Local News Archives for 2019-08

Kewanee Farmer's Market Moves to Johnson Appliance Parking Lot for Hog Days

Diane Demay with the Kewanee Farmer's Market joined WKEI today to remind everyone that the Kewanee Farmer's Market is still taking place as part of Kewanee Hog Days. This year, the Farmer's Market will be headquartered at Johnson's Appliance, in the parking lot. All of the Farmer's Market items you always look for will be on sale with some Hog Days specials... 

 

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Boss Glove Sale Guaranteed to Sell Out this Weekend

The Boss Glove Sale is a guaranteed sell out. If that sounds like a bold prediction, it's not. Steve Martin with First Baptist Church Kewanee told WKEI in a recent appearance on Tuned In explained to WKEI that Boss and First Baptist Church have teamed up with a non-profit group that will be purchasing whatever gloves don't get sold on Saturday, August 31st... 

The Boss Glove Sale is a major fundraiser for the First Baptist Church. Last year, funds from the Glove Sale were used to help send the Church Choir to Carnegie Hall for a performance. This year, Steve Martin tells us that the funds will be used for some upgrades at the church... 

This year's Boss Glove Sale will be held from 7 AM to 11 AM at the Oldeen Building in Kewanee, 410 West Second Street. 

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Illinois State Police Display Hits Home on the Devastating Cost of Texting While Driving

In a recent appearance on our People to People program, Illinois State Trooper Jason Wilson recounted the story of Lacy's Last Text. Lacy's Last Text was the name given to the display at the Illinois State Fair of a devastated Ford 150 Truck that had belonged to 16 year old Lacy Kay Hood of Whittington, Illinois. Lacy was killed when she lost control of that truck while sending a text message. As Trooper Jason Wilson recalls, the display was heartbreakingly constructed by Lacy's father... 

On this Labor Day Weekend, as the roads will be packed with fellow travelers, Lacy's story is a sobering reminder to not text while driving. 

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Busy Hog Days Weekend for World Festival Queens

After appearing at the Barrow Show at Black Hawk College on Wednesday, the unofficial kick off of Kewanee Hog Days, the Miss World Festival Pageant Queens have a busy weekend of events all around Kewanee Hog Days. Regional Media's very own Karissa Nash is a mom to one of the Courtiers for this year's Hog Days as her 4 year old, Ivey, will be in the Hog Days Parade and making the rounds with the Miss World Festival Queens this weekend... 

Karissa herself will be at our Regional Media Studios on Saturday afternoon coordinating events for our coverage of Kewanee Hog Days Parade beginning at 2 Pm. The Miss World Festival Queens, including, Karissa's daughter will be riding in the parade along with several other local pageant Queens. Meanwhile, Rita from The Station restaurant will be in front of our location serving food and Dave Clark will join us for live coverage of the Hog Days Parade from our studio at the Corner of Central and Main. 

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Where are the Spy Balloons Over Illinois?

It's not some crackpot, tinfoil hat, conspiracy, spy balloons are the real deal as confirmed by the United States Defense Department on Thursday. So where are the balloons? Reports last week indicated that spy balloons launched in South Dakota recently would be dropping in Central Illinois some time in the next several weeks. Now, however, the Defense Department says that what they have dubbed project 'Cold Star' may not be taking place over Illinois at all. Reporter Greg Bishop has more... 

 

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Illinois Auditor General Report for 2018 Finally Released

It's out of date and long overdue but the Illinois Auditor General Report has finally been released and we now know how tax dollars in Illinois were spent in 2018. According to the numbers, the State of Illinois spent $6 billion dollars more than what the state brought in in terms of total tax dollars. That wasn't the only notable number however as reporter Greg Bishop explains... 

 

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OSF King Care-A-Van to Be Part of Kewanee Hog Days

The OSF Healthcare King Care-A-Van will be taking part in the festivities at Kewanee Hog Days. The King Care-A-Van is the mobile health care center that launched with OSF earlier this year to help bring health care services to under-served areas of Henry, Bureau, Putnam and LaSalle Counties. Funded by the OSF Healthcare Foundation, the King Care-A-Van is named for Don and Val King of Manlius, advocates for rural healthcare. The King Care-A-Van will be parked downtown and offer those attending Kewanee Hog Days the opportunity to get complimentary blood pressure screenings. In addition, Beth Looney, Behavioral Health Navigator, will be sharing information about Silver Cloud. Interactive health and wellness game for kids and while supplies last, free bottles of cold water will be distributed. The King Care-A-Van will be open for business in downtown Kewanee from 12 Noon until 3:30 Pm on Saturday, August 31st. 

 

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Kewanee Police Chief Troy Ainley Release Public Safety Message in Time for Hog Days

Kewanee Police Chief Troy Ainley has put out a call for public safety ahead of the Hog Days celebration beginning Friday evening in downtown Kewanee... 

 

"The Kewanee Police Department is asking everyone to have a safe and enjoyable Labor Day weekend. With the increase in visitors to the City, the officers of the Kewanee Police Department ask that all drivers exercise caution due to the increase of pedestrian and vehicular traffic. There will be additional officers working to ensure the safety of everyone this weekend. The officers will be looking for violations of operating a vehicle while using their mobile device without hands free capability, speeding, disobeying traffic control devices, and DUI. There will also be officers assigned to bicycle patrol in the area of downtown including the carnival. Those officers will be looking for alcohol outside of the authorized areas.  Please have a safe Hog Day Weekend."


Troy Ainley

Chief of Police 

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Contingency Plans in Case Rain Affects Kewanee Hog Days Concerts

In response to a caller on WKEI's Open Line Program, Kewanee City Council Member and Hog Days Commitee Member Mike Komnick tells WKEI that in the event of rain, there is another location for the Main Stage Concerts, Friday, Saturday and Sunday...

 

"In the event of severe weather, we will move the concerts to the auditorium at KHS. That being said, we will try to get it in downtown as best we can." 

 

As for the Hog Days Parade on Saturday afternoon? The parade steps off at 2 Pm rain or shine with the entirety of the parade broadcast on the WKEI Facebook page and on the air at 1450 Am and 100.1 FM. Sean Kernan and Dave Clark will broadcast the action of the Kewanee Hog Days Parade on WKEI live from the Yemm Auto Group Studio at Central and Main in Kewanee. 

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2019 The Deadliest Year in Illinois State Police History

The murder of Trooper Nicholas Hopkins in East St Louis last week continued what has become the deadliest year in the nearly 100 year history of the Illinois State Police. Illinois State Trooper Jason Wilson reflected on the events of 2019 in the history of the Illinois State Police... 

The death of Trooper Hopkins marks the first time in more than 30 years that an Illinois State Trooper has been shot and killed in the line of duty and the first time in ISP history that a member of the ISP SWAT team has been killed in the line of duty... 

It's a reminder that no matter how much a member of law enforcement trains and prepares, the job of an Illinois State Trooper is inherently unpredictable... 

Trooper Jason WIlson was our guest on People to People on Wednesday and you can stream or download that interview on our brand new podcast page at RegionalDailyNews.com. Click here and be sure to subscribe so you know when a new episode of People to People goes online. 

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Kewanee Hog Days Offering More Music in More Places for 2019

Kewanee Hog Days 2019 is only a day away and Kewanee City Council Member and Hog Days Committee Member, Mike Komnick joined WKEI on Wednesday's edition of Tuned In to talk about Hog Days and specifically the music of Hog Days. It was Mr Komnick's responsibility this year to help book the bands and set the spots where music would be played as part of Hog Days. This year, on top of the People's National Bank Main Stage, there will also be two other Hog Days outdoor music venues for smaller scale concert performances... 

Meanwhile, on the main stage for Kewane Hog Days, it's three days worth of popular local and statewide bands, including The Joe Stamm Band... 

Events for Kewanee Hog Days get underway Friday evening at 5 Pm and will continue through Labor Day Monday. You can stream or download our Tuned In interview with Councilman Mike Komnick on our Podcast page, linked here. Click subscribe to make sure you know when a new WKEI Podcast hits the page. 

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Mayor Moore Responds to Councilman Yaklich's Numbers on Neponset Ambulance Contract

Kewanee Mayor Gary Moore appeared on WKEI's People to People this week and responded to Kewanee City Council member Mike Yaklich's numbers regarding the contract between the City of Kewanee and the Village of Neponset to provide ambulance service. According to the contract, the City of Kewanee is being reimbursed by the Village $27,000 for providing ambulance services to the residents of Neponset. Councilman Yaklich estimated an actual cost to the City of Kewanee for providing that service at something closer to $72,000. Councilman Yaklich also claimed that the per household cost of providing ambulance service to Neponset, based on a portion of the annual emergency services budget for the City of Kewanee, at $87.00 per household in Neponset versus a cost of $250.00 per household for residents of Kewanee. Mayor Moore disputed Councilman Yaklich's numbers, stating that it is possible to change the perception of the numbers were you to look at the cost per call to the Village of Neponset which would be significantly higher than the average per call cost in Kewanee...

Mayor Moore also said that regardless of any issues anyone may have with the contract, it is in place for the next seven months... 

Kewanee City Council member Mike Komnick appeared on WKEI's Tuned In Program on Wednesday and talked about the necessity of providing the service to Neponset and getting some compensation for that service as a secondary but welcome circumstance...

The City Council requested the chance to see the actual contract between Kewanee and Neponset and received that contract last week and Councilman Komnick explained that there was nothing in that contract that Council Members were not aware of. He then talked about the numbers and agreed with Mayor Moore that there are other ways to look at the math involved... 

The Kewanee City Council won't meet again until the second week of September. 

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Starved Rock State Park Expected to Be Packed Labor Day Weekend

Anyone looking to hit the road for Starved Rock State Park this weekend will want to be aware that the park is expected to be quite busy for the holiday weekend. According to the Illnois Department of Natural Resources, visitors to Starved Rock can expect delays in getting to some of the more popular areas of the park this weekend. Reporter Kim Howard has more... 

 

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Illinois Corn Industry Pushing Ethanol Exports and USMCA Ratification

The Illinois corn industry getting the word out during this week’s Farm Progress Show in Decatur. And one of the messages involves ethanol says Ryan LeGrand with the U.S. Grains Council and Tricia Braid with the Illinois Corn Growers Association.


Both LeGrand and Braid also say getting the United States Mexico Canada Agreement ratified as soon as Congress returns from the August recess is also a priority. 

 

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Sec. Of Ag Purdue Says Farmers Still Stand with Trump

Farmers have been battered by the trade war over the last few years but USDA Secretary of Ag Sonny Purdue says he thinks that even with depressed prices and a lack of demand from overseas that farmers by and large are still standing strong with a President that they help elect. 

Purdue says farmers absolutely want a final resolution to the trade war with China and now the ball is in China’s court after they backed out of a trade deal that was 90 percent done in April.

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Sen Rose Says FPS Shows Illinois To the World

Bringing more than a hundred thousand people over three days to the Farm Progress Show has plenty of benefits. Republican State Senator Chapin Rose says a decision made years ago to place it here gives a perfect way to show off central Illinois agriculture.

The show ends on Thursday and moves next year back to Boone, Iowa. The Show is scheduled to return to Decatur August 31st, 2021.

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Final Day of Farm Progress

The Farm Progress Show in Decatur wraps up today and this is when those who work at the show can finally see it. Show Manager Matt Youngman says the lead up to the event is so packed and the first two days offer no time to stop and appreciate the displays. 

The show wraps up today at 4 pm. A big portion of the exhibits hit the road by the weekend for Husker Harvest Days, another outdoor farm show, in Nebraska.

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No One Injured in Wednesday Morning Fire on Vine Street in Kewanee

The Kewanee Fire Department has released a statement regarding a fire on Vine Street on Wednesday morning. According to a release from the Kewanee Fire Department, the blaze occurred at 317 South Vine Street on Wednesday morning. Firefighters arrived at the scene to find dense black smoke that could be seen at a great distance. The fire was located in the rear of the home but eventually spread to the front of the home and up into the attic just as firefights arrived and began to battle the blaze. According to the Kewanee Fire Department, 11 firefighters, including several called in from off-duty, fought the fire and Fire Chief Kevin Shook was also on the scene. The homeowner was not at home at the time of the fire. It is not known at this time if the home is a complete loss or not. Firefighters were on the scene for 1 hour and 44 minutes putting out the blaze and extinguishing hot spots. No one was injured in the fire which remains under investigation to determine the cause. 

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What Happened with the Burr Street Cats? The Humane Society and Kewanee Animal Control Disagree

Did the City of Kewanee formally request that the Humane Society of Kewanee take in some of the more than 50 cats removed from a home on Burr Street? According to Mary Bergren from the Kewanee Humane Society the request was not made... 

Mary Bergren from the Henry County Humane Society of Kewanee was called to the scene at Burr Street by Kewanee Police Chief Troy Ainley and asked to help with getting the cats into kennels... 

Kathy Werderman with Kewanee Animal Control and the Kewanee Friends of the Animals says that a request for the Humane Society to take some of the cats was made and that Mary Bergren said the Shelter was full... 

We asked Mary Bergren about the process for taking in surrendered cats at the Humane Society. Mary told WKEI that the cats on Burr Street were not surrenders, which is typically the type of animals that come to the Humane Society. Mary detailed the process of how the Humane Society brings in animals via a surrender... 

As for the cats on Burr Street, Kathy Werderman says that many of the feral cats have been given to local farmers and that the remaining cats are being cared for... 

WKEI asked Mayor Gary Moore if the City of Kewanee had an ordinance that limits the number of cats in a home and the Mayor indicated that there is no such ordinance.... 

 

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Kewanee City Council Approves Purchase of New Police Vehicle

At Monday night's Kewanee City Council Meeting, the City Council voted unanimously in favor of purchasing a 2019 Dodge Charger Pursuit from Crowe Auto Group in Kewanee. It's the first new Kewanee Police vehicle in some time. Mayor Gary Moore appeared on WKEI's People to People program on Tuesday and stated the purchase was necessary and that this vehicle was the best option... 

In voting in favor of the purchase of the new vehicle, Mayor Moore called back upon his time as a member of the Kewanee Police Department in refuting criticism of this vehicle purchase... 

Mayor Moore was our guest on People to People on Tuesday. 

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OSF Sleep Lab Talks About the Benefits of Sleep Tests in the Lab or At-Home

On Monday, our friends from OSF Saint Luke Medical Center joined WKEI to talk about what OSF Saint Luke Medical Center Sleep Supervisor Courtney Sullivan called a public health epidemic: Sleep Disorders. Courtney, along with Sleep Tech Missy Monroe and Carrie Boelens from OSF Saint Luke Medical Center talked about what the OSF Saint Luke Medical Center Sleep Lab could do for those suffering from lack of sleep, sleep that is constantly interrupted and the issues that can can sleep disorders...

Unfortunately, one of the barriers to combating sleep disorders is cost. Some insurance companies won't cover an in lab sleep test. That's part of why OSF Saint Luke Medical Center has created in home sleep tests that can offer some insight into sleep disorders. That said, Sleep Tech Missy Monroe believes that if you can do the sleep test in the lab, you will get more accurate results... 

You can hear more of our conversation about sleep disorders and what the OSF Saint Luke Medical Center Sleep Lab can do for you in our Tuned In Podcast linked here. While you are there, be sure to subscribe so you can get all of our Tuned In podcasts sent to you each day so you never miss an interview. 

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Galva Mayor Rich Volker Reflects on First 4 Months in Office

The Mayor of Galva, Rich Volker joined WKEI on Tuesday on People to People to talk about his first four months as the Mayor of Galva. Rich says the learning curve for a first time politician like himself was steep but rewarding, he's made mistakes and learned a lot and has plenty more to learn as he becomes accustomed to the position... 

As tough as the learning curve has been thus far, Mayor Volkert is proud of what has been accomplished thus far and excited about things to come like the effort to save the Galva Opera House...

You can hear our complete interview with Galva Mayor Rich Volkert on our Podcast page here at RegionalDailyNews.com linked here. While you are there, subscribe to our People to People Podcast so you never miss an interview with folks like the Mayor of Galva Rich Volkert. 

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WKEI Talks with Actress Alison Brie About the Hit Netflix Series GLOW

In its third season, currently streaming on Netflix, GLOW has moved the action to Las Vegas but kept the unique mix of comedy and drama that has made the series so uniquely entertaining. Alison Brie is part of the incredibly talented ensemble of women who make the show such a great binge watch and Alison talked to WkEI about the new season of GLOW on Tuesday....

You can here our entire interview with Alison Brie of GLOW on our podcast page linked here. While you're there subscribe to have all of our WKEI Celebrity interviews sent to you as they post so you never miss our chats with some of the biggest stars in movies and TV. 

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Barickman Concerned About Teacher Minimum Wage Law Effect on Property Tax

State Senator Jason Barickman is concerned that property taxes will go up after Governor JB Pritzker signed a law last week to raise the minimum wage for teachers. The new law phases in the increase over four years, starting at 32-thousand dollars in 2020, hitting 40-grand in 2023. Barickman says he wants teachers to make more money, but he suggested finding ways to increase the wage through the school funding formula.

The Bloomington Republican and others around Illinois are worried the law takes power away from locally elected school boards. Pritzker says the measure will help attract teachers to the state, where there’s a shortage of teachers with certain qualifications. He adds that the salary increase will encourage college students to pursue the profession.

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More Coverage Coming to Womens' Insurance Plans

More coverage is coming for women in need of mammograms. State law now covers more than initial screening mammograms. Before that is where insurance coverage could have stopped. Now insurance will be required to cover an additional mammogram that follows up on anything that may have been found in the first test says State Senator Linda Holmes.

This new law will cover the ten percent of women who had health insurance that would not cover a diagnostic mammogram.

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University of Illinois Looking For Master Gardener Volunteers

Next week, University of Illinois Extension leaders are beginning training for volunteer master gardeners. Candice Hart with the U of I Extension says next week they begin training for their master gardener and master naturalist programs. To make it more accommodating for anyone interested, they are holding the training in the evenings in Decatur, Illinois. 

Fruits, vegetables, trees, and landscaping are among a host of topics involved in the roughly 60 hours of training. Hart says their trained volunteers then go into their communities and teach others what they have learned. 

The training is open to anyone in the State of Illinois. Visit go.illinois.edu/dmp to get registered. 

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Councilman Yaklich Once Again Raises Issues Related to Kewanee-Neponset Ambulance Contract

Kewanee City Councilman Mike Yaklich took time during Council Communications on Monday night to raise further questions regarding the contract between the City of Kewanee and the Village Neponset to provide ambulance service.... 

Councilman Yaklich stated that members of the City Council looked at the contract between Kewanee and Neponset for the first time last week and by his math, the residents of Neponset are paying less per household for EMT service, approximately $85.00 per household by Mr Yaklich's estimation while the per household cost for service in Kewanee is $250.00 per household... 

Mayor Gary Moore meanwhile, took issue with Councilman Yaklich's cost estimates, raising the question of the per call cost which the Mayor indicated would change how the numbers are perceived... 

Mayor Gary Moore will be our guest on People to People at 9:10 Am to address the issue further. 

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Kewanee Pound to Move Forward with Building Cat Room

As part of a discussion at Monday night's Kewanee City Council Meeting, the City Council heard from the Kewanee Friends of the Animals, specifically, Kathy Werderman, who informed the council of the need for a cat room at the pound to provide safety for the cats to keep them safe in the event a dog were to get loose in the pound. This stemmed from a recent incident at the pound where a dog did get loose and create a scary moment... 

City of Kewamee Grounds Maintenance Manager Kevin Newton told the Council that he had a rough idea for a 140 square foot area with walls 8 feet high and a door. Newton estimated the cost of the cat room build at $400.00 but other suggestions from Council Member Steve Faber appeared to indicate options that would make that cost even lower using materials already on hand at the pound or in City storage. 

 

Meanwhile, this was not the only time on Monday night that Kathy Werderman would address the council. During Council Communications, Council Member Steve Faber asked about the recent incident on Burr Boulevard where more than 60 cats have now been removed from a residence in the area. Councilman Faber wanted to know why all of the cats were taken to the pound... 

Police Chief Troy Ainley addressed the question and stated that both the Humane Society of Kewanee and Kewanee Animal Control were called to the scene to help with the cats. Chief Ainley and Kathy Werderman then confirmed that all of the cats were taken to the Pound... 

Sources tell WKEI that the Humane Society of Kewanee was not asked to take any of the cats. For his part, City Manager Gary Bradley stated in response to Councilman Faber's questions that the burden fell upon Kewanee Animal Control. As for the residents of the home on Burr Boulevard. Local agencies are working with the residents to find a new place to live,

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State Republican Leaders Dismiss Idea of Chicago As a State

While a group of mostly southern Illinois Republicans are holding meetings talking about what it would take to split Chicago off into the 51st state, Republican leaders in Springfield are dismissing the idea that the largest city in Illinois would be cut away. Reporter Greg Bishop spoke to Republican leaders in Springfield for this report... 

 

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Alton to Become Cruise Ship Hub

Last week's move at Alton City Hall to sign an agreement to create a hub for riverboat cruises has the makings of a financial boom . Starting next year, American Cruise Lines will have priority docking for turnarounds on the riverfront, a five-year deal that the head of the local tourism bureau can't wait to see get started. Brett Stawar, President of the Great Rivers and Routes Tourism Bureau says the economic impact to the city could be in excess of $2-million over the five-year agreement. 

11 cruises will dock in Alton next year, increasing to 23 in 2021 and 2022. The agreement gives American Cruise Lines the right to dock its ships on the Alton riverfront for five years with options to extend the agreement for additional five year terms. The agreement also calls for the cruise line “to promote tourism and retail activity in Alton.”

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Rain Could Postpone Tuesday Field Demos at Farm Progress Show

Central Illinois was soaked with rain early Monday morning and more rain is expected overnight leading up to the opening of Farm Progress in Decatur. Show Manager for Farm Progress USA, Matt Jungmann says field demos for the first day could be postponed.

The Farm Progress Show opens Tuesday and runs Wednesday and Thursday. 

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Tours For Governor's Mansion Changing

Tours of the People’s House in Illinois are going to be changing… on September third if you want a tour of the Governor’s Mansion you will have to sign up in advance and offer up a photo ID and go through a metal detector screening. The changes are coming with input from the Illinois State Police. The guy who lives there at times, Democrat Governor JB Pritzker says regardless of the changes he wants to see lots of people come take a tour. 

Tours in the future will be between 1 and 4 most weekdays and booked through the mansion website at mansion dot Illinois dot gov. The tours are run by staff and volunteers that are overseen by the Department of Natural Resources. 

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Duquoin State Fair Up and Running

Illinois has the distinction of having two state fairs. The main fair in Springfield has wrapped up and now the DuQuoin State Fair is up and running. The show goes the rest of this week and the DuQuoin State Fair Manager Josh Gross says he wants everyone coming to have a great time.

The fair runs through Labor Day. The Duquoin State Fair has been under a cloud of controversy this year after Governor J.B Prtizker canceled a performance by the band Confederate Railroad which had been booked to play at the Duquoin State Fair tonight, August 27th, as one of the opening acts for Restless Heart. 

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Family of Trooper Nick Hopkins Releases Statement

The family of Illinois State Trooper Nick Hopkins has released a statement in the wake of Trooper Hopkins having been killed in the line of duty and becoming the 3 Trooper kiilled in the line of duty this year and the first to have been shot and killed while on duty in nearly 30 years. 

 

“Words cannot convey the pain of the loss and the emptiness in our hearts. Words also fail to describe the lasting impact Nick had on the lives of everyone who knew him. Nick was a son, brother, nephew, uncle, cousin, friend, carpenter, and trooper, but the job he loved most was being a husband and father. Nick will live on through the memories we cherish and in how we emulate his passion for life:  “You cannot do a kindness too soon, for you never know how soon it will be too late.” It brings us comfort to know Nick’s legacy will live on by the actions of others.

 

To his comrades on the SWAT team, thank you for your heroism and allowing us to spend more time with him. We are incredibly grateful for the love, dedication, and loyalty you showed your fellow brother.

 

To the Illinois State Police and the entire law enforcement community, we thank you for your dedication to protecting and serving in the face of unknown danger. We are overwhelmed with your generosity. We will never forget your commitment to building and preserving Nick’s legacy.

 

To the medical staff at Saint Louis University Hospital, thank you for your tireless care and comfort in our darkest hour. Thank you for creating the space for us to say goodbye and enabling Nick to live on through his gift of life to others. 

 

To the city of Waterloo, his church family at Life Community Church of Columbia, and surrounding areas, thank you for the outpouring of love, prayers, and support in honor of Nick. 

 

There are so many others we want to thank, including those names we never learned. Know that your kindness and support has not gone unnoticed, your actions are imprinted on our hearts forever.”

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Henry and Stark County Retired Teachers Announce Next Meeting

The Henry Stark Counties Retired Teachers will meet Wednesday September 11, 2019 at the Bishop Hill Colony School in Bishop Hill, Illinois.  The meeting will begin with a 12:00 noon luncheon.  Reservations are due on or before Wednesday September 4, 2019 to Jocelyn Saline at 1504 Old Wagon Road  Dahinda, Il, 61428 or 309.289.4994.  The cost is $10. The program will be presented by Brian "Fox" Ellis who will portray John Deere. All retired teachers in Henry and Stark counties are invited to attend.  First time attendees, with a reservation, will be luncheon guests.

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Governor Pritzker Says Everything is on Track for Legal Recreational Marijuana Beginning in January

Governor J.B Pritzker told reporters over the weekend that everything is on track for the legalization of recreational marijuana in January of 2020. Reporter Greg Bishop has more from Governor Pritzker and former Illinois lawmaker turned cannabis industry advocate, Pam Althof in this report... 

 

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New More Stringent State Regulations on Small Businesses Coming Next Year

Small businesses across the state of Illinois will now have to comply with new, more stringent, human rights laws. Reporter Cole Lauterbach spoke to Mark Grant from the National Federation of Independent Business’ Illinois chapter about what it will mean for small business owners in Illinois to have to comply with the so-called Illinois Human Rights Act... 

 

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Late Henry County Audit Report Will Not Cost the County in Fines

Henry County Board Chairman Marshall Jones joined WKEI on Friday to wrap up last Thursday night's Henry County Board Meeting. In the interview, Mr Jones talked about preparing the budget process for the County and how a recent audit report from the auditing firm of Lauterbach and Amen had run into issues and had turned the audit into the County late and thus may make the filing of the audit to the state of Illinois late which could lead to fines for the county. However, the firm has stated that they will pay for any fines from the audit being overdue... 

That issue aside, the actual audit turned up no irregularities in spending for Henry County and the audit brought good news in that the budget will be balanced...

Henry County Board Chairman Marshall Jones was our guest on People to People on Monday and you can hear the entirety of that interview, stream it or download it, below...

 

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Kewanee City Council to Consider Purchase of Dodge Charger Pursuit as New Police Vehicle Tonight

At tonight's Kewanee City Council meeting, the Kewanee City Coucil will vote on a resolution for the puchase of a new police vehicle, a 2019 Dodge Charger Pursuit. Many will recall that the Kewanee Police Department was test driving this vehicle back in June and Kewanee Police Chief Troy Ainley took WKEI out in the vehicle for a test drive...

Among the amenities is new vehicle based technology that will make access to information more immediate during a traffic stop...

We asked Chief Ainley what goes into the decision when choosing a vehicle to recommend for purchase as a Police vehicle...

Chief Ainley described the vehicle for us including the fuel milage and capabilities of the Dodge Charger Pursuit... 

You can read every possible detail about the Dodge Charger Pursuit in this week's Kewanee City Council Packet including the cost breakdown, the amenities, the advantages of the vehicle and all other possible information. The vehicle purchase is being done via Crowe Auto Group in Kewanee. 

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Be Careful if Donating a Vehicle to Charity

You've probably seen or heard those advertisements asking you to donate your old vehicle to charity. The Better Business Bureau says you should research any organization before doing that, as some area residents report their donations did not go where they were intended to. Agency investigator Don O'Brien says this is apparently not an isolated occurrence.

If considering a donation of your vehicle to charity, the BBB advises you follow a few tips: Research the charity through BBB; Check out the charity’s record of accountability; Donate to a charity that handles the transaction themselves; Properly transfer the vehicle to the charity; The charity must provide a written acknowledgement to the donor. This is necessary for the donor to claim a tax deduction. 

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Young Hunters To Have More Time to Learn In Outdoors

Young and novice hunters are going to have more time to learn the craft and have more opportunities to hunt in Illinois and elsewhere. Governor JB Pritzker signed a bill last week to change the Apprentice Hunter License. Before, an apprentice hunting license was good for only one year. Now an apprentice can hunt for multiple seasons before getting a full cost license. Illinois Federation for Outdoor Resources President Scott Bryant says when young folks get to hunt more for more than one year they stick with it.

Apprentices need to go hunting and be supervised with a fully registered hunter that is older than 21. 

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Jefferson County Jail First in Illinois to Implement "Chirper" Texting System for Inmates

The Jefferson County Justice Center is the first jail in the state to implement a new “Chirper” system for inmates. The system provides inmates text-only phones for rent so they can keep in contact with family, friends, and their lawyers while in custody. Jefferson County Sheriff Jeff Bullard says the company the department works with for commissary, CPC, told county officials about jails out of state using the system and reaping the benefits.


Bullard says when inmates send a text to someone, a preview message is sent before allowing those on the receiving end to opt out from receiving texts from the inmate, which allows crime victims to not be contacted by the offender. He says the system is one way for his Sheriff’s Department to not have to rely on taxpayer dollars to run daily operations.

 

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Celebrities Planning to Attend Farm Progress Show

State and Federal officials to NASCAR racers will be on hand throughout the three days of the Farm Progress Show this week. National Events Manager for Farm Progress Matt Jungmann indicates Secretary Sonny Perdue will be among the visitors this week, along with Governor Pritzker and a couple of NASCAR drivers.

The Farm Progress Show runs Tuesday through Thursday, August 27-29. 

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ISP Trooper Killed in East St. Louis

The Illinois State Police are mourning the loss of another trooper killed in the line of duty. Nicholas Hopkins was hit by gunfire while serving a warrant in East St. Louis early Friday morning. The 33 year old was a 10 year veteran of the ISP and a member of the SWAT team. The Acting Director of the ISP Brendan Kelly says even in a time of darkness and death, Hopkins will continue to serve the public he swore to protect. 


Hopkins is the third state trooper killed in the line of duty this year. Kelly says never before has the Illinois State Police had three officers killed in one year. Hopkins leaves behind a wife, 4 year old twins and an infant daughter. 

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US Attorney Pledges Full Effort in Justice for ISP Trooper Hopkins

The death of an Illinois State Police SWAT member has the full attention of the US Attorney in the Southern District of Illinois. US Attorney Steve Weinhoff says the death of Nick Hopkins shows the real danger police officers put themselves in everyday. And because of that, his office is ready to bring justice to his family and the officers that worked with him.

Hopkins was the third trooper killed in the line of duty this year. But the first shot and killed in nearly 30 years. Hopkins was a married and had four year old twins and an infant daughter.

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Agenda for Tonight's Kewanee City Council Meeting

One discussion item and resolution on tonight's Kewanee City Council Agenda. Don't forget, tonight's Kewanee City Council Meeting will be broadcast live tonight on the WKEI Facebook Page beginning at 7 Pm. You can look over the packet for tonight's Council Meeting by clicking here

 

1. Call to Order
2. Roll Call
3. Pledge of Allegiance
4. Consent Agenda
a. Approval of Minutes
b. Payroll
c. Staff Reports
d. Discussion of road closure in front of #25 Edgewood Dr. for a small block party of
approximately 30 people.
5. Presentation of Bills and Claims
6. Citizen Participation
7. Business:
a) Friends of the Animals- Facility Discussion.
b) Consideration of a Resolution Authorizing the Kewanee Police Department to Purchase a
2019 Dodge Charger Pursuit from Crowe Auto Group for use as patrol vehicle.

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Illinois State Police Trooper Killed in the Line of Duty

An Illinois State Trooper succumbed to injuries suffered in the line of duty on Friday. According to a release from the Illinois State Police, Trooper Nicholas Hopkins was part of a contingent of law enforcement officers in East St Louis, Illinois who were attempted to serve a warrant at a residence. Shots were fired from inside the residence and Trooper Hopkins was struck. Trooper Hopkins was taken from the scene to a local medical facility where he eventually succumbed to his injury. The shooting led to a standoff that ended with the arrest of 45 year old Christopher Grant on a charge of First Degree Murder. The Illinois State Police released this statement regarding Trooper Nicholas Hopkins "It is with profound heartache and unfathomable sadness that we inform you of the death of Trooper Nicholas Hopkins. Trooper Hopkins laid down his life while protecting the citizens of this state. We are asking the public to respectfully give consideration to the family of Trooper Hopkins and the ISP while we continue to grieve and work through this tragedy,” stated Acting Director Brendan Kelly. Trooper Hopkins was 33 years old and a 10 year veteran of the Illinois State Police in the South SWAT division. 

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Gov Claims No Property Tax Impact On New Teacher Pay

As new teachers are set to see a starting pay increase next year Democrat Governor JB Pritzker says it shouldn’t increase local property taxes. Pritzker says a $500 million bump in state funding to education should cover any extra costs and his commitment to improve state funding of education can help ease the burden that has been years in the making.

The Governor says right now there are about 235,000 teachers in Illinois and about 8,000 positions would benefit from a required increase in starting pay. 

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Caleb Cleaver to Be Honored as Honorary Survivor at Relay for Life on Saturday

Caleb Cleaver is the Honorary Survivor for this year's Relay for Life on Saturday, August 24th. Caleb and his family will be walking the track on Saturday and Caleb's mom will tell his story as part of the events celebrating Relay for Life from 3 Pm to 11 Pm at Windmont Park... 

Nichelle Nichols Morey is among the driving forces behind Relay for Life in Henry and Stark County and she was our guest on People to People on Thursday. Many were worried that the fire at Windmont Park might put a damper on Relay for Life or even cause it to have to find a new venue but Nichelle tells WKEI that they've made arrangements that will keep Relay for Life on the track at Windmont Park...

Nichelle is reminding everyone that Relay for Life isn't just about survivors or teams, the entire community is invited to be part of Relay for Life. Come to Windmont Park on Saturday between 3 Pm and 11 Am, walk on the track to show your support, buy food from the teams to help raise money and take part in the Silent Auction. Overall, Nichelle Relay is in good shape so far...

There will be fireworks at the end of the night along with the always very emotional Luminaria ceremony and whether you know someone who battled cancer or not, you can still participate and show your support simply by coming to Windmont Park on Saturday between 3 Pm and 11 Pm. 

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Love's Travel Stop to Hold Grand Opening Celebration in Atkinson this Afternoon

A brand new 24/7 truck stop is now open in Atkinson. Love's Travel Stop is officially opening their 20th Illinois location with a grand opening celebration in Atkinson this afternoon at 4 Pm. With the grand opening, Love's will make a contribution to a pair of local charities with $2000.00 to be split between Sol's Legacy Ministries and Foster Hope Inc. The new Love's Travel Stop in Atkinson will be open 24/7 and feature restaurants, shops, laundy and shower areas and other such amenities. The stop will feature brand name restaurants such as Godfather's, Subway, and Chester's Chicken along with gourmet coffee brand Bean to Cup. Those curious about the new Love's Travel Stop can attend the ribbon cutting for the new facility this afternoon at 4 Pm in Atkinson. 

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More Evidence of the Failures at Illinois DCFS Emerging

More evidence is emerging about what has gone wrong at the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services. An Auditor General's report continues to find instances where cases investigated by DCFS investigators were not labelled or completed in a timely fashion and while it is a small percentage of cases, child justice advocates remind us, each case has a child at the center of it. Reporter Greg Bishop has more... 

 

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Kewanee Library to Introduce Sensory Learning to Preschool Playtime Program

The Kewanee Public Library Pre-School Read and Explore returns on Tuesday, September 3rd and will run each Monday night from 5:30 Pm to 6:30 Pm through late November. New this year is a sensory learning experience that will take place on the last Monday of each month of the program. This sensory learning experience will take a special interest in those pre-school students who may be on the autism spectrum and give those kids some special attention according to Sarah Barth from the Kewanee Library... 

Sarah Barth was our guest on Tuned In on Thursday. You can hear the entirety of our interview with Sarah Barth in our Tuned In podcast below... 

 

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Kewanee Sophomores to Play Football on Mondays Due to New IHSA Rule

Changes are coming to High School Football this fall. Dr Chris Sullens, Superintendent of Kewanee Schools talked to WKEI about the changes which include moving the Sophomore Football games to Mondays this fall instead of Friday. First though Dr Sullens lamented the desperate need for new, younger, officials to be part of High School Football...

The lack of referees issue may be alleviated a little with the new rule that moves Freshman/Sophomore Football games from Fridays to Mondays this fall. It's part of a new rule that no longer allows Junior Varsity players to play in more than one game in one day...

Dr Chris Sullens was our guest on People to People earlier this week. The Kewanee Boilermakers Football season kicks off next Friday night at 7 Pm with the Freshman and Sophomores playing their first Junior Varsity game on Tuesday, September 3rd at 5:30 Pm. 

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Back to School Backpacks Precautions

Healthcare professionals are warning about the dangers of weighted-down backpacks. Children should never carry more than 10% of their body weight in a backpack. Too much weight can lead create abnormal stress on the body, and result in chronic problems down the road. Even if the weight is right, wearing the backpack incorrectly can be just as damaging. OSF HealthCare Physical Therapist Kelly Bogowith says backpacks should be worn with both straps on the shoulders, and the bottom of the backpack should land on the low back. If your child backpack is hitting his or her buttocks, it is too low and the straps need to be adjusted.

Parents should be choosy when choosing a backpack for their kids. Backpacks should have two wide, adjustable padded shoulder straps. These help distribute the weight in the backpack and keep them from digging into the shoulders. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission estimates that every year more than 14,000 children are treated for backpack-related injuries.

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Prtizker Addresses Report of Harassment in Madigan's Office

The Governor is speaking out about a recent report that detailed an environment of harassment, bullying and fear inside the offices of the Speaker of House. The Hickey Report revealed that Tim Mapes, the Chief of Staff to Speaker Mike Madigan, regularly threatened people with their jobs and created a culture where workplace complaints mostly went unheard. Democrat JB Pritzker says he’s glad this bad behavior has come to light because it’s time to change it but didn’t directly address if he’s losing confidence in Madigan’s.

Pritzker says that he’s expecting leadership from both Democrats and Republicans to address the long standing culture of harassment in Springfield.

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Human Milk Depot Opens in North Central Illinois

North central Illinois mothers feeding their babies the natural way, but who aren’t producing enough of their own milk, have a new resource. Illinois Valley Community Hospital took its first donation of human milk Tuesday. Mothers like Chelsea Dombrowski, who produce more than they need, can donate the extra for moms who don’t. She gave 103 ounces that her three-month old son, Leo, doesn’t need.

Dombrowski says if not for the milk depot at IVCH, she herself would be looking for mothers who need more. The program IVCH is part of screens mothers and their milk for diseases, pasteurizes the milk, and then refrigerates or freezes it for distribution in a hospital network.

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Protections Coming to Undocumented Renters

Landlords in Illinois can no longer threaten to evict tenets or intimidate them by telling them they will report their immigration status. The chief sponsor of the Immigrant Tenant Protection Act, Democrat Senator Cristina Castro, says she doesn’t have many concrete examples of this going on but the new law may help to revealing possible abuses. 

If a landlord is found to have broken the law they may have to pay a $2,000 civil penalty to the tenant and pay for attorney’s fees along with other possible penalties. 

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Starting Teachers Will Soon See Starting Wage Increase

In a few years the state’s teachers will be earning $40,000 a year when they being. Today Democrat Governor JB Pritzker signed into a law a bill that sets a new minimum wage for teachers. Democrat State Rep. Katie Stuart says that a better starting wage will help to alleviate a state wide teaching shortage by showing how the state values teachers. 

Starting next year teachers will be paid at least $32,076 and by 2023 the figure will be $40,000. Currently state law sets a minimum starting wage at $10,000.

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Propane Supply at "Comfortable Number" Approaching Grain Drying Season

What does the propane supply look like heading into the grain drying season? That was a topic of conversation among farmers at the Illinois State Fair last week.


Dan Paneer is GROWMARK’s manager of propane operations.

 

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Bishop Hill Chautauqua This Saturday

The Bishop Hill Chautauqua is this weekend and will feature a unique tour through the lives of historic figures in American history says Todd Dedecker from the Bishop Hill Heritiage Association who was our guest on Tuned In on Wednesday... 

The event runs from 11 Am to 5 Pm on Saturday in Bishop Hill and is free to attend. The event will coincide with the rededication of the 1851 Carpenter Building in Bishop Hill... 

The rededication will take place at 2 Pm on Saturday afternoon. You can hear our complete interview with Todd Dedecker from the Bishop Hill Heritage Association in our Tuned In Podcast below...

 

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OSF Saint Luke Medical Center Touting Immunization Awareness Month

It's Immunization Awareness Month and Dr Hayley Ralph from OSF Saint Luke Medical Center joined WKEI this week to remind not just parents of young kids about getting their immunization shots but to remind adults about the booster shots that can help keep them healthy and those around them who might be vulnerable to communicable illnesses... 

Getting a tetanus booster is recommended every 10 years and can be vital in case of an accidental cut and potential infections. Tetanus is a component of your TDAP Booster... 

Then there is the most common of the booster shots, the flu shot and Dr Ralph reminds us that flu season isn't far away and it is time start thinking of getting your flu shot for this year... 

Dr Hayley Ralph was our guest on Tuned In earlier this week. 

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People Awaiting Trial in Illinois Jails Will Be Able to Vote Under New Law

Those awaiting trial in Illinois who have not yet been convicted of a crime will have the chance to cast their vote in an election. A bill signed into law by Governor J.B Pritzker will require jails across the state of Illinois to provide access to a polling place for anyone who is being held but not yet convicted of a crime. Reporter Greg Bishop has more... 

 

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New Bill Bans Landlords from Reporting Immigration Status of Tenants

The state of Illinois is now the second state in the nation to bar landlords from reporting Illegal Immigrants living in their buildings. Under the law, tenants could sue a landlord that reports their immigration status to authorities. Reporter Cole Lauterbach took comments from Governor Pritzker and State Senator Christina Castro for this report.... 

 

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Secretary of State White Wants Drivers to Take More Care in School Zones

17 kids nationwide have been killed in accidents around school zones involving careless or reckless drivers and Secretary of State Jesse White is putting out the word with kids now back in school for drivers in Illinois to take extra care when driving in school zones. Reporter Kim Howard in Springfield spoke to the Secretary of State... 

 

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Governor Pritzker and House Minority Leader Durkin Weigh In on House Speaker Controversy

House Speaker Michael Madigan is under fire following the release of a report by the Office of the Inspector General found widespread bullying and harrassment in the office of the House Speaker. Now, Governor J.B Pritzker and House Minority Leader Jim Durkin are weighing in the report and asking for troubling questions to be answered by the House Speaker. Reporter Greg Bishop has more... 

 

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Bureau County Fair Celebrating Veterans this Weekend and Country Music Tonight

The Bureau County Fair got underway last night at the fairgrounds in Princeton and it continues tonight with the main event, a concert by country music star Gary Allen...

But the fun doesn't stop after the big concert as the Bureau County Fair has a big weekend planned that includes truck and tractor pulls, great food, a carnival midway and a tribute to our veterans as Bureau County Fair President Kyle Burrows explains... 

Terry Johnson is with Quilts of Valor and she spoke with our Karissa Nash last night at the Bureau County Fair.... 

The Bureau County Tribute to Veterans featuring Quilts of Valor will take place on Sunday afternoon at 1 Pm in the Grandstand at the Bureau County Fair. 

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Number of Cats Recovered at Kewanee Cat House More than 30

The number of cats recovered from a home in the 800 Block of North Burr Boulevard is now over 30 as the City of Kewanee Animal Control spent much of Wednesday humanely trapping feral cats living in and around the home. Donations remain necessary for the Kewanee Animal Control facility with the need for paper towels, dry cat food and clumping kitty litter high. Along with that need, is a need for donations to cover veterinary bills which Animal Control estimates could be nearly $2000.00. According to Animal Control, the cats need to be spayed/neutered, they need shots and they need to be chipped which makes the bill quite high. If you are able to help get in touch with Kewanee Animal Control at 309-525-9377. You can also drop off your donations at our Regional Media studios in Kewanee. Clumping Kitty Litter, Dry Cat Food, Paper Towels can be dropped off any time between 8 Am and 4 Pm at our Regional Media Studios in Kewanee and we will deliver the donations to the Kewanee Pound. Financial donations can be made to the pound for the veterinary bills or they can be dropped off at the Kewanee Veterinary Clinic in care of Kewanee Friends of the Animals. This situation came about when neighbors in the area of the 800 block of North Burr Boulevard contacted Kewanee Police regarding the state of a home on that block and a smell emanating from the home. Police investigated on Tuesday and discovered the more than 30 cats and kitten in the home, some of them feral. Kewanee Police are continuing toi work with social service agencies to determine what is next for the home and the residents. 

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Farm Progress Show Media Day Recap

The Super Bowl of agriculture is less than a week away in Decatur, Illinois and Wednesday media members got a preview of everything to come in this show that will draw people from all over the country and world. National Events Manager for Farm Progress Matt Jungmann calls this the year of the tractor. He says there are a lot of new things coming that will get people excited.

Jungmann recommends downloading the 2019 version of the Farm Progress Show app. He says it will have an updated map along with a schedule of events. Plus, if weather pops up and the show site gets shut down, the app will keep you updated.

There has been a change if you are coming into the show. Highway 48 now connects to Brush College Road at a different location so Jungmann recommends just getting near Decatur and following the signs and traffic. 

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IDNR Promotes Hunter Safety

The Illinois Department of Natural Resources promoting hunter safety. The agency’s Tim Schweizer says information is readily available online at “dnr.illinois.gov”. 


The archery deer hunting season starts October 1 with the two firearm weekends set for Nov. 22-24 and Dec. 5-8. 

 

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LaHood and Davis Address Trade, Infrastructure

Illinois Congressmen Darin LaHood and Rodney Davis made a stop in Bloomington Tuesday to discuss trade and infrastructure with local community members. LaHood says passing the U.S.-Mexico-Canada trade agreement is essential for Illinois. He says about 40 percent of the products grown, produced, or manufactured in the state are sent to Mexico and Canada.

Meanwhile, both LaHood and Davis agreed more needs to be done at the federal level to address infrastructure. Davis says many lawmakers want to increase the gas tax, but he believes other sources of revenue should be addressed.

The Central Illinois lawmakers also addressed recreational marijuana and raising the minimum wage.

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Galesburg Police Make Arrest in Tuesday Shooting of a Teenage Girl

A Galesburg man has confessed to 'accidentally' shooting a 14 year old girl in his apartment on Tuesday in Galesburg. According to a release from the Galesburg Police Department, 19 year old Austin Sundberg has been arrested after a 14 year old girl had been located in his apartment having suffered a gunshot wound. Galesburg Police were called to the area of 160 North Chambers Street on a report of shots fired. The injured girl initially had told police that she did not know who had shot her. For his part, Sundberg told Police that he had found the victim outside his apartment building and had brought her inside However, after canvassing the area, speaking to witnesses and locating the gun, the Galesburg Police Department eventually questioned Sundberg who finally admitted that he'd lied about finding the victim outside. Instead, according to Sundberg's version of events, both he and the victim had been holding the gun and when he went to grab the gun from the victim, it went off and the girl was shot in the right shoulder. Galesburg Police indicate that the victim is in stable condition having been treated at St Francis Hospital in Peoria. Another teen in the apartment was unharmed in the incident. Sundberg has been charged with Reckless Discharge of a Firearm, Unlawful Use of a Weapon and Possession of a Firearn without a FOID Card. 

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The Original Hog Days Stampede Featured Real Hogs Kewanee Back When

If you can believe it, the original Hog Days Stampede featured actual Hogs. That tidbit from Dave Clark on the latest edition of Kewanee Back When on Tuesday...

Dave Clark joined WKEI to talk about the history of Kewanee Hog Days for the latest edition of Kewanee Back When. Click here to listen to the newest episode or any of our past episodes on Kewanee's Baseball History, The Day they Shot the Sheriff or the history of Kewanee Parks. 

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New School Year in Kewanee Finds Upgraded Facilities and Plans for More

Students have returned to Kewanee schools and some of them have returned to new and upgraded facilities since they were last at their school. Dr Chris Sullens, Superintendent at Kewanee Schools, was our guest on People to People on Tuesday, and Dr Sullens told WKEI that there are a few things that have changed since the end of the last school year. 

Dr Sullens was our guest on Tuesday's edition of People to People and he talked about the kids returning to school, the changes to facilities and some big changes coming to fall sports, especially football this fall. You can hear our complete interview with Dr Sullens below....

 

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Stark County Farm Bureau Touting Young Farmer Showings at Stark County and Illinois State Fair

Local kids in Stark County put on quite a show at the Stark County Fair and at the Illinois State Fair and Annaleah Emm from the Stark County Farm Bureau tells WKEI that the Farm Bureau could not be more proud of the way Stark County has excelled in Auction and Display during this fair season... 

In an appearance on Tuned In on Tuesday, Annaleah told WKEI that the Farm Bureau celebrated every time they saw another successful showing from a Stark County farmer at the Illinois State Fair... 

Annaleah Emm from the Stark County Farm Bureau was our guest on Tuned In on Tuesday on WKEI. Stream or download the complete interview below... 

 

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Four Republicans Announce Plans to Challenge Senator Dick Durbin in 2020

Senator Dick Durbin has spent the past 23 years in the U.S Senate from the state of Illinois with his margins of victory making him one of the most secure re-elections in the nation and of the leaders of the Democratic party in Washington. Now, four Republicans have announced that they plan to seek the Republican nomination to challenge Durbin in the 2020 election. Reporter Greg Bishop has more... 

 

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Numerous Cats Rescued from a Hoarding Situation in Kewanee

Kewanee Animal Control is going to need a lot of supplies after some 16 cats and kittens were rescued from a home in Kewanee on Tuesday. According to information provided by Kewanee Friends of the Animals and the Henry County Humane Society of Kewanee, the Humane Society was called in by Kewanee Police and Firefighters to a scene where more than 30 cats were living, many of them feral. The non-feral cats were rescued from the home and transported by Firefighters and volunteers to the Kewanee Animal Control Facility. In total, some 16 cats and kittens are currently at the Kewanee Pound and supply donations of cat food and kitty litter along with financial donations to pay for vet care and medications are needed. You can drop off donations to the Kewanee Pound today. Call 309-525-9377 for further information on when to drop off a donation. You can also drop by the Kewanee Veterinary Clinic located at 106 Townsedge Avenue and make a financial donation care of Friends of the Animals to help pay the veterinary bill. The total number of cats could be anywhere from 30 to 40 depending on the total number of feral cats that were living in and around the home. The City of Kewanee Animal Control and Friends of the Animals are looking for farms that may be willing to take the feral cats which are to be humanely trapped beginning today. 

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Chicago Home Values Slowing as City Deals with Population Loss

Home values across the state of Illinois are slowing down in terms of growth but Chicago is experiencing perhaps an even bigger issue, population loss. That population loss is having an even great effect on home prices and value in the City of Chicago according to the financial services company CoreLogic which tracks property value data. Reporter Cole Lauterbach has more... 

 

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Attorney General Raoul Says Challenge to Illinois Gun Dealer Law Should be Dismissed

Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul believes that a lawsuit filed by the Illinois Rifle Association, challenging the state's new regulations on legal gun dealers, should be dismissed. In a brief, the Attorney General told the judge hearing the lawsuit that gun dealers have failed to demonstrate harm from the Illinois Firearm Dealer License Certification Act. Reporter Greg Bishop has more from Springfield...

A hearing on the case is set for Sept. 5 in Springfield.

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Ag Meteorologist Talks September Frost Chances

What are the chances for a frost during September in Illinois? 


That assessment from DTN chief agriculture meteorologist Bryce Anderson. 

 

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Prtizker Supports Planned Parenthood On Title X Funding

As Title X (ten) funds dry up for Planned Parenthood, Democrat Governor JB Prtizker calls the decision made by the Trump Administration wrong. Planned Parenthood is out millions in funding that would be spent on providing contraception, STD testing and cancer screening. The new “gag rule” prevents healthcare providers from receiving those funds to make abortion referrals; except in cases of rape, incest or medical emergency. 

The move is a pathway forward on long time desires of anti-abortion supporters who don’t want Planned Parenthood to receive any federal funding. Of the $4 million each sent to Illinois each year in Title X funding about $3.5 million goes to Planned Parenthood
Planned Parenthood says for now all services will continue.

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Spy Balloons to Land in Central Illinois?

The Illinois State Police say they have no knowledge of spy balloons that are believed to be landing some time soon in places across central Illinois. According to a report in London's The Guardian newspaper, the US Military and the Sierra-Nevada Corporation launched the balloons as a test of high tech, high altitude surveilance equipment. The balloons were launched with the specific goal of landing them across six diffent Midwestern states. Reporter Greg Bishop has more... 

 

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Boss Glove Sale Moves to Oldeen Building for Hog Days Sale

The annual Boss Glove Sale is on the move. After having spent the past few years at the Flemish American Club, the Glove Sale needed a new location as Steve Martin told WKEI recently on Tuned In on WKEI... 

The Boss Glove Sale, potentially the biggest glove sale yet, is set to take place on August 31st from 7 Am to 11 Am as part of Hog Days Weekend.

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OSF Saint Luke Medical Center Offering Scholarship Opportunities for Those Entering Health Field

OSF Saint Luke Medical Center is offering scholarship opportunities for those who are entering health related fields. Carrie Boelens from OSF Saint Luke Medical Center was our guest on Tuned In on WKEI on Monday and talked about the opportunities available for those going into nursing or other fields related to the Health Care industry... 

For more information or to get a scholarship application go to OSFSaintLuke.org. Carrie Boelens along with Dr Hayley Ralph were our guests on Tuned In on Monday and you can hear that interview below in our Tuned In Podcast... 

 

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Henry County Farm Bureau Taking to the Road with Driver's Ed and Ag Safety

The Henry County Farm Bureau is hitting the road with with Driver's Education and Ag Safety. Katie Laleman tells WKEI that the Farm Bureau's Ag in the Classroom program is entering their third year of their innovative approach to teachng Ag Safety in Driver's Ed classes across Henry County. 

There is no firm date for when this volunteer program will get underway. Katie tells WKEI that the goal of the program is to get into as many driver's ed classes in the county and give kids the chance to see how far back from farm equipment on the road the driver needs to be, when it is safe to pass farm equipment and even get the kids up in a combine so that they can see the road from the perspective of a farmer. If you know a driver's ed class that would like to host the Henry County Farm Bureau Ag in the Classroom program, contact Katie Laleman at 309-937-2411. 

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State Conservationist talks 2019

The State Conservationist is ready to move on from 2019. Ivan Dozier says it’s been a challenging year for farmers on may fronts.


Dozier has served as State Conservationist since 2012. 

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Williamsfield FFA and School District to Receive Funds from National Ag Photo Contest

An Illinois woman’s photo was a second-place finisher in a national contest and because of that, a rural school district’s ag department will be getting some new educational materials. The Power to Do More contest, sponsored by Corteva Agriscience, invited people to submit unique photos and stories showing the power of farming and the growing of stronger communities for a chance of a $10,000 grand prize. Marsha Strum of Dehinda submitted a photo of the community coming together to help raise a piece of playground equipment designed to look like a barn in Williamsfield. Strum’s daughter, Joanie Stiers, says that the photo was a perfect fit for the contest.

Stiers is the director of the Williamsfield FFA Alumni and Friends, who benefits from the second-place prize of $5,000. She said the nonprofit will put that prize into the school district for new tools and equipment for the soon-to-be-finished renovations for the ag department.

Stiers called it "heartwarming" how the little town of less than 600 could place so high on the national competition.

Besides the $20,000 being awarded to the top three vote-getters, Corteva is awarding $7,000 to the other finalists and the nonprofit organizations they're associated with.

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Prtizker Comments On Images From Sandoval Fundraiser

An Illinois State Senator is apologizing for images coming out of his political fundraiser. Martin Sandoval says that pictures at his fundraising golf outing of a person pointing what looks like a fake gun at a fake Donald Trump are “unacceptable” and he does not condone violence against the President. Democrat Governor JB Pritzker says civility is needed in politics. 

The Illinois Republican Party Chairman Tim Schneider wants Sandoval to fire the person in the photo if they are a campaign staffer or volunteer. 

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State of Illinois Trying to Help the Unbanked

With one in five in Illinois banking in a “non traditional” way the state wants to make it easier for them to bank in a more traditional manner. State leaders say they are the first in the nation to sign legislation to expand access to credible banking services with “Illinois Bank On”. Comptroller Susana Mendoza says the new program will be a little like a better business bureau for unbanked customers. 

For an example the unbanked cash checks at convenience stores, and use payday loan operations. According to statistics shared by the Governor’s office, a full time worker who doesn’t use a traditional bank faces $40,000 in lifetime fees. To find a safe bank there will be a list of credible banks on the Comptrollers website.

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Tracking Tool Coming to Victims Waiting on ISP Crime Lab

Victims of sexual assault and rape now have a better way of receiving updates on their case. After a victim has been to a hospital and completed a sexual assault screening they will now have a way to electronically track if their rape kit has been processed. Carrie Ward, Illinois Coalition Against Sexual Assault, says that once the evidence is collected the victim will be able to see if it’s at the hospital, in the crime lab or at the state’s attorney’s office.

Supporters of victims of assault say something still needs to be done to fix the long processing time that kits and other DNA go through at the state. At times, evidence processing can take more than a year.

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Governor Pritzker Proud of Illinois State Fair Success

Governor JB Pritzker says he’s proud of the recently wrapped up Illinois State Fair and the work that went in to putting it on. The first term Democrat notes that he heard all week how much fun people were having.

The fair is finalizing attendance numbers but did report record ticket sales for the grandstand and gross revenue from the musical acts. 

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Vigil for Trudy Appleby to Be Held in East Moline on Tuesday, 23rd Anniversary of Disappearance

It's been 23 years since Trudy Appleby disappeared from near her home in East Moline. On Wednesday, August 21st, it will be exactly 23 years to the day since that disappearance and the family of Trudy Appleby is asking the public to join them for a vigil in Trudy's honor. According to a release from the Moline Police Department, the vigil for Trudy Appleby will be held at First Baptist Church in East Moline beginning at 7 Pm on Wednesday night. First Baptist Church East Moline is located at 167 Avenue of the Cities. Meanwhile, investigators are continuing to follow leads and seek evidence that could lead to the whereabouts of Trudy Appleby and anyone with information is urged to contact Crimestoppers of the Quad Cities at 309-762-9500. Trudy Appleby was just 11 years old when she was taken on August 21st, 1996. 

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Kewanee League of Women Voters and Kewanee Library Teaming for Census 2020 Meeting

If you have questions or concerns regarding Census 2020, the Kewanee League of Women Voters and the Kewanee Public Library are aiming to help answer those questions and address those concerns. According to an announcement from the Kewanee League of Women Voters, they will be part of an informational meeting on Census 2020 at the Kewanee Public Library on Tuesday, September 17th. The informational meeting will be headed up by Anita Banerji Director of the Illinois Census effort at Forefront through their Democracy Initiative. Banerji will address any questions you might have about making sure you get counted in census 2020. For more information about Anita Banerji you can go to MyForefront.org or ILCountMeIn2020.org.

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Richard Spiegel Named Abilities Plus Achiever of the Month for July

Congratulations to Richard Spiegel of rural Kewanee on being named Abilities Plus Achiever of the Month for the month of July. Richard was recognized for his doing well on assigned tasks and for working hard on his goals. Richard says that in his spare time he enjoys doing farm chores and he especially enjoys working with the cattle. Congratulations to Richard Spiegel on being named Abilities Plus Achiever of the Month. 

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St. Louis Dairy Council with back to school meal tips

School, work and extracurricular activities have made family sit-down meals almost a thing of the past. And although the dinner table has faded away for some families, its importance has not. 

Jill Williams is the Nutrition Educator for the St. Louis Dairy Council. She says it gets especially hard this time of year when families are transitioning from summer to back-to-school.

The short-term benefits to family meals are lower rates of obesity in children, encourages kids to try new and healthy foods, and kids don’t typically eat junk food for a home cooked meal.

Williams says just as important as family meal time is dairy in your diet.

Williams is also a registered dietitian. You can email her at info@stldairycouncil.org to find out more about the St. Louis Dairy Council or visit their website, stldairycouncil.org.

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Social Security Warning Public About Misleading Advertising

There is a new threat to the public when it comes to Social Security. No longer is someone impersonating a Social Security employee one of the biggest threats to the public, now misleading advertising is becoming very prevalent. Jack Myers with Social Security indicates businesses are charging for services that are free through them.

Myers believes the public is accustomed to paying fees for a lot of government forms or services, so that doesn't raise a red flag when in fact, it should, as there is no charge for many of the things Social Security offers.

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ISP Making Changes to Application Requirements

The path towards becoming an Illinois State Trooper is changing. Moving forward the ISP will accept applications from individuals who have just an associate’s degree or 60 hours of college credit. 

The old requirement of having a bachelor’s degree is out the door says ISP Acting Director Brendan Kelly.

Kelly says with the average cost of a bachelors’ degree at $90,000 they are losing out on a number of high quality candidates.

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State Fair Wraps Up

The Illinois State Fair has wrapped. The Grandstand set records for tickets sold and gross revenue. State Fair Manager Kevin Gordon says that even without an official tally of how many fairgoers entered the grounds he says many of the vendors have been happy. 

The state fair should be releasing offical attendance numbers in about a week.

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Boss Glove Sale Bigger than Ever in 2019 During Hog Days

The Boss Glove Sale is set for August 31st, Hog Days Weekend. Steve Martin with the First Baptist Church tells WKEI it's going to be the biggest Boss Glove Sale in Hog Days History... 

There is a new location for this year's Boss Glove Sale, it's the Oldeen Roofing Building located at 410 West 2nd Street. The Boss Glove Sale will take place from 7 Am to 11 Am. You can hear our complete interview with Steve Martin regarding the Boss Glove Sale below...

 

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Kewanee Library to Offer 3D Printing Class in September

The Kewanee Public Library will hold a series of 3D Printing Classes beginning September 3rd. Sara Billiet from the Kewanee Public Library says the classes are open to anyone age 10 and up with an interest in this unique new technology.... 

Information will be available soon at KewaneeLibrary.org or, if you don't want to wait, just drop by the Library for a flyer. 

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Introducing New Wethersfield Elementary School Principal Gus Elliott on People to People

Wethersfield School got underway on Wednesday and Superintendent Shane Kazubowski tells WKEI it's great to see the kids again and get back to work... 

Then it was time to introduce Gus Elliott who is taking over for Janeane Friedman as the new Principal at Wethersfield Elementary. Gus comes to Wethersfield after several years in the Davenport, Iowa, School District in the Quad Cities...

Gus along with Superintendent Shane Kazubowski was our guest on People to People program on WKEI on Thursday and we asked Gus what he wanted parents to know about him as a Principal...

Superintendent Shane Kazubowski says of Gus Elliott that after interviewing him, he was the only choice for the job... 

You can hear our entire interview with Superintendent Shane Kazubowski and the new Wethersfield Elementary School Principal Gus Elliott in our People to People Podcast, available to stream or download, below... 

 

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Limited Number of Walk In Wednesdays Available at the Henry and Stark County Health Department

The Henry and Stark County Health Department have announced walk-in Wednesdays with one more left currently on the schedule. According to RaeAnn Tucker Marshall from the Henry and Stark County Health Department, Walk In Wednesdays at the Health Department are aimed at parents who may not have found the time to schedule a regular appointment for their kids...

Currently, only one more Walk-In Wednesday is on the schedule for both the Colona and Kewanee Health Department Offices. The next Walk-In Wedesday is August 21st from 8 Am to 4:30 Pm 

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LaHood Wants Trade Battle Over

As farmers and members of the ag community gathered at the Illinois State Fair this week they had the ear of lawmakers. And many have had it with falling prices due to smaller exports markets due to trade troubles. Republican Congressman Darin LaHood says the trade battle with China needs to be brought to an end.

LaHood says Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi should put the USMCA or NAFTA 2.0 on the floor for a vote.

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A New Way to Enjoy Bacon At the Illinois State Fair

The Illinois Pork Producers have a new item on their fair menu to entice fair goers. All of the old favorites remain says Jenny Jackson with the Pork Producers including the pork chop on a stick. But she wants everyone to be ready to try something new.

The Pork Patio is right across from the Grandstand.

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Another Record at State Fair Grandstand

The Illinois State Fair is a record breaker at the Grandstand. This week two records have been broken, the first was the lineup of Grandstand acts bringing in the highest amount of ticket revenue ever at more than $2.1 million. Now more tickets than ever have been sold for the string music acts. 

State Fair Manager Kevin Gordon says they felt early on that ticket sales would be good but they have been blown away by the demand this year.

Gordon says more research will be needed to know officially but he thinks this weekend’s concerts with 31,000 tickets sold so far might be the biggest weekend of all time at the fair. 

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Scalise Remembers Hero's At Mass Shooting

Republicans gathered this week at the Illinois State Fair and heard from House Minority Whip Steve Scalise. He was gravely wounded in a mass shooting at a Republican baseball practice two years ago. Scalise believes his life and everyone else’s there was saved because the Capitol Police were on hand to provide security. 

Officer Crystal Griner was shot and recovered, officer David Bailey was injured but not shot and was traveled with Scalise to state fair. Both remain with the Capitol Police. 

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Unclaimed Property Up For Auction at ISF

The Illinois State Treasurer is holding a live auction this Saturday at the State Fair. The property set to be sold has often been left behind in bank safety deposit boxes, and the bank can’t keep those items. 

State Treasurer Mike Frerichs The state tries to connect a rightful owner to the property but the vault where they keep those items needs to be cleaned out every so often.

The auction is set for 11 am on Saturday. 

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Governor Pritzker Enjoying the Food at First Illinois State Fair as Governor

As Democrat Governor JB Prtizker is well into his first Illinois State Fair he says as he walks the grounds and meets with fairgoers that he will be tempted by all the fair food.

However Pritzker wouldn’t commit to trying out any state fair carnival rides.

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Viola Man Arrested on Child Pornography Charges Has Kewanee Connection

44 year old James E Haley of Viola who was arrested on child pornography, sexual assault and abuse charges on Thursday has a Kewanee connection. According to a post on the Miss World Festival Queen Pageants Facebook page, Haley worked as a photographer at the most recent Miss World Festival Pageant held at Kewanee High School. The Miss World Festival Pageant is owned and operated by Jeanna Moore, the wife of Kewanee Mayor Gary Moore, and Stephanie Smith. The statement on the Miss World Festival Pageant Facebook page reads... 

 

"It comes with great sadness that we found out today the photographer we used has been involved with a violation of trust and has been arrested on charges. We reassure you he was never allowed alone with your children. He was always respectful of our wishes and professional. We are working diligently to find out if you will receive the images you have purchased. Please accept our sincere apologies. We have been friends with him for several years and had no idea there was another side to his photography. We ask you to please refrain from any negative comments on our page. We have all of our contestants and families linked to our page. We found this information out when the news released it today and we’re as shocked as all of you. When we get any answers we will bring them to you. Our sincerest apologies again Royalteer Productions, NFP" 

 

The case of James E Haley is now in the hands of the Mercer County State's Attorney, Meeghan Lee. 

 

 

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Work on East Street Project Continues Today Among Other Kewanee Roadwork and Parking Restrictions

The City of Kewanee will continue work on roads across the City today. According to a release from the City of Kewanee, paving on East Street will continue this morning beginning at 7 Am. Residents will still have access to East Street but may see intermittent lane closures throughout the day as work progresses. Other areas subject to road work today include areas of the 100 and 200 Block of North Tremont and the alley between Cerno's and People's National Bank where parking will be restricted with limited available parking to employees and customers. Road tilling will mean no street parking for several local streets beginning today. The list of parking restricted roads includes... 

 

·         Burr from E 6th to E 7th

·         3.5 Street from Rice to Perkins

·         Dewey from Dodge to Miner

·         Edwards from E Division to E Mill

·         Elmwood from Lakeview to Maple

·         May from E 4th to Lake

·         N High from W 1st to W 2nd

·         Perkins from 3.5 Street to W 4th

·         Simpson from E 9th to E 10th

·         Walnut from Lyle to E Central

 

Road program contractors will be working in these areas Friday through the beginning of next week, including work on Saturday.  Residents are asked to avoid these areas if possible, refrain from street parking, and to take caution if driving near the work zone areas. The CIty of Kewanee apologizes for any inconvenience to residence. Much of this work was just announced by the Illinois DOT. 

 

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Viola Man Arrested on Multiple Child Pornography, Assault and Abuse Charges

The Illinois State Police and the Viola Police Department have announced the arrest of 44 year old James E Haley of Viola on multiple charges including sexual assault and child pornography. According to the Illinois State Police, June 13th, detectives in Viola requested the help of the Illinois State Police to assist in the investigation of James Haley. Haley was suspected of being engaged in sexual abuse and the manufacturing of child pornography. Through a thorough search and investigation, including the gathering of digital evidence and multiple witness statements, James E Haley was finally arrested on August 15th and taken to the Mercer County Jail. Haley is facing charges of Aggravated Criminal Sexual Assault, 14 counts of Child Pornography, and one count of Aggravated Criminal Sexual Abuse. The investigation was assisted by local, county state and federal law enforcement and more specifically with aid of the Moline Police Department, the Rock Island County Sheriff's Office, the Mercer County Sheriff's Office and the Viola Police Department. The case is now in the hands of the Mercer County State's Attorney. 

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Illinois Policy Institute Study Finds Growing Amount of School Funding Going to Pensions

A new study by the Illinois Policy Institute finds that over the last decade the amount of school funding dedicated to paying education pensions has grown significantly. According to the study, from 2010 through next year the total amount of school funding dedicated to paying education pensions will have grown from 22% of school funding to 36% of school funding. Hillary Gowin is with the Illinois Policy Institute and she says that hard questions about education pension reform need to be asked... 

You can read the full study for yourself by going to IllinoisPolicy.org. Hillary Gowin was our guest on People to People on Wednesday...

 

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School Safety Foremost on the Minds of Regional Superintendents of Schools

In an effort to be prepared in the event of an active shooter situation in a school, the Illinois Association of Regional School Superintendents and the Illinois State School Board of Education have been conducting inspections of every school in their part of the state while also testing the training of staff among other approaches to safety... 

That's Mark Klaisner, President of the Association of Regional Superintendents of Schools. Mark was our guest on Tuned In earlier this week. 

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Henry County Farm Bureau Welcomes USDA Ag Disaster Area Declaration

The Henry County Farm Bureau are among those welcoming last week's decision by the USDA to give the state of Illinois an Ag Disaster Area designation. The designation opens up new avenues of aid for farmers and agri-business owners who were hit hard by the heavy rain and flooding this past Spring and early Summer. Katie Laleman from the Henry County Farm Bureau talked to WKEI about about the Ag Disaster Declaration... 

Those seeking information about resources that may now be available for their farm can go to the USDA website for further information or you can contact the Henry County Farm Bureau and they will be happy to try and point you in the right direction. Katie Laleman from the Henry County Farm Bureau was our guest on Tuned In on Wednesday and you can hear that interview below... 

 

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Back to School Health Tips from OSF Healthcare

Back to school is here for some and just around the corner for others. As the school year gets underway, OSF Healthcare is pushing health tips for parents to keep kids out of the hospital and in the classroom. Tips range from carrying fewer books in backpacks, to bringing healthy snacks to school, to even sitting down for a family dinner in the evenings. Because schools are a hub for many children from so many different households, Jeanie Sullivan, Child Care Specialist for OSF Healthcare, says that students need to be taught how to keep themselves free of germs by washing up.

Sullivan also stresses the importance of students getting breakfast at the start of the day, something high in protein. It’s not just about getting good food or staying clean though. Making sure that students are getting plenty of sleep is just as important. Students around the age of ten need an average of ten hours of sleep. How do you know if your child is getting plenty of sleep? OSF Neurologist Dr. Sarah Zallek says that there are some signs.

The healthcare provider has some other advice to help your child fall into a good sleep routine. Tips like cutting out caffeine for your children, prioritize sleep, modeling good sleep behavior, and reserving the bed and bedroom for sleeping only.

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Lake County Illinois Teens Charged with First Degree Murder

This week A 75 year old homeowner protecting his property in Lake County shot a killed a teenager, one of a group of six teenagers who were trying to steal his car. But it’s the 18 year old and four other teens who are facing first degree murder charges. The homeowner shot the 14 year old after he says the teen threatened him with a knife. After the shooting the teens fled in a stolen SUV and took police on a long high speed chase back into Cook County. Sergeant Chris Covelli with the Lake County Sherriff’s Department says the homeowner is a registered gun owner.

The only 18 year old in the group, identified by police as Diamond Davis, is, along, with the four other minors, facing charges of First Degree Murder and are being held on a million dollar bond.

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Ag Meteorologst Looks Ahead to September Ag Weather Forecast

Corn producers starting to think about that September forecast and what impact it will have on the 2019 crop. Agriculture Meteorologist Dan Hicks is with Freese-Notis Weather. 


The latest Illinois Crop Progress and Condition report had only 42-percent of the state’s corn crop at the dough stage compared to 89-percent last year and the five year average at 76-percent. As for the state’s soybean crop, just 49-percent has reached the setting pod stage with the five year average at 79-percent.

 

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Illinois Democrats Celebrate Unity at the Illinois State Fair

Illinois Democratic County Chairman’s Bruch in Springfield is a big rally for Democratic causes and candidates. Statewide the party is focused on unity before nationwide elections in 2020. The IDCC President Kristina Zahorink says Democrats are going to stick together around the state and usher in more change in Washington D.C.

Zahorink is the first woman to lead the IDCC. 

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Secretary of State Jesse White Still All In on Fulfilling Current Term

Secretary of State Jesse White is 85 but he has no intention right now of not fulfilling the rest of term in office. White has served since winning an election in 1999 and he said at the State Fair yesterday that he’s still all in.

White would be 88 when his current term is up. In the last election he won 68 percent of the vote.

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House Speaker Pelosi Rallies Democrats at Illinois State Fair

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi was at the Illinois Democratic County Chairman’s Association Brunch and Governor JB Pritzker welcomed her to the stage.

Pelosi said House Democrats are 200 days into their majority and she’s proud of what they have accomplished and US Senate Leadership won’t be allowed to stand in the way.

Pelosi says those new laws include limiting dark money in campaigns and gun control legislation.

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Fire Hydrant Repairs Continue Friday in Kewanee With Water Shutoffs in Some Areas

Fire hydrant flow testing and repairs continue on Friday and into Monday and Tuesday of next week for some portions of Kewanee. According to a release from the City of Kewanee, hydrant repair work will start at 7 Am on Friday morning in the following areas... 

 

Friday 8/16/19, Monday 8/19/19 and Tuesday 8/20/19:

 

·         902 N East Street

·         900 block of Simpson Avenue

·         900, 905, 906 & 907 Wilbur Street

·         900 - 1000 blocks of East 9th Street

·         901, 907, 910 & 912 May Street

·         1006 & 1007 Marion Street

·         The fire line to American Steel

 

This project had been set to begin this past Wednesday but had to be delayed. Remember, residents whose water is shut off due to this hydrant repair work will be on a 48 hour boil order once water service is restored. If you have any questions regarding the boil order or water shut off, you can contact the City of Kewanee Public Works Department at 309-852-2611. 

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Winners and Awards Announced for 28th Annual Abilities Plus Golf Outing

The 28th Annual Abilities Plus Golf Outing was held on August 5th and congratulations to the Breedloves team of Carter Pillen, Mike Pillen, Mike Landis and Larry Standaert on carding the best score of the day. Second best score of the day went to Community State Bank with Luke Hawkins, Shawn Rowan, Lori Pieper and Tim Nimrick. Third place at the event were the All State team of Tom Burhorn, Court Marshall, Kyle Graham and Brett Jones. Hole event winners included Barbara Salter with the Women's Longest Drive, Ron Carmichael with the Longest Putt, Dave Richardson Closest to the Pin, Brett "Goose" Jones with Longest Men's Drive and Tim Nimrick who won the Union Federal Savings Putting Contest. The biggest winner however, for the day was Abilities Plus which had one of its biggest fundraisers yet thanks to the incredible people who donated their time and effort at the Abilities Plus Golf Outing on August 5th. 

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Kewanee Roadwork Program Continues on Friday

Road Milling and cleaning in the City of Kewanee will continue on Friday according to a release from the City of Kewanee. Weather permitting, work on local roads will begin on Friday and continue on Monday, Tuesday and possibly Wednesday depending on conditions. Work in the area of the 100 and 200 Block of West 2nd Street and the 200 Block of North Tremont, as well as in the alley between Cerno's and People's National Bank will affect parking in those areas during the time of the roadwork. The goal is to have the work completed before the start of Hog Days. If you have any questions about road work in Kewanee you may call the Kewanee Public Works Department at 309-852-2611. 

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Last Call for Hog Days Parade Entries August 19th

Entries for the Hog Days Parade must be in to the Kewanee Chamber of Commerce by 5 Pm on August 19th. The theme for this year's parade is "Can't Stop the Squealin'" and entries are asked to incorporate that theme into your float or other type of entry. Floats are definitely encouraged as their are numerous bands in this year's parade and their is a need for floats to take part and separate the bands. To sign up to participate in this year's Hog Days Parade at 2 Pm on August 31st go to kewanee-il.com/parade to put in your entry. Awards and cash prizes will be handed out after the parade on August 31st. If you have any questions regarding the Hog Days Parade you can contact the Kewanee Chamber of Commerce at 309-852-2175. 

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IL Attorney General Claims DCFS Withholding Records, Governor Calls for Transparency

According to information from Attorney General Kwame Raoul, the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services improperly withheld records of child caretakers facing licensing. A report from Newschannel 20 in Springfield is reporting that licensing issues for child caretakers across the state were being withheld by DCFS and this has led Governor Pritzker to call for full transparency from the trouble DCFS. Reporter Cole Lauterbach has more... 

 

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Wethersfield Township Seal Coating Roads Beginning Today

Wethersfield Township will begin seal coating roads today and Wethersfield Township Road Commission Mark Elbus wants the public to be aware of the work going on... 


Drivers in Wethersfield Township are asked to please take caution in areas where roadwork is being done. 

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Census Takers in Kewanee Today and Rest of this Week

Be ready for people to be knocking on your door this week as the US Census count gets underway. Mayor Gary Moore told WKEI on our People to People program that census takers will be out around Kewanee and the surrounding areas this week, as early as today. While having strangers on your doorstep asking questions can be annoying or even a little worrisome, Mayor Moore says that a correct census is urgently important for Kewanee to get the kind of state and federal funding that a city of this size needs. That said, if you are concerned about security or about strangers in your neighborhood and being sure that they are with the US Census, you can call the Kewanee Police Department to find out where Census takers are supposed to be on any given day. According to Mayor Moore, Census takers must check in with police and let them know where they plan on being. Call 309-853-1911 if you have concerns as to whether someone in your neighborhood is with the Census but be sure you are getting counted for your City. 

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House Speaker Pelosi Set To Speak In Springfield Today

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi is going to be speaking in Springfield on Wednesday at the Illinois Democratic County Chairs Association. A lightning rod for both parties was directly invited by US Senator Dick Durbin. He says that she’s the right person to tell Democrats what’s happening in Washington D.C.

The brunch she is speaking at is the kick-off event for Democrats for Governors Day at the Illinois State Fair.

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Congresswoman Bustos Promoting Rural Green Partnerships at Illinois State Fair Ag Day

Congresswoman Cheri Bustos pushing out a Rural Green Partnership initiative. She spoke about the issue at Illinois State Fair Ag Day…


Bustos says the plan has been endorsed by a dozen commodity groups. 

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Illinois Treasurer Endorses Elizabeth Warren for President

State Treasurer Michael Frerichs has endorsed Elizabeth Warren for President. Frerichs describes attributes that impressed him....


Frerichs also gives Warren high marks for political courage...


Warren has surged in recent days in polling in Iowa.

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Governor Outbid by First Lady at Illinois State Fair Sale of Champions

The Illinois State Fair held the Governor’s Sale of Champions last night and the Governor and First Lady had a little fun. JB and MK split their bidding when it came time to auction off the Grand Champion Steer shown by Cole Caldwell of Elmwood. As the bidding came down to the wire – MK swooped in for a big move.

And $75,000 would take it. JB said that it was a shock to him that she battled against him.

J

Caldwell is 13 and headed to 8th Grand in Elmwood. He says the winnings tonight will help him save for college.

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Ep iPens Getting Guaranteed Insurance Coverage

Illinois children and families who live a life thinking about an allergic reaction turning deadly have a little less to worry about today. Democrat Governor JB Pritzker signs a bill this week that requires insurance companies to cover EpiPens. The injectable life saving devices have seen prices jump of more than 400 percent over the past 10 years. That leaves the cost of a two pen injector at close to $700. Pritzker says families shouldn’t have to worry about paying for a life saving device.

Another problem facing users of Epi-Pens is the fact that they expire after a year.

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Illinois Comptroller Mendoza Working to Protect Prevailing Wage

The state is embarking on a six year and $45 billion capital and the state’s Comptroller signed an executive order that will refocus an effort to enforce the state’s prevailing wage laws. Susana Mendoza says this is necessary to make sure workers are being paid what they are owed.

Mendoza says this essentially allows for state law to be enforced and if her office found that a contractor wasn’t paying the right wage then she could stop payment to them to fix the problem.

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Senator Durbin Says he is Puzzled by Jeffery Epstein Suicide

US Senator Dick Durbin is having a hard time understanding how Jeffery Epstein was left alone long enough to commit suicide. Durbin says there are plenty of unanswered questions and he wants to hear from the Bureau of Prisons...

Jeffery Epstein committed suicide in his prison cell on August 10th. Epstein was awaiting trial on federal sex trafficking charges. 

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Angry Birds 2 Opens in Kewanee Today at Wanee Cinemas

Angry Birds 2 opens in Kewanee today at the Wanee Cinemas in downtown Kewanee. Angry Birds 2 is a sequel to the 2016 animated hit, Angry Birds, which was based on the popular app based phone game. The animated flick features the voices of Jason Sudeikis from Saturday Night Live, Josh Gad from Frozen and Beauty and the Beast and joining the cast for this sequel is Crazy Ex-Girlfriend star Rachel Bloom who spoke to WKEI on Tuesday about the unique way of making an animated movie and praised the crew of the movie for their hardwork... 

Angry Birds 2 is receiving mostly good reviews from critics. The film currently stands at 73% positive reviews from critics at RottenTomatoes.com.

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Teaching Kids Healthy Eating Habits for Back to School

Kids across our area are headed back toi school this week and with the return to school comes the chance to teach kids healthy eating habits by packing lunches with the needed dietary components for healthy eating. Sara Umphleet, Clinical Dietiician at OSF Saint Luke Medical Center tells WKEI that healthy eating for kids starts with mom and dad modeling healthy eating for them...

Healthy eating habits are physical as well as emotional habits and Sara Umphleet says that parents need to be aware of the mental aspect of healthy eating and not use food as a reward for behavior... 

Sara Umphleet was our guest earlier this week on Tuned In on WkEI. 

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State Rep Swanson Celebrates Signing of New Law Protecting Insurance Coverage for Those with Tick-Borne Disease

State Representative Dan Swanson celebrated the signing of House Bill 889 on Tuesday with a press conference featuring the many people that he has helped who have suffered from tick borne diseases such as Lyme Disease... 

HB 889 mandates that insurance companies coverage includes long term antibiotic treatments needed by those who suffer from tick borne diseases such as Lyme Disease. 

At the event with State Representative Dan Swanson were Jennifer Russell Executive Director of the Illinois Lyme Association and Lauryn Russell whose battle with Lyme Disease inspired State Representative Swanson to write and help to pass the Lauryn Russell Lyme Disease Prevention and Protection Law in 2018. 

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Teacher Shortage in Illinois Reaching a Crisis Point

The growing lack of teachers in the state of Illinois is reaching a crisis point. Mark Klaisner is the new President of the Illinois Association of Regional Superintendents of Schools and he joined WKEI to talk about the growing crisis in attracting new teachers and their upcoming study on why High School aged people are not considering teaching as a profession... 

The 2019 Teacher Shortage study from the Illinois Association of Regional Superintendents of Schools coincides with the start of the new school year for many students this week in the state of Illinois. Mark Klaisner was our guest on Tuned In on Tuesday. 

 

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Courtyard Estates Galva to Host Dog Wash Fundraiser Saturday

Courtyard Estates in Galva is hosting a dog wash fundraiser this Saturday. The event is intended to raise funds for the for the Henry County Humane Society in Geneseo but it is also a good opportunity to let those who are interested in exploring Courtyard Estates assisted living as a future home to know that Courtyard Estates in Galva is pet friendly. When you make the choice to move to Courtyard Estates for assisted living, you can bring your pet as Maisey Postin explains while talking about Saturday's event... 

The Dog Wash Fundraiser for the Henry County Humane Society runs from 10:00 Am to 2 Pm at Couirtyard Estates in Galva and as part of the event, Maisey tells WKEI that Dr Stevens from Stevens Veterinary Clinic will be on hand at 1 Pm to talk to dog owners and answer their questions about keeping their dog healthy....

The cost to get your dog washed on Saturday at Courtyard Estates in Galva is just $2.00 and the proceeds from the event support the Henry County Humane Society in Geneseo. If you don't have transportation for Saturday and you live in the Galva area, you can call Courtyard Estates in Galva at 309-932-2600 and arrange for a pickup for you and your pooch between 10 Am and 2 Pm this Saturday, August 17th. 

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WKEI Celebrity Interview Rachel Bloom Angry Birds 2 and Crazy Ex-Girlfriend

Actress Rachel Bloom is part of the voice cast for the new movie, Angry Birds 2 which opens at the Wanee Cinemas in downtown Kewanee on Wednesday. Rachel talked about the unique way in which animated movies are made, the remarkable voice cast and what it is like to meet your co-stars after the movie has wrapped. We also, of course, had to talk about Rachel's incredible run on TV's Crazy Ex-Girlfriend on the CW Network. Rachel is taking Crazy Ex-Girlfriend on the road for a tour later this year. The tour will combine the beloved songs from the musical comedy series along with stand up comedy. Stream or download our interview with Rachel Bloom below... 

 

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Fair Food as Unusual As Ever at this Year's Illinois State Fair

The food on the midway at the Illinois State Fair is always unique and notable and the food at the 2019 IIllinois State Fair is no exception. Gators and Taters are among the items getting the most attention for oddity at the State Fair but our reporter Kim Howard visited the Fair this week and documented a few more unusual items for visitors to enjoy at the State Fair this week... 

 

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Illinois Residents Allowed to Join Class Action Suit Against Facebook

A federal court has ruled that residents in Illinois can join a class action lawsuit against social media giant Facebook. According to the ruling announced last Thursday, Illinois residents who wish to be party to an ongoing lawsuit against Facebook regarding the collection of Biometric Data of users can now join that lawsuit which could cost Facebook thousands of dollars per accouint. Reporter Cole Lauterbach has more... 

 

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City Attorney, Illinois EPA and Henry County Health Department Contacted Regarding Boiler Building and Well

The demolition of the former Kewanee Boiler Plant has been at a standstill for some time now and at Monday night's Kewanee City Council Meeting, Councilman Mike Yaklich asked for an update from City staff regarding the status of the demolition and contact with the owner of the property... 

According to City Manager Gary Bradley discussions were held with Jordan Womack, identified by City Staff as the owner of the Boiler Property, and that the meeting did not go well and leading City staff to involve the Kewanee City Attorney Justin Raver, Illinois EPA, and the Henry County Health Department... 

Kewanee Director of Community Development Keith Edwards spoke at the meeting on Monday night and informed the Council that Jordan Womack was disputing his ownership of the property. Mr Edwards indicated this via communication with Dorothy David, Director of Environmental Health Services at the Henry and Stark County Health Department. Mr Edwards also mentioned ways in the future that the City of Kewanee might mitigate such risks as what are now being incurred at the Boiler property. 

The next step, according to City Attorney Justin Raver is continuing to follow up with the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency regarding the well on the property and concerns regarding City Water related to the inattention to the property. 

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Bock Inc Rebuffs Call to Appear Before Kewanee City Council

The owner of Bock Inc and staff have invited the members of the Kewanee City Council to come to the Waste Water Treatment plant to find out more regarding the issues at the plant in recent months. At Monday night's Kewanee City Council Meeting, Councilman Mike Komnick asked about the current status of the situation with the Waste Water Sludge... 

Mayor Gary Moore there commenting on continued recommendations from Bock regarding a screw press. Councilman Komnick then expressed his disappointment that Bock Inc representatives refused the City Council request to appear in front of the Council... 

In this week's Kewanee City Council Packet notes, City Staff point out that Bock Inc is not contractually obligated to appear before the Kewanee City Council. Bock representatives did invite Council Members to the facility for meetings but refused the request to come to the Kewanee City Council Meeting. 

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City of Kewanee Takes First Steps Toward Fixing the Viaduct

At Monday night's Kewanee City Council Meeting, the City of Kewanee began the first tentative steps toward repairing the viaduct. 

Mayor Gary Moore having read the agenda item leading into the discussions regarding cost and the work that will now be able to get underway in the area owned by BNSF Railroad. City Manager Gary Bradley explained, in response to questioning from Councilman Steve Faber, that the project will get underway this year and will take some time to complete due to further damage to the area... 

Under questioning from Councilman Mike Yaklich, City Manager Gary Bradley explained the costs involved and that these costs were planned for in the City of Kewanee Budget... 

The actual estimate for what was budgeted for repairs to the viaduct were determined to be $58,000. The next step will be sending the bid for the work to be done on the viaduct out to contractors a process which Gary Bradley stated will be undertaken soon in order to get the prioject underway in this year. We will have more on the discussion of the viaduct repairs with Mayor Gary Moore this morning at 9:35 Am on People to People

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Kewanee Fire Department Battles Blaze on West 2nd Street

The Kewanee Fire Department battled a blaze at a residence located at 824 West 2nd Street on Monday morning. According to a release from the Kewanee Fire Department, firefighters responded to a call received at 10:05 Am regarding the residential fire. On the way to the fire, firefighters were informed that flames were visible on the second floor of the home and that heavy black smoke was emitting from the home as well. The Kewanee Fire Crew determined at the scene that all residents had vacated the home and they began stretching hoses to battle the fire. All in all, 10 Kewanee Firefighters spent 1 hour and 33 minutes putting out the fire before leaving the scene. No firefighters or pedestrians were hurt in the blaze. There is no word on how many people resided at the home. The Kewanee Fire Investigator remained on the scene of the fire for a time after firefighters left the scene but there is no word as of this writing as to the cost of the damage to the home. 

Photo courtesy of Realtor.com 

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Whistleblower Expresses That New Bill May Fine Those Accusing Lawmakers of Harassment

Denise Rotheimer fought hard to make sure that women who accuse members of the state legislature of harassment are heard. Now, she's speaking out again as a new bill threatens to impose fines against those who accuse lawmakers of harassment, if those victims speak about their case before getting permission to do so from a panel of lawmakers. Reporter Greg Bishop has more... 

 

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Changes To Medical Cannabis Program

There are new laws for the state’s medical cannabis program. Democrat Governor JB Pritzker signed the changes that allow for more conditions to qualify for a dispensary card and clearing the way for more medical practitioners who can write a pot prescription. State Rep. Bob Morgan says one thing that hasn’t changed just yet is medical marijuana recipients being able to grow their own pot plants.

A law was also approved to allow for medical marijuana to be administered by school nurses.

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Elder Abuse Task Force Created

On senior day at the Illinois State Fair Democrat Governor JB Pritzker signs legislation to create an elder abuse task force. Paula Basta the Director of the Illinois Department on Aging says people are taking advantage of the elderly in many different ways.

The first task force will meet in January. Over the past year the state has responded to tens of thousands of complaints.

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Ag Day Tuesday at State Fair

Tuesday is Ag Day at the Illinois State Fair. What has State Ag Director John Sullivan been hearing and what will he tell farmers? 


Sullivan was appointed State Ag Director last January. 

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Water Shutoff and Boil Order in Various Locations in Kewanee Tuesday Through Friday

The City of Kewanee Water Department has announced that hydrant repairs across Kewanee will get underway on Tuesday and will continue through Friday, weather permitting. Residents in effected areas may experience periods of low or no water pressure and rusty or discolored water. The areas effected  by this week's hydrant repair are listed below... 

 

Tuesday 8/13/19:

·         900 block of North East Street

 

Wednesday 8/14/19 - Friday 8/16/19:

·         902 N East Street

·         900 block of Simpson Avenue

·         900, 905, 906 & 907 Wilbur Street

·         900 - 1000 blocks of East 9th Street

·         901, 907, 910 & 912 May Street

·         1006 & 1007 Marion Street

·         The fire line to American Steel

Work on effected hydrants will get underway at 7 Am and should be completed each day by early afternoon. Residents whose water is completely shutoff during this time will be subject to a 48 to 72 boil order once water service is restored. Once the water is turned back on, remember to flush the system with cold water as hot water could draw rust into your water heater. 

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People to People Maisey Postin Courtyard Estates Dog Wash Fundraiser

Bring your dog to Courtyard Estates in Galva on Saturday between 10 Am to 2 Pm for their dog wash fundraiser. The friendly folks at Courtyard Estates in Galva will make sure your best friend gets all cleaned up and for only $2.00. Plus, the money raised is being donated to the Henry County Humane Society in Geneseo. While your dog is getting all cleaned up, you can talk with Dr Stevens from Stevens Veterinary Clinic in Galva and get questions answered about caring for your pet. Courtyard Estates Assisted Living in Galva is a pet friendly facility, something you may want to know if you are considering assisted living but not wanting to leave your dog or cat behind. We talked to Maisey Postin about the dog wash and the unique and welcoming atmosphere at Courtyard Estates in Galva...

 

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Tuned In OSF Saint Luke Medical Center 08-12-19

Nancy VanDeSampel and Dietician Sara Umphleet from OSF Saint Luke Medical Center were our guests on Tuned In on Monday. Nancy joined us with a look back at the OSF Blood Drive last Thursday and a thank you to those who participated. Nancy also talked about the last of the $10.00 Sports Physicals Clinics which will take place on Tuesday, August 13th at OSF Saint Luke Medical Center. Sara Umphleet then talked about healthy eating and especially healthy eating for kids headed back to school. Tips for healthy school lunches and getting your kids interesed in eating healthy were the topics of the day on Tuned In. Stream or download our Tuned In Podcast below...

 

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Experts Explain What to Look for as Illinois Infrastructure Plan Takes Shape

Whether you were for or against the recently passed $45 billion dollar Illinois Infrastructure bill, it's the law and it is beginning to take shape. Now, a group of think tanks and other experts are offering advice for what to watch for next as the infrastructure bill takes shape and projects begin to get funding and enter new phases of planning and actual construction. Reporter Cole Lauterbach has more... 

 

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Henry and Stark County Health Dept Confirms West Nile Virus in Henry County

The Henry and Stark County Health Department are reminding everyone that it is still mosquito season around our area and with that, concerns about the West Nile Virus. The Health Department has confirmed that mosquito carriers of the West Nile Virus have been found in the Health Department testing around the county. RaeAnn Tucker Marshall from the Henry and Stark County Health Department was our guest on Tuned In recently... 

While the risks from West Nile Virus are relatively minimal there are nevertheless, good tips to follow for avoiding mosquitos and attempting to control exposure to mosquitos as RaeAnn Tucker Marshall explains... 

You can hear our complete Tuned In Podcast interview with RaeAnn Tucker Marshall from the Henry and Stark County Health Department below... 

 

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Kewanee City Council Agenda for 08-12-19

The Kewanee City Council will meet tonight at 7 Pm with a number of items on the agenda. Among the most talked about are a TIF agreement with The Broken Chimney restaurant. The City of Kewanee will also consider a resolution authorizing the Kewanee Police Department to charge a $20.00 title processing fee for local businesses. The fee is to account for the time and effort of the Kewanee Police Department in processing these titles for local businesses. The City of Kewanee will discuss whether to extend existing banking services currently with the State Bank of Toulon and IH Mississippi Valley Credit Union for basic banking services. And finally, there may be progress in getting work done on the Viaduct. The City of Kewanee has received necessary documentation from BNSF Railroad to enact a Roadway Surfacing Agreement with the railroad. This is the first step in fixing an area has been a point of contention between the City of Kewanee and BNSF for some time. 


4. Consent Agenda
a. Approval of Minutes
b. Payroll
c. Staff Reports and information
d. Presbyterian Youth group to have a Tag day on Saturday August 24th for relay for life.
e. Relay for Life Firework display at Windmont Park
f. Request from Wethersfield CUSD No. 230 to use certain streets within Kewanee for their annual
Homecoming Parade on September 27, 2019.
5. Presentation of Bills and Claims
6. Citizen Participation
7. Business:
a) Consideration of an Ordinance Consideration of an Ordinance Approving and
Authorizing the execution of a Tax Increment Financing (TIF) District development
agreement with Dale Mathews D.B.A Broken Chimney.
b) Consideration of a Resolution Authorizing the Kewanee Police Department to charge
$20.00 title processing fee plus and required postage for each title processed for a local
business.
c) Consideration of a Resolution Authorizing the City Manager to extend agreements with
State Bank of Toulon and IH Mississippi Valley Credit Union (IHMVCU) for the City of
Kewanee.
d) Consideration of a Resolution Awarding additional work under the 2019 Annual Street
Maintenance Program to Advanced Asphalt Company Inc.
e) Consideration of a Resolution Authorizing the Mayor, City Manager, and City Clerk to
execute a roadway surfacing agreement between the City of Kewanee and the BNSF
Railway Company
8. Council Communications:
9. Announcements:
10. Adjournment

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States Lead Push for Stricter Gun Control Laws

 Illinois is part of the group of states leading the effort to pass what some see as sensible gun control legislation - rather than waiting for Congress to do it.  Laws currently on the books include detailed background checks for individuals applying for licenses to purchase firearms and ammunition, and requiring gun owners to report lost or stolen firearms to law enforcement. Laura Cutilletta, managing director of the Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence, says it's important to keep track of the gun legislation and trends in each state.

"And we find that there is a strong correlation between states with weak gun laws having higher gun death rates, and states with strong gun laws having lower gun death rates," she states.

While Cutilletta describes the Illinois gun laws as relatively robust, she points out the state doesn't require gun owners to register their firearms, nor does it ban the possession of military grade assault weapons or large capacity magazines. 

Her organization gives Illinois a grade of B-plus on its annual scorecard of state gun safety laws.

The federal ban on assault weapons expired in 2004. Since then, Congress has failed to renew it. 

Cutilletta points out that it's been 25 years since Congress has passed any major laws related to gun control.

"The federal government has been incredibly slow to act for - really, for decades now," she states. "In the meantime, states have had to step up and take action, and change their gun laws."

Illinois continues to pick up the pace. Earlier this year, Gov. J.B. Pritzker signed into law a bill requiring gun dealers to obtain state licenses.

 

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Lucy Kuelper Brought Move Over Project to the Back Road Music Festival

Lucy Kuelper may have been at the Back Road Music Festival to see Justin Moore and Tyler Farr but that didn't stop her from bringing her Move Over message to the Back Road Music Festival as well. On Saturday, Lucy sat down with Regional Media before the show to talk about The Move Over Project... 

While her dad, an Illinois State Trooper, was the impetus for Lucy to start the Move Over Project, she wants everyone to remember that it is all flashing lights on the side of the road that are subject to the Move Over Law, Scott's Law... 

For more on the Move Over Project, check out the Move Over Project on Facebook

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National Weather Service Talks Heat, Lightning Safety

July was hot and dry. August is anticipated to be similar but that doesn't mean pop up storms aren't out of the question during this time and Chris Miller with the National Weather Service says lightning-related injuries and fatalities have been on the rise in recent years.

During about week-long heatwave, Miller says they received a report of a fatality in southern Illinois. He says it is imperative people wear loose-fitting, light-colored clothing and try to do any outdoor work in the morning or evening.

Temperatures for the next week are anticipated to be in the upper-80s and lower-90s throughout Illinois. 

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Ribbon Cut on Coliseum at ISF

The Coliseum is officially open again on the Illinois State Fairgrounds. The building has been hosting the Society Horse Show all week but today the ribbon was officially cut showcasing an $11 million renovation that shuttered the building for nearly three years. Warren Goetsch with the Illinois Department Of Ag says plenty was done in 7 months of construction.

This phase of renovations used only public money. Future construction at the Coliseum will start to use private dollars to bring additional changes to the building including heating and air conditioning. Those funds include the $1 million that former Governor Rauner contributed. 

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Galva Arts Council Launches Membership Drive

The Galva Arts Council has launched a new membership drive. According to a release from the Galva Arts Council, new members who pay to join the Galva Arts Council will be entered into a drawing to win a $150.00 Wal Mart Gift Card. The drawing is open to those joining the Galva Arts Council for the first time or those whose membership may have lapsed 5 plus years ago and wish to rejoin. The cost of a membership with the Galva Arts Council $15.00 for a solo membership, $25.00 for a couples membership of $40.00 for a family membership. The winner of the Wal Mart Gift Card will be announced at the October Coffeehouse Music event. Members receive quarterly newsletters, discounted facility rentals, tax deductions via membership and the knowledge that they are helping to fund the arts in Galva. For more information on becoming a member of the Galva Arts Council you may call 563-293-6986. 

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Hog Calling Winner at ISF

If anyone has a lost pig they need to call Andrew Metheny. 

Andrew’s pretty good at this... 2019 marks the 4th time that he has won the Illinois State Fair’s Hog Calling contest and all those wins come without a history of working with pigs.

Andrew, a Georgetown native, says his friends call him the hog whisper.

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Husband Calling Contest at ISF

Dave would you please come home? 

That’s Shirley Flickenger of Petersburg who takes home another win at the Illinois State Fair Husband Calling contest, Shirley won last year too. She says that she grew up on a farm so she’s knows how to holler and has no fear of being on stage after years of community theater. But she did have to put some time into this year’s performance

Shirley says she will be back next year to compete.

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Yemm Auto Group WKEI Podcast

Justin Wright from Yemm Auto Group joined WKEI on the WKEI Morning Show to talk about the latest unbelievable deals at Yemm Auto Group in Galesburg. Stream or download the Yemm Podcast with Sales Manager Justin Wright... 

 

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WKEI Celebrity Interview Country Music Star and Back Road Music Festival Performer Clare Dunn

Rising country music star Clare Dunn is performing this weekend at the Back Road Music Festival. Dunn has been on a rocket ride of late having been selected to play on CMT's Next Women of Country tour alongside Cassadee Pope earlier this year and now joining the stacked lineup at the Back Road Music Festival in Galva on Saturday. Clare Dunn talked to WKEI about growing up on a farm, discovering her love of music and being unable to even conceive of doing anything other singing. Stream or download our interview with Clare Dunn below... 

 

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Dora and the Lost City of Gold Opens in Kewanee this Weekend at Wanee Cinemas

Dora and the Lost City of Gold opens nationwide this weekend as well as right here in Kewanee at the Wanee Cinemas. This live action adaptation of the popular series for small children takes Dora in a more teenage direction, taking her from the actual jungle to the jungle known as a modern American High School. That change of scenery doesn't last long however, as Dora, played by Isabella Moner and her cousin Diego (Jeffrey Wahlberg) and two classmates, Randy (Nicholas Coombe) and Sammy (Madeline Madden) are kidnapped by treasure hunters and taken to the jungle to track down Dora's parents, Cole (Michael Pena) and Elena (Eva Longoria) who are on the trail of the Lost City of Gold. Stars Isabella Moner and Jeffrey Wahlberg say that there is plenty for fans of the original cartoons to enjoy among the updates to the character in live action form...

Dora and the Lost City of Gold is getting mostly positive reviews from critics. The review aggregating website RottenTomatoes.com has the film at 76% positive. Sean's review of Dora and the Lost City of Gold will be available on our Movies page at RegionalDailyNews.com

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Tuned In Sara Billiet from the Kewanee Public Library 08-08-19

The Kewanee Public Library is gearing up for their annual Friends of the Kewanee Public Library Hog Days Book Sale. Sara Billiet from the Kewanee Public Library tells WKEI that the tradition of the Hog Days Book Sale will continue this year rain or shine... 

Sara Billiet tells WKEI that while the books are excess to the library it's not all old and dusty books, it's really something for every taste at the Hog Days Book Sale... 

You can stream or download our complete interview with Sarah Billiet from the Kewanee Public Library below... 

 

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Still No Rules for Review of Illinois Gun Dealer License Certification Act

Illinois gun dealers remain in the dark when it comes to the rules regarding gun legislation signed into law last month by Governor J.B Pritzker. This has left Illinois gun dealers at a loss with how to comply with a law that offers no guidance for compliance. The Illinois State Rifle Association is suing the state of Illinois regarding the new gun dealing legislation. Reporter Greg Bishop has more...

 

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Illinois Residents Are Not Required to Get Real ID

Illinois residents are not required to get a Real ID when the the newly designed form of idenfication goes online in 2020. Secretary of State Jesse White wants Illinois residents to know that the controversial Real ID is not something all residents must get. If you have a valid passport or passport card, you don't have to have the Real ID to travel. Reporter Greg Bishop has more... 

 

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Ameren Joining Utility Providers Nationwide in Promoting J.U.L.I.E

Ameren is joining other utilities across the country to promote the J.U.L.I.E. 8-1-1 system with August 11th this Sunday. That day is being recognized as National 8-1-1 day to remind customers and contractors to follow the law and calling 8-1-1 before starting a digging project. Gina Meehan Taylor is the Public Awareness Supervisor with Ameren. She says it doesn't matter who you are, you need to call J.U.L.I.E. before you dig.


The J.U.L.I.E. service is available free of charge. Requests can also be made on line by visiting, Illinois1call.com.

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Four Kewanee Residents Arrested in Bureau County Burglary, Arson

Update: Per documentation supplied to WKEI, Shawna Willis was released without charges. 

 

Four Kewanee residents have been arrested on charges related to a burglary and arson in Neponset. According to a release from the Bureau County Sheriff's Office, 32 year old Ashley Reyes, 26 year old Douglas Smith, and 32 year old Shawna Willis each of Kewanee were arrested in the area of 508 West Bureau Street in Neponset and charged with Burglary related to a break in on August 7th at approximately 11:06 Pm. Also charged with Burglary as well Arson was 33 year old Joseph Coster of Kewanee. No other information is being released at this time. The Bureau County Sheriff's Office was aided in the arrests by the Kewanee Police Department, the Neponset Fire Department and the Illinois State Fire Marshall's Office. 

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Japanese Beetle Population Not as High in Illinois this Year

Let’s get the latest read on Illinois’ pest population as the late growing season moves along.There’s feeding around the state with the Japanese beetle says state pest survey coordinator Kelly Estes.


She says the Japanese beetle numbers were extremely high in the western and northwestern parts of the state last year. 

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Sec. of State promoting organ donation

Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White is encouraging organ and tissue donation during National Minority Donor Awareness Week. White says nationally, people of color comprise 59 percent of the waiting list for organ transplants, yet they donate at a lower rate. He says the goal is to encourage everyone to give the gift of life.

Illinoisans can register to become an organ and tissue donor at LifeGoesOn.com.

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Illinois Farm Bureau Welcomes USDA Agriculture Disaster Declaration

The Illinois Farm Bureau is praising the decision of United State Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue to issue an Agriculture Disaster Declaration for the State of Illinois. Illinois Farm Burea President Rich Geubert released the following statement: 

 

“Most of this year has tested Illinois farmers’ mental and physical fortitude. Weather variability, from unrelenting spring rains to extreme July heat, has caused uncertainty in our communities as we head toward what is sure to be a long harvest. The Secretarial Disaster Declaration is a recognition of our struggles in 2019 through the availability of federal resources to aid our recovery. With this declaration, Illinois farmers will be eligible to access other forms of assistance from the USDA.
 
"We extend our sincere thanks to Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker and Illinois Department of Agriculture Director John Sullivan for their fight to get the declaration approved. We are also grateful to the USDA for their recognition of Illinois farmers’ trying times, and to U.S. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue for his continued support.”
 
The Illinois Farm Bureau is a member of the American Farm Bureau Federation, a national organization of farmers and ranchers. Founded in 1916, IFB is a non-profit, membership organization directed by farmers who join through their county Farm Bureau. IFB has a total membership of more than 394,742 and a voting membership of 78,999. IFB represents three out of four Illinois farmers.

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World's Largest Trapshooting Event Happening in Southern Illinois

The world's largest gathering of trapshooters is in southern Illinois this week for the Amateur Trapshooting Association Grand American World Trapshooting Championships. DNR Sergeant John Williamson says Sparta, Illinois is the site and says if you are a trapshooting fan, this is an event you need to make the trip for.

The event wraps up Saturday, August 10. Visit shootata.com for more information. 

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College Admission Hearing Shows U of I Aware of Problem

College admissions staff and others were in front of lawmakers Thursday in Chicago answering questions as to how wealthy families were gaming the college aid system by giving up legal guardianship of their college bound kids. A report says families are going through the process to show that their kids have little to no income to pay for college. That creates a path for those students to receive higher amounts of state and federal scholarship dollars. Michele Trame, U of I’s Director of Financial Aid says that once this came to light the school started checking further into the details of each guardianship case.

U of I officials says what’s going on may be legal. That leaves the university in a tough spot to either stop it or step in because of existing state and federal law.

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Joyner Kersee Grand Marshall of ISF Parade

The State Fair Twilight Parade was lead by Grand Marshall Jackie Joyner-Kersee. The East St. Louis native says this marks her first time at the fair – but she jumped at the chance to do it when Governor JB Pritzker asked her. Kersee a six time Olympic medalist in track and field says she may not need the car ride that traditionally comes along with the honor.

Joyner-Kersee medaled in every Olympics from 1984 to 1998.

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USDA Approves Disaster Declaration for All 102 Counties

This week the USDA approved Governor JB Pritzker’s request that all 102 counties in Illinois be declared agriculture disasters areas. The move allows for farmers to qualify for emergency low interest loans to help continue farming operations. Illinois Department of Agriculture Director John Sullivan says the decision by USDA may help garner more attention to the problem.

Farmers interested in the federal assistance should check in with their local FSA office.

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Pritzker Says Blago Should Stay in Jail

Should President Donald Trump follow through on “strongly considering” commuting former Governor Rod Blagojevich federal prison term? Democrat Governor JB Pritzker says Trump should leave Blago in jail and focus on more important issues across the US.

Trump brought up the topic the other day. He and the jailed Governor know each other from time on the Apprentice TV program. Blagojevich has served about half of his 14 year public corruption sentence.

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Illinois Receives USDA Agriculture Disaster Declaration

Following up on Governor J.B Pritzker's July 3rd call for a statewide disaster declaration, the US Department of Agriculture has issued a statewide Agricultural disaster declaration. The declaration from US Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue will open up new Federal resources for farmers and agri-business interests in the state that were harmed by heavy rain and flooding in the Spring and early part of the Summer. Upon receiving the USDA declaration, Goverrnor J.B Pritzker released this statement: 

 

“Illinois farmers have experienced months of hardship due to extreme weather across the state, but today’s declaration means we can begin the road to recovery,” said Governor JB Pritzker. “I’m heartened that the USDA has approved my request for an agriculture disaster so a vital industry that supports so many working families across the state can rebuild and continue to thrive in our state.”

 

State Agriculture Secretary John Sullivan also released a statement saying: “The Secretarial Disaster Declaration is a recognition of the extreme weather conditions Illinois farmers have faced this planting season,” said John Sullivan, Director of Illinois Department of Agriculture. “I thank Governor Pritzker for his leadership in pursuing this relief and US Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue for his responsiveness to providing this needed assistance to Illinois’ agricultural community.”

 

For more information on the help now available via the disaster declarationg go to FSA.USDA.Gov

 

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Did the Governor Cancel Confederate Railroad Over a Blog Post?

Emails obtained by the Illinois Radio Network point to a politics blog as the reason why the Governor may have chosen to cancel a concert by the country music band Condederate Railroad at the DuQuoin State Fair. Capitol Fax blogger Rich Miller posted a blog on June 17th questioning whether the band should be performing at a state fair due to their name and past association with the Confederate Flag. Miller then communicated directly with the Governor's staff regarding the performance via text message days before the Governor decided that the concert should be cancelled. Reporter Greg Bishop has more from Springfield. 

 

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Indicted State Senator Appointed to Head Veteran Affairs Committee

State Senator Tom Cullerton may have been indicted last week on a charge of embezzling millions dollars from a labor union but that hasn't stopped Cullerton from receiving a new State Senate Appointment. After being forced to step down as Chairman of the Senate Labor Committee, for obvious reasons, Cullerton has accepted appointment as Chair of the Senate Veteran Affairs Committee. The appointment is not sitting well with many observers, including the private citizen who filed a complaint against Cullerton following his indictment. Reporter Greg Bishop has more... 

 

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House Minority Leader Durkin Reveals Brain Tumor Diagnosis Amid Fight Over Ethylene Oxide and Sterigenics

House Minority Leader Jim Durkin did not say that his 2006 diagnosis with a brain tumor was related to the current scandal surrounding Sterigenics, the company accused of allowing the cancer causing chemical Ethylene Oxide, to get out of their facility, a facility in Durkin's hometown, headquartered not far from Durkin's home. What Durkin is saying and loudly is that he wants to make sure Sterigenics doesn't open again without greatly limiting the use of Ethylene Oxide and he wants to make sure the Illinois EPA isn't working toward helping Sterigenics open again without the strict standards put forth in his bill. Reporter Cole Lauterbach has more... 

 

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Windmont Park Lighting Fundraiser This Saturday

A fundraiser for the lighting of Windmont Park is set for this Saturday afternoon at the Flemish American Club. Matt and Bob Nierynck joined WKEI on Tuned In on Wednesday and talked about the recent fire at Windmont Park and how that effected plans for this fundraiser. One of the questions that we still don't know the answer to is how much may have been lost in the fire. Bob Neirynck who has helped organize the Windmont Park Light for several years say that experts are looking at some of the equipment and they are waiting to see what works and what needs to be replaced... 

As for the event on Saturday, Matt Neirynck tells WKEI that food and raffles are the order of the day on Saturday at the Flemish American Club starting at 4 Pm... 

Among the raffle prizes on Saturday are a basket from FTO valued at $400.00. Multiple Home baskets valued at $75.00 each. Multiple Gift Card Baskets valued at $140.00 each. A Turtle Basket, based on the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, valued at $100.00. A tattoo basket valued at $120.00 and a Spa Basket, also valued at $120.00. All told, there will be nearly $4000.00 worth of raffle prizes for people to win by attending the fundraiser on Saturday from 4 Pm to 7 Pm. If you can't make it on Saturday, you can call Matt Neirynck at 309-525-0844 for further information or to donate another way. All of the money raised at Saturday's fundraiser will go to support the purchase of new LED lights for the Lighting of Windmont Park which is on pace even with the setback due to the fire. Bob Neirynck says that the placing of lights is still set to begin just after Halloween. You can hear our complete interview with Bob and Matt Neirynck in our Tuned In Podcast below... 

 

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Congressman Davis Urging Patients with National Ag Statistics Service Report

A central Illinois congressman responds to recent criticism of the National Agricultural Statistics Service. U.S. Rep. Rodney Davis of Taylorville serves on the House Ag Committee.


The next USDA NASS acreage report is due out Aug. 12. The last one was released in late June. 

 

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Grant Will Fund Youth Science Network through SIUE

The National Science Foundation has granted $1-million to Southern Illinois University Edwardsville for the launch of a community project that will engage middle and early high school students in environmental citizen science. The formation of a Youth Science Network is getting ready to launch in the fall and run through spring 2022. Students will get an introduction to citizen science, and use sensors to monitor human impact in four environmental content areas: air, noise, soil and the natural and built environment. Georgia Bracey, SIUE STEM research assistant professor says the project’s ultimate goal is to empower more students to see themselves as scientists, ultimately generating a more diverse and inclusive STEM workforce. 

The program is for students in the 8th and 9th grades. 

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Congressman Rodney Davis Addresses Reacting to Mass Shootings

Central Illinois Congressman Rodney Davis is advocating for more to be done at the federal level to address mass shootings in the country. The latest shootings took place over the weekend in Texas and Ohio. Davis says mental health is an issue and more school districts need to apply for federal money to receive help like his district in Taylorville.

Davis says focusing only on guns as the issue won't solve the problem. He says a federal fusion center is needed for departments to better work together.

The mass shootings in El Paso and Dayton killed over 30 people.

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WKEI Celebrity Interview Parmalee Lead Singer Matt Thomas

Parmalee is coming to the Back Road Music Festival in Galva this Saturday with their new hit song, "Be Alright." 

WKEI asked Matt about "Be Alright" and how it came to be a Parmalee song.., 

"Be Alright" will be among the many hit songs Parmalee will bring to the Back Road Music Festival in Galva this weekend. You can stream or download our full length interview with Matt Thomas, the lead singer of Parmalee below. Don't forget, tickets for The Back Road Music Festival will be available at the gate on Saturday or you can purchase your tickets from TheBackRoadMusicFestival.com. Parmalee are part of a lineup that includes newcomer Claire Dunn, Tyler Farr and headliner Justin Moore. 

 

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Butter Cow Ready for Another Fair

The Butter Cow is officially on display at the Illinois State Fair. Sculptress Sarah Pratt molded 800 pounds of salted butter into the cow that tens of thousands will see this year inside the dairy building. Democrat Governor JB Pritzker says it a sight to behold…

The cow features a hard hat and is standing in field of road cones. Pritzker 
says it’s emblematic of the states commitment to a multi-billion dollar capitol rebuild of Illinois. 

Midwest Dairy Association says there are about 600 family run dairy farms in Illinois.

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Lawmakers Set to Tackle New College Admissions Scandal

Illinois lawmakers have convened a hearing today on a new college admissions scam. It’s mostly involves wealthy families who legally give up guardianship of their children to make it easier for them to qualify for publicly funded scholarships. Democrat Governor JB Pritzker has harsh words for those families.

The legislative hearing is this morning in Chicago.

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Fallen Illinois State Trooper Remembered

When the Illinois State Police Heritage Foundation raised funds and dedicated the Memorial Wall in Downtown Springfield, they hoped to honor fallen troopers of the past, they didn't expect to add new names so soon. This morning, they honored one of the three troopers killed in the line of duty this year, Trooper Gerald Ellis. Ellis was killed in March when witnesses say he intercepted a wrong way driver on I-94 in the Chicago suburb of Green Oaks. Witnesses say he put his vehicle in the path of the driver to spare another family driving in that lane. Governor J.B. Pritzker reflected on Ellis' career....


The Governor says Ellis wasn't just defined by the courage and selflessness of his final moments.....


The other driver in the crash also died. His blood alcohol level was twice the legal limit. Ellis was a native of the Macomb area. 

 

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Government Corruption Costs Business 401K's Millions of Dollars Per Year

A study from the University of Illinois Gies School of Business has concluded that government corruption costs businesses and 401K accounts millions of dollars per year. Reporter Cole Lauterbach spoke with University Illinois Accounting Professor Nerissa Brown who discussed how the study was conducted and what the findings indicate about government corruption. 

 

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State Lawmakers Looking at Ways of Dealing with Mass Shootings

State lawmakers want to look at ways the state can help in curbing the nationwide epidemic of mass shootings. Mass shootings in Texas and Ohio over the weekend left 29 people dead and many more wounded. Governor J.B Pritzker is talking about mental health awareness while more talk of gun control is also taking place in Springfield. 

 

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Capital Bill Brings Big Money for State Park Upgrades

Illinois State Parks are set to get a windfall of funding via the recently passed Illinois Capital Plan which doubled the state gas tax, among other taxes. The funding should provide needed improvements to many of the 300 State Parks in Illinois but some are concerned that bureaucracy could slow some of the more ambitious projects. Reporter Greg Bishop has more... 

 

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Kewanee Woman Will Go To Trial Accused of Throwing Flammable Substance on Her Son and Threatening to Light It

The Quad City Times is reporting that a Kewanee woman will go to trial on charges of Domestic Abuse and Assault. According to the Times report, 37 year old Rebecka R Self of Kewanee is alleged to have poured a flammable substance onto her teenage son and threatened to set him on fire during an incident on July 25th. In court, Kewanee Police Officer Andrew Kingdon testified that Kewanee Police responded to a 911 call in which a 14 year old juvenile claimed that his mother had thrown gasoline on him and threatened to light him on fire. At the scene, Kewanee Police determined that the flammable substance in question was not gasoline but was a flammable hairspray. Judge Peter Church, based on the Officer's testimony determined that there was probable cause to go to trial and set a date of August 15h for a pre-trial hearing. Self is out on a $5000.00 bond. 

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Apprentice Tax Credit Passed To Help Create Jobs

The state took a step towards making sure there are steady and good paying jobs in future. The recently signed Apprenticeship Tax Credit will give businesses $5,000 for young highly skilled workers in certified programs. It’s also designed to reward businesses who search for workers in underserved areas and State Rep. Anne Gillespie says when there are skilled and educated laborers ready to go to work business and jobs follow.

A research and development tax credit designed to support business and manufacturing was passed at the same time as the apprentice tax credit.

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State Rep Butler Believes Move Over Law Awareness is Working

A key Republican lawmaker in the bipartisan effort to boost penalties for violations of the Move Over Law is paying off. State Rep Tim Butler of Springfield believes the increased penalties and significant public discussion are making highways and for that matter, the shoulders of the highways, safer...


The bill recently signed by Governor J.B. Pritzker increased the minimum fine to $250 for a first violation of Scott's Law, and to $750 for a second violation.

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Healthy Pigs The Focus At State Fair Event for Kids

The Illinois State Fair might officially start now on Thursday with a ribbon cutting and the Twilight Parade but for 4 H kids and livestock families the fair is already underway. That’s why the Illinois Pork Producers Association has their Swinetist program. Jenny Jackson with the IPPA says it’s an opportunity for kids with show pigs at the fair to understand the importance of keeping healthy pigs and bio security on the farm.

The event starts tonight at 4 at the swine building on the Illinois State Fair Grounds. Kids also get a pizza dinner and bio security bucket to go back to the farm with.

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Secretary of State Jesse White Among those Promoting Minority Donor Awareness Week

It is national Minority Donor Awareness week and Secretary of State Jesse White is urging people of color and everyone else to become an organ donor. White says that minority groups account for almost 60 percent of those waiting for organs but only donate 33 percent of them. Vickie Walker’s daughter, Nicky, drowned tragically before she could start her sophomore year in college. Vickie says four lives were saved because she talked to her daughter about being an organ donor…

Walker says she now has an extended family of four – the people who lives Nicky’s organs saved.

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City of Princeton Votes in Favor of Further Perry Memorial Hospital and OSF Partnership

At Monday night's Princeton City Council Meeting, the City Council voted unanimously in favor of allowing Perry Memorial Hospital to explore further partnership with OSF Healthcare. The two hospital organizations have worked together for years but the new agreement would allow for the two entities to further their partnership. OSF Healthcare Spokesperson Shelli Dankoff tells WKEI that this was the second step in what is still a lengthy process of establishing further partnership between the hospitals... 

A memorandum of understanding is a formal document describing the broad outlines of an agreement that two or more parties have reached through negotiations. It is not a legally binding document but signals the intention of all parties to move forward with a contract. In approving of the further partnership between Perry Memorial Hospital and OSF Healthcare, Princeton Mayor Joel Quiram said  “The City recognizes that health care is transforming with significant advancements in technology beyond what we have seen in the past." "The ability to participate in this innovation is an important point of consideration for our conversations going forward. We believe we are being proactive in looking at the future now. We recognize that certain components of health care come with the personal touch, and we are determined to deliver that aspect of care to our community for decades to come.”

 

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Kewanee Chamber of Commerce Putting Out Call for Hog Days Volunteers

The Kewanee Chamber of Commerce needs a little help ahead of and during Kewanee Hog Days. According to a release from the Kewanee Chamber of Commerce, volunteers are needed from 12 Noon until 3 or 4 Pm to help pass out race packets to those who are taking part in the annual Hog Day Stampede. 2 to 3 volunteers are needed for this task and will receive a free Hog Days t-shirt. Speaking of the shirt, this year's theme is "Can't Stop the Squealing" and your first look at the new shirt logo is here...

 

"Can't Stop the Squealin" Hog Days T-Shirts officially go on sale at the Chamber of Commerce Office on August 12th but you can pre-order your shirt by stopping by the Kewanee Chamber of Commerce office this week during regular business hours. 

 

Still more volunteer help is needed during the Hog Days Parade. The Kewanee Chamber of Commerce is looking for a volunteer with a trailer that could haul the Good Time Jazz Band in the Hog Days Parade. If you can help, contact the Kewanee Chamber of Commerce at 309-852-2175. 

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Illinois State Trooper Gerald Ellis to Be Added to ISP Memorial Wall Today

Governor J.B Pritizker, Lt Governor Juliana Stratton and Acting Illinois State Police Director Brenden Kelly will be among those in attendance in Springfield today when the name of Illinois State Trooper Gerald Ellis is added to the Illinois State Police Memorial Wall in Springfield's Memorial Park. Trooper Ellis became the third Illinois State Trooper killed in the line of duty in 2019 when on March 28th his squad car was struck by a vehicle driving the wrong way on a one way road. The man who killed Trooper Ellis was found to have twice the legal blood alcohol content at the time of the crash. Trooper Ellis, from Colchester, Illinois, just outside of Macomb, was an 11 year veteran of the Illinois State Police with a wife, Stacy, and two young daughters. The family of Trooper Ellis is expeced to be in attendance at today's memorial but are not expected to speak. 

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Holocaust Survivor Magda Brown to Speak in Bishop Hill Tonight

Holocaust survivor Magda Brown has a remarkable story to tell. It's a story of survival and recovery, of pain, of heartache and fortitude. Having come to America in 1949 after being freed from a concentration camp, Magda has dedicated herself to telling the story of what happened to her and millions of fellow Jews in the midst of Hitler's reign of terror. It's a heart-rending tale but one that absolutely must be told. Magda is set to speak tonight at 7 Pm at the Bishop Hill Creative Commons located at 309 Bishop Hill Street in Bishop Hill. The event was sold out when they had it scheduled as an indoor event but according to the Facebook post for the event, the presentation is being moved outdoors to accomodate a larger crowd. Contact the Bishop Hill Creative Commons at 309-927-3851. There is no set cost to attend but a suggested donation of between $10.00 and $20.00 would go a long way to giving the Bishop Hill Creative Commons more opportunities to put on presentations like the one Magda Brown is giving tonight. The event will be preceded by a potluck dinner beginning at 6 Pm. 

 

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Kewanee Area United Way Announces Next Coffee and Cars Event

The Kewanee Area United Way has announced their next Coffee and Cars event to take place at Regional Media, in the parking lot at 101 West Central Boulevard in Kewanee. Those with cool cars who want to show them off are invited to bring their hot rods and engines to the Regional Media parking lot on August 24th from 8 Am to 11 Am. $5.00 per vehicle is the suggested donation to show off your car and enjoy good coffee provided by Country Morning Coffee. You don't need to have a car to come and enjoy the cars and make a donation to the Kewanee Area United Way. Just drop by the Regional Media Parking lot on August 24th from 8 Am to 11 Am, enjoy coffee and cars and help raise funds for the Kewanee Area United Way. 

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OSF Saint Luke Medical Center Promoting Swing Bed Care

Nurses Lisa Garcia and Brooke Charlet joined WKEI on Monday on our Tuned In Program to talk about the remarkable program called Swing Bed. Swing Bed Care is for patients who are recovering and no longer need acute care but are not ready yet to return home. Often such patients could be looking at a stay at a nursing home but for some, Swing Bed is an option that can maintain their care at the hospital on a short term basis, with the same team of familiar nurses helping getting the patient ready to head home as Brooke Charlet explains Swing Bed is... 

Brooke Charlet and Lisa Garcia in that clip from our Tuned In interview from Monday. You can hear the complete interview with our friends from OSF Saint Luke Medical Center online now at RegionalDailyNews.com in our Tuned In Podcast. 

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Newly Released Emails Show the Events Leading to the Cancellation of Confederate Railroad Concert

The controversy surrounding the cancellation of the performance by the band Confederate Railroad at the Duquoin State Fair is still dogging the Pritzker administration. Emails obtained by the Illinois Radio Network show details regarding the decision to cancel the band despite assurances from the bandmembers themselves regarding the name and their stage performance. Reporter Greg Bishop has more... 

 

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Governor Signs Bill Intended to Break Medicaid Backlog

Governor J.B Pritzker signed into law on Monday a bipartisan bill aimed at breaking a massive backlog in applications for medicaid. The bill is also intended to save the state of Illinois several million dollars in the long run by combining the efforts of several state agencies. Reporter Greg Bishop has more on the efforts to fix medicaid in the state of Illinois... 

 

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President Trump Pushing to Make More Apprenticeships Available

President Trump is quite famous for endorsing apprenticeships and now he is helping to make real life apprenticeships more widely available. In a move applauded by Governor J.B Pritzker, the President has announced a plan intended to streamline the process of creating apprenticeships. The move is intended to help cultivate skilled labor. Reporter Cole Lauterbach has more... 

 

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OSF Saint Luke Medical Center to Host Blood Drive Thursday

OSF Saint Luke Medical Center and the Mississippi Valley Regional Blood Center are putting out the call for blood donors this Thursday at OSF. There is a significant need for blood donations across the country and locally and you can help a lot of people with your donation this Thursday. Nancy VanDeSampel from OSF Saint Luke Medical Center was our guest on Tuned In on Monday... 

You can schedule an appointment for Thursday at OSF Saint Luke Medical Center by calling 309-852-7810. Don't forget, if you donate on Thursday you will receive a voucher redeemable for a $10.00 Amazon Gift Card or one of several other $10.00 gift cards. And the canteen at OSF Saint Luke Medical Center will be open with plenty to eat. The OSF Saint Luke Medical Center and Mississippi Valley Regional Blood Center Blood Drive runs from 7 Am to 5 Pm on Thursday, August 8th. 

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More Music Added to Hog Days Celebration

Kewanee Hog Days has announced more entertainment for the Labor Day Weekend Celebration. Glory Days Garage Band has been added to a lineup that already includes local favorites Jammsammich and The Joe Stamm Band, among others. Glory Days Garage Band will be performing live on Monday, September 2nd from 12 Noon until 2 Pm under the big food tent at 3rd and Tremont Street. Glory Days Garage Band specializes in classic 60's covers. The music lineup for Kewanee Hog Days is listed below... 

 

Friday, August 30th at 7 Pm JammSammich on the Main Stage Downtown

Saturday August 31st from 4:30 Pm to 6:30 Jazz on the Side on Tremont Near Union Federal 

Satuday August 31st at 7 Pm The Stingers on the Main Stage Downtown 

Sunday September 1st from 11 Am to 2 Pm River City 6 at West Park 

Sunday September 1st from 3 Pm to 6 Pm Banjovi, Hawkins and Anne at West Park 

Sunday September 1st from 4:30 Pm to 6:30 Pm Better Than Nothing on Tremont Near Union Federal 

Sunday September 1st at 7 Pm The Joe Stamm Band on the Main Stage Downtown 

Monday September 2nd from 12 pm to 2 Pm Glory Days Garage Band under the big food tent on 3rd and Tremont. 

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First of Two University of Illinois Extension Industrial Hemp Workshops Today

The first of a pair of workshops on Industrial Hemp will be held today in the Quad Cities, on the campus of Western Illinois University. University of Illinois Extension presenter Phillip Alberti, along with several guests, will be discussing Industrial Hemp and how farmers looking for an alternative crop that takes up a small acreage might consider growing Industrial Hemp as a short term cash crop... 

One of the keys to getting into the business of Industrial Hemp is navigating the regulations of the state of Illinois. Today's workshop in the Quad Cities and tomorrow's similar workshop at the Wy-Hi Stark County Community Center in Wyoming, will have some tips for that but Phillip Alberti tells WKEI that the regulation is not all that complex to unravel... 

The cost to attend today's and tomorrow's Industrial Hemp Workshops with the University of Illinois Extension is $10.00. The workshops run from 9 Am until 12 Noon both days. If you would like more information you can contact the University of Illinois Extension at 309-932-3447. 

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Don't Forget Tree Care During Dry Spell

It's easy to watch the grass in your yard go dry or watch the flower or veggie garden start to deteriorate during these hot and dry summer days, but a University of Illinois Master Gardener is reminding you not to forget about tree maintenance. Candice Hart with the University of Illinois Extension says caring for your trees during these dry times in the summer is very good for them as well. She says it is especially important for young trees.

Watering a tree is not as simple as watering a flower or vegetable garden. Hart explains you want to water on the outer canopy of the tree, known as the drip line. She says there are some practices for watering a tree that are not as efficient.

Some trees can be in tough spots, like between a street or sidewalk. She says if you are worried about them, you can water whatever soil areas you can find but points out, those are often hand-selected trees to tolerate those kinds of conditions. 

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State Rep. Says Progressive Income Tax Needs Public Relations Push

State Rep. Lance Yednock of Ottawa says getting a progressive income tax in Illinois will require a big public relations job so voters approve it next year.

Yednock says Illinois has to do something to get the revenue it needs and balance the budget. Currently, the Illinois Constitution of 1970 allows only a flat income tax rate, because that was viewed as taxpayer protection in a state that didn’t have an income tax before.

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Pritzker on Recent Mass Shootings

As at least 31 people were killed in two mass shootings across the United States this weekend Democrat Governor JB Pritzker says that he like everyone else is grieving for those who lost their lives. Pritzker blames the shooters but says President Donald Trump creates a culture where attacking others is appropriate. 

 

Pritzker added that Chicago has a gun violence problem that needs to be addressed and that’s why he’s signed a number of gun control measures.

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Illinois State Fair Foundation Celebrates Completion of Coliseum Repairs

Repairs at the Illinois State Fair Coliseum are complete. Three years after the landmark beloved by horse lovers well beyond Illinois was forced to close because of structural issues, Springfield based R.D. Lawrence completed the project Friday after 20 hour a day rebuilding efforts. John Slayton with the Illinois State Fair Foundation, which has been raising money privately for overdue Fairgrounds repairs says once the State Fair is complete, more improvements are on the way...


Slayton says heating and AC will offer a lot more than fairgoer modern comfort....


In Indiana for example, their coliseum at the State Fairgrounds in Indianapolis is now home to a minor league hockey team.

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Medicaid Changes Now Law

The state of Illinois claims it’s reforming and streamlining access to Medicaid. Democrat Governor JB Pritzker says over the past few years too many people have been kicked out of the system and right now there about 95,000 people waiting to be approved for health care. Republican Senator Dave Syverson says this improves the entire system from payments to providers to making sure existing enrollees aren’t kicked out of the system each time enrolment starts. 

The administration says the state is doing all it can to speed up payments to Medicaid providers.

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Meth Arrests On the Rise Again in Illinois

Arrests for Methamphetamine Possession and Distribution are on the rise again in Illinois. That from a new report from the Illinois Criminal Justice Information Authority. Areas of Southern and Central Illinois have had the largest increase in meth arrests since 2010 but overall the state has seen an alarming increase in meth related arrests. Reporter Kim Howard has more... 

 

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Tuned In OSF Saint Luke Medical Center Monday 08-05-19

Nancy Vandesampel, Lisa Garcia and Brooke Charlet were our guests on Tuned In on Monday, filling in for Carrie Boelens. Nancy made announcements regarding the Blood Drive at OSF this Thursday, August 8th while Lisa and Brooke talked about the OSF Swing Bed Program and how that program works to give independent seniors who end up in the hospital for lengthy period of time, the chance to go home to recuperate rather than assisted living or other types of programs. Stream or dowload today's Tuned In Podcast below...

 

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Amazon Teams With Red Cross to Aid with Encouraging Blood Donations

Amazon has teamed up with the American Red Cross to encourage blood donation during this urgent emergency blood shortage. Currently the red Cross has less than a three day supply of most blood types, with type O being the most critical of levels with less than a two-day supply.

Joe Zydlo (zid-lo), the external communications manager for the American Red Cross Blood Services for Missouri-Illinois region says that summer donations tend to be low. Through August 29th, each donor of blood or platelets through the American Red Cross will receive a 5 dollar Amazon gift card by email. These gifts are thanks to a one million dollar donation provided to the Red Cross by Amazon. You can schedule an appointment in advance by using Amazon's Alexa, the Red Cross Blood Donor App or by visiting www.RedCrossBlood.org

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WKEI Celebrity Interview Aldis Hodge Star of the Movie Brian Banks

Actor Aldis Hodge is fondly remembered for his role on the TNT series Leverage. Now, he has a starring role in a new drama called Brian Banks which arrives in theaters across the country on August 9th. Brian Banks is the remarkable true story of a star High School athlete who is accused of a crime he did not commit. Brian Banks was headed to USC before everything fell apart and he was railroaded into a prison sentence. The incredible story gives a terrific platform for the charisma and talent of Aldis Hodge who was our guest to talk about Brian Banks today on WKEI... 

 

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State of Illinois Warning of Danger of Vape Products After Three Teens Hospitalized

Three teens have recently been hospitalized in Northeastern Illinois with breathing problems related to vaping. That information comes from the Illinois Department of Public Health which wants the public to be aware of the potential dangers of vaping, something many took up as a safer alternative to smoking. Reporter Kim Howard has more... 

 

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Miss World Pageant Delights with New Queens Crowned

The Miss World Festival Pageant was held on Saturday at Kewanee High School and a tremendous crowd welcomed four new Queens and a wonderful group of competitors. In the Mini Miss World Festival Pageant, Shae Robertson was crowned Queen with Ivie Haptonstall named First Runner Up and Giana Slater 2nd Runner Up. After the pageant, Shae was far more nervous about her radio interview than she was about being on stage... 

In the Little Miss World Festival Pageant, Evangeline Kuster was crowned Queen with Genavyve Barnes and Olivia Stone named to her court as first and second runner up. Evangeline was very excited after the event and proud of her winning Queen... 

Then it was time for the older girls to take the stage, first for the Jr Miss World Festival Pageant where Clara Kuelper came away with the title of Queen... 

Taylor Burke and Sarah Kocan were the first and second runners up respectively in the Jr Miss Pageant. 

 

And finally, in the main event of the day, the new Miss World Festival Pageant Queen was crowned and it was Toby Matter, a former Jr Miss World Festival Queen... 

Kaylynn Smith was the First Runner Up and Sydney Wisnefski was the Second Runner. 

 

You can see the lovely photos from Saturday's Miss World Festival event on the Miss World Festival Pageant Facebook Page linked here. 

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Bipartisan Property Tax Task Force Now In Place

On Friday, Governor J.B Pritzker signed legislation creating a bipartisan property tax task force. The task force will look into ways to provide property tax relief across the state of Illinois. Reporter Greg Bishop spoke to Minority Leader Jim Durkin among other regarding the property tax task force... 

 

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Illinois Now Has Third Highest Gas Price in the Nation

Due to the raise in the gas tax on July 1st, the State of Illinois now has third highest gas price in the country. At the start of the year, the gas price in Illinois ranked 21st in the nation so the change has been notable and significant. Reporter Cole Lauterbach has more on gas prices and the gas tax in the state of Illinois... 

 

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No Tax Holiday for Illinois

While both Iowa and Illinois have embraced the idea of the sales tax holiday to help residents with back to school shopping, the State of Illinois is unlikely to embrace the concept. According to the Illinois Retail Merchant Association, the state has no interest in the idea after giving it a try several years ago. Reporter Scot Bertram has more... 

 

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Illinois State Fair Closes In

The Illinois State Fair is gearing up for next week's kickoff of the 2019 edition. State Fair Manager Kevin Gordon announced several initiatives to rebuild weekday attendance, namely reduced admission and Happy Hour style food specials with dozens of vendors from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. He also noted there will be a real eye catcher in the carnival midway....


The Illinois State Fair opens Thursday with the Twilight Parade and runs through Sunday, August 18th

 

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State Ag Director Pushing for Rural Broadband

Expanding rural broadband access continues to be a top priority for the Director of the Illinois Department of Agriculture.


John Sullivan took over the state’s top ag post in January. 

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Governor Pritzker Addresses Charges Against Former State Senator

Another Illinois politician is facing federal corruption charges. State Senator Tom Cullerton has been accused of embezzling nearly a quarter million dollars from a union job with the Teamsters that he never went to. Democrat Governor JB Pritzker says when he heard the news it left him upset.

Cullerton – not to be confused with State Senate President John Cullerton, is facing 39 charges. Through his attorney he says he is innocent and will fight the charges.

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Miss World Festival Pageant this Weekend in Kewanee

The Miss World Festival Pageant will be held on Saturday, August 3rd at 2 Pm at Kewaee High School. Today, the current reigning Miss World Festival Pageant Queen's dropped by our studio at Central and Main to talk about Satuday's pageant and their excitement... 

The Miss World Festival Pageant gets underway at 2 Pm on Saturday and tickets are available at the door. 

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Chicago Farmer this Weekend at the Levitt Amp Galva Music Series

Cody Diekhoff is also better known as the folk music performer, Chicago Farmer. How he came to the name and his style of folk guitar music is a good one. Chicago Farmer is coming to the Levit Amp Galva Concert series this weekend and he joined WKEI on Tuned In today to talk about his creative process, performing live and life on the road with his wife...

 

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Kewanee Area United Way and Kewanee Salvation Army Stuff the Bus Tonight and Saturday

The Kewanee Salvation Army is teaming up with the Kewanee Area United Way and Wal Mart for Stuff the Bus. Stuff the Bus is a school supply drive that gets underway tonight at 5 Pm until 8 Pm and Wal Mart in Kewanee. Eddie Tolliver from the Salvation Army and Linda Blair from the Kewanee Area United Way joined WKEI to talk about where Stuff the Bus came from... 

Your chance to Stuff the Bus is tonight at the Kewanee Wal Mart from 5 Pm to 8 Pm and again on Saturday from 8:30 Am to 6:30 Pm. Buy school supplies at Wal Mart and donate them right outside of Wal Mart to help kids in need courtesy of the Kewanee Salvation Army and the Kewanee Area United Way. 

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Henry County Senior Center to Celebrate 45 Years this Month

The Henry County Senior Center is set to celebrate 45 years in Henry County with a celebration on August 13th. Cassandra Schmoll from the Henry County Senior Center was our guest on Tuned In on Thursday and talked about the upcoming anniversary and what is being celebrated... 

The 45th Annivesary celebration at the Henry County Senior Center will take place on August 13th at 5 Pm. The celebration will coincide with the weekly Tuesday meal at the senior center. 

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Illinois State Fair Experiencing Near Record Ticket Sales

The Illinois State Fair is experiencing near record ticket sales for 2019. With Reba McEntire and Snoop Dogg headlining the grandstand, ticket sales for this year have been steady and consistent with a good chance that sales will surpass records set in recent years at the Illinois State Fair. Reporter Kim Howard has more from Springfield... 

 

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Secretary of State Jesse White Announces St Louis Cardinals License Plates in Illinois

Secretary of State Jesse White has announced that soon, Illinois residents will be able to get their very own custom license plate featuring the St Louis Cardinals. Labor Day weekend will mark the first time a sports team from outside of the state of Illinois will have their very own custom logoed plates. Reporter Kim Howard has more... 

 

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Changes in Food Labeling in Illinois Could Influence Nationwide Labeling

A change in how Illinois labels foods, specifically Sesame, could influence a nationwide change in food labeling. Jason Culotta from the President of the Midwest Food Products Association spoke with reporter Cole Lauterbach about the change in food labeling coming soon... 

 

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Public Finance Watchdog Changes Illinois Outlook to Stable

Fitch Ratings has upgraded the state of Illinois to a listing of stable. This change in the credit rating outlook for the state of Illinois reflecting positive change. That said, that positive change for the state of Illinois may have other effects however on taxpayers in the state of Illinois. Reporter Greg Bishop has a closer look at this change in the credit rating outlook for the state...

 

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Irish Dance Workshop this Sunday in Galva

Trea Champagne from the Champagne Academy of Irish Dance will be hosting an Irish Dance Workshop in Galva on Sunday. We spoke to Trea Champagne and asked her to encapsulate her approach to Irish Dance... 

The Irish Dance and Ceili Workshop is set for 4:15 to 6 Pm at The Swamp, 336 Front Street in Galva. The workshop is open to kids 5 years old and up. $10 is the suggested donation per person or $25 per family. The workshop will lead direcftly up to the start of the final Levitt Amp Galva Music Series concert featuring popular Irish band Connla. 

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Davis on Conference Call Controversy

 Illinois Congressman Rodney Davis is criticizing the actions of a former volunteer in the wake of a controversy on a competitor's conference call. Nick Klitzing allegedly used a made-up name to get on the call, where he asked pointed questions of Democratic candidate Betsy Dirksen Londrigan.

In a news release from the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, it accused the Davis campaign of "playing political dirty tricks." Davis says Klitzing was a volunteer that was not acting on behalf of the campaign.

On the July 17th conference call Klitzing reportedly identified himself as a reporter for the Alestle, which is the student newspaper at Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville. Klitzing is a former director of the Illinois Republican Party.

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Pritzker On SIU Money Split

Higher education continues to face challenges in Illinois but an influx of cash is coming from the state. Democrat Governor JB Pritzker touted more than $280 million in spending for Southern Illinois University over the next six years. The money though at SIU can be spread between two major campuses, one in Carbondale another in Edwardsville. There have been contentious moments between the two campuses at times, Prtizker says when dolling out funds is should represent the needs of the campus.

SIU has a 3rd campus, a medical school in Springfield. It is set to receive more than $90 million for renovations to existing buildings.

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American Farm Bureau Economist Talks USMCA During Illinois Visit

An international trade economist with American Farm Bureau hopes to see resolution with the United States Mexico Canada Agreement or USMCA later this year. Veronica Nigh says corn farmers, including those from Illinois, would be a winner under the deal.


Nigh spoke this week at the Illinois Farm Bureau’s Farm Income and Innovations Conference in Normal.

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Film and TV Tax Credit Extended

Hollywood is big business in Illinois. The state is extending a tax credit to 2026 that supporters say helps to grow the film and TV business in Chicago and across the state. Governor JB Pritzker says that last year film and TV spending topped $263 million and supported about 16,000 jobs. The tax credit is good for 30 percent of qualified spending for each job supported up to $100,000 of credit for each employee. Dick Wolf the producer of shows including Chicago Fire and Chicago Med and Chicago PD. Wolf says he told the Governor early this year that it’s pretty simple without a tax credit his Chicago shows’ would tape someplace else.

The state says the average salary for workers on TV production averages about $56,000 a year.

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Tuned In Cassandra Schmoll Henry County Senior Center 08-01-19

Cassandra Schmoll from the Henry County Senior Center was our guest on Tuned In on Thursday. The Senior Center will be holding a 45th Anniversary celebration this month and Cassandra gave WKEI the details on how you can help celebrate. A representative of Attorney General Kwame Raoul's office is coming to Kewanee to speak to seniors this month as well. Finally, we talked about the recent, and very successful, Henry County Senior Center Golf Out. All of this in today's Tuned In podcast... 

 

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Kewanee Chamber of Commerce Concert in the Park Series Down to Final Four Shows of the Season

We are down to the final 4 weeks of the Kewanee Chamber of Commerce Concert in the Park series. 

The band Coupe De Ville will take the stage at Veteran's Park in the bright sunshine and with a nice cool temp in the upper 70's. It's a perfect night to bring the family for free live music, plus dessert. The local boy scouts will be selling food tonight when things get going at 5 Pm. Coupe De Ville takes the stage at 6:30. Next week, the Kewanee Community Band will perform in Veteran's Park alongside Jazz on the Side. That show will be followed in 2 weeks by a concert featuring the River City 6. The season of Chamber of Commerce Concerts in the Park in Kewanee closes on August 22nd with the band Flagship Romance closing the 2019 season. 

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Identity of Pedestrian Killed on I-74 Released

Update: Illinois State Police have released the identity of the pedestrian who died in yesteday's tragic traffic incident on I-74. Christopher C Andrus of Rock Island is the person who was struck and killed in the crash on Wednesday, just after 8:30 Am. Further investigation by WKEI revealed that Andrus was the Director of Operations for the Bettendorf, Iowa Community School District. Andrus' resignation from that position became official on July 31st. The Bettendorf School District posted this statement on their website 

 

"We regret to confirm the unexpected death of our Operations Director, Chris Andrus. He was involved in an accident on Wednesday morning, July 31. Chris was loved and respected by all who met him and will be missed by everyone. It’s beyond tragic that his life was cut short.

Andrus served as the director of operations for the Bettendorf Community School District from May 2015 – July 2019. We will share information regarding services and funeral arrangements as soon as it becomes available.

Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends!"

 

QCToday.com reported on July 17th that Mr Andrus had tendered his resignation effective on July 31st. 

 

Earlier...

 

There is no new information to report yet regarding the identity of a pedestrian killed in an incident that shutdown a portion of I-74 near Colona on Wednesday. What we do know is that a pedestrian, for unknown reasons, ran in front of a Semi Truck traveling westbound on I-74 just after 8:30 Am. The pedestrian was struck by two semis which had moved over to the left hand lane after seeing a vehicle parked on the right hand side of the road. Trooper Jason Wilson from the Illinois State Police was at our Regional Media studios at the time of the accident and laid out the seriousness of the scene... 


I-74 Westbound lanes were closed until nearly 2 Pm as members of the Illinois State Police Crash Reconstruction and Investigation Team looked into the accident. The drivers of the Semi Trucks which struck the pedestrian were unharmed in the accident. 

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Surveys Reveal Troubling Conditions Inside Illinois Prisons

The most recent surveys of living conditions inside some Illinois correctional facilities reveal some troubling findings. The John Howard Association routinely visits prisons in the state to monitor conditions of confinement, policies and practices. In the first half of the year, nearly 4,000 surveys were collected from people locked up in seven different prisons. 

The organization's executive director, Jennifer Vollen-Katz, says many of the state's correctional facilities were constructed decades if not centuries ago, and lack the resources needed to maintain structures of that age.

"There's issues with ventilation, with leaking, with rodents," she points out. "We can see when we visit that things are just crumbling around people. That's a really unsafe and difficult way to live that just fuels the level of inhumane conditions that people are being subjected to."

The surveys were added to the data set from 2018, which now totals more than 13,000. 

Seventy-five percent of respondents said broken infrastructure is not repaired in a timely matter; 66% reported inadequate ventilation and 62% indicated the temperature is uncomfortable. 

Vollen-Katz says the Illinois Department of Corrections has not commented on the survey results. 

Vollen-Katz explains that the surveys are completely anonymous, and also ask about medical care, mental health treatment and other areas related to well-being.

"If we are going to set people up for success upon release, we need to be thinking about how we are treating them and what kind of skills we are providing," she states. "And right now, the conditions that people live in in Illinois prisons are terrible and there's simply not enough programming."

In 2018, the organization started staff surveys at the Illinois Department of Juvenile Justice's five facilities. Of the 41 people who completed a survey, about half disagreed or strongly disagreed that the facility is in good state of repair, or that it is sanitary. 

However, a majority said mental health and medical services are available to those incarcerated.

 

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New Penalties Now in Effect for Scott's Law/Move Over Law Violations

Governor J.B Pritzker has signed new legislation to increase penalties for those who violate Scott's Law, AKA the Move Over Law. Trooper Jason Wilson with the Illinois State Police says that the new penalties adds teeth to the enforcement of Scott's Law... 


The new Scott's Law Penalties go into effect immediately. 

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Galva Day Celebration Beginning Tonight

Each year, the City of Galva shuts down to celebrate Galva Day with a full day golf outing at Kewanee Dunes and this year is no different. We asked Galva Mayor Rich Volkert to give the rest of us a sense of the history and meaning behind Galva Day... 

Crescent City Tap in Galva is among many that are turning Galva Day into a multi-day celebration. The fun will kick off tonight with bingo beginning at 7 Pm. Then there will be a party in the street with live music on Friday night after the golf outing, beginning at 8 Pm. Events wrap up on Saturday with what they are calling Rock N Roll Bingo. Follow the Facebook Event Page for Galva Day here, for more information. 

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Identity of Pedestrian Killed on I-74 on Wednesday Not Yet Released

There is no new information to report yet regarding the identity of a pedestrian killed in an incident that shutdown a portion of I-74 near Colona on Wednesday. What we do know is that a pedestrian, for unknown reasons, ran in front of a Semi Truck traveling westbound on I-74 just after 8:30 Am. The pedestrian was struck by two semis which had moved over to the left hand lane after seeing a vehicle parked on the right hand side of the road. Trooper Jason Wilson from the Illinois State Police was at our Regional Media studios at the time of the accident and laid out the seriousness of the scene... 

I-74 Westbound lanes were closed until nearly 2 Pm as members of the Illinois State Police Crash Reconstruction and Investigation Team looked into the accident. The drivers of the Semi Trucks which struck the pedestrian were unharmed in the accident. 

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Stark County School District Seeking Help from Community to Battle Recent Vandalism on Campus

Stark County CUSD 100 Superintendent Dr Nick Sutton has taken to Facebook to ask for help from the public for information regarding a recent spate of vandalism on campus. According to the post by Dr Sutton, a series of incidents of vandalism on the Toulon campus has become a serious issue with damage to doors and windows that is becoming costly. The school has surveillance cameras and police are actively investigating the incidents. The school is asking residents for any additional information they may have that might lead to the people who are committing these acts of vandalism. The Stark County School District has been working on campus improvements over the summer but those improvements are being affected by the acts of vandalism. In the statement on the district Facebook page, linked here, Superintendent Sutton says "Our local police have been fantastic and helpful with assisting with this issue, but I also hate seeing them have to use their time to monitor a campus at night that no one should even consider damaging. At this point, I am asking for everyone's help. If you have any information I am asking you to contact me or the local police.

I am hoping everyone else in our community is as frustrated and angry as I am about this, and can help me spread the word that this is happening. If we are able to determine who is doing this, I also give you my word that they will be held accountable to the highest degree possible." If you have any information that can lead to the capture of those who are damaging the school please contact the Toulon Police Department at 309-286-2541 or the Stark County Sheriff's Office at 309-286-2541. 

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New Bill to Help Former Inmates Find Jobs in Health Care

Under a new law in Illinois it should be easier for those who are leaving incarceration to find work in the health care industry. A new bill signed last week creates a new path for former inmates to find gainful employment in the health care industry. Reporter Kim Howard looked into the bill and spoke with Lt. Governor Juliana Stratton for this report... 

 

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Pritzker Signs Bill Banning Questions About Wage History

Governor J.B Pritzker has signed an update to the equal pay act. Under the new law, employers are no longer allowed to ask applicants about their wage history, i.e what the applicant has made as a previous wage or salary. Reporter Greg Bishop spoke with the State Director of the National Federation of Independent Business Mark Grant for this story... 

 

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Illinois Lawmaker Wants to Make Sure Sterigenics Plant Cannot Re-Open in Willowbrook

Last week, Governor J.B Pritzker signed a bill that would greatly limit the use of the chemical Ethylene Oxide, a cancerr causing chemical that was part of a terrifying accident earlier this year when the chemical was exposed in the City of Willowbrook, Illinois due to issues at the company Sterigenics. The bill signed by the Governor was to allow Sterigenics the chance to re-open later this year with new restrictions. Now, however, one Illinois lawmaker wants to make sure Sterigenics never opens again and EO is banned altogether. Reporter Cole Lauterbach has more...

 

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Pritzker Administration Vows to Investigate College Admission Scandal in Illinois

Rich parents are relinquishing custody of their children in order to help the teen become eligible for loans and grants they would otherwise not qualify for. That's the report from the website ProPublica which investigated stories of wealthy parents having used legal trickery to avoid paying  for college. Now, the administration of Governor J.B Pritzker says they will be investigating these stories as well. Reporter Greg Bishop has more... 

 

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Top Irish Band Connla to Perform at Levitt Amp Galva Music Series This Sunday

Top Irish band, Connla has performed around the world and now they are set to perform in Galva this weekend at the Levitt Amp Galva Music Series at Wiley Park. WKEI caught up wih Conor Mallon, Piper, for Connla this week and talked to him about the band and how they came together... 

Conor is the All Ireland Champion player of the Uilleann Pipe, a very unique and difficult to master instrument that he fell in love with years ago. Conor tells WKEI about how he came to discover and cultivate his piping talent... 

Get a sample of Conor's unique instrument and sound below... 

 

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