt Morrissey Named Abilities Plus Achiever of the Month

Congratulations to Matt Morrissey for being named Abilities Plus Achiever of the Month for the month of April. Matt is being recognized for the improvements he has made on time studies, his hard work on his goals, and his strong performance when working on cleaning crews where Matt is known for asking if there is more that he can do. In his spare time, Matt enjoys playing with his dog and reading James Patterson novels. Congratulations Matt and keep up the good work from your friends at Regional Media. 

State Rep Swanson Lyme Disease Resolution Passes in the House

May will now be Lyme Disease Awareness Month in the state of Illinois after State Representative Dan Swanson shepherded his long time effort to get Lyme Disease recognized as a public health crisis. On the House floor yesterday, State Representative Swanson spoke about Lyme Disease and why it means so much to him and so many others across Illinois. 

The resolution that passed the House on Wednesday, also calls on the Federal Government to allocate more funding to help find a cure for Lyme Disease. 

Freedom House to Offer Empowerment Program to Local Youth

The annual Empowerment Program for incoming grades 4-9 students, a series of one-day conferences presented by Freedom House, will be offered free of charge this June at eight locations in Bureau, Henry, Marshall, Putnam, and Stark Counties. This year’s theme is “Embracing Myself for All that I am Worth.”


For students entering grades 4-6, the program provides them with the tools to strengthen self-esteem, set goals, and acknowledge boundaries. The program for incoming 7-9 graders includes combatting negative self-talk, practicing self-compassion, respecting myself, becoming assertive, surviving conflict, and implementing healthy relationship dynamics.


Information about the conferences will be distributed to schools and sent home with students. For online registration, please visitwww.freedomhouseillinois.org or www.facebook.com/freedomhouseillinois. The registration deadline is May 31. For more information please e-mail: srosalez@freedomhouseillinois.com, or call (815-872-0087).


Schedule & Locations (8:30 am - 3:30 pm unless otherwise noted):

Princeton – Tuesday, June 4 – Bureau County Farm Bureau

Wyoming – Thursday, June 6 – WyHi Community Center

Geneseo – Monday, June 10 – Geneseo Public Library (9:30am - 4:00pm)

Spring Valley – Thursday, June 13 – Hall High School

Henry – Tuesday, June 18 – Marshall/Putnam County Farm Bureau

Granville – Thursday, June 20 – Putnam County HS, (8:15am-2:30pm)

Sheffield – Tuesday, June 25 – Cornerstone Community Wellness

Kewanee – Thursday, June 27 – Hill Church

Free Summer Youth Photography Mentor Ship Offered in Galva

GALVA, IL— The Levitt AMP Galva Music Series is offering a free summer youth photography mentorship and currently have openings for 9 middle/high school age youth who are interested in learning photography skills. This free mentorship program will run Sundays from June 2nd through August 4th and will cover all the basics of photography--no experience required. Students will have a chance to photograph at Levitt AMP Galva Music Series concerts alongside mentors who will critique work and help guide with composition and editing photos. Photos taken have the possibility of being included in national marketing and are eligible for entry in the photo contest scheduled for the final concert on August 4th.


To sign up or for more information please contact Tya Barman at mrsbarman12@gmail.com or (309) 631-7252.


To learn more about the Levitt AMP Galva Music Series please visit levittamp.org/galva.

OSF HelthCare Saint Luke Medical Center Named Among Top Critical Care Hospitals in the Country

Becker’s Hospital Review, a respected national health care industry publication, has named OSF HealthCare Saint Luke Medical Center among its list of 67 Critical Access Hospitals to Know in 2019.


Critical access hospitals are in rural areas but offer 24/7 emergency care and have 25 or fewer inpatient beds. There are 1,349 CAHs located throughout the United States.

“We are so thrilled to be recognized by Becker’s for our quality and care, despite the unique challenges faced by rural hospitals including access to health care to meet community needs,” said Jackie Kernan, president of OSF HealthCare Saint Luke Medical Center. “I credit all of our dedicated Mission Partners (employees) for their willingness to collaborate and meet the many challenges of serving with the greatest care and love despite fewer economies of scale available at larger hospitals.”

Many hospitals featured on this list have been recognized for clinical quality and excellence in care delivery. Several have also earned the Hospital & Health Networks HealthCare's Most Wired award. According to the Becker’s announcement, “These hospitals have truly become pillars of their communities, providing access to healthcare for a broad population.”

Becker's Healthcare editors selected the hospitals based on awards and rankings from respected organizations including iVantage Health Analytics, The Chartis Center for Rural Health, the National Rural Health Association, CareChex, Healthgrades and Medicare star ratings. The team also considered the hospital's community impact and reputation for innovation.

Kewanee Mayor Makes Case for Neponset Ambulance Service Agreement

At Monday night's Kewanee City Council Meeting the City Council voted 4 to 1 in favor of entering into negotiations for a 1 year contract to provide ambulance service to the Village of Neponset. Mayor Gary Moore was our guest on Tuesday's People to People program and discussed why he was in favor of the agreement... 

In casting his vote in favor of the idea, Mayor Moore stated that he felt the deal was a win-win for Kewanee and for Neponset. 

City Council member Mike Yaklich was the lone vote against the agreement. Mr Yaklich objected to offering ambulance service to residents of The Village of Neponset at what he believed to be a lesser cost than that paid by residents of Kewanee. The next step will be City Manager Gary Bradley negotiating a contract with the Village of Neponset that will determine exactly how much Kewanee will be reimbursed for the costs of making ambulance runs to Neponset. The final negotiated contract will then be brought in front of the Kewanee City Council for approval. 

Stark County Soil and Water Conservation District Announces Poster Contest Winners

Jan Powelson with the Stark County Soil and Water Conservation Districtw was our guest on Tuesday's edition of Tuned In. On the show, Jan announced the winners of the 4th grade poster contest. The theme for this year's contest was "Life in the Soil, Dig Deeper." Students at Bradford Elementary and multiple fourth grade classes in Stark County, took part in the contest... 

You can see photos of the winning students and their posters on the Stark County Soil and Water Conservation District Facebook page and in the upcoming Stark County Soil and Water Conservation District newsletter.

Gas Tax Hike Hits Snag Ahead of Committee Hearing

The plan to make the Illinois Gas Tax the highest in the nation has hit a snag ahead of committee hearings. The plan, which would have also raised other fees including registration fees, was intended to raise revenue for infrastructure improvements in the state. Now, the bill is held up and may not get to the House floor in this legislative session. Our Cole Lauterbach has more... 


Henry County Democrats to Hold Monthly Meeting in Cambridge Thursday

Henry County Democrats will hold their monthly meeting on Thursday, May 16th at Bella Pizza in Cambridge. Members of the Henry County Democrats will be making plans for upcoming parade appearances for the summer among other topics. The meeting gets underway at 6:30 Pm in the back room at Bella Pizza located at 111 North Prospect Street in Cambridge. Topics will include the upcoming election cycles and events for the summer and fall in Henry County. For more information, you can contact the Henry County Democratic Party by going to the website HenryCountyDems.com or contact them on Facebook at HenryCountyDems on Facebook

Governor Pritzker Remains Confident in Passage of Progressive Tax Plan

Governor J.B Pritzker is continuing to express confidence that his Progressive Tax Plan will be on the 2020 ballot despite open opposition to his plan from members of his own party. A growing and vocal minority of Democrats are expressing concerns that the Progressive Tax Plan doesn't contain enough tax relief for Illinois taxpayers. The Governor needs the entire Democratic Super-Majority in the house in order to get the constitutional amendment to the ballot. Our reporter Greg Bishop has more... 


Tough Questions Being Asked as Recreational Marijuan Legislation Comes Togehter

Lawmakers in favor of the legalization of Cannabis for recreational use are listening and attempting to calm the fears of lawmakers who are opposed to the plan. State Representative Kelly Cassidy is leading a group of lawmakers who structured the bill and she is now doing everything she can to answer questions such as how to spend the revenue generated from recreational marijuana to how those formerly convicted on marijuana related charges will be affected by the new legislation. Greg Bishop has more on the increasingly difficult challenges for the legalization of recreational cannabis. 


Governor Pushing for Tougher Move Over Law Penalties

Governor J.B. Pritzker and a bipartisan group of lawmakers want to sharpen the teeth of the state's move over law. New legislation would stiffen fines for violators of the law that calls for motorists to change lanes when approaching any vehicle with their hazards or first responder vehicle with emergency lights on. The minimum fine would grow to $250 for a first violation of Scott’s Law and to $750 for additional violations. A $250 assessment fee would be tacked on for any violation of Scott’s Law and would be set aside for a new dedicated fund to produce driver education materials. Governor Pritzker is optimistic the bill will sail to passage....

Three State Tropers have been killed in the line of duty while working on the shoulders of Illinois highways. Several more have been hit and injured.


State Senator Anderson Taking Issue with Language in Latest Recreational Marijuana Legislation

Quad Cities area State Senator Neil Anderson is on the negotiating team discussing the new recreational marijuana legislation but he sees several problems with the way the language is currently written.

Senator Anderson expects a lot of negotiations to take place over the next several weeks. He is also hopeful that they will come to a bi-partisan compromise on the budget. Anderson says that they are expected to adjourn on May 31st. 


4 Year Old Boy Badly Injured in Depue Illinois Fire

A fire in Depue, Illinois has left a 4 year old child with critical injuries. According to a release from Bureau County Sheriff's Office, the fire occurred just after 10 Am on Tuesday at the Lakeview Estates  mobile home park. Two adults and four children were in the home at the time of the fire. Parents were able to get a pair of 16 month old twins and a 3 year old out and to safety but a four year old son, Chase, was trapped inside. The parents, according to witnesses speaking to WGN-TV in Chicago, stated that the parents broke a window and were able to get Chase out of the home but not before he had suffered what are considered critical injuries. While the rest of the family was taken to a nearby hospital in Spring Valley, 4 year old Chase was airlifted to Lurie Children's Hospital in Chicago for treatement. There is no word on Chase's condition at this time. Friends of the family who lost everything in the fire have started a GoFundMe campaign for the family to help them recover and you can see that here and make a donation if you choose

State Fire Marshal Honors Fallen Firefighters

SPRINGFIELD - Firefighters from across the state gathered in Springfield to remember fallen firefighters who have given their lives in the line of duty. The 26th Annual Illinois Fallen Firefighter Memorial and Fire Fighting Medal of Honor Awards Ceremony also honored firefighters for heroically serving their communities with courage, pride, and honor.

"Our firefighters face great danger each time they respond to the scene of an emergency," said Fire Marshal Matt Perez. “Today, we remember those we have lost and recognize the courage and dedication of those firefighters who went above and beyond to keep the residents of Illinois safe.”
Firefighter Juan Bucio of the Chicago Fire Department, who died in the line of duty, was honored during the ceremonies for his heroic sacrifice as his family was presented with the Duty Death Gold Badge by Fire Marshal Perez.

Eight firefighters were honored with the Medal of Valor award. It is given by the state of Illinois to a firefighter for an act of heroism or bravery that clearly demonstrated courage and dedication in the face of danger while in the performance of duty. Recipients include:

• Firefighter/Paramedic Bryan Lowery, Calumet City Fire Department
• Firefighter/EMT Daniel Ramos, Chicago Fire Department
• Lieutenant Daniel Manning, Dolton Fire Department
• Firefighter Aaron Cavender, Momence Fire Protection District
• Firefighter Adrian Cavender, Momence Fire Protection District
• Deputy Chief Michael Vissering, Northern Tazewell Fire Protection District
• Firefighter/Paramedic Eric Watkins, Plainfield Fire Protection District
• Captain Darin Peterson, St. Charles Fire Department

Three firefighters received the Firefighter Excellence Award for an act of service in the line of duty, demonstrating excellence and professionalism in service to the citizens of the state of Illinois. Recipients include:

Libertyville Fire Department:
• Lieutenant Mike Hall
• Assistant Fire Chief Bob Key
• Deputy Fire Chief Mike Pakosta

In addition, four units received the Firefighter Excellence "Unit Citation" Awards for an act of service in the line of duty, demonstrating excellence, teamwork, and professionalism in service to the citizens of the state of Illinois.Recipients include:

Dolton Fire Department, Incident #18-3344:
• Engineer Jermel Brim
• Lieutenant Jeremy Cole
• Lieutenant David DuVall

Dolton Fire Department, Incident #18-3555:
• Firefighter Anton Downing
• Engineer Robert Triemstra

McLeansboro Fire Department, Incident #18-78:
• Firefighter/Police Officer Mathew Bryson
• Firefighter Lukas Dale
• Assistant Chief Jim Morris
• Firefighter Walter Rexing
• Firefighter Nathan Taylor

Momence Fire Protection District, Incident #18-59:
• Engineer Mike Keen
• Lieutenant Jordan Lee
• Engineer Matthew Sharkey

Five firefighters received the Certificate of Recognition which acknowledges those nominated for their dedication to the principles and traditions of the fire service, to the state and the community, with honor and integrity. Recipients include:

Centralia Fire Department:
• Captain Michael Calabrese
• Lieutenant Michael Gelsinger
• Lieutenant Chad Gormann
• Chief John Lynch
• Firefighter James Sneddon

The awards presented recognized heroic actions during 2018.  Nominations were reviewed and winners selected by the Illinois Fire Fighting Medal of Honor Committee.

Sacred Heart to Host Food and Craft Bazaar

ANNAWAN - The Sacred Heart Catholic Rectory in Annawan will be hosting Food and Craft Bazaar and will be held in their Parish Hall on Sunday June 2nd, 2019. The event will include Craft Vendors in the Parish Hall from 9am-2pm and will also include servings of both breakfast and lunch during the event.

Breakfast will go from 8am-10:30am and will include the following on the menu: Biscuits and Gravy, Breakfast Casseroles, Fresh Fruit, Homemade Cinnamon Rolls, Juice and Coffee.

Lunch will go from 11am-2pm and will include the following on the menu: Grilled Hamburgers, Brats, Hot Dogs, Baked Beans, Macaroni Salad and Homemade Pies.

The event will also have a door prized donated by Old Mill Gardens.

Kewanee Schools Announce New Monetary Award; Recipients

KEWANEE - The Kewanee Schools Foundation announces a new monetary award has been established for Kewanee High School seniors who will attend Illinois College in Jacksonville, Illinois.

The Mattingly Student Council Award will be given to a graduating senior in recognition of the leadership and athletic opportunities afforded to Dr. William Mattingly when he was a student at Kewanee High School (Class of 1970) and Illinois College (1975). Dr. Mattingly is a retired superintendent of schools and currently lives in Utica, Illinois.

The senior must have demonstrated good character and leadership qualities during their school activities and/or community service, and preference will be given to students with financial need, student council participation and/or written intent to participate in athletics at Illinois College.

This year’s recipients of $500 each are: Molly Welgat, Willie Terry III and George Ullinskey.

Persons interested in establishing similar scholarships and awards can contact the Kewanee Schools Foundation at 309.856.8702.

Report: Moonlighting Common Among Teachers

Summer is no break for some Illinois teachers. New research suggests many of them are punching in a second time card.  According to findings from the Economic Policy Institute, 59% of teachers nationwide turn to moonlighting or side jobs to supplement their income - in some cases, just to make ends meet. Illinois Education Association president Kathi Griffin said the findings are in line with her organization's own data, which shows Illinoisans believe teachers are undervalued and underpaid.

"When we respect our teachers and we compensate them accordingly, we can attract the best and the brightest to educate what we consider our most precious resource, and that's our students," Griffin said.

The side jobs featured in the report are not extra summer or holiday jobs, but work that happens in addition to a teacher's regular schedule. Teachers in Illinois earn roughly $65,000 annually on average, about 20% less than other college-educated workers.

Report co-author Emma Garcia said there's a direct connection between the current teacher shortage and poor teacher pay. And while increasing pay is important, she noted that it isn't the only issue.

"We also have to fix the working environment for teachers," Garcia said. "We have to increase funding for schools, and we also have to provide support for young teachers who are starting their careers."

Griffin added she's heard from high school seniors and college students interested in becoming teachers. They say salary is the biggest hurdle to joining the profession, and she said it's disappointing.

"Every day when I went to work, I was so full of joy to be there working with those students," she said. "And to have that in your core and not do it because of the money is just a disservice not only to those people who would make great teachers, but it also hurts our kids."

In a recent survey, 85% of Illinois superintendents said they believe they have a problem with teacher shortages, up from 78% in 2017.


State Waiver On Taxes for Flooded Residents

Dealing with flooding or other natural disasters is enough of a headache you don’t need the added pressure of getting your taxes done on time. The Governor and Illinois Department of Revenue is offering some relief to people in 34 flooded counties in the form of a waiver from penalties and interest on income taxes, sales taxes and other taxes that need to be filed. But if you want a waiver you will have to request one says Revenue’s Sam Salustro. 

The process can start online with an email – REV dot DISASTER RELIEF at ILLINOIS dot GOV

U-of-I College of Aces Promoting Pronunciation Guide

A number of Illinois towns have often been mispronounced over the years. And that's the motivation of the University of Illinois' Pronunciation Guide says recent U-of-I grad John Bruns.

The project is through the school's College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences. You can find the guide at "go.illinois.edu/pronunciationguide". 

State Police Talk Planting Season Safety

Planting equipment could be rolling as early as this week across the area as the weather seems to be giving producers a chance to finally get in the fields. As the equipment gets rolled out, State Police are reminding motorists to be on the lookout for the heavy machinery and slow down and give them space. Trooper Matt Frizzle says it's important to be cautious if you are going to pass them on country roads.

Trooper Frizzle also has a message for farmers who will be getting out in full force very soon to plant....

Trooper Frizzle indicates as planting season kicks into high gear in the next week or two, it will likely run up on the Memorial Day weekend when authorities will be planning details during the holiday.

Authorities continue to remind motorists it is the law to get over for emergency vehicles on the side of the road and they remained focused on the safety of their peers across the state. 

People to People Gary Metivier The Heart of the Story

Gary Metivier is a familiar face from your local television stations for close to 20 years. Now, Gary is moving into the online realm with the launch of his very own YouTube channel and weekly series called The Heart of the Story with Gary Metivier. Here, Gary will take his many years of reporting skills and point them toward positive stories about the best of humanity, the stories that often times get overlooked in the rush for the biggest and boldest of headlines. Gary was kind enough to be our guest on People to People to discuss his new endeavor and reflect on how his modern media experience is carrying him forward on this unique new journey. You can like and subscribe to Gary's new show at this link... and you can stream or download our People to People Podcast interview with Gary Metivier below and check out the trailer for Gary's channel while you're at it. 


People to People Kewanee Mayor Gary Moore

Kewanee Mayor Gary Moore was our guest on People to People on Tuesday, following up on Monday night's news heavy, Kewanee City Council Meeting. Gary joined us to talk about the decision to enter into negotiations with the Village of Neponset for a contract to provide Ambulance Service to the Village of Neponset. We also discussed the new automated trash collection that gets underway next week in Kewanee. The new trash carts are being delivered to homes this week but they actually don't go into use until next week, beginning May 20th. Also discussed the new Kewanee Fiscal Year 2019-2020 budget which was approved last night in a unanimous vote. Finally, we discussed the upcoming Citywide Clean Up which is happening this Saturday. Volunteers are needed to help unload the vehicles that will be bringing items to be disposed of. You can volunteer to help just by showing up on Saturday at the old Hospital site on Elliott Street or by contacting the City of Kewanee for further information. Stream or download our interview with Kewanee Mayor Gary Moore below... 


Tuned In Jan Powelson Stark County Soil and Water Conservation District 05-14-19

Jan Powelson from the Stark County Soil and Water Conservation District was our guest on Tuned In on Tuesday morning. Jan joined us to discuss the winners of the 4th Grade Poster Contest which will be included in the next Conservation District newsletter. 5th Graders in Stark County meanwhile, have a Conservation Day coming up on May 21st. And Jan discussed the upcoming Women in Conservation Seminar to be hosted by the Stark County Soil and Water Conservation District. Stream or download our Tuned In podcast below... 


Kewanee City Council Meeting Wrap-Up 05-13-19

At last night's Kewanee City Council meeting a new budget for the City of Kewanee was approved in a 5 to 0 vote, City Manager Gary Bradley was authorized to enter into negotiations with the Village of Neponset for a 1 year contract for Kewanee to provide Ambulance service to Neponset and special use permits were given to The Boiler Room and The Station restaurant for beer gardens. The meeting opened by approving a request by veterans to sell Poppys on May 17th and 18th. Also as part of the Consent Agenda was approval for the use of City Streets for the Hog Capitol BBQ Committee. In new business, Kathy Albert from KEDC delivered the Kewanee Economic Development Semi-Annual Presentation... 

Then it was on to the most contentious part of last night's meeting, a discussion and vote on an agreement with the Village of Neponset for Kewanee to provide Ambulance service to the Village. Council Member Mike Yaklich raised questions regarding the math of the agreement leading to a disagreement between himself and much of the rest of the council... 

After the debate ended the council voted 4 to 1 in favor of beginning negotiations on a 1 year contract. 

The council then approved two special use permits for The Boiler Room for a renewed liquor license for the new owner Jeff Todd and a permit for the operation of a beer garden. Each were approved in unanimous votes. The Station also received a special use permit to operate a beer garden, also on a unanimous vote. 

In a  discussion of the City of Kewanee Fiscal Year 2019-2020 budget, no one was happy with approving a budget with a $258,000 deficit in the General Fund... 

In the end, the council voted unanimously in favor of the new budget. Kewanee Mayor Gary Moore will join us at 9:10 Am this morning for more on last night's Kewanee City Council meeting.

Wethersfield Students to Donate Gift Packages to Military Members Overseas

Wethersfield Superintendent Shane Kazubowski was our guest on People to People on Monday and told a story about the generosity and spirit of giving in Wethersfield students. The story goes that the Packee family donated the use of The Stables for the Wethersfield High School Junior Prom. The Junior class was so touched by the gesture that they offered to make a donation to help cover some the cost of Reiman's program to hold and care for the motorcycles of deployed service members. Reiman's informed the kids that that program is a free program and they made another suggestion for a way for students to help our military and that's where Shane Kazubowski picks up the story... 

Superintendent Shane Kazubowski was our guest on People to People on Monday. You can stream or download our People to People podcast below... 


Southern Illinois the Best Place for Blue Collar Jobs

If you are looking for jobs with higher wages with lower requirements for education and experience, southern Illinois, in the St Louis area is where the most opportunities are. That from a new economic study from the Federal Reserve Banks of Philadelphia and Cleveland. Our reporter Cole Lauterbach has more... 


Lawmakers Back to Work in Springfield Crafting New Budget

After an extra day weekend, lawmakers are back in session in Springfield on Tuesday with a hefty agenda that includes putting the final touches on a budget and spending plan for the next Fiscal Year which begins on July 1st. Our Greg Bishop has more on the hardwork of a more than $39 Billion dollar state budget... 


New Kewanee Trash Carts Don't Go Into Use Until Next Week May 20th

The new City of Kewanee Trash Carts are being delivered this week but don't use them yet. That message from Kewanee Public Works Director Rod Johnson. The carts are being taken to each individual residence this week but the carts are not to be used by residents until trash pick up on the week of May 20th. From then on, only use your new Pepsi Blue trash cart going forward. The carts were laid out with GPS tracking and are being delivered based on a system that relies on local water bills to determine where residences are located. If for some reason you do not receive a trash cart this week, please contact the City of Kewanee Public Works Department and arrangements will be made to get a cart to your residence. One question that has come up repeatedly is what residents can do with their current trash can and the City of Kewanee has a couple of ideas. Keith Edwards with the City of Kewanee has suggested bringing your old trash can to the Kewanee City Wide Clean Up this coming Saturday... 

If you don't think you have enough for a load to take to the City Wide Clean Up or if you cannot go on Saturday, Rod Johnson told the Kewanee City Council on Monday night that his department is planning a service run for the near future that would allow residents to leave their old trash can on the curb for the city of Kewanee to haul away. Trash cans in good condition could be repurposed by the City of Kewanee for use at public events as well. No word on when that garbage can pick up run may take place. 

State Rep Swanson Will Be Featured Speaker at Kewanee League of Women Voters Meeting

State Representative Dan Swanson will be the featured speaker at the 73rd Annual Meeting of the Kewanee League of Women Voters on Thursday, June 6th. Representative Swanson's presentation will be informational with a question and answer time to follow.  His legislative goals and accomplishments will be covered.  Also, he will give an update on the recent legislative session that ends this month. Anyone is welcome to attend this meeting at a cost of $21.00 per ticket. Social hour featuring a cash bar will begin at 6 Pm and the meal at the event will begin at 7 Pm along with the speech State Representative Swanson. If you would like to attend you can contact Carla Hillman with the Kewanee League of Women Voters at 309-852-5215 for more information. 

Ahead of Blood Drive in Galva Red Cross Calling for Type O Donors

As Galva First United Methodist Church is gearing up to play host to a Red Cross Blood Drive today from 1 Pm to 6 Pm, the Red Cross is putting out a call for Type O donors. There is a critical shortage of Type O Blood. According to information provided by the Red Cross, the Type O supply is less than 2 days, that means just 6 units of Type O blood are available for every 100,000 people nationwide. Type O Positive Blood is critical to emergency rooms because it is the only blood type that can be transfused to any patient and in an emergency, it is the first blood type that emergency room staff will go for. If you or someone you know is a Type O blood type, please get to the Red Cross Blood Drive in Galva today. The Red Cross is giving all Type O donors a $5.00 Amazon Gift Card for donating. Just let your Blood Drive Technician know and your gift card will be emailed to you. Again, the First United Methodist Church is hosting the Red Cross Blood Drive today from 1 Pm to 6 Pm at Epworth Hall located at 214 West 2nd Avenue in Galva. 

Trucking Industry Following Springfield Legislative Session Closely

The trucking industry keeping a watchful eye on the state capital this spring. Don Schaefer is with the Springfield based Mid-West Truckers Association.

The Mid-West Truckers Association represents 3,700 members in 15 different states. 


Carlinville Students Effort to Change Daylight Savings Gets Boost from State Senator

A group of Carlinville High School students want to see an end to the current daylight savings time format and they have found a valuable ear for their effort. After hearing their sales pitch, student Tyler Behme says they got a boost .from State Senator Andy Manar...

Manar has filed legislation seeking to end the statewide practice of moving clocks ahead by an hour on the second Sunday of March. Behme and fellow students Andrew DeNeve, Travis Osborn, Tristen Burns and Tucker Green pursued the topic through a project in Carlinville social studies teacher Logan Ridenour’s civics class. The students say the time change has negative health effects, including more car accidents, miscarriages, and heart attacks,”


Rep Kinzinger Still Has Faith that U.S. Will Win Trade War with China

China for too long has abused the trading system. Those words from Illinois Republican Congressman Adam Kinzinger. He still believes the U.S. will eventually win the ongoing trade war.

Kinzinger resides in Channahon and represents Illinois’ 16th Congressional District, which includes plenty of farm ground--stretching from Rockford through Ottawa to Watseka. 

Kewanee High School Graduation Award Winners
























































































Tuned In OSF Saint Luke Medical Center Monday 05-13-19

Carrie Boelens from OSF Saint Luke Medical Center was our guest on Tuned in on Monday. It's National Hospital Week and OSF Saint Luke Medical Center has a full week of events planned in celebration. These events include a proclaimation of Hospital Week by Kewanee Mayor Gary Moore and Friday's awards ceremony for nurses and support staff. You can hear our interview with Carrie Boelens from OSF Saint Luke Medical Center by streaming or downloading the interview below... 


First Up Podcast Country Legend Randy Travis and Wife Mary Travis

By most measure, country music star Randy Travis shouldn't have survived the series of tragedies that befell him in 2013. Few people could have survived having had an infection in the heart, followed by a stroke and a staph infection. Randy's wife, Mary was even told by doctors to prepare for the worst. The worst never came and since then, Randy Travis has worked every day to regain his strength and has even begun to sing again. Mary Travis joined WKEI with Randy nearby, to talk about Randy's remarkable new biography "Forever and Ever, Amen: A Memoir of Music, Faith, and Braving the Storms of Life" on today's First Up podcast... Stream or download the interview below... 


IDFPR Wants People with Convictions to Apply for Professional Licenses

The Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation is encouraging people with past convictions to apply for professional licenses. Many with past convictions assume they cannot get professional licences but that is not necessarily the case. Our reporter Cole Lauterbach has more on this story... 


Start Seeing Motorcycles is the Message of Motorcyle Safety Awareness Month

May is Motorcycle Awareness Month and the message from our local, motorcylce groups is simple, Start Seeing Motorcycles. Scott Packee, Dennis Packee and Sauk Trail Hog President Chuck Kunz joined WKEI on Friday with that simple message... 

Motorcycle safety however, is more than just watching for motorcyles on the road. Scott Packee also pointed out that blowing grass in the street can provide a dangerous hazard for motorcylce riders... 

Scott and Dennie from Reiman's Harley Davidson and Chuck Kunz from the Sauk Trail Harley Owners Group were our guests on People to People on Friday. 

New Southern Illinois State Rep Could Be Swing Vote on Pritzker Tax Plan

The recent departure of State Representative Jerry Costello to take a position in the Illinois Department of Natural Resources suddenly thrusts newcome State Representative, Nathan Reitz into the political spotlight in Illinois. Chosen to replace Costello as State Representative, Reitz is in the bizarre position of being an immediate swing vote on Governor Pritzker's plan to change the Illinois constitution and affect a Progressive tax to replace the current Flat Tax system. Representative Costello was vocal in his opposition to the change before he left office. Our Cole Lauterbach has more on Reitz's unique place in Illinois political history in the making. 


Illinois Pension Problems Unlikely to Be Addressed in Final Weeks of Session

Despite some positives in tax collection and the economy, the state of the pension issues in Illinois isn't likely to change or be addressed in any comprehensive fashion in the final three weeks of the legislative session in Springfield. Lawmakers will return from an extended weekend on Tuesday with no plans for pension reform currently on the agenda. Our reporter Greg Bishop has more from Springfield. 


Automated Trash Cans to Be Delivered This Week in Kewanee

Kewanee residents will be receiving their new automated trash carts this week. At the April 22nd Kewanee City Council meeting the final changes to the garbage ordinance in Kewanee were approved clearing the way new automated trucks with extending arms that will pick up the new 95 gallon carts and remove the necessity for a worker to ride on the back of the truck and physically pick up cans and bags. The carts don't actually go into use until the week of the 21st of May, but the carts will be delivered to residences in Kewanee beginning on Tuesday. Mayor Gary Moore says he believes the change will be a good one for the City of Kewanee... 

When your new cart arrives at your home simply store it near your home. The cart has a GPS tracker on it which ties it to your residence. Again, the carts don't go into actual use until next week, for this week, trash pick up is the same as it has always been with bags and your own trash can. 

Kewanee Chamber of Commerce Business After Hours at the Elks Lodge This Week

The next Kewanee Chamber of Commerce Business After Hours networking event is set for this coming Thursday, at 5 Pm at the Kewanee Elks Lodge. Kewanee Chamber members will be treated to a Taco Bar on site at the Elks Lodge along with door prizes and the chance to mingle with fellow Kewanee business owners. To attend, you must be a member of the Kewanee Chamber of Commerce or the invited guest of a chamber member. Members are reminded to RSVP for the event by contact Mark Mikenas at the Chamber of Commerce at 309-852-2175. 

Henry and Stark County Health Department Food Handlers Course Coming in June

The next Henry and Stark County Health Department Food Handlers Course has been scheduled for Wednesday, June 12th, from 1 Pm to 4 Pm. Those taking the course will learn the information needed to meet the requiirements of the Illinois Department of Public Health Food Service Sanitation Code. The 3 hour course costs $15.00 to attend and will cover 5 important food handling topics 1) The relationship between time and temperature with respect to foodborne illness. 2) The relationship between personal hygiene and food safety.  3) The methods of preventing contamination in all stages of food handling.  4) The procedures for cleaning and sanitizing. 5) The problems and potential solutions associated with temperature control, cross contamination, housekeeping and maintenance. Registration for the course is limited so register soon by contacting the Henry and Stark County Health Department at 309-852-0197 or go to HenryStarkHealth.com.

Life or Death On State Highways

Its life or death out there on the state’s highways – that’s the campaign from the Illinois Department of Transportation. It’s the second year for the safety campaign – “Life or Death Illinois”. The main message will be true stories from those who have lost a family member to a fatal traffic accident. IDOT’s Guy Tridgell says it’s intended to be a strong message. 

The state’s roadways can be deadly. More than a 1000 people die each year in traffic accidents. 

Never Too Late to be an Organ Donor

You can sign up to be an organ donor at anytime says the Secretary of State. Jesse White is reminding people of the importance of organ donation and says one person can give the gift of life to 25 people.

If you want to sign up you can go to life goes on DOT com.

Most Popular Baby Names of the Last Year Announced

The Social Security Administration has announced the most popular baby names of 2018. Liam and Emma were the biggest names in America for the last 12 months. The social security administration has compiled a list of the most popular baby names since 1997. Each year appears to reflect the trends of popular culture with this year seeing a resurgence in names inspired by royalty and further down the list, names from TV's Game of Thrones. You can see the top ten names of boys and girls below... 


Boys:   1) Liam                                   Girls:   1) Emma

                       2) Noah                                               2) Olivia

                        3) William                                          3) Ava

                        4) James                                              4) Isabella

                        5) Oliver                                             5) Sophia

                        6) Benjamin                                        6) Charlotte

                        7) Elijah                                              7) Mia

                        8) Lucas                                              8) Amelia

                        9) Mason                                             9) Harper

                        10) Logan                                           10) Evelyn


Kewanee City Council Agenda for 05-13-19

Monday night's Kewanee City Council has a large agenda with lots of things to accomplish including a vote on a final fiscal year budget for fy-19 and 20. The council will also consider an agreement between the City of Kewanee and Village of Neponset for Kewanee to provide ambulance service in Neponset. Finally, there will be decisions regarding special use permits for The Boiler Room and The Station restaurant. You can read the entire City Council packet by clicking here. The agenda for Monday night's meeting, is below....


Call to Order
2. Pledge of Allegiance
3. Consent Agenda
a. Approval of Minutes
b. Payroll
c. Staff Reports
d. Request from Veterans Council to hold Poppy Day Sales on May 17, 2019 from 9 am to 9 pm and May
18 from 9 am to 5 pm and declaring May 12-18 as Poppy Week in the City of Kewanee.
e. Request from Kewanee Hog Capitol BBQ Committee for use of City streets, green spaces, and parking
4. Presentation of Bills and Claims
5. Citizen Participation
6. Business:
a) Semi-Annual Presentation from Kewanee Economic Development Corporation.
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) Acceptance of the minutes of the Plan Commission from its meeting held on Thursday, April 25, 2019.
d) Consideration of an Ordinance granting a special use permit to Jeff Todd, DBA Boiler Room to allow
sale and serving of alcoholic liquor for property located at 206 N. Chestnut Street.
e) Consideration of an Ordinance granting a special use permit to Jeff Todd to allow establishment and
operation of a beer garden/outdoor eating area for property located at 206 N. Chestnut Street.
f) Consideration of an Ordinance granting a special use permit to Andrew Speck to allow the
establishment and operation of a beer garden/outdoor eating area for property located at 300 W. Third
g) Consideration of a Resolution to appoint an IMRF Authorized Agent for the City of Kewanee.
h) Consideration of a Resolution establishing the FY 2019-2020 Budget.
i) Consideration of a Resolution to award CIPP work on Payson and N. Chestnut Streets to Hoerr
Construction, Inc.
j) Consideration of a Resolution to authorize an agreement with IMEG Corporation for the Construction
Services Phase III for the resurfacing of East Street Improvement Project (FAU 5733A).
k) Consideration of a Resolution awarding the 2019 Annual Street Maintenance Program to Advanced
Asphalt Company, Inc.
l) Consideration of an Ordinance amending Chapter 155.141(B)(4)(b) of the City Code which establishes
permitted signs in Business Districts.
m) Proclamation declaring May 12 through May 18, 2019 as National Hospital Week.
n) Proclamation declaring May 18, 2019 to be Kewanee Goes to Carnegie Day.

People to People Scott and Dennie Packee from Reiman's and Chuck Kunz with Sauk Trail HOG on Motorcycle Safety

Dennie and Scott from Reiman's Harley Davidson and Chuck Kunz, President of Sauk Trail H.O.G, Harley Owners Group, were our guests on People to People on WKEI on Friday. May is Motorcycle Safety Month in Illinois and we talked about making sure you see motorcycles. Also, don't blow your grass into the street, it's one of the lesser known but important dangers for motorcycles that we all need to be aware of. Finally, we talked about why we love motorcycles, especially the Harley Davidson.Stream or download today's People to People Podcast below... 


Tuned In Sue from Heartfetl Talks About the Kewanee Community Choir in Concert

Sue from Heartfelt joined WKEI on Friday to talk about the upcoming Kewanee Community Choir Concert at First United Methodist on Tuesday, May 14th. Sue is among the singers for the show and dropped by to talk about the fun music you can enjoy at no cost on Tuesday. Donations are welcome but the concert is free and its an opportunity for you to show your support for our very own Kewanee Community Choir. Stream or download our interview with Sue from Heartfelt below... 


Storm Preparedness with Brian Bretcsh from Ameren Illinois

Being prepared for a storm can mean many things but in the eyes of Brian Bretsch, spokesman for Ameren Illinois, being prepared for a storm means having your storm preparedness kit ready to go in case of an emergency. Brian Bretsch was our guest on First Up on Friday morning to talk about storm preparedness and the importance of a storm prep kit and apps on your phone that can keep you up to the minute with Ameren in the event of a powerful storm... Stream or download our interview with Brian Bretsch from Ameren Illinois below... 


Yemm Auto Group Friday with Sales Director Justin Wright 05-10-19

Yemm Auto Group Sales Manager Justin Wright was our guest on Friday morning for our Weekly Yemm Auto Group Podcast. This week, mother's day and Justin had a message for the mom's out there and the kids who love them. Then it was on to deals with both new and used vehicles up for grabs at Yemm Auto Group in Galesburg. Stream or download our weekly Yemm Auto Group podcast below...


First Baptist Church Kewanee Helping Kids With Needed Items for Salvation Army Summer Camps

First Baptist Church Kewanee is making it even easier for kids to attend the Salvation Army's Free Kids camps this Summer. First Baptist Church has donated buckets containing items kids will need when they attend any one of this summer's Free Kids camps provided by the Salvation Army. Eddie Tolliver from the Kewanee Salvation Army talked about the generous donation from First Baptist Church on Thursday's edition of People to People on WKEI... 

You can sign up your kids for the free Salvation Army Summer camps for Sports, Music, Adventure and more by stopping by the Kewanee Salvation Army store. 

Sign Up for Kewanee Public Library Summer Reading Program Begins Monday

Sign up to take part in the Kewanee Public Library Summer Reading Program begins on Monday, May 13th. Kids and parents and really anyone can take part in the Summer Reading Program says Sara Billiet with the Kewanee Public Library... 

The Summer Reading Program gets underway, with the tracking of time spent reading, just after the Memorial Day Weekend.

Illinois Pension Liability Still Growing Despite Strong Economic Numbers

Despite a growing economy and good news regarding tax revenue collected year over year in the state of Illinois, Pension Liabilty in the state continues to grow. New numbers from the office of the Government Forecasting and Accountability, pension liability in the state is set to grow by nearly $3 billion dollars. Our reporter Cole Lauterbach has more from Springfield... 


Democrats in House Divided Over Progressive Tax Plan

Is there a rift among House Democrats over the Progressive Tax? This week in Springfield members of the Democratic Super-Majority in the House began expressing some concerns regarding the bill to change the Illinois Constitution and remove the Flat Tax in favor of a Progressive Tax. With House Republicans standing united in opposition to the bill, House Democrats would need all of their members to vote in favor of the measure to get it to the desk of Governor J.B Pritzker. Our reporter Greg Bishop has more...


High School Students Propose Permanent Daylight Savings Time to Lawmakers in Springfield

A group of students at Carlinville High School have apparently convinced State Senator Andy Manar of Bunker Hill to back a plan to make Daylight Saving Time permanent in Illinois. Senate Bill 533 would make Daylight Saving Time the year-round standard time beginning with the second Sunday of March 2020. Andrew DeNeve says researching the topic and making the presentation has been a great experience.

Reasons for pursuing the change, according to fellow student Travis Osborne, include the health benefits, as well at the "annoyance" of switching times twice a year. 


Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum Kicks off Railroad Exhibit

It's a big year for railroad enthusiasts with the 150th anniversary of the first transcontinental railroad. That fact is not going unnoticed by the folks at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum.  Today, the museum is launching a new exhibit, “All Aboard: America’s Love of Railroads” at neighboring Union Station. The library and museum's Chris Wills previews the offerings....

There will also be a model of the funeral train that carried Lincoln’s body, and a place for visitors to share their own railroad memories. Tomorrow (Friday May 10th), there will be free activities in Union Square Park from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Admission to the exhibit will be free that day. Children can ride around the park in a “barrel train” and learn about railroad safety from Clifford THE BIG RED DOG. Visitors can watch a blacksmith work and meet Harvey Girls, the waitresses who worked at a groundbreaking restaurant chain along western railroad routes. There will also be a photo booth, craft table and telegraph station.

Illinois State Police and American Legion Promote Youth Camp

This year marks 47 years in the partnership betweent the American Legion and the Illinois State Police for their annual American Legion Youth Camp. Illinois State Police Special Agent Melissa Uhles says the camp is for kids with an interest in careers in the military or law enforcement. 

Registration for the American Legion Youth Camp in Springfield is due to the Illinois State Police by Thursday, May 30th. The American Legion Youth Camp will be held at State Police Headquarters June 23rd through June 28th. 


Pokemon Detective Pikachu Opens in Kewanee Today

While the attention of the movie world remains on Avengers Endgame and that films run to knock off Avatar as the highest grossing movie in history, there are other movies beginning to emerge with big box office potential, if not the world shifting attention of Avengers. One of those new movies opens this weekend in Kewanee. Pokemon Detective Pikachu stars Justice Smith and the voice of Ryan Reynolds as Tim and his Pokemon pal, Pikachu. The story finds Tim investigating the disappearance of his father and finding his dad's former Pokemon partner, Pikachu, also on the case. The two team up and begin to uncover a conspiracy that involves the media, and a seeminglty benevolent older man, played by Bill Nighy, who created Ryme City, a place where Pokemon and human, live in harmony together and not just as trainer and pet. Pokemon Detective Pikachu is expected to open to big box office this weekend, though unlikely to top Avengers Endgame. Detective Pikachu should take in somewhere in the range of $50 to $55 million dollars this weekend. As for the critics, Detective Pikachu is, so far, the best reviewed new wide release movie of the weekend with a positive critics score of 66% at RottenTomatoes.com. Pokemon Detective Pikachu opens todayat the Wanee Cinemas in Kewanee. 

Rep Swanson Joins Republican Leaders in Calling for No More New Taxes

State Representative Dan Swanson has joined House Republican Leader Jim Durkin in calling on House Democrats to begin negotiating a balanced budget in the wake of higher than expected tax revenue collected in the month of April. On Wednesday, House Republican Leader Jim Durkin stated that bipartisan efforts to create a balanced budget in fiscal year 2019 was the likely reason why the state received such great returns in April of 2019. 

Durkin went on to say that the higher than expected revenue, more than $1.4 billion dollars in April 2019 over April of 2018, meant that the state of Illinois need not impose new taxes or move to change the current Flat Tax structure of the state constitution. State Representative Dan Swanson echoed the House Republican Leader in an interview at the capitol on Thursday... 


Henry County Sheriff's Office Releases Further Details Regarding Cambridge School Threat

The Henry County Sheriff's Department has released new information regarding the arrest of 18 year old William Keller. Keller is accused of having made violent threats against Cambridge Junior and Senior High School and was arrested on Tuesday morning after Cambridge school officials contacted the Henry County Sheriff's Office regarding the threats on Monday. According to the information from the Henry County Sheriff's Office, witnesses corroborated evidence that Keller had made violent threats against the school. Witnesses indicated that the threats included threatening to 'shoot up the school,' and putting students 'on his list.' The Henry County Sheriff's Office has determined that Keller does not have an FOID card nor did he appear to have immediate access to weapons but nevertheless, they determined that the threats were legitimate and charged Keller with 2 Felony counts of Disorderly Conduct for making threats against a school. The case remains under investigation. William Keller has a court hearing on Monday at the Henry County Courthouse. 

People to People Eddie Tolliver from the Kewanee Salvation Army

Eddie Tolliver from the Kewanee Salvation Army was our guest on People to People on Friday. Eddie joined us to put out another call for kids to get signed up for the Kewanee Salvation Army Kids Camps this Summer. You can pick up applications for your child to attend any of the camps planned including music or sports or adventure. Get more information by stopping by the Kewanee Salvation Army. The Salvation Army is also seeking volunteers to help get kids to the camp so go to the Salvation Army to get signed up to volunteer as well. Stream or download our People to People Podcast interview with Eddie Tolliver by clicking below... 


Tuned In Sara Billiet from the Kewanee Public Library 05-09-19

The Kewanee Public Library Summer Reading program kicks off soon, with registration for the 2019 program beginning on Monday, May 13th. Stop by the Kewanee Public Library beginning Monday and before Memorial Day Weekend to get signed up for the Summer Reading Program, good for almost any age group. Adults and kids can join the program with the chance of winning prizes for being part of reading challenges. Sara Billiet from the Kewanee Public Library was our guest on Tuned In on Thursday morning with more on the Summer Reading Program... Stream or download our Tuned In Podcast below... 


Regional Daily News Celebrity Interview Danielle Savre Station 19

It is set to be yet another emotional roller coaster tonight on ABC with Grey's Anatomy followed by an all new Station 19. Fans who watched last week saw a tragic and unexpected death and this week, the emotional aftermath with the funeral for a hero. Danielle Savre is one of the stars of Station 19, in which she plays one of a group of Seattle Firefighters who are also trained EMTs. Danielle has also taken on role of comfort therapist for traumatized fans of the show via Instagram where she holds court after each episode to help talk fans through the all the feels of a Shonda Rimes television experience. Danielle Savre was our guest this morning on WKEI. Stream or download our interview with Danielle Savre below... 


What Can You Get Rid of at the Kewanee City Wide Clean Up?

The Kewanee City Wide Clean Up is set for May 18th with a rain date, if necessary on June 1st. Kewanee Director of Community Development Keith Edwards joined WKEI on our People to People Program on Wednesday to talk about what you can and cannot bring to the City Wide Clean Up...

So what can be taken to the City Wide Clean Up Site on Elliott Street...

The City Wide Clean Up in Kewanee will be held from 7 Am to 12 Noon at the former site of Kewanee Hospital. Be sure to enter from the Elliott Street side and be sure to have proof of your address, water bill or other utility bill and your ID on hand. Only Kewanee residents may participate in the City Wide Clean up. Old tires can be taken to Moore Tires in Kewanee with the first 300 tires being taken in without charge.

Weather Puts Illinois Farmers Well Behind Schedule in Planting

The Ag Statistics Service Crop Progress Report in Illinois shows that weather has put Illinois farmers well behind in the Spring planting schedule. Katie Laleman from the Henry County Farm Bureau joined WKEI on Wednesday and talked about just how far behind things are in farming so far this Spring in Illinois... 

You can hear our complete interview with Katie Laleman from the Henry County Farm Bureau in our Tuned In Podcast. 

Diversity Legislation Expanded to Include Latino Representation on Corporate Boards

Legislation to require diversity on corporate boards for companies headquartered in Illinois is now being expanded. The bill in question had required that corporate boards for companies headquartered in Illinois had at least one woman and one African American, has now been expanded and will require that at least one Latino person also be included on a corporate board. 


Illinois Comptroller Urging Caution on Unexpected Revenue Increase

Illinois Comptroller Susana Mendoza is urging caution regarding the more than $1.5 billion dollars in tax revenue brought in by the state in April, an amount the state was not expecting to be so high. Comptroller Mendoza spoke to reporters in Springfield on Wednesday to give a sense of how this unexpected amount of tax collection came about and why lawmakers need to be patient in deciding how to make use of this money. 


NBA, MLB Talking Sports Gambliing in Springfield

Representatives from Major League Baseball and the National Basketball Association were in Springfield on Wednesday to testify before a House Committee debating sports gambling legislation. Representatives of Major League Baseball took time to discuss that sports difficult history with sports gambling while representatives from the NBA looked to the future and called on Illinois to make sure that online gambling is part of the new regulations. Our reporter Greg Bishop has more... 


Galva First United Methodist Church to Host Red Cross Blood Drive

Galva First United Methodist Church will play host to a Red Cross Blood Drive next week. According to a release from the area Red Cross, the blood drive will take place from 1 Pm until 6 Pm on Tuesday, May 14 at the Epworth Hall 214 West 2nd Avenue in Galva. The need for blood donations remains at an emergency level as blood donations year over year remain down. If you can please get out and donate blood, that donation could be the one that saves someone's life. The Galva First United Methodist Church Red Cross Blood Drive is Tuesday, May 14th from 1 Pm until 6 Pm. 

House Republican Leaders Call for Balanced Budget After Increase in Tax Revenue Collection in April

Illinois Republicans are calling on Governor Pritzker and Speaker Michael Madigan to work with the Republican Caucus to implement a balanced budget for the Fiscal Year 2020. With the State of Illinois having brought in an estimated 38% higher tax revenue this year over April of 2018, Republicans believe that a balanced budget is achievable without new taxes on bags, cigarettes, and other types of tax increases. House Republican Leader Jim Durkin spoke to reporters at the Capitol on Wednesday and made the case for a balanced budget, crediting the bi-partisan budget last year for this year's unexpected windfall... 


Letter Carrier Food Drive This Weekend About More than Just Food Donations

This Saturday is the annual Letter Carriers Food Drive and the effort to Stamp Out Hunger. Non-perishable food item donations are the main goal of the food drive but there are other donations that you can make on Saturday that can help the Kewanee Food Pantry and the people they serve. Lisa Janey and Postal Worker Kimberly Currier explain what else you can donate this Saturday... 

Volunteers are still needed to help with the collection and delivery of food items to the Kewanee Food Pantry. Contact Lisa Janey at the Kewanee Food Pantry at 309-852-3577 if you can donate your time on Saturday. 

Motor Fulel Tax Hike Proposed

A proposal is out there to increase motor fuel taxes. Democrat Senator Martin Sandoval says the hike would be 25 cents a gallon to 44 cents. It’s 19 cents right now. The expanded gas tax and a number of other increases tied to vehicle registration and other fees could bring in $2.4 billion a year. Those dollars would be spent on transportation 
The increase certainly seems big – but Republican Rep. Don Dewitte says think what a few bucks bought back in 1990, the last time the motor fuel tax was increased.

Vehicle registration fees would increase $50 a year. 

Opponents To Legal Pot Speak Out

Not everyone is getting behind a bill to legalize marijuana and a number groups opposed to it were at the Capitol to speak out. Steven Stelter, President of the Association of Chiefs of Police says they have major concerns about more impaired drivers on the road.

The legalized pot bill is still working its way through the legislature and supports say compromise is certainly possible.

May is Mental Health Month

May is for mental health. The Illinois Department of Human Services wants you to spend more time thinking about it and talking about it. DHS Spokesperson Patrick Laughlin says trouble begins when people are ignoring it or ashamed to seek help.

If you see a building lit up in green lights it’s a symbol of support for mental health.

People to People Kewanee Community Development Director Keith Edwards on Citywide Clean-Up

Kewanee Director of Community Development Keith Edwards was our guest on People to People on Wednesday. Keith joined us to promote the Citywide Cleanup which is taking place on Saturday, May 18th from 7 Am to 12 Noon. Acceptable items can be dropped off at the former location of Kewanee Hospital where Murphy's Containers will have containers at the ready and volunteers will unload trucks and other vehicles full of items to be eliminated via the Kewanee City Wide Cleanup. Find out more from Kewanee Community Development Director Keith Edwards in today's People to People Podcast available to stream or download below... 


Senator Durbin Says It's Not Game Over for Mueller Probe

To borrow a term from coin operated video games of the past, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said it's "game over" for the Mueller Report, saying the case is closed. Senator Dick Durbin couldn't disagree more.....

Durbin says Attorney General William Barr has not shown independence from the White House when it comes to the investigation of Russian tampering into the 2016 election and he called for Barr to step aside...

Durbin says it's also crucial to continue a dialogue about ensuring Russians don't interfere in next year's election.

Illinois River Set to Break Record

The Illinois river is going to crest at record and that’s pushing authorities to add height to existing levee’s to keep the water out. Pike and Scott County Farm Bureau Manager Blake Roderick says a new crest prediction from the Army Corps of Engineers will set the river on a pace to pass the highest recorded level seen in 1943. It’s hard news to hear after so much has been done to try and hold the river back.

Roderick adds that the fight isn’t over once the crest hits. A high river is expected for weeks and that adds pressure to soaked levees.

Proposal To Bump Motor Fuel Tax Floated in Springfield

A proposal from both Republican and Democrat lawmakers is out there to increase motor fuel taxes. The new funding is projected to be $2.4 billion annually and would be spent on transportation infrastructure around the state.  House Bill 3233 would set the motor fuel tax to 44 cents a gallon next July. The current fuel tax is 19 cents a gallon and hasn’t been increased since 1990. There would also be increases to vehicle registration fees and driver’s licenses.


Economic Impact Numbers for National Travel and Tourism Week in Illinois

National Travel and Tourism Week continues and in Illinois, tourism officials are counting their blessings. Illinois Office of Tourism Acting Deputy Director Jan Kemmerling offers tourism economic impact numbers for 2018...

Kemmerling says when it comes to drawing visitors from around the country and abroad, Route 66 remains the path...

Kemmerling notes tourism revenue is up by 6.2 percent compared to this time last year. 

Economic Impact Numbers for National Travel and Tourism Week in Illinois

National Travel and Tourism Week continues and in Illinois, tourism officials are counting their blessings. Illinois Office of Tourism Acting Deputy Director Jan Kemmerling offers tourism economic impact numbers for 2018...

Kemmerling says when it comes to drawing visitors from around the country and abroad, Route 66 remains the path...

Kemmerling notes tourism revenue is up by 6.2 percent compared to this time last year. 

Tuned In Katie Laleman from the Henry County Farm Bureau

Katie Laleman from the Henry County Farm Bureau was our guest on Tuned In on Wednesday. It's been slow going so far this Spring as far as getting crops in the ground. Katie talked about the latest numbers from the USDA and the hustle it is going to take for farmers to get caught up once this spate of rainy weather breaks up a little. The Henry County Farm Bureau has a program coming up for teachers to further ag in the classroom and the Henry and Stark County Farm Bureau Foundation is getting closer to sold out. That's all today on our Tuned In Podcast which you can stream or download by clicking below... 


Kewanee School District 229 to Provide Free Breakfast and Lunch for Kids this Summer

Kids in need of a free breakfast or lunch this Summer will be able to get what they need from the Kewanee School District. According to a release from the Kewanee School District, District 229 Schools will be serving breakfast and lunch for students under the age of 18 from May 31st through June 27th at Irving School and Neponset School, from 7:00 Am to 7:45 Am for breakfast and 11:15 to 12 Noon for lunch. Kewanee High School will offer free breakfast and lunch from June 3rd through June 28th with breakfast served from 7:10 Am to 7:25 and lunch from 12:30 Pm to 1 Pm. The summer breakfast and lunch program will also be served at Prairie Green Apts, Fairview Homes/Housing Authority and the Kewanee YMCA from May 31st through August 9th with breakfast hour from 8 Am to 9 Pm and lunch from 11:30 Am to 12:30 Pm. Lyle School will participate in the program from May 31st through June 25th with breakfast from 7:30 Am to 8:30 Am and lunch from 10:00 Am to 10:15 Am. Central School and Northeast Park round out the locations with two sesssions of the program, the first from May 31st to June 28th and the second session from July 1st to July 26t. Hours for Central School and Northeast Park free breakfast and lunch program are 7:15 Am to 8:15 Am at Central School for the first session breakfast and 8:00 am to 9:00 am for the second session breakfast at Central. Lunch at Central School for both sessions will be from 11:30 Am to 12:30 Pm. Northeast Park Breakfast and Lunch Hours will be the same for both sessions with Breakfast served from 8:00 Am to 9:00 and lunch from 11:30 Am to 12:30 Pm. Contact the Kewanee School District 229 offices for any further information regarding the summer free breakfast and lunch progams, 309-852-3341. 

Pests Holding Up Well Despite Midwest Flooding

How are pests holding up in all this water? Short answer. They’ll survive.

That’s state agricultural pest coordinator Kelly Estes. She says producers who utilize cover crops are being challenged this spring because it’s been tough to burn them down with the wet ground and that gives a certain insect a perfect place to set up shop.

Estes says she is also monitoring for both black cutworm and true armyworm as they are currently migrating in from the south.


More Trouble for Illinois DCFS

The case of the death of 5 year old A.J Freund shined a light on many issues regarding the Illinois Department of Child and Family Services. Now, even more scrutiny of the practices at DCFS are coming to light via an audit conducted by the Illinois Auditor General which finds DCFS workers are desperately over-loaded with cases and not enough case workers. Reporter Cole Lauterbach takes a closer look at the scathing report and potential new DCFS related legislation and oversight... 


Illinois Senate President Backing Even Larger Increase in Cigarette Tax

Illinois Senate President John Cullerton is supporting an even larger increase in the Cigarette Tax than even Governor J.B Pritzker had proposed. Senator Cullerton spoke to reporters in Springfield this week and state support for raising the taxes on cigarette sales by $1.00, from $1.98 per pack to $2.98 per pack. Sellers of cigarettes, specifically gas station and convenience stone owners however, are skeptical of such a steep increase. Our Greg Bishop has more... 


Hearings for Progressive Income Tax Package Thursday in House Committee

The House Revenue and Finance Committee will begin work on the Progressive tax package that was approved by the Senate last week on Thursday. That package of bills includes a repeal of the estate tax, a freeze on property taxes, proposed tax rates under a progressive plan and the actual constitutional amendment itself, all in one package. This bundle of bills has some members of the House questioning whether they will support the Senate version of the bill. Our Greg Bishop has more... 


Illinois Attorney General Urging Consumers to Stop Using Kids II Rocking Sleepers

Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul is urging Illinois parents to immediately stop using the Kids II Rocking Sleeper. The Kids II Rocking Sleeper is being recalled by the company Kids 2 after reports that 5 babies have died in the Kids II Rocking Sleeper since the product was introduced in 2012. “It is important to remember that products intended for use by infants and children can still be hazardous,” Raoul said. “I urge parents and caregivers to check with the Consumer Product Safety Commission for a full list of recalled models, and to stop using the Kids II sleeper immediately.” Kids 2 is offering refunds for anyone who purchased one of the Rocking Sleepers which have been sold under multiple different model names and styles since 2012. Parents are urged to see if the Infant Rocking Sleeper is a Kids II brand and if so to stop using the product immediately and contact Kids 2 toll-free at 1-866-869-7954 7:00 a.m.to 4:00 p.m. CT Monday through Friday or visit www.kids2.com and click on “IMPORTANT RECALL INFORMATION” for more information.

Illinois State Police and American Legion to Host Youth Police Camp in June

The Illinois State Police have announced that they will once again partner with the American Legion for the annual American Legion Youth Police Camp in Springfield in June. It's the 47th year of the partnership between the Illinois State Police and the American Legion for this camp which welcomes teenagers aged 15 to 17 to participate and find out more about the field of law enforcement. Kids will receive training from both police and military professionals over the course of the 5 day camp from June 23rd through June 28th. "The American Legion Youth Police Camp gives Cadets the opportunity to learn the core values that are instilled in law enforcement and the military,” said Illinois State Police Colonel Timothy Tyler. “Cadets are led by a dedicated cadre all week, and they take their experiences home with them to inspire the people around them,” he concluded. Kids who attend the camp will be honored with a graduation ceremony on the final day. If you know a teenager with an interest in a future in law enforcement and would like to attend the American Legion Youth Police Camp in Springfield, applications for participants must be returned to the Illinois State Police headquarters in Springfield by Thursday, May 30th. For more information about the ALYPC, please contact Safety Law and Order Chairman Delmar Buske at (217) 556-9555, or Illinois State Police Special Agent Melissa Uhles at (217) 786-7070. You can also go to the website ILLegion.org

May is Stroke Awareness Month in Illinois

The month of May is designated as Stroke Awareness Month and Carrie Boelens from OSF Saint Luke Medical Center says that time is the biggest factor when it comes to helping someone you love survive a stroke... 

So, how can you know that someone you know is having a stroke? Watch for the signs with the acronym F.A.S.T... 

Carrie Boelens was our guest on Tuned In on Monday. 

Kewanee Back When to Celebrate Eldon Q and National Radio Month May 21st

WKEI's Kewanee Back When with Sean Kernan and Dave Clark will celebrate WKEI radio legend Eldon Q. Dave Clark has brought in an incredible guest to join Kewanee Back When at 9:35 Am on Tuesday, May 21st. Eldon Q was the host of "Problems & Solution" from all the way back in the 1960's into the early 2000's. Eldon is well remembered for his catchphrase, showi closer, "Drive carefully and make sure your license plates expire before you do. See yah soon, Sissy!" We will discuss the origin of 'See Yah soon Sissy,' and Eldon's remarkable local fame with a very special guest, on May 21st at 9:35 Am on WKEI's Kewanee Back When. 

Governor Orders Flags to Half Staff for Fallen Firefighter

Governor J.B Pritzker has ordered flags to half staff May 8th through the 10th in honor of a fallen firefighter. On Sunday, May 5h, Christopher, Illinois Firefighter Kody Vanfossan died while fighting a fire. According to the Christopher Fire Department, Vanfossan and two other firefighters went upstairs during a residential fire to make sure that everyone had made it out of the home, when the stairs collapsed and trapped Vanfossen on an upper level. A funeral procession through the streets of Christopher was held on Tuesday. Instructions provided by State Representative Dan Swanson regarding flags on public buildings indicates that American flags should be flown at half staff on public buildings from Sunrise on Wednesday, May 8, 2019 until Sunset on Friday, May 10, 2019

**When flown at half-staff or half-mast, the U.S. flag should be hoisted first to the peak for an instant and then lowered to the half-staff or half-mast position. The flag should again be raised to the peak before it is lowered for the day.

Cambridge Teen Arrested for Making Threats Against Cambridge School

A teenager from Cambridge has been accused of making threats against Cambridge Junion/Senior High School. According to information provided the Cambridge School District, 19 year old William Keller is accused of having made threats to a school building or person. Keller was taken into custody off campus on Tuesday morning, which explains why parents were not immediately informed when the arrest was made. Cambridge School officials informed the Henry County Sheriff's Department about the threat on Monday evning and that led to the arrest made on Tuesday morning. WKEI has reached out to the Henry County Sheriff's Department for further information and will update this story when information is made available. 

Weather Pattern Beginning to Change this Week Drier Weather Coming

The weather pattern should change later this week, but additional rain is in the forecast through Thursday for many parts of an already soaked Illinois says DTN agriculture meteorologist Bryce Anderson

Those conditions should lead to advancement of field work for most of Illinois over the next week to ten days with temperatures being on the seasonal side.


National Nurses Week: A Call in IL for Safer Staffing

It's National Nurses Week, and advocates for the profession are continuing their fight for safer working conditions. There is no limit in Illinois as to how many patients an RN can treat at one time. According to Alice Johnson, executive director of the Illinois Nurses Association, this can lead to understaffing and compromised patient care. However, she noted, minimum nurse-staffing levels for hospitals could be created through the Safe Patient Limits Act, HB 2604.

"First and foremost, nurses are patient advocates, and the Safe Patient Limits Act is really about protecting and caring for patents," Johnson said. "I think we're going to see real change this year because nurses are energized and ready to step up and make sure that this law gets passed."

There are more than 182,000 registered nurses in Illinois. Half of them work in hospital or acute-care settings. And Johnson noted on a medical-surgical unit, the likelihood of patient death rises by 7% for each patient past four who is assigned to an RN. Opponents to the bill counter there is no solid evidence that mandatory staffing ratios improve the quality of care. Johnson said she questions other claims by opponents that the limits would be too costly for hospitals to implement, leading to closures or reduced services.

"More nurses is going to mean better patient care, it's going to mean more safety for the nurses and that is going to save money," she argued. "There was a study that showed that implementing the Safe Patient limits would save over $1 billion for Illinois hospitals."

Johnson said improved nurse-to-patient ratios also would reduce costs by reducing workplace burnout and staff turnover. California is the only state that has a law mandating required minimum nurse-to-patient ratios, which a 2015 study associated with more than 50% fewer occupational injuries and illnesses per 10,000 RNs per year.


Annual Letter Carrier Food Drive this Saturday in Kewanee

You can help Stamp Out Hunger this Saturday with the annual Letter Carrier Food Drive in Kewanee. This week, bags are being delivered to your mailbox that you are encouraged to fill with non-perishable food items or goods that can be used by those in need and distributed via the Kewanee Food Pantry. Kimberly Currier is a letter carrier with the Kewanee Post Office... 

Last year the Letter Carriers Food Drive came up short of their goal and Kimberly Currier told WKEI that that was likely due to not providing the donation bags that are being provided this year in order to encourage donations... 

Volunteers are needed to help gather up donations this Saturday and you can contact Lisa Janey at the Kewanee Food Pantry if you are able to help out. 

Annanwan-Alba Township Bake Sale this Weekend

The Annawan-Alba Township Library will play host to a bake sale this Friday, May 10th. According to a release from organizers of the event, the bake sale will take place from 8 Am to 5 Pm at the Library this coming Friday with proceeds benefiting the Annanwan-Alba Township Library Summer Reading Program. Stop by the Annawan-Alba Township Libary between 8 am and 5 Pm on Fray, May 10th at 200 North Meadow Lane in Annawan. If you have any questions about the bake sale you can call 309-935-6483. 

City of Kewanee Announces Road Closure for Tuesday

The City of Kewanee has announced that a portion of Rose Street will be closed beginning at 7 Am on Tuesday. According to a release from the City of Kewanee, Ratliff's will be repairing a portion of the Sanitary Sewer System in the area of Rose Street between Grove Street and 5th Avenue. Residents will still have access to the back of their homes via Beach Street while work is completed. Residents are otherwise asked to avoid the area of Rose Street from Grove to 5th Avenue until work is completed. No timeframe has been given for how long the repair will take. Work was rescheduled to this week after heavy rain scrapped plans to begin the work last week. 

Bill to Ban Use of Video Devices While Behind the Wheel of a Car on Hold in Illinois House

A bill to ban people from using video devices while driving passed the Senate Transportation Committee and a Senate floor vote but appears held up in the Illinois House. State Representative Tim Butler appears to have raised a few questions about the bill that will need to be addressed before it can move forward. Our Greg Bishop has more... 


Recreational Marijuana Legalization Bill Introduced in the House No Vote Yet

The path forward for legalized marijuana is growing clearer. This weekend Governor JB Pritzker laid out an agreed upon framework for legal weed in Illinois. The drug would be legal to have if you have purchased from a licensed dispensary, if you’re over 21 and you hold no more than one ounce at a time. The plan also lays out the option for adults to grow their own and expunge some marijuana convictions. Governor Pritzker says with Illinois having taken it’s time to legalize marijuana they have been able to use other states successes as a pathway.


Galva Girl Scouts Raise $800 For Galva Historical Society

Galva Girl Scout Troop 1382 bounded about the Kewanee Pizza Hut delivering food and helping to clear tables as they welcomed people to raise money for the Galva Historical Society. The good deeds and dedication of Troop 1382 paid off with donations of more than $800 from generous, pizza loving patrons. According to Carlin Follis, board member at the Galva Historical Society, the money raised will help offset the cost of placing a new furnace at the Historic Wiley House in Galva. Final numbers indicate that 145 diners at the Kewanee Pizza Hut helped to raise the money on Monday night in a wonderful display of community aid. 

Beware of Energy Supply Scams

Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul wants you to be on the lookout for alternative retail energy suppliers and deceptive practices that some use when selling consumers on switching providers. The pitch comes with saving money from a new supplier but often Raoul says those promises seem empty when the bills start coming in.

Raoul says that consumers need to be well versed in the cost associated with switching suppliers and that existing energy suppliers have to give notice if eclectic rates or gas rates are headed higher.

City of Kewanee to Negotiate Transfer of Francis Park to Kewanee Park District

It's by no means a done deal yet, but the City of Kewanee intends to enter into negotiations to transfer control of Francis Park to the Kewanee Park District. At last night's Kewanee City Council Budget Workshop, Mayor Gary Moore raised the idea of transferring the control and maintenance of Francis Park to the Kewanee Park District following a conversation he stated that he'd had with Park District Director Brian Johnson. At the end of last night's meeting, which ended with no other significant changes to the more than 200,000 overage on the overall next fiscal year budget, Mayor Moore tasked City Manager Gary Bradley to begin negotiations of transferring the park to the Park District. According to the Mayor, the Park District has indicated interest in taking on Francis Park in exchange for the City of Kewanee agreeing to fill the pool at Northeast Park with water but these details are far from official and nothing was decided on at last nights informal budget meeting beyond the agreement to have the City Manager begin negotiations. After the meeting we spoke with Mayor Gary Moore... 

Before any decision is made on Francis Park a cost benefit anaylsis and a vote by the Kewanee City Council would have to take place. 

Illinois State Police Investigating the Death of an Inmate at Stark County Jail

It will be up to the Illinois State Police to determine what caused the death of an inmate in custody at the Stark County Jail on Friday, May 3rd. According to information released by Stark County, at approximately 4:30 Pm on Friday, May 3rd, Stark County Jail personnel found 30 year old Sterling C Williams Jr of Toulon unresponsive in his cell. Williams was taken from the jail to OSF Saint Luke Medical Center in Kewanee where he was pronounced dead. No other information is being released at this time, Williams had recently been in out and out of the Stark County Jail with warrants in Henry County as well. The investigation of the death of Sterling C. Williams is open and active with the Illinois State Police. 

People to People Letter Carries Food Drive in Kewanee and Across Henry County this Saturday

The 2019 Letter Carriers Food Drive is this Saturday and the Kewanee Post Office and the Kewanee Food Pantry want your help in setting a record this year. Look for plastic donation bags being delivered to homes this week and be sure to fill those bags with non-perishable food items or durable goods or even cash donations to help out the Kewanee Food Pantry. Volunteers are needed for collection day Saturday to help our letter carriers carry what hopes to be a record amount of food donations for the annual Letter Carrier Food Drive. Kimberly Currier from the Kewanee Post Office and Lisa Janey from the Kewanee Food Pantry were our guests on People to People on Monday... 


Open Line Podcast 05-06-19

Today on the Open Line podcast, legalized recreational marijuana. Why is the bill to legalize marijuana allowing for people to grow marijuana at home if the point of legalization is to garner tax revenue from taxing the sale of marijuana? Callers meanwhile, wanted to talk about potholes and what can be done to get them fixed at a faster pace than what we have seen thus far. Stream or download today's Open Line Podcast below... 


Tuned In OSF Saint Luke Medical Center Monday 05-06-19

Carrie Boelens from OSF Saint Luke Medical Center joined WKEI on our Tuned In program to talk about May being named Stroke Month. Remember the signs of stroke by thinking of the acronym F.A.S.T, Facial drooping, Arm Weakness, Speech Difficulty, and Time. If you see any of the symptoms of a stroke, mark the time when you noticed them as time is of the essence in battling a stroke. Stream or download today's Tuned In podcast at RegionalDailyNews.com.... 


Illinois Fertilizer and Chemical Association Talks Anhydrous Ammonia

In response to an accident involving anhydrous ammonia this spring, the Illinois Fertilizer and Chemical Association offering a few reminders. If there is a release, the first thing that must be done is reporting the situation to emergency responders says the association’s Jean Payne.

Late last month a mishap involved a tractor toolbar and two nurse tanks with ammonia being released in a populated area in Beach Park in Lake County just outside of Chicago. Several people were hospitalized from the incident. 


No Word Yet on Selection of New Kewanee City Clerk

Kewanee City Councilman Steve Faber was our guest on Tuned In on Friday and we asked Mr Faber about the status of the search for a new City Clerk for the City of Kewanee. At his first Kewanee City Council Meeting as Mayor, Mayor Gary Moore announced his decision not to re-appoint Melinda Edwards as City Clerk. According to Councilman Faber there is a timeframe for a choice but that it is at the Mayor's discretion... 

One thing is for sure, Councilman Faber says that he will back Mayor Gary Moore on whatever decision he makes regarding the position... 

The Kewanee City Council will meet for a budget workshop tonight at 6 Pm at Kewanee City Hall. Thre agenda for the next official Kewanee City Council meeting will be released this coming Friday with the next Kewanee City Council meeting set for 1 week from today. 

First Baptist Church and First Congregational Church Choir Headed to Carnegie Hall with Big Send-Off

The combined choir of First Baptist Church and First Congregational Church in Kewanee will be sending 38 of their members to New York City for a landmark, Patriotic concert event on May on Sunday, May 26th. Brock Tumbleson and recently retired Pastor Dan Craig dropped by WKEI on Friday to say thank you and let you know that even if you can't make the trip to Carnegie Hall, you can see the show that the choir will be performing with a special concert happening on Saturday, May 18th at First Baptist Church... 

You can hear our entire People to People interview with Brock Tumbleson and Pastor Dan Craig by streaming or downloading the interview below... 


Galva Girl Scouts Raising Money for the Galva Historical Society Tonight

Galva Girl Scout Troop 1382 recently took a tour of the Galva Historical Society and while they were there, they became inspired. With the help of Carlin Follis and the rest of the Historical Society board, the Girl Scouts became involved in a fundraiser which will take place tonight at Pizza Hut in Kewanee. The Girl Scouts of Troop 1382 will be at the Kewanee Pizza Hut this evening, beginning at 5:30 Pm and going until 7:15 Pm says Carlin Follis... 

Money raised at tonight's fundraiser will go to support the Galva Historical Society but specifically to help offset the cost of a new boiler for the Historical Society. 


April Was Wet and Cold

Weather was wetter than normal and colder than normal in Illinois in April. The Illinois Climatologist office says that April is now the 6th consecutive month with above average rain fall and all that precipitation is having an impact. 130 river gauges are showing some level of flooding in the state. The Illinois State Water Survey’s Brian Kerschner says that conditions won’t likely improve very much this week.

Kerschner also says that two week forecast shows a trend towards wetter than average weather.

FCC Announces Aggressive Investment in Rural Broadband Access

The Federal Communications is proposing a significant investment in rural broadband access. The FCC is allocating just over $20-billion over the next ten years with the target of connecting up to four-million rural homes and businesses.

The new allotment is similar to 2015 when $9-billion was allocated for rural broadband under the Obama administration.

Pritzker Happy With Senates Work On Income Taxes

The Illinois House will soon debate what they think about the Senate’s stance on a constitutional amendment for a graduated income tax. But the Senate changed what the rates look like increasing the top rate to 7.99 percent and doing away with the estate tax. Governor JB Pritzker says first he’s very happy to have the first step towards a constitutional amendment completed. 


Governor Lays Out Framework for Marijuana Legalization

The path forward for legalized marijuana is growing clearer. This weekend Governor JB Pritzker laid an agreed upon framework for legal weed in Illinois. The drug would be legal to have if you have purchased from a licensed dispensary, if you’re over 21 and you hold no more than one ounce at a time. Governor J.B Pritzker and State Representative Kelly Cassidy spoke about legalization at a press conference on Saturday... 

The plan also lays out the option for adults to grow their own and expunge some marijuana convictions. The bill will be introduced today at the State House. 

Kewanee Life Skills Program and Theater Students Present Seussical Jr

The Kewanee High School Life Skills Program is teaming up with Theater Students for a presentation of the play Seussical Jr on May 16th beginning at 6 Pm in the Kewanee High School Auditorium. There is no cost to attend but donations are being sought with proceeds going to support the KHS Life Skills Program which serves students with special needs from age 14 to 21 years of age. Seussical Jr features your favorite Dr Seuss characters including Horton the Elephant, the Cat in the Hat and Yertle the Turtle on a fantastic musical adventure. Again, there is no cost to attend, admission is free, but donations are being sought to help pay for the remarkable things that the Kewanee High School Life Skills Program does for the special needs students who take part in it year after year. The production of Seussical Jr will be on May 16th beginning at 6 Pm with doors open at 5:30 Pm. 

Vasa National Archives in Bishop Hill to Hold Fairy Tale Ball in June

The Vasa National Archives in Bishop Hill will play host to a Fairy Tale Ball on June 1st from 5 Pm until 8 Pm. Parents are invited to bring their kids to the Vasa National Archives located at 109 South Bishop Hill Street in Bishop Hill to enjoy tales of Fairies, Elves and Troll Kings. The ball will feature multiple craft and gaming stations and a wizard. Food will be served and their will be music in the air. The Fairy Tale Ball will begin at 5 Pm with a special Sensory Sensitive session from 5 Pm to 6:30 Pm for families in need of extra care. This will be an outdoor event featuring a hot dog dinner. Kids are urged to dress in their fairy tale finest costumes as mermaids, fairies, goblins, elves, trolls or whomever your child's favorite fairy tale character may be. The cost is $10.00 per child but parents can attend for free. Reservations are required if you choose to attend. Contact the Vasa Archives in Bishop Hill at 309-927-3898. 

May Business After Hours Location Announced by Kewanee Chamber

The Kewanee Elks Lodge will be the location for the next Kewanee Chamber of Commerce Business After Hours event. According to a release from the Kewanee Chamber, events will begin at 5 Pm on Thursday, May 16th at the Elks Lodge. To attend you must be a member of the Kewanee Chamber of Commerce or the guest of a member and you must RSVP. To make a reservation, contact Mark Mikenas at the Kewanee Chamber of Commerce at 309-852-2175. Also on this month's Kewanee Chamber of Commerce agenda is the Kewanee Rotary Foundation Appreciation Breakfast which will take place on April 24th from 6:30 Am to 9:30 Am at First United Methodist Church. Tickets to attend the Kewanee Rotary Foundation Appreciation Breakfast are $10.00 per ticket and can be purchased from a Rotary member. 

Yemm Auto Group Friday with The Cadillac Guy Dustin Cardenas

Dustin Cardenas, The Cadillac Guy, was our guest this week on WKEI for our weekly feature, the Yemm Auto Group podcast. Each week, the folks from Yemm Auto Group in Galesburg join us to talk about the latest deals available and to give you a little personal insight into the people at Yemm Auto Group who are eager to help you find the vehicle of your dreams. Stream or download our weekly Yemm Auto Group Podcast below... 


Henry County Emergency Management Offering Free Well Water Testing Kits

Places that make use of well water will want to test that water before going back to using it regularly following the recent floods in the area. The Henry County Office of Emergency Management and the Henry and Stark County Health Department will giving away free well water test kits for anyone who is concerned about contaminated water following the sever floods. Residents of Colona Township, Edford Township, Hanna Township and Phenix will especially want to make sure their wells are clean and bacteria free. Free well water test kits will be avaiable on Monday, May 6th at the Colona location of the Henry and Stark County Health Department. 

IDOT Announces Start of I-80 Road Project Near Annawan on Monday

Road construction season is well underway in Illinois and the Illinois Department of Transportation is kicking off the season with lane closures on Interstate 80 near Annawan beginning on Monday, May 6th. According to a release from the Illinois Department of Transportation, Eagle Painting and Maintenance Company will begin work on Monday morning on a $196,000 project to clean and paint the structural steel on the structure carrying East 2500th Street over I-80. Both East and Westbound traffic will be restricted to one lane while the work is completed and drivers should be aware of likely traffic delays. The project should be completed by June of 2019. 

First Up Podcast Talk Show Legend Jim Bohannon on WKEI

Talk Show legend Jim Bohannon, who can be heard each weeknight from 9 Pm until Midnight on WKEI, got up a little early with us on the WKEI Morning Show on Friday. Jim talked about the new job numbers that include one of the lowest unemployment rates in nearly 50 years. We also talked about infrastructure spending and Jim hopes revenue is being factored in to pay for the 2 trillion dollar package that President Trump and Democratic leaders spoke about on Wednesday. Finally, we talked about the Mueller report on this special edition of the First Up Podcast on WKEI. Stream or download the show below... 


Tuned In Kewanee City Council Member Steve Faber on Smoke Detectors

City Council Member Steve Faber was our guest on Tuned In on Friday. Councilman Faber will be out across Henry County on Saturday, helping to deliver and install smoke detectors. Mr Faber says that volunteers are needed to help Kewanee Firefighters and volunteers like himself to make the trip around the area to place smoke detectors and CO2 detectors. Meet up time is 8:30 Am at Kewanee City Hall. 


City of Kewanee to Host Budget Meeting on Monday, May 6th

The City of Kewanee will hold a budget work session on Monday night at 6:30 Pm at Kewanee City Hall. The public is invited to attend and to see how the budget is coming together for the next fiscal year. This will be the first budget workshop presided over by new Kewanee Mayor Gary Moore. The next Kewanee Budget workshop is set for Monday, May 6th, at 6:30 Pm at Kewanee City Hall. You can see the Kewanee City Budget Workshop packet at the City of Kewanee Website or download it at this link. 

Wethersfield Board of Education Meeting Agenda May 9th

Wethersfield Schools Superintendent Shane Kazubowski has released the school board agenday for the meeting happening on May 9th at the Blish Building at 6:30 Pm. 




Wethersfield Community Unit School District No. 230

Superintendent’s Office – Blish Building

439 Willard Street – Kewanee, Illinois 61443


May 9, 2019 — 6:30pm





Consent Agenda

Approve Minutes of April 11, 2019 Regular and Executive Session Meeting

Approve Minutes of April 24, 2019 Special Board Meeting  

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

Approve Suspensions

Approve Senate Bill 7 Job Categories for 2019-2020

Approve Junior High and High School Master Schedule and Bell Schedule for 2019-2020

Acknowledge Freedom of Information Act Receipt and Response


Comments From Visitors

Board Member Reports





FY 19 Amended Budget

Approve Resolution Cancelling July 11, 2019 Board Meeting

Wethersfield Solar Panel Project Update

Joint Coop Board Meeting

2019-2020 8th Grade Promotion/High School Graduation

Other Old Business



Approve 2019-2020 School Fees

Approve Facility Use Policy Update

Approve Media Production and Ag View Scholarship Student Activity Accounts

Principals’ Reports

Employment of Personnel (After Executive Session)

Other New Business

Comments From Visitors


EXECUTIVE SESSION (Employment of Personnel/Student Discipline/Individual Student Matter)



Tuesday, May 14, 2019- 8th Grade Class Trip to Kalahari (Wisconsin Dells)

Friday, May 10, 2019- Qualifying Senior’s Last Day and Senior Cookout

Thursday, May 16, 2019- Qualifying 8th Grader’s Last Day

Thursday, May 16, 2019- 8th Grade Promotion at 7:00pm in HS Gym

Sunday, May 19, 2019- High School Graduation at 2:00pm

Friday, May 31, 2019- Last Student Attendance Day

Monday, June 1, 2019- Teacher’s Institute (Teacher’s Last Attendance Day)

Summer Office Hours Begin- June 1, 2019 

All Report Cards Mailed Home- June 3, 2019

Next Board Meeting (FY 19 Amended Budget Hearing) – Tuesday, June 11, 2019 at 4:30pm



Illinois Pension Buyout Plans Only Now Beginning to Ramp Up

While lawmakers were touting savings from pension buyouts earlier this year, it's only now that the funding for those who wish to accept a pension buyout are beginning to become available to be dispensed. That is with less than 2 months remaining in the fiscal year which means the actual savings are unlikely to meet expectations. Our Greg Bishop has more... 


Chief Sponsor of Recreational Marijuana Bill Attempting to Calm Concerns About Legalization

State Senator Heather Steans is working to answer concerns of members of her own party regarding the legalization of recreational marijuana. While Governor J.B Pritzker wants a bill filed in this session of the state legislature, no bill has been submitted yet as State Senator Steans first looks to put out fires regarding concerns over the bill. Our Greg Bishop has more... 


Lunch at the Henry County Senior Center Continues to Grow in Popularity

Cassandra Schmoll from the Henry County Senior Center was our guest on Tuned In on Thursday morning. Usually when Cassandra joins us we talk about upcoming events and fundraisers but this week we focused on what the Senior Center is best known for, their daily meals and their Tuesday night dinners... 

Illinois DNR Recruiting Conservation Officers

The Illinois Department of Natural Resources is actively recruiting new conservation officers to enforce the law in wilds of Illinois. A conservation officer has the enforcement authority of a local, county or state police official but works predominently in nature, enforcing the rules when it comes to poaching and licensing and other laws related to being in our public forests, and other wildlife areas. Lt Curt Lewis is a leader with the Conservation Police and talked about the effort to get people to apply to become a Conservation Officer... 

What type of enforcement does a Conservation Officer do? 

To apply to become a Conservation Officer with the Illinois Department of Resources go to DNR.Illinois.Gov. 

Kewanee Chamber of Commerce Touting Increase in Retail Sales in 2018

The latest edition of the Kewanee Chamber of Commerce newsletter is celebrating an increase in retail sales numbers from the second half of 2018. According to the numbers provided by the Kewanee Chamber of Commerce, retail sales overall in 2018 were 3.1% higher than retail sales numbers for all of 2017. Total retail sales in Kewanee in 2018 nearly reached $200 million dollars, coming in at $199.79 million dollars. Leading the way in increases were Auto and Service station sales which were up 6.2% in 2018 over 2017 numbers. The City of Kewanee hasn't seen more than $200 million dollars in retail sales since 2019 and the Chamber is hopeful that efforts to get people to shop local can edge Kewanee back over that magical $200 million dollar mark in 2019. 

OSF Saint Luke Medical Center to Host Healthy Workplace Event on May 16th

OSF Saint Luke Medical Center wants to help you foster a healthier environment for office mental health. On Thursday, May 16th from 11:30 Am until 1 Pm, OSF will place host to local businesses in the East and West Conference rooms for lunch and the chance to hear from experts in creating a healthy work environment. Luke Raymond, Manager of OSF Behavioral Health will talk about how you can implement effective strategies to improve the well-being of your employees. If you are a business owner or leader eager to learn about managing workplace stress and creating a healthy work environment you must RSVP for the Healthy Workplace Event at OSF Saint Luke Medical Center by no later than May 13th. Contact Linda Hawkins at OSF Saint Luke Medical Center at 309-677-0883 for further information or to RSVP or you can RSVP online at OSFSaintLuke.org by clicking the Attend an Event tab. 

State Senator Chuck Weaver Explains What is in the Recent Tax Bill

State Senator Chuck Weaver wants you to know what is in the tax bill that passed through the State Senate on Wednesday in a debate and vote that lasted less than 15 minutes. Senator Weaver explains that while 97% of Illinois residents may see a very small percentage decrease in income taxes initially, the rate at the higher end of the percentage, could lead to serious issues for job creation and especially for job creators... 

The package of 4 bills, including bills to freeze property taxes and a bill bringing an end to the Estate Tax, along with the two bills needed to get the Graduated Income Tax on the 2020 election ballot, now head to the Illinois House of Representatives where the bills need 2/3 majority vote to move to the statewide vote in November of 2020. 

Another Name Added to ISP Memorial Wall

Another name added this week to a memorial wall in Springfield that honor’s fallen Illinois State Troopers. Christopher Lambert was struck and killed early this year by a driver in northern Illinois. His widow Halley says her husband was always willing to help, even when not in uniform.

There are 70 names on wall and two more will be soon be added. Lambert was the first of three troopers killed in the line of duty this year. 
He left behind an 18 month old daughter and a baby due in August. 

Rep Bustos Touting the Importance of Updating Locks and Dams in Wake of Record Flood

Congresswoman Cheri Bustos continues to bring attention to aging locks and dam infrastructure. She was questioned about the issue during a House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Hearing this week in Washington. 

Bustos serves on the House Appropriations committee and supports a major infrastructure package that would include significant funding for such areas as locks and dams, roads and bridges, airports and rural broadband improvements. 

Bost Has High Hopes for Infrastructure Bill Investment

President Donald Trump and Democratic legislative leaders reportedly agreed to spend roughly $2 trillion on the nation’s infrastructure earlier this week at a meeting at the White House.

There’s still much work to do to get the agreement into a law signed in the oval office. But Illinois Congressman Mike Bost says any bills need to start consistent spending and sustained revenue for our infrastructure needs.

Bost says some projects he’d like to see funded in Southern Illinois include a new highway exit in Benton, highway upgrades in Jefferson County, and improvements to area locks and dams, and water and sewer infrastructure.

Illinois State Fair Slashing Admission Cost to Increase Attendance

In a bid to bring more people through the turnstyles, the Illinois State Fair is slashing the cost of weekday admission, in fact Fair Manager Kevin Gordon says the entry fee will extend to part of the opening weekend of the fair....

Gordon says the fair continues to battle a growing problem, earlier school years....

After a three year hiatus, the fair will also bring back the popular high dive show. 

Kewanee Park District Touting Kewanee Theatre Auditions for All Ages Mary Poppins

If you have ever caught the acting bug, the Kewanee Park District has something for you with their all ages producution of Disney's Mary Poppins. Anyone from the ages of 8 to 80 is and older is welcome to come to auditions for Mary Poppins to be held at Kewanee High School in the Petersen Auditorium over two days, Monday, May 13th and Tuesday, May 14th. Both days auditions will get underway at 5 Pm. If you make it through the first audition, callbacks will be held on May 16th from 6 Pm to 7 for kids and from 7 Pm to 8:30 Pm for adults. The final cast for Disney's Mary Poppins will be announced on May 17th with rehearsals beginning on May 21st. Performances of Disney's Mary Poppins will take place on July 5th through the 7th, once again at the Petersen Gymnasium at Kewanee High School. This production of Mary Poppins is made possible by the Kewanee Park District and the Kewanee Community Theatre. Get more information by going to KewaneeTheatre.org. 

People to People Podcast Duke Frisby and the Stark County Morel Mushroom Festival

It looks as if the weather will cooperate and the Stark County Morel Mushroom Festival will have no weather issues this weekend. Duke Frisby, one of the spokespeople and organizers for the event was our guest on People to People on Thursday to talk about the Mushroom auction which begins at 1 Pm on Saturday but if you're selling or buying, you need to get their before that. Girl Scouts from Girl Scout Troop 4527 will be on hand collecting toy and cash donations to be donated to the Children's Hospital of Illinois so bring a toy or a cash donation to help out if you can. Finally, Duke tells us that it could be a bumper crop year for mushrooms but you will need to turn out at the Stark County Morel Mushroom Festival to find out more about that. Stream or download our interview with Duke Frisby below... 


Tuned In Podcast Cassandra Schmoll Henry County Senior Citizens Center

Cassandra Schmoll from the Henry County Senior Center was our guest on Tuned In on Thursday. Cassandra joined us to talk about their home delivered meal program and the incredible cooks who handle the daily lunches, the Tuesday night dinners and all of the Home Delivered Meals. There is a need for volunteers at the Senior Center so contact Cassandra if you have time and effort to donate. The Henry County Senior Center Golf Outing is coming up as well and its one of their biggest and most important fundraiser's of the year. Stream or download our Tuned In Podcast interview with Cassandra Schmoll below... 


First Up Podcast State Senator Chuck Weaver on the Graduated Income Tax

State Senator Chuck Weaver joined WKEI on our First Up Podcast the day after the Illinois State Senate took less than 15 minutes on a party line vote to pass a version of Governor J.B Pritzker's progessive or fair tax. State Senator Weaver was part of the Republican Minority that voted against the bill that would, if passed by the Illinois House of Representatives, go on the November 2020 ballot for a vote to change the Illinois Constitution removing the Flat Tax and replacing it with a Fair Tax. Stream or download our First Up Podcast interview with State Senator Chuck Weaver below... 


Illinois Senate Takes first Steps Toward Governor Pritzker Tax Plan

So what happens next? Now that the Illinois Senate has approved a package of bills that includes Governor Pritzker's plan for a so-called Fair or Progressive or Graduated income tax, what is the next step? Our reporter Cole Lauterbach explains where the bill goes from here in the effort to move Illinois away from a Flat Tax system... 


IRMA and IMA Encouraging Business Owners to Get Involved in Public Policy

The Illinois Retail Merchants Association and the Illiinois Manufacturers Association are encouraging business owners to get involved in public policy. At the Business Day event in Springfield, representatives of the IRMA and the IMA spoke up following a speech by Governor J.B Pritzker and encouraged business owners in attendance to be more vocal in how they feel about policies coming out of Springfield. Reporter Greg Bishop has more... 


Illinois Department of Public Health Campaigning to Debunk Vaccination Myths in Measles Fight

The Illinois Department of Public Health is battling measles by combating the myths surrounding vaccinations. Melaney Arnold with the Illinois Department of Public Health was our guest on People to People on Wednesday and talked about some of the myths regarding vaccinations. 

You can hear our complete People to People Podcast interview with Melaney Arnold from the Illinois Department of Public Health talking about the fight against misinformation and measles streaming or downloading the interview below... 


GDP Growth in Illinois Lagging Behind Rest of the Nation

According to numbers from the Federal Bureau of Economic Analysis, the Gross Domestic Product in Illinois grew by only 1.4% in the fourth quarter of 2019. That's well of the national pace of 2.2%. Now, Illinois lawmakers are looking at ways to buck this negative trend. Our reporter Greg Bishop has a closer look at what is being down to stem this negative tide in GDP. 


Galva Historical Society Seeking Volunteers, Praises the Volunteer Spirit in Galva

The City of Galva has seen a growing and very active group of volunteers and organizers come together in recent years to make their city better and Carlin Follis of the Galva Historical Society can't say enough great things about this active group of helpers. Helpers who will no doubt heed the call as the Historical Society looks ahead to this summer with a need for volunteers... 

Whether it is the group behind the Levitt Amp concerts, Galva Ready to Grow, the Galva Arts Council or the Back Road Music Festival organizers, there are alot of great volunteers, helpers, organizers and shrewd business people in Galva these days. You can hear more from Carlin Follis, Board Member for the Galva Historical Society in Wednesday's Tuned In podcast. 

OSF Centennial Celebration This Saturday at Visitation Catholic School

OSF Saint Luke Medical Center is throwing a party on Saturday. This Saturday at Visitation Catholic School, Goetzman Gymnasium, OSF Saint Luke Medical Center will be celebrating 100 years of health care with a centennial celebration. Carrie Boelens from OSF Saint Luke Medical Center joined us on Monday's edition of Tuned In to tout the big party on May 4th and the debut of the new OSF King Care-A-Van... 

The OSF Saint Luke Medical Center Centennial Celebration at Visitation Catholic School Goetzman Gymnasium gets underway at 9 Am on Saturday, May 4th and will go on until 12 Noon and anyone and everyone is invited to attend. 

Miss Illinois Sendoff Celebration for Alexa Eastburg This Sunday at The Stables

A party to celebrate Alexa Eastberg's leaving to attend the Miss Illinois will be held this Sunday, May 5th at 3 Pm at The Stables, located at 2350 US Highway 34. Alexa will be leaving to prepare to compete in the Miss Illinois Pageant on June 14th in Marion, Illinois. The winner of the Miss Illinois Pageant would go on to compete in the Miss America 2.0 Pageant. Anyone who would like to come out and show their support for Alexa Eastburg as she heads out to hopefully become the next Miss Illinois, is invited to attend. The event gets underway at 3 Pm on Sunday afternoon. A light lunch and dessert will be served. 

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Keeping a Close Eye on Levees and Locks

There’s much to watch up and down Mississippi River this spring. Flooding season will not go away and it’s creating stress on levees says Tom Heinold with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Rock Island District. 

As for the Lock and Dam system, Army Corps of Engineers crews have been keeping a close eye on equipment as rising waters continue to present challenges.

House Republican's Push Back Against Income Tax Changes

The push continues in Illinois for a different way to asses income taxes. Democrats and Governor JB Pritzker want a graduated income tax to be the rule of law. That would eliminate the state’s flat tax that is currently assessed. As the Senate debates possible rates, Republicans in the House are pushing back. Republican Patrick Windhorst says even though it’s mostly known what the new tax rates could be and 97 percent of tax payers will get a small tax cut – he can’t support any of the changes.

Republicans also say that there is no path to control spending or won’t move to increase taxes in a few years.

Senate Sets Possible Income Tax Rates

The Illinois Senate has taken a first step towards setting forth what a graduated income tax could look like. Today a set of tax brackets were approved and they differ a little from what Governor JB Pritzker has proposed. The top rate is 7.99 percent for wages over $1 million, but the bottom rate stays the same at 4.75 percent. Democrat Toi Hutchinson says she can’t understand the opposition when almost everyone gets a tax break.

The same senate bill also includes elimination of the estate tax and a property tax freeze. 

Governor Pritzker, GOP, React to Passage of Fair Tax Bill in Illinois Senate

On Tuesday the Illinois Senate passed what Governor J.B Pritzker calls the Fair Tax. The bill moves on to the Illinois House next. The Governor applauded the Senate for the passage and released the following statement... 


“I applaud the Senate taking a major step forward to create a fair income tax system in Illinois, ensuring that 97 percent of taxpayers will pay the same or less and only those making $250,000 will pay more,” said Gov. JB Pritzker. “I especially thank President Cullerton and Senators Hutchison, Harmon and Manar for their leadership and commitment to stabilizing our state’s finances and protecting the middle class and those striving to get there. I look forward to continuing our conversations with stakeholders in the House as we take action on the fair tax.”


Illinois Republican Party Chairman Tim Schneider also released a statement in regard to the passage of the bill on party lines, with no Republican support... 


Today's vote from Senate Democrats empowers J.B. Pritzker, Mike Madigan, and the Democrats in power to raise taxes and spend more instead of passing the economic reforms our state desperately needs. Giving politicians like Pritzker and Madigan a blank check to raise taxes will only make our state's problems worse. Higher taxes, more borrowing, and increased spending - that is all Illinois Democrats have to offer, and taxpayers can’t afford it. They refuse to change, and we will make sure voters hold them accountable for it."

Durbin Questions Barr About Mueller Report

Senator Dick Durbin questioned Attorney General William Barr about Special Counsel Robert Mueller's concerns with Barr's four page summary of the Mueller Report on Russian Interference with the 2016 Presidential Election. Mueller sent a letter to Barr saying the memo did not fully capture the context, nature and substance of his report. Durbin asked Barr if Mueller himself and former White House counsel Don McGahn could testify without interference...

Durbin says there is an apparent coordinated effort by Republicans on the Judiciary Committee to to divert attention away from the Russia probe to Hillary Clinton's use of private email during her time as Secretary of State. The House Judiciary Committee has served McGahn with a subpoena as part of its probe of possible obstruction of justice. Attorney General Barr says a New York Times Report claiming President Trump instructed McGahn to fire Mueller as special counsel was inaccurate.

Tuned In Carlin Follis Galva Historical Society

The Galva Historical Society has inspired a group of Girl Scouts to do some good for history. Galva Girl Scouts Troop 1382 will be holding a fundraiser for the Galva Historical Society on Monday, May 6th from 5:30 Pm to 7:15. Drop by during that time to help raise funds to support the Galva Historical Society Wiley House now in its 30th year. Carlin Follis with the Galva Historical Society joined us on Tuned In on Wednesday to promote the fundraiser, call for volunteers and talk about her favorite part of the Galva Historical Society Wiley House. Stream or download our Tuned In Podcast below... 


IDNR Accepting Applications for Conservation Officers

The Illinois Department of Natural Resources is seeking applicants to become Conservation Officers. A conservation officer is a member of law enforcement with the specific beat of working in the wild, walking tree lines, riding in boats and enforcing the laws regarding poaching among other conservation enforcement roles. Today on our First Up Podcast we spoke with Lt Curt Lewis who talked about who may qualify to become a Conservation Officer and what the qualifications for the job are. Stream or download our First Up Podcast below... 


Henry County Humane Society of Kewanee Throwing a Party this Weekend

Despite upheaval on the board of directors, among other challenges and controversies, the Henry County Humane Society of Kewanee is ready to kick back, relax, and throw a party to celebrate more than 150 pets that have been given new places to live since August of 2018. This weekend, that party will happen at The End Zone in Kewanee and it's not a fundraiser, it's just a party according to Board member Michele Welgat... 

Michele says the time since the new board came to be and then was reshaped again following some controversies, has been a rollercoaster but that helping the animals has remained at the front of the cause... 

You can become a volunteer at the Henry County Humane Society of Kewanee. Volunteers are always welcome to play with and care for the animals while they await adoption. Contact the Henry County Humane Society of Kewanee at 309-852-0040 for more information about volunteering or adopting a pet. 

State of Illinois Now Accepting Applications for Hemp Growers and Processors

The State of Illinois has begun accepting applications from businesses and individuals looking to grow or process industrial hemp. According to a release from the Illinois Department of Agriculture, growing licences are now available in 1, 2 or 3 year price tiers for growers and processors. For a 1 year license the cost is $375, for 2 years the cost is $700 and for a 3 year license, the cost is $1000. Our reporter Greg Bishop has more... 

These licenses are specific to industrial hemp which is used in products. Governor Pritzker released a statement regarding the licenses saying  "As governor, I will ensure Illinois remains at the forefront of what it means to be a 21st century agricultural economy." The Governor's statement continues, "Industrial hemp is a potentially billion-dollar industry that Illinois will now take part in. From farming and processing to sales and exports, this will have a massive impact on our state’s economy."


Proposed Rate Structure for Graduated Tax Differs from Governor Pritzker Proposal

State Senator Toi Hutchinson has filed tax rates for a graduated income tax bill that are different from the numbers proposed by Governor J.B Pritzker. According to these numbers, people making less than $100,000 would see their state income taxes decrease by a fraction of a percent while those making more than $250,000 per will see their tax go up by more than 3%. Our reporter Greg Bishop has more...


Corn Crop Planting Well Behind Schedule Across Illinois

Given our current weather struggles it can be no surprise that farmers have struggled to get the corn crop in the ground but the struggle this spring is notable. According to numbers from the US Department of Agriculture, only 10% of the corn crop is in the ground at the moment, well behind the usual pace of spring. Our Benjamin Yount has more... 


City of Kewanee Animal Control Touting Happy Endings on Facebook

The City of Kewanee Animal Control is touting their success stories via Facebook. In a post on the Kewanee Animal Control Facebook page, workers at the Kewanee Pound showed off photos of their wall of happy endings, pets reunited with families and pets who have found new families to be part of. All told, 230 animals have gone through the Kewanee Pound since opening back in June of 2018 and 175 of those pets have gone back home to their owner. 55 of those pets have found new families via adoption. In the near future the Pound will be setting up with PetFinder.com to continue to help find homes for the pets under their care. By the way, Chase is still looking for a forever home and how can you resist that face... 

Contact the Kewanee Animal Control at the Kewanee Pound to adopt Chase or find out more about pets available to adopt. 

Kewanee Historical Society Richards Museum to Open New Season on Thursday

The Kewanee Historical Society Richards Museum opens for a new season on Thursday, May 2nd. Hours for the new season at the Richards Museum are 1 Pm to 4 Pm on Thursdays and Saturday with extended hours for weekends of the Prairie Chicken Festival and Kewanee Hog Days. Mike Dewalt is now the President of the Kewanee Historical Society, taking over for Larry Lock who remains, along with his wife Pat, as the curators of the museum and an invaluable asset for anyone seeking information about the history of Kewanee. Joining Mike Dewalt in leadership positions at the Kewanee Historical Society are Vice President Steve Moor, Secretary Marci Carlson and Treasurer Sue Busenbark. Mr Dewalt has been incredibly active in digitizing the history contained at the Richards Museum, using his computer skills to scan many historic photos to make them available online via the website KewaneeHistory.com. The Richards Museum continues to be a place of historic importance in Kewanee. Located in the former Butterwick Hardware Store at 211 North Chestnut Street, the museum is home to family histories as well as the history of the City of Kewanee. Donations are accepted at the door during operating hours or via the website and its the best way you can help to keep Kewanee History alive and well for the future, other than becoming a member of the Kewanee Historical Society which you can also do by stopping by the museum or calling Mike Dewalt at 309-370-9857. 

Illinois State Police District 7 Warning of Phone Scam

Trooper Jason Wilson with the Illinois State Police District 7 is warning people regarding a phone scam that is going on across our area. According to a release from Illinois State Police District 7, several citizens have called the Illinois State Police after receiving a phone call from a man with a foreign sounding accent asking for personal details and claiming to be a member of the Illinois State Police. Do not give this person any information. The Illinois State Police will under no circumstances call you to ask for personal information regarding your identity or any other types of details about your life. As Trooper Wilson tells us, if the Illinois State Police needs personal information regarding you, they will come to you in person. The Illinois State Police advise that if you receive a call from someone claiming to be part of the Illinois State Police to ask for the Officer's name and then offer to call the caller back and get off the phone immediately and call the Illinois State Police, not the person you were speaking to. Be vigilant, the scammer is using a technique called 'Spoofing' that allows them to use a phone number that mirrors that of an actual Illinois State Police phone number. Just remember that, no matter how aggressive the caller is, the Illinois State Police will under no circumstances demand that you give them personal details over the phone. 

No Change in Henry County Multiplier Year to Year

The Illinois Department of Revenue has announced the property tax multiplier for the tax year 2018. According to a release from the Department of Revenue, the Henry County Multiplier will remain the same as it was in 2017, 1.000. The property assessment equalization factor, often called the "multiplier", is the method used to achieve uniform property assessments among counties, as required by law.  This equalization is particularly important because some of the state's 6,600 local taxing districts overlap into two or more counties (e.g. school districts, junior college districts, fire protection districts).  If there were no equalization among counties, substantial inequities among taxpayers with comparable properties would result. A change in the equalization factor does not mean total property tax bills will increase or decrease.  Tax bills are determined by local taxing bodies when they request money each year to provide services to local citizens.  If the amount requested by local taxing districts is not greater than the amount received in the previous year, then total property taxes will not increase even if assessments increase. The assessed value of an individual property determines what portion of the tax burden a specific taxpayer will assume.  That individual's portion of tax responsibility is not changed by the multiplier.

Weather Systems Bringing More Rain Through Illinois

A series of systems bringing plenty of rain through much of Illinois this week and Freese-Notis meteorologist Dan Hicks doesn’t see an extended dry period anytime soon.

Hicks says none of the systems should bring severe weather to Illinois, just rain. 

Congressman Bost Wants Answers on What is Being Done About Veteran Suicides

A bipartisan group of Congressmen are wanting answers from the VA as to what they are doing to reduce the number of veteran suicides in this country. The issue was underscored by four veteran suicides on VA property in April, and the seventh so far this year. Since 2005, Congress has increased the money it spends on veteran suicide prevention programs more than 250% to $9.4-billion, but the rate of veteran suicides - about 20 per day - has remained constant. And Illinois Congressman Mike Bost of Murphysboro says that must change.

The first official hearing on the issue was held Monday night in Washington, D.C. If you or someone you know needs help, contact the Veteran Crisis Line 24/7 at 1-800-273-8255, option 1, or go veteranscrisisline.net.

Thirteen Illinois Communities to Roll Out the Red Carpet on Route 66 This Weekend

Thirteen Illinois communities that make up the northern-leg of the old Route 66 in Illinois plan to roll out the red carpet this weekend. It's known as the Red Carpet Corridor Festival and it takes place this Saturday. DebyJo Ericksen serves as chairman of the daylong event;

Ericksen says five communities in Will County, two in Grundy County, three in Livingston County, and three in McLean County all plan to take part;

With Joliet at one end and Towanda (TOE-won-duh) at the other, this year will mark the 13th year for the Red Carpet Corridor Festival along old Route 66.