Local News Archives for 2019-09

Geneseo Police Department Warning Residents About Scam Robo Call

The Geneseo Police Department are warning residents about a scam robo call. According to the Geneseo Police Department, residents in Geneseo have been receiving calls with an automated message telling residents that they have over-paid their utility bill and to press a button to be transferred to fix the situation. The City of Geneseo is not calling people with this message. This is a scam call and if you get a call telling you that you over-paid your utility bill do not follow the automated instructions to press a button to continue. This is a scam call from people trying to steal information from you. 

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Tickets on Sale at Regional Media Studios for Friends of the Animals Fundraiser

Tickets for the Kewanee Friends of the Animals Fundraiser are now available at our Regional Media studios. Stop by our studios at Central and Main weekdays between 12 Noon and 4 Pm and you can purchase tickets for the fundraiser which is taking place on October 19th from 6 Pm to 11 Pm at the Flemish American Club. Tickets are $10.00 and get you dinner and dancing or you can just come for the dancing and get your ticket for only $5.00. 50's and 60's is the theme for the dinner and dance so dress accordingly. Music will be provided by Max Music. Proceeds benefit Friends of the Animals. If you can't get to our studios between Noon and 4 you can also get tickets at Reiman's Harley Davidson, the Kewanee Chamber of Commerce or by calling Kathy Werderman at 309-525-9377. 

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Illinois Manufacturers Association Calling on Nancy Pelosi to Allow Trade Deals to Move Forward

The President of the Illinois Manufacturers Association is among many calling on House Spearker Nancy Pelosi to allow trade deals, specifically, the US-Mexico-Canada deal, to move forward with a vote. Much legislation in the House appears to be on hold while talk of impeachment of President Trump dominates the conversation. Reporter Cole Lauterbach has more... 

 

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State Finances in Illinois 2nd Worst in the Nation According to New Study

Government accounting watchdog Truth in Accounting is out with their latest study of state finanances and ranking all 50 states by their overall fiscal health and it is more bad news for the state of Illinois. According to Truth in Accounting, despite national economic recovery over the last decade, the state of continues to see a fiscal deterioration. Reporter Greg Bishop has more... 

 

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Famed State Park Statue Renovation Finally Completed

The statue known as the Eternal Indian may soon be on display again at Lowden State Park in Oregon, Illinois. The famed statue has been under wraps for the past 5 years while repairs were made to the incredible figure that stands above the treeline, and has long been a feature presentation of the park. Now, thanks to private donations, the statue may be ready to be unwrapped once more. Reporter Scot Bertram has more... 

 

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Northeast Park Christmas Lights Fundraiser Sunday October 6th

The Henry County Senior Center in Kewanee is set to feel like the North Pole on Sunday, October 6th as Santa and Mrs Claus make an appearance as part of the Northeast Park Christmas Lights Fundraising dinner. Brock Tumbleson is one of the organizers behind the event...

A dinner of Chicken and Biscuits will be served for $8.00 or $5.00 for kids 12 and under. The proceeds raised will go towards the purchase of more lights and decorations to be placed at Northeast Park this Christmas. You can hear more about the Northeast Park Christmas Lights fundraiser in our People to People podcast interview with Brock Tumbleson, Mike Rapczak and Jerry Vandevelde linked here. 

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Let's Talk Mental Health Walk October 12th at Wethersfield School with Help from Ford

The Let's Talk Mental Health Walk is right around the corner, Saturday October 12th. On Friday, WKEI spoke with David Harris and Shawn Oetzel, two members of the organizing committee for the Let's Talk Mental Health Walk David Harris explains when and where the Let's Talk Mental Health Walk will be taking place...

Gustafson Ford and the Ford Motor Company are getting involved in this year's Let's Talk Mental Health Walk by offering a Drive For Your Community test drive event at Wethersfield School during the Let's Talk Mental Health Walk...

Take a test drive and Ford will make donations to the Let's Talk Mental Health Walk on Saturday, October 12th at Wethersfield Schools. You can hear our complete interview with David Harris and Shawn Oetzel talking about the Let's Talk Mental Health Walk in our Tuned In podcast linked here

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Geneseo Brewing Company Working Hard to Keep Up with Demand for Iowa Legend Beer

When Glenn Cole, head brewer at the Geneseo Brewing Company decided to reach out to University of Iowa student Carson King, the subject of a controversial few days after his request for beer money went viral and became a charity juggernaut for the Iowa Children's Hospital, Glenn had no idea the whirlwind success they were in for. Who is Carson King? If you haven't been following the story, Glenn Cole explains... 

Geneseo Brewing Company's Iowa Legend Supply, named for the nickname given to Hawkeye student Carson King, has become such a hit that the crew in Geneseo can hardly keep up... 

Over the weekend, and following our interview on Friday, Iowa Legend orders sold out again as Geneseo Brewing Company were promoting the new brew at the Iowa State Cyclones game. Again, one dollar from every can sold of Iowa Legend Supply goes to the University of Iowa Children's Hospital. If you're going to the Geneseo Brewing Company to get Iowa Legend they may have it on tap but if you want cans, call ahead. 

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IDPH Looking for Reasons To Vaping Illness

As vaping continues to grab headlines across the nation the Director of the Illinois Department of Health says that they are working hard to spread the message about the dangers of vaping. But as hospitalizations increase in connection to vaping Dr. Ngozi Ezike says 75 to 80 percent of the illnesses are tied to people vaping THC products but there isn’t a clear cut reason as to why people are getting sick and some are dying.

Of the 69 people who have been sickened by vaping in Illinois one person has died.

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Gas Prices Settling in the Wake of Saudi Arabia Attack

It’s been a couple of weeks since two Saudi Arabia oil installations were hit by drone strikes, but it appears oil capacity has recovered quicker than anticipated. And prices at the pump are reflecting that says Harry Cooney with GROWMARK.


Diesel prices are currently averaging $2.99 a gallon in Illinois, which is 3 cents higher than a week ago, but a dime lower than a year ago.

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New Report Notes Concentrated Poverty Disparities Among Illinois Kids

Illinois has fewer kids growing up in high-poverty neighborhoods, but advocates say it's still a troubling problem. According to an Annie E. Casey Foundation Kids Count data snapshot released today, 10% of Illinois kids live in areas of concentrated poverty - that's a 9% decrease in the time period between 2013-2017 compared to the previous 4-year period. However, Bill Byrnes, Kids Count project manager with Voices for Illinois Children, cited rather significant disparities between racial and ethnic groups.

"Thirty-seven percent of black children live in areas of concentrated poverty; Latinex children live in concentrated poverty at a rate of 11%; and Asian and white children live in concentrated poverty at rates of 2% and 3%, respectively," Byrnes said.

Illinois' overall rate of 10% is tied with Indiana, but lower than the national average of 12%.

The associate state director of advocacy with the Casey Foundation, Scot Spencer, said stagnant wages, rising housing costs and inaccessible job opportunities keep many families trapped in impoverished communities.

"There may be housing instability where kids may have to move from house to house because the parents or the adults in their lives are forced to make choices between whether they're going to pay rent or pay for heat; or whether they will have dinner on the table at night, or whether they get the medicine they need," Spencer said.

The report offered some solutions including property-ownership models that preserve affordable housing. And Byrnes added there also are opportunities to improve the economic well-being of families.

"They also recommend that public and philanthropic sectors increase job-training opportunities to people in areas of concentrated poverty," Byrnes said. "Voices would also recommend specifically that increasing the minimum wage to at least $15 an hour and ensuring that it keeps up with inflation."

In Illinois, 300,000 kids live in high-poverty neighborhoods; nationally it's 8.5 million.

 

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Wethersfield Homecoming Plans Adjusted to Accommodate Football

Due to yesterday's cancellation of the A & W Titans homecoming football game and the rescheduling for today, things are being moved around for tonight's homecoming dance. The A & W Titans Homecoming Football game has been rescheduled to 5 Pm tonight. That, obviously will affect plans for tonight's Homecoming Dance at Wethersfield which will now run from 8 Pm to midnight. The coronation of the homecoming King and Queen, Tevin Baker and Paige Horrie will now take place at 9 Pm.

Officials at Wethersfield will also be delivering in Pizza Hut pizzas to make up for those who had dinner reservations that are now unmade due to the changes in the schedule. The lack of an available crew of referees made the choice of 5 Pm the only viable choice after last night's cancellation. 

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City of Kewanee Announces Sewer Work Road Closure for Monday

The City of Kewanee has announced that there will be a road closure for Sewer Work on Church Street on Monday. According to the City of Kewanee, emergency sewer repairs on Church Street will take place beginning at 7 Am on Monday morning. The official release from the City of Kewanee is below... 

 

The City of Kewanee Street Department has scheduled a sewer repair for Monday morning 9/30/19.  Work is expected to begin at 7:00 a.m. in the 100 block of West Church Street.  Access to Crowe Auto’s entrance will still be open, but the road will be closed to through traffic on West Church from Wiley Avenue to Hollis Street.

 

Residents are asked to avoid this area if possible, and to take caution if driving near the work zone area.

 

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

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Wethersfield High School Homecoming Contingency Plans

Wethersfield High School is reminding everyone hoping to take part in Homecoming Festivities today but concerned about the weather that there are contingency plans in place in case bad stormy weather that is anticipated for Friday forces changes to the Homecomin Parade and Football game. Below is a message from Jeff Parsons the Wethersfield Athletic Director... 

 

WETHERSFIELD HOMECOMING CONTINGENCY PLAN: Due to the forecast of thunderstorms setting in on Friday, please refer to the following as our contingency plan. 1) We will make a decision on our homecoming parade Friday at noon. If weather forces the cancellation of the parade: the band, athletic teams, and homecoming attendants will parade through the hallways of the school starting at 1:15pm. Parents and the public are invited to join us in the main high school hallway if weather forces us to move the parade inside. 2) Introduction of our Homecoming Court will take place in front of the home bleachers Friday evening at 6:15pm. If weather interferes- the introductions will be moved to the high school gym. Parents, students and the public are invited to join us in the high school gym if the weather dictates the introductions be moved inside. 3) Kickoff for the football game is still planned for 7:00pm Friday evening. We are going to make every attempt to get the game in on Friday evening. If thunderstorms dictate that the game be cancelled on Friday evening- the game will be played on Saturday morning beginning at 11:00am. 4) The Homecoming Cookout for High School Students will take place in the ag shop if weather does not allow the cookout to be held at the football field.

 

If the parade does go on as planned the route goes like this, courtesy of Superintendent Shane Kazubowski... 

That route, of course is if the weather holds off and allows the parade to move forward. We will know around 12 Noon today if the parade is forced to scale back and move inside the school, 

 

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Pritzker Names New Members to Lincoln Museum Board Amid Financial Controversy

The Abraham Lincoln Museum has been embroiled in an ongoing financial controversy after some questionable acquisitions of Lincoln related artifacts left the museum in a multi-million dollar debt that nearly led to the auctioning off of Presidential artifacts. Last week, Governor Pritzker announced the firing of the head of the Museum board and now he is naming  new board members as a way of assuring the public that the museum can get back on the right track. Reporter Greg Bishop has more... 

 

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Kewanee Farmer's Market Heading Into Final Month for 2019

The Kewanee Farmer's Market, every Wednesday and Saturday from 7:30 Am to 11 Am in Barrien Park is entering its final month for 2019. Diane Demay with the Kewanee Farmer's Market was our guest on People to People on Thursday and reminded everyone not to forget about those Wednesday hours and, of course, about what you can still get by coming to the Farmer's Market this weekend and through the end of October... 

Diane Demay also reminded potential vendors that there is still time to get a space for the final month of the Farmer's Market... 

You can hear our complete interview with Diane Demay from the Kewanee Farmer's Market in our People to People podcast linked here

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Jordbruksdagarna Celebration this Weekend in Bishop Hill

If you don't know how to say Jordbruksdagarna don't worry. All you need to know is what Jordbruksdagarna stands for: food, music, dancing, games and crafts. It also stands for family fun in Bishop. Jordbruksdagarna is happening in Bishop Hill this weekend and Todd Dedecker from the Bishop Hill Heritage Association was our guest on Tuned In recently...

The events of Jordbruksdagarna will be taking place all over Bishop Hill but Todd Dedecker wants you to know where the vendors are going to be... 

You can hear our complete interview with Todd Dedecker from the Bishop Hill Heritage Association in our Tuned In Podcast linked here

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Wethersfield Homecoming King, Queen, and Court

At last night's Skit Night the Wethersfield Homecoming King, Queen and Court were announced. Congratulations to Tevin Baker and Paige Horrie... 

 

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Urban Coyote Rushes 5 Year Old Girl (Video included)

Video of a five year old girl in a Chicago suburb being charged by a coyote has people talking. The young girl was playing in her front yard in Villa Park when the coyote circled around her and then charged at her as she ran away. The animal didn’t bite her or knock her down but did come very close to her. Rachel Torbert with Illinois Department of Natural Resources says urban coyotes are not unusual and you should be prepared if you encounter one.

Torbert says homeowners need to be sure to keep food sources away from wildlife including not tossing table scraps out in the yard and making sure trash cans are secure. See the video below courtesy of Inside Edition

 

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U.S. Rep. Mike Bost on Climate Change

As climate change is becoming a bigger topic on the election trail and in society, Illinois' 12th district Congressmen weighed in on the issue at a telephone town hall Thursday. Rep. Mike Bost says he is not opposed to using renewable energy sources, everyone in the world has to be on board with the changes.


Bost says to keep energy affordable, there must be a combination of renewable and non-renewable energy used until the facts are there to know the best route moving forward.

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Better Business Bureau Talks Business Scams

An in-depth investigative study by Better Business Bureau has found that business email compromise scams are skyrocketing in frequency and have cost businesses and other organizations more than $3 billion since 2016. Business email compromise fraud is an email phishing scam that typically targets people who pay bills in businesses, government and nonprofit organizations. It affects both big and small organizations, according to Steve Baker, International BBB Investigator and former FTC Midwest Regional Director.

In this scam, the scammer poses as a reliable source who sends an email from a spoofed or hacked account to an accountant or chief financial officer (CFO), asking them to wire money, buy gift cards or send personal information, often for a plausible reason. If money is sent, it goes into an account controlled by the con artist. To see tips on how to deal with this fraud, go to bbb.org.

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Japan Trade Trip Seen As Positive

Members of the both the Illinois business community and state government recently returned from Japan after being part of a multi-state trade mission as part of the Mid-West Japan Association. Mark Denzler with the Illinois Manufacturers Association says that Illinois business relies on investment from Japan and these trips are critical to creating new financial opportunities.

Denzler says he’ll let the Governor’s office make any formal announcements of business deals that might have come from the trip but described the time spent building connections in Japan as positive.

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Scenes from the Kewanee High School Homecoming Bonfire

Photos from Thursday night's Kewanee High School Homecoming Bonfire. Photos courtesy of Dr Chris Sullens... 

 

 

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Attorney General Raoul Supports Flavored Vape Ban

The state’s Attorney General Kwame Rauol says that his office is in the midst of an investigation into vape products after dozens of people have been sickened in Illinois. Rauol says that right now he supports a flavored vape ban and wants his office to learn more about the underground market that might be making people sick.

 

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Kewanee Public Library Art Show Submissions Due Today

The Kewanee Public Library Art Show is set for October 1st and that means submissions for the Art Show need to be into the Kewanee Public Library today. Sara Billiet from the Kewanee Public Library was our guest on Tuned In today...

You have to have your submission to the Kewanee Public Library by 7 Pm. You can hear our complete interview with Sara Billiet from today's Tuned In on our podcast page linked here. Listen, download, subscribe. 

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Gold Star Mission Ride underway in Illinois

Leaving from the Marseilles National Guard training site Tuesday morning, about 30 bicyclists are starting the 500-mile Gold Star Mission ride. They’re riding to several cities across the northern part of the state during the next five days in honor of military members killed in action. They're also raising money for scholarships through participation fees and donations. Michael Graves of Decatur is honoring Sgt. Ivory Phipps of Chicago, killed in Iraq in 2004. He knew Phipps. Graves rode the first Gold Star 500 and this is his third.

Supporting the bicyclists are people like Nita Cross of Galesburg, providing water and places to rest along the way.

Cross is a Gold Star mom. Her son Kyle Wehrly died in Iraq in 2005.

 

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Congressman Rodney Davis on Opioid Grants

Central Illinois Congressman Rodney Davis recently weighed in on the Trump Administration's $29-million grant to help fight the opioid epidemic in Illinois. He says this will help expand treatment opportunities and reduce addiction. He credits the bipartisan work done by lawmakers.

Many may believe most of the $29-million will end up in Chicago and Cook County but Davis says it is going to be dispersed evenly. He points out the epidemic is not just in urban America 

According to the Department of Health and Human Services, 1.27 million Americans are now receiving medication-assisted treatment, out of around 2-million Americans with opioid addiction.

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State Climatologist Talks Freeze Chances

State Climatologist Trent Ford doesn’t foresee a freeze occurring in the state until the latter portion of October. He says it clearly won’t happen this month.


Ford says from Sept. 1 until the 23rd the average temperature in most of southwest Illinois was ten degrees above normal, which he says is a pretty large deviation for that period of time.

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Archery Deer Season Opens Oct. 1 in Illinois

Deer hunting ramps up next week in Illinois. The archery season begins October 1 and the Illinois Department of Natural Resources is offering a few reminders as hunters get set to head out into the fields and woods.


Schweizer also says if you plan to hunt public land, make sure you check the regulations for the specific site and if you’re hunting someone’s private land, make sure you have their permission because trespass laws do apply. The two firearm deer weekends in Illinois are Nov. 16 to 18 and Nov. 29 to Dec. 2. More information on hunting requirements is available at “dnr.illinois.gov”.

 

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IDOA Director Talks Slow Start to Harvest

The state’s farmers are waiting. Federal crop statistics show so far just two percent of the state’s corn crop has been harvested compared to 17 percent on average. State Ag Director John Sullivan says much remains unknown about the coming yields but a run of warm fall weather has been helping.

Sullivan says everyone’s worst fear is an early frost that would damage a late planted crop.

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Wethersfield Set to Honor Academic Hall of Fame During Homecoming Week

Wethersfield High School is set to honor their 2019 Academic Hall of Fame inductees as part of the Homecoming Celebration this week. Members of the Academic Hall of Fame will be honored prior to the Homecoming game on Friday night with the induction taking place this weekend. Wethersfield Schools Superintendent Shane Kazubowski talked about the inductees in a recent appearance on People to People... 

Kevin Martin Class of '69

Steve Looney Class of '80 

Courtney Blake Hatchell Class of '96

Joan Sommers Class of '99 

Scott Bialobreski Class of '01 

Roger Johnston former staff member 

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Kewanee High School Homecoming Bonfire Tonight

Weather is a concern but it looks like everything should be a go for tonight's Kewanee High School annual homecoming bonfire. The Kewanee City Council on Monday night voted, as part of the consent agenda, in favor of the school being able to block streets for the event. Third Street, just East of the Kewanee High School parking and East of the School building will be blocked to traffic from 5 Pm until 9 Pm this evening. The Kewanee Fire Department will be on hand to ensure safety at this traditional Kewanee High School Homecoming event. According to WKEI's weather partners at Accuweather, storms in the forecast are expected to hold off until after midnight meaning that the bonfire should not be affected. 

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Full Schedule for Wethersfield Homecoming Ahead of A & W Football Game

Wethersfield Athletic Director Jeff Parsons has released a detailed schedule of times for when Homecoming festivities will take place prior to Friday night's Homecoming Football game...

 

Varsity Football Time & Procedures-9-27-18 vs Princeville

 

Time Time on Board Activity

6:00pm 60 min AW Special Teams to field

6:05pm 55 min “HC” Court line up in front of Bus Barn

 

6:10pm 50 min AW Team on field (East end)

 

6:15pm 45 min Begin “HC” Court Procession (Jules Heberer)

 

6:40pm 20 min Capt’s/Coaches/Referee to 50yd line (north sideline)

(walk to center of field for mtg. & coin flip)

 

6:40pm 20 min AW Band positions (from West end)

(after coaches/capts walk to center of field)

 

6:40pm 20 min Begin Pre-Game Script – See attached agenda

 

6:47pm 13 min National Anthem/School Song – Band on the Field

 

6:48pm 12 min A/W Players exit the field

 

6:50pm 10 min Introducing the 2019 AW Cheerleaders (in mass)

(crowd to field w/cheerleaders to form tunnel)

 

6:52pm 8 min Player introductions both teams– Intercom O/D

 

6:58pm 2 min AW Players return to field (East Goal Post)

 

7:00pm 0 min Kickoff

 

Warm-up:  60 minutes prior to kick-off; Homecoming Court announced starting at 6:20PM.

Half-time:  20 minutes

          Wethersfield Academic Foundation Hall of Fame Inductees

          Wethersfield Band followed by 

          Wethersfield Pom-Pons

          Halftime Field Goal Kick 

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Full Schedule for Wethersfield Homecoming Ahead of A & W Football Game

Wethersfield Athletic Director Jeff Parsons has released a detailed schedule of times for when Homecoming festivities will take place prior to Friday night's Homecoming Football game...

 

Varsity Football Time & Procedures-9-27-18 vs Princeville

 

Time Time on Board Activity

6:00pm 60 min AW Special Teams to field

6:05pm 55 min “HC” Court line up in front of Bus Barn

 

6:10pm 50 min AW Team on field (East end)

 

6:15pm 45 min Begin “HC” Court Procession (Jules Heberer)

 

6:40pm 20 min Capt’s/Coaches/Referee to 50yd line (north sideline)

(walk to center of field for mtg. & coin flip)

 

6:40pm 20 min AW Band positions (from West end)

(after coaches/capts walk to center of field)

 

6:40pm 20 min Begin Pre-Game Script – See attached agenda

 

6:47pm 13 min National Anthem/School Song – Band on the Field

 

6:48pm 12 min A/W Players exit the field

 

6:50pm 10 min Introducing the 2019 AW Cheerleaders (in mass)

(crowd to field w/cheerleaders to form tunnel)

 

6:52pm 8 min Player introductions both teams– Intercom O/D

 

6:58pm 2 min AW Players return to field (East Goal Post)

 

7:00pm 0 min Kickoff

 

Warm-up:  60 minutes prior to kick-off; Homecoming Court announced starting at 6:20PM.

Half-time:  20 minutes

          Wethersfield Academic Foundation Hall of Fame Inductees

          Wethersfield Band followed by 

          Wethersfield Pom-Pons

          Halftime Field Goal Kick 

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Rep Bustos Releases Statement on Trump Whistleblower

On Wednesday, Representative Cheri Bustos released a statement regarding the suspected whistleblower who is accusing President Trump of wrongdoing during call with the leader of Ukraine.

 

“Today, for the world to see, we learned in his own words that the President of the United States used the full weight of the most sacred office in the land to coerce a foreign leader in a way that undermines our democracy and threatens our national security.

 

I support the House Intelligence Committee’s search for the truth in this impeachment inquiry.

 

Republicans and Democrats must demonstrate that, together, we stand for law and order and that this exploration must be fair, evenhanded and unrushed.

 

As the Intelligence Committee investigates this sad chapter in our nation’s history, I call on my colleagues in their critical roles to keep their focus on the important work at hand to bring down the cost of health care, rebuild America’s infrastructure and reinvigorate the American dream for families in every corner of our country.”

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Kewanee Area United Way Campaign Kickoff Thursday Night

The kickoff for the annual fundraising season for the Kewanee Area United Way is Thursday night at 5 Pm at the Boss Building in Kewanee. The event is in conjunction with the Kewanee Chamber of Commerce Business After Hours which is taking place at the Boss Building on Thursday night beginning at 5 Pm. Lacy Rosenberg and Linda Blair from the Kewanee Area United Way were our guests on Tuned In on Tuesday with a look at what you can expect on Thursday night... 

You can hear our complete conversation with Lacy Rosenberg and Linda Blair in our Tuned In podcast linked here.

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Mayor Moore Talks About Advel Court Petition

Mayor Gary Moore was our guest on WKEI's People to People program on Tuesday and was asked about a petition put forth by residents of Advel Court. The homeowners on Advel Court would like the City of Kewanee to make Advel Court a public street. Currently, Advel Court is a private street and residents are required to care for it on their own with no support from the city including maintenance of the street or snow plowing. Mayor Moore says he is sympathetic to the residents of Advel Court... 

Mayor Moore says that the way forward for residents of Advel Court involves the Court coming to an agreement with the City of Kewanee on a process of paying back the cost of bringing the street up to code and getting it ready to be properly maintained as a City street... 

The next step will be the residents of Advel Court meeting with City Manager Gary Bradley regarding a potential agreement which would then be brought to the Kewanee City Council for a final approval. 

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Pritzker Administration Announces New Funding for Small Business Development Centers

Colleges, Non-Profits dedicated to Small Business Growth and even Chambers of Commerce are now eligible to start seeking state funding via a grant that would allow them to become a Small Business Development Center. Kristi Dula is with the State of Illinois Office of Entrepreneurship and she explains the concept behind the Small Business Development Center... 

There are in total, each year, 36 Small Business Development Centers across the state of Illinois and different colleges, non-profits and Chambers of Commerce compete for grant money from the state of Illinois via grant writing in order to receive funding to be a Small Business Development Center... 

We asked Kristi Dula what the Office of Entrepreneurship and the Governor's Office hope to accomplish with the more than $4.2 million dollars now dedicated to these Small Business Development Centers in Illinois... 

If you represent a local college, Non-Profit with a focus on Small Business Development or a Chamber of Commerce and you would like to put together a grant proposal to become a Small Business Development Center you can apply via this link

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This Week is National Rail Safety Week

Clinton, Illinois in DeWitt County in central Illinois was once a central hub for the rail network and their Police Chief Ben Lowers is reminding Illnoisans of the laws and safety measures in place surrounding rail safety.

In 2018, there were 17 fatalities at rail crossings with 24 trespasser casualties. According to Chief Lowers, walking along or crossing at non-crossing locations is against the law.

Motorists are 40-times more likely to die in a rail crossing accident than they are in a car accident. This week you can anticipate a focus on rail safety and compliance of railroad laws by law enforcement.

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Illinois Specialty Growers Association Chair Talks 2019 Season

How are specialty growers faring this year? An update from Randy Graham, who serves as chairman of the Illinois Specialty Growers Association.


Graham runs Curtis Orchard in Champaign.

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Bost on Chinese Trade War

The United States has imposed billions of dollars in tariffs on Chinese goods over the last couple of months, and the Chinese have done the same on U.S. goods. The trade war does not seem to be anywhere near resolution, as both sides have threatened to take more action with new tariffs and hikes to existing duties in the coming months. Illinois Congressman Mike Bost of Murphysboro says while much of the world is looking at the economic impact, there’s a military side to this as well.

On October 1, the US plans to raise an existing 25% tariff on some Chinese products to 30%, followed by a wave of new tariffs on Chinese goods, ranging from footwear to telephones, on December 15. Meanwhile, China also plans to add tariffs to another 3,000 American products by the end of the year.

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Teens Push Back To Lawmaker Wondering How They Would Stop Teen Vaping

This week lawmakers heard from teens who are working to combat their peers from picking up a vaping habit. After a harsh line of questioning from Democrat Michelle Mussman asking if they would be capable of getting their peers to stop vaping, Aresema Araya quickly shot back saying, she and the other students testifying to lawmakers are maxing out what they can do and now it’s up to lawmakers to act.

Illinois’ Attorney General Kwame Raoul says his office is in the midst of a wide ranging investigation in the vaping industry.

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Taiwan Set to Buy Billions In IL Corn and Soy

Taiwan is ready to buy billions of dollars in Illinois grain and oilseeds. The nation had a delegation of buyers and end users in Chicago today to sign agreements to purchase $1.3 billion of corn and $1.3 billion of soybeans over the next two years. The agreement comes at just the right time says Roger Sy a farmer from Newman.

Taiwan is the third largest export market for ag products.

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Illinois Department of Transportation Hiring Snowplow Drivers

The Illinois Department of Transportation is ready to make season hires for snowplow drivers. According to a release from the Illinois DOT, seasonal snowplow drivers are being hired for full time, salaried winter employees and on-call, as needed snowplow drivers. To qualify, applicants must have a commercial driver’s license and submit to a criminal background check. A pre-employment physical, vision testing, and drug and alcohol screening also are required. Veterans are encouraged to apply. In rural areas, farmers and agricultural workers have historically filled out the snowbird ranks. For information on applying to be a full time or on call snowplow driver with the IDOT click here

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Meth Seizure and Arrest in Kewanee

The Kewanee Police Department has announced the arrest of 47 year old Joseph Menold on charges related to Methamphetamine. According to a release from the Kewanee Police Department the arrest occurred on September 21st at approximately 11:13 Am. Menold was pulled over for a traffic offense in the 500 Block of West 4th Street when in the course of investigation Kewanee Police discovered methamphetamine in Menold's vehicle. Menold was arrested on drug offenses as well as a Rock Island County warrant and a Department of Corrections warrant. Menold is being held at the Henry County Jail on charges of possession of methamphetamine 15-100 grams with the intent to deliver, possession of methamphetamine 15-100 grams, driving revoked, and failure to signal when required. The Rock Island County warrant, according to the Kewanee Police Report on September 21st was related to a home repair fraud. At the time of the arrest, Kewanee Police seized Menold's vehicle, a 2006 Mercedes Benz, 1 ounce of Methamphetamine and $8866.00 in cash. A passenger in Menold's vehicle, 33 year old Felicia Warner was also arrested on a charge of Possession of Drug Paraphernalia. She was released with a notice to appear in court. The charge for possession of methamphetamine with the intent to deliver is a Class X felony and carries a potential sentence of 6-30 years in the Illinois Department of Corrections. Menold appeared in court on Monday and will have a preliminary hearing on September 30th at 1 Pm at the Henry County Courthouse. Menold has a long history with the law according to the Illinois Department of Corrections. The IDOC records indicate that Menold was paroled in November of 2018 which coincides with the IDOC warrant that accompanied this arrest. According to IDOC record, linked here, Menold has past arrests in Tazewell, Henry, Stark and Knox Counties. IDOC records online are subject to verification. 

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City Council Wrap-Up for Monday September 23rd Meeting

The Kewanee City Council met on Monday night with the meeting broadcast on the WKEI Facebook Page. On the agenda were several items including on the Consent Agenda where the Council approved the road closures for both the Wethersfield High School Homecoming Parade on Friday afternoon at 1:15 and the Kewanee High School Homecoming Parade at 2:15 on Friday. On the regular meeting agenda, the City Council voted in favor of three separate zoning board variance requests. Approval was given for variances at 426 Rockwell Street for a new fence, at 1010 East 10 Street for an accessory structure and at 1005 Terry Street for an accessory structure. 

The City Council then approved a resolution for the City Manager to execute an agreement with the lowest responsible bidder for improvements to the surface of the railroad viaduct on East Street in Kewanee. Council members asked the City Manager Gary Bradley about the improvements to the viaduct surface and specifically where a drain that has been a major issue during storms and snowfall will now be placed following the improvements... 

With the need to close the viaduct for 4 to 6 weeks to make the improvements came the question of what to do in case of an emergency taking place and a train blocking the crossing. Kewanee Fire Chief Kevin Shook told the council that emergency responders are ready and in place on both sides of the tracks...

The bidding process will begin immediately with work on the viaduct resurfacing project getting underway soon after the lowest responsible bidder is determined. 

The Council then approved a contract with Performance Pipelining Inc to make emergency repairs to the sanitary sewer in the 100 Block of Church Street. 

The meeting closed with discussion regarding wood boilers and whether they should be permitted for use in the Kewanee City limits. Currently, there is no ordinance that prevents the use of wood boilers in Kewanee but it appears the Council may take up the issue and create an ordinance. Kewanee Community Development Director Keith Edwards and Kewanee Fire Chief Kevin Shook are going to collaborate on the issue and form the basis for a potential ordinance. 

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Residents of Advel Court in Kewanee Petition City to Takeover Care of Private Street

Residents of Advel Court in Kewanee are petitioning the City of Kewanee to take over and maintain what has been a private street. Resident Carl Tanzillo appeared at Monday night's Kewanee City Council Meeting and spoke during the public comments portion of the meeting about a petition that he then gave to City Manager Gary Bradley that asks the City of Kewanee to take over and maintain the street... 

Councilman Mike Yaklich addressed Mr Tanzillo's request and stated what had been stated at a previous City Council Meeting, if the residents of Advel Court pay to bring the street up to code, the City will take it over... 

City Manager Gary Bradley said the estimated cost of getting Advel Court up to the standard that the City would be able to take it over and maintain it as a City street was approximately $23,000. That money would have to be raised and improvements paid for by the residents. 

Advel Court photos taken by WKEI 

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State of Illinois Considering Flavored Vape Ban and Investigating E-Cig Black Market

The state of Illinois is looking into banning flavored vaping products in the wake of a spate of people falling ill due to Vaping related lung problems. That's one idea that the state is considering while Attorney General Kwame Raoul's office is now looking to what the Attorney General called the 'E-Cig' black market. Reporter Kim Howard has more on proposals regarding Vaping... 

 

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Name of Suspect in Geneseo Bomb Threat Incident Released

Geneseo Police have released the name of the man who caused a panic in the City on Monday. 44 year old Michael L Allen of Moline, Illinois was arrested after leading Geneseo Police on a brief chase after having caused a disturbance at a local business. Geneseo Police spokesman Gene Karzin informed the media that Allen had claimed to have a gun and a bomb while creating a disturbance at Holland and Sons on Route 6. After having finally been stopped by Police in the area of Chicago Street and Ogden Avenue in Geneseo, Mr Allen is said to have claimed to have a bomb in his car. The Quad Cities Bomb Squad was called to the scene and they eventually determined that no bomb was present. Allen also did not have a gun despite also having claimed to have one. Geneseo Police were aided at the scene by the Henry County Sheriff's Office, the Illinois State Police, Geneseo Fire Department, Geneseo Ambulance, the Quad Cities Bomb Squad and the Geneseo School District. Formal charges against Michael L Allen will be announced. 

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House Firearm Public Awareness Task Force to Propose Omnibus Gun Bill

House Speaker Michael Madigan formed the House Firearm Public Awareness Task Force earlier this month with the goal of creating new gun legislation in the state of Illinois. Now, it appears that the task force is looking to overhaul gun regulations in the state of Illinois completely with a new Omnibus Gun Bill. Reporter Cole Lauterbach has more... 

 

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Congressman Calling for Inquiry Into Closure of Coal Fired Power Plants in Illinois

Vistra Energy is set to close 4 coal fired power plants in Illinois which will cost the state some 290 jobs. Congressman Mike Bost and Congressman Darin LaHood are calling on the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to look into why the plants are being closed and accusing Illinois Democrats of being politically motivated in causing Vistra to close. Reporter Greg Bishop has more...

 

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Move to Repeal Trade In Tax in Illinois

A move is underway to repeal the recently passed tax on automobile trade-ins. The tax put in place as part of the $45 billion dollar capital plan is being targeted for replacement by those who oppose it. Reporter Greg Bishop spoke with representatives of the autombile dealers association who say they were blindsided by the inclusion of the trade-in tax in the Capital Plan...

 

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State Issues Hundreds of Thousands of Real ID's

The state of Illinois has issued about 300,000 Real ID’s since March. The program is up and running as a federal deadline looms to restrict domestic air travel to only people who have a Real ID or a passport. Secretary of State Jesse White says each person will decide if they want a Real ID or not.

There is a check list on the Secretary of State’s website showing the extra documents you need to get a Real ID. The deadline on restricted air travel is October 1st 2020.

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Update No Bomb Found in Geneseo Bomb Threat Incident

Update: The Quad Cities Bomb Squad determined that no bomb was inside the vehicle of a suspect who had claimed, after being pulled over by police just after 8:15 Am on Monday, that there was a bomb in their vehicle. Police had been called after the suspect had made a scene at a local Geneseo business in the area of Chicago Street and Ogden Avenue. The suspect is in custody and the area is now fully re-opened to traffic.

 

The Geneseo Police Department has called in the Quad Cities Area Bomb Squad after an arrest was made following a traffic stop. According to the Geneseo Police Department, at approximately 8:15 Am, Geneseo Police were called to the area of Chicago Street and Ogden Avenue regarding a suspect making a scene at a local business. The suspect was pulled over by Police and in the process of the arrest of the suspect, the suspect indicated that they had a bomb in their vehicle. A soft lockdown was initiated a local schools and the area around Chicago Street and Ogden Avenue remains on a complete lockdown while the bomb squad investigates the vehicle. No other information is being released at this. We will bring you more on this story as it develops. Please avoid the area until Geneseo Police have given the all clear. 

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Lou Diamond Phillips Talks to WKEI About the New Series Prodigal Son Debuting Tonight

Last Friday, WKEI spoke to actor Lou Diamond Phillips about his brand new series Prodigal Son which debuts tonight at 8 Pm on Fox. Phillips, known for roles such as Richie Valens in La Bamba as well as his roles in movies such as Young Guns and as a go to guest star on series such as Brooklyn 99, Training Day and Criminal Minds, told WKEI about what makes Prodigal Son so different from other similar crime shows on TV today... 

Prodigal Son stars Tom Payne, Michael Sheen, Bellamy Young and Lou Diamond Phillips and it debuts tonight at 8 Pm on Fox. You can hear our complete interview with Lou Diamond Phillips, including a little talk about La Bamba, in our WKEI Celebrity Interview Podcast linked here

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Wethersfield Celebrating Homecoming Week

It's homecoming week at Wethersfield and Superintendent Shane Kazubowski tells WKEI that the festivities got underway on Sunday with the decorating of the hallways...

Events will take place all week long but the highlights include Thursday night, Skit night at Wethersfield. Skit night is a night for funny skits put together by students and faculty, including something special from the parents of Wethersfield Seniors. It's also the night when the Homecoming King and Queen are revealed... 

The Wethersfield Booster Club Cookout will take place on Friday during the lunch period at Wethersfield leading into, of course, the Homecoming Parade at 1:15 on Friday afternoon... 

Wethersfield Superintendent Shane Kazubowski was our guest on People to People on Friday and you can hear our complete interview with Shane Kazubowski on People to People Podcast page, linked here

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State Unemployment in Illinois Hit a Historic Low in August

Unemployment across the state of Illinois hit an all time low in the month of August. According to the Illinois Department of Employment Security, unemployment rate in Illinois fell to 4.0 in August. IDES spokesman Sam Salustro spoke to our reporter Kim Howard about the positive numbers...

 

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Third Illinois City Facing Seizure of State Funds Over Pension Issues

The city of East St Louis, Illinois is facing a seizure of state funds over having allegedly shorted their firefighter pension fund by more than 2 million dollars. Reporter Cole Lauterbach spoke to Wirepoints President Ted Dabrowski about the story and what it may mean for other cities in Illinois facing a similar budget crunch. 

 

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Quincy Nursing Home Contract About to Announced

The Illinois Department of Veterans Affairs are beginning to accept bids for the rebuilding of the Quincy Veterans home, the controversial building where a legionnaires outbreak killed more than a dozen residents. The building has been in place since 1886 and the state has hoped to retain the building while making improvements that will make the building safer. Reporter Greg Bishop... 

 

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Small Businesses Facing Deadline to Implement Secure Choice

Small businesses across Illinois are facing a deadline to implement the new Secure Choice requirement. Secure Choice is a new state initiative that will require small businesses to help employees begin to save for retirement. Employees have the option to decline setting aside a portion of their pay for retirement but if they do not, a retirement account will be created for them. Reporter Scot Bertram has more... 

 

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Central Illinois Lawmaker Wants More Research on Vape Ban

The topic of vaping has been on the rise, and a Central Illinois lawmaker thinks more research needs to be done before completely banning the industry. State Senator Jason Barickman says he has some concerns about vaping, in particular, the industry targeting kids to use the product. He believes there needs to be more research and education.

Barickman says he does not agree the vaping industry should be completely banned.

Barickman says if vaping is banned, he thinks cigarette smoking could go up. As of today Thursday, the Illinois Department of Public Health reports 69 cases of respiratory illnesses related to vaping.

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IDOT Announces I-74 Lane Closure Beginning Today September 23rd

The Illinois Department of Transportation announces on Monday, September 23 that weather permitting, a lane closure will be installed in Henry County on I-74 between the Big X (Jct. I-74/80/280) and IL 81. The closure will be in the westbound drive lane starting on Monday, September 23 and lasting approximately 1 week. IDOT workers will be performing pavement patching. Please slow down and use extreme caution while driving through all work zones. 

 

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Kewanee City Council Agenda for September 23rd 2019

On the agenda for tonight's Kewanee City Council Meeting 3 zoning requests will be heard by the Kewanee City Council. The Council will also decide on a bid for repairs to the Viaduct and the council will decide whether to award a contract for emergency repairs to the sanitary sewer in the 100 Block of West Church Street to Performance Pipelining Inc. And the meeting will close with discussion of allowing the use of outdoor wood boilers and whether to allow installation within city limits. You are encouraged to attend tonight's meeting at 7 Pm at Kewanee City Hall where you can participate during the Citizen Participation portion of the meeting. If you cannot come to the meeting, you can watch tonight's meeting on our WKEI RegionalDailyNews Facebook page. 

 

1. Call to Order
2. Roll Call
3. Pledge of Allegiance
4. Consent Agenda
a. Approval of Minutes
b. Payroll
c. Staff Reports
d. Request from Wethersfield School District #230 to use city streets for their annual Homecoming
Parade on September 27, 2019 beginning at 1:15 pm.
e. Request from Kewanee School District #229 to use city streets for their annual Homecoming
Parade on September 27th beginning at 2:15 pm and for placement of barricades on Third
Street the evening of September 26th during the annual Homecoming bonfire.
5. Presentation of Bills and Claims
6. Citizen Participation
7. Business:
a) Acceptance of the minutes of the Zoning Board of Appeals from its meeting held on
Wednesday, September 18, 2019.
b) Consideration of an Ordinance granting a variance to Frank & Toni Whitcher at 426 Rockwell
St.
c) Consideration of an Ordinance granting a variance to Ken Fleming at 1010 E. 10th St.
d) Consideration of an Ordinance granting a variance to Arthur & Dorothy Johnson at 1005 Terry
Ave.
e) Consideration of a Resolution Authorizing the City Manager to execute an agreement with
the lowest responsible bidder for improvements to the surface of the railroad viaduct located on
East Street.
f) Consideration of a Resolution to award emergency repairs of the sanitary sewer in the 100
block of West Church St to Performance Pipelining Inc.
g) Discussion concerning outdoor wood boilers and whether or not to allow installation within city
limits.
8. Council Communications:
9. Announcements: 

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Henry County Office of Emergency Management Announces Federal Assistance Available for Disaster Reovery

The office of Matt Schnepple with the Henry County office of Emergency Management has announced that Federal Disaster Funds are now available in Henry County. The full release is below... 

 

On September 19, 2019, President Donald Trump granted Illinois Governor JB Pritzker’s request for a presidential major disaster declaration for 27 counties, including Henry County, IL. 
This action provides access to the Federal Emergency Management Agency's (FEMA) Public Assistance and Hazard Mitigation grant programs for impacted units of local government that are recovering and rebuilding following severe weather and flooding this past spring and summer. 
“I am pleased to report that earlier today, the President approved the Governor’s request and initiated the release of federal funds. This declaration will provide Henry County a means to financially recover from the overwhelming flood damage done to local roads and infrastructure. I am proud of the leadership and engagement that Henry County and state officials exhibited throughout this process, and I look forward to rebuilding together,” said Director Mat Schnepple of the Henry County Office of Emergency Management (OEM). 
Director Schnepple said “twenty-two (22) tax funded districts, townships and municipalities within Henry County have reported damages totaling nearly $2 Million. As Henry County communities continue to recover and rebuild from the aftermath of these devastating floods, we remain committed to working with our federal, state and local partners to ensure that Henry County is more resilient than ever before.” 
Under the Public Assistance (PA) program, FEMA awards grants to assist state and local governments and certain private nonprofit organizations with the response to and recovery from disasters. Under the guidelines of the PA program, local jurisdictions can be reimbursed for up to 75 percent of eligible costs. The program can provide funding for debris removal, implementation of emergency protective measures and permanent restoration of infrastructure. The program also encourages protection from future damage by providing assistance for hazard mitigation measures during the recovery process. The state of Illinois will work with FEMA to manage the program and administer the funding. 

 

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Downs Syndrome at Heart of New Movie The Peanut Butter Falcon Opening in Kewanee This Weekend

A young man with Downs Syndrome escapes from a managed care facility and goes on the road with a drifter in order to reach a school for professional wrestlers in the wonderful independent drama The Peanut Butter Falcon. 

The movie stars Zack Gottsagen as Zak and Shia LeBeouf as Tyler who together go on a journey of self discovery while Zak hides from his good hearted caregiver Eleanor, played by Dakota Johnson,  and Tyler hides from a dangerous criminal, played by John Hawkes.The Peanut Butter Falcon has earned rave reviews for the performance of actor Zack Gottsagen whose desire to be a movie star caused the writers and directors of The Peanut Butter Falcon to try to make him one after meeting him while volunteering with people with disabilities. The Peanut Butter Falcon opens today at the Wanee Cinemas and is a must see movie. 

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Henry and Stark County Health Department Promoting Flu Shot Clinics

The Henry and Stark County Health Department has announced a series of Flu Shot Clinics beginning next week in Kewanee and continuing into the first week of October across Henry and Stark County. RaeAnn Tucker Marshall from the Henry and Stark County Health Department was our guest on Tuned In on Thursday with information about Flu Shot Clinics... 

So, where are these flu shot clinics taking place and when? 

You can hear our complete interview with RaeAnn Tucker Marshall from the Henry and Stark County Health Department in our Tuned In podcast linked here

 

The Health Department will be giving Seasonal Flu vaccinations at these times and locations:

 

Kewanee: Monday, September 23rd from 9:30-10:30am, Kewanee Public Library,

102 S. Tremont

 

Friday, October 4th from 9-10am, Black Hawk College-Community Education

Center, 404 E. 3rd St.

           

Galva: Tuesday, September 24th from 9am-10am, 1st United Methodist Church,

214 NW 2nd Ave.

 

Toulon: Tuesday, September 24th from 11:00am-12:00pm, Toulon Public Library,

617 E. Jefferson St.

 

Geneseo: Thursday, September 26th from 9:00-10:00am, Moose Lodge, S. State St.

 

                        Wednesday, October 2nd from 11:00am-12:00pm, Geneseo Public Library,

                        805 N. Chicago St.

 

Atkinson: Thursday, September 26th from 11:00am-12:00pm, Township Hall,

N. State St.

 

Annawan: Thursday, September 26th from 1:30-2:30pm, Sacred Heart Church Hall,

108 N. Main St

 

Bradford: Tuesday, October 1st from 11:00am-12:00pm, Carmody Center,

                        218 1st St.

 

Cambridge: Wednesday, October 2nd from 9:00-10:00am, United Methodist Church,

120 W. Exchange

 

Woodhull: Thursday, October 3rd from 10:00-11:00am, United Church of Woodhull,

105 W. 3rd Ave

 

Orion: Thursday, October 3rd from 1:00-2:00pm, United Methodist Church,

407 12th Ave.

 

Wyoming: Friday, October 4th from 1:00-2:00pm, Church of the Nazarene,

517 N Madison Ave.

 

For Children's Flu Vaccine, call the Health Department at (309) 852-5272 for pricing and availability information.

 

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Rebuilding Together Henry County Happening Saturday

Rebuilding Together Henry County needs your help tomorrow morning. Meet up at Windmont Park on Saturday morning at 7:30 Am and bring tools if you can. All volunteers regardless of skill level when it comes to repairing a home are welcome and can be used in some way. But, those with specialized skill in making home repairs are especially needed tomorrow. Meanwhile, WKEI recently spoke to Sarah Snyder from Rebuilding Together Henry County and asked her to tell the story of someone who has been helped by Rebuilding Together as a reminder to those who are thinking about volunteering about the kind of people they will be helping tomorrow... 

 

Lunch will provided at one of the three work sites across Kewanee on Saturday and all volunteers will be fed for their hardwork in volunteering to help families in need in Kewanee as part of Rebuliding Together Henry County. 

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Henry County Economic Development Director Promoting Revolving Loan Fund

Henry County Economic Development Director Jim Kelly wants business owners or potential business owners in the County to be aware of the Revolving Loan Funds available from Henry County. At Wednesday night's Henry County Board meeting, Becker and Becker, a business out of Geneseo that recently changed owners, became the 79th revolving loan fund recipient... 

You wil hear our complete interview with new Henry County Economic Development Director Jim Kelly at 9:10 Am on WKEI. 

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Kewanee Newspaper Delivery Strike Enters 3rd Day

Newspaper carriers in Kewanee, who carry the Star Courier newspaper, are adamant that they want to deliver papers but they will not do so for so little pay. Jennifer Russell, District Manager for the newspaper delivery service that serves the Kewanee-Galva-Annawan district called the WKEI Open Line Program on Thursday...

Jennifer Russel then posted a statement in response to a comment on the WKEI Facebook page that further clarified the situation...

 

"the Star Courier doesn’t deliver the paper. A delivery service delivers the paper under Gatehouse Media. I am the district manager for Kewanee, Galva and Annawan delivery areas. I asked the 3 if they quit and they said no. I am not looking for new carriers and I’m not going to train if my bosses hire new carriers. The first day started with all 5 on strike/protest. The one got scared after the threats and intimidation started from the bosses above me so he decided to continue working. The other “carrier” is sub contracting so she is getting paid 25 cents a paper. Carriers in Kewanee are underpaid, under appreciated and over worked. Paper delivery is 7 days a week, no sick days, no vacation days, no days off at all unless you train someone yourself. We can’t keep carriers in Kewanee. It’s a thankless job. A majority of people feel justified in treating paper carriers like dirt and I will never understood why. My carriers feel guilty and horrible because their customers aren’t getting the paper. When do they say “enough is enough”. If they choose to quit, people aren’t gonna get their paper either." 

 

Carriers were recently informed that routes in the district were being changed, that drivers may be fired and that the per paper delivery that they were receiving of 19 cents per paper was being reduced to 15 cents per paper. The carriers are also protesting new penalties related to complaints by customers or the delivery of wet newspapers that could cost them further in terms of pay. Carriers are already responsible for purchasing supplies for paper delivery and for purchasing their own fuel and paying for vehicle maintenance. 

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State Fair Revenue Hits Record - Attendance Also Up

The Illinois State Fair had a record setting year. The Illinois Department of Agriculture says that revenues for the 11 day event topped $6.5 million. Fair attendance was more than 500,000 that’s at least more than any other fair since 2014. The total number is an estimate but Illinois Director of Ag John Sullivan says that the methods they are using now might be just a little more in line with reality than what was done in years past.

State Fair Manager Kevin Gordon says they count adult ticket sales and parking. But they use estimations when trying to determine how many kids entered free and other free days for veterans and seniors.

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Sen. Rose: Central Illinois, Ag Could Lead Illinois Out of It's Mess

A central Illinois lawmaker believes if there was buy-in from everyone, central Illinois and agriculture could lead Illinois out of the mess it is is in.

Speaking at the Farm Progress Show in Decatur last month, State Senator Chapin Rose believes for that to happen, the story of agriculture has to be told better to lawmakers, specifically to Chicago lawmakers.

With optimism comes the realization the things the state has done this year are going to impact agriculture. Sen. Rose points out the minimum wage increase is going to hit agriculture and hopes to see the law adjusted.

The Decatur based show falls right in the heart of the Senator's district and says it is a great showcase of central Illinois and it's agriculture.

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Bloomington-Normal Automaker Gets Huge Order From Amazon

The leader of Amazon announced today that the company will begin electrifying its fleet of delivery vehicles. The big news for Illinois is that Jeff Bezos picked Rivian, an electric car start up with a plant in Bloomington Normal.

Rivian owns the former Mitsubishi auto plant. They are headquartered in Michigan and last year announced a $700 million investment in the company from Amazon.

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USMCA Trade Deal Close but Democrats Still Seeking Concessions on Key Issues

As pressure builds to get the USMCA trade deal done, Democrats are still holding for changes related to prescription drugs, labor and the environment. That according to Congresswoman Cheri Bustos who while praising trade ambassador Robert Lighthizer stated that there are aspects of the deal that Democrats want before the bill can be completed and brought to the floor... 

The House Speaker, Nancy Pelosi has said recently that a deal on USMCA is close but that her party remains adament about what they believe needs to be part of the agreement. 

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Delays in Local Newspaper Delivery Expected as Carrier Strike Moves into 2nd Day

Some people expecting newspaper delivery in Kewanee on Thursday may not receive their paper in a timely fashion as a strike of newspaper curriers in Kewanee heads into a second day. Carriers have gone on strike over pay, the reduction of routes and the potential firing of carriers due to to route reductions. According to the striking curriers, pay for those delivering newspapers in the area is being reduced from 19 cents per paper delivered to 15 cents per paper delivered. Carriers are also expected to cover their own expenses for fuel and incidental supplies such as rubber bands and bags for papers. Carriers are asking for 25 cents per paper and 30 cents per paper delivered during the winter months when travel is more difficult. Carriers are also protesting a 2 dollar penalty charge for complaints against them and a 5 dollar penalty for if a paper is delivered wet.

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Stark County Fall Festival This Weekend

The Stark County Fall Festival Drive is this weekend with events spread across Stark County with primary locations in Wyoming and Toulon. Peg Gray is among the lead organizers for Wyoming's portion of the Stark County Fall Festival and she gave us a preview of what to look forward to on Saturday in Wyoming... 

 

After the Teddy Bear Run on Saturday, events in Thomas Park continue with the park opening at 9 Am with numerous attractions... 

Meanwhile, in Toulon, Karen Orwig is one of the organizers for events that will center around the Orwig Event Center in Toulon... 

After breakfast on Saturday, events continue at 11 Am with fun stuff to do throughout Saturday and Sunday... 

For more on the Stark County Fall Festival check out our complete interview with Karen Orwig and Peg Gray on our Tuned In Podcast page linked Here

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First Annual Cook Off to Benefit Ridgewood Football This Saturday in Cambridge

There will be a cook out and bags tournament to benefit the Ridgewood Spartans Football team this Saturday in Cambridge. Village of Cambridge Administrative Assistant, Carla Hiller dropped by the WKEI Morning Show on Wednesday with details on how you can support the Ridgewood Spartans on Saturday... 

You can hear the entirety of our monthly visit to Cambridge in our Cambridge News Podcast below...

 

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First Annual Cook Off to Benefit Ridgewood Football This Saturday in Cambridge

There will be a cook out and bags tournament to benefit the Ridgewood Spartans Football team this Saturday in Cambridge. Village of Cambridge Administrative Assistant, Carla Hiller dropped by the WKEI Morning Show on Wednesday with details on how you can support the Ridgewood Spartans on Saturday... 

You can hear the entirety of our monthly visit to Cambridge in our Cambridge News Podcast below...

 

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Illinois State Police Trooper Talks Speed During Farm Safety Week

Illinois State Police Trooper Tracy Lillard keeping an eye on speed during National Farm Safety and Health Week. And she’s using examples as well.


Lillard now oversees all social media for the Illinois State Police.

 

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Pritzker Lauds Illinois China Business Relationship

As the trade war drags on between the United States and China a large gathering of business interests from that country were in Chicago this week. The China General Chamber of Commerce - USA celebrated 40 years of working between the counties. Governor JB Pritzker said at the event that Illinois business remain good friends with China.

Pritzker took time to highlight to the Chinese business interests at the event that the state is working with a balanced budget and planning billions in infrastructure spending.

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Illinois Supreme Court Hits the Road

The Illinois Supreme Court was in action Wednesday. However the court took oral arguments outside of the traditional court room in Springfield and instead held proceedings in Godfrey. The court says it’s a great way to showcase the court and legal proceedings to an audience that might not ever be able to attend. The Illinois Supreme Court heard two cases on Wednesday, one focused on being able to prohibit a person convicted of sexual abuse from using social media while on probation and the other was if a person can sue another to reclaim a lost bet through an illegal online sports book.

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Car Seat Safety Week

This is national child passenger safety week and authorities want parents and others to check their car seats. This week there will be hundreds of safety seat checks done around Illinois. The National Highway Safety Traffic Administration says that more than half of the car seats going down the road are installed incorrectly. Joe Kurzatkowski says that he’s thankful that his car seats were installed correctly when tragedy stuck.

Car crashes are the number one cause of death for children from 1 to 13.

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ADM Flour Mill Ribbon Cutting In Mendota

ADM Milling President Kevin Like says 30 to 40 jobs have been created or transferred to the new flour mill in Mendota where he and other ADM managers held a ribbon cutting Wednesday. Like says it’s not often a company gets to build new mill from the ground up. The Mendota mill has the latest technology for watching everything important.

The mill can process enough flour in one day to fill 60 trucks or 15 rail cars.
ADM sells to bakeries and other customers who buy bulk quantities.

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Durbin Sees Connections To Big Tobacco Fight As He Battles Vaping

Another person has died in connection with vaping. The 7th death is in California and US Senator Dick Durbin says more has to be done to get vaping stopped across the county. Durbin says he see’s many connections to the current fight over vaping to the long ago battle against tobacco.

There are 52 confirmed cases of vaping lung disease in Illinois and at least a dozen more remain under investigation. One person has died in state after vaping.

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Celtic Harp Master Patrick Ball Coming to Bishop Hill This Weekend

Fans of Celtic Music and culture will not want to miss Harpist Patrick Ball when he appears at the Bishop Hill Creative Commons on Friday... 

Though raised in California, Patrick Ball has been awarded honors for his work on the Celtic Harp and in Celtic storytelling with honors from Moore Institute at the National University of Ireland, Galway, where he earned a grant to study the work of William Butler Yeats, the Zellerbach Family Fund and the California Arts Council and is the recipient of the Circle of Excellence Award from the National Storytelling Association. The concert will get underway at 6 Pm with a potluck dinner and continue with the show beginning at 7 Pm. The concert and potluck are open to anyone to attend though a $10 to $20.00 dollar donation is suggested. 

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Henry County Board of Supervisors Agenda for September 18th

ANNUAL HENRY COUNTY BOARD MEETING
WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 18, 2019, 6:00 P.M.
COUNTY BOARD ROOM 102J – JUDICIAL WING
HENRY COUNTY COURTHOUSE
307 W. CENTER STREET, CAMBRIDGE, ILLINOIS
MEETING AGENDA
Call meeting to order 6:00 p.m. – Kippy Breeden, Vice Board Chairman
Prayer – Kathy Nelson, Chaplain
Pledge of Allegiance
Call of the Roll
Approval of Agenda
1. Public Comment.
2. Approval of the August 22, 2019 Regular Session Meeting Minutes (enclosed).
3. County Board Presentations:
A. Bi-State Regional Commission – Ms. Denise Bulat, Executive Director
4. Reports to be placed on file: Bi-State, Health Department, Veteran’s,
Clerk/Recorder Fees, Henry County Economic Development Partnership and
other reports filed at meeting.
5. Communications:
 A. Outside Agency Appointment Reports.
6. Appointments/Reappointments:
A. Confirmations.
 I. Re-appointment to the Mud Creek Special Drainage District, the
name Dwaine C. Verbeck, term from September 2, 2019 to September
6, 2022
 B. To Be Held Over.
C. Chair Appointments – Additional Appointments.
7. Standing Committee Reports/Action Items:
A. Health & Social Services – Jan May
 II. Approval of County Farm Bid
B. Administration – Ned Richardson
III. Approval of Salary Schedule
B. Planning & Development – Lynn Sutton
C. Public Safety – Shawn Kendall
D. Transportation – Jeffrey Orton 
IV. Authorize the purchase of a Ford F-150 truck using the State Joint
Purchasing Master Contract.
 E. Finance
V. Treasurer & County Clerk’s Reports (to be placed on file).
VI. County Accounts
VII. Approval of RRLF Loan to Becker and Becker
VIII. Approval of Balanced Budget Resolution
F. Executive – Kippy Breeden
8. Old Business:
9. New Business:
10. County Board Comment.
11. Closed Session
A. 5ILCS 120/2 (c)(1) (personnel matters)
B. 5ILCS 120/2 (c)(2) (collective bargaining matters)
C. 5ILCS 120/2 (c)(11) (pending litigation)
D. 5ILCS 120/2 (c)(21) (discussion of closed session minutes)
E. Actions from Closed Session
12. Next meeting date/time/location: Recessed Annual Session County Board
Meeting, Thursday, October 17, 2019, 6:00 p.m., Henry County Courthouse,
Courtroom 102J, 307 W. Center Street, Cambridge, IL.
13. Adjourn meeting. 

 

Kippy Breeden, Vice Board Chairman, and new Henry County Economic Development Director Jim Kelly will be our guest on Thursday's edition of People to People on WKEI. 

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Speaker Madigan Makes Donation to His Own Campaign of 1 Dollar Over the Limit

Longtime Illinois Speaker of the House Michael Madigan donated $100,001 to his own campaign this week. Why that amount? Because by law a donation of more than $100,000 to a candidates own campaign makes that campaign self-funded and removes the limitations of what can be raised for or against the candidate. It's a move that will allow other big money donors to make equally large donations to Madigan's campaign now that the limits are off the donation caps. Reporter Cole Lauterbach explains the tricky campaign finance... 

 

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Decline in State Gambling Revenue Not Hurting Move to Bring More Gambling to Illinois

Despite a new report that indicates a 6% decline in casino revenue in the state of Illinois, lawmakers still appear eager to expand gambling in the state of Illinois. That expansion includes the launch of 6 new casinos including casinos in Rockford, Danville, Waukegan, Williamson County, the south suburbs of Cook County and one in Chicago. Reporter Greg Bishop has more on gambling expansion and declining revenue in Illinois...

 

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Property Tax Task Force Meets to Discuss Property Tax Relief

An 88 member panel of lawmakers and experts met in Chicagon on Tuesday to go over some ideas for attempting to reduce the property tax burden in the state of Illinois. The state of Illinois has some of the highest property taxes in the nation and with the state in a constant budget shortfall due to pensions, finding ways to relieve that burden is an incredible challenge. Reporter Greg Bishop has more... 

 

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Kewanee Schools Approved a New Budget on Monday Night

Dr Chris Sullens, Kewanee Superintendent of Schools was our guest on People to People on Tuesday. Dr. Sullens was on hand to talk about the newly approved Kewanee Schools Budget which Dr Sullens tells WKEI has Kewanee in a better position that a lot of other schools in the state... 

Building projects have proven to be an area where the Kewanee Schools budget can struggle as Dr Sullens explains... 

Dr Chris Sullens, Kewanee Schools Superintendent was our guest on People to People on Tuesday and you can hear the entirety of our conversation in our People to People Podcast on the podcast page at RegionalDailyNews.com and linked here

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Death of a Dog in a Kewanee House Fire Prompts Henry County Humane Society Effort

The death of a dog due to smoke inhalation in a kitchen fire last month in Kewanee has led to a new charity donation from the Henry County Humane Society of Kewanee. For the first time, the Kewanee Fire Department now has masks specifically made for pets for firefighters to get them the oxygen they need in an emergency. Tim Doubek is a Kewanee Firefighter and a member of the board at the Henry County Humane Society...

Louise Harrison is the chairman of the Henry County Humane Society and she talked about the inspiration for this effort... 

The kits which include multiple sizes of masks and air tubes were donated on Tuesday night so most of the Kewanee Firefighters haven't seen them yet as Tim Doubek explains... 

The pet masks were part of the overall fundraising efforts of the Henry County Humane Society which has more plans for helping with pet safety in the future, specifically related to making sure pets are taken care of in emergencies like a fire in a home. 

Members of the Henry County Humane Society pose with Kewanee Firefighters and Fire Dog Diesel. 

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Illinois Could Lose 2 Congressional Seats and Millions of Dollars Without Accurate Census

Last night at the Kewanee Public Library Anita Banerji from Forefront spoke to an active and engaged audience organized by the Kewanee Leauge of Women Voters about the importance and impact of an accurate census. The most striking effect of an inaccurate or lower than expected census could be the loss of not one but two congressional seats... 

Then there will be the loss of federal funds. The state of Illinois stands to lose millions of dollars in federal funds over the decade if the state fails to get an accurate count in the Census. 

Breaking it down by person currently in the state of Illinois, Anita Banerji makes clear the amount of federal funding the state stands to lose... 

You can watch and listen to the entirety of Anita Banerji's presentation last night at the Kewanee Public Library on our Facebook page linked here

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National Weather Service's Harvest Outlook

The National Weather Service is expecting a favorable stretch heading into October for the upcoming harvest. Chris Miller with the National Weather Service explains for October, we usually see the first frost the last two weeks of the month. However, this year the National Weather Service is predicting above-normal temperatures for those weeks.

Miller reports for late fall and early winter, we can expect cooler than normal temperatures.

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Lawmaker Wants Insulin Costs Capped

A lawmaker in Springfield is preparing to ask for votes on a new law that would cap the expense of insulin. Democrat State Senator Andy Manar wants the out of pocket cost’s capped at $100 a month. Manar says soon lawmakers will have a simple decision, side with insurance companies or patients.

Manar says he and other lawmakers are getting calls each week about the cost of insulin. And he thinks that final action on the cost of this drug and other prescriptions will require federal action. The bill is expected to be voted on in the upcoming Fall Veto session.

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Ag Meteorologist Reacts to Latest Crop Report

The latest USDA crop report shows only 18-percent of the nation’s corn crop mature. What does that mean for DTN agriculture meteorologist Bryce Anderson.


With above normal temperatures hanging around through much of September, Anderson says that’s provided a back end benefit to the 2019 growing season despite the extremely slow start.

 

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Chicago Mayor Moving to Ban All Flavored Vaping Products in the City

The biggest city in the state is ready to ban all flavored vaping products as kids and others wind up sickened. Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot is proposing a city wide ban to help protect children from the possibly dangerous products.

Medical reports have the number of vaping related lung disease at 52 across the state. Last week, President Trump announced a ban that covered nearly all flavored vaping products. 

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Volley for a Cure Campaign Gets Started Wednesday

The OSF Saint Luke Medical Center Volley for a Cure Campaign gets underway on Wednesday at Wethersfield. While the Wethersfield girls are playing Mercer County in Volleyball on Wednesday, the team from OSF Saint Luke Medical Center will be raising awareness and funds in the fight against Breast Cancer as Carrie Boelens explains... 

Carrie Boelens was our guest on Tuned In on Monday. You can hear our entire conversation with Carrie Boelens from OSF Saint Luke Medical Center in our Tuned In Podcast linked here. Stream or download and be sure to subscribe so you receive each episode of Tuned In when they are posted at RegionalDailyNews.com. 

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Governor Pritzker Laying Groundwork for Change to Progressive Tax

We may be a year away from voting on a potential change from a Flat Tax to a Progressive tax in the state of Illinois but some experts believe Governor J.B Pritzker is already laying the groundwork to accomodate the change in tax collection. According to researchers at Truth in Accounting, a memo from Governor Pritzker to the heads of state agencies asking them to plan for cutting 6.5% of their budget is a way for the Governor to prepare the state for the volatility that would accompany change in the way taxes are collected. Reporter Greg Bishop has more... 

 

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Illinois Gas Prices May Become Highest in the Nation Following Saudi Oil Attacks

An attack on a Saudi Arabian oil refinery may have the world on edge about possible retalliation against Iran but closer to home, the impact may be felt at the gas pump and especially so in Iillinois. According to GasBuddy.com, the disruption in the flow of oil due to the attack in Saudi Arabia could cause a 20 cent per gallon spike in gas prices, a spike that could give Illinois the highest price per gallon in the nation. Reporter Greg Bishop explains why... 

 

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Black Hawk College to Host Barrel Racing Competition Next Month

The Black Hawk College IHSA Western Equestrian Team will host its annual Robin Moreland Memorial Fall Speed Shows at the college’s East Campus near Kewanee.

 

The shows will be:

Saturday, Oct. 5
Saturday, Nov. 2
Saturday, Nov. 16
 

There will be open arena from 8-9 a.m. with warm-up sessions from 9-10:30 a.m. and exhibition barrels from 10:30-11:45 a.m. Timed races will begin at noon. Barrel racing is a timed rodeo event. It requires skill and practice to develop close cooperation between the horse and rider. Black Hawk College students as well as other riders will be competing. Admission is free. All shows will be in the Ag Arena at the East Campus, 26230 Black Hawk Road, Galva (five miles south of Kewanee). Come watch competitive barrel racing and learn about the college’s equestrian program. The events are sponsored by the BHC IHSA Western Equestrian Team with proceeds going to the Robin Moreland Endowed Equine Scholarship. For more information, contact Rebekah Irish at 309-854-1838 or irishr@bhc.edu or Heather Hochstatter at 309-854-1848 or hochstatterh@bhc.edu.

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League of Women Voters Census 2020 Informational Meeting Tonight

The Kewanee League of Women Voters Census 2020 Informational Meeting is tonight at the Kewanee Public Library beginning at 6:30 Pm. The featured speaker will be Anita Banerji from Forefront and she will discuss the relevant issues about making sure that you get counted in the 2020 census with a specific focus on why getting counted in the census is essential for Illinois residents. So much federal support to a state is based on population and with rumors of heavy population loss in the state, making sure that as many residents get counted as possible is urgently important. Regional Daily News WKEI on Facebook will be broadcasting the event on our page beginning at 6:30 Pm. If you can't attend or watch live, the video will be archived on our Facebook page after the meeting. The meeting is free to attend and gets underway at 6:30 Pm. 

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Submissions Due Soon for Kewanee Library Art Show

The annual Kewanee Public Library Art Show is taking place beginning on October 1st but your submissions to be part of the art show need to be in sooner than that. Sarah Billiet from the Kewanee Public Libtary tells WKEI that art show submissions need to be into the library between September 23rd and 26th in order to be included in the show.. 

What types of Art can be submitted for the Kewanee Public Library Art Show? 

The showing of the art at the Kewanee Public Libary annual art show begins on October 1st. Meanwhile today at the library, the 'Who Was' Book Club for Elementary School students continues with 'Who was Milton Hershey"" The 'Who Was' Book Club meets at the library at 3:30 Pm. Kids can get their copy of "Who Was Milton Hershey" at the Youth Desk at the Library. 

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Let's Talk Mental Health Walk October 12th

The Let's Talk Mental Health Walk will be taking place on Saturday, October 12th at Wethersfield Jr/Sr High School. Events get underway at 9:30 Am at Gustafson Ford with the Drive 4 Ur Community test drive fundraiser. Gustafson Ford will donate $20.00 for every test drive on October 12th between 9 Am and 3 Pm. Test drives take about 15 minutes. Then, at 10:30 Am, registration begins for the Let's Talk Mental Health Walk at Wethersfield Schools with the walk to follow. Registration is $20.00 or $10.00 for veterans or students. Following the Let's Talk Mental Health Walk at 2 Pm is a production of the play "A Place at the Table" at Wethersfield School. The play will feature performanes by local students under the direction of Cambridge Superintendent Tom Akers. All events will raise money for the Henry County Mental Health Alliance. If you have any questions about the Let's Talk Mental Health Walk you can contact the Henry County Mental Health Alliance at 309-852-7745. 

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Kewanee Back When Throws Spotlight on a Member of the Original Kewanee Ballhawks

On today's edition of Kewanee Back When, Dave Clarke and Sean Kernan talk Kewanee Baseball History again with a twist. Today, we talk with a member of the Ballhawks, the likely subjects of the next Kewanee Mural. We will discuss what it was like for a woman playing baseball in Kewanee and how it feels to know that a team you were part of will likely be the subject of a Kewanee mural. Kewanee Back When airs at 9:35 AM on WKEI with a very special guest. 

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Illinois Ranks 5th Nationally for Energy-Efficiency Jobs

Energy-efficiency jobs are booming in Illinois, and the pace is not expected to slow down anytime soon. According to a report released Monday, Illinois added more than 2,500 energy-efficiency jobs in 2018. That's a nearly 3% increase. Robert Keefe is executive director of E2, which released the findings. He explained nationally, energy-efficiency jobs grew by 3.4% in 2018, and are projected to increase 7.8% in 2019.

"The number of people that work in energy efficiency are more, believe it or not, then there are waiters and waitresses in America; more than there are people in the legal profession - lawyers, judges, etc.," Keefe said. "And energy-efficiency jobs employ more than twice as many people as does the fossil-fuel industry."

Energy-efficiency jobs encompass 29% of all energy-related jobs in Illinois, and the state ranks fifth nationally for the number of jobs in the energy-efficiency sector. There are more than 15,000 energy-efficiency businesses operating in Illinois, with a majority involved in construction or manufacturing. And Keefe noted energy efficiency is truly driven by policies and standards set at the state and federal level.

"The Trump administration wants to roll back our energy-efficient lighting program. They want to reduce the EnergyStar program," he said. "That's bad news for American consumers and businesses and it's bad news for the 300,000-plus energy-efficiency companies across America that are employing 90,000 people in Illinois alone."

Energy-efficiency jobs cannot be exported, and include home weatherization and the construction of energy-saving appliances and lighting, as well as high-tech design, software and professional services.

 

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Congressman Rodney Davis Talks About USMCA

As lawmakers reconvene in Washington, DC this week, central Illinois Congressman Rodney Davis says their number one priority should be approving the NAFTA agreement.

Congressman Davis says Mexico has ratified the agreement and Canada is expected to soon and believes the longer Speaker Pelosi waits to call the agreement for a vote, the more leverage they give to China.

Congressman Davis believes passage of USMCA opens up opportunities with agreements from a host of other countries, in turn, putting more pressure on China.

Davis calls the ongoing impeachment efforts of Congress a waste of taxpayer dollars and in a weekend statement says, quote - “Congress has a long to-do-list that requires negotiations between both parties—negotiations that become impossible when one side is consumed with impeachment. President Trump has been in office for nearly three years now, it’s time to move on from the 2016 election."

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Galva Cemetary Clean-Up Week Announced

This is the second cemetery clean-up for 2019. Artificial flowers, potted flowers, all plants including plants in vases, all shepherds hooks and figurines are requested to be removed. Military markers and solar lights may stay in place. Please remove from the Galva Cemetery by Sunday, October 13, 2019 if relatives wish to save them. No more flowers or items should be placed on the graves until Saturday, October 19, 2019.

 

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Mayors Across the State Agree, Illinois Pension Debt is Unsustainable

Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot is being commended for speaking the truth about the Illinois pension debt crisis. Lightfoot recently told reporters what most people already know, that pension debt in the state of Illinois is unsustainable and while that is true, it can be a political minefield, especially for Democrat politicians in Illinois whose Union base can be sensitive to any discussion about the sustainability of pensions and pension debt. Now, Mayor Lightfoot is getting back up from other Mayor's across Illinois who are speaking out about the unsustainabiliyy of Illinois pension debt. Reporter Cole Lauterbach has more...

 

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Budtender Training Could Cost More than $300

Training to become a so-called Budtender will not come cheap. Now that companies are licensed to start training those who will be handling and selling legalized cannabis in the state of Illinois, those companies are setting the price on how much that training costs. Reporter Greg Bishop says that those looking to train as Budtenders better be ready to pay the price... 

Budtenders must be trained by November 30th in order to start work as a Budtender in January of 2020. 

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Bakersville Returns to Baker Park in Kewanee on October 5th

Bakersville returns to Kewanee in Baker Park on October 5th. The reaction to the return of this Kewanee Halloween tradition has been incredibly positive according to Jacque Komnick, one of the organizers of the event, who recounted the history of the event on a recent edition of Tuned In... 

So what led Jacque to start the process of bringing back Bakersville? It was her husband, Kewanee City Council Member Mike Komnick who started the ball rolling with a question on Facebook..,

E.E's Nightmare is the theme of Bakersville, in tribute to the man for whom Baker Park is named as Jacque Komnick explains along with discussing where you can currently get pre-sale tickets for Bakersville... 

Those who recall the original Bakersville also recall that the event could be a pain do to lengthy lines but Jacque Komnick tells us that she and her fellow organizers have a plan to help keep those waiting for their turn in the hayrack entertained. Bakersville returns to Kewanee on October 5th. 

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Henry County Farm Bureau Celebrating Farm Safety Week this Week

The Henry County Farm Bureau is celebrating Farm Safety all of this week, Natiional Farm Safety Week. Katie Laleman from the Henry County Farm Bureau says that though Farm Safety is something they always talk about, Farm Safety Week serves as a good reminder... 

Farm Safety week serves as a reminder for Farmers but it's also a good message for those drivers on the road where farm equipment can be found. Drivers need a fresh reminder to be patient and share the road safely with farm equipment... 

Taking things for granted when it comes to safety is common for everyone, including farmers as Katie Laleman explains, sometimes a strong reminder is necessary for those who've been doing the same thng for so many years... 

For tips during this National FarmSafety Week be sure to follow the Henry County Farm Bureau on Facebook. All this week they will have tips posted on the page. 

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Rebuilding Together Henry County Helping Those in Need This Saturday

Rebuilding Together Henry County will be hard at work on Saturday at three locations in Kewanee. Sarah Snyder from Rebuilding Together Henry County talks about the volunteer spirit that is inspired by working together on these projects with so many incredible people...

Who does Rebuilding Together Henry County help? There are many different kinds of people and many different reasons why they need the help of Rebuilding Together Henry County. 

Rebuilding Together Henry County needs your help this Saturday morning at 7:30 Am. Gather your tools and your and desire to help those who need it and be at Windmont Park at 7:30 Am on Saturday to take part in the work at three Kewanee homes this weekend. Lunch is provided. 

 

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Water Shutoff and Boil Order in Various Locations in Kewanee Today (Monday, Sept. 16th)

The City of Kewanee Water Department has re-scheduled a water shut off with a boil order to follow.  Work is scheduled to begin Monday 9/16/19 for a City water main repairs.  This project area had originally been scheduled for 9/9/19, but work was not completed. Beginning at 7:00 a.m. on Monday 9/16/19, the 100 block of West 2nd Street will have water off for the repair.  On Tuesday 9/17/19, the 100 block of West 3rd Street, as well as 226 and 306 North Tremont Street will be off.  Water is expected to be on before noon both days, with a boil order to follow. The City of Kewanee Water Department has also notified the businesses affected this week. Any residents, whose water has been shut off during this repair, will be under a boil order for 48 – 72 hours following the restoration of water service. Residents in these areas may experience low pressure, rusty water, or no water.  If the water has been turned off, take precautions when using water until the water runs clean.  Only flush the system by running cold water, running hot water may draw rust into the water heater.

 

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Illinois State Police Announce Arrest of Moline Man on Weapons Charges

Illinois State Police District 7 have announced the arrest of 56 year old Jerome J Patrick of Moline on  Two Counts of Class 1 Felony Aggravated Discharge of a Firearm and Two Counts of Class 3 Felony Aggravated Assault. According to the Illinois State Police, the Moline Police Department requested help from the Illinois State Police on September 12th after a report of shots fired in the area of the 2500 Block of Avenue of the Cities at approximately 6:00 Pm. As a result of the investigation, ISP Investigators identified Jerome J. Patrick, age 56, of Moline, IL as the suspect who allegedly discharged a firearm from his Silver 1997 Mercedes-Benz convertible on September 12, 2019; there were no injuries reported from this incident. On September 13th, the Davenport Police Department arrested Patrick in the 7200 Block of Gaines Street Court in Davenport, Iowa. Patrick was taken to the Scott County Jail on $250,000 bond. The investigation is ongoing with more evidence being collected and more witnessed being interviewed by the Illinois State Police. No other details are being released at this time. Patrick is a former Moline Police Captain, retired. He's been in trouble and arrested before on Domestic Abuse charges though those charges were eventually dropped. 

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Pritzker talks ISU enrollment

Governor JB Pritzker says he’s thrilled about enrollment numbers at Illinois State University. The school welcomed its largest freshman class in 33 years. Pritzker says education is a big focus for the state.

The governor says the capital bill that was signed into law over the summer invests into schools around the state, specifically 143-million dollars into ISU.

While numbers are solid at ISU, many other schools around the state have reported declining enrollment.

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IDPH Looking Into Legionnaires Outbreak in Batavia

There have been 285 cases of Legionnaires disease in Illinois this year. And right now a pocket of 14 confirmed cases in Batavia has health officials on alert and worried that the disease could be spreading. The outbreak started as a dozen people ill at a nursing home in Batavia but now two other people in the Chicago suburb have gotten sick. Illinois Director of Public Health Dr. Ngozi Ezike says they are looking at possible transmission sites outside the nursing home.

The IDPH reminds people that the disease is not transmitted person to person.

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Kewanee School Board Agenda for Monday September 16th

AGENDA

 

KEWANEE COMMUNITY UNIT SCHOOL DISTRICT #229

MEETING OF THE BOARD OF EDUCATION

MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 16, 2019

KEWANEE SCHOOL DISTRICT ADMINISTRATION OFFICE

1001 NORTH MAIN STREET   KEWANEE, IL   61443

 

6:15 PM

 

I. CALL TO ORDER BY THE PRESIDENT

A. Roll call by the Secretary

 

II. CLOSED SESSION: * (C) (1) to consider the appointment, employment, compensation, discipline, performance or dismissal of specific employees of the District and (C) (2) to consider collective negotiating matters between the public body and its employees or their representatives, or deliberations concerning salary schedules for one or more classes of employees (C) (5) the purchase or lease of real property for the use of the public body (C) (8) Security Procedures (C) (9) Student Disciplinary Cases  (C) (11) Litigation  * 5ILCS 120/2 Open Meetings    The School Code of Illinois/2019

 

7:30 pm

 

III. PLEDGE OF ALLIGENCE

 

SINE DIE

 

IV. BUDGET HEARING

ROLL CALL BY THE SECRETARY

PRESENTATION OF THE 2019/2020 BUDGET BY THE SUPERINTENDENT

PUBLIC AND BOARD COMMENTS

ACCEPTANCE OF THE 2019/2020 BUDGET

ADJOURNMENT

 

SINE DIE

 

V. INVITED GUESTS ADDRESS THE BOARD

 

VI. CONSIDERATION AND APPROVAL OF MINUTES

District #229 Closed Meeting – August 19, 2019

District #229 Open Meeting – August 19, 2019

 

VII. CONSIDERATION AND APPROVAL OF FINANCIAL AND TREASURER'S REPORTS

A. District #229

 

VIII. CONSIDERATION AND APPROVAL OF BILLS AND PAYROLL

A. District #229

 

IX. COMMENTS FROM AUDIENCE  

 

X. REPORT OF ADMINISTRATION

Superintendent

Enrollment Numbers

2. Hog Days Parade (Band, Cheerleaders, Pom Pons)

3. FYI – Neponset Roof Life Safety Number Should Have Been #15, Not #1

4. Evidence Based Funding: F/18 Increase - $1.2 million; F/19 Increase - $950,000; F/20 Increase - $830,000

5. Kindra Callahan – CASE (Curriculum for Agricultural Science Education) Lead Teacher Administrator

6. Marc Nelson - Detained in America – Children Speak

B. Mrs. Dena Hodge-Bates – Neponset Principal

1. Jr. High Athletics

C. Mr. Atwell – KHS Athletic Director

1. KHS Athletics

 

XI. SUPERINTENDENT COMMITTEE REPORTS

 

XII. UNFINISHED BUSINESS

A. Solar Update

 

XIII. NEW BUSINESS

Consideration and Approval of EIS Administrator and Teacher Salary and Benefits Report for FY/19

B. Consideration and Approval of Coca-Cola 2 Year Contract Extension

 

XIV. ACTION FROM CLOSED SESSION 

Resignations

Spencer Gomez – Central 21st Century Program – Effective 8/15/19

Mandy Girkin – Cafeteria Worker – Effective 8/30/19

Retirements

Hires

KHS P/T Bilingual Aide

Neponset F/T Aide

Cafeteria Substitute(s)

P/T Bus Aide

Bus Driver

KHS Freshman Class Advisor

KHS Junior Class Advisor(s)

KHS Assistant Golf Coach

Irving 21st Century Teacher (Social Worker)

Neponset 21st Century Substitute Teacher

Neponset 21st Century Assistant

Belle 21st Century Student Assistant

Irving 21st Century Aide

Irving 21st Century Student Assistant

Central Jr. High 21st Century Student Assistant(s)

KHS F/T Cafeteria Worker

Leaves

1. Keyla Arroyo Nieves – Maternity Leave – Approximate Due Date of 3/24/20

Long Term Sub

Transfers

1. Central Cafeteria Worker – From 6.5 hours to 7 hours per day

2. Cafeteria Substitute to F/T Central Cafeteria Worker – 6.5 hours per day

3. To Be Determined

Volunteers

Belle

KHS Fall Play

Central

Renewal/Non-Renewal of Stipend Positions

Other Action Arising From Closed Session

To Be Determined

 

XV. COMMENTS FROM VISITORS AND BOARD OF EDUCATION

 

XVI. ADJOURNMENT

 

* All hires are contingent upon hires obtaining appropriate certification and qualifications prior to beginning job.

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Have You Heard of the Night Witches of World War 2?

The Night Witches of World War 2 is a fascinating piece of history. Women pilots in Russia flying bombing missions against the Germans is a story that, for many, has been lost to history. Author Brooks Carver aims to change that with his latest book "Daughters of the Steppes: The Night Witches of World War 2." Brooks Carver will discuss, sell and sign his new book at the Kewanee Public Library on Wednesday, September 18th as Sarah Billiet from the Kewanee Public Library explains... 

Sara Billiet was our guest on Tuned In on Thursday. You can hear our entire conversation with Sara in our Tuned In Podcast by clicking here for our brand new podcast page at RegionalDailyNews.com. Be sure to subscribe so you can know when new episodes of Tuned In are posted. 

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Governor Pritzker Wants to Address Vaping in Illinois

Vaping recently has been linked to severe respiratory illnesses all over the country and here in Illinois. It’s something Governor JB Pritzker wants to address. Pritzker says it's a huge issue, especially after Illinois officials reported in August a person died from vaping. The governor says he's gathered together health experts from around the state.

Pritzker says he's seen firsthand the effect vaping has on kids.

The Trump administration Wednesday announced it plans to ban flavored e-cigarettes.

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USDA Lowers Expectations for Soybean and Corn Production

The United State Department of Agriculture is lowering their projections for corn and soybean production for 2019. The growing season has been a difficult one having started late due to heavy rain and flooding across the midwest and then struggling to catch up amid a late summer dry spell. Reporter Kim Howard has more on USDA Predictions... 

 

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Rebuilding Together Henry County Seeking Kewanee Volunteers September 21st

Rebuilding Together Henry County returns to Kewanee for a workday on Saturday, September 21st. Sarah Snyder from Rebuilding Together Henry County was our guest on People to People on Thursday and gave everyone a quick reminder of what Rebuilding Together Henry County is all about... 

Rebuilding Together Henry County will be working on improvements at three locations in Kewanee on September 21st and there is a need for volunteers, especially skilled volunteers, to turn our and put their skills to use...

Volunteers on Saturday, September 21st will meet at Windmont Park at 7:30 Am to get assigned to a work site and gather needed supplies. Lunch is being provided by local restaurants and will be served at one of the work sites where all the volunteers will gather. You can simply show up on September 21st or, preferably, you could register ahead of time by going to this link via the Rebuilding Together Henry County Facebook page. The addresses where workers will be helping out include 417 North East Street, 337 Payson Street and 1129 Rockwell. 

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Antique Engine and Tractor Working Farm Show Starts Today

The 58th Annual Antique Engine and Tractor Working Farm Show starts today on 50 acres of land just outside of Geneseo. The cost to attend as Jim Gradert explains is $5.00 for a day or $10.00 for the weekend. Jim also notes in this clip that the event is accessible for this who have trouble getting around and need a little extra help... 

The Antique Engine and Tractor Working Farm Show gets underwat today and is located at 13451 IL Hwy 92 Geneseo.

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Do You Have a Life Insurance Payout You Aren't Aware of? You Can Find Out

The Illinois Department of Insurance is working with families across Illinois to determine whether or not they may have a life insurance payout that they are not aware of. The Department of Insurance has a web tool that allows consumers to search and see if they have an insurance policy that they were not aware of that could entitle them to a payout. Reporter Kim Howard has more... 

 

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Illinois Department of Revenue Reminding Parents to Keep Your Receipts

The Illinois Department of Revenue is offering tips for parents this school year, be sure to keep your receipts and keep track of what may be eligible for an education expense tax credit. Reporter Kim Howard in Springfield spoke with representatives of Illinois Department of Revenue about the kinds of things parents may have paid for that may qualify under the tax credit... 

 

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Illinois Residents Taxed Higher than Residents of Most Other States

It will surprise no one to learn that with the 2017 increase in the flat tax rate, the State of Illinois created a tax burden, per taxpayer, that is higher than most other states. Numbers from the Taxpayers Federation of Illinois and their new Illinois Chartbook indicate that the per taxpayer percentage of Illinois incomes ranks Illinois almost at the top of the tax burden of any state in the nation. Reporter Cole Lauterbach has more... 

 

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Newly Announced Ban on Flavored Vaping Products Could Create Black Market

Now that the FDA has stepped forward to ban flavored vaping products, concerns are rising regarding a new and even more unsafe black market for the popular vaping products. A more significant concern however has arisen among small business owners, those who went into the retail vaping industry and thrived on the sale of flavored vaping products. Reporter Greg Bishop has more... 

 

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Donna Irvin Inducted to Black Hawk College Wall of Fame

On September 7th in a ceremony at Jumer's Casino Rock Island, Black Hawk College Equine Professor Emirita Donna Irvin was inducted into the Black Hawk College Wall of Fame. During her 27 years as a faculty member and equestrian coach, Donna and her colleagues grew the equine program from seven students and 30 horse stalls in 1990, to 60 students and nearly 100 horse stalls in the most recent expansion completed this year. She started the BHC equestrian team in 1998, after the college joined the Intercollegiate Horse Show Association, eventually growing her competitive teams to 55 students with 16 Regional Championships, three Semifinal Championships, and more than 25 National and Reserve National riders. In honor of Donna Irvin, the Black Hawk College Foundation has announced the establishment of the Donna Irvin Equine Scholarship.

 

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Governor of Florida Coming to Illinois to Bag Businesses

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis is not kidding around when he says he is coming to Illinois to 'bag' businesses. DeSantis is telling anyone who will listen that his trip to Illinois is about convincing businesses in the tough current climate for business in the state of Illinois to come to Florida instead. Reporter Cole Lauterbach has more... 

 

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Interest Groups Readying to Launch Salvo of Ads in Debate Over Progressive Tax

Interest groups on both sides of the debate over the Progressive Tax are set to launch a salvo of advertising for and against the possible change from a Flat Tax to a Progressive Tax in Illinois. The Governor's plan to change the state income tax to a so-called Progressive tax will be on the ballot in November of 2020 but the debate is soon to begin on the airwaves. Reporter Greg Bishop has more...

 

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Illinois Supreme Court to Rule on FOID Card Challenge

The Illinois Supreme Court is set to rule on a case that could have wide ranging impact on the overall legality of the Illinois Firearm Owners Identification act. A case in which an elderly woman was charged with having a weapon without a FOID card led to the legal challenge backed by several gun rights organizations. Reporter Greg Bishop has more... 

 

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Kewanee Mayor Exploring Solar Energy Options for the City

Energy costs for City owned properties are a consistent budget concern for every city and the City of Kewanee is no different. That is what is driving Mayor Gary Moore to explore options for how the City of Kewanee can save on energy. One option the Mayor promised to explore when he was candidate Gary Moore was solar energy and at Monday night's Kewanee City Council Meeting the Mayor stated that he was making progress in exploring options for solar energy. We spoke to the Mayor on WKEI on Tuesday and talked about solar energy and saving the City of Kewanee money on energy costs...

The Mayor is looking at many solar options and has received help from Kevin Yepsen, President and Chairman of the Board of Galva Investment Inc, the holding company of Community State Bank, who has taken a keen interest in bringing solar energy interests to Henry County...

You can hear the entirety of our conversation with Kewanee Mayor Gary Moore in our People to People Podcast linked here. Stream or download our People to People interviews and subscribe to the page so you know when new episodes are posted. 

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Henry County Farm Bureau Market Outlook Seminar Tonight

Good advice is needed more than ever for navigating this harvest season and the Henry County Farm Bureau is here to help with their Market Outlook Seminar happening tonight at Lavender Crest Winery. Mike North will be the featured speaker at the event which gets underway at 6:15 Pm. North is a long time farm broadcaster and analyst with Commodity Risk Management says Katie Laleman from the Henry County Farm Bureau... 

Katie was our guest on Tuned In on Wednesday and you can hear the entirety of our interview with Katie on our Tuned In podcast page linked here. Limited space is still available if you would like to attend tonight at Lavender Crest Winery in Colona. Contact the Henry County Farm Bureau at (309) 937-2411 for more information or to reserve a space. 

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Fall Garden Veggies Should Be Planted Now

If you are hoping for a fall harvest with things like lettuce, kale, spinach, and other leafy greens, now is the time to throw those in the ground. If you act quickly, you could get a fast turnaround for a decent harvest during the fall months. Master Gardener at the University of Illinois Extension Office, Candace Hart says you can also throw some root crops into the mix.

According to Hart, advanced gardeners will create a greenhouse effect and extend the life of their garden. Otherwise, things are at the mercy of the first frost of the fall.

If you had to bring any trees down or are looking to add trees to your property, Hart says this is also a really good time to get those in the ground.

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Survey Shows People Want More Financial Literacy Taught at High School and College Level

Financial literacy will always be a continuing education matter. Just ask Joe Buhrmann. He serves as Manager of Financial Planning Support at COUNTRY Financial. And a survey they just conducted shows that respondents want more financial literacy taught at the high school and college levels.


Every other month COUNTRY conducts surveys of approximately 1,000 U.S. residents. Subjects such as financing, investing, budgeting, debt and insurance are addressed.

 

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Extension Assisting With More Hemp Education for Farmers

Farmers who have considered growing hemp as a cash crop but are unaware of the best practices have an opportunity to learn from someone who's been at it for a few years now. There will be a CBD Hemp Field Day at American Hemp Research in Roseville and CEO Andy Huston says that his company's objective is to assist farmers with getting started in hemp production.

He says that the hemp field day will help interested parties get a better understanding of how producers could benefit from a crop that he says could be "huge" for rural America.


The field day is a collaboration between the Illinois Extension and Huston's company.
Also speaking at the field day will be Extension Educator Phillip Alberti, who'll also talk about the potential new cash crop for producers in Illinois.

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Senator Durbin Applauds FDA Move to Ban Flavored Vapes

After calling for stronger controls over vaping products this week US Senator Dick Durbin is gratified that the FDA finally acted to ban all flavored e-cigarettes. The ban comes as hospitalizations are spiking after the use of vaping products. Durbin says kids were clearly being targeted by e-cig companies.

The vape companies can, next year, come back to the FDA and try to make their case that the flavors are good for the public health

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Antique Engine and Tractor Working Farm Show this Weekend

The 58th Annual Antique Engine and Tractor Working Farm Show is this weekend in Geneseo. Recently we were joined by Jim Gradert and Phil Jordan, members of the organizing committee for the AETA and we ask Jim why he felt the Antique Engine and Tractor Working Farm Show remains so popular after 50 plus years... 

Innovation is also part of the appeal of the Antique Engine and Tractor Working Farm Show. Though celebrating and demonstrating the past is the centerpiece of the show, evolving and bringing something new year after year is part of what keeps bringing people back to the AETA. This year, change is coming to the Blacksmith Shop at the AETA where Blacksmith and History Channel personality Trenton Tye who will be signing his book at the event... 

Over 50 acres of working displays will be part of the Antique Engine and Tractor Working Farm Show at located at 13451 IL Hwy 92 Geneseo. Check out the farm show book, linked here, for more of this weekend's remarkable displays. 

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Packets Now Available for Those Running for Office in Henry County in 2020

Henry County Clerk Barb Link has announced that packets for those running for office in Henry County in 2020 are now available. Candidates looking to be on the ballot for offices to be contended in the March 17th, 2020 Primary election, can now pick up their petition packet at the oiffice of the County Clerk at the Henry County Courthouse in Cambridge. Candidates can also pick up their packet online at HenryCty.com. If you have any questions, contact Henry County Clerk Barb Link at 309-937-3482. 

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Next Kewanee City Wide Clean Up Announced for October

The next Kewanee City-Wide Clean Up has been announced for October. According to information provided by the City of Kewanee, the next City Wide Clean Up will take place on Saturday, October 19th from 7 Am to 12 Noon. The following items WILL NOT be accepted: Electronic items, Toxic materials, Liquid paint, Cleaning solvents, Motor oil, Batteries, Liquid items of any sort, Tires, Landscape waste, Slate siding, Shingles, Concrete, Brick, Masonry, Railroad ties, Construction or Demolition materials, Roofing material. 

 

The following items WILL be accepted: Mattresses, Furniture, Yard Furniture, Water Heaters, Appliances, Metal junk items, Scrap Wood, Paint with lids REMOVED (MUST BE DRIED use cat litter), Carpet, Toilets, other misc junk and trash items that maybe cluttering your yard or you’ve had stashed behind the garage or yard shed that you’ve been putting off taking to the transfer station. 

 

How to enter the Clean Up site: Enter on to Elliott St. from West Prospect St. Drive South on Elliott St. and turn West on West Division St. Have Utility Bill and ID ready. Your ID will be checked at the South side of the parking lot. If you do not have the required Utility Bill and ID, you will be directed in a safe direction out of the City Wide Clean-up area. Once your ID is verified you will be directed in to the Clean-up area lot to empty your vehicle into a trash container. You will then be directed to exit the parking lot and West down Pine St. DO NOT ENTER FROM PINE ST. 

 

 

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Christian Laingen Named Abilities Plus Achiever of the Month for August

Congratulations to Christian Laingen on being named Abilities Plus Achiever of the Month for the month of August. Christian was chosen for this honor because of his friendly nature and good efforts on assigned tasks. He was also chosen for his volunteer efforts at the Geneseo Community Center. In his free time Christian enjoys watching Nascar, the Chicago Blackhawks, the Green Bay Packers and the Chicago Bears. Congratulations Christian from your friends at Regional Media. 

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City of Kewanee Announces Franklin Street Road Closure26

The City of Kewanee has announced a road closure for a portion of Franklin Street on Thursday, September 12th. According to the release from the Kewanee Public Works Department, the road closure will be in place beginning Friday morning at 7:00 Am in the area of the 500 Block of Franklin Street. The street is being closed in this area of sewer repairs. Residents are asked to avoid this area if possible, and to take caution if driving near the work zone area. If you have any questions regarding this road closure you may contact the Kewanee Public Works Department at 309-852-2611. 

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Trading Post Wednesday

The Trading Post is back weekday mornings at 8:20 Am on WKEI. Tune in at 8:20 and call in when you have something for sale or if you need something and want people to call you. If you have a yard sale, call 309-853-4473 between 8:20 Am and 8:30 Am on WKEI. Below are today's calls to the All New Trading Post on WKEI... 

 

 

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Training for So Called Budtenders Beginning this Month in Illinois

Training for what the state of Illinois are calling 'Budtenders' is getting underway this month, getting ahead of the legalization of recreational cannabis on January 1st of 2020. According to state regulators, some 26 businesses in the state of Illinois have now been certified to provide training for 'Budtenders.' One of those businesses is Hempstaff.com which was among the first to announce classes for Budtenders for this month, beginning September 16th in Southern Illinois near St. Louis and continuing September 21st in Chicago. A list of 26 companies certified to provide Budtender training can be found here. Budtenders will be trained and certified in identifying impairment, knowing the physiological effects of cannabis, security measures and health concerns related to cannabis consumption. Training for Budtenders in Illinois must be completed by November 1st to be able to work as of January 1st of 2020. 

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Kewanee Mayor Addresses Concerns about Uncapped Well at Kewanee Boiler Shop

On Monday night, Kewanee City Council member Mike Yaklich requested further information regarding the ongoing issues at the Kewanee Boiler Shop property. Most recent information has the City of Kewanee seeking grants to help with the clean up of the area, something that Mr Yaklich stated that he felt the owner of the property should have to take care of on their own. In an interview with WKEI on Tuesday, Kewanee Mayor Gary Moore addressed the situation wherein the alleged owners of the property, Womack Wrecking have claimed that they no longer own the property... 

Of significant concern to the City of Kewanee as well as the Henry and Stark County Health Department is a well on the property. The well is linked to the Kewanee water supply and was, by law, required to remain capped. However, at some point during the scrapping of the property by then owners, Womack Wrecking, the cap on the well was removed and allegedly sold as scrapped, leaving the well exposed. 

The situation with the well on the Boiler Shop Property has led some to worry for the Kewanee Water Supply due to the well being exposed without a cap. Mayor Moore tells WKEI that this is a concern but not an immediate one and not one that should cause any significant alarm... 

The Henry and Stark County Health Department is monitoring the site for any potential contamination. The City of Kewanee is working closely with the Health Department as well as the Illinois EPA. Attempts to contact Womack Wrecking regarding the property have not been successful as of this writing. 

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New Illinois State climatologist Talks Drought

The new Illinois State Climatologist, Trent Ford, is on the job and he’s talking drought.


Hydroclimatologist Dr. Trent Ford is the current Illinois State Climatologist. A native of Roanoke, Illinois, Ford previously was an assistant professor in the Department of Geography and Environmental Resources at Southern Illinois University Carbondale. Contact the State Climatologist’s office via email at statecli@isws.illinois.edu or via phone at  (217) 333-0729.

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President Trump Says USMCA Better for Farmers

A revised trade agreement between the US, Mexico and Canada hasn’t been ratified by Congress. President Donald Trump says farmers will see improved market access once Congress acts.

The USMCA agreement needs to be called to the floor of the US House for a vote by Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi.

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Wyoming Police Looking to Hire New Full Time Office

The Wyoming, Illinois Police Department is looking to hire a new full time officer. According to a post on the Wyoming PD Facebook page, applications are being accepted now for the position which has a starting salary over $35,000. Full time applicants must have certified part time experience and will be subject to a background check. Applicants must live in Wyoming within 1 year of accepting the position and will be the subject of a 2 year contract if training is required. The City of Wyoming offers insurance and a retirement program. If you or someone you know is interested in this position as a full time officer with the Wyoming Police Department, contact Mark James at Wyoming City Hall by calling 309-695-4831. 

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WKEI Facebook Page to Broadcast Kewanee League of Women Voters Census Information Meeting

WKEI has agreed to broadcast the Kewanee League of Women Voter's Census Information Meeting on September 17th. The event will be broadcast via the WKEI RegionalDailyNews.com Facebook page and will be archived on that page for those who cannot watch live. The Kewanee League of Women Voter's Census Information Meeting will be held at 7 Pm at the Kewanee Public Library and will feature speaker Anita Banerji from the group Forefront Illinois. Forefront is leading Illinois Census efforts through its Democracy Initiative which seeks to enlist, educate, and train hundreds of nonprofit leaders and legislators across Illinois to encourage their constituents to participate in the 2020 census. The event is free and open to anyone who wants to know more about the 2020 census. Ms Banerji 

will outline how the census will be conducted and the timeline.  She will tell how organizations and individuals in the community can assist in achieving a complete count and give resources for information and funding of these efforts. You can read more at myforefront.org and ilcountmein2020.org. The WKEI Facebook broadcast will get underway at 7 Pm on September 17th. 

 

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Three Items on the Agenda for the Next Kewanee Planning and Zoning Commission Meeting

Three items will be on the agenda at the next Kewanee Planning and Zoning Commission Meeting. The meeting, set for Kewanee City Hall in Council chambers, will begin at 7 Pm on Wednesday, September 18th. On the agenda for that night are three separate requests. Each will be heard and voted upon with the votes serving as the Commission's recommendation to the Kewanee City Council who will have the final say. 

 

426 Rockwell St., Frank & Toni Whitcher, variance to the allowed materials for a fence in a residential district.

 

1010 E. 10th St., Ken Fleming, variance to the side yard setback for an accessory structure.

 

1005 Terry Ave., Arthur & Dorothy Johnson, variance to the side yard setback for an accessory structure.

 

Meetings of the Planning and Zoning Commission are open to anyone who would like to attend. 

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Illinois State Police District 7 Releases List of DUI Arrests for the Month of August

Illinois State Police District 7, which covers portions of Rock Island, Henry and Knox County, have released their monthly list of people who were arrested and charged with DUI by county in the month of August. All told, in District 7 alone, 16 drivers were arrested and charged with DUI by the Illinois State Police... 

 

Rock Island County: 
• Daniel L. Hunter, M, 19, Moline, IL. 
• David Ngoyi, M, 35, Syracuse, NY. 
• Jose H. Ledesma, M, 22, Rock Island, IL. 
• Austin G. Yeager, M, 26, East Moline, IL. 
• Daniel E. Boyd, M, 74, Maquoketa, IA. 
• Greg P. Orendorff, M, 47, Coal Valley, IL. 
• Jordan A. Atwater, M, 25, East Moline, IL. 


Knox County: 
• Juan C Ramero-Dimas, M, 40, Charlotte, IA 
• Phyllis E. Lewis, F, 45, Rock Island, IL. 
• Edward Angulo, M, 21, Monmouth, IL. 
• David W. Lytle, M, 31, Peoria, IL. 
• Michael A. Lines Jr., M, Yates City, IL. 


Henry County: 
• Eric A. Anderson, M, 51, Galva, IL. 
• Johnnal E. Kelleher, M, 30, Cicero, IL. 
• German Armando Gramajos Barrios, M, 38, Conesville, IA. 
• Luke R. Diaz, M, 25, Davenport, IA. 


(The above-mentioned individuals have been charged with a crime; however, those charged with a crime are presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.) 

 

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Kewanee Police to Hold Bike Sale September 13th

The Kewanee Police will be selling excess bikes that have gone unclaimed by owners at a sale later this week. According to a release from Kewanee Police Chief Troy Ainley, bikes recovered by the Kewanee Police Department over the last 12 months that have gone unclaimed will be for sale on Friday, September 13th at the Kewanee Sale Barn. The bikes are in varying condition from operable to inoperable. There is no word in the release as to exactly what time the sale will begin or how long it will last. The sale will be held on Friday, September 13th at the Kewanee Sale Barn and anyone can come and purchase any of the bikes. 

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Kewanee Door Fence Owner Applies for Variance, Request to Be Heard Next Month

The door fence will remain for now and the owner will be allowed to repair areas of the fence while awaiting a ruling from the Kewanee Planning and Zoning Commission next month. According to homeowner Brenda Weston, who erected the controversial door fence at her home at 700 South Main Street, a variance has been requested and paperwork has been filed. The next step is a meeting in front of the Kewanee Planning and Zoning Commission which is scheduled for late October. The meeting is open to the public and Brenda is asking those who support the fence to come to that meeting to show support. Regardiess of how the Planning and Zoning Commission votes, the issue will then go before the Kewanee City Council sometime in late October where the Council will have the final say as to whether the fence stays or goes. WKEI spoke with Mayor Gary Moore about the Door Fence on the most recent edition of People to People... 

 

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Trading Post Tuesday

The Trading Post is back weekday mornings at 8:20 Am on WKEI. Tune in at 8:20 and call in when you have something for sale or if you need something and want people to call you. If you have a yard sale, call 309-853-4473 between 8:20 Am and 8:30 Am on WKEI. Below are today's calls to the All New Trading Post on WKEI... 

 

 

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OSF Breedloves Shoe Fair this Friday

Breedloves Sporting Goods always has incredible deals for great shoes but with their partnership with OSF Saint Luke Medical Center you will be able to purchase your favorite pair of shoes and help raise money for OSF Capital and Technological improvements. Carrie Boelens from OSF Saint Luke Medical Center details the OSF and Breedloves Shoe Sale this Friday which is open to anyone, not just hospital staff... 


Again, the funds raised from the sale of shoes provided by Breedloves will go toward capital and technological improvements at OSF Saint Luke Medical Center. Carrie Boelens was our guest on Tuned In on Monday and you can hear our entire conversation with Carrie in our Tuned In Podcast linked here. Be sure to subscribe to the Tuned In Podcast so you know whenever there is a new episode of Tuned In available. 

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Kewanee City Council Meeting Wrap-Up 09-09-19

The Kewanee City Council met on Monday night with a small agenda and held a relatively short meeting. On the consent agenda, the City Council approved a small street closure in front of #25 Edgewood Drive after the homeowners produced a document with numerous signatures indicating that neighbors were okay with the temporary inconvenience on October 5th from 4 Pm to 9 Pm. Also approved on the Consent Agenda was the date for Goodfellows Christmas Basket Tag Days which will take place on the weekend of October 18th and 19th. The final consent agenda item was the Kiwanis Peanut Day which will take place October 4th and 5th. 

From there, it was on to the regular agenda where the Council approved a pair of contracts with M.E.R.C Construction out of Wyoming. The first contract will have M.E.R.C repairing the Culvert in the 100 Block of Fischer Avenue. The other contract will have M.E.R.C Construction taking on work to repair Kewanee sidewalks. M.E.R.C was selected because the company came in with the lowest of the bids that came in for the project. 

The final agenda item had Jill Milroy from the YMCA of Kewanee address the council to ask that the city waive the sewer fee for the YMCA related to the draining and refilling of the pool at the YMCA... 

Once it was determined that the YMCA of Kewanee disposed of the pool water via the Storm Sewer and not the sanitation sewer, the council voted 5 to 0 in favor of waiving the sewer fee. Jill Milroy, Executive Director of the YMCA of Kewanee told WKEI after the meeting that the waiving of the fee will save the YMCA of Kewanee something in the range of $350 in sewer fees. 

In council communications, Council member Steve Faber and Council member Mike Komnick praised the Hog Days Weekend and had particular praise for the work of Kewanee Police who had a strong presence throughout the weekend. Council member Mike Yaklich then raised an issue regarding the painting of streets in the downtown area prior to Kewanee Hog Days, streets that were subsequently paved over after having been painted. 

City Manager Gary Bradley answered stating that it came down to a miscommunication among City staff. 

Councilman Yaklich then asked about the progress with cleaning up the Boiler Shop property. In this week's City Council packet it was mentioned that the City of Kewanee is applying for Brownfield Grants to help with the clean-up of the Boiler Shop property. Brownfields are abandoned or under-used industrial and commercial properties with actual or perceived contamination and an active potential or redevelopment.The Illinois Environmental Protection Agency Remedial Project Management Section (RPMS) manages the brownfields loan programs and offers technical support to communities through the services of its Brownfields Representatives. But Councilman Yaklich specifically wanted to know whether or not the owner of the Boiler Shop property had been contacted in order to get the owner to pay for needed repairs, upkeep and associated costs at the site. Ownership of the Boiler Shop property is currently in dispute as Womack Wrecking has been listed as the owners of the property since purchasing it at auction in 2017 but the owners of Womack Wrecking claim that they soid the property in May of 2019.Regardless, City Manager Gary Bradley told Mr Yaklich ahd the rest of the council that he would be in touch with those involved in the dispute on Tuesday including the Henry County Health Department who have spearheaded the effort to get the area cleaned up and especially dealt with a well on the property where a cap had been removed despite Illinois EPA standards that required the cap to remain in place. 

Finally, Mr Yaklich asked City Attorney Justin Raver to determine whether it was possible for the City Council to meet with representatives of Bock Inc in an Executive Session, that is a private session of the City Council. The City Attorney concluded that such a meeting would violate the state of Illinois Open Meetings Act. Bock Inc representatives have been reluctant to come before the Kewanee City Council preferring to meet privately and individually with members of the Council. 

Kewanee Mayor Gary Moore, in his Council Communications stated his commitment to Solar Energy and stated that he was speaking with Sunpin Solar, among others, about ways in which Solar Energy could save the City of Kewanee money on energy costs. Mayor Gary Moore will be our guest on People to People this morning at 9:35 Am on WKEI. 

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Variance to Be Requested for Kewanee Door Fence

Brenda Moon Weston, the owner of the home at 700 South Main Street who was erecting a fence made from recycled doors has announced that she will seek a variance from the City of Kewanee to keep that fence and complete its construction. Weston made the announcement on Facebook where she has been seeking support from the public to convince the City of Kewanee to let her complete and keep the unique fence that some have equated to a work of art and others have called an eye sore. According to Weston, she will be meeting with Kewanee Community Development Director Keith Edwards and will fill out needed paperwork to request a variance. The request will go before the Kewanee Planning and Zoning Commission which meets on the 4th Thursday of the month. The Zoning Commission will hear the request and a make a recommendation that will then go to the Kewanee City Council who will have the final say on whether the fence stays or goes. 

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How Does Pension Reform Effect Population Loss in Illinois

Is Illinois pension debt causing people to leave the state of Illinois? That's the contention of the Illinois Civic Federation and that group's President Lawrence Msall who expressed this idea during panel discussion on stopping population decline in the state of Illinois. Reporter Cole Lauterbach has more on how pension reform can affect population loss... 

 

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How Does Pension Reform Effect Population Loss in Illinois

Is Illinois pension debt causing people to leave the state of Illinois? That's the contention of the Illinois Civic Federation and that group's President Lawrence Msall who expressed this idea during panel discussion on stopping population decline in the state of Illinois. Reporter Cole Lauterbach has more on how pension reform can affect population loss... 

 

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Judge Recuses Herself In Illinois Rifle Association Gun Dealers Lawsuit

The judge set to hear a lawsuit holding up the gun dealer certification act has recused herself, causing a delay in the ongoing battle between gun rights activists and the state of Illinois. The Illinois Rifle Association filed the lawsuit on behalf of gun dealers in the state of Illinois who face significant new licensing fees once the law is fully in place. Reporter Greg Bishop has more... 

 

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Uncomfortable Questions Could Save Someone's Life

A simple conversation could save a life - that's just one of the messages mental-health organizations are hoping to drive home on World Suicide Prevention Day. Illinois' suicide rate rose nearly 23% between 2008 and 2016. Steve Moore, co-chair at the Illinois chapter of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, explained social stigma still prevents people from seeking help. That's why he said it's crucial to discreetly reach out to loved ones who might be struggling and ask the question directly.

"'Are you considering suicide? Have you attempted before?' Those are the kind of things that are entirely appropriate to ask," Moore said. "The consequences of being wrong: just a mild, slight insult. Whereas the consequence of not asking and they were considering it is absolutely devastating."

If the answer is "yes," Moore said the next step is to stay with them and help connect them to resources that can help. In Illinois, men are 3-4 times more likely than women to die from suicide, and suicide is the third leading cause of death for people ages 15-34.

Anyone in crisis is encouraged to text 4-HOPE to 741-741. Moore said there are many myths surrounding suicide, including the notion that it isn't preventable.

"Ninety percent of suicides are people that have had some sort of a mental-health condition. And if we can treat those mental-health conditions, than we can prevent those suicides," he said.

There is no single cause for suicide, but experts say depression, anxiety and substance-use problems can increase the risk when unaddressed. Moore said he wants those who are struggling to know there is hope.

"The message is that you're not alone, that you should not be ashamed and that you should seek help," he said.

Assistance also is available through the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-723-TALK.

September is National Suicide Prevention Month. National Suicide Prevention Week runs through Saturday.

 

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Convenience Store Lobbyists Concerned About Profitability Due to Minimum Wage Increase

A coalition of lobbyists for the convenience store industry is expressing grave concern as to whether convenience stores will remain profitable as the state minimum wage begins to rise in 2020. Reporter Greg Bishop spoke to the Executive Director of the Illinois Association of Convenience Stores for this report about the angst among convenience store owners. 

 

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2019 Summer Temperatures Shaping Up To Be Average

August came in a few degrees below normal but the National Weather Service says the summer is in line to be average for temperatures. Chris Miller from the NWS says a wet spring can lead to a cooler than normal summer, but for now, things are shaping up to be average for temperatures.

For the year, things are a little cooler than normal because of how cold the winter was.

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Senator Durbin Calling for Vape Ban

One of Illinois Senators wants vaping and falvored vape products to be banned. Democrat Dick Durbin says that those items are focused directly at children and they are paying a deadly price for marketing efforts of Jull and others.

Right now the CDC says there have been five deaths linked to vaping this year in the US.

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Crop Remains Way Behind Average Maturity

Millions of acres of corn and soybeans plants remain well behind there typical rates of maturity. For a corn plant to produce proper kernels of corn that can be harvested and sold to be turned into animal feed, ethanol, or any number of products those plants much reach a stage referred too as black layer. And right now there aren’t many acres that have done that. USDA Crop Statistician Mark Schleusener says that only small percentage has done that compared to prior years.

Illinois soybeans are also well behind typical maturity stages, a cold and wet spring delayed planting for many farmers in Illinois leading to a historically slow to mature crop.

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Kewanee Door Fence Issue Came From a Citizen Complaint, Not From City of Kewanee

The complaint that led the City of Kewanee to halt construction of a resident's fence made of recycled doors, came from a fellow Kewanee resident and not from City of Kewanee staff. WKEI spoke with Community Development Director Keith Edwards who confirmed to WKEI that the complaint was made by a citizen which led to his department investigating the fence and determining that the fence does indeed violate existing city ordinance regarding fencing. The City of Kewanee ordinance related to fencing requires that materials used in fencing must meet specific standards that include: Wood Fencing that was designed, milled and treated as such to be used for fencing purposes. Stone, Brick, Wrought Iron and Vinyl and Chain Link are also acceptable forms of fencing. The City of Kewanee, specifically City Code Enforcement had no other option but to ask that construction of the fence at 700 South Main Street be halted and that the fence be taken down. Homeowner Brend Weston has confirmed to WKEI that she did not seek a variance for the door fence before putting it up. The City of Kewanee can create a variance for this fence but it requires a filing by the homeowner for a variance which would then be heard by the City of Kewanee Zoning Commission. Once the Zoning Board ruled on the fence that vote would become a recommendation to the Kewanee City Council which would have the option to grant or not grant the variance regardless of the recommendation of the Zoning Board. In the end, as long as the homeowner follows those steps, the City of Kewanee may allow the fence to stay but until those steps are followed, City Code Enforcement requires City Employees to ask that the fence construction be stopped and ask that the fence be removed. 

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Representative Bustos Calls on President Trump to Ease Burden on Farmers in Trade War

In an appearance on WKEI's People to People program last Friday, Congresswoman Cheri Bustos discussed President Trump's trade policy and called on the President to end the trade war and ease the burden that has been placed on American farmers by the ongoing issues with China and other aspects of American trade... 

You can hear the entirety of our conversation with Congresswoman Cheri Bustos on our People to People Podcast page linked here. While you're there, be sure to subscribe so you can know when new episodes of People to People are uploaded at RegionalDailyNews.com. 

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September is National Preparedness Month

September is National Preparedness Month and local weather officials are providing helpful tips for being prepared in Illinois. This time of the year doesn't provide much excitement in central Illinois but Chris Miller at the National Weather Service in Lincoln says it is always helpful to have an updated emergency kit.

Just because this time of year isn't peak time for winter storms or tornado activity, Miller says it doesn't mean something can't pop up. He says places like Taylorville and Washington are prime examples of severe weather popping up when we least expect it.

A visit to the National Weather Service website can get you more information. Visit weather.gov and at the bottom of the page, you'll find information on weather preparedness.

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City of Kewanee Announces Boil Order and Water Shutoff Monday

The City of Kewanee Water Department has scheduled a water shut off with a boil order to follow.  Work is scheduled to begin Monday 9/9/19 for a City water main repairs. Beginning at 8:00 a.m. Monday 9/9/19, 226 and 306 North Tremont Street will be off.  On Tuesday, 9/10/19, the 100 block of West Second Street will be off.  Water is expected to be on before noon both days, with a boil order to follow. The City of Kewanee Water Department will also notify the businesses affected this week.

Any residents, whose water has been shut off during this repair, will be under a boil order for 48 – 72 hours following the restoration of water service. Residents in these areas may experience low pressure, rusty water, or no water.  If the water has been turned off, take precautions when using water until the water runs clean.  Only flush the system by running cold water, running hot water may draw rust into the water heater.

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Better Business Bureau Urges Caution When Donating to Hurricane Charities Online

And with fundraising efforts come scam artists, according to the Better Business Bureau.

Investigator Don O'Brien says before you donate, check to see if the charity already has "boots on the ground."

O'Brien says social media has made it easier for scammers to get your money. He says be wary of donation seekers utilizing media such as Twitter or Facebook.

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Kewanee Fire Department to Once Again Fill the Boot for MDA

The Kewanee Fire Department will once again be taking to the streets in the month of September to Fill the Boot for MDA. The Fill the Boot campaign for MDA is now in its 65th year of existence and the Kewanee Fire Department will once again be participating. Those wishing to help Fill the Boot for MDA can donate to Kewanee Firefighters on Friday, September 27th from 3 Pm to 6 Pm. That day, Firefighters will be stationed in the area of Tenney and McClure Street at the stop light, collecting donatoions from cars waiting at the intersection. Change or folding money are each an acceptable donation to help fill the boot and all of the proceeds go to the Muscular Dystrophy Association. Signs and standard safety precautions will be in place at the intersection of McClure and Tenney Street from 3 Pm to 6 Pm on September 27th to ensure you can safely donate and help Fill the Boot. 

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Agenda for Tonight's Kewanee City Council Meeting 09-09-19

The Kewanee City Council meets tonight at 7 Pm at Kewanee City Hall. The meeting will be broadcast live on our WKEI RegionalDailyNews.com Facebook page starting at 7 Pm. Below is the agenda for tonight's meeting... 

 

1. Call to Order
2. Roll Call
3. Pledge of Allegiance
4. Consent Agenda
a. Approval of Minutes
b. Payroll
c. Staff Reports
d. Road closure in front of #25 Edgewood Dr. for a small block party of approximately 30
people.
e. Tag day requested by Good Fellow’s Christmas Basket Club for the dates of October
18-19 from 9am-5pm.
f. Kiwanis Club of Kewanee will be having their Kiwanis Peanut Day on October 4th and
5th
5. Presentation of Bills and Claims
6. Citizen Participation
7. Business:
a) Consideration of a Resolution Authorizing to award repairs of the culvert at the 100 block of
Fischer Ave. to M.E.R.C Construction.
b) Consideration of a Resolution Authorizing an agreement with M.E.R.C. Construction Inc. of
Wyoming Illinois for the 2019 Sidewalk improvements program.
c) Consideration of a Request from the YMCA of Kewanee to waive a portion of sewer
charges.
8. Council Communications:

 

 

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Red Cross Calling for Local Blood Donation to Help in Hurricane Dorian Response

The arrival and impact of Hurricane Dorian has the Red Cross mobilizing to try to get as much donated blood as possible to meet the needs of potential storm victims. Here in Henry County, the local Red Cross has announced several blood drives with the aim of banking plenty of blood and blood types for the response to Dorian. In Kewanee alone, in the month of September, the Red Cross has 4 Blood Drives set up at 2 different locations. 

 

 

Kewanee
9/11/2019: 2 p.m. - 6 p.m., First Christian Church, 105 Dwight St.
9/23/2019: 10 a.m. - 2 p.m., Kewanee High School, 1211 East 3rd Street
9/30/2019: 2 p.m. - 6 p.m., First Christian Church, 105 Dwight St.
10/9/2019: 2 p.m. - 6 p.m., First Christian Church, 105 Dwight St.

 

Cambridge
9/26/2019: 2 p.m. - 6 p.m., St John's Vianney Church, 313 S West Street

 

Galva
10/8/2019: 1 p.m. - 6 p.m., First United Methodist Church, 214 N. W.  Second Ave

 

Hooppole
10/10/2019: 2 p.m. - 6 p.m., Hooppole Community Center, 1404 Washington St.


_______________

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Kewanee Firefighters Called to Scene of Sunday Night Vehicle Fire

Kewanee Firefighters were called to the scene of a vehicle fire on Sunday night in the area of the 700 Block of East 7th Street. According to a post by Kewanee Police, the fire occurred at approximately 8:25 Pm. Six Kewanee Firefighters responded to the scene where they found a pickup truck with a fire in the cab. Firefighters gained access to the fire by breaking the driver's side window and dousing the fire. All of the damage to the vehicle was limited to the cab of the vehicle aside from a battery cable which had to be cut. Cutting the battery cable during a vehicle fire is standard firefighting safety measure as it insures that possible fuel and fuel fumes will not ignite from a potential battery spark (that information from FireEngineering.com). No one was injured in the fire which took firefighters about 20 minutes to extinguish. It is not known at this time whether the vehicle is a total loss or not. There is also no information being released at this time as to the cause of the fire. 

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IDOT Announces I-74 Lane Closure in Henry County

The Illinois Department of Transportation has announced a lane closure for I-74 in Henry County beginning on Monday, September 9th. According to the IDOT, the lane closure will be in place in the Eastbound drive lane of I-74 from the Big X near Geneseo to Illinois Highway 81. Crews will be performing pavement patching in this area with work expected to last about 9 weeks. All lane are expected to be open on weekends and closed for work during weekdays. IDOT reminds drivers to slow down and take care when driving in construction zones. 

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Kewanee Fire Department Responds to Fire on Lake Street

On Thursday evening at approximately 5:05 Pm, Kewanee Firefighters responded to a call regarding a kitchen Fire at a residence on Lake Street. According to the Kewanee Fire Department, the blaze occurred in the kitchen of a home located at 1602 Lake Street. The fire was contained to just the kitchen area by responding firefighters though smoke damage was visible througout the home. Neither the residents of the home or firefighters were injured in the fire but firefighters were unsuccessful in reviving a dog which succumbed to smoke inhalation. Other animals in the home were rescued. All told, Kewanee Fire Fighters were on the scene of the fire for 1 hour and 5 minutes before leaving the scene to fire investigators who determined that the fire was accidental. There is no word on the total cost of the damage to the home. Kewanee Firefighters were aided at the scene by Kewanee Police Officers. 

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Illinois Bans Streaming Video While Driving

It might seem like a no-brainer but now the state of Illinois has made it official, it is now illegal to stream video while driving in the state of Illinois. State Representative Maurice West was the author of the bill which is designed to target those who watch movies, television shows or YouTube videos, among other types of streams, while operating a car. Reporter Cole Lauterbach has more... 

 

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IEMA Working on Workplace Safety and Mass Shootings

The Illinois Emergency Management Agency is hard at work laying out guidelines for preventing and responding to mass shooting. Reporter Kim Howard is in Springfield and spoke with Aurora, Illinois Police Chief Keefe Jackson whose community was rocked by a mass workplace shooting earlier this year, for this report... 

 

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New Push for Fair Maps Ahead of Next Redistricting

With new legislative maps coming to Illinois in 2021, there is a renewed push for what are called Fair Maps. Fair maps calls for a Bi-Partisan coalition to work together to create new legislative maps for the state of Illinois among other reforms. Reporter Cole Lauterbach spoke to former State Representative Peter Breen who now works as an advocate for Fair Maps Illinois for this report... 

 

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Illinois Seeing an Increase in Red Light Crashes

New numbers indicate that the state of Illinois has seen an increase, year to year in the number of crashes related to drivers not adhering to red lights. On our local police report we've seen an increase in the number of citations for Disobeying a Traffic Control Device and this appears to be a statewide trend. Reporter Scot Bertram has more... 

 

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Representative Cheri Bustos Talks Rural Green Partnership in Visit to Kewanee

Representative Cheri Bustos dropped by our WKEI Yemm Auto Group studio on Thursday afternoon for a wide ranging conversation that will air this morning, Friday, on our People to People program. Among the highlights of our conversation was a discussion of the Representative Bustos's Rural Green Partnership which brings farmers and rural America further into the conversation about climate change.... 

You can read more about Representative Bustos' Rural Green Partnership on her website, linked here. Our interview with Representative Cheri Bustos airs at 9:35 on Friday morning on WKEI and will be posted in full to our podcast page at RegionalDailyNews.com for streaming and download this weekend. 

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Geneseo Trains Planes and Automobiles This Weekend

Geneseo Trains, Planes and Automobiles is taking place this weekend in Geneseo. Events got underway on Thursday with the Stearman Fly-In and will continue today with tours of the Hennepin Canal says Zack Sullivan, Executive Director of the Geneseo Chamber of Commerce... 

Then on Saturday, the Maple City Cruisers car show arrives with those remarkable vintage cars... 

Zack Sullivan will be our guest on Tuned In on Friday, on WKEI with even more on Trains, Planes, and Automobiles. 

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Congressman Bost's Take on Wal-Mart Gun Stance

Illinois Congressman Mike Bost says Walmart's decision to stop selling virtually all ammunition and publicly request that customers not openly carrying firearms in stores - even where state laws allow it - is well within their right. The company's decision comes on the heels of a mass shooting that claimed seven lives in Odessa, Texas and follows two other back-to-back shootings last month - one of them at a Walmart store. But, he says the company's new policy doesn't address what he believes is the cause of most gun deaths in America - mental illness.

Walmart’s moves will reduce its market share of ammunition from around 20% to a range of between 6% and 9%, according to Tuesday’s announcement. About half of its more than 4,000 U.S. stores sell firearms.

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Ag Secretary Sullivan to Serve on Rural Broadband Commitee

First year Illinois Department of Agriculture director John Sullivan serving on the Broadband Advisory Council. Specifically, he is charged with a working group dealing with right of way access issues.


Sullivan was part of an audience with U.S. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue last week at the Farm Progress Show, which included state ag directors from Indiana, Iowa, Michigan and Missouri. Among the topics was improving rural broadband access.

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Broadband Working Group Starting To Examine Rollout

The Governor recently appointed a broadband advisory council prepare for the rollout of $420 million in spending to expand broadband in Illinois. The group is trying to work through many early issues that will impact how to get high speed internet to all parts of the state says Chief Technology Officer Lori Sorenson with the Department of Innovation and Technology.

Reports from the advisory council and working groups are due back to the Governor by December 31st.

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Davis Says Trump Still Feels He's Winning Trade War

Congressman Rodney Davis says by spending the month of August around farmers that he heard plenty about tariffs on farm products and the trade war with China. Davis says the President still feels that his path with China is right way to move forward.

Davis says a more immediate impact could be felt for farmers if Congress passes the new NAFTA agreement.

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Kewanee Police Investigating Early Morning Armed Robbery on East Street

Kewanee Police are seeking tips from the public as part of an investigation of an armed robbery early Thursday morning. According to a release from Kewanee Police Chief Troy Ainley, the incident occurred at approximately 2:06 Am in the area of the 600 Block of North East Street, a female victim was in her vehicle when she heard a noise at the rear of the vehicle. The victim told police the suspect in question then leaned through the open driver's side window of the vehicle brandishing a small, black handgun and demanded the victim hand over her purse. The victim complied and the suspect fled the scene on foot. The suspect was described as a black male with a slight build wearing a black hooded sweatshirt and blue jeans. Anyone with additional information concerning this incident, please contact the Kewanee Police Department at (309) 853-1911. 

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Out-Migration from Illinois Has Cost the State Billions According to New Study

Out-Migration, people leaving the state of Illinois has cost the state more than 300 billion dollars in the past 20 years. That's according to a study conducted by the financial news website Wirepoints. Reporter Cole Lauterbach spoke to the analysts at Wirepoints for this report... 

 

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New School Safety Measures Include Anonymous Tip Line and Stop the Bleed Kits

Fears over school safety in this era of mass shootings has the state of Illinois taking even more drastic steps to protect students. This week, the Illinois Emergency Management Agency held training sessions in Springfield aimed at informing educators about new innovations in place to help prevent a mass shooting and measures to help in case a mass shooting occurs. Reporter Kim Howard has this story. 

 

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Illinois Income Tax Already Quite Progressive

An examination of the Illinois Flat Tax rate by the Taxpayers Federation of Illinois, indicates that compared to other states, the tax rate in Illinois actually quite Progressive. Reporter Cole Lauterbach spoke with representatives from the Taxpayers Federation of Illinois for an explanation of the group's findings for this report... 

 

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New Bill to Offer Further Protection for Victims of Harassment and Stalking

A new bill aims to give further anonymity and protection to victims of harassment and stalking. The bill, written by State Representative Jeff Keicher of Sycamore, will allow victims of harassment or stalking who run home based businesses the ability to keep information private, information related to their identity and most importantly, their location. Report Scot Bertram has more... 

 

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Whiteside County Sheriff Warning of Seal Coating Scam

The Whiteside County Sheriff is warning folks about a new scam that has been popping recently in that county and that could spread to surrounding counties. According to the release from the Whiteside County Sheriff's Office, a service is going around and offering sealcoating services at a reduced price. However, once the job is completed, this service demands triple the agreed upon price. If you receive a visit from anyone offering sealcoating services at a reduced cost send them on their way. If you decide to have sealcoating done, be sure to get the price of the sealcoating in writing in a written quote. It is unlikely that this service that has been going door to door as part of their scam would agree to a written quote and that is a good way to know whether you are dealing with reputable dealers or scam artists. 

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Courtyard Estates to Celebrate Grandparents Day with Ice Cream Social

Sunday, September 8th is National Grandparents Day and the good folks at Courtyard Estates have a celebration planned. On Sunday, September 8th from 2 Pm to 4 Pm, Courtyard Estates in Galva is hosting an Ice Cream Social. Everyone is invited to attend and enjoy ice cream with the residents at Courtyard Estates. Enjoy a Sundae Bar with all the toppings and enter their raffle for the chance to win a prize basket. Sunday is also the kick off of National Assisted Living Week, yet another reason to celebrate on Sunday at Courtyard Estates in Galva. 

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Retired Teachers Being Called Back to Fill Needed Positions

The state of Illinois has struggled to recruit new teachers and that has led to the loosening of standards when it comes to what retired teachers are able to do in terms of returning to work while maintaining retired status that maintains retirement benefits. Roger Hawk with the Henry and Stark County Retired Teachers was our guest on Tuned In on Wednesday and talked about the changing standards and retired teachers filling needed positions as well as the benefit of having these retired teachers... 

The Henry and Stark County Retired teachers are meeting next week in Bishop Hill at 12 Noon and reservations need to be turned in as soon as possible... 

The presentation for the Retired teachers next week will feature the brilliant Brian Fox Ellis playing the role of John Deere and interacting with the audience as the legendary tractor pioneer. You can hear our entire interview with Roger Hawk in our Tuned In Podcast linked here

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LaHood Says US Can't Stand Longterm Trade War

Reports are that President Donald Trump wanted to double tariffs on the Chinese after they retaliated against the US’s tariffs starting September 1st. The President had to be talked out of doubling them by CEO’s who warned of the damage it could cause to the economy. Republican Congressman Darin LaHood says there needs to be and end in sight to the disputes with China.

Trump ultimately decided on a five percent tariff hike on $550 billion in Chinese goods. This week the President has been tweeting that any deal with China would be much tougher if done during a possible second term in office.

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Call Before You Dig

Call before you dig. It’s the law. Ameren Illinois and a large collation of other groups want farmers and all landowners to dial 811 before doing something a simple as driving a stake into the ground. Gina Meehan Taylor with Ameren says for farmers regular farming practices like plowing are ok but if you’re starting a tilling project then you need to call before something tragic could happen.

The call and service is free and it’s also the law. Taylor says that if you would survive a pipeline hit you’re going to have to pay for the damage that was done.

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Ameren Ready to Respond with Aid for Hurricane Dorian

As Hurricane Dorian heads up the Atlantic coast, the potential for widespread damage exists. If that damage requires a large-scale effort to get the lights back on, Ameren Illinois is ready to hit the road as part of their mutual assistance service. Ron Pate, Senior Vice President Operations and Technical Services says there are many similarities in equipment, but some differences that may have to be accounted for.

Restoring power after a major storm is a complex task that must be completed as quickly as possible.A speedy restoration requires significant logistical expertise, along with plenty of skilled line workers and specialized equipment.Electric companies affected by significant outages frequently call on other utilities for assistance to help speed restoration.

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National Weather Service Recaps August Weather

The downspout of the spring wetness turned off in mid-July and didn't turn on hardly at all in August.

Chris Miller with the National Weather Service told Regional Radio News, most of the state was well below average for rainfall in August.

Normally, August is a hot and dry month. While we got the dry part right, Miller points out August wasn't all that hot given the trends.

Because of high humidity throughout the summer, Miller says things have felt a lot worse than they have been.

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WKEI and Patchy's Toy Drive Kewanee Doll Auction Thursday

Thursday morning at 9:06 Am don't miss your chance to purchase a Kewanee Doll. Made by Via-E and designer Ellen Kallen, the Kewanee Doll is a limited edition doll made for collectors and kids alike. There are only 155 dolls in the first run of Kewanee Doll, hence the limited edition label. The proceeds from Thursday's auction will be donated to Patchy's Red, White and Blue Toy Drive and the Salvation Army Angel Tree. Be ready to call in and place your bids for one of four Kewanee Dolls tomorrow morning on WKEI. We hope to raise nearly $1000.00 for Patchy's Toy Drive and the Angel Tree to help under-privileged children have the best Christmas possible. Call and place your bids between 9 Am and 10 on Thursday morning on WKEI. 

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Kewanee Police Announce 4 Weapons Arrests in Five Day Period

The Kewanee Police Department have announced that at the end of August, officers made 4 arrests for illegal weapons possession over a 5 day period. According to the press release, the incidents began on August 26th with the discovery of a pair of stolen rifles hidden on the property of a residence located at 910 North Main Street. The homeowner discovered the .22 Rifles on their property and contacted the Kewanee Police Department. Later, the suspect returned to the location, intent on retrieving the rifles that they had attempted to hide on the property. The suspect, 31 year old Justin Cox and partner, 39 year old William P Merritt, both of Kewanee, were subsequently arrested and charged after it was revealed that the rifles had been stolen from a residence in Neponset. Both Cox and Merritt were sent to the Henry County Jail on 5 separate weapons offenses consisting of aggravated possession of a stolen firearm and unlawful possession of a weapon by a felon.  The charge of aggravated possession of a stole firearm is a Class 1 Felony and carries a potential sentence of 4-15 years in the Illinois Department of Corrections.  

 

Merritt and Cox 

 

Then, on August 28th, Kewanee Police officers responded to a call regarding an altercation near Fairview Homes, in the 400 Block of Lakeview. The report indicated that suspects had had an altercation and had left the scene claiming they would return with weapons. As officers were interviewing witnesses, a vehicle approached the scene at a high rate of speed. The vehicel rounded the corner and came to a stop and the driver fled the vehicle in the area of the backyard of a residence at 832 East 4th Street, The suspect returned to the scene moments later but his actions led police to search the backyard at the residence where they located a 9 milimeter handgun. The suspect, 35 year old Zaffery L Reed was then arrested and was charged with various weapons offenses including aggravated unlawful use of weapon, unlawful use of a weapon, possession of a weapon by a felon, and armed habitual criminal.  The charge of armed habitual criminal is a Class X Felony and carries a potential sentence of 6-30 years in the Illinois Department of Corrections. A passenger in Reed's vehicle, 19 year old Dalyn M Thompson was cited by police during the incident for Illegal Consumption of Alcohol by a Minor and Illegal Transportation of Alcohol. 

 

 

Finally, on August 30th, Kewanee Police made a traffic stop in the area of the 300 Block of East 1st Street. In that stop, Kewanee Police located a .22 calibur loaded magazine, a .22 calibur rifle and multiple 12 Gauge Shotgun Shells. This led to the arrest of Aaron J Bargman of Pierson, Florida. A subsequent search of Mr Bargman turned up a rolled up bill that had indications of the presence of Cocaine. Bargman was arrested for Illegal Possession of a Controlled Substance with weapons charges pending following further investigation. 

 

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State Law Cracking Down on Driver's Who Endanger Pedestrians in Crosswalks

If you drive the state highways in Illinois you may have seen electronic signs reminding you to be mindful of pedestrians in crosswalks. This is part of a new effort that includes a new law that is cracking down on drivers who endanger pedestrians in crosswalks by failing to yield. Reporter Kim Howard in Springfield spoke to the author of the new law, Kankakee State Representative Lindsey Parkhust for this report... 

 

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Chicago Mayor Calls State and City Pension Costs Unsustainable

While quickly adding that the state of Illinois must keep its pension promise to those who've already retired in the state and those currently building retirement equity, Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot told reporters on Tuesday that the current cost pensions in the state is 'unsustainable.' Reporter Cole Lauterbach has more... 

 

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Republican Lawmaker Calling for Minority Leader to Release Harassment Report

State Representative David McSweeney is calling on House Minority Leader Jim Durkin to release the name of a GOP lawmaker who was at the center of a harassment investigation conducted by former Illinois Legislative Inspector General Julie Porter. Porter had wanted the name released before she left her position in April and has been critical of the office of Legislative Inspector General in the wake of her departure. Reporter Cole Lauterbach has more...

 

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City of Geneseo Plan for Richmond Hill Park Upgrades Off to Tremendous Start

A project launched in 2017 to improve Richmond Hill Park in Geneseo has come a long way toward those improvements thanks to grants and a various generous citizenship. The City of Geneseo is raising funds for more than $1 million of a long term $5 million dollar plan to remake Richmond Hill Park. Geneseo City administrator Jo Hollenkamp was our guest on People to People on WKEI on Tuesday and talked about the planned upgrades... 

So where is the money coming from for this ambitious project? Grants were the first part with more than $400,000 in grant funds applied for and received for the project as Jo Hollenkamp explains... 

The City of Geneseo has committed around $200,000 for the projects and donations have been brought in via a social media campaign that invites people to drop by Geneseo City Hall and make a donation or make donations via a Paypal link on the City of Geneseo website and City of Geneseo Facebook page. 

You can hear our complete interview with Geneseo City Administrator Jo Hollenkamp on our People to People Podcast page linked here

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Vandalism at Starved Rock State Park

Police are looking for two alleged vandals who may have put a heart with their initials in it and other markings at the council overhang part of Starved Rock State Park. They shared their picture on social media Monday. State Park Site Superintendent Kerry Novak believes that should give police some names to follow up on.

Novak says it could run thousands of dollars to clean off the graffiti. Vandals spray painted and used markers in the same area on the Memorial Day weekend in 2016. A private company donated its services to remove it then. The council overhang is a 425 million year old sandstone formation and was used by Native Americans as a gathering place.

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Bost Wants USMCA Taken Up Quickly to Provide Farmers Relief

While much of the attention on ongoing trade talks focuses on the U.S. and China, U.S. House Representative Mike Bost says the new USMCA, or U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement will provide farmers looking for help some relief. And Bost says it’s one of his top priorities for the upcoming session.

House members return to Washington for session next week.

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U of I Master Gardener: Now is the Time to Plant Grass Seed

If you are looking to fill in a bare spot in your yard, now is the time to drop some grass seed.University of Illinois Extension Master Gardner Candice Hart notes as things start to turn green thanks to recent rains, now is a good time to get out and drop some grass seed in those bare spots that may have turned up.

This time of the year brings a lot of questions about garden weeds, flower bed weeds and lawn weeds. Hart points out master gardeners are available throughout the week to answer any questions you man have and offer strategies on dealing with those. She encourages a Google search for your local county University of Illinois Extension to get a hold of your local master gardener. 

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Brand New Citizens Utility Board Guide to Cutting Your Cable and Internet Bill

If you are fed up with your cable television service, you're not alone. The Citizen's Utility Board asked its members to name their worst bill, more than half said it was their cable/internet bill. In honor of the agency's 35th anniversary, they have revamped their popular “Guide to Cutting Your TV Costs.” CUB spokesman Jim Chilsen says it has the most recent information updates you may need to reduce your bloated cable bill, or cut the cord entirely.

This 19-page publication has a new look, and it’s filled with new information. You can get your copy at https://www.citizensutilityboard.org/

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Stearman Fly-In Today at Kewanee Airport

The annual Stearman Fly-In is happening today at the Kewanee Airport. Planes from across the country are coming to Galesburg for the National Stearman Fly-In this weekend but first, many of those incredible World War 2 era planes will stop in Kewanee today and give fans the chance to see the remarkable planes that were essential to the effort in World War 2. Our own Karissa Nash will be live at the Stearman Fly-In today between 11 Am and 1 Pm Kewanee Airport with live reports on our WKEI and Hog Country Facebook pages. 

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Duckworth Tours Marquis Energy in Hennepin

U.S. Sen. Tammy Duckworth says applications for ethanol blend exemptions should be made public. She’s one of the Senators who introduced a bill to that effect three months ago because of problems they find with the Trump Administration’s way of handling them. The United States has legislation to increase the amount of ethanol in gasoline blends to 15%. Starting in 2007, small companies that couldn’t blend that much could ask for waivers. She say some big companies are getting the waivers too--counteracting the goal of increasing ethanol use.


Duckworth spoke about it at the Marquis Energy ethanol plant near Hennepin Tuesday.

 

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Kewanee Police Release Kewanee Hog Days Enforcement Numbers

The Kewanee Police Department have released their Hog Days enforcement numbers. These numbers come from incidents that took place over the Hog Days Weekend... 

 

Total Calls for Service-318

Total Traffic Stops-70

Total Traffic Citations-37

Total Arrests-14

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Wethersfield Board of Education Meeting for FY20 Budget Set for September 12th Agenda

Wethersfield Schools are getting ready to approve the FY20 budget and you can see the full agenda for the next Wethersfield School Board Meeting including discussion of the FY20 budget below... 

 

FY 20 BUDGET HEARING
WETHERSFIELD BOARD OF EDUCATION
Wethersfield Community Unit School District No. 230
Superintendent’s Office-Blish Building
439 Willard Street- Kewanee, Illinois 61443
September 12, 2019
6:00 PM

CALL TO ORDER

PUBLIC HEARING FOR FY 20 BUDGET
Presentation of FY 20 Budget
Comments from Board Members
Comments from Visitors

ADJOURN


REGULAR BOARD MEETING
WETHERSFIELD BOARD OF EDUCATION
Wethersfield Community Unit School District No. 230
Superintendent’s Office-Blish Building
439 Willard Street- Kewanee, Illinois 61443
September 12, 2019 
Immediately Following FY 20 Budget Hearing

CALL TO ORDER

REGULAR BUSINESS
Consent Agenda
Approve August 8, 2019 Regular and Executive Session Minutes
Approve August 27, 2019 Special Board Meeting and Executive Session Minutes
Approve Financial Reports, Investment Report, Bills, and Student Activity Fund Report
Approve Staff/Administrator Itemized Salary Compensation Report for 2019-2020
Approve Student Suspensions
Correspondence
Comments from Visitors
Board Member Reports

OLD BUSINESS
Adoption of FY 20 Budget
Approve District Concussion Oversight Plan and District Emergency Action Plans
BHC Dual Credit Update
On-line Registration Update
ISBE Staff Tuition Waiver
Community Information Meeting: School Resource Officer
Roof Solar Project Update
Approve Mini-Van Bids
Other Old Business

NEW BUSINESS
Bell and Intercom System Upgrades
Approve Board Polices 2-110, 2-121, 3-200, 4-302, 5-200, 6-320, 6-650, 7-110, 7-173, 9-120, 10-150, 10-210
Approve Swim Team Student Activity Account
Employment of Personnel (after executive session)
Principal Reports
Other New Business
Comments from Visitors

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

ANNOUNCEMENTS
Monday, September 16- 11:15 Dismissal for Staff In-service Training 
Week of September 16- 1st nine week grading period mid-term week
Thursday, September 26- Homecoming Skit Night- 6:30pm in HS Gym
Friday, September 27: Homecoming Parade- 1:15pm
Friday, September 27: Introduction of Homecoming Court- 6:15pm
Saturday, September 28: Homecoming Dance in HS Gym- 8:00pm
Saturday, September 28- Academic Hall of Fame Induction at The Dunes: 6:00pm
Tuesday, October 1:  Wethersfield PATT McTeacher Night 4:30pm-7:00pm at McDonalds
Thursday, October 3: Henry County Mental Health Alliance Multi-District Grades 6-8 Assembly in Wethersfield High School Gym 9:00am-10:30am
Thursday, October 10: OSF St. Luke Medical Center Flu Clinic
Next Board Meeting: Thursday, October 10 at 6:00pm (District Auditor in Attendance)

ADJOURN

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Annawan 40 & 8 Mural Restoration A Story of Family and Paint

If you know anything about Joy Hernandez, you know she loves a good mural. Joy returned to Kewanee over the Hog Days weekend but she wasn't just here for the pork chop sandwiches. Joy was contacted by Ted Canellos, one of the people in charge of the 40 & 8 campground where stood several incredible murals depicting the history of America at war.

These murals were painted by Dave Washburn some time in the early 90's. Over the years, the murals have been undergone the typical wear and tear you might expect from an outdoor mural.

We asked Joy where the murals had been and how they ended up under restoration at the American Legion Post in Kewanee... 

Knowing of Joy's spearheading of the Kewanee mural project. she was the perfect choice for this restoration project. But Joy had something even more incredible in mind. A friend from school, and Joy's regular chalk partner at the Kewanee Prairie Chicken Festival, happened to be Tom Washburn, the son of the late Dave Washburn, the original painter of the murals and here's Tom to pick up the story...

Tom tells WKEI he has a new appreciation for his dad's hard work all those years ago... 

It wasn't just Tom who had a family connection however as Joy explains, her family is also related to the 40 & 8 

And as we were recording this story, Joy's father, John Hernandez was painting alongside Tom and his daughter making this project even that much more of a unique family affair. The proect is far from over and the restoration is far from over. The hope is to have the murals ready to go back up at the 40 and 8 by next Spring. 

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Dr Michael Ahearn Joining Petersen Health Care as Consulting Physician

Dr Michael Ahearn has been a well known staple of the Kewanee medical community for years. Now, Dr Ahearn is going to lend his expertise to the folks at Petersen Health Care. On a recent edition of WKEI's People to People program, Doug Currier and Maisey Postin from Petersen Health Care made the announcement that Dr Ahearn was going to come aboard and help with medical care consulting for patients at Betty's Garden and Petersen's numerous care homes...

Dr Ahearn's consulting services at Petersen Health Care get underway this week. 

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Illinois Lawmakers Working to Strengthen Financial Stewardship Laws

Budgetary experts are advising Illinois lawmakers to strengthen laws related to cities that are falling into insolvency. Experts beileve new and stronger laws related to the takeover of struggling municipalities before the next economic downturn. Reporter Cole Lauterbach spoke with Michael Belsky at the University of Chicago for this report... 

 

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Illinois Congressional Delegation Looking Closely at Federal Red Flag Laws

Members of the Illinois Congressional delegation are looking at what are called Federal Red Flag laws. Congressman Rodney Davis and State Senator Linda Holmes spoke to our reporter Greg Bishop about red flag laws and the intended effect of such laws in preventing future mass shootings... 

 

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Illinois Ranks Near the Bottom of New Home Construction

Illinois ranks near the bottom of the list when it comes to the number of new homes built. Reporter Scot Bertram spoke with representatives of the Illinois Home Builders Association about why the numbers are lagging and what if anything can be done about it for this report... 

 

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Cook County Working on Pot Conviction Expungement

As the state is preparing retailers to legally sell marijuana another step along the path is to clear the court records of those who sold small amounts of the drug in the past. In Cook County they are using Code Four America to comb court records. Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx says those records, people convicted of possession of 30 grams of the drug or less, need to be cleared because they are not a public threat.

Clearing records in Illinois is happening before the law goes into effect and Foxx hopes that means those records will be cleaned up before the new law goes into effect on January 1st. 

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Ending Juvenile Detention: Is Stage Set in Illinois?

People who support alternatives to detention for kids in trouble say the stage is set to bring lasting reforms to Illinois's juvenile-justice system. A recent report shows about 500 fewer young people were admitted to juvenile detention in Illinois in 2017 than in 2016 - a 5% drop. The Illinois Juvenile Justice Commission compiled the data, and chair Rick Velasquez said those involved in the system are recognizing the problems associated with detention and its overuse. 

"What's critical has been the availability of data through the Illinois Juvenile Justice Commission in order to have jurisdictions begin to examine some of their own practices, and help undo the bias behind why we are holding kids," Velasquez said.

The Juvenile Justice Initiative recently released policy recommendations to reduce the use of juvenile detention in the state. They include requiring a 24-7 review of any decision to detain a child; revising detention standards to comply with national and international best practices; and raising the minimum age for detention to 14 across the state. The report also revealed detentions for 10- and 11-year-olds fell 35%, and admissions for 12- and 13-year-olds dropped 3%. State Rep. Robyn Gabel, D-Evanston, is a longtime advocate for ending detention of kids under age 13. Her view is that even one day in detention can change the trajectory of a child's life. 

"We should really be looking at treatment and reform for the youths that have issues or have committed crimes and figure out how we can improve their lives - make things better, get them treatment - rather than detention," Gabel said.

In 2018, Cook County passed an ordinance putting an end to detention for kids ages 10, 11, and 12. And Velasquez said more alternatives are needed for young people for whom detention could produce harm - to them or to their community. 

"We just have to find out ways to work on that. And the key is making sure you have good community resources to be able to respond to those needs, and that officers on the street have these as options," Velasquez said. "And when you don't have that, sometimes they see this as the only way to proceed."

The Juvenile Justice Initiative report suggested financial incentives to help counties develop community-based responses, so the state can better intervene when young people come in conflict with the law.

 

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ISP Trooper Hopkins Laid to Rest This Weekend

State Trooper Nicholas Hopkins was laid to rest this weekend. Hopkins from Waterloo was shot and killed serving a warrant in East St. Louis on August 23rd. Brendan Kelly the Acting Director of the Illinois State Police said that his final act of sacrifice, donating his organs so others could live was a moment of pride on an otherwise dark and sad day.

Hopkins leaves behind twin four year olds and an infant daughter. 

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Illinois State Police Acting Director Brenden Kelly Speaks at Memorial for Murdered Trooper

Illinois State Police acting director, Brenden Keilly spokle this past weekend at the memorial for Trooper Nicolas Hopkins. Hopkins was killed in the line of duty while aiding the serving of a warrant in East Sain Louis over a week ago. Kelly speech is below... 

 

“Governor, all the men and women of the Illinois State Police, SWAT, MEPAT, Zone 6 and District 11, Friends and Family of Trooper Hopkins, Jim, Verna, Valerie, Zac, Emily, Gabe, Whitney, Evelyn, Owen, and Emma:

 

As you all know the motto of the Illinois State Police, the ISP, is integrity, service, and pride. No doubt Nick has said these words many times. Of these three values, Pride is probably the hardest to explain or define sometimes.

 

But not after Friday, August 23rd.

 

As the Governor mentioned, Trooper Hopkins loved the American flag. And so as Colonel Peyton, Colonel Wolf, Lt. Colonel Trame and myself placed the Stars and Stripes gently over Nick before moving him from his room at the hospital to the transplant center, there is no doubt he was proud. 

 

And as he made his way through the halls of St. Louis University Hospital completely lined with medical staff and officers and even patients, and as men and women of all sizes and shapes, creeds and colors, young and old, bowed their heads, put their hands over their hearts, or stood at a attention and saluted, you could see and feel the Pride.

 

When we reached the end of that line at the ambulance, it was the honor and duty of Colonel Peyton, Colonel Wolf, and myself to ride sitting beside Nick in the ambulance to his next destination where his SWAT brothers were waiting.

 

And in that ambulance, there was a feeling that overwhelmed the anger and the sadness:  Pride.

 

A feeling of being so, so proud of him.

 

Proud that God still makes people like Trooper Hopkins.

 

Proud that men and women like him still walk among us on this earth.

 

Proud that of all the things Nick could have done with his life, he chose to be an Illinois State Trooper, he chose to be part of the ISP.

 

It’s not a pride that’s arrogant or superior. But a pride rooted in love.

 

I could see that love when I talked to Nick’s father and brother at the hospital when they told me what a great carpenter and builder he was, which made me think of another great but little known builder from the past who has no statue or tomb with his name, but only a small marker among the city he built that simply says “if you seek his monument, look around you.”

 

We will rightly name a road or bridge after Trooper Hopkins, and we will rightly put his name on the memorial wall, but that will not be his greatest monument.

 

If you seek his true monument, look around you.

 

His monument is the light on the path forward that he leaves for his brothers in SWAT and MEPAT and Patrol, and all his brothers and sisters in the Illinois state Police.

 

If you seek integrity, there it is!

 

If you seek service, the ultimate service, there it is!

 

If you seek pride, in this moment, just look around you.

 

But that is not the limit of his monument.

 

Because even in death, Nick chose to serve others by donating his organs, his monument may be in the very movement of someone who walks again with nick’s muscle and sinew, in the air of someone who breaths with Nick’s lungs, in the blood of life pumping through someone who lives with his amazing heart, someone or many someone’s on this earth who we may pass in a crowd smiling because of Nick.

 

But even that is not his greatest monument. That can be seen in the eyes of his brothers and sisters, in the eyes of his mother and father, in the eyes of his loving wife, and the eyes of his three children, Evelyn, Owen and Emma - it’s the love they all share with him and each other. That is his greatest monument - a legacy of love that will endure forever. 

 

One of his fellow Troopers told me Nick was always challenging himself and those around him to be better. So, his life is a challenge to all of us. 

 

But in this most difficult of moments, how can we possibly answer that challenge?

 

Well Nick was a carpenter; and no doubt, he is in the hands of the greatest carpenter now. And maybe that’s our answer. 

 

People used to have bumper stickers and arm bands and now memes that say “what would Jesus do?”

 

Right now, what would Trooper Hopkins do?

 

Would he give up helping the least among us?

No.

 

Would he let the pain overcome the joy?

No.

 

Would he surrender one inch of light to the darkness?

Hell no.

 

But when our integrity and courage is challenged what do we do without him?

 

Well Just ask yourself what would Trooper Nick Hopkins do?

 

What would an Illinois State Trooper do?

 

And you’ll have your answer, and you’ll know what to do.

 

God bless you Whitney and your family.

God bless the soul of Trooper Nick Hopkins.

And God bless the Illinois State Police.”

 

Acting Director Brendan Kelly

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Bost: Federal Disaster Relief Will Be Coming for Flood Victims

The spring flooding across the country was unprecedented, and many Illinois residents are still cleaning up and figuring out what is next. After almost five months of many rivers being above flood stage in Illinois, Illinois congressman Mike Bost says the question is not if the state will get federal disaster money, but how much does the state need.


After going above flood stage in early spring, the Mississippi River at Chester recorded its second highest crest ever on June 10th. The river finally dropped below flood stage in early August.

 

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Funding Secured in Infrastructure Bill for Widening 35 Miles of I-57 Downstate

Widening I-57 to three lanes from Marion to Mt. Vernon has long been talked about and needed to ease congestion downstate. State Representative Terri Bryant says the funding is in place to make the entire project a reality. Bryant says a day she, and likely many others have thought about, will finally come because of the recently passed infrastructure bill.


Interstate 57 is already three lanes for six miles from Marion to Johnston City, and work has started to add a third lane six more miles to West Frankfort.

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