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Local News Archives for 2016-01

TCCU Scholarship Program

A local scholarship program helps both graduating high school seniors and area businesses. The Taylorville Community Credit Union's scholarship program will award 500 dollar scholarships to two seniors from each Taylorville, Litchfield and Hillsboro high schools.
According to TCCU President Will Perkins, this is the second year of the program and over 50 businesses participated in the program this year. Perkins says anyone can vote for a student by shopping at a local business. For every $10 spent at a participating business, shoppers can cast one vote for a student who registered in the program.

Participating Litchfield businesses include:
Briar Rose
Creative Flair
Gianni's Pizza
Gliks
K-9 and Cat Salon
Lindsay's RC Hobbies
Petal Pushers
Shear Attitude
Sullivan's Drugs
Sweet Repeats
WAM Computers
Wernsing's Appliance

Participating Hillsboro businesses include:
Books & Moore
BosscoTech
Chambers Floor Coverings
Gianni's Pizza
(The) Hair Gallery
(The) Hair Zone
John's Medical Pharmacy
Resale Station
Salvation Army Thrift Store
Sullivan's Drugs
Tan Lines Hair Designs
Tee-Shirts, Ink
Tattered Threads

Bowling Benefits Golden Circle

Bowling a strike will benefit the local Golden Circle Nutrition Program. You don't actually have to bowl a strike, but participating in a bowling tournament in February will benefit local home bound senior citizens. Because of the Illinois budget impasse, the nutrition program, which relies on state funding, had to consider reducing days that meals are delivered each week. Because of donations from the community, the program was able to deliver meals five days each week through December and into January. Litchfield Park District President John Leonard says the idea for the bowling tournament came from Rick Weatherford whose mother is served by the nutrition program.

You can't ask to live in a better area - when need is there, people will step up and help. Rick Weatherford has been spearheading this and this is a great thing for Rick and it's a great thing for our community. It's sad that we need to do this, but sometimes things happen and I think everybody will agree - politicians do what politicians do. Sometimes foresight is not there and when the trickle-down effect comes, our elderly are the ones that are being squeezed and this is a way to help them through a hard time.

The Nine Pin No Tap Singles Tournament begins at 7pm on Saturday, February 20th, at the Litchfield Bowl. For more information or to sign up, call Rick Weatherford at (217) 324-5040 or the Litchfield Bowl at (217) 324-5951. All Proceeds from the event benefit the Litchfield Golden Circle Nutrition Program. Thomack 1/28/16

Kratochvil to Retire from EIU

Roger Kratochvil of Mt. Olive will retire from the Eastern Illinois University Board of Trustees on Monday, February 1.

Kratochvil served on the Board for 12 years holding at various times the positions of Chairman, Vice Chairman and Secretary. He was a 1960 graduate of Eastern Illinois University and was inducted into the university athletic Hall of Fame in 1998.

Meth Seizure Near Litchfield

Authorities intercepted approximately one pound of Methamphetamine on Interstate 55 near Litchfield. According to Illinois State Police District 18 in Litchfield, a motorist was allegedly in possession of the meth when a car was stopped Monday evening. The vehicle was stopped by an Illinois State Police Sergeant for a traffic violation. Due to signs of criminal activity, the Sergeant requested a Canine Unit for a free air sniff. The canine had a positive alert on the vehicle and in the course of investigation, drug paraphernalia was found along with the one pound of meth. The meth, worth nearly $5,000, was on its way from Mexico to northern Illinois. The case is still under investigation and charges are pending.Thomack 1/27/16

Early Voting May Be Delayed

While early voting and voting by mail are scheduled to begin on February 4th, County Clerk Pete Duncan has annnounced that delays with the state certifying Presidential candidates may cause delays.

Currently eight objections on seven Presidential candidates are yet to be decided by the State Board of Elections. According to the State Board, final decisions on these objections are not anticipated to be made until after the start of the early vote and vote by mail period. Because Macoupin County's ballots can not be printed and voting tabulators programmed until the State completes these hearings and certifies which Presidential cndidates are to be listed on the ballot, voting will be delayed until the final cetification is received.

Duncan says voters can apply for a vote by mail ballot and have it mailed to them as sooon as the ballots are printed.

Duncan advised that voters can check the County's Election website, www.macoupinvotes.com, or the County Clerk's webpage for updates on when early voting and vote by mail will start.

Valentines For Heroes

With February 14th less than a month away, Congressman John Shimkus is asking for Valentines to be sent to his office. The annual Valentines For Heroes program sends valentines to area veterans and men and women serving in the military. Shimkus says his office has been doing the program for numerous years.

It's just a way, in kind of an off time, you know, people think about veterans over Christmas, maybe Easter, this is kind of an interim time when people think about loved ones and this is how we are helping show that love. The other good thing is a lot of schools take this up as a cause as a craft work for kids. A lot of kids from many different ages put together valentines so they can get that craft work done in an art class, but they also can get kind of the service aspect of doing it to send someone a real world project. So, it's been very very successful and we're doing it again.

To find out more about the Valentines For Heroes program, contact the Maryville office of Congressman John Shimkus at (618) 288-7190 or go to Shimkus' Website. The office will accept Valentines until February 5th.Thomack 1/25/16

Litchfield Chamber Nominations

The Litchfield Chamber of Commerce seeks nominations for awards and board members this year. The Chamber's annual dinner in March honors a Business Person of the Year, a Rising Star and Citizen of the Year. Most awards will be decided by the Litchfield Chamber Board, but nominations will be accepted for the Citizen of the Year Award. Chamber Executive Director Dawn Pezold says nominations will be accepted for anyone seen as an asset to the Litchfield community.

(Someone) that has been at the forefront of the town and gives back, gives all they can - There's several out there - we always have such good nominations. I find it very admirable how some are so civic minded and give of themselves continuously.

Pezold says they also will be accepting nominations for three-year terms on the Chamber Board of Directors.

It's ideal to have a board (where) you have the wisdom and the history and the knowledge that business members that have been around the community (have) - you can glean that from them - and then glean some fresh ideas and some good attitude and a renewed commitment from the younger, up-and-coming business people. We are open and would love to have a representation of all the dynamics.

Within the Board of Directors are committees including Party in the Park, Downtown, Membership, Christmas Events, Business Promotions and Education. Nominations for any of the awards or board positions must be turned in by January 31st. Find out more information by emailing info@litchfieldchamber.com or by calling (217) 324-2533.

Thomack 1/20/16

Railroad Work

According to the Litchfield Mayor's Office, due to weather, the Norfolk Southern Railroad canceled today's work on railroad crossings. The work is rescheduled to begin at 8am on Thursday (1/21).

A rail car, loaded with rails, will stop at each crossing in town to unload materials for improvement. While unloading the material, the crossing will be closed for approximately 1 hour. The rail car will move on to the next crossing to unload rails and material, closing each crossing as unloading occurs.

Macoupin County Scholarship Auction

Blackburn College will host the annual Macoupin County Scholarship Auction on Saturday, February 20, 2016, in the Woodson Center on the Blackburn Campus. Doors will open and the silent auction begins at 5:00pm. Dinner will be served at 6:00pm and the live auction will follow at 7:00pm.

Tickets can be reserved at www.blackburn.edu/dinner-auction or by calling 217-854-5788; individual tickets are $20 and a table of eight is $140.

Since its inception in 1991, more than 114 Macoupin County students have been awarded this scholarship for tuition. Over the course of this time, the auction has awarded more than $315,000 in scholarship funds.

Some of this year's auction items include: 4 Disney hopper passes; four-night stay, Coppermine Cabin on Beaver Lake, Rogers, Arkansas; one-week stay in a condo, Fort Myers, Florida; four St. Louis Blues tickets with parking pass, 2nd row off the ice; St. Louis Cardinals tickets; gift baskets, and more.

Macoupin County Scholarship Auction

Blackburn College will host the annual Macoupin County Scholarship Auction on Saturday, February 20, 2016, in the Woodson Center on the Blackburn Campus. Doors will open and the silent auction begins at 5:00pm. Dinner will be served at 6:00pm and the live auction will follow at 7:00pm.

Tickets can be reserved at www.blackburn.edu/dinner-auction or by calling 217-854-5788; individual tickets are $20 and a table of eight is $140.

Since its inception in 1991, more than 114 Macoupin County students have been awarded this scholarship for tuition. Over the course of this time, the auction has awarded more than $315,000 in scholarship funds.

Some of this year's auction items include: 4 Disney hopper passes; four-night stay, Coppermine Cabin on Beaver Lake, Rogers, Arkansas; one-week stay in a condo, Fort Myers, Florida; four St. Louis Blues tickets with parking pass, 2nd row off the ice; St. Louis Cardinals tickets; gift baskets, and more.

Half Witt 5K

A 5K in April organized by a young Witt resident will benefit Make-A-Wish Illinois. Ten-year-old Lauren Hartman's cousin went on a Make-A-Wish trip to Disney before he passed away in 2014. Lauren says she wanted to donate money to the organization in memory of her cousin and decided to use her love of running to raise money.

We did the Hillsboro Runner's Club Turkey Trot and I thought it would be fun to just do my own and to help out Make-A-Wish and all those companies that help other people.

Lauren says the race is called the Half Witt 5k because, You have to run half of Witt just to get 3.1 miles.

Lauren's mother, Jody Hartman, says the 5K was all Lauren's idea.

She came up with a great idea (and) we worked together to make it fun. One of the things she has talked about is, she's won a couple medals in her age group, she's won a couple first places and she said it doesn't really matter about the medals, but she wants everybody to feel involved in the whole race - whether you're first, whether you're last - so she was very adamant about everyone (getting) a finisher's medal.

The Half Witt 5K begins at 9am on Saturday, April 2nd, at the Witt Lions Building. Sign up sheets can be found at Fusion Fitness and Aquatics in Hillsboro, the Security National Bank of Witt and the Journal-News in Hillsboro. You can also find the Half Witt 5k on Facebook and register online here: RunSignUp. Registering by March 12th guarantees participants receive a Finisher's Medal and T-shirt.
Lauren and Jody Hartman were the guests on this weekend's Around Montgomery County program. You can find the full interview here: AMC

Thomack 1/18/16

Polar Plunge

A Litchfield couple will plunge into fundraising this weekend for the Montgomery County Cancer Association. The couples participating in the lip sync competition at the Stamp Out Cancer event on January 23rd, hold their own mini events before the contest. The winning couple will be the one who raises the most money for the Montgomery County Cancer Association. One of the couples participating, Eric and Stacy Lamb of Litchfield, will hold their fundraising event this weekend. Stacy says they decided on holding a Polar Plunge as their event.

We thought with everything that people who have to take on that fight of cancer - all the things that they have to go through - why not do something that, you know, it's not something that you want to do, but it's something that you will to do raise money for this wonderful event that Stamp Out Cancer puts on.The Polar Plunge put on by Team Lamb takes place at noon on Saturday at the Fireman's Clubhouse at Lake Lou Yaeger in Litchfield. You can preregister at Creative Flair in Litchfield or by calling Stacy Lamb at (217) 313-0884. The plunge is 50 dollars per individual and 150 dollars for a team of four. All money raised goes to the Montgomery County Cancer Association. For more information on other couple's fundraising events, click here: Stamp Out Cancer 2016.

Thomack 1/15/16

Slow Cooker Class

A slower dinner option for busy families will be the topic of a University of Illinois Extension class this week. U of I Extension Nutrition and Wellness Educator Lisa Peterson will teach a slow cooker class on Thursday.

What I'm doing is talking about everything you need to know about using a slow cooker or what we usually call a Crock-Pot, which is the brand name. I'm also giving out recipes with that, we're going to do some taste testing, we're going to talk about adapting recipes, so, changing recipes that you would usually use maybe in an oven - I've got a method that you can use to adapt it, to put it into a slow cooker and use a little bit less energy in your house. I also go into detail about the different uses and different cooking strategies you can use. Some people can actually cook desserts in slow cookers, which they're not aware of.

Peterson says the class is called Healthy Eating for Busy Families.

It focuses a lot on busy families. A family could be one person - just somebody who's in a hurry and (wants) to be able to eat healthy. Using a slow cooker is a great way to do that you can throw it all in in the morning, go to work, come back and your house smells wonderful.

The class takes place at 5:30pm on Thursday at the University Extension Office in Taylorville. To sign up for the class or for more information, call (217) 287-7246 or go to the Extension's Christian County webpage.Thomack 1/13/16

Paws Care Photo Contest

An online photo contest showcases pets and raises funds for a local organization. All proceeds from the Valentine Pet Photo Contest will go to Paws Care of Montgomery County. The non-profit organization provides a place for homeless animals and helps place them with a family. Paws Care Public Relations Coordinator Crystal Carpani says to enter the contest or vote, go to the contest website: Valentine Pet Photo Contest

If you want to enter the contest, you can upload a photo of you and your pet, showing the love - we have some really cute photos so far. If you want to vote on a photo, you can go to the same website, click on a photo and make a monetary donation. Whatever photo receives the most money, wins.

Carpani says Paws Care runs on donations.

We have (greatly) decreased the unwanted pet population in the county through our spay and neuter program, which a lot of this money will go towards. We also help people with a pet food bank if they are low on funds or have fell on hard luck and we've re-homed countless animals. It's just a great charity to donate to - we have a lot of great community programs and we're saving a lot of animals.

Prizes will be given for first, second and third place in the photo contest. Prizes for first place include a PetSmart gift card and a grooming session for the pet and a dinner gift card and massage gift certificate for the human. Voting ends February 13th.Thomack 1/7/16

Nokomis Fire Injuries

The infant rescued from the house fire in Nokomis yesterday morning is expected to make a full recovery. First Baptist Church of Nokomis Pastor Ryan Follis was at the fire before the fire department arrived and has been in contact with the Carlson family whose house caught fire. Follis says the infant daughter rescued from a second story bedroom was "lifeless and didn't move" when the firefighters got her out of the house, but gasped for air and started crying on the way to be airlifted to St. John's Hospital in Springfield. She is in the Pediatric Unit at the hospital and suffered second degree burns on her neck and hands and minor burns on her face. She is expected to make a full recovery. The mother who was injured in the fire was also airlifted and is currently at the Memorial Medical Center's Burn Unit. She has third degree burns on her foot and is expected to make a full recovery. Follis says the family lost everything in the fire and a fund to benefit the family has been set up at the First National Bank of Nokomis and at the First Baptist Church of Nokomis. Thomack 1/6/16

Flu Season

The flu season is off to a slow to start this year, but typically lasts through March. According to St. Francis Hospital Community Outreach Facilitator Vicky Fuller, reports in December showed low flu activity in the area this season. Fuller says that could be due to the milder weather or a better flu vaccine.

There's multiple strains of influenza out there, twenty plus probably at least, and every year, the government, they track, through the Centers for Disease Control and risk stratify and determine which ones are most likely to be prevalent. For the most part they're usually pretty good about targeting that and that's what they decide to put in the flu vaccine, but last year kind of missed the mark. This year, it seems like either there's better compliance or there's not as much flu, but we really have not seen much in the area.

Fuller says the flu shot works against the upper respiratory influenza and there are additional ways to help keep yourself healthy during the flu season.

So when we're talking about influenza we are talking about the upper respiratory influenza. Usually people will have a high fever, a bad headache, they'll cough, the congestion, body aches all over, kind of feel like they got ran over by a truck. That's what the flu shot works against - not the nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, but the upper respiratory influenza. Ways to prevent that: wash your hands, that's a big thing, always wash your hands. If you are sick, please stay home, don't share it with other people and cover your cough (and sneezes) so that you're not sharing it with other people and then the usual key things are plenty of rest, stay healthy, eat healthy, plenty of fluids to decrease your risk of getting sick with the virus.

Fuller says people can still get the flu shot and to check with their family doctor, local pharmacy or county health department for more information.Thomack 1/5/16

Nokomis Fire

Multiple fire departments were called to a fire this morning in Nokomis. According to the Nokomis Area Fire Protection District, they responded to a structure fire at 202 East Union Street around 10am. Upon arrival, the fire department rescued an infant from the second story bedroom. The infant was flown to St. John's Hospital in Springfield by Arch Air Medical helicopter. The infant's mother was also airlifted to Memorial Medical Center's Burn Unit. Firefighters from the Fillmore and Nokomis Fire Protection District and the Pana, Taylorville and Witt Fire Departments extinguished the fire. A fund to benefit the family has been established at the First National Bank of Nokomis. The Office of the State Fire Marshall is investigating the cause and origin of the fire and more information will be reported as it becomes available.Thomack 1/5/16

Voter Registration Deadline

The Montgomery County Clerk's Office reminds voters their Voter Registration information must be up-to-date to avoid problems voting in the Tuesday, March 15th, General Primary Election. The last day for registration or transfer of voter registration with all deputy registrars and with the County Clerk's office is Tuesday, February 16th. The County Clerk's office will be open on Saturday, February 13th, from 9am to noon to provide voter registration services. Anyone turning 18 years old on or before the November 8th, 2016, General Election will also be eligible to register to vote until the registration deadline. Voters should completely re-register to vote if their name changed or if they moved to Montgomery County. Voters who moved within the county or precinct can do this by completing the voter transfer information on the back of their current Voter's Identification card and sending it to the County Clerk's office in Hillsboro. All voter registration forms can also be downloaded and printed from County website: County Clerk Website For more information, stop by the County Clerk's office on the first floor of the Historic Courthouse in Hillsboro during business hours or call (217) 532-9530. Thomack 1/4/16

Annie's Project

Annie's Project is a six-week course offered by the University of Illinois Extension in partnership with Annie's Project. The program looks to empower women in agriculture by holding discussion-based workships that bring women together to learn from experts in production, financial management, human resourced, marketing, and the legal field.

Annie's Project is being offered by the Macoupin County Extension Office in Carlinville from 6-9pm on February 16, 18, 23, 25 and March 1 and 3 2016. The six-session course will cover: personality assessment, working with government agencies, business planning for farms, basic financial documents for farms, crop insurance basics, marketing basics for selling crops and livestock, leasing farmland, and estate planning.

The program offers time for questions, sharing, reacting, and connecting with the presenters and fellow participants. Registration is $50 and covers the course materials.

For more information or to register contact the Macoupin County Extension office at 217-854-9604.

Annie's Project

Annie's Project is a six-week course offered by the University of Illinois Extension in partnership with Annie's Project. The program looks to empower women in agriculture by holding discussion-based workships that bring women together to learn from experts in production, financial management, human resourced, marketing, and the legal field.

Annie's Project is being offered by the Macoupin County Extension Office in Carlinville from 6-9pm on February 16, 18, 23, 25 and March 1 and 3 2016. The six-session course will cover: personality assessment, working with government agencies, business planning for farms, basic financial documents for farms, crop insurance basics, marketing basics for selling crops and livestock, leasing farmland, and estate planning.

The program offers time for questions, sharing, reacting, and connecting with the presenters and fellow participants. Registration is $50 and covers the course materials.

For more information or to register contact the Macoupin County Extension office at 217-854-9604.

New Year State Changes

The new year will bring changes in procedure for the Illinois House of Representatives. The House has been in special session since June of this year because of the lack of state budget. State Representative Avery Bourne says they will be in regular session again because of the start of the new year.

"So what that means is that to pass a bill it only requires a simple majority, so that should make it easier to get a bill passed and to reach a compromise. Also it begins with all new legislation, so we've been going through the legislative drafting process in my office with constituent requests for new laws or changes to laws. So that should begin some new discussions, hopefully. I also think it just brings forward a new, fresh start and hopefully we can use that as kind of a springboard for some changes.

The House will meet next on January 13th.
Bourne says her first year as state representative brought a lot of change and learning.

"If you had asked me a year ago what I would have learned, I would have never told you, 'Oh, well I will have been in the Illinois State House for almost a year.' It's crazy to think about how much can change in a year. But also I think that this year in Springfield has been very different than even the most seasoned legislators expected it to be. So I think it's driven home, even more, the need to be bipartisan and to come about legislating and governing with a very open and fresh perspective and I think it's proven, not only to me, but to all of Illinois the dangerous words of - 'This is how it's always been done' - we really need to change that dynamic. So hopefully the new year can bring more cooperation, more discussion and more openness in looking at how we do things.

You can hear the full interview with State Representative Avery Bourne here: December InterviewThomack 12/31/15

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