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Local News Archives for 2021-09

U.S. corn, soybean harvest running at near-average pace

While corn and soybeans are reaching maturity slightly ahead of normal this year, the harvest of both crops so far is progressing at a close-to-average pace, USDA NASS' said in its weekly national Crop Progress report Monday. In its first national soybean harvest report of the season, NASS estimated that 6% of the crop was harvested as of Sunday, Sept. 19, near 5% last year and equal to the five-year average.


For the rest of the crop, NASS estimated that 58% of soybeans were dropping leaves as of Sunday, 10 percentage points ahead of the five-year average of 48%. The condition of the soybean crop remaining in fields was pegged at 58% good to excellent, up 1 percentage point from 57% the previous week but down from 63% a year ago.


After trailing 1 percentage point behind normal the previous week, corn harvest edged 1 percentage point ahead of average last week, coming in at 10% as of Sunday compared to the five-year average of 9%. Corn harvest activity has picked up in the major producing states, with Illinois at 11% harvested and Iowa at 4%.


As with soybeans, corn continued to reach maturity ahead of normal last week. NASS estimated that 93% of corn was dented as of Sept. 19, up 4% points from the five-year average of 89%. Fifty-seven percent of corn was rated mature, up 10 percentage points from the five-year average of 47%.


The condition of corn still in fields also rose last week, edging up 1 percentage point from 58% good to excellent as of Sunday, Sept. 12, to 59% good to excellent on Sunday, Sept. 19. That was down from 61% a year ago.


Winter wheat planting also continued slightly ahead of normal last week, with NASS estimating 21% of the crop had been planted as of Sunday, 3 percentage points ahead of the five-year average of 18%. Winter wheat emerged was pegged at 3%, just 1 percentage point ahead of the five-year average of 2%.

Hillsboro School District's Hands Tied by Court Order

Students have the option of going mask-free in Hillsboro Schools for now after a Montgomery County Court decision Friday.  On Friday, a Montgomery County Judge issued a temporary restraining order preventing the School District from requiring masks to be worn by students. Starting Monday, September 20th students will not be required to wear masks on school buses or at school.   The district says the court decision mans the Test to Stay alternative to quarantine alternative is off the table in a lot of cases.    An immediate ramification of this decision is the loss of our ability in many cases to offer the Test to Stay alternative to quarantines. Superintendent David Powell says the unwillingness of other school districts to participate in extra-curricular contests with our teams is also a possibility. Powell says the district will continue to implement other mitigation strategies to try to reduce the likelihood and severity of potential COVID outbreaks in our schools. 

Illinois Departments of Agriculture and Labor Highlight National Farm Safety and Health Week September 19-25

SPRINGFIELD, IL – As another harvest season begins, the Illinois Departments of Agriculture (IDOA) and Labor (IDOL) remind all farmworkers to stay safe, especially during the upcoming and busy harvest season.

Each year since 1944, the third week of September has been recognized as National Farm Safety and Health Week. Governor Pritzker proclaimed the week of September 19-25, 2021, National Farm Safety and Health Week in Illinois, with the theme “Farm Safety Yields Real Results.”

The latest data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics shows the agriculture sector is still the most dangerous in America. Each year the farming profession sees 573 fatalities, which equals 23 deaths per 100,000 workers.

“It is important to bring awareness not only to the physical dangers of farming, but the emotional toll it takes as well,” said Jerry Costello II, Director, IDOA. “While we will highlight roadway safety, chemical safety, and other traditional farming hazards, it is also important to encourage farmers to take care of their own health.”

Most farmworker injuries and death are caused by tractor overturns, according to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). These incidents result in about 130 deaths each year nationwide.

“Harvest season is a reminder of the importance of farmers to Illinois’ economy and our way of life. This hectic time also brings additional risks to agriculture workers. We want farmers to return home to their families at the end of each day,” said the Director of the Illinois Department of Labor Michael Kleinik.

Visibility is a key to safety on the roads. All agricultural vehicles using the public roads must display the fluorescent orange Slow Moving Vehicle triangle. Additionally, tractors and other self-powered farm vehicles must have proper lighting. Drivers should remember farm vehicle operators have limited visibility to the rear. Anyone passing such a vehicle should use extreme caution.

Each day during National Farm Safety and Health Week, the Illinois Department of Agriculture will highlight emerging issues and important topics on Facebook and Twitter.

Monday, Sept. 20: Tractor Safety & Rural Roadway Safety
Tuesday, Sept. 21: Overall Farmer Health
Wednesday, Sept. 22: Safety & Health for Youth in Agriculture
Thursday, Sept. 23: Agriculture Fertilizer and Chemical Safety
Friday, Sept. 24: Safety & Health for Women in Agriculture

National Farm Safety and Health Week is also a good time to remind growers and grower farm operators who transport or apply anhydrous ammonia of the April 1, 2022 deadline to be certified to work with anhydrous ammonia. The Illinois Department of Agriculture, along with the Illinois Farm Bureau and IFCA are offering free training online and in-person. Please visit the Illinois Department of Agriculture website for more information.
Follow the Illinois Department of Agriculture on social media for these important updates throughout Farm Safety and Health Week.

Ninth Annual Bob Price Memorial Scholarship Golf Fundraiser

The 9th Annual Bob Price Memorial Scholarship Golf Fundraiser will be held on Friday, September 24th at Timber Lakes Golf Course in Staunton. Registration will be held at 9 am with a shotgun start at 10 am. Cash Payouts will be awarded to the winning team, closest to the pin, and the longest drive. 


This gold event raises funds for $1000 scholarship that are available to high school students in the five counties in the Illinois State Police District 18 (Calhoun, Greene, Jersey, Macoupin, & Montgomery) where Bob Price was a Master Sargeant for ISP. 48 scholarships have been awarded over the past 8 years.


To sign up your team, or to make a donation call or text Ginger Barnes at 217-825-9175.

New Addiction & Mental Health Facility Open in Litchfield

The ribbon has been cut for St. Francis Way, a partnership with Litchfield Police and Macoupin County Health Director Kent Tarro. The facility on the HSHS St. Francis Hospital campus will focus on treatment instead of enforcement for the lives that can be turned around among the addicted and others battling mental health struggles. The Witt Volunteer Fire Depth has also joined the Safe Passage program, which will be operated through St. Francis Way.   You can reach out to Safe Passage of Litchfield at (217)324-5991. All matters conducted by Safe Passage in regards to individuals needing assistance will remain safe and confidential. If you or anyone you know is suffering from substance abuse, please reach out to the Witt Fire Dept. by calling 217-594-7220 or message them on Facebook.

Litchfield's Party in the Park Returns this Weekend

Party in the Park preparations means a number of Downtown Litchfield streets are shut down.   Kirkham is closed between Madison and Monroe. North State is closed between Union/Route 16 and Edwards. North Monroe is closed between Union/16 and Kirkham.

Montgomery County's Annual Electronics Recycling Drive

The Montgomery County Board in cooperation with BLH Computers will be hosting the annual Electronics Recycling Drive on Saturday, September 18th from 9 am until noon and the former Wright Automotive Building at the corner of State Route 127 & 185

Items that will be accepted include -Answering Machines -Battery Backups and Uninterruptable Power Supplies (UPS) - Camcorders - Cameras - Cellular/Mobile Phones - Christmas tree lights - Computer Peripherals (keyboards, mice, etc.) - Desktop Computers - DVD/CD Players - Fax Machines - Ink Cartridges - Laptops - Mail-room Equipment - Networking Equipment and Cables - Pagers - Point of Sale Equipment - Power and Accessory Cables - Power Tools (including batteries) - Printers (for large office printers please contact your local store) - Projectors - Radios - Receivers - Satellite and Cable Equipment - Speakers - Smart Phones - Surge Suppressors and Power Strips - Tablets - Telephones (including PBX equipment) - Toner - VCRs - Video Game Consoles - Walkie-talkies

Certain items can be recycled but have a fee in order to do so. These items include: 

- Broken TV’s in a bag is double their charge 

- CRT & LCD Monitors = $10
- All Televisions = $20

- Projection TV’s = $40 

- Console TV’s = $40

Information on the destruction of hard drives and such will be handed out during the drive. If you have any questions or if you are unsure if we accept the items you want to bring to the drive, you can contact BLH at (309) 826-5201 or go to

Macoupin County Historical Society Fall Fest

The Macoupin County Historical Society will be holding its annual Fall Festival, which is coming up this weekend, September 18 and 19th. They will have food, crafts, antique tractor displays, live music, and a Treasurer's Market flea market. Parking and event are free, and the event will be from 9 am to 4 pm on both days.

Weekly Crop Progress & Condition Report

There were 6.5 days suitable for fieldwork during the week ending September 12, 2021. Statewide, the average temperature was 70.3 degrees, 0.6 above normal. Precipitation averaged 0.24 inches, 0.45 inches below normal. Topsoil moisture supply was rated 10 percent very short, 23 percent short, 65 percent adequate, and 2 percent surplus. Subsoil moisture supply was rated 9 percent very short, 24 percent short, and 67 percent adequate. Corn dented reached 93 percent, compared to the 5-year average of 85 percent. Corn mature reached 51 percent, compared to the 5-year average of 37 percent. Corn harvested reached 1 percent, compared to the 5-year average of 3 percent. Corn condition was rated 3 percent very poor, 6 percent poor, 29 percent fair, 41 percent good, and 21 percent excellent. Soybeans turning color reached 63 percent, compared to the 5-year average of 49 percent. Soybeans dropping leaves reached 33 percent, compared to the 5-year average of 19 percent. Soybean condition was rated 4 percent very poor, 7 percent poor, 28 percent fair, 41 percent good, and 20 percent excellent.

Route 185 Now Open between Coffeen and Vandalia

Construction work on the Hurricane Creek bridge at the Montgomery-Fayette County Line on State Route 185 is now completed, and the road is now opened to through traffic according to IDOT.

Local Road Oiling this Week

The Montgomery County Highway Dept. will oil sections of the Irving Road northward from the village limits to the Raymond-Nokomis Blacktop on Monday 9/13. Also, the village of Schram City will be oiling streets on Monday 9/13.

Panama will oil streets in the village on Tuesday 9/14 starting at 8 am weather permitting, and Benld will also be oiling city streets, on Wednesday 9/15 also starting at 8 am weather permitting. Also, the Litchfield Street Department will oil and chip the following roads Thursday 9/16, and Friday 9/17.

-W. South Street from S. State to S. Adams
-S, Clinton Street from W. St John to W. Columbia
-E. Water Street from S. Illinois to S. McKinley
-S. Harrison Street from E. St John to E. South
-W. Hauser Street from N. Douglas to N. Brown
-N. Illinois Avenue from E. Union to E. Clark including Circle Dr.
-E. St John Street from S. Illinois to S. Jackson
-Park Road from Yaeger Lake Tr. to Beach House Tr.
-Marina 2 Lane - Park Road to the Parking Lot
-Beach House Trail - From Horse Camp to Marina 1
-Arrowhead Lane from Beach House Tr. to the Dead End
-Arrowhead Trail from Arrowhead Lane to the Dead End

The work in Litchfield will take place on Thursday, September 16th, and Friday, September 17th. Please follow the flagmen’s instructions; traffic will be limited during this process. Please remove any cars parked roadside by 7:00 am on both days. City Staff appreciates the cooperation and anticipates the work to be completed in two days.


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